[I should really just stay home with my cat.]
I realized there was something terribly wrong with me around 7:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning in January.
You see, I had wrapped myself up in my sheets like a burrito and started hyperventilating because a guy — who, in all likelihood, is very nice and reasonable — offered to buy me a sandwich via early morning text message.OH DEAR GOD, I lamented, WHY IS HE TRYING TO BRING ME A SANDWICH?! I DON'T EVEN KNOW HIM!
When I relayed this episode to my friends, wild hand gestures and all, they pointed out that I might have been a little bit dramatic. And when I cancelled on another totally likeable dude because I "needed to clean my turtle tank," they pointed out that I was really being a bit lazy and awful.
I wasn't really sure what was wrong with me. Didn't I want attention? A free sandwich? Booze? Concert tickets? Didn't I want to enter into a weird, temporary social contract with someone I barely knew, in which there was an implied possibility of sex and/or a future monogamous relationship?
As it turned out, not really.
One of the amazing upsides to being single is that you can do whatever the fuck you want. There are no compromises. No expectations. Nobody asks you to drive to Studio City alone in a cargo van full of subwoofers the day after your grandma dies. Nobody leaves you 30 coked-out voicemails about how you don't love them enough. Nobody expects you to take them to the hospital when they're coughing up blood. Nobody calls you from jail. Nobody asks you to help sell their old pick up truck while they leave the state. Nobody calls you from a hospital in Wales after desecrating a tomb, and runs up your phone bill. Nobody asks you for money. Nobody drunkenly calls 12 times in a row looking for phone sex while you're at a family party. Nobody leaves you stranded in a motel during a snowstorm. (These are not all from one person, by the way. I don't want you to think I'd previously been in a relationship with the worst person on earth or anything.)
Anyway, I think I might have Relationship Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Which means, if you're asking me out, my brain is translating that to: I WANT TO STEAL ALL YOUR FREEDOM AND MAKE YOU COMPLETE UNREASONABLE TASKS TO OBTAIN MY LOVE.
Which, I'll admit, is not a reasonable translation at all.
But, instead of staying home to avoid the pitfalls and emotional turmoil of casual dating, I've thrown myself into the fray. This, I theorized, would keep me from getting rusty. Because, well, someday I might want to complete unreasonable tasks to obtain someone's love? Maybe?
The problem is, people who actually want to date, like, try to be good at it. I show up and say whatever the fuck I feel like saying, which can make for an awkward time.
Date Number One [in which an unsuspecting guy asks me about my family.]
Dude: Wait, so, you're the child of your father's....third wife?
Me [probably on beer number 12]: Or fourth. I'm actually not sure.
Dude: Okay. So you have half siblings?
Me: I had a half sibling.
Dude: Oh...oh crap, I'm so sorry.
Me: Nah, man, it's totally cool. I didn't event know the guy.
Date Number Two [in which I make things much worse.]
Me: Man, I'm sorry about springing that thing on you about my brother shooting himself in the face last time! That wasn't appropriate.
Dude: Oh my god, you didn't say he shot himself!
The weird thing was, my date seemed to think that my incredibly non-nonchalant attitude toward my brother's suicide was super hot, and this exchange was immediately followed by him attacking my face. If the situation had been reversed, I probably would have tried to give the phone number of a reputable therapist.
Then, today, Sandwich Guy texts me about a follow up date to the one in which I got so drunk on champagne I nearly fell asleep in the middle of an orchestral performance. I decided to be truthful and tell him that his pursuit of me was almost literally giving me panic attacks.
He did not respond to this as expected. Instead, he insisted that we could move slowly, and that everything would be just peachy. Like, really. We could move slow. He doesn't want a girlfriend! I don't need to panic about that! He'll make it up to me! With booze!
Once again, had the situation been reversed, and my pursuit of him was causing panic attacks, I'd probably give him the phone number of a reputable therapist. But what the hell do I know?
The only thing I can really conclude from this is that men really do like crazy women.
Also, I should probably just stay at home with my cat.