Moving on.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's time we break-up

Dear single, straight male friends:

I've thought about this for quite some time, so it's not like I've come to some flippant decision based on a single incident. You haven't done anything wrong, per se, but I feel like our relationships (yes - this is directed to all of you, not just one) just aren't serving me anymore.

Now, some of you might be thinking "But, we're just friends! Why the relationship-like drama?" To you men I can only say this: we're in our thirties now. Some of you are in your forties. And, while I appreciate the many great things about you that make our friendship work, I can't deal with your delusions anymore. As a 35-year old, single, straight woman, I'm tired of you - the ones with no furniture in your dorm-room like apartments, shitty jobs, social lives that reek of juveniles - drone on and on about that 25-year old you're hot for. I'm tired - so tired - of your comments that women your own age "just won't do," for reasons that range from "they're just too complicated," to "they're not fertile enough."

Let me remind you that those women you speak of are me. Your friend. And, every slam you make about women "your age" is a slam against me. I'm sick of it. I, and my well-decorated home, professional life, and adult activities are sick of it. Every time you bitch to me about "complicated women over 30" you're telling me men my age don't appreciate wisdom gained from experience, experience earned from love gained and lost, and love that has - more than once - been so real, it's left scars that still haven't healed. When you say "complicated," what you're really saying is "the experiences you've had the courage to open yourself up to are a strike against you." Not exactly the sentiment you want to translate to the woman sitting across from you at the cocktail table whose ear you're bending to get some sympathy.

When you say "I need someone fertile," you're telling me - yes ME - that my only value as a woman is to provide men like you children. That's my only worth. Again, not a slick move if you want me to pay for that martini drowning your sorrows.

I, of course, realize that these things speak more about your own issues, and I know my worth doesn't rest solely on my uterus and my lack of "complications." But, your constant complaining (and, yes - it is constant) is like a jackhammer that is trying to beat into me the societal expectations I've been struggling with since puberty. You're supposed to be my friend. I don't need the reminder that a 40-year old average dude with no college education, whose never been in a serious relationship and doesn't own two matching dinner plates, has more social value than an average, well-educated, successful 35-year old woman whose loved and lost. I get that reminder daily. As my friend, you're not supposed to add insult to injury.

Now, to those of you who got here because, at one point, it was something more than friendship but it didn't work out because there was always something better around the bend (for you, I mean), I say this: you're really not doing it for me, either.

Sure, the flirtations / make-out sessions / more than make-out sessions / quasi-relationships were fun for me at one time, but the older we get, the more I realize that I'm nothing more than your drinking buddy, surrogate intellectual partner, or worst of all - your back-up plan for when you've tried everything else.

To the men who count me as a drinking pal: while shooting the shit at bars is fun, I'm too old to stay up past 10 o'clock on a week night downing beers. The body doesn't recoup like it used to - from both the drinking and / or what happens after the drinking if we're both feeling amorous. This dynamic is not serving either of us well, and let's be honest - you can get away with the beer gut easier than I can. I'm just done with that part of my life. I hope you understand.

To the men who use me as an intellectual surrogate: I know what you're doing. I'm smart, remember? And, while I'm sympathetic that Ambur / Michelle / Sarah (or, whatever her name is) can't talk about politics beyond remembering who the president is, or discuss literature and music and art beyond remembering essays she hated writing in high school, Taylor Swift, and field trips to museums - remember that at one point I fell for you. I liked you. I wanted YOU. And, you put me on the friend's list. And, from that list I get to watch as you chase after every waiste in size 4 skinny jeans. It's not that I don't like our conversations - it's just that that's all I get. I used to be OK with that. But, you've cancelled on me more than once when something better came along. You've gone after my skinnier, prettier friends. 

I learned a long time ago that I wasn't the kind of girl who would reel men in with her looks. This is not news to me. And, I've grown to accept that. But, when you cancel - when you date my friends - you might as well be dropping that headline on my doorstep every morning.

I know you value my brains. But, I value the whole me. So, talk to Ambur / Michelle / Sarah from now on. I need to spend my energy on friends who appreciate the whole me. And, you need to stop piece-mealing your attention.

To the men who think I'm a back-up plan: I know we've shared some pretty intense emotions in the past. I know that you feel comfortable being vulnerable around me because I won't judge your superficial faults. But, no matter how comforting it is to know that I'll be there for you - know that the comfort is yours alone. It frustrates me beyond measure that you're waiting for something better. I can't explain in words how insulting that is. It feels like *uuuuuuuugh iiiiiiiick aaaaaaaack*

If you couldn't see how awesome I was when we met, you don't deserve how awesome I am now.

That all said, I wish you all the best. I wish you all find love, or lust, or partnership, or whatever it is you're looking for.

And, if you ever need someone to be there for you and listen to your concerns and emotionally vent to - get a shrink. Or, a dog. They're cheaper.


Your former confidant / drinking buddy / intellectual sparring partner / back-up plan Carrie

P.S. Buy some matching plates. For Christ's sake.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rest and Ramblings

I'm finally back on a sleeping schedule that suits me. Sure, it wakes me up at 5:30 in the morning, but I don't mind. I have solitude and tea at this hour.

And, truth be told - this time of day is fast becoming my favorite time of day. There are no phone calls, no text messages, no notifications, no emails to be returned, no students asking questions. No, at this hour it's just me and my cup of tea.

It's not that I don't like the adventure of the waking hours, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't take all of my energy. And, these past few months have left me exhausted. So much so that I crave this time alone. I might not have kids, but I'm beginning to understand why my mom would always wake so early when the teenage me thought she was crazy to miss out on that last hour of sleep.

Yesterday, I lectured Sarah about her tough schedule. Again. She's sad, again, that she hasn't found the right guy who will just fit into her life and be her emotional foundation. She wants marriage and a baby most of all. Yet, as a pastor, her "all" is dedicated to serving others 'round the clock. Her pendulum of priorities is constantly swinging between double bookings on one end and feeling so beat she doesn't even have time to do dishes on the other. I told her she needed balance before she could ever expect to find "the one." I told her she needed a major change.

Really, I could have just been lecturing myself.

When I don't want to confront something, I tend to verbalize it by taking it out on others. Well, recognizing it in others and telling them to shape up.

And, while Sarah does need a good kick in the pants, so do I. This place, this home, these jobs, these people, these responsibilities, these daily tasks - they just don't suit me anymore. For the past year, I've been hiding this truth with escapism - in music, and movies, and twenty-something men, and new (well, additional) jobs. I wanted to avoid the hard truth so desperately. I can't anymore. It has brought me nothing but unhappiness.

Just like Sarah, I want a partner. I want a wedding. I want a family. I want to grow. And, just like Sarah, I know I will never get any of those things until something drastic changes. I've been spending all of my energy on things and people that just get me further away from those goals. And, spinning my wheels to make round pegs fit inside of square holes has exhausted me more than you can imagine. So has avoiding the reality that is my failing life.

I'm depleted of passion. I'm depleted of wonderment and hope. I look around me and I see that nothing in my environment has changed: not the weather, not the people, not even me.

I don't know how some people do it: envelope themselves in concistency and remain content. And, then I think: if I can't even be satisfied with what I have now, what makes me think a husband and family will do the trick? I mean, those are lifelong commitments, and I have a proven track record of running away from lifelong commitments.

Then again, my mom was committed. My mom had a family and a husband at my age, and even she needed to wake up at the crack of dawn just to avoid it and indulge in her own kind of peace and quiet.
Maybe Sarah's right. Maybe it's too much to ask to have it all. Maybe a family and a passion for a career - and a life - are just too much for one person to get.

But, the clock is ticking on both for me, and sometimes I just wish I was that 17-year old who needed the extra hour of sleep to start a busy day. At least that me looked forward to things. Then again, she needed to escape, too.

Ha. Just as I finished this, my sister texted to say she's getting divorced. Let the waking hours begin.

Friday, December 7, 2012

For 'real', dude?

I don't know why it bothered me so much that Brandon, of all people, would choose this week to pick a petty fight with me. It's not like he has any idea what's going on in my life, so he couldn't have strategically planned it just to add to the burden of problems I've been experiencing in the friendship realm as of late. It was sheer happenstance. Ridiculous, 'the universe is fucking with me' happenstance.

Maybe all's not well on the homefront? Maybe all is well and he just missed the asshole part of him and needed to take it out on someone? Who knows. What I do know is, it reminded me of exactly why change is due.

See, he was the last unavailable guy I gave my heart to against all reason and complication. And, he was the last guy who needed me as an intellectual sparring partner and emotional outlet when the stable of barely-of-age girls just weren't fitting the bill anymore. And, of course, he was the last guy to use me for whatever he was going through, all while keeping an open stable of other chicks on the side 'just in case.' At least that's what it felt like, anyway.

He was also the last guy to use the "it's just the Internet - those girls aren't real" line on me, too. Trouble is, when one of our 'real' friends dropped the bomb that 'everyone on the message board thinks he's going to visit that girl for a booty call,' it became way to real for me, and fast. I didn't care what I was getting from him - I cared that he'd done and said things that gave the impression he was about to do something real with someone else. And, I was humiliated - mainly because our friend knew what was going on with us, and there I stood - looking like the biggest horse's ass that the guy I was dating was about to hop a plane and visit some Internet chick. Misery doesn't get any more real than that.

I think back on that moment from time to time. What would have happened if I'd just ignored his advances towards other women? Nothing came of that trip, anyway, and he (after a few real dalliances with other boardies) ended up with a real chick, in the end. Would putting my ego, my pride, my humility aside just to let him indulge a few fantasies really have been the prescription for a happy ending?

Who knows. What I do know is, I couldn't do it. I still can't do it.

I also know that I have this unfortunate track record of attracting insecure men who need something virtual on the side to fuel their egos. With Jason, it was emails and texts with Eran (his now wife). With Brandon it was message boards and Chatroulette with everything in a skirt. And, with ______ it's Twitter and Instagram and iMessage with girls "that don't mean anything - and they don't even live here, so what's the big deal?"

Trouble is, there are always lunchtime meet-ups, and planes, and cars that will transport you offline and into the 'real' world. And, in my experience, dudes always hop a ride.

The virtual platforms may have evolved, but the men I consistently choose haven't.

Or, maybe it's me who hasn't evolved. After the Brandon debacle, I told myself I would never let someone with a virtual fetish into my life ever again. And, look what I did. I let him in.

Jason evolved - right into a marriage with the woman he was virtually keeping on the side. Brandon evolved - right into a 2-year, live-in relationship with a girl in his own zip code.

Sometimes I wonder what those girls did right that I didn't. Was I a catalyst that changed the behavior of their partners? Maybe unleashing my fury on both of them for their side projects was a wake-up call and both men learned something. Or, maybe those women just turn a blind eye to the failings of their men and are happier for it. After all, I can only guess - judging by their stable relationships - that both men have changed. Maybe they didn't. Maybe they just found women who put up with it.

And, maybe that's the hardest kind of evolution and I just don't want to face it. I'll put up with a bad mood, a bad temper, a big ego. But, I won't put up with disloyalty of any kind. And, to me - virtual flirting, sextual flirting, bellied-up-to-the-bar flirting with "just a friend from LA" is disloyal.

Maybe I'm the idiot for equating those things to loyalty. Maybe my perception is skewed.

Still, I can't shake the feeling of being grateful that when Brandon does pick a fight with some girl on the Internet at 11 o'clock at night (me this time), I'm not the girl in his bed wondering just what he's doing and who he's talking to.

And, that brings me more relief than you know.

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