[Warning: I'm about to show my sensitive side. Some of you may want to avert your gaze.]
I recently read Unhooked Generation by Jillian Straus. Its sub-title is The Truth About Why We're Still Single and in her interviews with one hundred single men and women, she uncovers some unpleasant, albeit accurate, truths. We're selfish. We bail at the first sign of pain and discomfort. We have a lot of choices, and therefore don't feel a strong urge to commit ourselves fully to one person. If we do, we keep one foot out the door. We have a list of qualities we look for in a partner that few people can match. We take pride in being picky. We're terrified of marriage and yet have unrealistic ideals for it. We put our happiness above everything else (a different way of saying we're selfish, but it bears repeating).
Reading this book was like listening to a continuous echo of every conversation I've ever had with my friends about relationships. Straus focuses on city-based singles and covers everything from the how internet dating panders to our checklist mentality to how we are lacking a coda when it comes to courtship, which results in confusion and uncertainty about how to read each others' behavior.
The author never makes judgment calls on this era of casual hook-ups, fuck buddies, and undefined, non-committed relationships. She merely illuminates our current dating climate and points out why we're taking longer to find partners and settle down.
The last section of the book is devoted to profiling long-standing, happy couples. They discuss their first impressions of each other, the evolution of their relationship, and what keeps them together. This is the part of the book that fucked me up.
As I read about these couples and their unconditional, enduring love, I couldn't help but be moved to tears. It made me see what a truly shallow plane I've been living on with my own love/lust life lately. Sure, I've been having some of the most fun I've ever had, but it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't add up to anything significant. I meet a guy, date him/kiss him/fuck him, then meet someone else. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Even this situation with TV Tyler and Arty Adam, it's going nowhere. It has been a month, and I can't open up to them because I think they'll be scared off. I have kept so much of myself shut away from both of these men and they have done the same with me. I don't know a single thing about any of Arty Adam's girlfriends or when he even last had one. I don't know why TV Tyler's marriage ended. I have gotten very little indication from either of them that they care about me as anything more than someone to watch movies with or drink with or play video games with or fuck. By the time I've reached a month with every other man I have been with, there has always been some kind of expression of affection and movement toward a commitment. At the very least, I no longer harbored a feeling that the guy could still disappear at any moment. Some kind of foundation had been built. Not so with Arty Adam and TV Tyler. I know it's my fault as much as there's. The real question is, what now?
The answer, I think, is nothing. This melancholy feeling has been with me for the last couple of days now. I'm starting to feel the burnout from all this manic dating and I think a week or two under the radar would do me some good. I have a lot of activities with friends lined up, including a Lock & Key party with Pretty Polly on Friday and a friend's birthday party on Saturday. Well, okay, and there might be something tomorrow that could maybe, possibly qualify as a date, but I don't want to jinx it, so I won't say anything more just yet.
Right now, the priority needs to be less on dating and more on shaking myself out of this funk. Ups and downs are to be expected, and I'm no stranger to the inevitability that the peaks are accompanied by valleys. I'll get back up there... soon.