Charming, but single

A journal in dates and drinks

Help me help myself get unsingle

I happen to be reading a book called “Why You’re Still Single: Things your friends would tell you if you promised not to get mad,” which opens with a wonderful Ben Franklin quote about insanity being “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It’s a quote about innovation – one I’ve heard many times. I’ve never before related it to my single life and quest for men. But it plays into my recent dabbling in online dating – it’s a kind of dating torture I’ve never previously tried. (Also, it is slowly driving me insane.) But back to “Why You’re Still Single.” The book, by Evan Marc Katz and Linda Holmes, outlines some tried and true situations and ruts we all fall into in what, at times, seems to be a never-ending journey of dates and heartbreaks. The premise is obviously simple, in that we have our blinders on to the things we do to hinder our dating happiness. And, I’d be willing to bet that I’m not the only single in the world who could write a laundry list of reasons why my friends aren’t attached, while coming up clueless when it comes to my own dating deficiencies. I want to be the heroine in the story of my life and to believe that I am always in the right and am above reproach. Of course, I know this could never be true. Surely I am wrong sometimes. In fact, I’m sure that the readers of this little Journal of Dates and Drinks could tell me a thing or two about what I’m doing wrong. (Not that being single is wrong. But seeing as I’d like to not be alone right now, it can’t be right.) Since I have a handy little guide in front of me, I set out to pinpoint some of the things that I think I’m doing wrong, which I have to admit some of my friends have told me on occasion. (On a side note, I have to say that Linda Holmes is my kinda gal. She says her hate for self help for the single girl books stems from the fact that they are “insulting, condescending nonsense, shot through with sexist claptrap and a hundred other kinds of poison.” Amen, sister. Raise your hand if you felt insulted with the “Men don’t like you because they think you are pathetic – but you’re not, sister! Girlfriend you’re cute! Just DUMB ABOUT MEN!” attitude of “He’s Just Not That Into You.”) As a disclaimer, I must say that if you read this book as a checklist of your behaviors, you will think you are totally screwed. Because you could easily find yourself in every chapter and every reason they give – or a small piece of you, that is. The point is not to stress about how you acted for the two hours in the privacy of your apartment when you cried over your last relationship. It’s about what you did in the months and years before and after those two hours. Trust me, we’re all desperate and miserable sometimes. But rather than focus on actions and attitudes that take up 1 percent of our dating lives, we should find the overarching themes and instances that reoccur the other 99 percent of the time. But back to the book. They hit the proverbial nail on my head with the first chapter – so much so that I almost stopped reading and said, “That’s it! I have been diagnosed.” Chapter One, “Do I want to date right now?” is me in a nutshell. So much that I felt stalked, almost. Because I say I want a man, but I don’t always follow up with action, or I spend too many nights in or I spend too much time in situations where dating is impossible, like work or with B or playing Scrabble with my girlfriends. And yes, I know I won’t trip over my next boyfriend in my living room while I’m moisturizing my elbows and plucking my eyebrows on a Saturday night or while accompanying couples to dinner or trying not to spill crumbs on my keyboard at work. I’ve always known this. It’s tough to balance a career that’s just getting some momentum with a social life that’s been buzzing for years and is very quickly becoming too tiresome for my not-21-year-old self, especially when you consider that I like to have some me time to write and cook and hang out and dance around like a moron to a Pussycat Dolls song in my PJs in my living room. So that’s been my excuse for allotting a healthy amount of hermit time in addition to time spent complaining about a lack of male attention with my girlfriends. Yes, I do want to date. But I also don’t want to go on bad dates and lower my standards. Sigh. And my time is valuable to me. And maybe this is my problem. Or one of them. (I also occasionally get too negative about men to be a good date, am stubborn, have a mile-long list of dealbreakers, etc.) You have to commit to dating before you can actually find someone to date – otherwise it’s like whining about feeling fat while you eat a candy bar. I knock guys out of contention for silly reasons. I get hung up on past annoyances and use them as an excuse to not date. I say that I want to date, but sometimes I have to wonder if I really do. So I’m about halfway through “Why You’re Still Single.” It’s an easy read because it is heavily subdivided and has a handy table of contents up front. All the better to help you zoom in on the problems specific to your personal mating mishaps. I do have to say that reading self-help or advice books is kind of against my nature. (I have an abnormally high opinion of my personal complexity and I like to think that I’m too unique to find solace in a book like this, though I am clearly wrong.) But there’s a lot of wit to be had here. The spoonful of sugar approach to advice. Also I’d be lying if I said a lot of it wasn’t things I already know, even if I don’t admit to myself that I see them reflected in my life. In fact, though I’m sure the authors would benefit more financially if the book were somehow filled with things you didn’t already know, they’d probably admit that none of this is rocket science. It’s just that if you already knew and embraced their common sense strategies and advice, then you most likely wouldn’t be obsessing about being single, right? Knowing about a potential problem or the root cause of your condition is only half the battle. And this book (like many before) aims to arm you for action. Time will tell, right?

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Charming, but single is 25 26 27(!), lives in the Southern part of the U.S.A. and likes both her drinks and her boys tall. E-mail (listed below) her and she may respond. You can also IM her in AIM/AOL. (If she ever remembers to sign on.)
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Former taglines of this blog: "A Journal in Dates and Drinks" and "A Dateless Journal of Drinking."

Those Particulars
Some Backstory
Memories of the Way We Were
Updates and Towel Snapping
One Year Wrap-Up
Just As She Is
An Open Letter to Myself
After 26 years, she HAS learned something
An Open Letter to the Men Who Message Me Through Match
Sharing a smoke

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