Monday, August 30, 2010

UNDATEABLE… I Know You Are and So Am I?

This happend to me. Kidding. But it's probable. 
Undateable. I looked it up in the dictionary and it doesn’t exist. Shocking, since it is such a commonly used phrase one would think Webster gave it its own page and welcome parade. It is also a word that has been used to describe, well…me. When I was first introduced to this phrase I was angry, flabbergasted and annoyed all at the same time. I was so mad I thought about getting a shirt made that simply read “undateable” and envisioned myself wearing it proudly like a Scarlett A. In the four years since that fateful accusation was cast upon me the word has been popping up more and more. Now I have friends who say they too have been called “undateable” or at least it has been implied. Suddenly it is like a plague that is sweeping the populous, only it seems to be targeted at, in my opinion, relatively normal people. They have jobs, they have friends, they have nice apartments, they go to BBQ’s…all in all they seem stable. This got me to thinking, if all of the smart, funny, charming people I know are “undateable” who exactly is dateable? Or is it that people are smart, funny and charming as friends and then somehow turn into crazies when they are in social settings like dates, or worse relationships? Where does this discrepancy come from? Can it be that a perfectly, socially accepted, human being with lots of friends can do a complete 180 degree turn when faced with the opposite sex? Apparently, YES.

You Don’t Know Him Like I Do…

Have you ever heard a girl say this before? Of course you have. It’s because they are dating an asshole AND it’s no secret that girls actually like assholes. Everyone knows he’s an asshole, everyone says he’s an asshole, but she continues to say, “You don’t know him like I do” and part of her gets off on it, like somehow that makes her special. This girl is being played. Ignore a girl and she’ll beg for attention. Send her flowers and she’ll flaunt them in front of the guy she really wants. Guys know this, thus they choose to ignore you rather than pay attention to you…and Pavlov would agree. We are conditioning them to continue their asshole ways.

Same goes for guys because it’s also no secret that guys like needy chicks. Playing it cool and easy going as a girl somehow leads to the guy feeling “unwanted” - which makes no sense. But according to my male friends they need to feel “needed”. Therefore they are teaching girls to literally beg for attention, even if that means feigning ignorance or stupidity. What is this 1955? Should we all get the pickle jars out and ask our boyfriends to open them?

This logic also applies to the “bitchy” girlfriend. You know the type. She is demanding, controlling and has decided who you can and cannot hang out with. Then, when your friends think your girlfriend is a crazy, bitch but you justify it with, “yeah but she needs me,” or “but she really loves me.” Yeah until she keys your car buddy!

The question is, if we recognize these qualities in people, why do we continuously place ourselves in these situations. Why do I keep dating assholes? Why do my guy friends keep dating annoying chicks?

I think the most interesting aspect of it all is that people put on a relationship face and a friend face. Men and women have a supernatural ability to be normal in every situation except dating. Somehow when we start dating someone we expect more, want more, and turn small insignificant matters into dramatized situations. Thus, I have many cool friends - but would I actually date them? And if I did, would they in turn go crazy on me? Below are some examples of some probably, normal, well settled guys who really know how to fuck up a date…and therefore, in my book became “undateable”.


First Date Must Haves: ID, Money, and Pepper Spray

I have gone on some pretty bad dates in L.A. When I say “bad” I don’t mean boring, awkward, he was unattractive, he talked too much, smelled weird or any of the other relatively “non-bad” qualities that can ruin a date. I mean BAD.

I showed up for a date one time to meet a very handsome, documentary film maker who spent half his time in LA and half in NYC (the bi-coastal dream only few can afford). He was definitely a good on paper guy and definitely easy on the eyes. Super excited and ready to go I walked into the bar and noticed that he brought something with him…flowers? No. A wingman? No. Another girl? YES! Believe it or not, I was the third wheel on my own date! I know what you are thinking, “Was it really a date, or are you delusional?” It was a date. We acted (with three people) like it was a date. THEY asked about my work, how old I was, where I grew up…so maybe more like an interview, but that’s what dating is right? Then, after two hours of attempted witty banter and very awkward conversation the two of them left, to go to another bar and continue THEIR date. Does this make him “undateable”? Definitely, maybe. He was a successful musician, a talented filmmaker and owned a home. Yet, here I was thinking, “What a crazy asshole!” He somehow managed to work out a mortgage, but not how to date just one girl at a time in one night.

Another date I went on started out pretty well. We met and talked about our love of food and travel (isn’t that what everyone bonds over) and after a few encounters he invited me over for a BBQ lunch which he was making from scratch. Okay, I’m in (I mean who doesn’t love drinking some Cab Franc at 2 pm). When I arrived I knocked on the door and there was no answer. I called him and there was no answer. I made sure I was at the right house…I was (warning alarms start going off in my head). I text him again. Ten minutes later (while still on his front porch, utterly confused and wondering about my life choices) he texts me back that he is waiting for me, and asks if I am stuck in traffic. I promptly respond, “I am outside, let me in”. The subtext being, “I’m NOT stuck in traffic you IDIOT, I am on your FRONT PORCH!” Ten minutes later a new text comes from the now nicknamed phantom man: “It’s the white house with the green Honda in the driveway”. I respond, “I know, I am outside”. I knock again…no answer. By this time I have called my mother and warned her that if I disappear I have been murdered and sent her the address I was at. The creepies finally overcame my desire for good wine and food and I left. As I am driving away I get a phone call, “Where are you? I am waiting for you; I was in my living room the whole time”. Suffice to say the call did not go well, I accused him of being crazy and he said I was being a bitch for standing him up. I drove all the way back to Hollywood to meet my friend for some now much needed wine and conversation as to why we both had been called “undateable” but the guy who doesn’t answer his door is probably considered a catch simply because he is a doctor. Which adds to the “crazy” theory: this guy got through med school, but couldn’t answer his own door.

The purpose of reliving these awful experiences is to highlight the fact that their lives were pretty put together. They were both successful in their careers, financially stable and had a lot of friends. So what went wrong? Why did the dates themselves become so awkward, uncomfortable, and just plain unforgettable (in a bad way)? Somehow, two very normal guys, turned into very not-normal dates. This made no sense; if I had been going over there in a platonic way would everything have worked out better?

I decided that to figure out the answer to these questions, and also what made someone dateable I needed to ask other people…because clearly I have no idea. So I took it to the streets and asked my friends what being “dateable” really means.


Insert Girlfriend Here…

In a conversation with a male friend of mine (who has girls practically throwing themselves at him) he mentioned “the rotation”. This is when guys are hooking up with several girls at one time, in sparing intervals. He claimed that his record was being “five deep” i.e. continuously hooking up with five different girls at one time and all were none the wiser. When I asked him, “Why not just man up and make one of them your girlfriend?” he replied, “Because I don’t want one, and besides only two are girlfriend material”. Perfect. He is the perfect person to ask what makes one girl more “dateable” than the other (in this case the word perfect can also be replaced with asshole but that’s for another day).

The answer he gave (and the other ten or so men I asked) was the same. Drumroll please…TIMING. Guys say the one quality that makes a girl more dateable than another is timing. It has absolutely nothing to do with the girl herself. It’s all about his schedule. If he wants a girlfriend, great, however, no amount of sex, coaxing, hooking up or talking can convince him otherwise if he does not. Even if Adriana Lima walked through the door a guy in non-girlfriend zone would not date her. This goes against female logic. Girls hook up with guys thinking that the more they see them, the more likely they are to date them. If their rendez-vous’ increase from once a week, to twice, to almost everyday they start thinking of the guy as their boyfriend, or a serious candidate. However, the male is sitting there looking for exit strategies as the weeks go on, realizing the girl is becoming too attached. Thus men and women enter relationships on the same road, but read the signs all differently. The girl thinks more time together is a good sign. The guy sees it as straying from the plan to hook up with as many girls as possible.

I have to admit, I was a little thrown off by the timing answer. However, it made sense, and explained at least two or three of my previous relationships. Perhaps, it even explained my bad dates. Maybe these guys were in “girlfriend” zone and put too much pressure on the situation, thus ruining any chance they had, and further proving that people get weird in labeled situations.

When I relayed this “timing” information to my female friends, they too received the look of enlightenment. It’s not that “He's just not that into you”… He’s just not that into you right NOW. He has time for sex, sure, but that’s a 20 minute commitment, and does not interfere with Halo, Fantasy Football, work emails, NBA Finals, jumping off shit, smoking weed, or any of the other awesome things guys would rather be doing.

Unfortunately this means relationships are skewed to be when guys want to have them, as if girls are somehow walking around constantly looking for a boyfriend. Which I think is only true 80% of the time. At the end of the day all the answers were different, some characteristics like trustworthy, funny, smart, and attractive came up…but lets be honest…we all individually think we are funny, smart and attractive. Why else would we ever ask the question “why NOT me”? Therefore, I paid less attention to these attributes. In the end it comes down to finding someone you personally think is funny, smart and attractive…and you can fit in your schedule.

Lose Yourself, Gain a Partner

My theory on successful relationships has always been slightly cynical (bet you didn’t see that coming). I believe that in a relationship a certain amount of compromise has to occur and people give up a part of themselves in order to be with their new partner. This can include anything from giving up your smoking or video game habit to actually giving up the neighborhood you live in and the job you love. Often times, in relationships, you take on the attributes of your significant others. I know girls who never watched a single baseball game until they picked up their fanatic, red-sox loving boyfriend. Or guys, who never read a single chick book until they started going to Thursday night book club and discussing their love of Jane Austen. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; but at one point do we lose ourselves so completely in a relationship that we aren’t even sure of who we are anymore? Didn’t I used to drink coffee in the morning, not tea? Why did I start watching “The Bachelor” every Monday? When did I convert to Judaism?

In the Julia Roberts movie Runaway Bride (you thought I was going to say Eat. Pray. Love. Didn’t you?...well this is an even more lame reference than that) her character tells each guy she dates a different way that she likes her eggs. That way, each fiancée at some point says “She likes her eggs scrambled…we both do” or “She likes her eggs poached…we both do”. The point being, she changed the way she ate her eggs to conform to what her partner wanted. This way he would like her, and think they shared a common bond. Even if that bond was a lie. That is what I think most people do in relationships…only it starts out with eggs, and over time the lies and conformity get bigger and bigger until one day you have a house in the suburbs of NYC, a husband you don’t like and a life that you created that you never really wanted (there’s the Elizabeth Gilbert reference for you). Therefore, my concluding thoughts on the matter are this: everyone is undateable. We put on different faces in relationships than we do with our friends. We become more sensitive because we feel more vulnerable and we try to become people other than ourselves. That is why dating is so hard: we are being pulled between acting normal and trying to impress someone else. We are all selfish, quirky, habitual creatures walking around constantly trying to improve our own lives and not let anyone see how un-cool we really are. Relationships force us to take on another person’s awkward, quirky habits and thus some of ours have to go. We cover some of them up, we lie about them, or we change them completely. Therefore, we are all a little undateable until someone comes along who is willing to forgive us of our shortcomings, pretend like they don’t see our faults and actually decides to dates us.

2 comments:

  1. Taryn you crack me up! Keep it coming :~) NG

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  2. That's quite a manifesto. I concur, as far as I went into it. I would add, that women not only date assholes, they marry them, especially if they have money. Lack of money and parking makes people crazy. In LA the first one is a sin, the second a commonality. BTW I'm your cousin, a SAG actor and writer living in LA. Sort of. Stay unique and critical of foolishness wherever it is found and you'll do fine. Never surrender, unless it's worth it, of course.

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