The other night I got that text. The one that all guys fear getting from a girl that they’ve been out with a few times and really like. She gave the standard excuses (too busy with work, not in the right place to date even though she likes me, yada yada) and wished me better luck in finding someone. Even though she meant that last part with the best of intentions, I couldn’t help but scoff. I’ve been seriously invested in dating and improving myself for the past three years, trying to make up lost time after 25 years of insecurity, immaturity, and career focus kept me largely relationship starved. For three years I’ve had girls wish me luck in finding someone, and it’s done me no good. No matter how many girls tell me I’m great and nice, I’m still left alone and confused. Maybe it’s my cynicism talking, but if luck or destiny or fate was a thing, and I’m such a great guy, three years is ample time for it to strike.
For three years I’ve done whatever I could to correct whatever hole exists that just makes me so unattractive. I researched and studied to try and improve my social interactions, to seem more interesting and engaging in conversation. I’ve created a strong circle of friends and family, and built an emotional support group. I’m improving my mental state and outlook on life, as well as my diet and fitness level. I’m really trying, for three years I’ve been trying, and it just feels like all this effort has gone unnoticed. Unrewarded. Now, I’m just tired.
I’m tired of hearing that I’m a good guy. I’ve never been or tried to be a “nice guy.” I’m fairly straightforward with what I want and I’m willing to accept that sometimes it doesn’t work because two people just aren’t compatible. But you have to know, even though it logically makes sense, it’s just so damn hard to go through again and again.
I’m tired of analyzing every single message that I send to a girl, driving myself crazy after I hit send, and then frantically rechecking for that “read” notification. I’m tired of waiting after I get the message to text back, because I don’t want to seem desperate. Even though I usually text my friends, family, and co-workers back quickly, as my phone is usually right by me and I like to be responsive, I’m always worried that I’ll show too much interest. It’s easy to grow tired of something that comes easy, and when it comes to texting I’ve been on the wrong side of the “less is more” policy many times.
I’m tired of girls liking me a lot when I don’t really like them back. I don’t want to be mean, and I know it’s hypocritical given everything I’ve said, but sometimes the attraction just isn’t there for me. Over the last three years, I’ve been more open to giving girls a chance, but sometimes I just can’t get over some physical flaw or personality tick. You don’t have to be a bombshell to go out with me, but if my initial reaction wasn’t even neutral or eh, I’m sorry but you need to be incredibly dynamic. I’m tired of feeling like I should settle for one of these girls, who are perfectly fine but don’t make my heart flutter when I see them text me. I’m also tired of everyone in my life making me feel bad when I stop seeing someone because of these reasons, and not being able to admit the simple truth: that they just weren’t exceptional enough to make up for the initial, off-putting flaws.
With the girls I do like, I’m tired of playing all these games, feeling like I need to hide my every emotion, like I’m playing a game of chicken with a girl and the first one to admit they like the other loses. I’m done holding in when I feel chemistry with a girl, even if it’s after just one date. I’m not going to pull a Ted Mosby and profess my love after one night, but I’ve been on enough to know when a girl is something special. And when a girl is special, I’m tired of things getting in the way, whether it be work, distance, life issues, or even another guy. None of that is her fault; I can’t blame you for life getting in the way. But it sucks, and I’m tired of it happening whenever I start falling for someone.
Most of all, I’m tired of being alone, not being able to be open about what I want. I’m tired of feeling like something is wrong with me because I can’t find anyone. I’m tired of feeling like all those negative voices in my head are right. I’m tired of going on the same routine of dates time after time, weeding through girls who are bland, unattractive, uninteresting, not engaging, or just…lacking. I hate that I feel like swiping is the only way to find someone, because when I like someone I know, it’s all the worse when they reject me. I’m tired of all the “almosts.” The girls who did make me excited, who made me always glance at my phone to see if they texted, but then things fell through. I’m tired of feeling like I’m just bad at this. I’m tired of not being able to say what I want. The way modern dating is, being that brutally honest with someone would make me terrified that it might cost me stakes in the game of dating or turn a girl off. After the other night, though, my fears are now outweighed by my exasperation. The dam has been broken. I’m just going to say, plainly, what I want.
I want to meet that girl, the one that all the bands were singing about, the poets were writing about, and the movies were talking about. I want her to laugh at my jokes, and make me laugh too. I want her to challenge me intellectually, without making me feel inferior. I want her to be able to take my sarcastic, dry banter in stride, and be able to throw some right back at me. I want her to teach me something, some new hobby or skill, along with something about life and the world. I want her to be pretty, I’m not ashamed to say it, but I want the whole package so that even if there are imperfections I won’t be able to see them. And I want her to look at me the same way, like all the flaws I always obsess over just don’t exist. I want her to get along with the people who are closest to me in my life, and be able to get along with the people that are important to her.
I want a girl who is comfortable just spending a day together watching Netflix. I want her to push me out of my comfort zone, get me to do things I never have done or wanted to do, but I won’t hesitate to do them if I’m with her. I want a girl who excites me, makes every new day an adventure even if we never leave the apartment. I want a girl who makes me want to be an even better version of myself. Even though I’m a constant creature of self-improvement, I want someone who makes me kick that drive into an extra gear for her. I want to fix my flaws for her, even if she doesn’t care about them. I want a girl who doesn’t mind if I need a night or two to myself to just play videogames, because she knows I’ll still spend that time missing her. I want to feel like a part of a team, not worrying about any sort of power dynamic, like she’ll have my back and I’ll have hers. I want to fight with her, but be able to kiss and make up (literally) after. I want her to make me uncontrollably frustrated one minute, but smiling the next. I want someone who knows I’ll always be there in her toughest moments. Who knows that even when I screw up, and it will happen often, that I’m trying my best to make her happy.
I want someone who makes the dull things magic. I want someone who I don’t have force conversations with, or think up activities to keep us occupied. I want a girl who makes me work hard at a relationship, because it isn’t work for me. I want someone that makes me want to be better, and then makes me better. That’s what I want. I know it won’t come easily, it won’t come overnight, it can’t be magically created after one date, one message, one swipe, but I want to feel like it’s possible. I want to have a feeling of hope, instead of dread, cynicism, and despair when it comes to the fairer sex.
Basically, I want to like a girl. I want her to like me back. And I want it to work.