Sunday, September 06, 2009

The problem with criteria

About a month ago I was having dinner with a friend of my mine, and we did what we always do - dish about boys. She'd recently ended a very committed relationship and I was in the midst of my slough of bad dates. We were at opposite ends of spectrum in terms of what we were going through. I was telling her about my recent dates, emphasizing my general hopelessness, and she said to me, "I think you need to re-evaluate your dating criteria." Such a simple solution. Why hadn't I thought of that? I had clearly not learned from my mistakes but having the root of the problem pointed out might be a good place to begin to remedy it all. However, I thought some more about what she had said during dinner and then it dawned on me. I don't have a criteria for dating. Well at least none that I ridgedly abide by. Could this be that be the true root of my problem? Do I really not have standards? Oh scary thoughts.

While Karoline and I were shopping for sofas this afternoon, I brought up this problem for further discussion. She said it's frustrating that the bad girls always end up getting the bad guys. A time tested cliche that might be true in the case. "Do we have be bad girls?" she asked. I said I didn't think so, even if we were I think we'd have an entirely different problem on our hands. But after a bit of conversing, I decided that it's definitely not that I don't have standards, I just can't seem to find the right person. I think in every guy that I've dated there have been hints of what I'm looking for, but it's everything has yet to be there all at once. I value intelligence and ambition in person. I like someone with a sense of humor, that appreciates sarcasm. Someone who loves their family and embraces their past. Someone who is comfortable with themselves. Maybe I'm too picky or perhaps demanding (though I'm sure my friend would disagree).

There are two central problems for me. The first is figuring someone out early in the game. Picking that pivotal moment when you decide to go forward with that person or spread your wings and go another direction. And that is where my problem lies. I usually hold on way past the expiry date and then find myself trying to make something work that wasn't meant to be. The result is usually me going mental, which Karoline can attest to. My other problem is not acting on my feelings, which I think is more serious. I mean if you don't do anything and keep it all bottled up, then you have no reason to complain when you don't get what you want. I've spent most of the summer trying to convince Karoline to go after a guy that she likes, and I'm now realizing that it's about time that I start applying my own advice. According to Kurt Vonnegut's faux commencement address, "Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth." My advice to Karoline is nothing more than the nostalgia for what I wish I would have done. Now is my chance to turn it into a different kind of nostalgia - the good kind.

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