Famous for my romantic luck (all bad), I was stood up this weekend for my first official post-debacle Denver date, with a man we'll call V. 'Twas going to be lovely – a drive up into the mountains and a BBQ in the woods followed by some inevitable adult horseplay. Yay! Look at me! Moving forward, exploring the outdoors, making friends … I'm so goddamn healthy, I can hardly stand myself!
And then, nothing. No word. No phone call. No email. Just silence.
Imagine my delight on Monday when I learned that V had simply been thrown in jail. Y'see, I've got a knack for this kind of thing. If the Learning Annex offered seminars on "How to Avoid Serious Commitment by Picking the Wrong Men Over and Over Again" I could have a cottage industry on my hands. Truly, it's uncanny.
Like the time I went on a date only to watch him make out with another girl - all night. Or the time I was stood up because the guy's ex-girlfriend showed up with the 11-year-old daughter he'd never heard about. Or the guy who wined and dined me, swept me off my feet and then casually mentioned his wife. Oh, I've got a million of these – gems, all of 'em. (The photo above is just an ideal example - a lying Tom DeLay mixed with a drunken Nick Nolte, compliments of Fang. Anyway, I'm sure we've dated.)
I remember once fretting to a friend about this tired old topic and asking plaintively, "Why does God hate me so much?" and he shook his head in wonder, "I have no idea." Perhaps it is not too late to become a militant lesbian nun? Were it not for my flaming heterosexuality, I might consider it.
Discussing this latest beau-in-the-slammer disappoint with my steady pal, Gins, I marveled, half-laughing, at my own dysfunction. "It's like the normal healthy-man-attraction magnets that get put into a woman got loaded into me backwards, hence, the reverse effect," I whined. The conversation then fell into a typical pattern: "Well, just be glad that he wasn't in an accident" and "The bright side is that he didn't stand me up on purpose" and so on. I began to recognize this song, had heard it relentlessly from myself and others for decades now.
I observed to Gins that my life feels like one long series of coulda-been-worse-ifs, on-the-other-hands and just-be-glad-thats. Finally, in a moment of exasperated defeat, I screeched, "I'm fucking tired of looking on bright fucking side!" Soon, we were collecting all the sad sack glass-half-full phrases recently uttered about my love life until Gins (portraying me) said: "I feel like my life has been one long series of silver linings."
And there you have it.
Making the best of a bad situation has become a full-time job for me and for what it's worth, I'm good at it. As mentioned in a previous post, I'm falling down just as much as I always have, if not more, but I'm popping back up a lot faster. This forced optimism in the face of relentless failure seems to be strengthening me but what I'm in training for, god only knows.
Why, just the other day, my own TV friend, Calamity Jane, filthy and drunk, leaned wearily up against a wall and sighed: "Every fucking morning I have to figure out how to live my life all over again." Of course, she drinks more than I do and bathes much less so she's got her work cut out for her but I know the gist. It just seems like for all my experience in this area, I would have something to show for it – a few bitter divorces behind me, at the very least.
The scary thing is, the older I get, the less I seem to know, like I've got early stages of Romantic Alzheimer's and pretty soon I'll be punching my crushes on the arm and running from them on the playground.
Well, at the very least, there's always tomorrow.