Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Life in the Silver Lining

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.

7 comments:

Fang Bastardson said...

All kidding aside - and that photo is some of my finest work, thanks for the shout-out - there is a book to be written from your romantic... er, escapades. You wouldn't even have to make parts up (ala "A Million Little Feces"), or unduly embellish anecdotes to make it an interesting read.

You should definitely start on it before you know how it ends. Get published and worst-case-scenario, you date-up to a better class of pathological louse.

History Chic said...

OH My gosh...our dating lives could be mirror images of each other. Of course, I have got to add that when I do (very very occasionally...can't put enough very's in there) get a healthy one, they disappear quicker than a hot potato!!! Of course, I have never had the thrown in jail one....that one is a new one!!

I love Calamity Jane, and can I rant for a moment that I can't believe that cancelled that ****ing show (a little Al in there). I can't wait for the 2 movies that HBO is supposed to be doing. I am going to miss Woo, Al, and Jane...they were something to make me look forward to the weekend (thank god for On Demand...I get to watch and rewatch this season)!!!

Anonymous said...

I used to say that I kept "sticking my hand down the garbage disposal of love... while it's running."

Jail, schmail. The guy couldn have made his one call to you! God knows I have made the midnight bail run more than once. Thank gawd the 80s are over.
val

Anonymous said...

Men suck. If you're lucky.

And I mean that literally and figuratively. I'm sorry about your jail bird. I hope the next one is better. And I mean with a completely different man. *meow*

Anonymous said...

Hi, Heather,

It's always so interesting to see how a life is viewed from the inside as opposed to how others perceive it as being lived.

I have always felt that, out of all the people I have encountered in my life--and that's a huge sample size--you are the person with the most love bestowed upon you. Well, perhaps you're tied in the love department with my dear son!

Add to all the love, you've got good health, more friends at any given moment than I have had over the course of my entire life, a loving and supportive family, a great career, a wealth of talent in several areas, big boobs, adventures out the kazoo, a keen intellect, an ever-ready wit, big boobs, and did I mention big boobs, and I see you as having, not a bunch of silver linings but a mountain of silver at your feet.

Yes, I suppose one could argue whether it is better to "get something" in the romance and bedroom departments or nothing at all, but you are quite literally a mythological creature in my eyes when it comes to both of those departments. You have more dates in a week than I have in several years. Case in point: I have had one--yes, one--date in over a year. The man and I met for a book signing, there was no kiss, no excitement--except the author, who was quite a remarkable woman--and no followup. Other than that, I recently spent a night in a hotel room with a married man. The sex was lackluster, after which he snored so loud, I sought refuge in the bathtub with the bathroom door closed. But even then, I got no rest.

So, Heather, you may never find that fantastic guy of your dreams, but in my estimation, at least you're in the running. As for me, from time to time, people ask me why I'm not married. All I can say is "It's kind of difficult to get married when I don't ever get a date."

Chin up, Heather. You are an amazing woman--the most amazing one I've ever met.

And I am one of the countless many who love you.

alicia said...

i don't understand how you get these odd dates, perhaps your intellectual wit is too much for the average joe, so you pick those beneath you. I think you are fabulous, wish i was a guy, i'd marry you. ha ha

I miss ED!!! He was too much fun. But that was when you were 21. I just watched my wedding video and the two of you were adorable. love you heath, alicia

Shmeder said...

I'm probably heading to kickball this Thursday night. Did you maybe want to meet more dysfunctional people?