Dating a Good Man

"There are a lot of men out there! I'm selective. I look around very carefully and when I find the one I think can give me the worst possible time...that's when I make my move!"- Jessica Lange in Tootsie

A handful of years ago, after a certain boyfriend had dumped me, dumped me as he wept and I was stunned, dumped me even as he said that I was the "woman of his dreams,"...shortly thereafter, this boy's mom called me at home, and fighting back her own tears, apologized for her son's actions but begged me not to take him back. Hmm. It was a conversation in which I was, obviously, only a minor character; I was collateral damage, the the real drama was years off-screen. At the time, I was deeply impressed by what D.'s mother had done, her empathy for another woman...but in hindsight, maybe not so much.

In hindsight, I think about the connection between a man dumping the "woman of his dreams," and his mom (the first woman, I assume, to embody his dreams) reaching out with sympathy to the girlfriend, instead of embracing her own flesh and blood. Hmm. Note to self.

Was D. just another a$$hole in NYC's crowded market? After all, D. once "teasingly" implied that I was only dating him due to my weakness for a$$holes, why else would I be interested in him? Oh, well maybe because he could be wonderful? He was the sort of man who, when I was hospitalized, called my boss and offered to come in and cover my shifts, for free, just so I wouldn't lose my job. He took me home to meet his family for the holidays, and paid for everything. On our first date, he picked me up, with some airplane-sized bottles of gin and cat toys, suggesting that if the date was a flop, I could go home and get drunk and play with the cats. He frequently made me laugh till I cried.

"So now I'm on Tindr, because my lady parts have needs and apparently only like complete douchebags."-C.

But at a certain point, alas, the dark side of his personality won. The part of D. that hated D. certainly could not allow him to have a loving, committed relationship. Thus, the self-loathing douchebag emerged and broke hearts. Sound familiar? I always think of this experience, when I meet women who tell me that they "love" a$$holes, or that all men are a$$holes, or that they're going to "have fun" sleeping with trashy boys, until they meet a good man. I think of these women, because the way they talk about "good men," makes it obvious that they're not all that certain that they can, or will, ever meet such a unicorn. A good man! Part of a 3-part special on NOVA, narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough.

Girlfriend, you know I've been there. I've dated men who clearly disliked me, resented me, were jealous of me, were obsessed with me, who even fantasized about killing me: I dated a lot of life lessons. And then, at a certain point, I felt less inclined to treat my existence as some third-rate sociological experiment, and instead, started reflecting on the role I was playing in encouraging men, who because they despised themselves, were necessarily skeptical of any woman who liked them.

At a certain point, I understood that I can't control men...but I can control myself. I understood that it's difficult to meet a good, loving partner, if I'm busy throwing myself at self-absorbed losers. For example, despite being dumped by D., I "brilliantly" continued to have sex with him. (*rolls eyes*) During that period, I didn't have a helluva lot of time/energy/heart to meet good guys, for the simple reason that most of my energies went into feeling miserable... and contemplating how I could kill D., that POS. I drank a lot of vodka, watching countless marathons of Deadly Women, and Snapped, thinking, "...ugh, that poor, misunderstood woman. She had to kill him. That's not even murder, that's necessary...damn the patriarchy!" Meanwhile, when I did meet good men, men who wanted something real with me...I punished them. I destroyed them. Not wanting to have my heart broken yet again Universe, thanks so much, I "protected" myself by playing a lot of games, i.e., I broke hearts and wasted time. (*rolls eyes*)

Maybe the whoring around was necessary, but eventually, it became a tiresome way to have "fun." Eventually, it became the antithesis of fun. If I want something real, I can't pick up a man, have my way with him, and then wonder, when I wake up alone the next empty morning,"...why isn't he here? What's wrong with me? Doesn't he like me? Am I not good/pretty/smart/sexy enough? What's wrong with me??" That way lies madness. That way lies my own Snapped episode, and no. Just no. I had my own all-womyn experience at Wellesley; I don't need Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to further my education.

I had to learn from my mistakes, since the alternative was making them over and over and oh my god over. Again. The alternative was an angry, empty, despairing life.

And men aren't the enemy. I love men. I try to remind myself, as frequently as possible, that men are people too--good people, bad people, good people who frequently do bad things, bad people who occasionally do wonderful things, damaged people, cruel people, lonely people--and that if I want a loving, committed relationship, I have to be the change I want to see in my world.

I'm just suggesting that in love and life, we, frequently, create what we believe we deserve. If you, like many humans on the planet, want love...why are you dating a man/woman who calls you a "fat pig," or "teases" you about your weight, or who constantly makes you ashamed of wanting to be touched with tenderness? What does that say about how you value yourself? Before you roll your eyes at me, and say, "B*tch, I know I'm amazing," listen, kid, I know you are! That's why I'm writing this diatribe. But I don't think you know that. Being amazing takes work; being amazing takes personal responsibility.

If you truly thought you were amazing, would you be with a man who never introduced you to his friends and steals from you? Would you be someone's side chick? Would you be with a man who belittles your dreams? If you thought you were amazing, wouldn't you commit to your amazing self, and give yourself the time and opportunity to meet a man who "gets" you? Wouldn't you believe that you deserved a good man?