Many of my friends have heard me state my firm belief that someone has, without a doubt, peed in the dating pool here in Vegas. Since flinging myself back into the single life in December of 2005, I’ve been stuck in a scene from Caddyshack where someone is screaming “Poooooooooooop!” You wonder what the hell it is, everyone vacates the pool and heads for the snack bar, and it turns out to be another indifferent date from your latest online dating endeavor (though on occasion, you wish it truly were a Baby Ruth). It’s a challenging scene for the career-minded professional, who is undoubtedly time-crunched and faced with the decision to take the 215 freeway or surface streets, and one false move could mean you’re stuck behind a gravel truck moving at 30 MPH on what was yesterday a four-lane freeway but somehow, is now a one-lane road.
Seriously, though, all traffic jokes aside. How do we decide who to bring into our daily lives, and shouldn’t we be asking ourselves—is this person worth the effort?
We’ve all heard from friends when we start dating someone new:
“Hey—–what the hell happened to Bob?”
The predictable response is:
“Oooooh…yeah. We haven’t seen much of him since he started dating Mary.”
Explain this to me: why the hell is that?
Why is it we’re able to bump along with a bubbly existence, hanging out with friends, and doing all we enjoy doing with the people we enjoy doing it with, and then the minute we get those butterflies in our stomach over someone new, we’re buying a ticket for “Anywhere But Here” (aisle seat, please)? All of a sudden, your buddy and wingman for every NASCAR and top fuel event that comes to down is going to bridal shows and your best gal pal that indulges in “retail therapy” with you at Talulah G inBoca Park is hanging out at the Bass Pro Shops down at the Silverton?
This was all prompted by a conversation with a friend this weekend on the way to a climbing outing. How do you decide who to “fit in?” I think that’s a really important question to ask when you’re looking at dating and your social life in general.
You can choose to date people to whom you’re attracted and there might be some chemistry, but you don’t really share any mutual interests other than screwing, coffee, and eating (and not necessarily in that order). This is where I usually find my long-lost girlfriends wandering around the Bass Pro Shops (yes, I’ve been there…don’t ask) and guys have their buddies cancelling on them for the weekend’s top fuel showdown out at theSpeedway.
Then, there’s the scenario of finding ourselves with people we don’tinitiallyshare any mutual interest, but at least they’re open to trying the things we fancy. But is that selfish, too? We’re asking someone else to “fit into” ourlife, yet we’re not really open to fitting into theirs. It’s not really “my way or the highway” so much as knowing what we like and making it clear to someone from the get-go.
The other option is peeing in the pool.
You’ve got your group of friends/folks you hang with and you all share common interests — your “pool.” You find someone you’re attracted to, you “click,” and voila! You’re loving the addition of all the dirty things that come along with the newfound intimacy in the equation, find yourselves living a life together (and apart when the need arises for a little “you” time), and neither one of you has to fit the other one into your alreadyveryfull life. The question remains, though: in the divorce, who gets the friends? We’ve all been there: we have friends who are dating, you all hang out regularly, and then one day the breakup comes along and suddenly you don’t know who to invite to Sushi Saturdays. Was she a bitch? Was he an asshole? (and does it really matter?)
I think that all too often, the confusion lies in not being honest with ourselves about who we arewhen we’re aloneand what we need in order to be happywith someone elsein our lives. I mean, it could be that Bob might have a hidden Martha Stewart and kinda gets off on helping Mary distinguish the subtleties between “ecru” and “off-white” icing choices for the wedding cake and Mary might really have an affinity for the panty-wetting exhilaration stemming from the roar of a top-fuel dragster doing a burnout that’s been latent inside her for 36 years. Either way, those folks have discovered a gift in being open to seeing the world through the eyes of someone they care about.
It’s when we put the blinders on and leaveour lives behind …that’s where I feel the trouble begins (and I know has been the problem in my case). All too often, we seek happiness outside ourselves and haven’t gotten comfortable enough in our own skin to truly show a partner who we really are and what we find important. We find ourselves in the, “Um, okaaaay” stage repeatedly, which in my case results in cancelled plans with girlfriends because he suddenly doesn’t have his kids and can now see me tonight, or finding myself wandering around the godforsaken Bass Pro Shop staring at a shiny new party barges that he’ll never buy but I (somehow) find myself commenting how pretty the flame detail is over the pontoons. (!!!!!)
Maybe a step we all need to take is asking ourselves, whenalone:
What really brings me joy in my life?
Knowing the answer to that question sounds to me like a pretty good step towards being true to yourself first and foremost. Maybe then we’re in a better position to evaluate who “fits” with our style. As well, maybe we don’t always need to look at situations as if they’ll fail (i.e.: peeing in the pool). If we enter into them with eyes and hearts wide open, there exists that beautiful “if” that they’ll work out … seeing our relationship glasses as half full as opposed to half empty — a novel concept. There are just some times in life where — uncomfortable though it may be to think of — that warm feeling we get from the pee in the pool is … er … welcomed? Personally, I’m still terrified at the prospect of even getting IN the pool following a recent scenario perhaps to be recounted at a later date … However, whatever path we decide to choose on any given Sunday — NASCAR, bridal show, or the “gimme” potential of being with a friend who could be more, being true to yourself before anything else … I think it’s the best tool we have to navigate through the looming amber waves that await us.