Friday, June 6, 2008

Fifteenth Time's A Charm...Not!

So I've got this problem. I'm what you might call a dating recidivist. I keep making the same mistakes over and over, with the same men. Basically, I recycle my lovers. It really cuts down on the whole "So, what do you do...what's your favorite color" conversation that takes up so much darned time. By recycling, I eliminate the formalities and have a built-in familiarity system. I know what they like and they know what I like. It's comfortable, like a hug and a mug of cocoa when you have PMS.

But here's the thing: you don't need hugs and cocoa all the time. What with the availability of Midol and hard liquor, you probably don't need that junk at all. So going back to it time and time again is really like gorging your gullet with sugar and hugs that suddenly feel constricting. A chocolate-covered boa constrictor. That's what old loves are. Once you get past the sweet, shiny coating, you realize that what's underneath could actually kill you.

I only realized this now, after about the fifteenth time with Mr. Beer Man. Normally, our affairs have been short. Like a day or two, at most. When he came into town, he'd take me out for dinner, lots of food talk and, well, dessert. That was it. It was quick, easy and mutually agreed upon. We were friends with benefits.

The only problem was that I felt I was getting far less benefits than he was. Still, it was a familiar comfort. Sometimes, in a world full of uncomfortable situations and people, it makes all the difference. Now, however, as I sit in a coffee shop in Chicago, where I've come to spend FIVE days with him, I suddenly realize how constricting this all feels. It's not comfortable so much as it is annoying. I don't spend that much time with even my best friends.

I suppose I thought that all the standard rules still applied. But now I find that I'm aggravated by the fact that I get nothing really substantive from this relationship. I like the food talk, but how long is that supposed to hold a person's interest? I find it redundant and silly. I realize that I'm a slow learner. I finally let Mr. Oil Slick out of my thoughts and my heart, but that took six years. And only after Mr. Corkscrew really screwed me over (in more ways than one), did I see him for who he really is. Again, that was a long, six-year lesson. And now, with Mr. Beer Man (who I've also known about five or six years), I realize just how long it takes me to cut the strings. I suppose I'm holding on in the event that something might change. Like lightning might strike and suddenly, love and rainbows will fill the air. And there it was, all along. My perfect other waiting for me. How could I have not seen?

Easy. Because there's nothing to look at in the first place. There never was. I was just too emotionally bloated to realize that.

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