Sunday, February 27, 2011

High Fidelity

"You shut your mouth.
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am Human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does"
The Smiths, How Soon Is Now

This weekend I was crying on my pal PUMKIN EATER’s shoulder about how I’m pretty sure I’ll never find love & end up alone. (Dudes find that sexy, right? RIGHT?!?)I knew I was being ridiculous & so did he when he said, “Claire- you’re had more boyfriends than anyone I know!” It often seems to me my life is a series of failed relationships, & I can never seem to forget how many times I’ve been dumped or heartbroken. I might have broken a couple of hearts in my dating life, but I usually get left. I can’t quite figure out what it is I’m doing wrong- but there’s obviously something about the way I am, which makes men leave.
The last few men I dated or slept with before I started this Manbbatical (VIDEO STORE GUY EXCLUDED) all ended whatever it was we were doing with each other. I argued with none of them. When they would finally admit why they called less or were less available, I agreed it was best that we break things off. I acted cool- no big deal. Inside I was dying. It happens this way every time. Sometimes I manage to escape without them seeing me cry, other times I’m not so lucky. I try my best to seem non-chalant about it all; of course we’re still friends & call me anytime you need anything. Then I go home, cry, & hate myself. I wonder why I’m not enough AGAIN, & why can’t anyone LOVE me?!? Then I’m mad at myself for being mad at myself. Aren’t I a catch? And why am I always feeling sorry for myself? That’s gross & boring. So I have bad luck dating! I have a lot of other aspects in my life to be grateful for- and should be more focused on, anyway. I feel like I’ve got some positives to offer. Some of my pals tell me I consistently chose the wrong men. I know that’s true- comics, actors, and musicians… Not to say men in those professions can’t be monogamous or committed, but the ones I’ve picked to give myself over to, haven’t been so with me. At some point, if you keep repeating the same behavior, you keep getting the same outcome- and you have to ask yourself why you never learn or change. Old habits die hard I guess.
Often throughout this project, I’ve felt like I’ve learned nothing- but PUMKIN EATER insists that I HAVE, & it may only sink in, in the years to come. I believe him. When I was in theatre school, I didn’t feel ready to graduate. I didn’t know how to apply the lessons I’d been taught to my work. I only got it later on throughout my professional career, & still to this day enlightenment seeps in from my Neighborhood Playhouse School Of The Theatre days. BAIT gets frustrated when I say I’m at a standstill in terms of my progression. She maintains that I’ve come a long way in terms of the way I deal with my feelings re: dudes.
I realize I’m not exactly painting a selling portrait of myself. I suppose any man who reads this post would recognize my self-esteem issues (if he hasn’t already!) & is foreseeing his boredom with THAT and ME. Yet we've all got our issues. You can call me "crazy", but I'm pretty god damned sick & tired of men throwing that term around with women. Especially when I've seen the ones that use that term- The kettle's phone is ringing, & it's the pot on the other end of the line.
Some of my ex’s are close friends of mine, now. EXCALIBUR is 1 of them. I asked him once, what the real reason was that he decided to end things with us on a romantic level- & he told me it wasn’t personal- obviously (since we were such good friends NOW) but he had JUST got out of a serious relationship, as well as there being no real spark between us. See… I thought there HAD been a spark between us. I must be crazy. Every time I think things are going well (in terms of my relationships), it turns out there actually not. How many times do I have to fail at relationships?
BAIT gets upset when I say things like that, as well. She says that referring to relationships as failures just because you’re not with said person anymore isn’t fair. Those relationships just didn’t work out the way we thought they might or hoped they would. Part of me agrees with her. But BAIT is also the kind of woman that men fall head-over-heels for. And so should they! She is one of the coolest ladies on planet Earth. That’s not to say she’s never suffered a broken heart. And I certainly hope she’s nursed her ticker back to health for the last time- I don’t wish love-sickness on my worst enemy.
I suppose love is complicated no matter what. Having it, losing it, fighting for it, missing it, NOT missing it, chasing it… A girlfriend of mine, QUEEN OF INFINITE WISDOM has been married for 15 years. She loves her husband, has never & wouldn’t cheat. I believe her, too. She admitted to me that she sometimes is envious of her single girlfriends who get to experience something/someone “new”. She’s also aware that what she has in terms of a partner & a life (with her hubby) is far more important & cherished- as far as she’s concerned. She urged me not to see the film, “Another Year”. Now of course I have to see it.
I’m pretty sure this post makes me sound crazy & desperate.
You should be careful of what you write on the internet.
My goal is to be able to enter into a relationship with an open-heart, an open mind, open EYES & self-confidence. To BELIEVE that I'm worth it, & there's no reason for me not to be happy. To recognize love when I see it FOR REAL. All of that still seems far away. Not out of reach, but certainly out in the distance.


Anonymous said...

You're trying too hard, maybe too needy. My momma sez a watched kettle never boils.
When it is meant to be, it will come.

Da Fab

Anonymous said...

It's not you, its the lack of quality men out there. And YOU are not boring, but most men are. I have figured out that I no longer need one in my life, and have many. Embracing my inner slut because quite frankly its too late to go backwards. I can convince myself the the serial monogamy and men I have dated and slept with means I am not a slut, but the truth is.. I love sex. So stop beating yourself up about men who use you for sex, and use them right back. It will feel damn good. Trust me on this.

I love your blog ;-)

Anonymous said...

To love and be loved is a great feeling. Any attempt at controlling who, where, and when is like trying to control your piss in the wind. It's fucking impossible, you'll just make a mess and end up getting it all over yourself.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, it's just hard dating a comedian. You are never around. Plus, when was the last time you made my favorite cake?

Anonymous said...

There was a time in my life where I felt so much like this and a good friend said something that changed my whole perspective. 'Stop worrying. Go out, be happy where you are, with who you are. You cannot rush what is meant to be. He is on his way to you and he is getting there as fast as he can. Please be patient with him. In the meantime, just be who you are so that when gets here he'll recognize you'. It was over three years after she said that to me that I realized she was right. I dated some real douches along the way (more than one that broke my heart) but I also had a lot of fun. And then one day he showed up - and there is not a single thing I could have done or tried to change about myself that could have possibly made him arrive any faster/better/differently.
You're doing great! I've been reading since the start and I think you have made HUGE progress (and your hilarious).

Anonymous said...

As a guy, I can tell you the one thing, more than anything else, that makes me hesitate to commit to a woman: when I feel she doesn't know or question herself--her own feelings, motivations, assumptions. I don't mind is a woman knows what she doesn't know--i.e. if she is still learning, discovering, and realizes that. But if I feel a woman is kind of sad inside but is trying to be "tough," or is insecure but is trying to hide it, or feels she has to prove herself and doesn't question why, or just generally is driven by things she doesn't understand, or believes things about herself that are cover ups for painful things she doesn't like to look at, I can't imagine making a life with that person. They tend to come to a relationship with a pre-fabricated idea of happiness, with a script in hand, and I don't want to live in that house, play that role.

On the other hand, nothing is more of a turn-on than a woman who is continuously growing, learning, exploring, discovering, about herself, about the world, a woman who is not trying to find THE answer or THE thing they need to feel better--a certain kind of man, a family, etc--but who just wants to grow as a person, flower, be herself out in the world. That kind of a woman I can imagine building a life, a family, all the rest with, having a great adventure together.

Anonymous said...

"And YOU are not boring, but most men are."

No, they're not. Or at least I'm not, and I know a lot of guys who are not. I think men and women need to be careful about tarring each other too generally; you tar over and then miss some good people.

Anonymous said...

Honesty without cruelty:

I don't really know you, so take this for whatever it's worth, if anything, but I imagine that I would eventually have to end a relationship with you, if we were in one, as fun and loving as it might be (again, this is all just imagination), because it feels sometimes, if I read between the lines of your blog, like you hate yourself, your feelings of self-hate bordering on self-destructiveness, and, more serious than that, THAT YOU EMBRACE THAT SELF-HATE. Not completely--you clearly fight it--but it shows up in your comedy, I find: you're very funny, but a lot of your jokes are at your own expense; I just saw a clip where you make fun of your "gunt," where you joke about being gang-banged by 25 guys on the bachelorette. Yes, I know, it's all a joke and it's funny, but it's not a coincidence, I'm guessing, that a lot of the subjects of these jokes overlap with traumas and deep insecurities in your personal life. It's like when you said you told guys it was all fine when they stopped calling as much but were dying inside; some of your jokes seem to be saying, "yeah, it's all fine, ha ha, I'm okay with these ideas I'm joking about," when maybe, in fact, you're dying over these things.

I imagine a lot of comedians joke about their pain... Honest question: for those that do, do you think it makes them "get over" it? Does it lessen the pain, in the long run? Does it make them suffer even more in silence? Do comics ever ask themselves, before they ridicule themselves, poking at their most painful wounds, "how is my self going to feel about being ridiculed?" You have experience in the field, so I'd be curious of your thoughts.

Anyway, like I said, I don't really know you, so I may be off, or missing something important, or skewing the picture, so feel free to reject or correct or respond to whatever isn't right in what I've said, but people who embrace their self-hate/self-destructiveness--as when Robert Downey Junior said, "I have the end of a gun in my mouth... and I like the taste"--make me feel a tad unsafe if I'm in an intimate relationship with them. I can be friends with them, love them, care about them, but I feel dissuaded from wanting to build a life with them.

The most sincere good luck... and people who love you want you to stop hurting yourself, your body. It's painful to watch and to be close to. Especially for a guy who wants to love his lover's body, to watch her hurt or dismiss it is just about the worst thing.

Anonymous said...

I just think most men in their 30s and 40s (and beyond) are settled by now, Claire. The ones who wanted to be in relationships figured that out already and were "snapped up". The ones left over are players, have issues, etc. You're not getting left because you aren't're getting left because they are unable to commit to you, and essentially, they're telling you this and doing you a favour. I HATE to say it, but I think you need to accept that you actually might be single least until the divorces happen, but that might not be for another 10-20 years. It sucks. But it's demographics and it's how things go. So get your financial house in order and prepare for your future on your own. I'm trying to do that myself right now -- I've been single for years and years, and I'm 34. It never happened -- not when I was looking for it, not when I wasn't looking for it. Eventually I stopped beating myself up. It's not me. I mean, I'm not the world's best prize, but lots of my girlfriends are no more better or worse than's just the situation that women in their 30s and 40s are in these days. Look around you, start asking'll likely find that spontaneous soul-fulfilling love just doesn't happen for many 30-something women. I have dozens of friends just like you. Going neurotic from lack of love, companionship, intimacy, sex and thinking they have "personal issues" when really the only issue is there is just no men left for them. I'd love to hear others tell me I'm wrong, but I sense that I'm not at all.

Anonymous said...

As a guy just out of a very long-term relationship, now in my mid-30s, I sort of resent the idea suggested above that I must "be a player" or "have issues." I'm exploring again, and have some stuff to figure out, but I'll be ready for a relationship when the time comes, and it seems a little reductionistic to label a person just because he's out in the field again and maybe not ready to commit again right away. In other words, there are all kinds of reasons, short of being a cad or hung-up, if you even want to use those labels (which I prefer not to), why a guy might be where he is when you meet him, when you go on a date with him. And judging a guy, seeing him as simply part of a larger category of guys who are "players" and have "issues," doesn't seem like it would set the date off on the right foot.

There's some disillusionment in this blog and in some of the comments about men, and can I just suggest it's not entirely healthy, or even true, at least not in certain specific cases? Each person is unique and I think appreciates being treated as such when you meet them. I like the comment above about the right guy, or woman, being on their way to you, and the need for us to just be who we are so that the other person will recognize us when they arrive. That's more the kind of outlook I could find myself being drawn to on a date, because this person is open and isn't about to put me in a box. If I'm not the right person, no worries... the right one is on their way. And in the meantime, we can share something with each other, learn about each other (not necessarily or just physical). What's wrong with that? And so what if you find love at 35, 40, 45? Who said everything had to follow some neat plan?

There are guys out there, and women... at all ages. I just don't buy the demographics rationale. It may be superficially, generally true, but it's an abstraction, which is useless when you're meeting a new individual for the first time. My advice: don't try to explain or rationalize why we're not in a relationship; don't blame ourselves or the opposite (or same) sex; just trust, as the above person said, be yourself, grow, learn, and you'll wind up where you need to, with the people you need to be with. Maybe not on your timetable or clock, or on mine, but that's life, laying waste to our best laid plans, but also surprising us when we're ready and open to being surprised, instead of sure that we know what's out there. No one knows who is around the corner, and if you're too sure there's no one there, you won't see them and they won't see you.

I like what Isak Dinesen said about writing: "I write a little every day, without hope and without despair." We hope and despair too much about relationships. The above post sounds rational, but there's still a resignation in it. Which I admire, in a way--it's an honest attempt to be realistic--but it's more realistic, I think, to just admit we don't know why things are or aren't happening to us and to not look for an explanation, just accept that this is our life right now, and do our best to enjoy it as it is while being open to discovery and surprise.

Anonymous said...

Actually Most men are boring. If I never have to serve up dinner in front of the television while my partner consumes mass hours of sports, news and jeopardy - then I will have LIVED my life and not been utterly bored to death by the same guy over and over and over again. The Canadian dream is finding someone to watch hockey night in Canada and jeopardy every night at 7:30.

I didn't say ALL men.. but I have met so many that I can pinpoint exactly where they are at any given moment because they are THAT predictable. So tired of predictable and boring.

since being single, my life has become thankfully unpredictable and a lot less boring because I am following my own desires and interests and I am in fact doing more with my life that would normally be wrapped up with a boyfriend who wants to cozy up on the couch while I serve him in every way.

Sure, There is a lot less sex, but the sex I am getting is a lot less boring..

hmmmm... put that in your pipe and smoke it..

And I am happy to hear that at least there is one man who feels they are exciting and not boring to their partner.. unless that is all in your mind ;-)

Anonymous said...

You sound like what's in my head.

I told my friend (and former bf) that I was taking a sabbatical from men and he directed me here.

I'm sick of men acting into me, then suddenly and drastically changing their behaviour. When I bother confronting them with it, even in the most minor way, they turn around and call me crazy or needy, simply because I had the nerve to say WTF?

Yeah, I spend lots of time questioning myself, and sure I try to hide the soft spots I have with a tough exterior, but that's come from years of being messed with. And while I have plenty of faults, I have way more going for me. And men who pointed out one fault or another have gone on to marry women with those exact qualities.

I'm tired of the trite truisms people pass on: you're trying too hard, you're not putting yourself out there, you come on too strong, you play too hard to get, you are too needy, you are too independent, stop looking and he will come, how can you find someone if you aren't looking? Guys want a girl who's really into their own life and has her own interests, I'm too busy with my own stuff to have room for a guy, blah blah blah. I get all of these and more. I'm too strong, I'm too weak, I'm always too...

I've been myself, I've changed, I've gone with my gut, I've gone against my gut. Nothing works and I think I'm ready to just give up.

For the record, I am generally considered very attractive, I'm very well educated, support myself, community minded, talented artistically, witty, funny, interesting, have tons of friends who love me, hobbies out the wazoo, highly sexual, independent, intelligent and well-read. I'm not just saying this, it's the truth. I'm also generally pleasant to be around. And I like myself, I mostly like my life, and I don't mind being single.

I think men in my age range are taken or broken. I can't keep being blinded by their lives, talent, whatever, and ignore their defective personalities.

Anyways, I like your blog. Thanks for writing it and making us other single 30-somethings feel less alone and ridiculous.

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