13 June 2016

It Appears I Have a Pattern

It's happening again: My annual "Screw this, I'm single and fabulous," attitude is settling in. Of course, it is inconveniently occurring during dating season, and come next winter I will probably be miserably bemoaning my loneliness once again.

Good job, emotions. Nice timing.

This recurring phenomenon has, as usual, been preceded by about a month or so of sheer desperation and/or carelessness. Now, this year, I wouldn't exactly call myself "desperate," but for the last several weeks I have definitely been using dating apps like it's my job, however fruitlessly. And careless? Well, I would say reaching out to Mr. Charming after his mysterious absence definitely qualifies.

What's great about this time of year for me is that it's kind of like hitting a peak speed in a sprint, followed swiftly by a cool-down period. You gave it a good shot, I tell myself, but men in general kind of suck, so who needs them anyway? Then, apparently, I unintentionally make drastic, life-altering decisions.

This morning, as I sip my coffee, I've been reviewing the last few years, and the odd things that have happened around this time.

2012: I set up an eHarmony account. After two weeks of spending hours a day answering e-mails, I flip a table and cancel my account. "Prithee go to hell," I politely tell the eHarmony customer service person who explains that they will continue charging my credit card for the next several months of my subscription because even though I've canceled my account, I might "change my mind" later. I then abandon Chicago to go on a children's theatre tour of a one-act Beauty & the Beast, discovering I have far, far greater problems in my life than dating. Like paying rent, for instance.

2013: I download Tinder for the first time. I also try Sparkology. I receive several mediocre e-mails and go on one mediocre date before concluding that online dating is the actual worst and that I am awesome and do not need men. A friend talks me into moving to Florida so we can room together. I high-five her and make the decision to move somewhere I have absolutely never wanted to live. Upon arrival my friend informs me that instead of getting a place with me, she and her boyfriend have decided to move in together. I attempt to not become a murderer. [And succeed at it. In case you were wondering.] I spend the next few months panicking about my life choices.

2014: I download Tinder back to my phone because I am living somewhere I hate and am lonely as hell. At least this will get me out of the apartment. I anticipate going on one date, it being absolutely awful, and then re-deleting Tinder. I will then go about enjoying my rediscovered appreciation for being single, sort of like the last several years. Instead I go on a date and actually have a good time. I end up dating Mr. Manipulation and suddenly have a boyfriend for the first time in my life. Six months of emotional abuse ensue. Oops.

2015: Mr. Manipulation finally goes too far and I break up with him. Disoriented, I look around me and question what in God's name I am still doing in South Florida. I throw myself into my new temporary job as a tablet specialist at work, and I set the wheels in motion to move to Chicago. Mr. Manipulation's coworker/sort-of-friend Mr. Mess and I begin talking. And flirting. I decide to have a summer fling because I deserve to have fun. I accidentally start falling in love and get my heart busted open about 3-4 months later. Double-oops.

2016: I decide casually having fun with Mr. Charming is better than sitting home alone by myself. In an attempt to prove to myself that I can date casually, I download about 5 dating apps to my phone at once, then end up going on a date with absolutely ZERO of the candidates. One month later, I come across Mr. Suburb's profile on Bumble, in which he states that he is looking for a wife and lives in beautiful Wheaton. Wine in hand, I sit on my balcony as I delete these apps one by one, setting my glass down only to give the men of Chicago my middle finger. The next morning, I wake up and read this article about Time Out Chicago setting people up on dates and promptly e-mail them, volunteering myself as tribute.

I'm hoping that decision will be as dramatic as it gets this year. I don't really feel like moving again. Oh, and guess what! I DON'T HAVE TO! In the midst of all my crazy dating fever, I managed to convince two people that I'm worth living with. So, for the first time since college, I will be living in the same place for more than 12 months. I'm overjoyed. Really, this giant weight has been lifted. I am so happy with where I currently live, the idea of leaving it was devastating. So that's the good news.

And, as with each of the past years, the dust is settling and I find myself experiencing that post-storm calm, acknowledging that while I am still open to dating and meeting someone, I'm perfectly content just being me by my-awesome-self for a little while.

Re-reading this, however, I'm noticing a pattern of the calm-after-the-storm being followed with something of a hurricane, so…I guess we should all be relieved that as far as stupid things I've done around this time each year goes, e-mailing a news site to request a blind date doesn't really land that high on the scale, at least in my opinion.

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