Dating Amelia: The Deal With Chicken Parm

For the last few months I’ve been seeing someone – Chicken Parm, as he’s been referred to a few times already — that I met on the online dating site OK Cupid. I signed up for the site on a whim on New Years Day, as I was recovering from my hangover. New Years Eve was the last in a series of breakup milestones, as it would have been my fifth anniversary with my ex, and the first anniversary of our engagement.

I signed up for online dating because I felt officially ready to date again and what better place to find likeminded men than on an online dating site?! Chicken Parm sent me a message and his profile instantly intrigued me. Of the three adjectives he used to describe himself, one of them was “hungry.” I had wanted to describe myself as hungry too, but balked out of fear that it would imply I was hiding a huge ass beneath my head shot. His taste in music was a mix of artists I loved and stuff I’d never heard of, and a lot of hip-hop, which I adore. He was cute and he tanned well. Reply!

The timing was awful, however. Just four months out of a broken engagement? Shouldn’t I be playing the field? I also carried a lot of baggage – getting dumped completely blindsided me and had totally wrecked my trust in men and my confidence in my own instincts.

We messaged back and forth for a few days and talked on the phone once before finally deciding to meet for a drink. It was my first “first date” in five years and I was excited, but convinced that this guy’s fatal flaw would be revealed. British teeth? He wasn’t smiling in any of his photos. God, I hoped not.

It turned out that he was amazing. His teeth had been blessed by American dentistry and we clicked instantly. After talking and joking and drinking for three hours, he walked me to the subway and gave me a mix CD before leaning in to kiss me good night, giving my lip a little nibble. How did he know that was my favorite?

Things got kind of intense quickly and we saw each other a whopping nine times in just 14 days. We had an insane amount in common, outside of musical taste (the mix CD was incredible, by the way) – his parents, like mine, were not cookie cutter and we were both raised with hippie-ish ideals and left-leaning political beliefs. Meeting someone who not only laughed at, but understood, the story of my dad refusing to do the Pledge of Allegiance at my fifth grade school assembly, was instantly precious. I broke my six-month sex sabbatical on date three.

Within a few weeks I was already whispering to friends that Chicken Parm had soul mate potential. To be frank, I had never even thought of my ex as my soul mate — I thought we meshed well and balanced each other out, but soul mate never really was applicable. I didn’t really think soul mates existed. But had I been asked to describe the person who I wanted to share my life with, that imaginary person would have sounded a whole heck of a lot like Chicken Parm. My friend called him the Unicorn – who knew such a mythical creature existed?!

The timing was awful, however. Just four months out of a broken engagement? Shouldn’t I be playing the field? I also carried a lot of baggage – getting dumped completely blindsided me and had totally wrecked my trust in men and my confidence in my own instincts.

The timing was bad for him too.

As I wrote last week, Chicken Parm has kind of been failing in the dating department. Frankly, we don’t date. We hang out, we sometimes cook dinner (I made him Chicken Parm once, hence the nickname), occasionally we’ll go out, but always when I’m doing the planning. When we’re together, it’s bliss. My chest wants to explode I like him so much. We’ve had silly conversations about what we’d name our kids and he’s actually dropped the L-bomb not once, but twice. Yet his laziness in the wooing department has only gotten worse. Five weeks ago he happily helped me move, turning what would have normally been a stressful experience into something vaguely resembling fun; last night he couldn’t even commit to hanging out this weekend.

He says it’s because he’s going through a bit of a life crisis, as he’s transitioning into a new job and is not in a good place mentally. It’s obviously more complicated than that, but the gist is simple – he’s devoted to being screwed up and selfish right now, but somehow being upfront about that makes it okay. I’m up in the air as to whether I should keep seeing him, while I date other people too. I have certainly been falling for him HARD, and while his recent lazy behavior has definitely tarnished his Unicorn horn, I still think he is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Part of me thinks that if I remain patient, he’ll snap out of it, get his life together, and then we’ll have a real go of it. But I also am scared to stupidly risking heartbreak again. It hurt so much the first time.

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