Girl Talk: How I Beat My Past Self At Its Own Crappy Dating Game

Guys, I went on a date this weekend. Thrilling, right? And on that date, I met a guy. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

This guy was like a weird, magical test. Was I going to fill in the wrong circle on the Scantron?

Ever since my disastrous breakup, I’ve been trying to revise my dating decision-making process. Like, it’s not about me, so much as it is the choices I’m making. And over and over, I choose really crap people to date. They are not bad people, per se, but are bad for me. So now, I’m trying to evaluate potential dudes differently — which is to say, if I’m mega attracted to them, well, there’s probably something wrong with them. For me. You see, historically I’m drawn to creative fellas — artists, musicians and makers who are really way too selfish to be in functioning and healthy relationships. All of that creativity makes them super hot, but also dangerous and usually emotionally unavailable — they’re too focused on their band/DJ night/experimental art project based on Second Life (true story!) to give a crap about a girlfriend.

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So, enter this weekend. I’d been spending the day with A., a friendly and funny writer who could carry on a conversation, pay his bills, afford to take me to drinks or dinner and live in a really nice part of town. He was older than me — a verifiable adult in all senses of the word, who had traveled the world and you know, done stuff. We were at a bar in Brooklyn enjoying an afternoon drink (where, OK, he was explaining how he thought alcohol didn’t really taste good, but I’ll give him a pass). We moved tables to get out of the sun’s glare and began talking to a guy sitting at the bar, who happened to be wearing a T-shirt of one of my favorite bands, The Pastels. It turned out he was in a couple of bands — one of them a MTV buzz band I’d actually heard of — and we shared very similar music taste. And that’s when Bad Choices Julie decided to kick in.

I was on a date with someone who seemed appropriate for me. The kind of guy I should be pursuing, and yet! The guy who was interesting and fascinating and appealing in all kinds of ways was the 25-year-old indie rocker who was mildly drunk on a Saturday afternoon. (This is my dude Kryptonite, yours could be something totally different). The guy who had openly stated to my date and I that he “kind of can’t handle a job right now.” This kid, with the freckles and the high-tops, who spent 20 minutes droning on about his stupid bands without even bothering to ask either me or my date what we did. This was the kind of guy I was drawn to. This was the kind of guy I dated all through my twenties. The kind of guy I had stood by and supported, fed, clothed and paid rent for while he pursued his musical/artistic/comic book dreams.

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This guy was like a weird, magical test. Was I going to fill in the wrong circle on the Scantron?

Not this time.

As I listened to the adorable 25-year-old ramble on about his band, I reviewed all the unhappinesses I’d had by dating those kind of guys — the hours spent listening to their creative output, the lack of reciprocation, the way the relationship often devolved into a caretaker/patient kind of dynamic, where I spent all my energy trying to make the other person’s life easier. The way the things I cared about were always put on the backburner because the band or the art came first. Well that sounded terrible. Suddenly, the cute 25-year-old looked like an annoying trap.

Who knows what will happen with the actually appropriate dude. But I’m glad I at least talked myself out of an unreasonable crush on an inappropriate match.

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