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 Arrested Development

 

Although every word I write has underlying evidence of my true personality, a lot of what I say is tongue-in-cheek, so I assume readers will take it with a grain of salt. It is for that reason that, after a year of writing this column, I find it amazing when someone not only takes the time to read the meandering thoughts I spew onto the page, but actually finds some piece of information worth mentioning to me. It is even more disturbing when said someone is a guy I like.

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Although every word I write has underlying evidence of my true personality, a lot of what I say is tongue-in-cheek, so I assume readers will take it with a grain of salt. It is for that reason that, after a year of writing this column, I find it amazing when someone not only takes the time to read the meandering thoughts I spew onto the page, but actually finds some piece of information worth mentioning to me. It is even more disturbing when said someone is a guy I like.

I had recently taken an interest in a new beau. Our conversations had been good. Our senses of humor seemed to mesh well together. All in all, the preliminary courting phase was going well. Then he hits me with it:

“Reading your column, it doesn’t really sound like you’re interested in a relationship at all. Should I even be wasting my time?”

I scoured my brain wondering just what image I had put out there, and sadly realized his skepticism was well-founded.

I have only had one long term relationship. When it came to an abrupt end, I didn’t like the person I had become. Having left the workforce nearly a year before to finish my degree, I was unemployed and months from graduation. I was considerably overweight, had a mouth full of braces and had gone from owning a nice home to rooming with 3 guys and sleeping on a borrowed bed. At the age of 28, I felt like I was a true college kid all over again. I wouldn’t have dated me.

I spent several months in an alcohol-induced haze before I finally came to my senses and made some goals for myself: get in shape, finish college, find a great job, get my own place, become financially stable…in short, be independent. Only then would I consider myself ready for another relationship.

As of four months ago, I have achieved every goal on my list, yet I still feel like that perpetual college student. I don’t do typical grown-up things. I have hand-me-down furniture, I keep my underwear in a plastic set of drawers and I can’t motivate myself to fix the faucet that has been leaking for a year. Yet somehow I find the time to go out five nights a week, spend more on bar tabs than my mortgage and consistently publish tales of dating faux pas, flops and downright failures.

By my own definition, I should be ready for a relationship, but looking at my life, especially as reflected in my column, I can see why anyone in his right mind would have cause for concern. I wonder if it’s a catch twenty-two. If I found the right guy, the urge for constant distraction might fade. I might settle down, grow up, buy some real furniture and fix the faucet. But bars and beers are no way to meet a nice guy, so what if I have to do the growing up part in order to get to the relationship?

I tried to muster my most convincing tone and said, “No. You’re not wasting your time at all.” With any luck, he won’t read this issue.

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