Upon Further Examination….

A lot has happened while I’ve been offline. It’s really just a hazard of being  Scarlett O’Casual—I get super involved in a project at the beginning, fail to do the hard and most important work in the middle, and then leave a bunch of loose ends dangling. Also, I’ve repeated the same mistake I’ve made so many times before that this dating/self-improvement project was supposed to help me avoid—I fell head over heels for Lawrence. Well, anyway, at least this time I made a better judgment and I do think that might be half the battle. In the past, I would repeat the pattern of getting quickly involved with someone who was incredibly wrong, wrong, wrong; while this time I got quickly involved with someone who could’ve been very right.  This occurred in the interim of the two months when I haven’t been posting. I’ve felt so low and conflicted by the whole situation that I didn’t want to write about it, so I let myself off the hook.

Also about two months ago, I started reading date or soul mate? how to know if someone is worth pursuing in two dates or less? by Neil Clark Warren. I was immediately (and perhaps unfairly) annoyed by the book. I’ve seen Warren advertising eharmony.com and both he and it seemed cheesy. The cover of the book is unbelievably bad. Everything is in lower case letters, which unless you’re e.e. cummings, is probably not acceptable.  From an aesthetic standpoint, there is way too much white space on the left side of the cover. And there’s the fact that the couple on the front look vaguely incestuous. This did not surprise me since many of the couples in the eharmony commercials look like cousins; to the organization’s credit, they have recently updated with more diverse-looking couples, but for a long-time I was opposed to trying out eharmony myself because as I kept telling everyone, “I don’t want to meet my soul mate who’s also my third cousin.” I’m not even going to go into tearing apart the poor guy on the front cover of the book who was (I hope) forced to pose with such an expression on his face.

The reason I even found this book in the first place is because I went to the library to seek out corny dating books that I could enjoy reading and making fun of in this blog. I guess I thought I was so smarty-pants that no dating book could ever give me advice but I was wrong. At first, I had a hard time getting advice from an old, white, Christian guy, the type I would usually distrust (I’m not claiming that this is a fair judgment). But when I started actually paying attention to the book, I realized that it gave me an answer to what I am actually looking for.  It has the reader make lists and do assessments about one’s deepest self, and then think about the ideal person who could be your match based on this information. Then, and this is he really fun part for us OCD-ers, you get to make two lists, respectively, of the top ten characteristics you “must have” and “must not have” in your match. Since I had already been formulating the first list for a life time, that part was super easy.  The book also gives 50 common characteristics that people tend to pick, some of which I pulled for my list. Making the list of the things I will not tolerate was pretty easy as well—I guess you know by now that I definitely know what I don’t like.

You may’ve noticed the word could’ve a few paragraphs back in reference to the Lawrence relationship. The book came at the right time because it hit me over the head with the realization that he does not meet all the criteria on my lists. There’s more to it than just this (read the book) but basically, Warren says that there is a real temptation to settle for someone who seems to have all the lists’ qualities except one or two but under no circumstances should you do this. I know that I’ve settled too many times in the past—jumping in to be with someone just because and for too many of the wrong reasons. It can only lead to unhappiness in the end; and, from my own experience, resentment, after finding in a year or so that you really just wish you could tweak the other person to get them to fit your ideal just so. This is neither realistic nor fair, to either party. I know by this point in my life that people very rarely can and are hardly ever willing to change the very essence of who they are. If someone does not fit what you’re looking for, it does no one any good to pursue that person. This doesn’t mean the trivial stuff, like smacking their gum or something. It means a character trait or major part of his or her identity that could make it onto a top ten list, like how they communicate, clearly a biggie.

So, here’s the beef with Lawrence. Dang it all on him for being so beautiful, so nice, patient, and generally wonderful, but I can’t talk to the boy. We just don’t have that sort of communication that I, as a writer, and an intellectual striver, need, want, and desire above all else. For me, communication leads to verbal and emotional intimacy and this is the one thing I can never have from him. So, we’ll see where it’ll go from here, but I have a feeling it’ll have to be nowhere.