Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Help, less. Helpless.

Actress Olivia Wilde
You know it's going to be a awkward conversation when the conversation goes: "Hey, you know who you might like?  Elisa.  She's smart like you.  And she likes scarves."

There were indignant protestations that surely I had said something like needing a partner who was smart.  Eventually, it was determined that what I'd said was that I needed someone who behaved maturely.  I'm not sure I'd trust my romantic aspirations to the hands of someone who thinks being smart and being mature is one and the same thing.

But I am a target.  At work, I'm the only single guy -- the most recent ex-single has been going strong for a few months with a nice girl from the city.  In my circle of friends, I'm one of the last of the unattached.  And when people are busy with their own relationships, they like to see all their friends bundled off together, as a way of generally increasing the gestahlt-happiness of a particular social group. 

Good friends of mine had their wedding this summer.  Though it's the only one on my schedule so far, I don't long for the days of yester-year, when four weddings lay on the plate.  This couple is somewhat amazing.  I don't know any other pairing that's been living together for three years and still has people saying, "Are you sure they're a couple?"

In this day of Facebook and social oversharing, it's rather surprising to realize that I've never once seen them performing affection towards each other.  Never seen them hold hands, never seen them kiss, never seen them even make innuendo.  It's amazingly refreshing!

Their wedding is regarded as a fine thing by all who know them.  People who have been their friends for years are allowed to say "Finally! That answers THAT question."  Everyone takes it in great stride.  Everyone also agrees that a metaphorical tumbler has finally clicked into place.  Whew, that's all sorted!

So far, few people regarded me as an "un-clicked tumbler".  If people think that it's odd that I don't keep obvious company with lady-friends, they generally keep it quiet.  Aside of the occasional gesture towards dating material, most friends are content to stay out of (or are uncaring towards) my personal life.  This allows me a modicum of "low-profileness" in my daily life.  The one friend who talked out her virtual spin through the single rolodex said nobody she could think of was good enough for me.  What a nice compliment!

And what a depressing statistic.  I wonder what it is that people know about me (or think they do) that guides opinions on relationship suitability.  Am I smart?  Perhaps, in the sense that I know a few lines from books.  But I'd tend more to saying I'm mentally quick, reacting as I do to what people are saying and thinking in the course of their meetings with me.

Still, it is sort of unpleasant to realize that the people who know someone perfect for me -- as well as the people who DON'T know ANYONE for me -- don't really know what I want.  I wouldn't think that what I want is that much different than what everyone else wants, but it still seems to be elusive.

And somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that people talk.  I constantly hear all sorts of things about all sorts of people.  I can only assume that a little more or less is said about me.  One of my saving graces is that I don't usually have awareness to be concerned about that.  But every once and a while, it would be fun to go to the library and check out the book on me.  Every time I've been given the opportunity to hear what has been said about me outside of my presence, it's been illuminating and not particularly damaging to my self-esteem. 

As a final anecdote to people knowing me better than I do, I had dinner a woman who thought it could not be possible that I:

a) had not seen actress Olivia Wilde in anything I could recall.  Didn't see "House" or "Tron".
b) did not find her attractive after being shown photos on an iPhone.

The fact that she's apparently appeared as Madonna in something called the "Weird Al Story" makes me more disposed to think she's probably great, as anybody who can take low-paying humorous roles for the fun of it is an actor I'd probably get along with.  Still, I didn't find anything that made me instantly say "there's an attractive woman" when shown the pictures.  

Have you ever tried to prove a negative?  It's an uphill battle.  No matter how much I explained that I didn't find the wide feline-esque eye style of Miss Wilde and others (like Taylor Swift) very  attractive, it didn't seem to shake the bedrock of facts that said that she had apparently played a bisexual in something and that made her undeniable catnip to men.

Ingrained perceptions are hard to shake, it would seem.

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