Don't Try to Get the Guy
Two years ago I was waiting to have my passport photos taken at Shoppers Drug Mart while entertaining a couple of Hinge conversations on my phone. This guy I was talking to seemed wholesome (judging by a couple of photos of him with his friends), well-educated, and had just moved to Toronto from Dubai.
When I lived in Toronto I was drawn to people that had moved from out of the country because I wanted to one day do what they did but I had no idea how to do it. I considered them to be ambitious people that had a cognizance about life that my one-city mind didn’t have yet.
He asked me if I’d like to go for a drink. Actually I didn’t drink, I told him. To that he responded, “Sure, no problem. Why don’t we go down to the lake and get beavertails, then?” I shuddered at that. Not at him suggesting it, because it’s a fine thing to suggest, but at myself.
I asked my friends, what’s wrong with me? Standing there in the Shoppers Drug Mart I started to wonder, kind of frantically, when I had become such a fun-hating prude. If I kept it up I might never find a partner. At least not one that liked to have a treat from time to time or go out for drinks (which I viewed as participating in society).
Okay, that was not so bad! We had a nice walk on the boardwalk and I decided to eat the beavertail. The next time we met we went to the museum, had a nice talk on his couch about how both of us had alcoholic parents, and then he called me later that night crying about how he loved me.
Okay! So he was not the one… Or maybe he actually was and I was living out a Notebook scenario - I am a romantic, after all. But reallistcally he was probably not the one. I told him okie dokie artichokie and went on my merry way. Out of embarrassment, I’m sure, he left me alone after that. Until the day I got on my flight to Italy, when he (supposedly) came to the airport after I passed through security. Since he missed the opportunity to hand it off to me, he emailed me the letter he had written instead.
I know what you’re thinking… I already looked for it and the letter no longer exists. But I remember it being five or so pages long, and that after reflecting on his excitement he really did want to make it work with me if I would consider him.
I went to Italy, met a cute Italian-Persian boy named Daniele that was about to move to Germany, and a couple of weeks after coming home (and receiving a cute postcard from him in the mail) I decided to end it with him, too. It was around that exact time that I decided I needed a therapist to talk about my dating life and why I seemed to be unable to make anything stick.
It was always that they were too into me before knowing me, too much of a dud, or I tried to make it work with them despite some major incompatibility issues. I can’t tell you how many freaking times a guy has ended it with me over religious reasons.
Once it was because I was an atheist and they would have felt more comfortable if I believed in any God at all. Then I dated a guy who had to keep me a secret from his family until he was betrothed. And then, once I did start going to church, I had a serious boyfriend who’s family thought that was a little bit freaky. And honestly, fair. But they could have gotten to know me first.
I did have a couple of secure, long-term relationships that I fell into in my early-twenties when I really wasn’t looking for love. But ever since I started seriously prospecting it seems like I’ve been evading them. And when I say that I’ve been taking it seriously, I mean that I have probably gone on 100 Hinge dates, read Get the Guy by Matthew Hussey, and most critically I have tried to emulate a person that a potential partner would love.
Matthew Hussey’s advice essentially boils down to this; Become a high-value woman that men want to chase by pursuing fun hobbies, spending lots of time out with your friends, and living your best life. Men love a chase. So if you go about your life instead of slowing down for them, it will make you irresistible.
And it’s not that it’s not true. It absolutely is true. You need to value yourself first to attract an authentic match. And I’m not against finding new hobbies. I think the problem is that I got really caught up in trying to become the fun, easy-going spontaneous girl that had a schedule full of cool social activities despite really valuing time on my own. My dating profile showcased pictures of me ziplining, sailing, out for drinks in New York, and other things I liked to do once every 4-10 years.
I chuckle to myself whenever I come across the question, “What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve done,” and I want to answer, “I am literally not spontaneous.” I like to go to bed at 9, wake up at 5, and I avoid things that are highly stimulating like bars, action movies, or going shopping for more than one hour. But there are things that I do love and feel deeply passionate about.
I’m learning more about my nature and discovering what I genuinely like doing, as opposed to the things I taught myself to like in highschool. It’s taken time to decipher between the two. In Gabor Mate’s book, The Myth of Normal, he reminds us that when a certain behavior becomes second nature to us it’s because it’s something we’ve repeated so often that it becomes automatic. But it’s not our first nature, the natural qualities that we were born with.
Going through this process means that some of my older friends say I’ve changed, and I have. I’m figuring out how to be myself. At times I’ve worried that I’ve become so particular I might be closing myself off. But I’m particular about the things that I know make me feel good. And I think that to hide those aspects of myself in order to seem like more of an easy-going person would be a mistake.Consider this, by one method of categorization, the Myerrs-Briggs test divides people into sixteen different personality types. It uses the Jungian theory of introversion and extraversion, combined with your preferred cognitive functions, whether you tend to be observant or intuitive, and whether you make decisions based on thinking or feeling. All combinations in this particular method of measurement have sixteen possible variants.
That’s many different kinds of folks! They all interact with the world, make decisions, and get their energy in different ways. You might even possess a certain collection of traits that make a very unlikely combination. Because of your uniqueness, finding your match could take time. But when that person comes along that’s just as excited about about the newest installments of Rilakkuma and Sanrio as you are, it would be a shame if they didn’t see you because you were pretending to be someone else.
All of this is to say, I’ve learned a lot and settled in and I’m not so sure I would have liked the partner I’d have chosen for myself when I was twenty-five.
But by all means, go get the guy if you meet him. Be nice. Maybe cut him some slack. Don’t try to pretend you’re someone you’re not. Of course all of this is coming from one single person to another. I am open to suggestions.
As always, these are some of the books I’ve read lately that I’ve found to be really useful, because I love sharing books: The Myth of Normal, The Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love