(Part one was ” I could have been a contenda for ya Anne Hathaway)about Dumb things men do.
It’s taken a while to admit it. Saying it out loud — even in your mind — feels kind of desperate, kind of definitely not you, or at least not any you that you recognize. Because you’re hardly like those on TLC saying yes to the dress and you would never compete for a man like those poor actress-wannabes on The Bachelor.
You’ve never dreamt of an aqua-blue ring box.
Then, something happened. Another birthday, maybe. A breakup. Your brother’s wedding. His wife-elect asked you to be a bridesmaid, and suddenly there you were, wondering how in hell you came to be 37-years-old, walking down the aisle wearing something halfway decent from J. Crew that you could totally wear with a pair of boots and a jean jacket. You started to hate the bride and groom — she was so effing happy — and for the first time ever you began to have feelings about the fact that you’re single. You never really cared that much before. But suddenly (it was so sudden) you found yourself wondering… Deep, deep breath… Why you’re single
Well, I know why.
I was, for some reason, born knowing how to get married. Growing up with parents married for 60 yrs is a big part of it. The need for security made me look for very specific traits in the women I dated — traits it turns out lead to marriage a surprisingly high percentage of the time. Without really trying to, I’ve become a sort of jailhouse lawyer of relationships — someone who’s had to do so much work on his own case that I can now help you with yours.
But I won’t lie. The problem is not them, it’s you. Sure, there are lame men/women out there, but they’re not really standing in your way. Because the fact is — if whatever you’re doing right now was going to get you married, you’d already have a ring on. So without further ado, let’s look at the top reasons why you’re single. None of this is gender specific.
1. You’re a Bitchin Idiot.
Here’s what I mean by bitch. I mean you’re angry. You probably don’t think you’re angry. You think you’re super smart, or if you’ve been to a lot of therapy, that you’re setting boundaries. But the truth is you’re pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it’s scaring others off.
The deal is: most people just want to marry someone who is nice to them. Here’s what my neighbors son wants out of life: macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian. Have you ever seen Kim Kardashian angry? I didn’t think so. You’ve seen Kim Kardashian smile, wiggle, and make a sex tape. Female anger terrifies men. Ladies I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a man’s fear and insecurity in order to get married — but actually, it’s perfect, since working around a man’s fear and insecurity is big part of what you’ll be doing as a wife.
2. You’re Shallow.
When it comes to choosing a mate only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man or woman’s character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? But if you’re not married, I already know it isn’t. Because if you were looking for a person of character, you would have found one by now. Men/women of character are, by definition, willing to commit.
Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl. And men of character do not want to marry teenage girls. Because teenage girls are never happy. And they never feel like cooking, either. But its ok. I know how to cook. Problem solved.
3. You’re a ??????
Hooking up with some guy/girl in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for Jersey Shore — but they’re not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you’re having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop. Why? Because past a certain age, casual sex is like recreational heroin — it doesn’t stay recreational for long.
That’s due in part to this thing called oxytocin — a bonding hormone that is released when a woman a) nurses her baby and b) has an orgasm — that will totally mess up your casual-sex game. It’s why you can be buddying with some dude who isn’t even all that great and the next thing you know, you’re totally strung out on him. And you have no idea how it happened. Oxytocin, that’s how it happened. And since nature can’t discriminate between marriage material and Charlie Sheen, you’re going to have to start being way more selective than you are right now. Or you will be be recreating scenes with Charlie Sheen in the movie Platoon…..don’t do that ….. Get Direct TV…but I digress
4. You’re a internal Liar.
It usually goes something like this: you meet someone who is cute and likes you, but he or she are not really available for a relationship. They have some condition that absolutely precludes availability, like married, or he gets around town on a skateboard. Or maybe they just comes right out and says something cryptic and open to interpretation like, “I’m not really available for a relationship right now.”
You know if you tell them the truth — that you’re ready for marriage –they will stop calling. Usually that day. And you don’t want that. So you just tell them how perfect this is because you only want to have sex for fun! You love having fun sex! And you don’t want to get in a relationship at all! You swear!
About ten minutes later ladies, the oxytocin kicks in. You start wanting more. But you don’t tell him that. That’s your secret — just between you and 22,000 of your closest girlfriends. Instead, you hang around, having sex with him, waiting for him to figure out that he can’t live without you. I have news: he will never “figure” this out. He already knows he can live without you just fine. And so do you. Or you wouldn’t be lying to him in the first place.
5. You’re Selfish.
If you’re not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your nacho-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy — or at least a guy with a really, really good job — would solve all your problems.
A good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself. She has too much s**t to do, especially after having kids. This is why you see a lot of celebrity women getting husbands after they adopt. The kids put the woman on notice: hello! It’s not all about you anymore! After a year or two of thinking about someone other than herself, suddenly, Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford comes along and decides to significantly other her. Which is also to say — if what you really want is a baby, go get you one. Your husband will be along shortly. Motherhood has a way of weeding out the Lotharios.
6. You’re Not Good Enough.
Oh, You don’t think that. You do. I can tell because you’re not looking for a partner who is your equal. No, you want someone better than you are: better looking, better family, better job.
Here is what you need to know: You are enough right this minute. Period. Not understanding this is a major obstacle to getting married, since people who don’t know their own worth make terrible partners. Why? You can fake it for a while, but ultimately you won’t love your spouse any better than you love yourself. Smart men know this.
I see this at my neighbors son’s artsy, progressive school. Of 183 kids, maybe six have moms who are as cute as you’re trying to be. They’re attractive, sure. They’re just not objects. Their husbands (wisely) chose them for their character, not their cup size.
7. You’re a Mess. You overdrink. You overeat. You overspend. You under-earn. Whatever it is, there’s (at least) one big thing in your life — an attitude, a behavior, a vice — that you absolutely, for sure, under-no-circumstances want to let go of. And the bad news is, that is the ONE THING you absolutely, for-sure, under-no-circumstances WILL NOT be able to keep. At least not if you want to move forward. The sneaky part is that this thing holding you back feels like it is making your life more bearable! It’s also telling you that you’re fine! So how do you know if something is a problem? Easy. YOU’RE KEEPING IT A SECRET. If there’s something you can’t (or don’t want) to tell your mom, your best friend, or the guy you’re dating — you can be sure it’s getting in the way of having your best relationship.
8. You’re Crazy. Crazy is where you LOVE INTENSITY. You want life to bring the exclamation points!!!!!!! Normal people, and relationships? Big, noisy YAWN. You think of yourself more like Angelina Jolie when she was with Billy Bob. Crazy is where you use your cell phone like an automatic weapon. You meet, have sex, fight and break up — all by text message. Another sign you’ve got the crazies is if you are constantly telling long, involved stories in the break room about what happened this past weekend. You think your listeners are wowed and they are, but to them it’s like watching an episode of “Fear Factor.” Who doesn’t want to watch another person eat bugs? In fact, a sure-fire way to know you’re crazy is if more than one person has told you you’d be great on a reality show — and you agree with them.
9. You’re a Dude. It’s not that you love the Cardinals, have short hair, or or make more money than most guys. It’s that, when it comes to relationships, you want to hunt them down and kill them. You call guys, you text guys, you ask guys out. You have sex like it’s a temp job, hoping that if you rock a guy’s world, you’ll get hired full-time. And it’s not working for you, because right now, you are in a long-term, committed relationship with EXACTLY NONE of those dudes. Am I saying you should join a quilting circle? Wear ruffles all the time? Um, no. But you might want to see what it’s like to let the game come to you. Because there’s one requirement above all others a guy needs to possess to be your man: he has to REALLY WANT to be in a relationship with you. (Duh!)
Fortunately, there’s a foolproof way to find out just how much of a crap a guy gives: he will 1) ask for your contact information, and 2) HE WILL USE IT RIGHT AWAY. (Do not try to tell yourself he waited two weeks to call text you because he probably had to visit his grandmother in Milwaukee! Guys bring their phones to Milwaukee.) Qualifying a man like this will prevent the mortgage meltdown that is your love life. Because at the end of the day, you don’t need to know if a guy wants to donate his sperm to you. (The answer will probably be Oh, hell yes.) You want to know if he’s willing to send your egg to college. And if a guy doesn’t feel like taking you on a date, THE ANSWER IS NO.
10. You’re Godless. Remember how I said that marriage is a spiritual path? Well, we’re there. The point where I suggest something totally radical and punk-rock as a way of transforming whatever it is you have going on (or don’t have going on) in the area of relationships. And here it is: I want you to get a god. Wait, come back! It’s not necessarily what you think. What do I mean by god? Well, I don’t mean a bearded dude in the sky who is going to give you a Mercedes and a husband if you’re good and punish you if you’re bad. That would be Santa Claus. I mean I want you to cultivate a sense of SPIRIT in your life, a relationship with the intangible, the unseen — the power behind the oceans, gravity, chocolate and the Beatles. You know, the thing you experience in life where the hair stands up on your arms? The Big Something. You could just call it Love. Whatever you name it — it’s the game changer. Because when you mix the idea of spirit into your relationships, it no longer matters how many men or woman are, technically, out there. No more demographics, no more short guys and tall guys or chicks with cankles or ten extra pounds. There are no more lists of things you think you have to have in a mate. There are only two people on a spiritual assignment: TO LOVE EACH OTHER.
Alright, so that’s the bad news. The good news is that I believe everyone who wants to can find a great partner. You’re just going to need to get rid of the idea that marriage will make you happy. It won’t. Once the initial high wears off, you’ll just be you, except with twice as much laundry.
Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something — it’s about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more. Its in the Terms of Surrender. Probably because for us marriage involves sacrificing our most treasured possession — a free-agent penis — and for you, it’s the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland.
The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don’t deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating other will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give them love anyway — because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self — you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along:
Alright, there you have it. Or, some of it. Not because I want to say mean stuff to you about your “flaws”. I don’t think even think of it like that! When I say you’re this and you’re that, I’m not saying there’s something wrong with you. Not really. I’m saying you’re human. Which automatically means there’s something wrong with you. (Ha!) Because to be human IS to be flawed. And to be married is to face an amazing challenge — deal with those flaws in yourself, so you can (paradoxically) accept them in another person. So you can, you know, have your best relationship.
Yes, I have “failed” at relationships — a lot. (Actually, I like to think of failure as “pre-success”.) But who better than a to lead a discussion about the stupid stuff people do in relationships? At least you know I won’t go all sanctimonious on you. Because dude, whatever it is, I HAVE DONE IT. I’ve just decided to love myself anyway.
And as it turns out — that’s exactly what needed to happen all along.
I’m just trying to have a slumber party where we drink margaritas (actually, no more margaritas for me — I was a mess, and I had to deal with it) and laugh and be honest with ourselves about the stupid stuff we are doing and talk about how we could do it better. Because it’s not like anyone is ever truly finished being a idiot (or a mess, or crazy, or selfish). Nope, it’s a practice. And in the process, we get to become better people — and as a result of that, have better relationships. Okay, our best relationship.
Shoot. If I were giving away cars, it’d be just like Oprah. Except with swearing
Just some thoughts from the couch