You’re Not Going to Meet Your Husband Tonight

If I’m being honest (which I always try to be on this blog), I’ve been kind of lame lately.

My friends would probably agree – especially since they’re always coming up with fun things to do – but this summer, I’ve had so much going on that going out hasn’t really been on the top of my mind.

So maybe that’s why last Saturday night felt a little strange to me.

I was sitting with my new friend (and roommate!), C at a bar seriously lacking men in the West Village on Saturday night, trying to figure out why my stomach was in knots. While I’ve been single the last three years, I have experienced that same night over-and-over again: dinner followed by bar hopping, followed by possible drunken kisses with cute strangers, followed by a late night in and an early morning up, cursing the hangover gods for their cruel intentions.

But last Saturday, something felt different.

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Dating the Doppelganger

Last night, my company had one of our big award galas followed by drinks on the boss and then the younger crew took to the streets for additional boozing. Needless to say, our GM’s request for us all to come in a little later was much appreciated.

My hair wet and my makeup carelessly applied and smudged, I couldn’t bring myself to read F. Scott Fitzgerald as I rode the downtown train. Somehow, Gatsby just seems to deserve more than my hung-over attention. Instead of reading, I did one of my prized past-times, people watching. Though I usually stand, at this mid-morning hour I gave into the desire to plop down and bulge my elbows to claim my personal space bubble.

Glancing through the straphangers, I met eyes with a few cuties, made a silly face at a baby with curls and said a prayer for the homeless man scratching himself in the corner of the cart as everyone around him scattered, afraid they could catch “homeless” if they got too close. The married, gray-haired man next to me read his Wall Street Journal folded up into a tight little square, opening it as he slowly read the financial news of the day. And a rather non-amused teenager listening to Nicki Minaj so loudly it made my eardrums ring.

And then across from me, sat Mr. Possibility.

Or so, I thought, anyway. But no, it couldn’t be – Mr. Possibility is out-of-town this weekend and there was no way he’d be riding the downtown train from the Upper West Side to Chelsea at 10 a.m. I did a double-take when I first saw him, trying to further convince myself that it wasn’t in fact my boyfriend, but his doppelganger.

I couldn’t help but study him, left with nothing else to entertain myself with for the next six stops. His hair laid the same way. His eyes were the same color. He made the same face that Mr. Possibility does when he’s thinking really hard. When he lost at whatever game his phone was entertaining him with, he mouthed “F***” just as I imagine Mr. Possibility would do if he had actually downloaded that Angry Bird app he once played for an hour straight at a friend’s barbeque. His attire could have been pulled out of Mr. Possibility’s closet. I didn’t know this man, but here I was watching him intimately, feeling like I could strike up a conversation with little effort. He doesn’t know me, but I’m dating his doppelganger. Who is this guy and what is the universe trying to tell me? It’s an omen of death to meet your own look-a-like, so what happens when you see the twin of the guy you’re dating?

Once I exited the train, I didn’t give too much more thought about the character I encountered and busily got to writing and editing articles. When 1:30 rolled around and I realized I was still surviving off my pizza indulgence from last night’s shenanigans, I hurried out of the office to grab something simple to eat and a hot dose of caffeine to keep me going until half-past-five.

Taking the stairs to rid my carbohydrate-d guilt, I flung the door into the lobby open and found myself face-to-face with the doppelganger.

He looked surprised and smiled as he asked, “You were on the train this morning.” I confirmed and felt my cheeks redden to the tune of Akon, realizing he noticed me, noticing him. We talked about working in the same building and both living on the Upper West Side and what a small world Manhattan is. I wasn’t too incredibly freaked out by the meeting until he said, “Well, it’s nice to meet you, my name is Mr. Possibility.”

Yep. They have the same name too.

I stammered my way out of his vicinity and into the streets, less hungry and more intrigued. Maybe Mr. Possibility is my match, but I just met his. I said a silent prayer they weren’t just alike because that probably means there’s another one of me lurking around the corner, writing a blog about dating, love, sex, and ridiculousness.

But you know – I kind of already know I’m not one-of-a-kind. Sure, there’s not another Lindsay Tigar on Facebook or anyone who is just like or looks identical to me or has my same history and passions – but I’ve met women who are very similar to me. The planet has no lack of writers or editors and not enough jobs to fill the passion. Anyone who wants to be can be a blogger and if you want a byline, there’s probably an outlet for you somewhere on some website, somewhere in the World Wide Web. There are blue-eyed beauties and average-height brunettes who love heels and hail from North Carolina. And if you’ve dated at all, you’ve probably found a Mr. Unavailable, a Mr. Possibility, a Mr. Idea, and all of the rest. I have no doubt I probably have dozens of twins and perhaps even a doppelganger too, that I’d like to not meet anytime soon.

Maybe we’re not so unique but rather, vain enough to believe there is only one person who can do whatever it is that we do. Or perhaps we’re silly to believe that only one person is designed to be our partner in this life, that only one wonderful, dream-like dude can fit the bill of boyfriend or husband or otherwise.

But that’s not true. I’ve met two Mr. Possibilities. And really, isn’t every man a Mr. Possibility until proven…impossible?

The Wingman Who Wants to Want

Regardless if we claim (or admit) to be interested by the company of a predetermined Mr. Wonderful- somewhere, deep down, in even the most cynical, sarcastic, and bitter of hearts -lives a tiny inkling of desire for true love to prove it exists. That after the darkest of nights, there is always the hope for a dawn that (or who) will lighten up our hearts and free us from the rips and tears that haunted us since the last man who dwelt there. Even in our most independent, most sassy, and most vibrant pair of single shoes – it is against all tricks and trials of nature to not become somewhat intrigued when we notice a simple glance or curling lip from a new face in the distance.

Perhaps on the way to self-love, we learn that the appetite for passion, for partnership, isn’t really one that can be fulfilled by being single.

For a while, I became convinced that if I was going to fall in love with myself, I needed to stop being in love with the idea of love. That I needed to quench any thirst, any hope, any inclination of possibility, and focus entirely on myself. This meant dreams of happily ever after, notions of romance I eagerly wanted to experience, and seemingly meaningful moments with handsome strangers needed to fall to the wayside, and in return, I had to propel myself to the forefront.

But as life often does, a chance encounter, a meeting with someone who could spark something new in you, makes you think of the whole process in a different way. For me, this person wasn’t in a romantic sense or really even a career pursuit, but rather – just someone who has a similar story to mine.

Meet The Professional Wingman, or as I will call him, Mr. Hitch.

A few years ago, Mr. Hitch discovered his girlfriend was cheating on him. This revelation and break-up made him decide to take  a step back and start focusing his attention on becoming a better person – not for a woman, or for anyone else, but for himself. To hold himself accountable and to actually stick to his guns, he created a blog that chronicled his life and what he was learning. After a short amount of time, he started receiving comments and traffic, and before long, people were asking him for advice about relationships, love, and how to make their overall quality of life and self better. And so, he came up with the idea to help others by being a dating coach, or a wingman, who helps them attract the type of people they want to meet. From there, it’s been history and he recently moved to New York to expand his clientele.

I was introduced to Mr. Hitch from one of my freelance columnist positions, and after the interview, I knew I had to meet him in person. I mean, minus being a “wingwoman” (not so sure I’d be good at that) -I started this blog for the same reason: to really fall in love with myself and not base that admiration on any outside person. And so, once I proclaimed I was the female version of him, he gladly agreed to meet up for a drink. I invited one of my great gal friends, C, to come along too.

We started out the evening at a sportsbar chatting and within an hour, he deemed me someone who probably wasn’t in need of his wingman services. That really, I was a woman who knew what she was doing – so well, in fact, he casually joked about me becoming a member of his soon-to-be team. At least I think he was joking.

Nevertheless, as we discussed our backgrounds, horrendous (and amazing) dating stories, and our desire to make a difference in the lives of singles everywhere – I realized something profound in what he was doing. Just because he was determined to grow his own confidence and stop obsessing about relationships, he didn’t lose sight of the beauty of love. In fact, his job is now to encourage others to be more secure in the dating scene so they ultimately will encounter someone who is not just what they want, but what they deserve. Like me, he has an absolutely “no settling” policy, and I dig it.

Not being obsessed with love doesn’t mean I have to not have any desires for a partner. The thirst for love is natural, is human, is healthy.  It is only when it becomes the number one priority of our lives and when we condemn ourselves because we don’t have that tall drink of water, that it becomes an issue.

Really, it is a difference between wanting and needing, as Mr. Hitch taught me.

Being the true romantic I am at heart, I had to ask him if his winging ended up winning him a lady. And as the happy ending goes, of course it did. She, like him, aids others in the never-ending search for love – but instead of joining dudes and chicks at bars, she helps them weave through the online dating jungle. Both experts at the game, they somehow found their match (pun intended) and when he spoke of her, his face lit up with an admiration that no one could ever deny. As a follow-up question towards the end of the evening on the way to the train, I asked him, “What’s something that you love about her, that’s out of the ordinary?” With a quick grin and his cool, classy swagger, he replied, “She doesn’t really need me, but she wants me. If I were to leave or something was to happen, she’d be fine. But she chooses to stay with me and depend on me, just a little.” Another guy who values independence – let’s just say the North is miles ahead of the South on priding women for more than their ovaries and their signature meatloaf.

Maybe being single, even vibrantly satisfied flying solo, will never rid of the anticipation of a love to come, but having that confidence will attract the right kind of partner. The one who is worth giving up some part of our freedom that we so enjoy. When instead of thinking we must have a man to call our own, save the dates in the mail, and someone to tuck our cold toes under at night, we realize that those are things we want, but not necessairly need, is where we find our peace.

And though at times, I may feel like I shouldn’t still want those things or want to be held or want to walk hand-in-hand in the park or sit side-by-side at Dunkin’ Donuts on a blistering Saturday morning – I know that it’s okay to have those desires. It doesn’t make me weak or dependent on someone else, but rather, admitting I do still have romantic dreams gives me strength to own how they affect me. To realize that though I don’t have to insist, to myself, to him, or to others that I must be in a relationship to be happy, I can say proudly, that one day, there will be a man who brings me tremendous joy. I won’t need him to need me, but I’ll want him to want me, and love him to love me.

And he, like Mr. Hitch, will know that I don’t really need him, but I do want him in my life. That I do choose him to be lucky enough to stand by my side. What’s more…he’ll want me to feel that way, and he’ll love it.

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The Lack Luster Love: Mr. Buddy

Call me crazy, but I’ve never been the type to want to be friends with a guy before I date him. Maybe this is where part of my struggle and love addiction comes from – this unrealistic idea that I should just meet a guy and fall in love, not be BFFs with him for years before.

Somehow, I think if you know too much from the beginning (like ex-girlfriends, strange traits, etc.), that certain mystery and charm is eliminated from the courtship. Of all of the men I’ve dated, loved, or been sexual with – I’ve only been friends with one before we dated.

And my theory that friends before love doesn’t work for me was proven correct by Mr. Buddy.

My freshman year of college, I met Mr. Buddy after the first big snowfall in my sleepy college town. Even beneath his puffy jacket and earmuffs, I could tell he had this killer smile and immediately we clicked. Along with a friend of mine and a friend of his, we went sledding all night and exchanged numbers at the end of the evening.

Long story short, Mr. Buddy was leaving my college to pursue other goals and we decided that because we got along so well, we should stay in touch. For the two years that followed, Mr. Buddy was my go-to guy about any and every man trouble that I encountered. We literally spent hours talking via IM or text message, and even on the phone. He was always reassuring and complimented me endlessly – and I returned the favor when he ran into lady drama.

During my last few weeks in NYC when I interned at Cosmo following my sophomore year, Mr. Buddy’s tone started changing. He was become flirtier and more standoffish if I told him about my New York date-of-the-week. While I wasn’t sure what I thought about it, I continued to be honest and open with him, not changing how I always was, and finally, he asked for a phone call.

And low-and-behold, he told me how he felt: he was falling for me.

At first, I was stunned. Here is this guy who literally knows everything about me – what gets to me, what makes me happy, how many times my heart has been broken, what I look for in a guy, what I hate, what I want, what I need – and he likes me? He’s seen all of my mess and he still is falling for me?

I wasn’t convinced I felt the same way yet, but I decided to agree to a date once I returned to North Carolina. When he picked me up and I saw that same beautiful smile that I loved in the cold two years previous, I decided I would give a romantic relationship a real shot. He happened to bring me a congratulatory present: a map of the world – something I’d mentioned I wanted months and months ago, and he remembered.

How could I resist?

And so after a good “first date” we decided to become official. In the two months that followed, we went on dates, slept over, “met” our respective families, and visited each other. On the outside, we seemed and appeared like any couple that was gradually falling in love with each other.

But in the inside – something was missing.

For me to be gaga over someone (or even in a “bad romance”) I have to feel that thing. That sensation that extends from the bottom of my heart, the tips of my tongue, and well, from down below, too. And somehow, because I knew so much about Mr. Buddy and he knew so much about me – I couldn’t find the perfect ingredients and the right recipe to get the mix to work. However, I was determined to keep him as my friend and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to end everything and throw in the towel on love, so I stayed.

But then, he started acting differently – not returning texts or calls, being unpredictable, and not being affectionate – and even in our tenure as friends, he was never this way. While I questioned it, I also had this fear of “being left again” so I didn’t want to scare him away (as I thought and at times still do think I do). I started not being as open and more importantly, I stopped being myself. And for a “relationship” that was based on both of us being ridiculously honest with one another, him changing and me changing, and not being who we really were with each other – was a prescription for disaster.

One weekend in the two months we dated, he came to a football game at my school. I bought his ticket and his favorite food, and he helped me carry over items I agreed to bring to the school newspaper’s tailgate. After he barely said anything to the staff (even though I’d bragged about how I was bringing my new beau) – he asked for his ticket. Confused, I asked why he needed it yet, if we were going together. He quickly replied that he was going to go tailgate with some friends he hadn’t seen in a while and in case we got separated, he wanted to make sure he could get in.

I reluctantly gave it to him, kissed him, and…that’s the last time we’ve seen each other.

He basically got highly intoxicated, ignored my phone calls, hung out with his friends, and at the end of the evening, finally called me and told me “it just wasn’t working out.” He then asked if I would kindly place his overnight bag outside my door.

My friend M and A and I responded to this outlandish and disrespectful breakup, followed by a ridiculous request by destroying most of his clothes, dumping his cologne, scrubbing his toothbrush on the toilet (sorry Mr. Buddy!) and ripping the map he gave me into smithereens. And placing it, “kindly’ outside my door. Mature? Not at all. Gratifying? Incredibly so.

It was nearly eight months before we had a mature conversation about the whole incident. And just like Mr. Fire, Mr. Buddy decided with my anticpated move to Manhattan, he didn’t have much to offer me. And like me, he liked our friendship as it was before we introduced a love component to it.

So now, with some forgiving and some laughs, we’ve gone back to our friendship. Only now, when I ask questions like “Is it just impossible to date me?” or “I must be awful in bed” or “Why can’t I find love?” he has a better ground to stand on when answering them.

From the whole experience, I learned that even if a guy gives you the whole world, loves you for who you are (messy and annoying and all), if you don’t have that thing. That thing that I can’t even put into words – he’s just not the guy for you.

But maybe, just maybe, you can tell him, you’d love to be just friends.

 

 

 

 

The Writing on the Wall

Somewhere in this big, beautiful city, is a man. I have no idea what he looks like, what he does, where he’s from, where he lives now, or what his name is. But, as my mother, fate, and storybooks say: when I meet him, there will be this moment when I just know.

In a place where I pass strangers so often that if I walked by them more than once, I’d never know – it can be difficult (or rather impossible) to believe there is this one person who I’m destined to spend my life with. As far as I know, I could have walked by him every morning for the last eight months or been in the same train with him, just different cars. He could be two floors above my office or not even living in NYC right now (although my gut says he is).

Even though I love my life exactly how it is currently and I really don’t feel that intense urge to have a boyfriend as I used to – of course, one day, I hope to feel that magical intensity with the man I’ll call my husband. And there are days when I feel that fear in the pit of my stomach and the deepest corners of my heart that screams: “What if he’s not out there?

This idea of everlasting love and until-death-do-we-part and happily-ever-after is heavy. It weighs down on you with pressure and anxiety and gut-wretching worry that if I don’t find that, if I don’t find him, if I don’t get married and don’t have kids – what will become of my life? Will I still be able to find happiness? Could I (and would I want to) be able to feel this peaceful feeling as a single gal, forever? (Take a deep breath).

Ladies Night is every Thursday at a bar that I frequent and all the girls get $2 margaritas and drafts, along with half-priced appetizers. This place offers frickles (fried pickles) and that’s more than enough of a reason to go back more than once for me. With a bladder about as big as a dime, I’m always the girl who has to get up and go to the bathroom several times in a short period (and yes, I’m fine going alone).

On my second trip to the bathroom, I noticed rather large writing to my left. At first, I just read “I love Adam Forever” and didn’t think anything of it. But as I stood up, I saw in a smaller writing: “He’s NOT the One, but he’s out there. Believe. I’m trying to.”

For the rest of the night, I thought about how powerful that single phrase is. And how much it represents what I feel the majority of the time. I see a guy or go on a date and I know the chemistry isn’t there and I have to remind myself, “Its okay, Linds. This isn’t the guy, but he’s out there. Keep your hope up! Love yourself!” And finding that special peace, that serenity as a single girl is not easy. You dress yourself up, put on your favorite heels, maybe buy some new earrings, and shave away everything  – just to realize he’s just another Mr, not the Mr you thought he could be.

And god, it’s so frustrating.

Even though I feel like I’m at a happy place and pace with this journey, it is so normal to get disappointed. Part of what keeps me going is this blog (thank all of you!), my friends, and this idea that I have a bigger purpose with my writing and in doing this. In some cosmic way, I have this notion that I’m destined to be single. At least for right now and probably, not forever. I look at it like this: I literally will spend the majority of my life married (most likely), and although keeping the faith high is a constant battle, single is what I need right now.

Learning to depend on myself and more importantly, to believe in something bigger than me, and taking off all of this pressure and worries – allows me the ability to really figure out who I am. To see the writing on the wall, to face myself in the mirror, and to stand tall, even when I want to burst into tears on a second date because it’s so awful. To go out on Ladies Night and be focused on my girls, instead of the slew of men so into a hockey game that they refuse to turn around, even once.

So even though the man I will marry (and yes, I believe he exists) is somewhere on this planet, living, breathing, doing his own single (or not) thing, and even though I may have walked past him, shook his hand, or caught a glimpse of him – I know I’m not ready to fall for him. Not yet, not today.

And for those moments when I feel like I can’t accept being single or I’m lonely or feel ugly and not-sexy, when I can’t find that self-love, when I can’t see how much I truly have going for me – I’ve got this space, my amazing pals– and strangers, who write on bathroom walls, to remind me that no matter what, I’m never, ever alone.