An imaginary conversation about being a hypochondriac

I think I broke my ribs at the gym last night.

You did not break your ribs.

Google disagrees.

While you’re Googling, you should look up the symptoms of hypochondria.

OK. Wait, what? I am not a hypochondriac!

Yes. You are most definitely a hypochondriac. 

No.

Do you want me to read the definition to you?

No, I can read it myself. 

You probably should. 

OK. Fine. I am kind of a hypochondriac. 

Kind of?

A lot. 

You have a different imaginary illness every week. 

Some of them are real. 

One. One of them was real, but your overall stats are pretty bad.

Everyone says that.

Why do you think that is?

Because I always think that everything I notice about my body is some sort of illness.

You’re so dramatic. 

Always have been. 

At least you’re getting better at sarcasm. 

Are you being serious right now?

Well, I thought you were getting better at it…

An imaginary conversation about scaring the natives

Can I ask you something?

Oh god. 

It isn’t anything awful. 

You’ll ask anyway. 

True. Well. No. 

No?

No, I wouldn’t ask if you said no, but I’d be annoyed. 

Right. 

So are you going to answer, or would you rather annoy me?

Can I reserve the right to decide until after I hear the question?

I suppose that is fair. 

So, what’s the question?

Can you name some qualities about me that men I date would find good and bad?

Good? Smart, funny, likes football and other sports, spontaneous, can sing, likes good food, knows lots of interesting facts about stuff, beer…

I’ve had several guys tell me I seem great but they don’t date women who like football. What’s the bad?

Possible freak inducing qualities: very open about deep, dark thoughts… Might reference you in a blog that includes aforementioned thoughts… Lots of male friends… Laughs at just about everything, Cries about just about everything…

Crying I get, but why would laughing freak someone out?

You could be laughing at him. Men are sensitive about that. 

Huh. Good to know. 

Anything surprising to you other than that?

Not really. There have already been issues because I have male friends. 

Really?

Yeah. 

Why do you need to know?

Just curious. 

You don’t need to change yourself to attract men. 

I am not. I just wonder what freaks them out sometimes.  Thanks. 

You’re welcome. 

I’ve been thinking about it. You didn’t include that I am wordy and overthink everything. 

You’re arguing with my list?

No. Yes. A little. 

Fine. Add wordy, over-thinking and relentless to both pros and cons. 

Relentless?

You don’t think you are?

Well…

Seriously?

Yeah. You’re right I am. 

I’m right?

I am pretty good about saying when someone else is right. 

I’m going to let that pass.  

Thanks. 

Can I ask you a question now?

Of course!

Do you think maybe you are taking men’s reactions to you too personally?

Yes, probably. I try not to, but when the rejections come in multiples I do wonder. 

Maybe you should take a step back and just be happy without worrying about men and what they think about you. 

Maybe. But I like men. 

I know you do. Maybe you just need to focus on good stuff in your life. 

I do! That is why I keep stepping back from dating, when I start feeling jaded. It’s just…

What?

I have stuff I need to figure out about what is not going well, so I write about it. The stuff that is going well doesn’t need to get figured out. It’s already working. 

Just saying that a little more concentrating on the positive couldn’t hurt. 

You’re right. 

Twice in one night?

Hush up. One thing that I am definitely feeling very good about are all of my friends and family. 

You know good people. 

I definitely do. Present company included. 

Ditto. 

Tiny heartbreaks


Well, it’s not for me to say
But I can’t see what you see in him anyway
But such righteousness in me
Is not a nice thing to display
And who am I
For Christ sakes anyway
Oh, to judge a life this way
When my own’s in disarray.
–Everything But The Girl/Two Star

The other day, I disabled my online dating profile for the nth time in 4 months. I keep meeting very nice guys who aren’t quite right, but close. Or who might be right, but disappear after a couple of dates. Or who seem right, but aren’t emotionally available. Or maybe just aren’t really as nice as I thought they were. Or the ones who are occasionally in touch, vaguely disinterested. Or too far away to meet up with easily.

It’s a great way to meet people, but it’s hard. It takes a lot of time and emotional energy. I don’t have time to read or write much when my profile is active. It’s almost like a part time job.

It is a worse time suck than Twitter or Facebook.  It’s so easy to scroll through the screens, reading what people have to say about themselves. Shopping for kind faces. People who look like they think. Most of them don’t have very much to say, and what they do say is not spelled correctly.

There are also a lot of people looking at you without really seeing who you are, or might be. UR sexy, wanna chat?

What gets to me, though, is the steady stream of tiny heartbreaks. I could be thicker skinned about it, I guess, but I’ve designed my life around being trusting and open hearted. Being vulnerable. So it’s hard mentally and emotionally when things don’t work out.

Spend several days talking to someone who sounds great, who then says “I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship…or dating…or meeting someone in person…and yet I’m happy to have really deep conversations with you as long as you just want to talk.”  Uh. No.  I can get really connected to someone if they write well. I don’t need to get more connected to someone who isn’t ready to move forward.

Or the weird ones. A guy read my profile, and sent me a message saying that he thought I was a beautiful woman, and had a truly lovely smile, but due to my atheism he feared we could not be a match. However, in that one picture from a football game, there was a really great looking woman on the far right. Could I give her his contact info and see if she’s interested?  Is HELL NO too strong?

The guy I wrote about yesterday who said I was an abomination unto the Lord was just the moldy cherry on top of a week full of melted ice cream in my dating sundae.

It’s a steady, low level emotional beating. In addition to the struggle to keep myself from feeling like there is something wrong with me,  it starts to make me mean when I have several failures in a week. When I start getting cynical about men, I have to step back so I can remember how much I like them.

For the record, I love men. Many of my friends are men. What would I ever do without them? They have strong hands, and they smell good. The douche canoes are ruining it for all of the spectacular men out there. The single men are saying the same thing about women, I’m sure.

Heartbreaks? I’m exaggerating, right? Of course, a little. Like I do. Not too much. They aren’t big heartbreaks, but all of the rejections, the rude messages about not being properly God-fearing disguised as telling me I am pretty, the people who I seem to be genuinely connecting with on some level who disappear…all of that grinds me down. Instead of one big heartbreak, it’s a thousand tiny ones. I have to keep stepping back to breathe.

The last several days have been a bit grueling, between the virtual and real worlds. Bad news about a good friend, a couple of hostile online encounters, a couple of promising connections broken. I got tired. Tired, sad and a little jaded.

I’m not going to be that person who thinks that men are awful. They aren’t. Some of them are, and they seem to be the ones who make an impression. I need to remember to let all of the fantastic men I know make just as much of an impression. 

When that negative impression gets too powerful, I pause,  because it is not OK. It’s OK for me to be overwhelmed, but it is NOT OK for me to start thinking that men are bad. I know too many who are fantastic. I would list them out,  but I would feel bad if I left anyone out. I talk about you all the time anyway.

So. 

Is it worth it? Do I get more out of it than I put into it?

I don’t know. Not this week.

Maybe next week.

Overall, I would have to say yes, it is worth the trouble.

I am still in touch with the very first man I met. It wasn’t a romantic hit, but we had a good time and have kept in contact. I talk with a great guy almost every day who lives just a little too far away to meet up with easily. Maybe soon. Over three or four months, I’ve met about a dozen men in person who I have had one or more enjoyable evenings with. I’ve gotten over a little of my life long shyness. I’m a little better at basic conversation than I was before.

Silver linings, right? Maybe there haven’t been any great romances, but at least I am learning etiquette.

My mother will be pleased.