Monday, January 5, 2009

Chick Magnet OR Dating and marriage according to my parents OR Love and ice cream

In my family and culture, you’re expected to be married and have started a family by the time you reach your mid-20s. If you don’t stick to that schedule, you’re in trouble.

So as far as my family is concerned my wife is long overdue, and I even have a few overdue kids by this time. They don’t let me hear the end of it.

For instance, there was a party with lots of single people in attendance that my brother Brennan and I didn’t go to. We were going to go, but then we realized it conflicted with a band that was playing that we really wanted to see. Oops.

My mom heard about it and became annoyed. She said, “You guys care more about going to rock shows than you do about finding a wife! What if the girl you were supposed to marry was at that party?”

“Well, if she's anybody I want to marry, she was probably at the show,” Brennan countered.

Touché. Basically my mom thinks dating is super easy, but really she just doesn’t remember how annoying and scary dating is. She got married, like, 100 years ago and it was an arranged marriage or something. My dad gave my grandpa a cow as part of the exchange.

So I’m bad at dating. Who isn’t?

For one thing, I have the rest of my life to be boring and married, so why the rush? You can’t force it, and finding a woman who is not crazy is harder than it looks. Finding a woman who is not crazy and “loves me for who I am” aka “puts up with me” is even harder.

And I would be lying if I said the fault rests entirely with the women. Recently I’ve been accused by several people of being “hot and cold.” I accept that. I get close to being serious and then I abandon ship. I know it’s not good, I just get hung up on that word “forever.” FOREVER. That is a long time, in case you were not aware.

When I was about 14 my dad laid it out for me like this: “See, it’s like Baskin Robbins. There’s 31 flavors, right? And there’s free samples, right? Only one day you’re gonna have to buy a scoop and that’s all you get. EVER. So you better try a lot of samples and make darn sure you like Rocky Road or Mint Chip or whatever you choose because you’re stuck with it, man! Rocky Road every single day of your life. Every. Single. Day.”

Never had ice cream sounded so depressing. The scary part is I see people around me putting the same amount of thought into who they’re going to marry as they do into ordering lunch at a fast food restaurant. On second thought, I’d say a lot of them put more thought into that lunch order. Sometimes it’s hard to choose between a number five and a number seven because some days you feel like beef, some days you feel like chicken, you know?

I’ve also talked to newly married couples and oftentimes they will tell me that married life is “hard.” Seriously? I can imagine it would be a fair amount of work, but it shouldn’t be “hard.” If that’s the case then I would just as soon stay single.

So I'm just trying to find a balance between cynical and delusional. I'm hoping for "realistic" and, with any luck, "optimistic."

Let’s make a deal: I will take dating more seriously if everyone will promise to stop harassing me.

See you at the show!