Intellectualizing on August 31, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I never even get that far. I want to be in a committed relationship so much and I never, ever manage to even have a boyfriend or dates past one or two.
What on earth is wrong with me? I’m a little overweight but I am sexy (even I can tell that) and objectively, I am probably more attractive than any woman who happens to be with someone I desire. Furthermore, I actually am very smart and very, very well-educated (abroad). My friend (a journalist) says I am an intellectual posing as a babe. That pretty much sums it up, really. ( I say all this because most people totally overestimate their looks and intelligence.)
Everyone I am attracted to wants or is involved with someone else. Always. The holidays used to be a dull ache but now they feel like stabs in my face, sharp and so painful.
I am very scared of ending up alone. Christmas is already starting to make me cry and we’re just in August. I just don’t know why I am being punished like this.
And by the way, I used to blame this feeling on where I come from which is a rural area. Since then, I have lived on two additional continents and three countries, in each case looking for love (if I have to admit that). Obviously the problem is with me and I am scared of always being alone or having to settle (which I think I would never do).
I am 30 years old by the way.
– Scared and Loveless
If you’re already thinking about Christmas, you’re ahead of Hallmark, and that is scary.
Oh, and before I really launch into this, let’s just do away with the Intellectual vs. Babe thing, shall we? It’s a totally, like, false dichotomy. I’m sure you are both, no posing required. Okay?
Anyway. BG so, so knows how frustrating and galling and unfair this whole thing can feel. But I also know this: the only thing wrong with you is that you’re walking around convinced that there’s something wrong with you. Which, last time I checked, did not appear in Cosmo’s Top Ten Flirting Moves. Hence the following self-defeating phenomena:
1. Psychology. Now that you’ve decided there’s something wrong with you, you have to be right about that. I talk about this all the time, you guys. Consider this: humans would rather be lonely than wrong. So once you decide it’s hopeless, a part of you does shut down, give up, quit trying, make sure that it stays that way. Case in point: there are attractive Taken people everywhere. Jane Does sees one, she thinks, “Drat!” and moves on. You see one, you think, “See? Again!” Got it? And while you’re crying about another Christmas dust-biter, you don’t notice the cute pizza guy. Your attitude totally shapes your reality. Seriously.
2. Vibeology. I am not accusing you of any overt tactical blunders. But I have this funny feeling that given all of the above, when you meet someone, there’s somehow, like, this message running along the bottom of the screen saying, “THIS WILL NEVER WORK” or “I KNOW WE JUST MET BUT I CAN GET A GREAT COMPANION FARE FOR DECEMBER 23 IF WE PURCHASE BY MONDAY.” Again, not Top Ten.
If you think I’m just telling you to : ) : ) : ) Have a Positive Attitude! : ) : ) : ), I might as well hang up my cape and cap right now. You can’t just ball your fists and change how you feel; I certainly can’t tell you to. BUT you can take a look at how how you feel affects your impressions, evaluations, actions, and reactions — and try to tinker with that. Right now you’re thinking, “Shut up, Breakup Girl, this is REAL. There REALLY isn’t anyone. It is a FACT that there is no hope. You just don’t get the REALITY.” Okay, fine. But just for the heck of it, try listening to your thoughts the next time you go out, the next time you see someone cute, the next time you talk to someone new. I will bet you that I am on to something. I will bet you that, with a little practice, you might hear — and catch — yourself saying “Here we go again…”. And then do something different, that you and your bad intellectual babelicious self wouldn’t have done before. Like maybe actually having fun instead of giving up before word one.
Believe me, Scared, I’d hate to be wrong about this more than you would. Keep me posted.