There is something that happens when we go out in the world and date. Our brains are trained to look for patterns and sometimes when we see a pattern, it can show us how we need to change. That is good news! We can do that! Often times, though when we see a pattern, we decide that it is the world that needs to change. That is a really tough spot to be in because it leaves us powerless. The powerful position is to consider what is in me that needs to change.
A few years ago, after coming back home to New York City after a weekend away at yet another great wedding of a good friend, some friends and I went out to dinner and then to a new bar we had heard about in the east village. It was designed to look like the inside of an airplane and we were curious to see if they really pulled it off. I almost didn't go as I really didn't feel like being out and being an introvert, I was not interested in being in a crowded bar. Plus, I had recently been in a state of panic about another friend getting married. This was someone that I thought would never marry. This was also a time when I was moving from one decade to another and this transition clearly denoted that I was now "old". My life was not matching my preconceived timetable. Of course, I could not share this belief with my friends because they were about the same age as me, and I didn't want to let them know that they were probably doomed as well. I suffered silently and didn't tell them that because of this "fact", we would never meet anyone and it was pretty much over for us.
So just to clarify, I do not believe that a woman needs to marry and have kids to fulfill her purpose, and I never felt like a guy could "complete" me, but I was also a romantic and the idea of a passion-filled love was what I was longing. Marriage would be great, but only if preceded by true passion-filled fireworks-of-the-heart and-mind style of true love.
The bar sort of got the airline thing, but really it should have been a narrower little space to pull it off. They had some airline seats along the edges but there was a big, non-airline style bar squarish bar in the center of the room, so people could be served on all sides. Young New Yorkers were scattered in groups around the bar, talking and laughing. I had stopped drinking two years earlier which made me terminally boring as well. So was old and boring. Images of my childhood card game "Old Maid" flashed in my head.
I cozied up to the bar and ordered a diet coke. I looked around and saw a group of people who were (I decided) clearly younger than me, probably college students, and a couple were looking at me and then laughing. Could they be that cruel. I sucked on my drink and pretended to listen to my friend talk about where she would have her wedding in the fall while focusing my peripheral attention on my young critics. Unbelievably they were indeed laughing at me.
They knew. They knew I was too old to be there, too old to think I could still meet a guy. I looked over again and it was clear, one girl looked right at me and then whispered in a one guy's ear and they both looked at me and started laughing hysterically. It was not just my imagination! Spinsterhood was my fate! I was unloveable! So deep was my despair! So clear was the message that the universe was sending me!
"Do I have something in my face?" I asked my good friend, interrupting her review of various wedding caterers.
'What? No? Are you okay?"
"I have to get out of here," I said
Just then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw one of the youngsters from across the bar. Really couldn't she just leave it alone. I was leaving, she could have her east village scene. I could pick up some jello and a TV tray on the way home and call it a life.
"Hi," she said.
"Hi?" I said.
"Hi," She seemed nervous.
"Did you see that guy that was standing over there before?" she said.
"Um, maybe?" I said. Honestly, I wasn't really looking at them as individuals so much as a group. A group that was clearly upset that I was still cohabitating a scene I should have left years ago like so many of my married friends. A scene that was now theirs.
"Well, he really wanted to come over and talk to you, but he was too nervous. He thought you were the most beautiful woman and the bar."
My face bunched up in a question mark. Then I remembered I didn't want to a big crease between my brows and I tried my best to relax.
"Do you think I could get your number and give it to him? I know he would be so psyched."
"Um, sure" Is said, still thinking this was a horrible joke, but she seemed so sincere and nice!
I gave her number.
He called a few days later and asked me out.
So here's the thing. There is a moral to this yarn. Your ego is not your amigo. That big voice in your head is trying to protect you. If you are convinced of anything, it might be a story and not the truth. Stories are great! I love stories! But if your gonna make up stories, why not make up a fabulous tale with the ending that you want. An ending where you get the guy!