• Jessica Abrams

I Want a Boyfriend But I'm Lazy

I once had a neighbor, an extremely tall nurse who defied all your notions about nurses. She liked to talk and she had great style. Above all, she was organized and it was enjoyable to revel in her specificity on the subject of sub-dividing a closet or using a tool tray cart to hold beauty products. She had a boyfriend who was also very tall and when I asked how she met him she answered, "E-Harmony." She went on to detail the exhaustive work she had done to find this trophy: "Oh, I was determined to be in a relationship. I made spreadsheets."

I've made maybe one spreadsheet in my life and it was in a test to place me in a temp position and, if the job I landed was any indication, I didn't do a very good job. I cannot imagine making a spreadsheet for dating, but then there is no way I would put dating on the level of work and go about it with the kind of steely-eyed determination this neighbor did.

I'm convinced this is why I'm still single.

My last boyfriend and I got together because he said these magic words: "I want to date you". The fact that he wasn't at all my type and had glassy eyes didn't phase me; I was just thrilled someone had the balls to come right out and announce their intentions. I was also overjoyed that I could have a boyfriend without having to wade through a sea of photos on OK Cupid of men standing in front of their boats and profiles that almost always began with "I like to think of myself as a positive person".

It was so easy. There was no guesswork, no wondering if he would call again. I didn't have to rehearse the commitment question in my head so that it sounded breezy, improvised, earnest and heartfelt all at once. We were in a relationship and I knew it.

The fact that I also knew he wasn't right for me despite all my efforts to "make it work" might have contributed to this complete lack of worry, and the fact that those instincts ultimately played out and compelled me to bow out of the relationship after almost a year are secondary to the fact that I was in one. And what bothers me most about no longer being with him is that now I have to feel guilty about not making spreadsheets for my Match-dot-com dates -- or the even greater guilt over not having any Match-dot-com dates at all.

The very idea of putting romance on the level of a job application offends me to the core. Full disclosure: I break out in hives when having to fill out a real job application, so I don't want to do it any more than I have to. But it's more than that: it's the idea of taking something that is supposed to be fun and turning it into the most mundane and soul-crushing of tasks (in a world full of mundane and soul-crushing tasks).

There are people who find themselves in their element doing this and I don't want to know them. What happened to meeting someone at a bar, on a plane, in the next cubicle over? What happened to clicking with someone not because they say they, too, like to enjoy a robust Zinfandel while listening to the elephant seals mate in Cambria but because something in you stirs when you stand too close to them? And so what if they're a janitor or a professor of linguistics? Maybe they have things to teach you and you have things to teach them that go beyond this insane notion that chemistry can be deduced via a carefully constructed profile, some pictures from five years ago and an algorithm crafted by a bunch of sexless Silicon Valley desk jockeys.

One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to "get out there" and so, on January 3rd, I signed up for three months of Match-dot-com. I thought it might be better to find a site where people had to pay because that might make them more "serious". It turns out, I'm the one who's not serious. I've visited the site twice and ignored every wink or wave or whatever they call trying to get someone's attention without having the courage to send an actual message. The men who reached out seemed perfectly nice but since their profiles all began with "I like to think of myself as a positive person", I politely declined in my own diplomatic way: I ignored them.

A friend of a friend met her now husband like this: she was at a bar, he was sitting next to her. They started talking. Then, when the evening ended, she invited him back to her place. They woke up the next morning in a relationship and were married two years later. That sounds like my style. The only issue is, she was at the bar to watch a football game on the big screen television and I don't watch sports (on any television). Still, this inspires me.

I guess I'm just a hopeless romantic after all.

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