I Want a Boyfriend But I'm Lazy
Updated: Jul 18
I once had a neighbor, an extremely tall nurse who liked to talk and 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 – 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.
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 had glassy eyes as a result of a twice-daily martini diet didn't faze 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 of men standing in front of their boats and profiles that almost always began with "I tend to see the glass as half full".
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 Bumble dates – or the greater guilt over not having any Bumble dates at all. The guilt over scrolling endlessly through Instagram while barely ever checking Bumble 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 fill out any more forms than I have to. But it's more than that: it's the idea of taking something that is supposed to be fun and exciting 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 chamber music, but because something in you stirs when you stand next 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 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 and wave thrown at me. The men who reached out seemed perfectly nice but since their profiles all began with "I tend to see the glass as half full", 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, and I don't watch sports. Still, this inspires me.
Another scenario I can get behind: I’m on a train speeding through the Dolomites. An age-appropriate man finds the last remaining seat next to mine. He’s an Italian doctor, recently widowed, and is instantly intrigued by my less-than conventional lifestyle. We’re married atop a mountain a year later, not far from the spot where he unwittingly wandered onto the train. Or: I casually collide with someone from high school, on the dance floor during a reunion. We barely knew one another back then, but he’s since matured into a handsome (and successful) man with two grown children and a dead wife. The song – Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” – ends and a slow song comes on: “Three Times A Lady” and we fold into each other’s arms. The gyrating crowd melts away as we focus only on each other.
I guess I'm just a hopeless romantic who tends to see the glass as half full.