Friday, December 2, 2011

The Leftovers: Or Dating in my Thirties

I’m thirty-three, and I am single. That’s by choice, as I’m both very independent and very peripatetic. But about a year ago, now, I decided that I should try to put down roots, mostly because I love my job here in Pennsylvania and I wanted to try to make the state home. For while the job is a great fit, the place…not so much.

Anyway, that led me to embark on Internet dating. Which, a bare six months later, led me to declare a moratorium on dating, period.

This is not a slam on Internet matchmaking. I know tons of people who’ve met their SO over the computer, and I’ve had a long term, long distance, "not-a-relationship!" with someone who, for all intents and purposes, I met on Twitter.

Instead, this is about dating in my thirties, and how all us thirtysomething singles have left are the leftovers. Granted, I think dating in my thirties would be very different if I lived somewhere else—somewhere more ambitious, more productive, and more economically healthy, like New York or London. But here’s what I discovered make up the leftovers—what’s left when someone’s still single in their thirties:

·      The Walking Wounded: Those men and women recovering from a divorce or separation so brutal, they’re basically an ambulatory sucking wound. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed these dates, as I am a writer. So under the auspices of being “a good listener” I probed for all the gory details, carefully filing them away for future use in my fiction. 
·      The Great Unreconstructed: This is the man (although I’m sure there’s a female equivalent) who adheres to a patriarchal view of the world that places him at the apex because he is THE MAN. Therefore, he’s certain he’s more successful than you, the woman. When he discovers he’s not, it’s like watching one of those bizarre New Guinean birds do a territorial display—all puffed chest and flaring comb(over).
·      The Disaster: Just what it says on the package. He’s got awesome excuses for why he lives in his sister’s attic and has never achieved a single one of his ambitions, excuses which you totally want to believe, because at least he’s fairly liberal. Then you realize he doesn’t judge because he can’t, as he’s really a total loser.
·      The Chameleon: That guy who tells you everything you want to hear. At first you wonder if it’s a Machiavellian plot to get in your pants, and you giggle to yourself because you’re actually rather easy. But at some point you realize that the poor sod actually has no idea who he is, and that he wants to be everything, anything, other than himself.
·      The Marquis: He’s the guy who advertises himself as a warehouse of fetishistic carnal delights. Inevitably, he’s also 5’4”, with a potbelly, no hair, and coke bottle glasses. Or nine feet tall, 150 pounds sopping wet, with a ponytail trailing down his back like an anemic polecat. Either way, you’d be too busy giggling at the sight of him in a leather harness to choke out the word “Daddy.”
·      That Guy Who Poses In Photos With a Python For No Apparent Reason: I still haven’t figured out that guy. Lemme know if you have any thoughts.

Meanwhile, the last thing Internet dating taught me was that I, Nicole Peeler, am myself a leftover. I might look good as a bullet pointed list, especially in terms of career success, etc. But in truth, I’m so successful because I am utterly, unapologetically selfish; I take the concept of “independence” to an obsessive, slightly paranoid level; and I ALREADY HAVE MY OWN LIFE, THANKS. So, anyone knocking at my door, trying to move in with their schedule and their (ugly) furniture and their (terrible) thoughts on home décor and their (stupid) ideas about where and how to live and their (crazy) idea I can’t travel whenever I damned well please and their (selfish) demands I give up my lover and their delusion they can cook sometimes and their propensity for moving my pots and their inability to put the shit back in the cupboard where it belongs and their leaving their shoes in the hallway where I trip over them and their………. Well, they can go fuck themselves.

I, my friends, am a leftover. Make some casserole out of that. ;-)


AnnaC said...

Awesome...insightful and HILARIOUS.

I am with you.

Anonymous said...

Reading this makes me so glad I married at 20 ;)

Anonymous said...

Love it! You made me smile when I needed to.
Hope you stay in Greensburg long enough for me to have enough funds to get to the MFA over there.
Annie Q.

jordanthemostwonderfulest said...

Love it! So true. I'm perfectly happy with my cats. :)

Anonymous said...

y\You forgot, the "I'm looking for my soulmate" type, this one has been looking for years, wil make you feel like you're the one for weeks, and then is already looking elsewhere.
Annie Q.

jordanthemostwonderfulest said...

Mr. Mysterious- he thinks its none of your business when you ask invasive questions like 'Are you married? Employed?'

Nicole Peeler said...

Hahahahahah.... Love the additions!

Jordan: Something tells me Mr. Mysterious doesn't want to answer questions as he may very well be hiding he's a disaster.

Or Hermain Cain.

Anonymous said...

Very Funny.
I think there is the male version of you, the Solo Chasers. That is to say he has been so focused on his career that his relationships had to be easy, not complicated, and short. Essentially the Booty call will suffice most of his needs. Not to be confused with Players (who hate women). This guy is up front and honest, but genuinely does not have time for the intricacies involved in a relationship.
Also about the fetish freaks. At thirty I think men show their true colors a lot faster, especially in the bedroom. Which is fine. And I think that the man who is 5'4" with pot belly probably figures playing by the rules is not going to work so why not go balls out (literally and figuratively). AND If he happens to meet the person that is seduce by his freak flag so much the better.
Well either way, Happy hunting Ms. Peeler. thanks for the giggles

Sophie Littlefield said...

Oh my god, i've been much too familiar with the headwaiter - there's my problem! oh, waaaaait...Peeler, you are SO my kind of gal. Thanks for reorienting my mindset as I believe I too am a leftover. The very best kind. And I'd pay for ringside seats to see some poor schmuck trying to tell you how it was gonna be.

Juliet Blackwell said...

The Fetish Freaks...yeah. I live in the SF Bay Area, so...YEAH. And the guy with the python? Never did get that.
Between this post and the contest over at your Nicole Peeler blog, it's a fun-filled morning. This is great!

Rachael Herron said...

The Marquis. I always ended up on the other side of the cafe table from the Marquis. Ack.
Also: you are awesome.

Liz said...

You may relate to:

Nicole Peeler said...

Anonymous: Ouch! I think I probably AM one of those! LOL But the whole experience was actually good, as I learned I don't actually want to or need to hunt. I've got a really full life, and trying to fit something else in--especially when it's not a good fit, to start with--is just silly. And everybody knows leftovers are better after they've sat a while. And lawd knows I'm not letting anything get moldy.....

Um, sorry for any images that last bit might have created.

Sophie: I think we should just date together. Like a package. "Double your pleasure, double your snark!" Who could resist???

And YES, everyone needs to head over to to see Juliet judge the AMAZING Erotic Cozy Title Contest we've got going on at my blog! Hilarious!

Rachael: I know. I like the Marquis, in theory. But in reality? Plus I've learned I have a kink radar, anyway. And the quietly kinky--they're the real freaks. Rawr. ;-)

Anonymous said...

As a fellow 33 year old left over who did the online dating thing a few years ago, I never understood the "work hard play hard" guys. What's that about?

Nicole Peeler said...

Anyone who introduces themselves with a mantra is an automatic no-go in my book. LOL

Anonymous said...

Nice imagery. Guess I'm joining you in the fridge. When you are a single mom, you get some real freaks... and not the fun kind. You get the "desperate for an instant family" type... I'm not looking for love, just a regular shag. Is that so much to ask for?

L.G.C. Smith said...

Great post, Nicole. This being the Bay Area, I've known my share of The Marquis dudes, too, and on the whole, they haven't been bad guys. Then again, I'm really short and not super picky about appearances. They just have to be clean.

Lee McClain said...

In my 30s, I dated a very nice guy who showered often, yet had slightly odd odor. Every time I was around him, there seemed to be a lot of bugs in the room. He wrote me romantic greeting cards that invariably had amphibians on the front. I started feeling ill on every date, and eventually, I just had to break up with him.

Nicole Peeler said...

Shira: Oooo I bet. Kids must make it so much harder! Eeep!

Lynn: Uh-oh, is "Hygienically Challenged" it's own category??

Lee: I don't even know what to say to that combination. Did he actually draw the greeting cards? I need to hear more about this. LOL

Martha Flynn said...

holy shit you're a genius. I think I did 20 spit takes reading this thing

Unknown said...

SO, basically, you are older than 30 and you think that you can still judge guys according to their income ("loser") or appearance. Do you understand that you are on the verge of spinsterhood? Does not matter how educated you are, reality is hard and does NOT depends on you, it is outside of you and your desires.

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