No one wants to admit it, but sometimes, my single lady friends and I, we complain.
I know, I know: For the most part, we're happy, independent, well-adjusted women perfectly happy being by ourselves. Yada yada.
So let's put it this way: We ponder certain questions. Questions such as: "Why are there three men in Urban America capable of being direct?"
"How is it that we -- stunning and talented creatures, of course, all of us -- are still single, while so many less wise and witty women always have boyfriends?"
"Why do men say they want one thing, when really, they go after the complete opposite?"
Let's stick with that last one. Because it's come up a lot lately. And usually, it's a bit more specific: as in, guy claims to want to be with a women who is smart and sane, but in his waking life, dates chicks who are maybe not-so-sharp and certainly, undeniably, nuts. Like, eating-only-popcorn-and-lettuce nuts or runs-places-for-transport nuts. (Nothing against extreme dieting and exercise, but such activities do not stable people make.)
I could bitch about this a lot. But, as I mentioned, bitching is not cute, and, with my biologically-limited upper body strength and inability to grasp the appeal of football or cage fighting, bitching is about all I could do on the matter: I have no idea why men do this. (Okay, I lie: I have a few ideas, but I also know they're likely self-serving and wrong.)
So, instead, I'll attempt sympathy. Because, as I am beginning to understand, I -- and by I mean probably many of us gals, so really, we -- are no better.
Why? Because we do the same thing.
What do I tell my friends I want? I tell them I want a man who is stable; who has some money (I'm not talking finance money, I'm just talking makes-enough-so-he-can-support-me-til-I-can-make-it-on-my-writing money; but, come to think of it, that time is likely never, so I take it back: a trust or hedge fund might be good); who doesn't have a borderline relationship with pot or alcohol; who calls when he says he will and ends one date by planning the next.
"I'm dying to date a nerd," one of my girlfriends declared the other afternoon, kicking off her flip-flops and beginning to recount her latest relationships -- with a flakey Israeli chef and a kickboxing coach from Queens. (Again: Nothing against Israel or outer boroughs... you get the picture.)
And me? Please. I may talk about wanting to date someone solid and supportive, but who am I actually dating? In the past two years: a budding lithographer/dj I heard from every two weeks; a hip hop producer who called, routinely, at four in the morning (as if it needs stating: drunk) and an aspiring filmmaker with a daily pot habit.
"I used to date musicians, but they were too flakey," a girl I know once told me. "Now, I'm moving in with my boyfriend, and he's an accountant!"
"That's great!" I replied, poorly disguising my pity. I'm sure there are a lot of great accountants out there. Probably, she was right: I should date an accountant. I should only date accountants: accountants who can support me, not be wasted all the time, call me back, present a really good Powerpoint. (Or whatever data-related thing it is accountants do -- I'm an ignorant snob and lump all uninteresting things together. There, I said it first.)
But do I want to?
And therein, alas, lies the rub: that gap between what we know we should want -- a sane girl, a solid dude -- and what we actually desire: a nutcase, an aloof but charming flake.
What, finally, will diminish that crater-sized gap to something more manageable, like a dirty little rain puddle I can conquer from the curb? (If I really knew, of course, I wouldn't need a hedge/trust fund dude to support me.)
I have the vague notion that it's got to do with getting more mature -- a process commonly confused with aging. We can't help getting older, but we can help our adolescent patterns. Or, you know, not.
Either way, I'm no longer going to complain about men being hypocrites. Not that I ever did.