No, I do not resemble the Crypt Keeper. No, I don't have four cats that I frequently refer to as "my children." But yes, I am 27 and stigmatized by that oh-so dreadful word: Single. I may as well wear a big scarlet "S" on my forehead.
It's not because I woke up on Tuesday morning wearing nothing but two pairs of underwear.
It's not because my style oscillates between bohemian chic and homeless, depending on the day.
And it's not because my therapist fell asleep halfway through my first session.
It's because I have a serious problem: My name is Jennifer, and I'm a jerkaholic.
My boss has lovingly (yet ignorantly) adorned me the "Queen of the LA Nightlife," but I would much prefer to spend my evenings spooning an oversized glass of red wine while tearing up over the latest episode of "Girls." My days of dark, cologne-scented bars are now replaced by book clubs, chiropractor appointments, and engagement parties. You know, those things that adults do.
Since turning 27, Facebook has become an infectious breeding ground for relationship notifications and progressions. My bank account savings are slowly dwindling due to destination weddings and ceramic tea sets for newly engaged couples. Fun dinners with my friends have turned into "Let's schedule brunch two months out because Brian and I...well, we're just really busy these days. Doing life stuff."
Which has left me wondering: What is all this "life" stuff everyone speaks of? In mulling over my past failed relationships, my addiction to the jerk became blaringly obvious. To clarify, I am not referring to the below:
Cliché Jerks: These are the jerks who [think they] run Hollywood. These are the jerks you see in every episode of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." These are the jerks who post shirtless photos on their Facebook, OkCupid and Tinder. These are the jerks who send mass texts to cheesy girls tempting them with frou-frou bottle service at [insert popular club name] in the hopes of getting them wasted enough to bang one of them at her place, only so they can sneak out at 5 a.m. wearing nothing but a newly gifted STD.
These are not the jerks I am addicted to. I don't do shirtless photos, tanning memberships, or men who don't know the difference between "your cute" and "you're cute."
Instead, I fall for the undercover jerks. They are so undercover that I'm usually unaware they're jerks to begin with. Behold:
Jerk Who Falls Too Quickly: Last summer I went against my better judgment and dated a supermodel. After Date #1, he texted me: "I miss you." After Date #2, he introduced me to his mother as his new girlfriend. After Date #4, I spent a long Labor Day weekend with his entire family. Sure, things were moving quickly, but that's what happens when you fall hard for someone, right? That, or I was too distracted by his rock-hard abs and baby blue eyes to notice. After two weeks, I went off the grid to Samoa for a work trip and when I returned 12 days later, he had moved on. To his new fiancé. Warning sign: If he falls too quickly for you, chances are he'll do the same for the next passerby.
Jerk Who Is Too Much of a Pansy to Ever Pull a Move: I was recently at a family funeral (great pickup spot, by the way) when Nerdy Finance Guy clad in a J-crew collared shirt approached me. After bonding over Judaism, our mutual love of calculus, and family values, he asked for my number. I then ignored his relentless attempts to take me out on a date. Until one day my cousin casually mentioned Nerdy Finance Guy was juggling four or five different women at the moment. His attempts suddenly transformed from desperate into suave, and I immediately ran to my phone to text him back. But then kicked myself in the subconscious for continuing to be a sucker for jerks.
30-Something Who Only Dates Under Age 25: When I was 24.5, I dated a 36-year-old for about five or six months. He was attractive, charming and had all the right moves at all the right times...until he dumped me at Month Six claiming he "just didn't want a girlfriend." I assumed that was the equivalent of a grown-up "It's not you, it's me." Until years later I noticed he continuously dated pimply-faced, fresh-out-of-college girls and he finally admitted: "It's the '25 And Under Rule.' I don't want a girlfriend and they're less likely to want a boyfriend. Girls my age want matching monogrammed towels and babies."
The jerks always find their way to me. Or maybe I am magnetized to them. But what I've realized is that I have the rest of my life for diapers, C-sections, and His & Her bathrobes. Now is the time to date, screw up, get your heart-broken, and get back up again. Now is not the time to find your identity in someone else. So when a Jewish cousin drunkenly grills me about my love life at the next Passover dinner, I am going to smile proudly and tell them I'm single.
And to all the jerks out there: Stay away from me. Or don't. I'm sure you'll find me at some point.
Follow Jennifer Cron on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jennifercron