Okay, I'm gonna level with you - I spent this past New Year's Eve alone.
And it was all my fault because I had to go and get into a fight. And I'm a peace-loving, calm, rational guy. Fortunately, I was the only one who got hurt. You see, I picked a fight with myself. And on New Year's Eve, yet. A time that should be spent reflecting and celebrating. Seemingly out of nowhere and with virtually no warning, I started in on myself.
"So, who's your lucky date for New Year's Eve?"
"Please. You know darn well I don't have any date tonight."
"What!? The Duke of Dating flying solo on New Years? I'm stunned. How can it be?"
"I don't want to talk about it. It just worked out that way."
"It doesn't 'just work out that way.' YOU worked it out that way. How many coffee dates have you had this past year?"
"Too painfully many to remember."
"And not one of them was available for New Year's Eve?"
"You don't just ask someone out on a date for New Year's Eve. It's a very meaningful night. A very expensive night. New Year's Eve is not for 'a' date; it's for 'the' date."
"So with all those coffee dates, how come none of them worked out into 'the' date?"
"You want a reason for each? She wasn't attracted to me. I wasn't attracted to her. She wanted someone who made more money. I wanted someone who talked about something other than herself. She wanted to have more kids. I wasn't communicative enough for her. She didn't have a sense of humor. I didn't have a passion for four cats. Shall I continue?"
"You know what you're doing, don't you?"
"What am I doing?"
"It's so obvious. For every woman you meet, you're finding some reason, any reason, to keep you from starting a relationship."
"Is it? You mean to tell me you meet a woman who's perfect in every way, except she has four cats, and THAT'S the deal-breaker?"
"Look, I never said she was perfect otherwise. And besides, if I didn't want a relationship, what am I doing spending all this time and energy meeting women?"
"You really want to know?"
"I asked, didn't I?"
"You're addicted to dating."
"Get out of here."
"Exactly. That's the message you're giving these poor women: 'Get out of here.' For you, it's all about the thrill of the chase. Ms. Right's just around the corner. The next one's going to be flawless. Well, get this, oh Sultan of Singles - there is no Ms. Right, there is no flawless, and there is no satisfaction for you if you keep on this way. One day you're going to wake up to find yourself seventy-eight years old and on your way to your next coffee date. That what you want, Pops?"
"Of course not. But none of the ones I've met this year feel right. I've had coffee dates where everything just clicks, we start dating, and before long, we're in a relationship."
"Sounds lovely. And where are those 'everything clicks' women now?"
"They didn't work out."
"'They didn't work out'? Or you subconsciously torpedoed the relationship so you could get back to your addiction?"
"'I, uh' is right. You know, I've about had it with you. You disgust me. Get out of my sight."
"I can't. I'm you and you're me."
"What did I do to deserve this?"
"Well, come on, don't give up on me. What do you suggest?"
"I don't know. Since I am you, I'm somewhat limited in my perceptions and insights."
"You don't have to insult me."
"I'm sorry. Okay, look, let's try something different this year."
"Why not? I've tried just about everything else. But no 'Brokeback Mountain' stuff.
"I wasn't going there; that's your mind; okay, our mind. I was simply going to suggest one small change in your approach."
"One word: 'Stop.' Stop the coffee dates. Stop the singles websites. Stop the matchmaking services. Stop the personals ads. Stop the singles parties and dances. Just stop. Stop in the name of love, before you break your heart."
"Are you heading for a celibacy thing? Because that's not what..."
"I'm trying to keep you from a celibacy thing. Just live your life. Do your work. Be with your friends and family. Volunteer for something. Be out in the real world. She's out there, but you're trying too hard. Stop trying. Start living."
"I don't know. I'll think about it."
"That's all I ask. Now let's get some Thai food, and for the love of God, no 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.'" I'll jump out a window.
I was in no mood to fight with myself any more. I picked up some Thai food. I called a few loved ones. I watched a Marx Brothers movie, and I gave some serious thought to what I'd said to myself. It wasn't so bad. Yes, I was alone, but not lonely, really. Hopefully, next New Year's Eve, I'll avoid another argument with myself. And, who knows, perhaps I'll have an actual date. Doesn't even have to be "The Date." I'll be fine with "A Date." She can even bring her cats.