Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My glam single life

I feel like such a stereotype of an unmarried educated woman. I have been reading NYC glam-single lit lately, like Candace Bushnell's original Sex in the City book and Toby Young's How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, so I've been conscious of the trade-off between career and family, and how jealous everyone is of the other.

With this set-up I went to dinner at a guy I knew from college, also a postdoc. Their 2 young kids were asleep, so it was just his MD wife and a couple of guests described as "another couple" who I assumed would be around the same age as us. I felt a little weird about being the fifth wheel, but that's not totally unusual that in a group of a few people over 30, lots of them are married. It turned out that the couple was engaged and still in college, so about 10 years younger, and I no longer felt strange about it: they're more of an outlier than I am!

I felt stereotypical in two ways. First, while we were catching up about our mutual college friends, when I asked about a guy who I'd hung out with a lot, his only comment was, "Well, he's still dating the same girl as before." The doorbell rang, and I didn't get a chance until much later to demonstrate that I was actually asking how the guy was doing, not whether he was single.

Second, as they asked me what I did for fun, I realized how little of the city they have gotten to experience in a few years here, compared with my month. They had kids shortly after moving to this city, and had never done much in the city other than the basic survival activities and a few restaurants.

And the dating update. When it rains, it pours.

Ones which aren't going anywhere first:

1. My date last week that I was nervous for was extremely likeable, and I would have loved to be friends. He was short and slightly built, and I'm sure women sometimes reject him for that, but conversation didn't feel like an equal exchange and I didn't feel the right kind of attraction.

2. An English professor from a local university who was a third generation academic (!). He had a fantastic voice, and I was especially excited to meet him because he lives much closer to me than anyone else, but nothing. It was one of the most intelligent conversations I've had on a date, though, and I really enjoyed it. In retrospect, I think the conversation was so intelligent because it was not personal. Usually I get people talking about their past relationships or sex or something else very personal; that's how I discovered that one of my dates was an adulterer on the first date. I don't do this on purpose, but the conversation just goes there. And it just didn't go anywhere personal. At the end, he made me pay my $4 towards our coffee bill.

3. The adulterer. I had thought I'd mentioned him, but apparently not. His first sexual partner was a married woman, and within a year of his own marriage, he had sex with his boss's teenage daughter. And several more during his marriage. At least he was forthcoming. I hadn't been looking for any of this information, and somehow it all poured out.

Ones which continue now:

1. Alan, discussed in previous post. I am taking it as a good sign that he reminds me of the guy that I almost married, more than I could ever imagine two people resembling each other: physically, academic interests, personality. But he's better than the guy I almost married in the two reasons we didn't stay together. Completely uncanny how well things line up, especially with the coincidence of having gone to high school together.

2. Daniel, who is 7 years older than I. He's sharp, decisive, and assertive, and that's refreshing, but he also sounds like a loyal friend. Something else that is frankly refreshing is that he is not poor. I don't know how it is, but I've had so many relationships where with my TA/RA or postdoc salary, I earned more than the guy I was dating, and that's pretty hard to do. He goes slightly to the opposite extreme, and has a few expensive toys which make me a little uncomfortable. Just because people frequently want better than what they have, and consumption becomes a spiral. Definite sparks, but I don't exactly find him the most attractive guy to look at. Which would improve if he continues to lose weight. I looked back at his online profile, and I think he lied about his height. Which is understandable.

3. Maxim was a couple years younger, and the only person I've met so far who would seemingly fit in with all of my friends from all different eras of my life: smart, geeky, quirky, sweet-natured, loyal to his friends, science major. In fact, meeting him felt like I'd known him throughout college, as if we'd been doing problem sets together. Unfortunately he lives farther away than anyone else and is simultaneously working and going to school, so has less time than most. He would be a fantastic boyfriend, but is not the most attractive guy, either. Well-built enough that he could be outright hot if he lost 10 pounds, though.

Daniel and Maxim are similar to me in so many ways, and are much more like the type of people I am used to hanging out with, and I really like spending time with them. I had to tear myself away from our meetings, and stayed with them much later than I'd originally planned. Alan might be a better complement, though; he has patience, empathy, sweetness, calmness beyond most people I've ever met. I'm not going to make any predictions because I don't have enough information, but I find the range of intelligence, assertiveness, quirkiness, sweetness to be really interesting. Coincidentally, they're all in law of some stripe, though I'd guess there's a factor of two difference between their salaries (x, 2x, 4x).

Needless to say, I'm not going on the job market this year, except in the same rough metro area.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm really impressed that you are pursuing have a personal life...I found I got caught up in being freaked out about the job market and just adjusting to the places I was living in...maybe it was a way to deal with some of the awkwardness and anxiety that can surround dating. What I've realized (a few years beyond my post-docs) is that I would like a partner--and that probably involves being more active, getting on the internet etc. Also wish I'd found Boice's book earlier. Good for you! Lots of useful tips.