Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Romantic Notions

A part of me is still really romantic. The part that likes candlelit dinners in Greek and Italian restaurants on a white sand beach that are only known to random tourists and die hard locals. The part that likes to drink bottles of red wine and listen to sappy music sung by the likes of Michael Bolton (yes, that Michael), Peter Cetera, Lionel Richie, and god forbid Barry Mannilow. The part that watches romantic comedies and daytime dramas and beneath the tears of mush lets a piece of her heart think that stories like that are actually possible.

That's the piece of me that still holds out the dying hope that GQ's flavor of the month is going to step out from the pages of a magazine, say a few choice words, make my heart feel as though it's suddenly alive, and whisk me into a dream where I'm Cinderella and he's Prince Charming. Stop the tape in its tracks because yeah, well honey, reality doesn't exactly work that way.

Valentine's Day. 2009. One of those vacations that was supposed to be special. "D" (the ex) and I had planned it for months. Despite the long distance we were going to have a real Valentine's Day celebration that year - on Valentine's Day. Since vacation choices are bid by seniority at work and anyone with less than ten years of service is way down on the totem poll, I had asked my boss to try to reserve that week for me until it was my turn to choose. She did and I got it. "D" and I were excited. The beach condo in Treasure Island was rented for the week. I had my plane tickets and my rental car booked. His brother was supposed to be down that week from Ohio to help him watch over his furniture business so he could have some free time.

Needless to say, there wasn't any romantic week at the beach. I ended up buying our groceries at Sweet Bay alone, we saw each other twice, and we're no longer together. I can think of worse places to be than SW Florida in the middle of winter, but when you think you're going to get a romantic week with your love and you end up eating frozen yogurt watching reruns of the Golden Girls , it's kind of a letdown. The sex was good, but a lady wants more than just sex and "I love you" sometimes.

"D" felt really bad. He promised to make it up to me. He made a lot of promises. Some he kept. Some he didn't. It's okay. I've forgiven him. I've let it go. I smile back on the weeks that we did have and the way it felt when we thought anything was possible.

But then there's today. When I realize I'm alone. I'm 34. I'm not getting any younger. Perhaps it's time to find a husband. Or at least a date. The problem is that I don't really want to date anyone that asks and I'm not sure I feel like asking anyone that looks halfway appealing. I'm kind of dead to the idea. Independent for too long. Unwilling to compromise on certain goals and ideals. Unwilling to go through the whole headache of the dating game, having to decide who and when to trust and what I can trust them with.

I suppose it will happen if it's meant to. I don't love anyone (especially men) easily. "L" says she's sure I'll find someone and it will work out. This coming from someone whose friend I went out on a "pity date" with last year. Something I really need to stop. Dating because they ask and I'm just being nice when I'm not the slightest bit interested. I ran into him yesterday. I didn't know what to say. He's a nice guy, just not my type. No sparks. Doesn't matter. He's engaged now with another baby on the way. I know it's wrong, but I thank god it isn't me. When he drove me home on the night we went out, I pretended I was asleep. He tried to hold my hand and I let him. He bought me tulips, paid for dinner and a few top- shelf patron margs, so I let him. Doing things like this are wrong. I know. But somehow having some attention feels better than having none at all.

I still have hope that somewhere romance exists; that it can exist. I'm just not quite sure that I'll actually get to feel it. In the meantime, I suppose there's always that old autographed headshot of former Days star Drake Hogestyn lying in a box somewhere.

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