I’ve been in Chicago for five years now, and I’ve noticed a good deal lately of the people just being shitty human beings. Perhaps city living makes us hard. Perhaps I’ve just been shat upon way too much in a short period of time and am only seeing the bad. Perhaps we get into superficial relationships based on merely not wanting to be alone. Whatever the reason, it seems that we all feel so screwed over that we pass along those crappy feelings to the next person, holding onto the notion that he or she is just as shitty as the last person who screwed us over.
In prior years I’ve known some great loves. For five years I held a man who made my insides absolutely melt just by our eyes meeting. And when that went belly-up, I found myself a couple years later with an excellent companion — my absolute match if there ever was such a thing — for over two years. Both instances were friendship on fire, and I felt absolute awestruck pride by being with both men.
When things ended with Guy #2, I began dating in Chicago. For more than two years now, I’ve given it a go. I’ve had my fair share of being crapped upon, but I generally take it in stride, shrug that some people are meanies, and keep at it. I know that my end goal of being in a relationship like the two mentioned above won’t be met by sitting by passively and waiting for love to come to me, so I’m going for it. All in all, I’d say that I have a very healthy outlook on dating.
I’m naturally a very optimistic person, and it really does take a lot to get me down. I had an absolutely hilarious streak in the last year (you have to laugh, or you’d cry!) where every guy I met ended up having a girlfriend that he forgot to mention. He’d get outed a week later by a friend who turned him in, MySpace’s In a Relationship selection, or having to ‘fess up because he knew he would be in so much more trouble later with the real girlfriend than if he came clean now to me.
Between my dating history (nine guys in a row had this forgotten-about girlfriend affliction), witnessing my friends’ bum luck and out-right mistreatments, and the fact that we live in an absolute arctic tundra for nine months of the year, I can understand starting to get beaten down on the entire dating scene and hiding behind a wall of platonic friends and booze.
I’ve only recently started scanning the R&R sections, and I’ve got to say that I’m shocked by the number of equally bitter and jaded men out there. When I see guys in these open forums so hurt that they’re indiscriminately calling all women whores and sluts, I wonder what happened to get us all where we are now.
On one hand, I understand hurting so much that you have to throw up defenses. I hide behind a blanket of biting sarcasm, my platonic male friends are all gay, and I do love strong gin and sodas. If holding the assumption that all women are golddiggers or bitches or whatever other stinging noun that describes your ex justifies your resentment, so be it.
On the other hand, I also want to track down whoever these lying, cheating, whore-bag women and shake them. There’s this cycle of viciousness in Chicago dating, and it’s gotta stop somewhere. Liars and cheaters are screwing it up for the rest of us!
I’m cute. I’m funny. I’m well-spoken. I have a rockin’ bod. I make good money. I read books, keep up with current events, have a natural curiosity when it comes to the world around us, and possess this fantastic ability to remember names, conversations, and interests of dang near everyone I meet, bring it up the next time I see him or her, and all-around make other people feel special.
I want nothing more than an athletic nerd with big arms and a hairy chest to give my consideration, admiration, respect, and love (and occasionally watch Mythbusters with too…). And yet because there’s this constant circle of anger and resentment, good people like me are getting caught in the crossfire.
When caught in the crossfire a few (or nine) times, eventually that enthusiasm for life, the goal of finding something that’s 100% for-real, and the ability to keep on keepin’ on could get lost.
We’ve really missed the boat on that whole ‘treat others as you want to be treated’ thing, and it’s time for a serious time-out. Let’s all just call a truce, ignore what our exes did to us, and encourage this call to action to start treating other people decently.
We’ve perpetuated this angry cycle for long enough. I sound like a regular Pollyanna with all of this talk about paying it forward and whatnot, but I’d like to think that it’s not too outlandish to start a new one based on the positives.
Come on, Chicago. Let’s give it a shot. It certainly can’t be any worse than where we are now.