"I've been trying to stay away from you," said one of the many otherwise spoken-for guys in my life once. "But it's not for the reason you think..."
"No, I know you love your girlfriend," I jumped in, and then paused to ask, "What reason do I think?"
"That you're not hot enough."
But after losing 50 pounds and moving to LA, it had been a while since I chalked up my perpetual singlehood to not being hot enough. I'm not sure I can get any better-looking than I am now given the genetics I've been given, and I know that I'm better-looking than a lot of girls out there who are not single. (This is of course contrary to the guys in bars who just love to say things like, "You don't know how beautiful you are, do you?" so they can be the ones to make me feel pretty. It may sound obnoxious, but I do know, thanks.)
It must be something else.
"I don't understand," one of my many married LA girlfriends once said. "You're so beautiful..." and proceeded to try to diagnose my issue, investigating some lack of self-confidence or emotional unavailability or underlying self-hatred or general inaccessibility. She then reiterated how beautiful I am.
"Clearly," I sighed, "It's not because I'm not hot enough. That's not the problem."
I then tried to dismiss the conversation by telling her that long ago I'd stopped trying to rationalize or reason why the Universe has left me so alone. I'd stopped trying to explain it because there was nothing to explain. It wasn't my fault, it's just the way it is.
But then in Vegas, when I met a 38-year old single local who seemed interested in me, he of course felt compelled to ask, "Why aren't you married?" Apparently most 36 year-old women he encounters are either recent divorcees or out to cheat on their husbands.
"Because nobody ever wanted to marry me." Perhaps my response was overly simplistic, but it most certainly was true.
"Well, I don't know why," he said. "You seem awesome to me." And I suppose as a reassurance, he told me how cute/sexy/hot/beautiful/pretty/adorable I am.
And four days after my return from Vegas, he disappeared.
As a short-haired, overweight, bespeckled child, all I ever wanted was to be one of the pretty girls. To have long hair and pierced ears. To play the flute. To wear nail polish. I was smart, sassy and funny, but no one loved me for my good grades. If only I could lose weight, get contacts, grow my hair out...
I thought those things were means to an end. I thought if I could improve my exterior shell, I would attract more people who ultimately would have the chance to get to know me, the real me, and love something beyond what they saw.
That never happened.
But somehow, with each new person and each new city, I never cease to have hope.
And then after one nice date with a tall, handsome, talented, age-appropriate, single man, I get a text message that reads, "Ok, so, this might seem abrupt, and I don't mean it that way. I like you, and I'm attracted to you, but I also would like to be just friends at the moment."
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