Latest 3 Things

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 Wrong Places

Well, it’s that time of year again. As winter braces for the coming of spring, we turn our attention from finding a place to keep warm to finding love. We purport to celebrate this instinctual, seasonal shift with that most amorous of holidays, Valentine’s Day. Of course, despite its lofty intentions as a commemoration of romance and love, it has turned into two very distinct and unenjoyable anniversaries. For those of us fortunate enough to have someone special with which to observe the occasion, it is an annual evaluation of the strength of our conviction - as measured by the quality, thoughtfulness, etc. of the gift we choose to give that partner. And for those of us who don’t have a significant other in our lives, it is a yearly reminder: that we’ve yet to be able to groom ourselves into a suitable companion for anyone, that we’re really missing out on life by being alone, and that we’ll probably die that way. For this lonely crowd, Valentine’s Day is a solemn occasion that often inspires sequestering one’s self away from public view, so as to avoid seeing happy couples or imposing the horror of one’s abject solitude on those same loving folks. But for the brave few, it can be inspiration to renew the effort to locate that elusive soul mate, that perfect partner, or just someone to share a meal with from time to time. This search, however, can be fouled from the beginning, simply by choosing the wrong venue - and so, just in time for V-Day, here are 3 locations where you shouldn’t go looking for love:

1. Don’t Sweat The Lonely. Sure, it makes sense on paper. You’re fitness minded and you’d like to meet someone else who’s fitness-inclined. It only makes sense that the gym would be a great place to find just those kind of people and make a connection, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You’d look less creepy parking a windowless van next to a playground than trying to hit on someone in a gym. There’s simply no way to execute that maneuver without looking like some sort of sexual predator. Seriously, I’ve seen less “smarm” at a hookah bar on a Saturday night than during “rush hour” at the gym. In fairness, there are some people at the gym who look more appropriately dressed for social hour than any actually sweating, but the palpable air of desperation coming off them is worse than any sort of real stink they might emit. I mean, what sort of line are you going to open with? The you-want-me-to-show-you-how -to-do-that? The do-you-need-a-spot? Or maybe the timeless haven’t-I-seen-you-here-before? You basically have to choose between lines that sound like they’re from a bad 70’s porn script or lines that sound like they’re from a bad 90’s sitcom. Want to meet someone where you can tell what kind of shape they’re in? Try the beach (or the pool), and leave the gym for exercising something other than your poor judgment.

2. It’ll Never Work. Unless you’re independently wealthy, or have parents who are, you spend the overwhelming majority of your time at work. You’re there early; you’re there late, and no matter how much you try and resist or hate to admit it, it’s a big part of your life. And despite the fact that your workplace is mostly populated by people you’d never spend any time with if it wasn’t for working together - you’ll see more of those people than almost anyone else you know. It’s only natural that you’ll look for, and maybe even start to find, friends there. And once you’ve gone there, it’s not too much further to start looking for romantic connections. Of course this will be the worst idea you’ve had since that shaving cream and streaking incident in college. Honestly, dating someone at work is like keeping reminders of all your mistakes in little frames on your desk, or sending yourself a daily reminder by e-mail of something stupid you did a few months ago. Not even the guys who write the Saw movies can dream up that kind of inescapable horror. Trust me, you’re better off taking a sledgehammer to the groin than engaging in a workplace romance - at least the crotch shot is temporary pain. Here’s the thing, honestly, most of your relationships end quickly and badly, and the ability to escape the offending partner is essential for survival of these unseemly events. But, if you could afford to leave work - you probably wouldn't be there. So unless the person is worth losing your job (or your sanity) over - don’t work it where you work.

3. Friends’ Friends. Your friends have the best intentions. They want you to be happy and they know you better than most anyone. They’re willing to go to great lengths to try to find you potential partners, and they are almost invariably terrible at it. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a small group of people who sometimes know you better than you know yourself - which makes their complete and utter failure in selecting potential mates for you all the more inexplicable. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had friends set me up, but I can count the number of times it’s worked out even marginally well. Well, does one really “count” to zero? Trust me, if you haven’t discovered this already, you’d be better off picking potential partners with a phone book and a dartboard. You don’t let your friends order food for you at a restaurant, you don’t let them pick out your toiletries, and you don’t let them set you up. The point is, some things are personal and there’s really no substitute for picking them yourself. Good intentions and poor deliveries are the stuff of fantastically awkward moments and even more fantastic stories, but a whole lot more painful when it involves romance (or attempted romance). If you want your friends to pick something intimate for you, offer up your nose - at least that way you’re just a good sneeze away from making it all go away.

* * *

The real problem with looking for love is that it’s just the sort of thing you can’t ever find by looking. Of course, this little nugget of advice is usually offered up to single people by their nauseatingly happy friends, which makes it seem trite and useless (and makes you want slap them with something sharp), but nonetheless, it’s true. This does not mean you can play video games in your underwear in your parents’ basement, or watch “The Notebook” and “P.S. I Love You” while plowing through a gallon of Haagen-Daaz and expect to meet the love of your life. No, those things will just as reliably guarantee perpetual solitude as looking for a partner at the three places above. Rather, you’ll find that while simply living your life and enjoying your friends, the strangest and most wonderful things will happen. From these things come the stories, friends and, most importantly, the loves that make up our lives. And that’s something we can celebrate every day, and not just February 14th. Happy hunting, all!


Anonymous said...

Happy Valentine's Day, sweetheart! <3
I'm glad I found you.... Not through a friend... Not at work... And not at the gym...because God knows I don't step foot in there. ; )

Jen and Tonic said...

YES! It's like you read my mind with this article.

In regards to your point about wanting to find people that live active lifestyles, I've found that joining a hiking/biking/running group is better that lurking at a gym. It's a social workout which lends itself to getting to know people. Plus, I agree with what you said about some people going to the gym just to be seen, and that is MORE than desperate.

Hope you and your lady have a wonderful V-day!!

Kristina said...

Great one! And so very true, every bit of it! :):)

Endy Daniel said...

Sometimes those muscles guys r just too sexy workin out in the gym, I used to think to grab one of them,lol... but yeh, some of them goin there just to be seen. I should be looking in the beach soon ;D

Michael DiMercurio said...

Bro, the friends' friends thing and work have something terrible in common - if you end up having something semiserious or serious and it ends poorly, the woman will undoubtedly badmouth you to your friends or cow-workers. Do you want your boss' boss to know you like to be smacked with a riding crop while kissing your girl's stiletto pump? Well, perhaps that guy would get a thrill out of his friends and work partners knowing, but not me. Even if you're vanilla as a wafer with nothing kinky to get out there, what if the woman just tells people (even falsely) that you fuck bad? There is no possibility of recovery. No, I say, only mix bodily fluids with complete strangers. That way, there's no blow-back.

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