I realize I spend a lot of time grousing about various exes and how they done me wrong. Poor, poor me. Sniff. But at some point during this afternoon's pity party, I realized that even though most of my relationships have been the stuff unwatchable sitcoms are made of, I've managed to learn something from each and every one. So I thought I'd share these lessons with you.
• The Inappropriately Younger Paramour: When dating someone more than a decade younger than yourself, it's important to remind yourself of this fact occasionally. I foolishly thought my youngster would be as excited about our connection as I was. After decades of dating, I knew how rare it was to meet someone I got along with so well. But he, being a relative beginner, was under the impression that dames like me just grow on trees and tossed me aside like yesterday's brown banana! The nerve!
Lesson learned: Realize you're dating a puppy and make allowances accordingly.
• The Pot Delivery Guy: While peeps who make their living doing something illegal may be a whole lot of fun to fool around with (plus, there are the discounted drugs!) and have very fine heinies after pedaling around all day, they're generally not boyfriend (or girlfriend) material. When this fun-haver is over 30, it goes double. Triple, even.
Lesson learned: Employment alone is not enough; said job must be within the boring confines of the law.
• The Brooding, Tortured Artist: Yes, your pain is like no other. A shallow dimwit like me can't begin to fathom the depths of your torture. I get it. Can we fuck now? No? OK, how about now? Quit crying; here's a tissue. Can you at least put your hand on it? Please?
Lesson learned: People with their head up their own ass rarely wanna touch yours.
• The Frustrated Artist: Similar to the above (but possibly worse), the Frustrated Artist would be tortured except he can't bring himself to create anything even vaguely artlike. And it's not like he doesn't have time, because these geniuses are rarely more than marginally employed. Instead of doing things like earning a paycheck, he's busy rehearsing for imaginary gigs that'll never happen (which is a good thing because he's terrible!) or staring at blank pages or canvases for hours, anxiously awaiting inspiration from parts unknown. Worse still, if you have the cojones to eke out a living doing anything remotely creative, he'll look down on you for being a talentless sellout.
Lesson learned: Unless you have a high tolerance for jackassitude, stay away.
• The Closet Case: Some of my favorite boys are of the gay variety, but that doesn't mean I should be dating one. Of course this isn't normally an issue, as my queer friends realize they're homosexual and, thus, don't want to get up in my business. It's when you fall in with the self-loathing, straight-acting homo who wants nothing more than to be het that you're screwed (sooo not literally!). Normally my gaydar is fairly accurate, but alas, even I, a dating professional, once fell prey to this alluring, yet ultimately frustrating, creature.
Lesson learned: If he smells too good to be straight, he's probably not.
• The Finance Guy: I hesitate to condemn an entire profession based on the two measly examples I've dated, but I have to say that talk of hedge funds and market shares is about as riveting as watching oatmeal congeal. Besides, don't you think the second date is a little soon to be tossing about terms like "prenup"?
Lesson learned: Though these guys will insist on paying for fancy dinners, you'll quickly learn that there's no such thing as a "free" meal.
• The Guy Nobody Else Likes: I've dated several dozen incarnations of this particular fella. There was the tragically untalented musician who'd harangue my writer pals to do features on him; the sad drunk who rarely bathed and even more rarely worked; the drunk-turned-junkie-turned-gambler who also had a little problem with the truth. . . . I could go on. But I won't.
Lesson learned: If all your friends hate him, they're probably onto something.
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