and of Irony.
This post is inspired by The Great She Elephant, who is unbefuckinglievably beautiful. Seriously. I would.
I went for 9 solid years without a single date. For ages and ages I didn't know why. I didn't think I was especially ugly. I'm no Catherine Zeta Jones by any means, but I've seen far uglier women get asked out. I just didn't understand. I despaired. By the time i was 25 i absolutely believed i would alone forever. No one in my life had ever fallen in love with me, and no one ever would.
Sure, there were people I had been close to in that time, people I had cared about tremendously, people I had been attracted to, and even managed to fall in love with a couple of them. But none of them ever came close to returning my feelings. I declared myself the Queen of Unrequited Affection, and reveled in my misery. I consumed it like dark chocolate mousse, and it returned the favor.
I came to Bristol with bright, new hopes of salvation. I thought, "This is it. This time, something will happen." Of course, I thought that about Manchester, too, and thought I didn't find the love of my life, I did make one wonderful, intimate, enduring friendship, so it wasn't a total loss.*
Maybe my expectations were too high, but by Christmas I was totally depressed again. Every single one of my flatmates was in a relationship. One of them had even managed 2 boyfriends in that space of time. I thought "How does she do it? How does she meet people? and WHY THE FUCK CAN'T I????" I had no answers, and I was miserable.
Que the New Year, and my birthday. Aforementioned flatmate and I went out, ate food, drank alcohol, and danced. I met the Hot Scot. I snogged for the first time in my life. It was my 27th birthday. And I got a taste (rather literally) of what I'd been missing.
That was when I decided to take, erm, matters into my own hands. I couldn't bear to sit idly and wait any longer. No, i didn't buy a rampant rabbit. (yet, anyway). I joined an internet dating service. My brother met his wife on eHarmony, so i figured I'd give it a go. I also joined Dating Direct, 'cuz it looked good, and I didn't necessarily want to meet men who were hard-core wife shopping. (Sorry this is going on so long. There really is a point to all this. I'll get to it eventually.)
And that was when I met the Hairy Man on Dating Direct. It wasn't love at first sight, it wasn't uncontrollable animal magnatism, but it was a good time. I really liked him (still do and miss him like hell), and eventually I, he, well, yeeeeeah.
And a strange thing happened (I'm getting to the point now. Yay!): people started to treat me differently. Men, specifically. When I walked into a shop, someone would open the door. Walking down the street, men would smile at me. I got asked out to dinner by no less than 3 chuggers, on separate occasions. I declined them all, as I was happy with His Hairiness, but it did exaperate me. I thought Why the hell didn't these sorts of things happen when I was single? They say men are like busses: you can wait for ever for one to come along, and eventually they all show up at the same time.
I reckon there's a lot of truth in that. Flatmate B has a theory, and the more I think about, the more I'm convinced it's right. The thing people find most attractive, regardless of appearance, is confidence. It's why women have swooned over James Bond for over half a century: he's the epitome of confidence. It's why we often fall for assholes and bastards (there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance). I didn't think I changed all that much after I started dating the Hairy One, but maybe I did.
I think the confidence I gained from that relationship changed the way every single person I encountered saw me. For the first time in my life, I felt attractive. And that made me attractive to other people for the first time. Somehow I'd been subconsciously conveying my insecurity and lack of self-worth in my mannerisms and everyday actions, and that is the biggest turn-off of them all.
So, GSE, I feel your pain. I completely understand what you're going through. I've been there, rather recently. You are a smart, clever, loving, beautiful woman who any man would be lucky be with. And the minute you start believing that, really believing it, the men will too. I promise. Go get 'em, tiger.
And the reason this is ironic? I broke the Hairy Man's heart when i met the Pirate, but if it hadn't been for my relationship with the Hairy Man, I would not have had that inner confidence, and the Pirate probably never would have found me at all attractive. It's a mad mad mad mad world.
*and a Master's degree, but who really cares about such trifles?