Boo, followed by hoo

Posted on February 13, 2007


In exactly one month I will be 24. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and basically I feel that my personal development has stagnated – if not directly deteriorated – since I was 16. I’m not more mature; my social and interpersonal skills are akin to that of many alligators; I’m not nice, good, or trustworthy; I’m not learned or clever; I have never been thin; I’m essentially astoundingly mediocre in every possible respect. I’m not looking for reassurance, honestly, please. Just doing an evaluation.

On the plus side, however, none of the above has affected my life too negatively: I have a pretty good job where they appear to think well of me, I got my two degrees (the latter of which represents some achievement), I have no debts, I’m more or less healthy for the moment, my phone does ring, my parents and family like me. Only the relationship front is shite, and that’s not a big deal considering my age. Or is 24 when I should start to feel not young and crisp? Because it seems like kind of a big number.

I actually thought this was one area where I was learning or growing, or at least had attained good judgement. 2005 and 2006 were excellent years on the dating front. I had M, about whose perfections you have read much, who has probably damaged the chances of any other guys ever. Sure, he wasn’t the “one” but I felt I was getting really close to recognizing him. Just a few tweaks, I figured. At least I knew that it didn’t have to be this intricate tight-rope-walking experience fraught with traps and obstacles and quicksand that tugged at your ankles. And it appeared that I didn’t need to get any thinner, either. I thought it was progress. The boyfriend before him, who we’ll call Zoom Zoom, was a good egg too (God, was ever a less poetic phrase coined?). We didn’t always have that much in common, but his devotion and generous spirit were truly unparalleled. Moreover, I recently went for a drink with him and was struck by the fact that even now, over a year and half since we broke up, he still knows me better than anyone else on earth. There was a guy who gave a crap, and paid attention.

But the last one…if this were a chart, we’d be in the negatives. I don’t want to go into detail, but basically I cannot conceive that I could have been so wrong about a human being’s basic qualities. I didn’t expect much at all, I expected very, very little… and God knows I was difficult too, in a lot of ways. But so many disappointments! It is this that distresses me most – that I actually permitted the worst relationship experience ever to befall me to take place, that I was willing to subject myself to that indignity. If I were given to clichéd movie shticks, I would bang my head against the wall repeatedly while intoning “stupid, stupid, stupid.” I can’t forgive myself for stupidity, even more than I can’t forgive him for being a cad. I’m not even a proud person – I think pride is a truly evil, socially destructive quality. But I’d like to think I can gauge, roughly, just how badly a person is capable of behaving. How much pain he is willing to deliberately inflict. And I can’t, and it sucked.

Back to the proverbial drawing board, I guess. Someone should have alerted me that all the young Coptic guys who exceed me in height and still have all their hair have left the jurisdiction, long since. But all the ones I met in Canada did not meet follicular and height requirements – let alone literary and linguistic. Australia, is it? America?