I used to have this friend who primarily dated men who were married or otherwise attached. Needless to say, this friendship was not destined to last for long (she got mad at me for being judgmental, and I got mad at her for having no judgment at all). Her reasoning for pursuing only men with attachments was that it made her feel better—more desired, more appealing—because the men were risking something to be with her. I often thought her entire self-esteem was based on how much a man was willing to risk. Must have been a banner day when the father of a guy she was dating made his first pass.
She could never understand why women hated her. She felt like she was providing a kind of public service. If the guy got caught, she felt like the woman should thank her for exposing his tendencies—even when the guy she went after was dating a friend. On a scale from one to 10, how often do you think women thanked her for this act of generosity? Yeah, not often. I’m not saying that this girl was entirely at fault—clearly the men involved made the worst possible choices, and should be beaten with 2x4s. But there is something about the dedicated pursuit of the married/attached man to judge your own self-worth that sets my teeth on edge.
I find myself thinking about this more and more as I try to re-enter the dating world. I’m not sure why because I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t pursue a married man (my fantasies regarding Mr. Duchovny aside). But after all these years of watching the Machiavellian machinations of daters, I do worry about what is out there.
For instance, is this very, very cute just-rolled-out-of-bed guy standing in Malibu Starbucks right now a player? Is he among the “sort of” married demographic—the guys who are technically married but seem to believe that there was a rider added to the vows along the lines of “I promise fidelity unless a really hot girl in a tight skirt wanders by me”? Did he leave his girlfriend sleeping at home thinking he’d surprise her with coffee, but in truth he’s willing to surprise her by not coming back for several hours while he romances a writer he’s just met? So many questions, so little time in between him ordering and him picking up his grande.
Dating is such a huge leap of faith—even bigger than that time when I bought the orange skirt thinking that this was the year that I’d introduce color into my wardrobe. And that was huge.
Kate, thinking that Malibu has some very attractive people, and that I need to spend more time up here