The Common Denominator

me and my husband the day after our wedding

I’m surprised you’re not married.  And no children?  Wow.  He sighs and gives me an approving once over.  The obvious attraction bores me.  First of all it’s old–15 years of this conversation and your balls remain so shriveled that you cannot act on it?  Boy, bye.

I am tired of being interesting and beautiful; not interested in being cool and fly; being neato is for toys and other elementary activities I lie to myself, trying not to wear this opinion in my eyes (which is how my mom says I tell all my business to those who dare look).  And because all I hear in these compliments is You, Miss, are unworthy of the common man.

That, boys, is not the compliment you imagine it to be.

I never remember a time in my dating life when I was not rendered undateable by the very qualities that are supposedly desirable in a partner.  Even when I was in relationships in high school the probability of The End was so present in my mind that I would anticipate The End and was rewarded for my efforts with the ends I anticipated: girls those boys would never take home to Mama and sometimes barely to bed.  (Back alleys or back of the bus were good enough).  I was told that I was unlike other girls for daring to have ambition and standards.

I wanted to appreciate the assessments  as compliments.  Except the compliments rendered me dateless.  And constantly questioning my worth.

In the shallow end of the dating pool, also known as adulthood, things have not proven much better than in high school and college.  With fewer opportunities to interact (my socializing skills are underdeveloped aka I can be very shy and quiet) and fewer men with whom to interact, my dateability is even more dubious.

Yes, folks, the facts bear out that I am as undateable as I ever was.

It seems that not being the girl to take home has morphed into not being allowed to be the woman either.

Oh sure, the compliments come as they did in my school days.

The collection I whined about in my junior year of college included: Oh so you’re a good girl; you’re like a little sister (this as he pressed his penis into me to let me know he was down with incest); and I’m gonna marry you someday (an honor that went to a woman he promptly divorced).

These days they have decided that I am low maintenance and fun; independent and cute (sexy would be the goal guys)—read: Friendzone.

And all it ever means is Not Worthy of Getting Dated Chick.

Of course, as the common denominator, I work out the equation in my head and generally come to the same conclusion: I’m just not Her.

You’d think I would have accepted this by now; many days I do.  There was a quote in Marita Golden’s novel  Long Distance Life I held onto throughout college: “Hold onto your essence until you are in the presence of a man who can match it.”  But is there such a man?  Didn’t he die on a cross?  And I’m quite certain that my essence is near curdling as we speak.  Pretty soon it will be too bitter to share.

All the while there are the Boy 6’s with their approving once overs and compliments.  And they send me new ones periodically like I should give a shit what they think.  And I’m super non-chalant like: glad you noticed my flyness.

But sadly because I’m human, (and completely against my will and better judgment) I do give a shit.  Because, ummm  Boy 6, if I’m that great then why aren’t you trying to secure the best thing that will ever happen to you?

Now typically my balls are too shriveled to ask that question and bothering to would ruin my nonchalant I-don’t-give-a-shit facade.  But when I do ask his answer is a new compliment and more of the slow-go that usually grinds the wheels to their destined halt.

I tell myself I hear the Universe answering what he cannot:  You, miss, are unworthy of a merely common man.

Okay, Universe, fair enough, I say.  Frustrating as fuck.  But fair enough.

Of course I’m lying when I say that.  So I turn off my imagination’s sub-woofers–that’s no Universe talking; just me  making shit up again.

I go back to figuring.  Of course, Math never was my thing.


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