I’m Sorry, Friend, I love You, But I Don’t Care About Your Boyfriend

I have an aversion to telephones, just like I have an aversion to another story about your boyfriend.

I have an strong aversion to telephones. It might even be classified as a phobia. Someone asks me to make a phone call, and I start to have a panic attack. I’ve learned to control it to a degree over the years, but still, it’s something of a handicap.

I blame Erin for my problem. When we were 12, she used to call me every day after dinner to talk about Dan — the boy she was “dating.” We were 12. It was the conservative 1990s. We listened to the Backstreet Boys and wore our hair in braided pigtails. We really had nothing to talk about when it came to relationships, but somehow she found a way to spend 2 hours a day gushing over how cute his hair was, or how he waited for her at her locker, or how jealous Libby was.

The novelty of a friend with a boyfriend wore off. I quickly stopped giving a sh*t.

There’s a great scene in an episode of Sex & the City when Miranda, in a fit of frustration, scolds her gal pals — we’re 4 smart women with careers and lives, she says (I’m paraphrasing, here), why is it that all we talk about is men? Surely, there’s more to us than that!?!

Crushes, first dates, budding romances, heart aches, and their aftermath are all things our friends help us navigate through. When it comes to matters related to love, we seek the approval, advice, and empathy of our friends, hoping they’ll knock the sense into us or share our joy — whatever the situation requires.

sometimes we have to remember, our girlfriends are there because they love us, not because they love our boyfriends.

But even when friends are willing listeners, it’s important to remember, your friends are friends with you because you’ve got more going on in your life than your boyfriend.

Eventually, the novelty of your relationship wears off. For your friends far sooner than it does for you.

Not every conversation is a door opener to another reason why you and your boyfriend are so cute. Puppies are cute. Once that guy is your boyfriend, he’s not cute. He’s someone else we’re competing with for your time. So when you’re with your friends, we want you with us. We’re not an alternative to his company. For better or for worst, we were there first. It’s you we’re interested in, honey, not your boyfriend.

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Odds that the Next Guy I date Will…

Have a tattooed sleeve: 1 in 2

David, did you borrow my lace top again? Oh wait, those are your tats!

From the chef with the butcher’s map of a pig tattooed from this wrist to elbow to the Frye Boots specialist with the Man Ray photograph etched into his left forearm, it seems every man I share a drink or afternoon with is a painted gentleman.

According to a survey published by the Pew Research Center in 2008, 4 in 10 Millennials (the young adults of the early 2000’s) sport tattoos. Within this group, more men have tattoos than women.

Sometimes, I find the tattooed sleeve disarming — what’s he doing wearing my Zara lace top? But on the whole, I don’t mind it. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve always found a lil ink to be very sexy.

Live with his mother: 1 in 4

The most recent census revealed that nearly 6 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 lived at their parents’ homes last year. I was one of them. But on the whole, young men are nearly twice as likely as women to live with their parents. Of the last 5 guys I’ve met in this age group, 3 have lived with their parents.

These days, if he lives with his mother, it's not a strike against... it all depends on when he decides to tell you

Statistics and personal experience show, if I’m dating in my age group, a romantic night in, cooking dinner for him at his place, might entail cooking dinner for his mother (and father? and sister?).

So, in 2011, is it a strike against if a guy lives with his parents? I guess it all depends on a number of factors. But in this day and age, if all other signs of adulthood are neatly intact, it’s hard to call him anything but sensible.

Have traveled outside the US: 1 in 3

For the 2008/9 academic year, 260,327 students studied abroad, according to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. With NYU as the leading sending school in the US, this means odds are pretty good that a Manhattanite has traveled and even spent a significant time outside his homeland.

Only 30% of Americans have a passport, but odds that my next date will have traveled abroad are still pretty good.

But what about non-NYC educated folks? Or what about the possibility of meeting someone who’s seen the world without the help of academic programs? The numbers suggest my next date will have at least a willingness to journey in a foreign land.

Of the 308 million-plus citizens in the United States, 30% have passports. Owning a passport, of course, doesn’t guarantee that it’s been put to use. CNN posted some interesting stats: There were 61.5 million trips outside the United States in 2009 and about 50% of those trips were to either Mexico or Canada.

And yes, Canada is a foreign country, eh.

Have a graduate degree: 1 in 9

On eharmony, you can limit your dating pool according to education. If it’s a priority that your mate have at least as many degrees as you, then check a box, and the logarithm will take care of the rest.

As of 2003, approximately 25% of all Americans could boast a bachelor’s degree or higher. In a region like the North East, odds of landing a date who’s graduated from college is probably closer to 1 in 2. But a graduate degree? Well that gets tougher.

Only 9% of Americans have a masters degree, but New York is not America.

Only 9% of Americans can say they have an MA or MS or MBA. But again, New York isn’t America. New York City has the most post-graduate life sciences degrees awarded annually in the United States while Columbia University alone currently has approximately 17,833 students enrolled in various graduate programs.

Looking at these regional statistics, along with the contemporary reality that an increasing number of people are turning to graduate school as an alternative to a sucky job market, it seems the odds of finding a guy with “at least my level of education” would be in my favor… eventually.

There's nothing classy about a Red Sox fan.

Be a Red Sox Fan: 0

The Red Sox nation has a surprisingly strong representation in New York. It’s uncomfortable, and I won’t deny, I have a terrible habit of falling for fans of my team’s arch-nemesis.

But the chances I’ll actually allow myself to date one? Not a shot in hell.

How Complimentary

“I just don’t understand how you could want to be with someone who’s always telling you how beautiful and wonderful you are. Doesn’t that get tiresome?”

I admit, when a guy gives me a compliment, my response is very Miranda Hobbes -- skeptical.

This was my mother’s response when I told her the guy I was dating had a way of stopping mid-conversation to tell me he thought I was “gorgeous” or that “no other woman in the room came close.”

I looked at her in a way that suggested she should be put in a straight jacket and sent to Bedlam. Last I checked, it was nice for a boy to call a girl pretty every once in a while.

But, I’ll confess: when a guy tells me I’m beautiful, my response is very Hobbesian… Miranda Hobbes that is. The “Sex and the City” starlet always took Steve’s outpouring of niceties with a grain of salt — her inner cynic couldn’t help it.

Talking to Annie a few days after another absurdly perfect date, we realized  that modern women have been ruined — we’ve been raised to be Mirandas, distrusting of compliments, skeptical about sincerity. When I hear “you’re beautiful,” an internal eyebrow raises and the compliment is met with a tidal wave of skepticism. Why’s he saying that? What’s his deal? Is there really spinach on my face and he’s trying to tell me there’s spinach on my face without directly saying “there’s spinach on your face?”

It's hard for my inner cynic to shut-up... but slowly, it's learning

It doesn’t help that I matured in the company of men — compliments were frequently followed by a request for my economics homework.

Eventually, Miranda wised up — Steve really did just like her that much…and as it turned out, she really liked him that much.

As for me? Well, I think my inner cynic is starting to shut up and accept this for what it is — something nice. I’m not sure I’ll ever be good at taking compliments, or that the voice in my head will ever totally stop saying “you’re lying” when he says “you look wonderful,” but if there’s one thing I have decided, it’s that hearing “you’re beautiful” and “I like you” will never get tiresome.

How Blogging About Dating Suddenly Made Me a Desirable Date

Successful Relationship blogger? What do I tell him? Deny thy blog or confess its fame?

“You may not want to lead with the fact you have a blog about dating,” my friend Jake kindly advised me as we sipped lattes and commiserated over our recent dating droughts.

He had just brought to light an interesting dilemma: When you’ve made something of a name for yourself writing about love and its aftermath, do you deny thy blog, or confess its fame? Will guys think you’re clever or dub you as trouble?

“On the other hand,” he continued, “this whole blogging thing might just be the making of your love life. I’m worried that with your recent success, you won’t stay on the market long enough to keep They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband going. Seems now it’s a sooner, rather than a later, that you’ll land your Mr. Big.”

A recent slew of “Can I take you out for a drink?” messages from They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband’s male readership helped me make up my mind and lent a modicum of credibility to Jake’s alternative forecast.

Who would have thought that blogging about dating would make me a hot date ticket?

“What do you do?” — It’s a question we’re always asked when we meet someone and a question I always answer with caution.

“I consider myself a writer on the verge of landing a paying day job.”

“What do you write about?” The inevitable follow up question.

“Dating and relationships… I have a blog.”

Their eyes open wide, an eyebrow rises, a half-smirk curls upon their lips and they lean in a little closer.

“What’s it called? Maybe I’ve read it,” they coo.

“They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband.”

Usually, the next thing the guy will do is take a sip of his drink and pause. “So, do you want to be that Millionaire Matchmaker lady?”

“No…no, I don’t really care about other people finding rich husbands. ‘Find a rich husband‘ — that’s what people tell me to do. I’m the only person I’m really interested in. Blogging is a selfish business”

Pause.

“So does that make you a real-life Carrie Bradshaw?”

We ladies all think we're Carries chasing our Mr. Bigs. Turns out, guys are out there chasing their Carries.

Carrie Bradshaw — she’s the shadow-casting pop-culture icon we who write about dating in New York can never escape. As I chuckle and shrug, part in acceptance, part in denial, his next move is typically to put a hand on the small of my back to pull me in closer. The look in his eyes is telling. He sees his pseudonym in print.

“Carrie wrote a column called ‘Sex and the City,'” I’ve been known to reply. “I moved north of the city a few months ago. If I turned my blog into a column, eventually I’d have to call it ‘Celibacy and the Suburbs.'”

“Well, we’ll have to fix that, won’t we?” Before I have a chance to process or respond, his hand is up the back of my shirt and his tongue is searching for my tonsils. Hold your horses there, Cowboy!

“When you write about me tomorrow, make sure to call me ‘Mr. Hottie,'” more than one guy has said. If they only knew…

Apparently, the prospect of being the subject of next week’s post can be something of a turn on. Thank you, Carrie Bradshaw for making dating columnists sexy. Before you, we might have been considered raging feminists, and a dating no-go. It would just be nice if the men in this city didn’t conflate you with your side-kick, nymphomaniac Samantha Jones… because, as their roaming hands and steaming eyes make evident, it seems they always do.