Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why I am single on Valentine's Day

You may be familiar with the rom-com trope: guy obsessed with girl, girl is wrapped with with some other guy--usually a jerk or otherwise unsuited for her--and therefore oblivious to our guy, girl gets her heart broken by the jerk, girl realizes she should give our guy a chance. This trope reinforces the underlying misapprehension of Gamer Gate, that girls never notice the nice guys, and that nice guys finish last. Ergo, girls need to stop being stupid and give the nice guys who are obsessed with them a chance. 

My issue is, I can't make myself like the nice guys who like me. And in my defense, it's not like I don't give them a chance. It's not like I rule those guys out because I'm fixated on vapid things like height or career. I look for sensible things like shared values and similar life trajectory. I make a good faith effort to assess the potential, and there's always a lot of potential because these guys are perfectly wonderful. But even then, when everything seems like it should click, it still doesn't click. What's with that? 

It may be as simple as, I haven't found the right guy yet. That sounds kind of cliche and a cop out; it assumes that there is one cosmically-designated person for everyone, and I just don't think that's accurate. Love isn't some mystical, magical thing. It's not a first glance dart to the heart. I told Rebecca I might only be able to find love via a rom-com meet-cute and she exclaimed sadly, "Don't say that!" because she knew as I do that that is not real life. 

So, while it is possible that my designated "soulmate" person just hasn't yet appeared, it is more likely that I am getting in my own way with romance. Primarily, I am culpable in that I am not open to making new friends and getting close to people in general, so in these generally maladaptive behaviors I block myself from building any kind of romantic connection, must less a connection with "the One." But I also wonder if there are more nefarious issues involved than mere antisocialness. It is also possible my issue is with the wooing process. 

Unfortunately, I fairly am comfortable flirting (or, just being a human, I mean) with people I have limited knowledge of and little connection with. I have an endless stream of silly crushes on random boys I have had little to no interaction with. I shoot smiles at cute strangers I see in transit with no fear, because I know I will never see them again. But being pursued is terrifying, it makes my heart race . . . not with infatuation but with anxiety. When I have already decided a guy is not for me, his continued attention and wooing makes me feel guilty for not reciprocating; unlike with normal people, it doesn't kindle any affection. I want to say that wooing just doesn't work on me, but that conclusion seems inconsistent with what it means to be human. 

Because what about the Church's Bridegroom? We love Him because He first loved us. He woos His creation faithfully, with science and art, with rain and drought, with grace on grace on grace, and it is His kindness that drew us to Him; we did not chose Him unbidden. I was drawn to Him via so many channels: a personality predisposition to seek transcendent ideals, a fear of the dark and a child's need for peace, a yearning to be perfect, and my parents' tender example. He put so many lures for me, but I confess that I wonder, am I often unmoved even by His wooing, initiation, and pursuit? 

This sobering hardness of my heart is no great mystery to me, but rather stems from my pride and independence. I know because one of those Facebook personality tests scored me the highest on the self-sufficiency metric. A once-friend was the first in my life to articulate this to me, that I didn't need anyone in the very worst way. And he wasn't necessarily wrong. I think one of the worst thing in life is asking for letters of recommendation--I die inside every time I have to ask, and one of the reasons I didn't apply to clerkships was because I couldn't take the stress of getting those letters. I hate going to other people with my problems, and my reticence to depend on other people affects my willingness to depend on my God and be moved by His care for me. 

But oh, crooked heart, I am still inexplicably pleased with my ability to take care of myself, and of this I repent, daily asking that my heart be transformed. Failure and redemption are two sides of the same coin. I am poor and needy, but the LORD takes thought for me. 

Anyway, here is a takeaway for the nice guys: if you're hung up on a girl that doesn't appreciate your feelings, maybe she has not just a few issues but the whole subscription. You will be happier with someone less complicated, but it takes time for feelings to run their course. Be angsty, or don't be, and from a crazy girl, sorry and thank you.