I paused for a while, deliberating between 'nerdy' and 'sporty', before realising what the real answer really is: 'Why do I have to choose? I want someone who's all of those things!'
I also want someone good-looking, I added. And tall. Basically perfection on two legs. But I am always on the look-out for imperfections. That's always the caveat when I think that I may be interested in someone: he's cute/he's smart/he's funny/he plays really good tennis, but wait, he's short/he's balding/he's old/he's Catholic/he has a weird accent, etc. Do I cotton on to these 'imperfections' (which are only imperfections in my book, not objectively) because I am critical, or is it because what I am chasing simply doesn't exist?
I am 30 and single. At one point in my life, I had envisioned myself married with at least a kid at this age. How true to my heart that image really was, I don't know; more likely than not, it was a residual desire to model myself after my mother, who had me when she was 28 or 29. Of course, not a lot of thought went into it. Eventually, I put a lot more thought into the question of child-bearing. I turned it into a philosophical question. I still think it is; I still think that, if I were being really honest about it, my convictions would require that I answer the question in the negative. But we are not ruled by rationality all the time; isn't that why even moral philosophers don't always act morally? Sometimes, I feel some slight desire for a mini-me, one that I can dress in the prettiest clothes, someone whom I can teach the most worthy of values, someone who would get to do the things that I didn't get to do.
But I think of my constant disappointment with life, misplaced and/or mistaken as it may be, and I wonder, Why would I subject someone else to this? What would I say to her about life: the truth, or the lie that comes undone once she grows up?
What I fear about being single isn't the aloneness, or the loneliness. What I want in a relationship isn't the fact of another person. It is a desire for the deepest connection that I can possibly form with another human being, a need to be known inside out, to be seen. In a scene in Orphan Black where Beth begs her fake-boyfriend Paul (who is in her life to spy on her) to see her, to make her feel real, I started crying because I know exactly how that feels. This feeling like you are invisible; that you leave no traces; that you are just an appearance, not flesh and blood; just an idea, a name, a list of attributes, a CV of achievements; not an actual person.
The men that I have loved have known me, and loved me. But there was always something missing. There is a connection but it doesn't go deep enough; something always holds me back. I begin to notice the imperfections, I begin to mind what they are not, I forget and stop valuing what they are. Did they really see me? Perhaps they did, but after some time, I didn't want to be seen anymore. Or rather: I didn't want to be seen by them anymore.
Sometimes, like tonight, after two frustratingly unproductive days that effectively erased the tentative positive vibes I have accumulated towards the PhD, I want to remake myself, be someone new, different, unexpected; or simply what I have always wanted to be.
John asked me how's the non-academic going.
It's definitely stalled. I don't know what it is that I want to say (sounds a lot like my PhD). I can't capture the essence of the experience, this whole fiasco with G; what is the point? I don't know, I don't know.
The cute barista - the one that gave me free coffee and banana yesterday - at Fitzbillies talked to me today. He asked if I lived or worked around the cafe, and I said that I'm from Magdalene and I'm in the library every day, and coffee keeps me awake. I was in my awkward and anti-social mode, and so I didn't continue the conversation. I was a bit bummed that he had to pick up the phone when he was halfway through making my coffee; I like the care that he puts into the latte art.
I like dark-haired men. He has dark hair.
Lastly, I am re-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I cannot believe that it has been 16 years since Season 1 aired. I can't believe that I watched it when I was 14. Just - wow.