On Friday, 6th June, I went on the sixth in a series of bad dates. This makes it sound like I’d signed up for a package deal: ‘Six bad dates for the price of one! The worst dates you’ll ever have the misfortune of going on! You won’t believe how gross men can be til you’ve tried these ones!’
No, I’m not a sucker for punishment although friends have wondered if this is indeed true because, surely, after having gone through the ordeal of the first, say, two, I should have given up on the enterprise. What made me soldier on if not masochistic tendencies? Insanity?
By date #4, I should have realised that things were not going to get better, but even as I write this, I know that that’s just not true. Why should I have thought that? There are decent men out there and why shouldn’t I expect to meet at least one or two?
I don’t know if date #7 (if it ever happens), will break the bad-date-streak. Right now, I feel I shouldn’t be too hopeful. And I have even deleted my Tinder account. This is supposed to signal to the Dating Gods that I am not going to settle for nasty men and sordid one night stands anymore.
It’s been a while since I wrote about my so-called love life. Hah.
Recently, I met a bloke whom I really like. Unfortunately, he does not like me back. We get on well, enjoy each other’s company etc, but he seems (no, he definitely is) lukewarm about me. While I don’t mind being upfront about what I want, and I don’t mind making the first move, it began to feel like whatever we had between us only existed because I wanted it to. He probably doesn’t dislike my company, may even like it. However, I’m obviously not floating his boat enough for him to be more than a passive participant in our ‘relationship’.
The last time I saw him, we spent about five hours chatting. After that he texted to say he’d had a great time, but then he stopped contacting me as often as he had done before. I did ask him about it, and he said he was busy, clearing work before the Raya break. Then Raya happened. Still nothing. Then the World Cup started. Even more nothing.
Really, I should just accept the fact that I have been well and truly friend zoned. We still chat, if I initiate it, but yeah, only if I initiate it. It’s depressing. How could he not be absolutely over the moon that I fancy him? How could he not like me back?
Hah. Enough already. I am not going to think about it anymore. I have already wasted (too) many minutes being grumpy over him, and really, I should not have even written this post, right? Why all these words written about someone who does not deem me worthy of his time?
The thing is, there are so many annoying, sleazy, sexist bastards out there, that meeting this guy really was such a relief. Last week, I had four bad dates in a row and I was thinking that I needed to continue going out to meet guys until I met a decent one because if not I would be doomed forever. Crazy but true.
I am thinking though that I need to take a break from dating, from men. It’s been nothing but bad news so what am I doing continuing to put myself through all the shit? Seriously, I would be telling a girlfriend to stop it already if I saw her being me. No one needs this amount of yuck in their life. And, thinking about it, has the yuck been happening right from 2013? Was Don also part of it? And how about the final years of my marriage? Has my love life actually sucked since 2006?
I revisited The Turning Point a couple of days ago. It’s one of my favourite films and I have watched it goodness knows how many times. When I was a teenager, I recorded it when it was screened on Channel 5, Singaporean Broadcasting Corporation, and I watched that video tape so many times, over so many years, the picture got decidedly fuzzy in the end.
I got the DVD in the early 2000s, but have not watched it for years — the last time, I was probably in my late thirties.
I was ballet crazy in primary school and through my teens and early adulthood, so the gorgeous ballet sequences in The Turning Point were very special to me. Remember, this was before the days of YouTube and the Internet. I was living in a small town in Malaysia and had no access to any ballet performances of any kind. The rehearsal scenes in the film were also wonderful — they allowed me to be a part of a magical, mysterious world that I could otherwise only dream (and read) about.
Baryshnikov was the main reason I was first drawn to the film. I was crazy about him, although not as much as I was crazy about Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. However, after I watched The Turning Point for the first time, I was definitely more taken with Leslie Browne than I was with the Russian superstar.
Of course I took her character, Emilia’s side in the love affair portrayed in the film. And of course I swooned over the romance of an aspiring young dancer falling in love with the more experienced but also young, handsome star of the ballet company. Watching the film today, I found that I was amused by how predictable Emilia’s feeling are, and then annoyed at how predictable Yuri’s behaviour is. Otherwise, the relationship is not a terribly interesting feature of the film, but written to highlight deeper issues faced by Emilia’s mother Deedee (played by Shirley McClaine) and Emma (Anne Bancroft), the ageing ballerina and Deedee’s best friend.
It is so interesting to me that when I was a child (yes, my teen self seems like a child to me now), I was totally unmoved by the film’s most important relationship: the one between Deedee and Emma. When I re-watched The Turning Point in my teens, I may have fast forwarded through the scenes in which the two women interact. I know I definitely fast forwarded through that last climatic interaction at the ballet gala, in which things come to a head between the two friends.
But today … goodness! Nearly every scene featuring the two women made me tear up, and all of them hit a chord. Obviously, what Deedee and Emma faced, the problems they were struggling with meant nothing to me when I was young because, having not lived, I knew nothing, and was scornful and dismissive of everything that I had not experienced. Thwarted ambition and lost dreams, betrayal, regret, self-sabotage — what did I know of these things?
At the end of the film, Deedee says to Emma, of Emilia, ‘Oh, Emma, if only she knew everything we know’ and Emma replies, ‘It wouldn’t matter a damn.’
In life, experience is everything. Without it, there is only imagination and even that, in my opinion, relies on experience to function fully.
We can’t force what about a story resonates with us. We can’t imagine what will appeal and what not until it does or doesn’t. I love this film now as much as I did when I was sixteen, but for different reasons. I know exactly why I loved it in 1983, but I would never have guessed, then, how my life would shape the way I responded to the story on Saturday.
The problem with using dating sites/apps is that, pretty soon, you see all men as sleazebags or sociopaths, or both.
Is it the nature of the beast? Does online dating bring out the worst or just the ‘real’ in guys? And if not online dating then what? How does one meet people these days? In church? At bars? At the market?
Friends suggest cafes, mamak restaurants, bookshops and art shows. I can’t imagine meeting anyone at any of these places. To be honest, right now, the idea of meeting anyone anywhere, on any platform fills me with horror and dread.
My recent experiences with yet another sociopath make me wonder if I am an easy target. Do I come off as easily fooled? Do I seem that lonely and vulnerable? It seems my instincts were totally switched off. Did I switch them off? I wonder if I ignored the red flags because I was relieved to finally meet someone I could get on well with.
Ugh, it seems to me that I should always be heaps more cautious, especially when I like the bloke. I’m not exactly sure what that means though. Don’t get too friendly while getting to know them; do not give too much away, while allowing them to get to know me; always expect the worst, but also give them some benefit of doubt; find fault with everything, but try not to offend. But for how long? When is it OK to relax and enjoy and be assured that I’m not taking part in yet another melodramatic farce?
I think I shall go into semi-hermit mode for a while. And read Barbara Pym.
I like having my fortune told. I don’t take what I’m told seriously, but I do find it useful. It’s a little like discussing my problems with a therapist. Sometimes life overwhelms me and when someone says this or that may or may not happen, I suddenly see my way through all the mess, or at least have some idea of what I wish to avoid or pursue.
I met with a tarot card reader about five years ago and I suspect he didn’t actually believe in what the cards said, but just knew he was good at sussing people out. I think the best fortune tellers are the ones who are able to ‘read’ people. Unfortunately, they may use this skill to screw with their clients. The guy I saw also did past life regression and when I asked him about that he said that was just a label he used because clients were more convinced when advice was framed that way. I felt he gave me some brilliant advice and made me consider things in ways I hadn’t thought of before. I think he knew I wasn’t really there for the supernatural stuff and so just gave me a frank assessment of my concerns. He cost a lot less than my therapist, so …
But there are fortune tellers who don’t discuss your life or problems with you, but just spit out predictions like ‘You will have a husband with dark skin and large eyes, and you will have two cars.’ That is exactly what one fortune teller told me. At the time, I was rather keen on marriage and so I was happy with what she said.
I actually have a set of Tarot cards — just the Major Arcana, which is used to look at matters of the heart — yes, that’s exactly why I bought them (eyeroll). I used to do readings for myself all the time and so I know how you can interpret the cards in a variety of ways and make it sound like it makes sense in the context of whatever situation they’re supposed to refer to.
I’m not, at the moment, particularly curious about what the future holds. Let it all be a surprise. How could knowing help, anyway, when it could all change with a single sneeze.