Match.con

So, I've recently re-entered the lair/playground/shit-show of dating. In my mid 30's. I've been on so many goddamn dates now, I can't keep them all straight. I recently sent a Peruvian vacation Groupon to one dude referencing a conversation I had with someone else weeks earlier; the guy who texted me, "You're hot on tv!" after watching my web-series, and then never wrote again.

Next there was the man who called/texted/wrote me several times every day with lovely intros such as "Hey hot stuff" or, "What's happening beautiful?" Almost tricked me into thinking this was normal after meeting someone twice. It wasn't until he questioned me via text message if I was only dating to, "Get over a bad relationship" that I woke up to our incompatibility.

I had a bartender pick me up while one of my dates was in the bathroom. Went out with said bartender a few weeks later, and it turns out he's twentyfuckingfour. A few fun cocktailed-hours spent telling me how he liked older women, left me thinking, "This might be an interesting summer, Mrs. Robinson." Needless to say, that text he promised to send? Never came.

Dated one guy for about a month until I uncovered a lie he told me to my face on his facebook page. I don't know if it bothered me more that he lied, or that he was dumb enough to leave it on facebook.

I've been on 3 different dating sites. I'm so beyond mortified about this that I don't even mind anymore. I imagine it's like when a woman is giving birth; you know the point she's so far beyond caring that everyone in the room has seen her fucking vagina and is aware that she just shit the table.

The problem is, I've started to ask myself, "What's wrong with me?"

I'm not the hottest little catch by any means, but I don't think I'm scary enough to warrant the deficit of kind, stable, single men that I'm currently experiencing. Maybe I'm hanging out in the wrong places. Maybe I should find a job where I have even mild exposure to straight men. Maybe the all-female choir wasn't the best choice. Maybe West-coasters, like Bassett Hounds, are just too chill to make a move. Perhaps Portland really is short on men that own more than one set of sheets. Or, is it my profile? I've become brazen enough to send "winks" and messages with wild abandon. Each one in vain.

Truth is, I've spent way too long trying to morph myself into someone I wasn't so other people would like me. Litany of passive-aggressive disasters behind me, I've vowed to do the only thing I can do and ever truly do well: be myself.

But as it turns out, a lot of people, most in fact, don't resonate with that. I suppose I should look at this with a positive attitude; it does indeed save me a lot of time going out with dudes with whom it would never work anyway. But I've discovered, it's a lot more painful being rejected without the protective artifice of my co-dependent candy-shell.

Last weekend I went on a date I thought was finally really promising. He was covered in tattoos and had a purple hair. I decided I didn't care that he couldn't spell; in fact, he probably did it on purpose. We had a nice conversation and he was very open and kind. I convinced myself that his alternative approach to life meant that surely he would accept me and be open to whatever it must be that the rest of the dating community can't get into. I don't own even the tiniest tattoo, but I aspire to be an open-minded and loving person; willing to see where a relationship with someone my parents would consider a carnie, would go.

I took a long walk before our second date and thought about how my Portland integration would finally be complete. Aqua vintage Craigslist bike for commuting: check. Funky hipster frames picked out by awesome gay dude at locally owned eye-glass store: check. Sweet, subversive, counter-culture boyfriend with mohawk and tattoo sleeves: awesome.

I thought about how cool it would be to date someone really different; how people at the farmers markets would admire that two people so opposite on the outside could fall in love. How he would teach me how to fix my bicycle and I would introduce him to fancy cheese. How we'd decide never to marry because we were way too progressive for that mainstream bullshit. He would be happy to stay home with the kids, and I would go to work.

But, just like the guy who never wrote again after watching my show or the baby-bartender, or the half-dozen other guys who asked me out and then just disappeared; the texts after our second date - vanished.

So, disappointed and crushed once again, this pariah, had to backthefuckup and ask herself, "What's The Deal?"

And I now see two things: 1. That my old habit of changing what I'm attracted to just to be with someone had once again snuck in, and 2. I had to face the fact that this keeps happening because my core belief is that it's never going to happen for me; that there just isn't a dude on this planet, let alone Portland, Oregon, that will adore me, As Is, that I will be mutually crazy about. And until I dig out the roots of this belief, I'm continually going to desire to bestow my love of cheese on any guy who seems an almost-but-not-quite match.

I wish I had some awesome conclusion here, but I don't yet. That's the catch about faith and trust - you just gotta keep moving forward. And know that the all these sad and hilarious encounters aside, the real tragedy would be to never realize that the only one holding me back, is me. The biggest con here, is the one I've been telling myself