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The Column

Singles Anonymous

Hi, my name is Steve, and I'm single. And for those of you like me, this column is for you.

I feel like I have to say I'm single in the way a meeting of alcohol anonymous starts. I do enjoy being single most days. Of course on most days, drunks enjoy the bottle.

I've been single since June of 2003. That's the longest streak I've had sans girlfriend since I was 15. I've been dating the whole time, but nothing has ever materialized into promoting me to boyfriend status. Twice I was called in for an evaluation interview, but turns out they decided to hire another applicant.

My pattern is simple: I meet a girl, we like each other, I leave town, she likes someone else. I've gotten the "I'm seeing someone" call so often I can tell before she even says anything. And most of the time, I don't even get that call - I'm left to figure it out on my own. Once was able to call a girl and say "the least you could do is tell me you have a boyfriend," before she said anything. I'm kidding. I was able to do that twice.

I know I'm in a unique situation in that I travel often, but there are many commonalities of being single we can all relate to, and we have all experienced being single. When you are single, you alternate between loving your freedom and wishing you had less of it. And no one is immune. Even the girls that seem born with boyfriends have had a few days of "will I ever find someone?" syndrome.

There are good days - days when we're positive about our prospects. Days when we clean up our apartment in case anyone comes over. Days when our hair falls perfectly where it's supposed to, and the style happens to go with what we're wearing. Days when we wear the nice underwear. (Yes, guys do that, too). Those usually turn out to be terrible nights, but the anticipation is awesome. Ironically, the nights that work out are typically those when you're apartment is a mess, your hair has that one patch that keeps sticking up, and you desperately need to do laundry. That Murphy guy makes fun laws.

There are also bad days - days when it looks like you have no prospects at all. Days when your date cancels inexplicably five minutes after you finished getting ready. Days when you get three wedding announcements and every song you hear is about someone being happier than you. Days when your roommate brings home a moaner. Those are the tough days - the days that make you wish you hadn't taken your ex's number out of your phone.

Some of you are reading this and are glad it doesn't currently apply to you. But it might. Roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. And the VAST majority of all relationships end with a group of friends splitting a carton of Rocky Road or a six pack of Coors. But this one is THE one, you say. You might be right, and congratulations if you are. But you're probably wrong. And if you are wrong, when you look back at this column after the one turns out to be the wrong one, this paragraph will be particularly hysterical.

Living in LA, I have met a cadre of terrible women. Women who like me for my car or my job or who don't like me because my car isn't nice enough or they wished I had a better job. In the same respect, I live amongst a cadre of terrible men who use their cars and jobs to get these terrible women.

But I have a feeling if I lived anywhere, I'd run into something similar. My problems are not unique to southern California. Life is a quest to pair off with someone as equally wonderful and terrible as you are. And that's why dating is so difficult. Very few people know where they stand on those two supply and demand curves, let alone the status of anyone else.

While I spend my twenty-something years trying to find myself, I might accidentally find someone else at the same time. But for now, I'll continue to periodically clean my apartment, hope my hair comes out right, and wear the good underwear (which, for guys, is much less complicated to do than for girls). And when my dates cancel, my friends get married, and my roommate brings home a moaner, it might be a rough night. But I'll laugh about it the next morning. And hope that the next girl I end up with is even louder.

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