Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Day Eleven: A Downside to the Deadbeat Lifestyle Choice?

Believe it or not, there might be a hidden downside to being a Deadbeat. I know, it seems amazing to think, but it may just be so. All of this doing nothing, living on the public teat, mooching off of your parents at 32 years old, sleeping in, all of this might have somewhat negative repercussions. And no, I don't mean bedsores.

I'm talking about dating. Or, the modern collolary to that olde-tyme activity: internet dating.

I have a profile on a common dating site. You know you've tried it. Every few months, I start feeling uppity and I send out some feelers (boy, that sounds real dirty in this context, don't it?). I poke around (can't escape the dirty stuff) and try to meet some chicks. Invariably, it goes the same way: I send out a few e-mails. If I'm lucky, I get a response back. We e-mail for a while...and then nothing. In three years (I'm serious, three years), I've had a grand total of two internet dates. Two. (Well, that's not wholly honest. One girl I met with three times, but knew after the first that I wasn't interested.)

So, of course, in my current state of deadbeatness, and with not much else to fill my time (you can only procrastinate for just so long), I decided to get back into it. I cruised the site (well, not dirty exactly, but scummy-sounding), and I found some interesting prospects. I sent some e-mails and then sat back to let the ladies come to me.

And, lo and behold, one very nice woman did. Out of something like six e-mails sent out, one came back. I'm not sure if that's a good ratio or not.

We corresponded for a few days, about once a day. It's the usual, semi-awkward initial conversation, you know. The kind of conversation you have with someone you meet at a party for the first fifteen, twenty minutes (the "and what do you do?" portion of the evening), but spread over five days. Getting to know you stuff.

Now, I'm a romantic, so I start the fantasy motor going and start handicapping the whole thing. Which is probably the biggest part of my problem. I'm figuring out what we have in common, what are the stumbling blocks to our successful union, what I'm willing to compromise on, what she'll have to learn to live with...all before we've spoken on the phone. Slick, lemme tell ya, slick. I do manage to keep this all to myself, though (not wanting to talk to anyone about my internet dating also helps with the discretion).

But, finally, she asks me about my living situation. Now, I've probably already blundered by mentioning that I'm moving. That's the opening. And now she's walked right through it.

What the hell am I supposed to say? I'm actually serious about that. I sit and think: well, I could lie...somehow. Downplay the whole thing. Say "Well, I didn't really have time to look for a place all summer and my landlord is kicking me out, but it's cool because I can crash with friends". And then what do I say when she finds out the "friends" are my parents? Um, I lied? Or if I say "relatives" instead of "friends"? Same thing. And do I want to start off this relationship on the basis of a lie? Isn't honesty supposed to be the best policy in all things, but most importantly in relationships and such? I was raised pretty right, at least for someone raised in Jersey.

But, how fucking awful does the truth sound: "I'm moving out of my place to move in with my parents." Yeah, I can dress it up in all kinds of prettiness, all kinds of sparklers and whistles, but that's just silk hats on a pig, my downhome friends. And on top of that, I just "met" this chick (well, virtually "met"); do I want to get into my whole "I'm not sure what I'm doing with my life" stuff? And I've already done a little white lie with her and said I was "freelancing" (not "bumming around"). Why stop there? Why not just go whole hog and tell her whatever keeps the e-mails flowing and moves me closer to actual sex with an actual woman, and the possibility, relationship, etc.? I mean, what the hell am I doing on an internet personals site if I don't want to get laid, right? Am I right or am I right?

And I'm right, but I'm, well, for a deadbeat, honest and relatively upstanding. I told, basically, the truth, but tried to make it sound as temporary and stopgap as possible (which it is....right?). I'm just crashing here for a little bit while I look for a new apartment.

Which, I think, also has the unintentional message of "Can I come crash with you? I'll eat all your food and not pay the bills! I swear!" Or at least I think so. I think it's unlikely I'll hear back from the nice lady. All because I chose to be (mostly) honest. It's the best policy, right? Am I right or am I right?

Honestly, it is kind of disappointing. Both in myself, in the world of dating (it's like the world you live in, only harsher and colder and filled with pitfalls), in the nice lady. I mean, okay, I'm not crazy, or a loser (really). I'm just going through some changes, relatively minor changes in my world. I'm not losing my mind and becoming a total flake or anything. Really. I don't even know how long this experiment can last for. And I look at it like an experiment (at least today).

But I can't really be comfortable with that, can I? With this choice (which is what it is, I made a choice to do this)?

But, also, can I blame her if she wants to back out slowly? I mean, I'm living with my parents. The idea of rushing back to my place for a quick snog is out of the question. It would mean spending all our time at her place, if we even got that far. Fifteen, twenty minutes into a conversation (not even a relationship) is pretty soon to figure out if you want someone in your space all the time. Or if you want to take the leap to seeing his parents all the time. I mean, come on. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it.

Yeah, and it still sucks. Or whatever. I gotta keep in my mind that we're twenty minutes in. At this point, it's like she wandered off to get a drink and didn't come back when I went into a rant about how awful the end of The War of the Worlds is (and it is awful). No harm, no foul, really. And the lesson: save the deadbeat stuff for later. Having a good cover story isn't necessarily a lie. Is it? If I'm way off base here, somebody say something. Please.


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