It’s the end of an era as Scottie decides to calls it a night.
“So, let me get this straight,” he says, smiling at me. “You want to be sitting in some coffee house…”
“…and the door opens…”
“…and in walks your perfect man…”
“And you two just run away together, cappuccinos in one hand and wedding rings at the ready? Trust me, it doesn’t work like that.”
Sadly, the guy I had been drooling over all night had made some very valid points, but his Chicago tones dulled the pain of hearing them … a bit. It was a pity that he was only on ‘vacation’ in Ireland for the week, visiting his father’s family. If I had been able to, I would’ve stolen his passport and made sure that he stayed with me, because he was almost exactly what I wanted in a guy. Six foot two, dark features, older (31, a six year gap), well dressed and with a great body to boot. He wasn’t exactly ripped, but definitely in good shape, like a guy who’d played rugby most of his life but never pushed himself to get completely defined. His accent was to die for, and it seemed that my own Dublin lilt was having a similar effect on him.
Still, what he was saying was all too true. We had been joking that I had been raised on Disney films as a kid, but somehow, I still thought that true love would find me – butterflies and all. He was right, though; it just doesn’t happen like that. So, where was I (or, am I) going wrong? Why was I being so completely unrealistic when it came to love?
When I started this column, I had a certain fantasy in my mind – that by the time I would finish it, I’d have a boyfriend, be happy and be ready to move on to my next challenge. Two outta three ain’t bad, right? I am happy – generally speaking – but still as single as when I moved back to Dublin from my time in Northern Ireland. A little older, definitely, but any wiser? Jury’s out.
Since last August, I’ve gone on dates with guys who have miaowed, guys who had split personalities, guys who were human versions of chloroform and many more. I’ve downloaded, deleted and re-downloaded Grindr and its friends countless times, becoming disillusioned with them before submitting to them again a few weeks (or months) later. If there were good guys in that mix, they lacked something to keep my attention. Of course, there’s nothing to say that there wasn’t a problem with me – that’s something I’ve always been a bit too afraid to admit in this column.
As I spent time with the Chicago hunk, a dark realisation crept up on me. I was making googly eyes at a guy who I was probably never going to see again. He didn’t mind, of course – after all, he was having a night out on his European holidays – but I was going to get nothing out of it. The worst part was that I realised it was a pattern that I had been repeating for far too long; I was wasting my time on the wrong type of guy, and he certainly wasn’t the first. I had been wasting my time on the wrong guys for years.
Alright Scott, I thought to myself, now what? You’ve tried sports, bars, apps, cafés and God knows what else to find a man. What’s left, apart from emigrating? Ah, now there was an awful thought – that I had run out of options in my hometown, and those who were left were either taken, sleazy or just not the dating kind. Was the man of my caffeine-related dreams actually not in Ireland at all? Would I end up moving to the US or the UK instead? I’m not going to rule anything out, but I do know that I’m a homebird. Dublin is and always will be home, but my life today is very different from the life I had two years ago, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
Then there is another question, which some friends have asked me before; why bother? They say that love comes when you least expect it. Well, I don’t know about you, but my overactive mind doesn’t get the whole idea of not finding a guy. There’s a deep-rooted loneliness that keeps my eyes scanning the bar, the café or the street for Mr. Right. It’s that kind of loneliness that inspires writes to come up with the most awful poetry, full of teenage angst and hipster-like depression. Even if I have a brilliant time out with my friends, there’s always a little part of my mind that wonders if I’m about to meet someone.
And so, I decided to make a decision. I knew well that my Chicago hunk wasn’t going to be around for long, but instead enjoyed the night for what it was. I know there’s no point in anyone telling me not to over-think or over-analyse, because no-one has been able to tell me how. Instead, I just went with the flow of the night, knowing I had to stop trying to be Dublin’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw. Mr Big wasn’t coming, and I wasn’t doing myself any favours by running around to find him.
Soon, it was time to call it a night. I woke up the morning after refreshed and ready to take on a different approach to guys. I’m probably always going to keep an eye out, but I’m no longer waiting. The waiting is over.
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick