Entirely too many comedians do jokes about only dating "crazy" people. You know, lines like “If I like you, it’s not a compliment. It’s a diagnosis.”
No matter how many times I’ve seen it done, it’s always been a sentiment I can relate to. As many people could tell you, it takes a special kind of woman to put up with me. Usually one with a screw or two loose or a good amount of emotional baggage.
Sure, calling a woman "crazy" is just an easy way for guys to write her off if/when things don't work out, but I've seen my fair share of stalkers (both via social media and in real life), manipulative sociopaths, and late-night crying sessions (sparked by something that happened to her decades ago). At least it's always interesting.
I used to consider it a bad thing, and then I went on a handful of dates with a woman who changed my mind.
After going out a few times, I couldn’t find anything wrong with her. She was attractive, smart, entertaining enough, and had her life pretty well together for someone in her late 20s. Knowing my track record, I assumed she must be hiding a warhead of a secret.
My friends all dismissed the notion. They all assured me it was totally possible that I'd met someone who checked off just about every box I could come up with.
The next weekend, my apparent dream girl and I went on another date. This was the night when I’d figure out what was wrong with her. It was past that awkward first phase of dates stage where you both have to pretend like you’re not both emotional wrecks with abandonment issues and a need to be the center of attention at all times, but it was not yet at the point where you reveal the innermost problems that come out roughly six months into dating and sound like a bad episode of Maury.
By the time we got back to her apartment, I was pretty convinced I was wrong. This woman came from a perfectly good family, had no apparent traumatic or scarring memories, and generally seemed laid back. Maybe I was just looking for problems that weren’t there. To quote the great American prophet Kanye West, “I’m so gifted at finding what I don’t like the most.”
Then I started to see little signs around the apartment. A mug with a “Keep Calm and…” saying on it. A framed Audrey Hepburn quote. A wide variety of Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works products. All the warning signs of the most standard whitebread of 20-something women.
Of course, none of this is a deal-breaker. Dating near a school like ASU means there'll always be plenty of "basic" (for lack of a better word) ladies around.
After failing to find anything suitable to watch on hundreds of channels of satellite television for background noise, my date began to go through her DVR to find something to watch. That’s when the bomb dropped. Kardashians, The Bachelor, Real Housewives, it was all there.
I began to think back on what we’d discussed over our dates, and there was essentially nothing of substance. She wasn’t dumb, but the most thought she’d put into anything during the entire time I’d known her was which Instagram filter to use on the photo of her Bevmo-friendly craft beer.
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In a nutshell, she was your boring, run-of-the-mill, and it started to really bug me. It’s one thing to be “average,” but it’s another to be such a walking stereotype of suburban young adult culture in America that you were seemingly taken straight out of a sitcom or teenage movie.
Don't get me wrong, it's not necessarily right to stop seeing someone just because they're about as exciting as the tiny dolphin tattoo on their ankle, but it was the most honest thing to do in the situation. I'd been lured in my looks and a promising situation, only to find out that any future we had together would likely be full of dull activities and painstakingly boring discussions.
That night, I learned a valuable lesson. I’ll deal with manipulative or vaguely unstable or emotionally unavailable women for at least a few weeks while I try to make things work, but the minute I realize someone is more or less a human yawn, I just can’t make myself stick around.