What’s in a name?

I was running late on a rainy early spring Saturday night in St Pete. Parking on a weekend downtown is especially annoying and only enhances my tardiness. I usually text my arrival time with an “-ish” as to allot for my poor time management skills and hopefully, not piss anyone off. On this night, I was supposed to meet with a proper grown up man on a first date. He was less than thrilled when I showed up fifteen minutes late for sushi and drinks.

I should mention that I wasn’t at all interested in this guy. He wasn’t the type of dude I’d ever date but I was in this dating funk where I needed to go outside of typical type and give this funny, intelligent, and successful man a chance. Unfortunately for me, he read my body language and facial expressions within the first few minutes of my delayed entrance, and correctly deduced that I wasn’t there out of genuine interest. The night was off to an awkward and overly apologetic start. I ordered a champagne cocktail and asked for a menu. I kept mentioning my hunger and tried to get the waitress’ attention. My date simply ignored my not-so-subtle hints. The menu never arrived. After two drinks, I forgot all about the sushi and suggested we go to another bar. I kept drinking and was stumbling around drunk by the end of the night. Drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea akin to going out with a guy you don’t like.

The date ended with a weird kiss.

My pub trivia team didn’t regal me with laughter upon hearing my recent tale. Unbeknownst to me, one of my team members knew my date from a civic group and had heard all about my bad manners. Yet he distilled down my date’s assessment to a concise statement: “ look you’re cute, but single for a reason.” I hated those words more than anything. I explained that I was hungry and drank too much. My excuse was rebuffed with a cool retort, “if you wanted a relationship, you’d have one.” In other words, I was standing in my own way. He was right but I remained furious for weeks. I took an extended break from dating reeling from the critique instead of reevaluating my actions. I stayed angry and resentful because of one bad date. There was an old wound festering in the secret part of my heart that silently felt completely unlovable.

The reality was that I acted horribly and made no effort to hide my lack of attraction for this man. I subconsciously used him to make myself feel better. He was putting himself out there and I participated from a glass case in utter cowardice.

My date met his future wife right after our terrible evening. One girl’s trash is another’s treasure. I kid, he’s not that bad. She’s very tall and beautiful. They seem really happy.

So after a self-pity and bitter break from the world of vulnerability, I named my personal blog after an offhanded remark. I turned a critique and turned it into a call to action. Owning a guarded past in order to heal and perhaps learn my lesson. I’m still cute and single for a reason. I have a long road ahead of me but this time, I’m choosing to set things right. To quote the wise and wonderful RuPaul, “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

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