I am fabulous. Amazing. A catch. I'm a damn cool chick. I'm not conceited, I'm confident in the fact that I'm awesome. I'm aware that I bring a lot to the table PLUS I know how to take care of my man and from this awareness, I've learned one lesson:
It's a problem.
Yes, you read that right. See, I have come to accept that while I am a very smart woman, I have horrible judgement when it comes to men. I have spent my life choosing partners who were not good for me, who were unavailable (either emotionally or physically), and my personal favorite, the project boyfriends - no, not boyfriends who were from the projects (although I dated them too), but fixer-uppers. Weekend projects. The ones who needed some work. Unemployed, kicked when they're down, high potential that no one has ever seen, "who am I to judge him, he's a nice person" guys. Guys who, by adulthood, should have figured out their lives but instead figured out that there would be a woman who would come along and scoop him up, ready to fix him.
I have been that woman more than once. Go ahead and say it - I know I'm a sucka.
I'm not sure why, but in the past, I had this need to save men. I was what some people affectionately call a Captain Save-A-Ho. I prefer to say I fed the puppy. If you feed a puppy it will keep coming back every day. Eventually it won't leave, it'll stick around, you have to keep feeding it and someday, you'll be stuck with a dog. With fleas.
Luckily, I've realized that I'm allergic to dogs.
I didn't start out dating the puppy. When I was younger, potential meant he was involved in sports, or on track to graduate from high school and go to college. Possibly stay out of the juvie hall. There was nothing but potential at age 16. At age 32, I have encountered a lot of guys who are still trying to "figure it out." They say things like "I've just been dealt a bad hand" or "you know, I always wanted to (insert wish or dream here) but I didn't know how to go about it" or, my personal favorite, "I don't look for trouble, it just seems to find me." Here's the thing, I'm not trying to be judgmental nor do I think I'm better than anyone, but I've learned this valuable lesson: if I'm bringing a lot to the table, then he has to bring just as much.
Puppies are always looking for a warm, kind heart who will open up to them, feed them and take care of them. One puppy I dated wanted to go back to school, so I stood in line with him, went to advisors with him, helped him fill out his financial aid forms, went with him to buy his books and edited his essays for him. While in school, he met a girl that he took on a lunch date - in my car! There was the Puppy who needed a ride because his car had just broken down, when in all actuality, he didn't have a license due to multiple DWI's. There was the Puppy who was going to start the following: a clothing line, a production company, a photography studio, a tattoo shop PLUS he was writing a motivational book PLUS he was writing a movie. All this while he was working at the jail. Really? What are you doing to make all those things happen, I asked. "Oh, you know baby, it's all in my head, I just gotta get it going." A year later and nothing has "gotten going" yet. Puppies are usually charming, good looking, sweet-talking, and very convincing. They always say the perfect thing because when it comes down to it, they're hustlers. They can spot people who have a lot to give and they take from them until there is nothing left to take. Then they move on.
The Puppy that takes the cake is the Old Dog. I met Old Dog at a bar back in 2008. I went over to his house one evening (you know, to just kick it and watch a movie) and after having a beer, I needed the bathroom. I asked where it was at and he informed me that his water wasn't working. I figured he had a plumbing problem and he said no, his water was cut off because he had not paid his bill. Not to worry, he ran the hose from his neighbor's house and kept the tub filled with water in order to be able to flush the toilet. I said no thanks and left. He called me the next night and foolishly, I answered. We chatted for a few minutes and he then said he wanted to take me for a drink. In trying to be cool, I agreed (hey, who was I to judge if he couldn't pay his bill?) Before we hung up, he said:
"well, so this is weird to ask, but do you think when we go for that drink that you could spot me a 20?"
"For what?" I asked.
"So I can buy you a drink," he said, with absolute zero shame!
"Wouldn't that be like me buying you a drink?" I asked, cracking up.
"No, because if you're lending it to me, then it's like it's my money," he said in the most reasonable voice I've
ever heard. I hung up shortly thereafter and needless to say, we never went for a drink (and I didn't spot him a 20 either).
My friend D (a recovering Puppy feeder) and I have spent lots of conversations trying to figure out why we spent so much time, energy and sadly, money on these guys and what we came to is this: there's something about fixing someone that boosts our egos. Ultimately, we figured if we saved them, then they would be forever grateful to us and never leave. By fixing them, we didn't have to fix ourselves. By helping them reach their full potential, we didn't have to try to reach ours.
Rather than use all my awesomeness to help some guy reach his full potential, I'll use it to reach my own. When I meet someone worthy, I'll definitely feed him one plate at a time because he'll be a real man, not a dog.
Let someone else feed the puppy; this kitchen is closed.
Next time: Dirty Thirty