by: Adam Guerino
I know there are plenty of reasons I shouldn’t date anyone right now. Hell, that’s what this dating column is about, right? I joke with friends when they ask me what I write and I tell them, “A collection of what-not-to-dos.” In an effort to prepare myself to date, I’ve made an exhaustive list of all the reasons I shouldn’t date called Serial Dater. My doubts have grown louder and louder the longer I wait to date. It’s like there is a constant voice in my ear telling me all the reasons I can’t.
I constantly hear this quiet, judgemental voice telling me You’re too poor and dates cost money. You’re tall and dating a really short guy makes cuddling complicated. He lives way on the other side of town and it’s really inconvenient. He has the same name as your childhood dog and that’s creepy.
Yeah, I used to date too much. I moved too fast. It has been over a year and a half since I’ve had a relationship last over a month. I’d go home with someone and wake up with a boyfriend. I’d date a guy for a week and we’d be inseparable. Eventually, we’d become vulnerable without building the trust needed for being that close to someone. So when I’m dating someone, the voice in my head shouts, Slow down! You need to get to know someone slowly and build trust organically. Haven’t you learned your lesson yet?
Sure, I don’t have the greatest role models for a relationship. Queer culture is still developing and growing and I have as much a chance of being a trend-setter with a happy relationship as I do of becoming a cliche with a flawed one. And don’t get me started about my parents. I’ve literally been telling them to get a divorce since the 4th grade. So when I feel lost in a relationship, that damned voice speaks up, telling me You should find better role models and examples for what you want so you don’t keep falling for what you don’t.
Without a doubt, I’ve been burned by past relationships. My joke of a love life is so long-winded, it jump-started a career in comedy. I seek out relationships that lack longevity such as closet-cases and long distance lovers to protect myself from getting too close. And I can’t seem to muster up much interest in guys that are willing and able to treat me well. The last two relationships I had that lasted over a month were respectively with a guy who was straight before me and a compulsive liar/cheater. And when I’m feeling particularly incompetent is when the voice gets mean, You shouldn’t be allowed to date or at least not be in charge of choosing who you date.
But I’ve been too active a listener to my doubts. Sure, I’ll feel schizophrenic with all the voices in my head telling me I’m not ready but I need to start dating again. The voice will bitch and moan that this time will be like all the rest. But I have to stand up for myself. These voices, these delusions that have protected me for so long, aren’t helping any longer.
I need to look at all the reasons relationships haven’t worked before and learn from my mistakes. I have to find someone who I like and give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t some ex boyfriend wearing a face-mask and trying to trick me. I have to believe, with all my heart that my love life isn’t some master plan to drive me crazy. I have to find someone who is willing to wait while I ignore all those voices of doubt in my head and realize I’m worth it. And date them. It’s time to move on and expect great things for me and my love life.
Adam Guerino is a writer in Chicago who works nationally as a stand-up comedian event producer. Guerino is the creator of OutLoud Chicago a production effort bringing queer entertainment to the mainstream with rotating venues including Queer Comedy at Zanies and Barefoot Ballad at The Hideout. His benefit series We Are Halsted seeks to get the queer community to support the queer community by raising funds and awareness for queer homeless youth. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, www.adamguerino.com.