by: Patrick Gill
When you date yourself, you might find yourself asking the mental question of “Why are you re-watching a marathon-worth of episodes of a show series you have watched twice over already, possibly within the last year; possibly within the last six months?”
You might say a marathon is 26.2 episodes, if we are transferring miles to shows, and continue to watch on. You might stop watching television, or television via your computer, in order to finish some of the projects you have started, half started, half finished, or thought of, but usually defer working on because you date someone to focus on them rather than the projects you initially thought were very important (but were inevitably very daunting when you started them/thought harder about them).
When you are dating yourself you might find yourself forcing your body into the shower, or on to your knees to scrub the under-back side of a toilet, because you are no longer doing these things to impress someone else, you are doing them because they help you feel better, cleaner, ready to face the day and such; because they give you a baseline of positive energy and ultimately will lead to a greater self-appreciation.
When you are dating yourself, you might find yourself checking in on Ann Perkins of Parks and Recreation, because she’s dating herself, she’s not giving up her personality or identity to anymore boyfriends, like she has in seasons past. You want to see if she can do it, but you’re trying so very hard not to over identify with her as to not give your own personality or identity away to yet another person.
When you are dating yourself you might scrawl in your composition notebook in thin but fully capitalized letters things you might, no you do, enjoy about yourself. You might tear that page out and hold it for a while. You might feel embarrassed about it. Then you might put it up on your wall, on the inside of your bedroom door or doorframe, or on the ceiling above your bed, praying no one will see it (knowing no one will because no one else will be coming in for an intimate rendezvous). You will see it though, you might put it in the place you know you see everyday, you might make sure you do see it.
Eventually, you might hope that when you aren’t dating yourself, and if the note (or notes are) is still up, they understand and kiss you again and again for it (them). You don’t focus on that though, honey, you’re dating yourself.
When you are dating yourself you might be depressed, or close to that. You need to remember what it feels like when you are not depressed, or close to that. It will be so difficult, so difficult.
When you are dating yourself you might think about the last 1, 2, 3, 4 or 0 people in your bed, or the last 1, 2, 3, 4, on and on beds you might have been in with someone, close to someone, in an intimate fashion. You might want that, you might be ready for that, but if you are thinking about that and it feels like your heart has sunk to the treads of your feet, you might want to keep dating yourself.
When you are dating yourself you might masturbate a lot. Keep it in check.
When you are dating yourself you might want your friends to pity you. The only thing Nietzsche was right about was that pity is weak, empathy is preferable. Please don’t demand empathy though. Demanded empathy comes out like limp pity.
When you are dating yourself you might throw yourself into your work or into utter uselessness, like it’s a weepie film from the 1940s, or you might throw yourself into a complete balance—if your damn good at it on the first go. When you are dating yourself you usually have to work towards a tranquil balance between weppies and productiveness, the tears dry when the house lights rise, you get out of the movie theater eventually, eventually you find a balance, I swear.
When you are dating yourself, you might read a lot more. That’s a damn good thing.
When you are dating yourself, you might spend more time playing games on your cell phone, and unless those games are testing or pushing your mind or enriching your cognitive abilities, you might want to reconsider that.
When you are dating yourself, you get to listen to whatever podcast or music or show you want to before/while going to bed. Isn’t that marvelous?
When you are dating yourself you do or don’t get to dress up sexy for bed. It’s your call. Also you don’t have to worry about snoring.
When you are dating yourself it is, or should be easier, to go to the movies by yourself; and it will be scary the first time you do it, but by the third time you will be too enamored with the idea of having your own popcorn bucket or snacks that you snuck in (that you chose, that you know you like) to care that someone’s arm isn’t around you or your arm isn’t around someone.
When dating yourself you don’t have to worry about someone finding out you fell asleep with your anthology of Harold Norse’s poems on your face, again.
When dating yourself, you only have to reconcile your deep and abiding loves of Megan Fox and Joan Didion with your friends, not the one you are in love love with. And even the friends who don’t understand have heard and know your logic from past debates.
When you are dating yourself, you examine your desire to do something for someone else because you are in love with them, you can analyze the reasons behind motivations, behind the tit for tat or more emotional things of I show you mine if you show me yours (or less emotional if that’s how you date).
And you can throw it all away if you just want to be in love with people or yourself or no one.
When you are dating yourself you might add extra blankets, extra pillows to your bed. You might fashion your comforter into arms wrapped around you or a body you miss breathing into the nape of the neck of. You might listen to Peggy Lee or Eartha Kitt or anything that reminds you of both the strength you get from someone and the strength you have on your own. Wake up from a deep sleep or heavy nap, drooling into those blankets, pillows, into your comforter-partner. You have to remember to wash them regularly.
Patrick Gill is the Co-Creator of In Our Words, the Co-Founder of the queer reading series All The Writers I Know and the co-producer/zine maker for Word Is Out, a monthly performance night put on by In Our Words and OutLoud Chicago.