Every woman thinks she knows what she wants in a guy – he’s smart, nice and funny. He’s sexy, daring, and unique. He loves dogs, children, and his family. Whatever it may be, we create this list of criteria in our heads that makes up the “perfect” man. I’m young and I’ll admit, I have no idea what I am doing, but I can tell you I scored a 2000 on my SATs and I attend a top ranked University. I am an intelligent individual. I can also tell you, I am an idiot.
It all occurred to me on Tuesday, May 8th while I was visiting Edinburgh, Scotland with a friend. My friend had left for the day for a visit to Saint Andrew’s University. I was left free to frolic the city on my own. I took the opportunity to go on a three hour walking tour through the city to learn a bit more about the sites and the city’s history. As I stood in the big group of people gathered for the tour I noticed two men about my age. One was dressed in a nice peacoat and polo shirt while the other sported a sweatshirt, running sneakers, and a baseball cap. Based on baseball-cap-boy’s appearance I began to wonder if they were American like myself. No more than ten minutes passed before peacoat-boy struck up conversation: “Traveling alone?” I soon learned that they were Canadian, not American. Both were very friendly and very welcoming. Here we go. These were going to be my friends for the day. Let’s roll.
When the tour ended the guide took us to a pub for some drinks and a traditional Scottish lunch. Peacoat-Canadian bought me a beer. Baseball-Cap-Canadian made fun of me for knowing very little about Canada. (Sorry, Canada.) The three of us ended up being the last in the bar and we ultimately left in the midst of a debate between myself and Baseball-Cap-Canadian on the death of the media industry. Meanwhile Peacoat-Canadian was trying to mitigate the debate and create a friendly conversation. All-in-all it was hilarious.
Upon leaving the bar we decided to go on a photo-scavenger-hunt, a.k.a. running around the city with beers in our hands taking ridiculous photos. The more beer we drank the sassier I became and the more argumentative Baseball-Cap-Canadian became. Maybe it was his American appearance, maybe it was his desire to challenge me, maybe it was just because he reminded me of my more-attractive guy friend back home, but whatever it was I found myself much more drawn to Baseball-Cap-Canadian than I did Peacoat-Canadian. So this scavenger hunt lead to the two of us climbing a tree, where for the first time I was kissed by a Canadian. Sure, I thought, why the hell not?
Later that evening, full of excitement from my adventurous day, I rehashed the details to my friend, Monica, telling her all about these two crazy Canadian men I had met on the tour. While telling the story it occurred to me that one of these men was the nice guy, and one of these men was the asshole. Now Baseball-Cap-Canadian was perfectly fine, until later on in the evening when he started with “Don’t worry, I am a gentleman I just acted like a jerk to get what I want” and “Let’s go make out in a red phone booth” which turns into “I wonder what else we could do in a phone booth.” No thank you, Canada. And please, don’t flatter yourself; cocky doesn’t look too good on you. I was slightly disappointed in his pompous attitude and upon explaining this I realized how nice Peacoat-Canadian actually was. He was interested in my studies, interested in my life. He bought me a beer and laughed at my jokes. Not to mention he was traveling because he was completing graduate studies in Uganda while Baseball-Cap-Canadian was going to “do something with energy” somewhere in Africa. But I – being the idiot that I am – was blind to all of these screaming factors and I, well, I chose the asshole.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is something I have always been aware of. I am attracted to jerks. I won’t lie and tell you that I am over my bad boy phase, because I most certainly am not. And just about every guy I’ve dated since high school has either been a sarcastic asshole or an emotional wreck. I always think I’m about to date someone different, but then somehow they always turn out to be the same in various ways. I see the red flags, but when you’re looking at a red flag through rose-colored-glasses it doesn’t seem so obvious anymore. Now please don’t interpret my words as a whining angst-filled rant. It is nothing like that. I’m not blaming men for my failure in relationships or berating the entire male race. I like my jerky men, and it is my fault for continually repeating these same mistakes, but this one experience opened my eyes wider than ever before. Even when given the black and white choice – I will always, without fail, choose the asshole.
So here’s my plan:
I have just returned home from four months abroad studying in Barcelona and traveling throughout Europe only to have my heart ripped out by the most recent asshole who I shared an on again off again relationship with before I had left. My life has changed and the home life I left behind has gone through a drastic transformation. I vowed to myself on May 8th, the day of The Epiphany, that I would start saying yes to the nice guy and no to the asshole. I have four months of summer to reconstruct my life in America and I am choosing to use these four months to test new waters, to actually say yes to nice guys when they ask me out rather than finding an excuse or a reason to say no. I vow to eliminate the toxic relationships in my life and replace them with healthy ones. Here are the rules:
Rule #1 – Give nice guys a chance. Quite frankly, I am never interested in anyone who is interested in me. I find it boring. But after five years of being in the dating game this has never worked in my favor. Time for a change.
Rule #2 – Go on a date. I have literally never just said yes to a date. The only dates I have ever been on have been with guys that I already knew were a sure thing i.e. boyfriends, the guy of the month, and the on again off agains.
Rule #3 – Break my addiction. I must break my addiction to toxic men. This is the most important rule of all.
I always choose the asshole. I give myself four months to change this, no matter how painful. Someone please slap me if I don’t.