Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Not Gay, Just a Workaholic

Recently, I went to visit my parents for a few days. My mother told me about some guy that she wants to set me up with, who has a white-collar job with a large salary. I suspect that since she couldn't convince me to give up my underpaid teaching jobs in academia, she thinks that I might as well marry someone who's overpaid. I was tempted to tell her that if I cared that much about being rich, I wouldn't have become an English teacher. But I didn't, though I did reject her attempt to set me up with that guy.

Later, she asked me if I was gay. She doesn't like or understand why I'm in my thirties and unmarried, while her friends and relatives' daughters, many of whom are younger than I am, are already married with children or are engaged. I told her, "No, I'm not gay. Just a workaholic."

I will admit that it's been more than a year since I went on a date. I went on a date with someone in Small Town last year (no comment on that one). And towards the end of grad school, I did have what Millennials call a "situationship" with a guy that I met, not on an online dating site, but through casual acquaintances. By "situationship" I mean it was not quite a serious relationship but it was definitely more serious than a friendship.

I didn't blog much about him, although I think I referred to him as He Who Shall Not Be Named. Although we did care about each other, we were very different and ended up disappointing each other again and again. I haven't talked to him since I moved to Small Town, although I'm sometimes curious about how he's doing (but definitely not curious enough to friend him on Facebook or call him on the phone).

In Small Town, most of the men I've met are married or have girlfriends. Not to mention I knew that my time here had an expiration date, and part of me thought that there wasn't much point in trying to start something with anyone around here when I would be leaving sooner rather than later.

My contract at my new school is for one year, but it's renewable, which is pretty typical for untenured jobs. My new employer said that some of the untenured faculty in their department have been there for many years, which gives me hope that I might get to stick around longer this time.

That's why, now that I'm moving to College Town, I've started thinking that maybe I should try dating again. Some of you have suggested Meetup, which I'm interested in trying. I might also try online dating again, despite my previous experiences that weren't so great, like the guy who made up an excuse to leave our date early (and left me with the bill for dinner), or the guy who waited a month to call me after our one date and then insulted me for turning him down for a second date, or the online dating profiles from guys who ranted about being "nice guys" who couldn't get dates from superficial women whose standards were too high (I think that their definition of "nice" and my definition of "nice" are very different, but I digress.)

I kept putting off dating again because of my stressful work schedule and because I wanted to wait until I got back down to a size 8 (unfortunately, I gained weight after moving to Small Town, but I've since lost half the weight that I gained). I also reasoned that in academia, you can't be too picky about where you live; you have to go where the work is. And if you're single and get a good job opportunity halfway across the country like I did, you have the freedom to just pack up and go, without worrying about how it'll affect your significant other or your relationship with that person. But there's always going to be an excuse not to date, and I'm tired of making excuses.

After I move to College Town, get settled, and get used to the daily grind of life at my new school, I'm going to try dating again. I've thought about trying Tinder, since that's the big dating app these days. I thought it was just for hookups (which I'm NOT interested in), but more than one of my friends have met their significant others through Tinder.

What about you? If you are/were single, what are possible reasons you have/had about being reluctant to date again? Have you heard anything about Tinder?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spiders, Horror Movies, and College Towns.

Last week I literally drove all day from Small Town to College Town, which is several states away. It was less expensive than flying there, not to mention the airport nearest to College Town is hours away. It was my first time driving such a long distance by myself, and of course, I got lost.

I used the GPS on my phone, but took a wrong turn and ended up all the way out in Tiny Town (and at that point I'm still not sure what state I was in). The cell phone reception in that area was almost nonexistent, so I couldn't use my GPS. And like the genius that I am, I did not bring a road map either.

I had to stop at more than one gas station to ask for directions (I was all, "Stopping at a gas station for directions? What is this, the nineties?) before I finally made it back to an area with cell reception. I was very relieved, especially because getting lost in an unfamiliar place is exactly what happens in way too many horror movies, and the umbrella that I keep in my car would be no match against a chainsaw-wielding cannibal.

When I got to College Town, I got a room at a "hotel", and I use the term loosely because it was exactly the kind of hotel that you see in almost every horror movie, complete with screaming in the halls. Fortunately, the screaming wasn't from people being chased by serial killers or ghosts but was more along the lines of, "Dang it! Who drank the last beer?" and "I KNOW you were looking at her! Don't you lie to me!" and "Keep it DOWN! I don't want people calling the cops on us again!" Several of the guests hung out in the parking lot, drinking beer with their shirts off.

I went to College Town so that I could find an apartment. Here's what happened:

Me: Does the landlord pay for an exterminator if there are bugs in the apartment?

Leasing agent #1: Actually, the tenants are responsible for the cost of that if there are bugs. But don't worry, we don't have that problem around here.

Me: Okay, but there is a ginormous spider spinning a web behind you right now.

Me: Do a lot of college students live here? Most of my current neighbors in Small Town are students, and they are the reason that earplugs were invented.

Leasing agent #2: Oh no, this apartment complex is very quiet.

Me: (starts to answer but is distracted by the sound of someone playing the trumpet in the apartment above us.)

Leasing agent #3: And as you can see, we have a lot of nice amenities around here, like a swimming pool for the tenants.

Me: Oh, that's nice. (What I was really thinking: This is the Midwest. The tenants won't be able to use the pool for 80% of the year, and yet they'll have to pay for it 100% of the year.)

I finally did find an apartment that I liked. After I did things like get renter's insurance and set up my electricity in my new place, I drove to the campus of the school where I will be teaching. The last time I set foot on that campus was almost twenty years ago, when I was a seventeen year old high school student looking at colleges. Although I liked the school, I didn't go to that college; I chose another one that offered me a scholarship and a place in their honors program. It was so strange to go back to College Town as a thirty-six-year-old college teacher and see the place now that I was older, wiser, and much more heavily caffeinated.

I also drove around College Town, which is more than twice the size of Small Town. I noticed that the former has more restaurants and stores; it will be nice not to have to drive several hours just to go shopping at someplace other than Walmart.

Now I'm back in Small Town, researching moving companies, packing up my stuff, and getting rid of the stuff that I no longer need or use. I'm leaving for my new town and job in less than a month, and I feel nervous, excited, and a little scared. I hope that I'll like it there, and I hope that I can stay at that job longer than I did at the one I had here.

When I drive back to College Town, I'll be sure to bring a road map. And possibly a chainsaw.

What about you? Have you ever moved to a new place where you never lived before?