Philly and the Single Lesbian

Has my train finally left the station? By Crystal Fox

I am an only child. Once that is discovered in conversation I am usually met with things like “Ohhhhhh…so do you have Only Child’s Syndrome?”

I blame the bastard G. Stanley Hall for this. He was one of the first “experts” to give only children a bad reputation when he referred to their situation as “a disease in itself,” and commonly stereotyped only children like me as “spoiled, selfish and bratty.” My response to those people that ask about my presumed brattiness, selfishness or spoiled behaviors: Aren’t we all?

As adults, we usually gain the ability to differentiate between “wants” and “needs.” This goes for material things and for me, right now, it’s playing a huge role in the relationships I am choosing to get involved in. I may want to run the town sowing my oats, and talking to every girl that walks by or gives me the time of day – but do I need that? Is that healthy? Probably not.

Another word I have heard a lot about lately is “expectations.” People have a varying degree of them. Expectations are different and slightly more confusing to me when it comes to dating. Wants and needs are my black and white, while expectations seem to be my grey area. How do you meet someone’s expectations? Are you meeting their wants and needs but somehow falling short of their expectations? Are expectations just the sneakier, more adult way of getting your wants met faster?

Tonight, I have a tentative date with a woman for drinks after work. I expect it will be a good time. I want it to be a good time. But do I need it to be a good time?

Remember those word problems from high school usually involving something traveling at some fixed and steady pace? “If train A leaves the station travelling 45 mph and train B….”

I do, and I failed math…horribly.

I hated these word problems, usually because I couldn’t conceptualize the fact that two trains were leaving different stations just to end up at the same place. Moreover, why were the trains moving at different speeds?

Now that I have re-entered this dating game, which, by the way, is making me rethink my grey areas, I have come to realize dating is the real-life distance problem. And I am living the word problem I could never seem to “get” in high school math class: the rate of speed.

We are all trains in this dating equation. We are all traveling at various speeds and all towing various baggage, picked up along the way from station to station. Different variables like age, level of desired commitment, background and life circumstances play a role in the speed we travel. It gets to be pretty mind boggling when you begin to break everything down. I have never felt I had to be so analytical in my life.

Analytical? With love? It’s just not how I work. I feelThen I think.

Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe that’s always been my problem. Maybe that’s why I seem to be so blindsided in most of the relationships I have been in; my heart beats so loudly that my brain isn’t able to hear itself think. Should there be “thinking” – or “decision making” – when it comes to love? Isn’t that sucking the magic out of love and discovery altogether? If someone has to think about every step they make during the hike of dating, aren’t they missing the scenery?

The women in my age bracket, I’ve found, have become so set in their ways when it comes to dating. They’ve lost the passion and the carefree outlook of their early 20s. They look at dating as having to “mean something” and talk about “intentions.” I thought I was ready for all this high-level negotiation and dating nuance, but I’ve come to find my train hasn’t even left the station yet.