Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Menu of Singledum

by Lara E. Seltzer (writer), Los Angeles, October 17, 2006


It was my turn. I self consciously placed a week’s worth of Lean Cuisine meals and Cottage Cheese Doubles on the check out counter. As I watched them roll towards the cashier, I could feel people staring. The pity was just pouring off the lady behind me as she grabbed a half-eaten chocolate mess from her crying, Hershey’s covered son.

“That’s so sad…” was written on all of their faces.
This wasn’t the first time. I’m always conscious of how ridiculous it looks buying food for one. Like when you see an elderly woman buying fifty cans of cat food and a box of depends. Or when I’m given a huge lollypop at my dentists’ office. There’s just something off about it.

But what am I supposed to do? Cook a healthy four course meal for myself? No thanks, even omelets are a stretch for this lazy cook, which makes frozen entrees the perfect solution. Some even come with a little dessert. My favorite is the apple crisp served with a side of bitterness.

The problem is, at thirty three, I feel a sort of wrongness in eating alone. Like this time should be spent with family or a significant other, not just staring blankly at my computer screen. I should be having the ever-popular discussions on how the day went, how bad traffic was, or what celebrity wore what loin cloth to the last premiere party.

And forget about dining out alone. This is virtually out of the question for a single and neurotic female such as me. I avoid this like going stag to family reunions. If I have to, I mean really have to dine out alone, I make sure I’m buried in reading material- even my day planner will do in such extreme circumstances. This way, it looks like I’m the busiest person on the planet – hardly having time to stuff my face, let alone meet with a companion.

So the answer should be to find my soul mate, right? One problem: meeting men that are “dateable” is a huge challenge, especially in Los Angeles. The odds automatically tip out of my favor since I’m not six feet tall and weigh over 100 pounds, looking nothing like a movie star. Heck, I’m no Jennifer Aniston. When you’re looking within a male population trying to chase models, what’s left are slim pickings.

But you can’t give up. That’s unthinkable. I don’t want to become that strange dog lady. The idea of cramping fifteen dogs in a one-bedroom apartment and always reeking of spot remover terrifies me. Besides, I can’t sew, so knitting them little dog sweaters and dressing them up like babies is out of the question.

So, no, I throw myself out there. I join the herds of single thirty-somethings trying to do this absurd ritual called dating. You meet no one sitting at home flipping through Court TV or Dr. Phil re-runs. But where to go? Bars have become pretty lame: A bunch of drunk guys with their drunk breath trying to drunkenly hit on me in between farts and burps. Real potential dates don’t come with a noxious fume and a huge bar tab. So what about online dating? It’s supposed to be the new age of courting, the revolution of the twenty first century. Yes, I’ve been working that route as well, and with almost no luck. Okay, I’m gonna tell you a secret: men lie online. They can create a tender, funny, and handsome persona that you can easily fall for. They send gorgeous pictures, dramatic poems, and even love letters. They make witty comments and tell you how much they love their mommy. But the truth is, in my experience, when you meet them, they are a hundred pounds heavier, bald, ugly, smell like bad bologna, and can’t hold a conversation to save their precious Star Trek collection. This one guy actually said, before we met, that the only thing different from his “Hercules-Esc” picture he had sent, was a new goatee. Well, when a balding smelly gorilla with bad teeth, a mono brow, and some kind of oozing infection on his face walked through the coffee house door, dragging his knuckles as he approached me, you could say I was a tad bit disappointed.

So after the sixth one of those, I turned to singles groups. These are really just meat markets disguised as fun events. Although my experiences with them were not totally wasted; I met some of my best girlfriends there. I take great solace in meeting kindred frozen entrée sisters. Girls I can bond with and help me not feel alone. Turns out we’re all fed up, but united we become a strong army ready to tackle life’s challenges with a vat of peach martinis. Camaraderie is the secret to feeling balance and hope in a world of instability and unfulfillment.

So what is the answer to finding someone to share your life with? Is he making copies at the local Kinko’s? Is he changing oil at the local car wash? Or does one of my friends have this really amazing friend she neglected to introduce me to? Probably not.

“It is always when you least expect it”, reminds my mom. And if she has any say, it will be a Jewish doctor. Probably we’ll meet during my next pelvic exam and Pap smear.

But as we get older, the dating pool of good eligible men gets smaller. Face it, if a guy is single and in his mid forties, there’s probably a reason why. Jail is something that shouldn’t be ruled out. Now I’m certainly not saying that I’m the perfect catch. Like cheese, I’m starting to ferment: laugh lines and crow’s feet are of the devil. Not to mention that once you’ve lived alone for awhile you get very territorial and can’t imagine nicely sharing your space. If he leaves the toothpaste cap off one time, I swear I will slit his neck. So, God knows I have my share of baggage, but man, it’s been so hard finding my matching luggage.

But still, I would like to think my soul mate is out there…I think I read he’s from Mars or something. And hey, I imagine that’s a long flight. So until he gets here, I will have faith and keep livin’ it up. Having fun with friends and family, appreciating everyday on this miraculous planet, because really, I don’t have it that bad. And in the meantime, I will eat my Lean Cuisines and try not to feel guilty about it. I recommend the Swedish meatballs…hold the bitterness.


About the Writer

Lara E. Seltzer is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Menu of Singledum

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By brookekb on January 28, 2007 at 12:22 pm
i am a kindred frozen entree sister! i am so in tune not with what you wrote, but your wit! would love to read more of what you write!
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By brookekb on January 28, 2007 at 12:23 pm
oops....typo above: i meant to say "i am so in tune with not just what you wrote, but your wit also." :)
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