Friday, March 4, 2011
Dating is Like Shopping the Clearance Room
Dating is like shopping the clearance room. I love clearance rooms because so often I find treasures that other shoppers overlooked. An interesting picture or a fun pillow could hide behind a truly ugly couch in the clearance room. A funky enamel necklace is half tangled with all the 80% off jewelry in a pricey department store. A beautiful red coat stands alone in the corner since it is out of season, ignored by most shoppers. An unknown woman said it so I can’t take credit for it, but dating is like the IKEA clearance room. How she explained it is that everything is marked AS IS. You can’t ask if the pillow comes in a different color or if the coffee table is available in teak. What you see is what you get. So why do we think it would be different with dating?
Most men have a few scratches and dents on them from failed relationships. Seems silly to think we could buff them out with can of paste wax. Still we do want the men we date to be different to fit into some preconceived notion of what an ideal companion would be like. Most women create in their minds a male version of themselves. This person would understand us, we rationalized, when in truth he would be super critical just like us. Who needs that?
My stepfather likes to joke that women are always shopping for the perfect man and once they find him they set out on a campaign to change him. It always seems funny when he says it, but it is too often true.
I thought I knew what I wanted when I walked into the clearance room, but now I’m confused. You see there is not that perfect dream couch or guy I’ve been imagining. My attempt to explain it to the salesperson has her shaking her head muttering something about being so out of style. I was told to be specific about what I wanted. How could I get what I wanted if I wasn’t specific? It seems like what I want no longer exists. Maybe I’m losing my present and future by constantly looking back to the past.
I could leave the clearance room in disgust muttering about there being nothing good, but I don’t. What we need isn’t always want we think we want, I reason. Rather like Charlotte in Sex and the City who kept chasing after guys she felt were appropriate for her lifestyle and background only to fall for a short, bald Jew with a hairy back. This is where I should be terribly worried that I get my gems of wisdom from a television show.
Maybe I should ask myself if I even need to be in the clearance room at all. Maybe I shouldn’t be shopping…I mean dating. If I think of dating as being a big game hunter and I’m out to bag a man, maybe I should go home. Still I think of a chant from the book by Marie Farleo, How To Make Every Man Want You, date for fun, not to find the one. When I remember that I can embrace dating again. It is fun to discover new people and trade quips over a glass of wine.
I think the whole story about the IKEA clearance room was to point out you have to accept people AS IS you’re not going to change anyone. I know that’s the point, but I see another point. Often people discard people who don’t fit into the norm.
What if your soul mate is working right beside you? The funny guy you always have lunch with and remembers your birthday when your own mother forgets. Maybe you’ve dismissed him because you didn’t consider him the right model for your life style. Ironically, we judge people in less than ten seconds how they will fit into our lives. Will they be a friend, an enemy, lover or someone we simply walk by without acknowledging. Who wouldn’t be mad knowing they had less than ten seconds to make a good impression. It is especially bad if you don’t know the clock is running. It could be a day you’re off your game or a bad hair day. Unfair...so why do that to other people? Getting back to the clearance analogy, I often return to work with items I picked up at a deep discount.
My fellow workers are amazed that I bought something at a local store that they never saw. Since it is the only decent store in town we’ve all been through it several times. I picked up something that hundreds of other women ignored. The difference was I dug deep, unearthing my find. Sometimes you have to dig for that special guy. Other times you have to do the prep work since he is afraid of approaching you. Yes, the non-players are afraid of approaching women and experiencing rejection. We make the assumption that if they aren’t taken maybe they are losers. Sometimes people make the same assumption about the clearance room. I often walk out with items that women are startled are even in the room, but if you don’t look, how will you know?
When you enter the clearance room, be it shoes or dating, keep an open mind? If you walk in with the idea you will only accept 6’ tall engineer, you will probably be walking out alone? It also reminds me of the Russian proverb, “Be careful what you wish for because you might get it.” Getting what we think we want isn’t always good.
Don’t be afraid of the clearance room. Remember we too are in the clearance room so we would like people not to talk down about us? What is the best find you ever found? Your find could be a person or a thing...it is simply the best.