Survivalist Singles

One of the most frightening aspects of my online dating experience is that the guys I’m going out with are the ones who appear relatively normal, and on occasion, promising. In theory, it shouldn’t prove so harrowing to find a tall, rational, well-adjusted individual who was born with the portion of his brain that registers humor, and who has a basic understanding of punctuation and homonyms. It shouldn’t be.

My mother likes to reference all of the good-looking and charismatic people on shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette who are perpetually single. She does make a valid point; but while their pain does ease mine a little, it doesn’t make dating any less daunting. I would say dating is more comparable to a National Geographic survivalism show such as Life Below Zero or Doomsday Preppers. There’s even a dating site dedicated Survivalist Singles. Seems a bit redundant though, dating is survivalism at its finest.

At one point my mom thought that I was just being too picky and would nag me if I lost interest in a guy. This was easily remedied, however, by inviting one of them over for dinner (a story for another post). Suffering through that evening put an end to her notion that I’m too picky and triggered her insistence that I be picky so that she never has to endure anything like that again.

My father once suggested that maybe I should pretend to be a demure, dim-witted woman without an opinion on anything. He didn’t wait for a reply before laughing at his own hilarity.

If dumb guys like dumb women, and smart guys like dumb women, what do smart women get?  …Cats mostly.

My heterosexual life mate, Lian, has suggested that maybe my body secretes a rare hormone, the scent of which attracts crazy people. This is usually followed by an offer to wreak vengeance upon these men through means such as chaining them to a boat in the “It’s a Small World” ride. Sometimes it feels as if Lian is the only thing standing between normalcy and becoming a cat-lady. I’m habitually preparing for the great possibility that I’ll die alone and my body won’t be found until the smell wafts into the hallway. By that time, the cats will have eaten my face and fingertips and the authorities will have no option but to identify me by my dental records. This may seem a bit dramatic to some, but I consider it a very real possibility.

The battle rages on…

Also, Carlin loves the Oregon Coast.

Carlin 1311 Seaside-04

May 12, 2008

Five and a half years ago I went to rehab and stayed for 14 months. I spent the first seven weeks in the wilderness near Loa, Utah, making fire with sticks (aka “busting a coal”), dealing with a grumpy lama named Marley, chafing in men’s Carhartt pants, eating spam, having no contact with the outside world, and becoming soberly cognizant of why I was there. From there I went directly to a year-long program on a ranch in Needville, Texas, a city I can’t imagine is considered comely by any non-Texan’s standards. That program was mind-bogglingly strict, the list of rules so long they gave you two weeks to learn them before you were held accountable for following them. As long as we behaved we were allowed one 30 minute phone call to our parents every week, but our contact with the outside world ended there. The reality of the situation was that my entire world was rehab for more than a year and when I was finally released into the world I found that I didn’t know how to socialize outside of my rehab bubble.

Five and a half years later I still struggle with establishing a social life as an awkward sober person in an alcohol-infused culture. I have discovered that I have an unfortunate talent for attracting weirdo’s, that I’m an introvert, and that my parents are actually really cool.

Oh yeah, and this is Carlin.

Carlin