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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Turning to books.

I don’t turn to the bottle or a bag of chips for solace, I turn to the written word. This morning I got super frustrated about the ambiguity of the chicago dating scene. First I exploded on this blog, but I have since retracted that entry and put it into draft.

Then I went to Borders.

I hopped on the Lawrence Bus and went to the new Borders that signifies the gentrification of Uptown. I didn’t go to Women & Children First or Book Cellar, two local, independent bookstores. This is a book binge, I went to Borders. I wanted to get the latest issue of Utne. Mom told me it included an article on Fake Dating, “Have you heard of this?” I read the article as soon as I picked it up, before looking at the cover of one book.

It made sense and made me feel worse. Here I am, all independent–but I’ve bought into the Sex in The City/Disney Princess/Cosmopolitan way of thinking about men. Part of me is worried about the world, part of me wants to talk about a new crush.

Why can’t a man and a woman have dinner, or even a series of dinners, with no expectations? Why can’t I handle being label free? The author of the article mentions the three date rule, but I haven’t ever gotten to a third date–so I can’t tell you what that is. Other than I think three dates is make or break… or it’s sex, I’m not sure.

I like expectations, except that since I haven’t moved beyond a first date in years. At this point, I think I should be passing him a note before history class or wearing his bulky class ring on a gold chain around my neck. I don’t know what comes next–with or without expectations and labels.

Anyway. Out of my frustration with myself, I bought three new books and Utne. I didn’t buy “He’s just not that into you.” I went to buy it, but didn’t want to ask anyone where it was located. I didn’t want anyone to see me or help me buy another book on dating. As friends have kindly noted, it is amazing how competant I am in most aspects of my life, but somehow flake on the relationship bull.

I shut down after John Boyd dumped me unceremoniously on the phone sophomore year of high school. Since then, I’ve been playing catch up and am still stuck in a cruel version of high school. Playing grown up. Trying to get it right.

I also didn’t buy Against Love: A polemic because I didn’t want to agree with it. I don’t want to be one of those women, but I’m clearly on my way. I also didn’t buy anything related to romance. Instead I got a latte, grabbed my new books, and got back on the bus. Just like in a couple days, I’ll get back on the dating bus–with or without expectations.

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