Monday, March 02, 2009

Average Joe

Since that fateful day in September of 2005, my life has had its ups and downs. It’s hard enough being a single girl in today’s mean dating pool. My mother tells me every day she doesn’t know how I do it sometimes, how I put myself out there the way I do. For those of you that read my blog on a regular occasion, you have been there with me, through the good dates, the bad dates, and the ugly dates. Many of you write me comments, or personal notes about your own similar situations, that I take a lot of comfort in receiving. I may not be able to answer all of you, simply due to the sheer volume of messages I receive on the daily, but I assure I read every single one of them. Some of you tell me I am dating the wrong guys, and that may be partially true. Some of you say I date jocks, or guidos, or narcissistic pretty boys… and I am sure there have been one or two of those archetypes in my dating resume, but it is by no means fair to lump them all together. I won’t lie. There have been quasi-celebrities, sports figures, and various public personas hidden in my thinly veiled relationship blogs, but I have always respected their privacy, and certainly never ousted them no matter how badly things ended. But intermixed with the familiar faces, were the regular guys, the everyday guys, and the “Average Joes.”

This is one of those stories.

I had been seeing this guy for quite a while.. well, especially when most NYC relationships last about as long as the small sizes on a sale rack at Bloomingdale's. He was seemingly an amazing guy, who was the true definition of what any man should be: he was kind, considerate, and prided himself on doing right by others. He wasn't really my type physically, but, it didn't stop us from hitting it off from the moment we meant. We’ll call him Joe. Joe was the kind of guy that just didn’t care what people thought. He was going to party, and be the life of it. Some people can walk in, and just own a room. Well, Joe was the electricity that kept the lights on.

He was so much fun to be around it almost made me forget the months of misery I have endured in the past year. Unfortunately, we were both fresh out of mentally and emotionally abusive relationships, so neither of us was quite ready to make the jump back into the fire. So instead, we decided to take things as they came to us, and just wait and see what evolved. We began spending a ton of time together, to the point where even my door guys eventually stopped interrogating and frisking him upon his arrival. I guess most people around us just assumed we were dating. But you know what they say about assuming.. “It only makes an ass out of you and me.”
Apparently in this case, it was just me.

We were out at dinner one night, when Joe brought up the subject of relationships. He knew my theories on giving things official titles. I've always been from the school of thought that if you don't label it, it has a better chance of survival. He on the other hand, was familiar with my dating history and was slightly intimidated by the roster of predecessors. Not like there weren't plenty of average decent guys on there, but there were also a few names that came with that certain edge of intimidation. Joe was always scared that he couldn't be everything I wanted and that I'd inevitably “one up” him when something better presented itself. He said he felt like I was ashamed of him, when in reality, he couldn't have been further from the truth. I liked the fact he was normal, unpretentious, and didn't seem to be easily phased by the attention I received. I liked the fact he did something noble with his life and worked with underprivileged kids in bad neighborhoods. I think it made him more of a compassionate, understanding individual. It kept his party boy persona in check.

I guess somewhere along there, between leaving his job with the kids, and accepting a new position doing something far less noble, he forgot the reasons why I liked him in the first place. He became someone else, someone I wasn’t quite sure I even “liked.” He was like Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. Only, Dr. Jekyll began making fewer, and fewer appearances.

One night Joe and I had made plans to have a nice dinner at home together. I had spent all day shopping and planning this elaborate Italian meal, including learning how to make an amazing meat sauce, as I have been informed that serving sauce out of a jar in this part of the country is considered blasphemy. It started to get late so I texted him, asking “where he was, if he was okay,” as this was generally out of character for him. No answer. So when midnight rolled around, and I still had no date, I arrived at the saddening conclusion.. That I had been stood up.

Every bit of that dinner went bad, as I had suddenly lost my appetite.

Fast forward to a week later. I was out on the town, at one of Joe and my normal haunts when I was confronted by a blond girl.. I had no earthly idea who the girl was til she launched in on me regarding my “relationship” with Joe. She told me she was his “ex girlfriend, whom he still regularly asked to get back together with.” And that she “had no idea I even existed.” She then proceeded to tell me how I had “never mattered to him, and that I was insignificant.” Then she dropped this bomb..

“Sweetheart, did you honestly think you could compete with what we had?? That a few months could surpass everything we have been through??.. Aww.. you did, didn’t you?.. That is sooooo sweet.”

I could feel my face flushing, and my eyes beginning to water. There were stood, in a crowded room of people, all of whom had gathered to watch these two trains that were gunning for a collision that was my life. I was on the verge of a breakdown, while she sat there… and SMILED. Why had no one stepped up yet?.. Why had no one pulled her off of me?.. What kind of REAL woman operates like this? Furthermore, what kind of man, if you can call him that allows his ex to do this to the girl he has been seeing?? I gathered my things, and what was left of my self esteem and soul and left the bar, without so much as a word to Joe.

My dating experiences in NYC have really been enlightening. They just make me feel incredibly sad for this generation of guys that don’t realize when they have found that one person who is so great, and they f*ck it up. Most just walk away and continue to live their lives as if the other half never existed, while there are others that return and try to make it all better after the fact. I guess it’s just youth, because when you’re young it is so easy to look ahead to the rest of your life. But then, there comes this one moment of clarity when you get older, when you realize the defining moment that changed the outcome of your life. Then, you spend the few years you have left torturing yourself on all the really stupid decisions you made...especially on the good people you let slip out of your life.

Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens. Why had an Average Joe’s past come back to haunt me?... Until he and I had started talking, the ex was a non issue. She only wanted him back, once she realized he had in fact found something better… something that wouldn’t cheat on him, lie to him, or sleep around. The circumstances surrounding her confronting me that night were all wrong. The fact, I was just an innocent bystander in their unresolved issues. Then I realized, the two of them were still living in the past, still living in the hurt… while causing a world of pain in my present. It’s always been my belief that people who live in the past generally are afraid to compete in the present. I've got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them. There's no future in it. Unfortunately, with my career goals, and my drive… I’m perceived as a bit of a gamble, even despite my other endearing qualities. But, he knows how their story ends… she was a sure thing, a safety net. Sure, it hurts, but maybe its all for the best. I will always be the Anna Scott to his Average Joe. He just couldn’t handle being with something like that regardless of the fact it just “worked” effortlessly.

I haven't seen Joe since that night, though I did get an email from him, that simply said "not a day goes by I don't think about you."

If only that were really true.

16 comments:

Doug said...

I can't say I can relate, because I never had something like that happen to me, but I can say that you didn't deserve to be treated like that. All I can say is hang in there.

I know, I know. Everyone always says that when someone goes through a rough spot, but the message is simple when it's sincere. It's a person's way of saying "I might not be able to feel what you felt, but your situation will turn in the positive direction for you." Good things happen to good people, and you seem like a good person.

Don't let these experiences make you jaded and cause you to change your inherent good nature. As Yoda said "once you go down the dark path, forever it will control your destiny" (Sorry to go Star Wars geek on you, but I just saw it on tv the other day and the quote seemed appropriate. If it made you laugh, or at least smile a little bit, then it served it's purpose)

You WILL find someone who will not consider you a "gamble". Instead, they will consider themselves lucky to find such a catch and they will want to hold on tight to you and never let you go. Most importantly, he will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve.

More Credible said...

Jenn, this is one of the few times I've stumbled on your blog and I feel totally obligated to listen up since you gave me so much help on mine when I asked you to.

Relationships are so difficult to understand. Just when you thought you found someone of the opposite sex that matched up practically everything you were looking for, you find you weren't "enough" to keep them satisfied. It's never mutual, and it's always because someone got too complacent. In this, did "Joe" get too complacent with you? Perhaps. I shouldn't have to say these things, but you're truly beautiful because you're much deeper than the much of the average people out there. You're complicated (and I say that in a good way), intelligent, funny, and certainly gorgeous.

Don't forget this, I believe "Joe" felt uncomfortable around you. Joe was intimidated by your popularity and attention you got. It's a real ego shot to most guys. "Joe" had to go back to his ex because it was "a comfort zone" to him. He knew everything about her. He knew her quirks, peeves, and likes. And although he had the same thing with you, that feeling of intimidation followed him wherever he went. And all that business she was giving you? That was her just padding her ego. She was taking an oppurtunity to insult someone who is above and beyond her league, and something about bringing you down made her feel better. Pretty sick huh? You're more down to Earth and chill than every girl out there, but some people might find that hard to see.

Anyways, I'm confident that whatever this is won't bother you for long, and eventually you will find someone who is worth you. When you're looking for a perfect 10... don't try to make a 6 or 7 bigger than what they are!

Keep smiling, being you, and always love hard.

-Sterling

David S. FSU said...

Wow this is all so true. Its pretty cool to hear a story like this coming from "Jenn Sterger". Thanks for the story. You obviously learned A LOT.

Robb said...

Keep smiling!

JDM said...

Jenn,

I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with the dating process. It continues to baffle me how somehow that has so much going for her can struggle in this area.

I for one wish that I were: (A) still living in the NYC area, (B) was a litle younger, and (C) a little bit better looking. Even with all of that, I probably still wouldn't get an at-bat, but I can guarantee you this: I would make the most of the opportunity. I would know exactly how to handle being in a relationship with a smart, funny, energetic, confident, and attractive woman who also just happens to love sports.

So as Billy Joel once sang, you gotta "Kepp the Faith". It'll happen for you - you deserve for it to happen for you, and when it does, all of the experiences that led up to it will have been well worth it.

Anonymous said...

I browse your blog daily Jenn, and for the most part all I read is stories of high's followed by low's. But, after every one of them, you pick yourself up and move foward, which will alway's make you better and stronger!

Keep your dreams insight, and remember, you can take a girl out of Florida, but you'll never take the Florida out of the girl!!

Come Home!!! The Buc's need ya:)P

Joey

iwatchthenba said...

you're right. 'nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Jen,
this is my first opportunity to read one of your blogs, but it seemed like one I could relate to. I enjoy your writing style, and your insight, and will probably be back again.
As to your story, no one has a monopoly on being short sighted in relationships. It is a flaw that is inherent in us all whether we realize it or not. Pardon my butchered analogy, but the grass always looks greener, til we stand on it and realize how much work it takes to make it look so much better, and decide we don't have the patience to maintain it. You aren't a patch of grass, and I don't know you personally, but I imagine a woman of demonstrated intellect and beauty like yourself can represent a significant challenge to any man. If that man feels inadequate about himself it can be doubly challenging. All I can say is don't hold it against all men, some of us persevere in adverse situations and will surprise you.
Science tells us that bumblebees can't fly, and statistical mathematics says the probability of intelligent life appearing on Earth was non-existent. But, the bee flies in spite of science and you are here to write your blog. Happiness and successful relationships are unlikely, but in the face of such improbability they seem mundane.
Best of luck -Wes

The MTV FAMILY said...

I'm like where the hell are you meeting these bums...
Just like you have Will, spouse and the WII in the Midwest, I wish I could adopt you for the East Coast.
It's beyond brutal just reading the ex girlfriend brining that on. You were on point with your analysis on she feeling threatned that the average Joe wanted a sure thing. It's funny because it's about confidence. I think at 26 I realized that I was a good guy and can bring it. Some guys can't handle it and can't Bring It!!!

There comes a time where it's beyond looks and maybe for the 1000th time you have to just keep your distance a bit longer. So that you know everything about the next guy.

Everyone has another side and you have to find the guy who doesn't....Who approached who in this situation this time around?

It's tough to put the things together to the madness or the whirlwind of one's personal life.....

Sorry I can't be more expressive right now, work has a brother swamped up in here.....

Be good mama......

M

Anonymous said...

What can I say...some people just don't know what they had until they lose it. Relationships are tough Jenn, but don't be afraid to get back up on that horse. If you can't find someone genuine out there, I know some folks out there (myself included) that would absolutely love to have a chance to get to know you. Hang in there girl.

Luke said...

I started following your blog about a year ago. I look at it maybe once a month or so or whenever I actually remember it's in my favorites. I absolutely love your writing style. You describe things in such a way that even a person who knows nothing about you can feel like they know exactly what you are going through. Keep your head up, you're going to be just fine.

Veritas said...

Average Joe.
Interesting title.
Well Jenn, it really seams that your disappointments never cease to end.
This Joe guy really sucks and that part that he said “Not a day goes by I don't think about you” I honestly don’t believe a word he said.
Maybe he got afraid of being in the spot light with you?!
Knowing that you where going to make dinner for both of you, and not even said anything.
A real man doesn’t do that to anyone, he acted like a coward.
If I was on his shoes I would have at least gone to dinner with you, and then calmly explained what was going on.
I’m not going to say “I’m so sorry” or “It was his lost”, no, I’m not going to say anything like that, because that would be being condescending and I know you hate that.
The only words of comfort I can say to you is that; not all days are rainy days, the sun will shine again; sure it hurts now and believe me I know till a certain extent what you been through, but you will be ok.
The wounds will heal and you will fall in love again, and maybe this time for a guy that really loves you.
I’m not even going to comment about his Ex actions towards you, because talking about her would be giving her space on my post that she doesn’t even deserve.
And about this phrase of yours “Unfortunately, with my career goals, and my drive… I’m perceived as a bit of a gamble, even despite my other endearing qualities”, looking carefully at this phrase I can only say that I don’t see you that way.
Sure we live in completely different worlds, but I don’t believe that you’re a gamble; you’re simply a woman that some men feel intimidated for.
I don’t know why, after all besides from the celebrity thing I see you as a caring, honest and loving person.
For some reason all the kind words I say to you seem to have the opposite effect.
Maybe you hate me for some reason beyond my understanding?!
I simply don’t know.
But never doubt that I wish you all the best, and I’m sure that someday you’ll find the right guy for you.

Anonymous said...

my god, what utter drivel...stick with your day job, if you have one

C in Cal said...

Plenty of fish in the sea. You have the right bait, just continue to wait for the right bite. And eventually, you'll catch the perfect catch.

There are a few billion people on this planet. I'm sure there's one out there that'll do the trick ;)


Take it easy, - C in Cal.

Jeff said...

This isn't a scam or something facetious although it may seem that way on the surface. If you've ever seen the movie "Hitch" then you know what we do. There ARE guys that want to do the right thing and want to go back to the days of treating women with a certain class as you saw in the old movies. We know because we help guys every single week on our radio show heard on stations across the US.

Give it a listen at http://www.brainfoodradio.com/doclove.htm and maybe turn some of these guys you're encountering onto the show. Sounds like you've been running into some guys that could use our help

Best of luck to you

Jeff
Co-Host

Anonymous said...

It is not just about you and the pretty boys, guidos, pseudo-celebrities, wannabe athletes, or wall street egomaniacs.

For every shallow reason that you date a guy, there is equally a guy out there that is dating you for a shallow reason.

Keep your chin up and you will find the right guy.

I just hope that whoever he is that he realizes that there is substance behind the beauty. When he does, then you will be truly happy.

Best of luck in your search.