OK, that passed quickly.
Hey maybe this is a good place to meet single men. Or women. Or not.
Maybe the resolution last year would have been more successful if it had been “Remain celibate and joyfully single” rather than the trap-door-open-for-sex-and-entanglement wording: “Remain joyfully single.”
Reverse-engineering, as far as she can tell, means taking something apart to see how it works rather than building it from scratch.
She’s discovered she reverse-engineers her relationships: she jumps into full-bore couple-hood with no user documentation. She falls in love right away and imagines herself waking up with him every morning. Convinces herself that her life is imperfect without him, impatiently waits for him to Be Exclusive. Stops seeing friends socially, drops any other romantic prospects. Imagines a life of comfortable domestic bliss.
(One of these days she’s going to realize the guys giving their assent to all this are just as unlikely as she is to be candidates for Lasting Happiness.)
Then, one day, sooner rather than later – maybe two months, maybe six months into it, she looks at him with renewed clarity. He’s got his eyes tightly closed the whole time they’re having sex, or he really does look like the cartoon guy from MAD Magazine with a vapid smile and even more vapid personality, or he won’t stop inflecting the end of his sentences up like a teenager when he speaks, or he’s petting her like he pets his dogs, or he tells his jokes too loud in restaurants, or he asks to borrow her car for the umpteenth time, never filling it with gas, or he smells like a hippie museum relic because he doesn’t believe in deodorant.
At that point, she’ll look at him with complete transparency, and a switch goes from “On” to “Off,” and just like that —it’s over. Pieces of a hurried relationship all over the floor; she has no clue how to put it back together again.
He usually senses it. The whole facade is deconstructed in a heartbeat. She tries to recapture the magic, tries to remember what she saw in him in the first place – tries to backtrack into the Just Dating stage; realizes she’s already given her heart away and invested her emotional capital in a fantasyland of Couplehood.
He, of course, is usually completely mystified, left with his heart and his manhood strewn about in little pieces.
Her phone rings-his name comes up on the screen-she startles; the drone and hum of the laundromat has lulled her to a stupor. She tries to perk up, moves to answer, but her plastic smile doesn’t make it to her eyes and she loses her nerve. Instead, she hits the “ignore” button and folds her towels.
The running group trots past again, going back the other way this time. She lugs her laundry home, pulls out her runners and straps on the headlamp, seeking redemption in the shiny streets.
(Then again, maybe she just hasn’t met the right one yet.)