Fantasy Island

Hi Dategirl,

About three months ago I met an amazing guy! He seemed polite and intelligent, and to know exactly what he wanted out of life. Most importantly, he seemed totally into me!

After a few dates he left on a previously planned trip to Europe. He asked for my e-mail address and promised to try to keep in touch. Two months later, after never hearing from him, I gave him a call. We were reunited about a week later. After he strolled in (with just about as much enthusiasm as I take to the doctor) wearing a pair of socks that looked like they had been attacked by a flock of hungry moths and the same jacket he had worn on two of our previous dates, I began to notice cracks in my fantasy! He complained about how broke he was after his trip, how much better things were in Europe, etc. He then proceeded to tell me about all of the girls he met while traveling—one in particular that he claimed was somebody he could have seen himself marrying. Which is the same thing he had said about the ex-girlfriend he told me about before he left! Apparently this guy can see himself married to just about anybody as long as they're unavailable! I was so disappointed. He was like a different person. After about an hour he made an excuse and left.

I was devastated! I wanted to sit down and cry! I never knew I had such a powerful imagination! I actually created a person that did not exist. I took a man with below-average intelligence, no fashion sense or manners, and minimal conversational skills and turned him into a Greek god! Is finding a man who is relatively intelligent and somewhat handsome with goals and direction just a myth? Are the pickings getting so slim that we are willing to build our own truth?

Afraid for Dating a Dud

Dearest Afraid,

A mind is a terrible thing to lose—especially over a man. The good news is we've all done it. Way back in college, my friend Julie went home for spring break and returned all aglow with tales of the wonderful, handsome boy she'd fallen madly in love with while back in Beantown. He was smart, cute, punk rock, funny—this guy had it all. Their love—though new—was strong! They couldn't bear to be apart, so he was coming to visit in a few weeks. Imagine my shock when she returned from the airport accompanied by a chubby blond wearing a skinny tie, white Capezio slip-ons, and a Kaja Goo Goo hairdo! I slapped on a brave face but was dumbstruck by the fashion atrocity standing in front of me. The worst part was so was Julie. "I was so mortified I wanted to fucking barf," she recalls, obviously still quite mortified. Her explanation: "When I met Dennis, he was wearing combat boots, army pants, and a big, heavy coat (it was winter in Boston). I was easily deceived!" That was one loooong, uncomfortable visit for young Julie.

And, of course, if there's something ridiculously stupid to be done in the name of love, you know I've done it too. I've deluded myself into imagining a stupid man smart, a gay man straight, an alcoholic man sober, an indifferent man infatuated—you name it. Sometimes we want something so bad that we fool ourselves into projecting it onto the next human we stumble across—kinda like Konrad Lorenz and his baby ducks. I don't know that it's particularly normal, but most of us have done it.

As for the supremely irritating "one who got away" scenario—I swear I will remove the larynx of the next jackass who pulls it on me. The gay man I imagined straight used to go on and on about some Aussie he had a one-night stand with in Greece. "I would've married him—I mean her—in a second," he'd whine.

So don't beat yourself up, brave soldier. It's much easier to elevate someone into something they're not when they're not standing there picking their nose right in front of you. You only went out with him a couple times—perhaps he didn't have more than two dates worth of charm (or socks) in him. Consider yourself lucky.

Deluded about dating? Write Dategirl at or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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