Seven years ago, I had just moved to D.C. The only souls I knew were my sister and the people who I worked with—and they were mere co workers initially. Basically I was socially pathetic.
I decided to take advantage of the fact that I attended a huge university—Go (Georgia Bull)Dawgs!—with a large number of alums in the area. That way I could at least make nice with some people who had experienced the awesomeness of Athens, just as I had. My first attempt at this was to go to an alumni dinner club event. It was $50 with three courses and a major financial investment. But I needed friends.
Dinner club the first time was a bust. I was pretty much the youngest by a few decades, and as lovely as the 50- and 60-year-old couples were, they weren’t really my type for drinking buddies. I tried again at a second dinner club in Arlington at a hard-to-get-to restaurant on Columbia Pike. That was when I hit friend gold. A pretty, petite girl who had graduated from Georgia the same year I did struck up a conversation with me. Then, like Cinderella—or just someone without reliable plans and transportation—I had to run off before the event was entirely over.
A few days later an email appeared in my Inbox. It was the gal from dinner club. I was pretty sure she just knew my first name, yet somehow she tracked me down. The precise contents of the message escape me but the sentiment was complimentary and sweet and let me know she wanted to hang out again.
“Why don’t men who find me desirable go to this sort of trouble?” ran through my head.
Her reaching out worked because we’ve become close buddies ever since. She’s since told me that she worried her email would come off as her hitting on me. “I thought you’d think I was a lesbian,” she says. Truth be told, the thought did run through my mind. But then I figured at least a cute lesbian was interested in me. Not too bad for the old confidence.
Well, now, my friend has up and moved, leaving the region entirely. And a big part of it is the dating trouble she’s experienced here. This pains me to no end. To say my pal’s a catch is an unbelievable understatement. Yet she has been unable to sink a quality, intelligent, non-creeper of a man. In fact, when we are out together our powers combine in some odd chemical imbalance that spurs wackier, more wretched men to take notice.
And, with my friend, though she’s held down a great job during her tenure in D.C. her priority is not career and unrelenting professional success. This actually comes up as a red flag to guys and has only been a negative.
Her dream is to work part-time in a rigorous field in which she’s earned her Masters and to marry an amazing man and start a family with him all the while. Achieving this dream—what some would consider old-fashioned—has not been possible here. So she’s leaving to try a new land and keep pursuing this goal elsewhere.
Some would judge her for her choice. This I know because they have and are. I applaud it. Isn’t feminism about giving women the choice to do whatever their hearts desire. In my friend’s case, that choice is to be a good wife and mom—something I know she’ll do when all the pieces are in place.
Her dream, though, requires a partner. I just hope she finds a man deserving of being included in this long-range vision. If she pursues him with half of the gusto that she did me and my friendship then she’ll accomplish it with ease. I wish she was here so I could see it take shape firsthand.