Monday, August 4, 2008


I try to avoid using the word "deserve". I think part of this stems from the idea that it is often used incorrectly. Many times when someone starts a sentence with "I deserve...", it is bolstered by a misplaced sense of entitlement or, at best, self-righteousness that is so over the top that it is almost laughable. Maybe I'm a pushover, but I am hard-pressed to find a situation where I would actually attempt to appeal to someone by saying "I deserve" something to correct some perceived wrong.

This is not to say that the opposite should be avoided: "I do not deserve this." My thinking on this comes from one of the common applications I encounter with the term, that being a sort of Old Testament style punishment cast upon a sinner. My favorite is on court shows where the litigants are ex-lovers bickering over every petty item and going into almost obscene detail of every act of revenge. After about fifteen minutes of downright upsetting, filthy laundry, the judge will stop the arguing by declaring that both litigants deserve each other, which: true. I seem to recall a number of children's stories where the bad guy ended up getting what he deserved, be it getting eaten by a wolf, thrown down a well, or carted off to debtors' prison. The bad guy may scream out "I don't deserve this sort of treatment," but karma can be a harsh mistress.

But every so often I feel like I am getting some sort of cosmic raw deal and I am unsure of how to react. A story:

Ben had mentioned getting a date or two through the site OKCupid. The gimmick with this site is that the users not only fill out profiles but also surveys about their ideal match. Each question (and the importance that you enumerate) gets factored into a logarithm and results are compared to other users. The site has a sense of humor and is also a hub for a number of those goofy internet surveys, such as "Which Skittle Flavor are U?!" Anyway, I started playing around with the site and it actually is pretty nifty -- I recommend it. Last week I got an e-mail from a guy interested in my profile and we sent some e-mails back and forth. They have a chat client on the site and we talked and seemed to hit it off really well. We agreed to meet this past Saturday for dinner.

Saturday morning, before I leave for work, I get a phone call from him saying that his grandmother is in the hospital. I honestly believe his intention was to warn me about plans possibly needing to be shifted, but I couldn't help think that maybe he was trying to blow me off. However, given the timing and everything I trusted that it was genuine. That and it is customary for me to freak out for approximately 12 hours prior to any date (it keeps me chatty).

We both ended up running a little late (we were meeting in Strongsville), so that wasn't a significant issue. The dinner portion went relatively well -- the food was gross but the conversation was engrossing. We left the restaurant and started to drive around to find something to do. There's not much going on in Strongsville or the surrounding areas. We drove through a nearby Metropark and got a little lost before finally returning to the restaurant parking lot. Things ended somewhat awkwardly (I think we were both intimidated by each other) but overall things seemed positive.

I didn't hear from him on Sunday, but I still don't know the post-date protocol -- when it's two guys who is supposed to call whom? I came up with a date idea and e-mailed him Monday morning and did not get a reply. No worries, he typically responds to my e-mails at night. Anyway, I'm playing on OKCupid and he IM's me. Things start off pleasantly enough, but then he has what he calls good and bad news. I'm expecting something like "I can't make it on Saturday, but I've got tickets for something on Friday." Not quite. His ex heard about his grandmother and contacted him to find out how things were going. Apparently this rekindled some old flames. To clarify: It's not separate good news and bad news -- it is good for him and bad for me. Despite the fact that we both had a wonderful time on Saturday and we are both attracted to each other, in less than 48 hours I'm back to where I was two weeks ago, only more bitter.

This is (by my count) the third time this year where a guy makes me feel so much better about myself only to yank the rug out from under me. As far as I can tell, this has nothing to do with me, but I am the common denominator. If I am such a catch, why do I keep getting thrown back? Have I done, or not done, something to deserve this?

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