If we kept this up, we would either grow to hate everything about what made us different, or grow to hate ourselves.
Earlier this year, I was feeling miserable and lonely, an attitude I chalked up to my recent dating pattern—I pursue creative, East-side-Los Angeles riotgrrrl types; they reject me. I wasn’t sick of the women, but I was sick of failing with them. In my self-deprecating scientiﬁc opinion, I determined that I was ofﬁcially “not cool enough,” that I needed to “grow” and “expand my horizons.” I decided to embark on a bit of a dating experiment.
Fast-forward a week to a typical Wednesday night at the Cha Cha Lounge. Things that have changed: nothing. I was doing exactly what I said I wasn’t going to do anymore: chasing the usual crowd. That’s when Miranda offered to buy me a drink. After deciding to go after something different but taking absolutely no steps toward that end, I had been rewarded for my inaction. Did I use The Secret? What is The Secret? Did I just use it?!
Miranda was exactly what I was (not actively) looking for: In the hipster den of the Cha Cha lounge, she stood out like a sore thumb, her obsessively trim body clothed in a just-after-work modified pantsuit. Miranda appeared visibly disgusted by the level of cleanliness and clientele of the establishment—this was her ﬁrst, and probably last, night at the Cha Cha—but she liked me. And she was unlike any girl I had ever dated. Mostly, she was what I disliked. I can be a real Seinfeldian prick, and am an admitted classist, but I recognized that I needed to stop writing people off for petty bullshit. I let her buy me the drink.
Miranda was reserved, classy, sharp, and funny that night. She also had permanent bedroom eyes, and I happily gave her my phone number. Later that week, I brought her along to a friend’s concert and things were as pleasant as they can be when two people stand next to each other watching other people play instruments. I was a bit irked by her unwillingness to dance during the dancy parts, but oh well. Some people just don’t dance.
I soon discovered that I had truly found what I was looking for—my opposite. Miranda cared about money in a “Material Girl” way. I cared about money in a “Common People” way. She was a type-A personality working her way up the ladder of competitive brokerage in a brand-new "my boss thinks I’m cute!” BMW. I was a stoner poet writing for the cartoons in a 19-year-old "I bought this from a Mexican horse farm!” Acura Legend. But despite its strange trappings, I actually admired Miranda’s hungry lifestyle. She was a rabid go-getter, and she cared deeply about her work ethic. She had the poise and grace of a woman who would later eat corporations for breakfast, crushing CEOs between her porcelain jaw, smiling all the while. The sex was amazing.
But when Miranda attended a game night at my house, I began to realize that our seemingly pointless differences spoke to a larger divide. Miranda was not a gamer. I don’t mean that she didn’t play 360 24/7 or sp34k l33t (she didn’t), but that she was never down. Have you ever been to a party in which a group decides to play a game and one person stink-faces in the corner of a couch and says, “I’ll just watch”? Miranda was that person.
When I decided I wanted to meet "different” people, I assumed that regardless of surface-level personality, most people can get along. Every left-wing hipster has had that unexpectedly amazing night with a Republican frat boy. But when both of you refuse to let loose a bit, what else is left? What are we doing if we’re not having a good time?
Things nose-dived from there, but for some reason, we kept seeing each other. Maybe because we were lazy. Maybe because the sex was good. Miranda didn’t want to do hoodrat things with my friends, and her friends were Armie Hammer-copping coworkers who regularly purchased something called “bottle service.” I wanted to date someone different, but I didn’t want to date her friends, and I couldn’t blame her for feeling the same way. So we spent most nights in her apartment drinking expensive wine while she refuted the existence of mental health problems and I degraded her alma mater (it rhymes with Screw Ess See). It was nasty, and I’m not proud of it.
Eventually, even the aspects of her personality that once seemed different and alluring began to grate against me until all that was left was the physical connection. Work was always on her mind, an all-consuming stress that wedged out any other topic of conversation. I was prepared to deal with the designer handbag trappings of her privileged upbringing, but not the vaguely racist comments that would escape her mouth from time to time. I found myself waking up in her bed and seething while staring at the volumes of Dostoyevsky on her nightstand, questioning whether or not she had ever read them. I began dreading meeting her.
In retrospect, we were playing the same game. Miranda was sick of marble-cut, USC-educated Ketel One drinkers, so she snagged a hipster. She told me once, “I hate hipsters. Why are you one?” If we kept this up, we would either grow to hate everything about what made us different, or grow to hate ourselves.
I tried to salvage the only thing remotely working at that point—the physical—by texting her about a sexual dream I had about her. I knew that we both viewed each other as novelties, but somehow, stating that outright crossed the line. My comment inspired a mini-text-ﬁght in which I decided we shouldn’t see each other anymore.
I thought a change of scenery might instigate some change in me, and a change in how I tolerated difference. But what started out as an experiment in "spreading my wings” turned into a depressing and unhealthy relationship. We were just like the characters on Whitney: Neither of us liked each other and it wasn’t funny.
When does a dealbreaker become something more? Something shameful that we carry like a badge of honor? At the end of the day, it didn’t really matter that Miranda was different—just that her differences brought out all the wormy, grumbly thoughts that I try to keep from creeping out of my skull. Dating Miranda forced me to open my mind, and I didn’t like what I saw.
If I learned anything it was this: Indicators exist for a reason. I’m not saying you should dump someone who doesn’t own the same 45s as you, but you should deﬁnitely apply some critical thinking to those seemingly pointless red ﬂags. Spending time in a different world can be exciting and unsettling, but in the long run, opposites don’t attract. People like what they like. No sense in trying to change that. If I met a girl like Miranda again, I’d let her buy me a drink, and that’s all.