I am not sure that my picker actually broke. I think it just never formed properly. Maybe it started with Brett Chuckovich (I had to use his last name because it is so great) in kindergarten when we played kissing boys and kissing girls or maybe it was JJ in 3rd grade… Probably not though. I think high school and college were the truly formative years. Since I couldn’t flirt my way out of a paper bag and didn’t even know where to start I was already behind the curve.
Freshman year there was Miles, a senior who probably never noticed the fat freshman with glasses. I think my unbecoming hippie skirts and over-sized sweaters didn’t help me stand out in a good way. If only he had seen me sophomore year once I lost weight and started wearing contacts. Sigh.
Sophomore year was Andrew, the tortured artist who may have been gay or just asexual. Nothing like setting your sights on someone totally in his head. He smoked cigarettes and hardly ever talked. What more could I want? From there I decided that Rhasaan, the older transfer from New York, would make a solid love interest. The fact that he told my best friend that he would never date me because I was a square didn’t stop me. Of course being the go-getter I am, never taking no for an answer, I steadfastly pined until he graduated the year before I did. Once he was out of the picture I focused my attention on James. James was tall, smart, funny and athletic AND he had an equally great twin brother. The twins were a shining example that my picker wasn’t broken but…my creepy attentiveness and overall awkwardness may have been more than a little unattractive. It was all downhill after James and Chris though. I for sure left my discernment on the airplane to college.
As a freshman I lived in a dorm with other athletes, including baseball players. Enter Chris Martine, a freshman from New Jersey. I think I may have had one conversation with him but for some reason it stuck. He was your typical college athlete – mostly drunk, always surrounded by girls and rarely in class. One of my best friends and teammates in a drunken episode called him a male slut, told him I was too good for him and that he should stay away from me. I was MORTIFIED. He wouldn’t even look at me after that. He transferred after sophomore year and I saw him once at a bar and bravely slipped him my number but he never called. The wrath of Aarthi was terrifying to all who encountered it.
Any of my college friends who are reading this will definitely say “What about Sebastian? You have to mention him.” Ugh. Sebastian was a soccer player from Chile. I was obsessed although now I can’t even remember his last name. I was every awkward girl in a coming of age movie but I never turned into the beautiful ingenue. Just thinking about it makes me cringe. And to be honest, there was nothing that great about him. He could play soccer. Woo-hoo! Did he go pro? No. Was he really smart? No. Did he write the next Latin American magical realism novel? No. However, this may be where the poorly formed picker came to light…
I was also oblivious. The guys who were interested in me weren’t even on my radar. I just assumed that they were friends and never imagined anyone wanted to actually date me. Through all of this I was a super late bloomer and all of my crushes were unrequited love. I was far too shy to actually do anything even if I had been given the opportunity. Being a virgin until my senior year of college meant that desperate times called for drastic measures and I gave up the ghost on a ski trip. That may have also been when my penchant for bartenders started. After that I puttered along as one does. Dating here and there. At least they were all age appropriate. It wasn’t until I hit my mid-30s that my age gauge went down the toilet too.
When I was 35 I moved to Australia for a job. In the entire year that I was there I was asked out on one date. ONE! Maybe if I had lived in Melbourne it would have been different… When I came back a year later, my ability to ascertain age was on the fritz and I blame it on not having dating practice. I tried to rectify that with the 28 year old bartender from Senor Moose and shortly after that there was another Andrew who was 25. He was a catch but freaked out when he saw that I lived in a house, by myself, with no roommates. I joked that my husband and kids were out of town. Not surprisingly, that didn’t help. I agonized over him for a while and then made some poor choices with a co-worker who was also younger.
Fast forward to the last 4 years and we have a 23 year old, a 24 year old, a 32 year old and now I am taking a break and swearing to myself that I will never go younger than 35 again. But on the other hand, if I fix my picker, what will I have to write about?