I have betrother’s guilt. It’s like survivor’s guilt but it strikes people who’ve partnered up and gotten hitched, leaving their equally deserving single friends with no one to spoon on frigid nights like these.
And it doesn’t make sense. Why should I be blessed with a guy who turns me on and tolerates my considerable freakiness when so many of my hotter, younger, and far nicer friends are still solo-and-searching?
They tell me Santa Barbara is an especially tricky place to be single. It’s hard to buy even the tiniest home on one income, and with students and retirees weighing down both ends of the population spectrum, the mid-range dating pool is small. “You don’t really want your friend’s sloppy seconds,” adds a friend of mine, “which reduces your odds further.”
The hunt seems to be harder for gals. I’m told our climate and seaside lifestyle leave lots of local fellas with a Peter Pan complex that doesn’t look good on men over age 25. They’re surfers or they’re in a band. Or both.
“Did I tell you about the massage therapist who stood me up on a first date?” one of my girlfriends says. “He was playing beach volleyball and ‘just lost all track of time and forgot.'”
People say there are more single women than men here; perhaps it’s just that the men want to stay single and the women don’t.
“It’s like Fleet Week for the guys every week here, I swear,” says a 33-year-old woman I know. Let’s call her The Catch. Single, successful, and head-turning pretty, she says guys have a distinct advantage on the Santa Barbara dating scene. “There’s a never-ending supply of cute college girls who are not looking for longterm relationships.”
A frequent maid of honor at her friends’ weddings, The Catch dated a guy for four years before facing the fact that they were incompatible. As she reentered the dating world, her friends were all saying “I do.”
“I feel like I missed the get-married boat,” she says. She dates guys she meets through friends, at bars, or on Match.com. “I feel like Charlotte from Sex and the City when she said, ‘I’ve been dating since I was 15! I’m exhausted. Where is he?’ You reach the point where you just want that companionship, someone to share with. You want ‘your person.'”
Her person is smart, funny, considerate, and passionate about his own hobbies. Here’s who he’s not: the guy who recently asked her out, offering to take her either to happy hour or to a restaurant where he had a coupon for the pasta special — provided that she only order the pasta special.
“You start to do the ‘what’s-wrong-with-me?’ thing,” she confesses, which only undermines your confidence, thereby making you less attractive. It’s a vicious cycle.
“This town is lousy with narcissism,” she complains. “I get approached by cocky bastards when I’m out. I want the good guys to approach me. I know they’re out there and they’re sick of the club scene, too.”
She’s had steamy affairs with twenty-somethings (“Let’s face it,” she says, “the sex is really good.”) but she no longer dates guys without spouse potential. In fact, she recently decided to remain celibate until she finds a legitimate, long-term boyfriend. “Why sleep with someone who doesn’t consider me worthy of being in a relationship with?” she says.
I’ll bet Santa Barbara’s superabundant single gals know just what she means. It’s too bad The Catch can’t find her smart, funny, considerate soulmate among them.
“Believe me,” she says, “if I could switch teams that easily, I would.”