Conventional wisdom would say that at my age most of the "good guys" have been snatched up. I tend to agree. I have heard all sorts of comments about never-been-married people in their 30's and 40's as "obviously" having something wrong with them. This reinforces the clearance-aisle mentality, or what I call the one-eyed-teddy-bear effect. We leftover people haven't made the cut, for whatever reason. I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to camouflage the holes in my sweater. And like the water gun that squirts grape jelly on the Island of Misfit Toys, I'm convinced I just need to find the right person to appreciate my gifts.
There is an entire industry devoted to helping consumers snag the best-of-the-leftover-or-unwanted-decent stuff. TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and even the local Goodwill profits off of it. There are people who memorize the schedule of deliveries and know the best days to find a steal. Online dating is exactly the same. All of us are hoping to find the hidden-treasure profile to magically appear in our queue one day. And people script their profile essays to appeal to this consumer. They will highlight the fact that they just went through a really rough break-up, that they are a good guy, devoted dad, hopeless romantic, and holding out for "the one". This only leaves us with two options. We can either take our chances with the mismatched pair of new socks from the clearance aisle, or a pair of broken-in jeans from the thrift store. The mismatched pair of socks comes with issues, and the broken-in pair of jeans comes with baggage. The jury is still out on which is better.
Full disclosure: I am a die-hard bargain shopper. I troll the clearance aisle like a beast. I buy and sell on E-bay, Craigslist, and got my dining room set from the Salvation Army. I never pay full-price for anything. Ever. I consider Groupon proof that there is a higher power. I have also scraped-up bargain-basement guys from the start of my dating career. My first kiss came from a guy who wanted to date me to piss-of his parents. Let me explain. And forgive me - this is high-school-drama-BS at its best. I was a band geek. I played the clarinet in the marching band. Many of my friends were fellow band nerds, and this story includes two of them - my friend Heather, the flutist, and Adam, the drummer. Adam was head-over-heels for Heather. The only real problem was Heather's boyfriend, Chris. In true teenage-girl logic, Heather thought the best way to get Adam to get over her was to set him up with me. It didn't take. We hung out a few times, and even went to the theater with his parents. Awkward doesn't begin to describe it. Enter Adam's older brother Jason, who was home from college on break. Jason and I hit it off, he gave me my first real smooch, and we dated for a short time. When we broke up he explained to me that his parents disliked me immensely, since they were under the impression that I was the one who had rebuffed Adam. Jason loved the idea of sticking it to his parents, and I was a means to that end. Some guys really know how to part ways on good terms, huh? And from then on, I embarked on a journey of poor choices. And I'm not bitter at all. Jason was a terrible kisser, by the way.
These sandals, purchased on e-bay, have lasted longer than all of my relationships. Combined.