Today, I had dinner with a really nice guy. Like two adults, we talked about our life goals. There were 6 things I was looking for–yes, I made a list, had it printed out and tucked away in my phone case. But when he asked, I told him only two. I wanted to be healthy and I wanted to make it as a writer and that was all. The other four, I couldn’t tell him. The truth is I hadn’t been able to tell anyone. There is something about admitting to what you want that makes you feel so vulnerable. Isn’t the more you want, the weaker you get? Would people make fun of me, the oh so needy and desperate?
When it was his turn, he told me there were also two things he was looking for. He wanted a successful career–don’t we all?–and, love. There was a tinge of embarrassment in the way he said it, and I froze there for two seconds.
“Oh wow, love,” I said, staring at my cutlery. The fork was thicker than normal, the spoon so big I wondered how silly I must have looked trying to fit that in mouth. “I thought only people in Sex and the City said that.”
Do I? Let me check my list. It’s right there, number four. “I want to find a man with whom I share mutual love and respect.” I spent days making that list. I remember every word. I remember the frustration, the disappointment, the breaking of self-esteem with every wrong man I have met.
“I don’t believe in love,” I said. The words that came out sounded so wrong, but I couldn’t help it. If there was one thing Silicon Valley has taught me, it is that emotions are for the weak. You’ve got to act tough. You’ve got to act like you aren’t looking for anything that anyone can give you. The only way for you to raise above everyone is to pretend that you don’t need anyone. As soon as they know that you care, you start to lose. Ah, I hate that culture, but what I am to do? I’m just an outsider trying to fit in.
“Too bad,” he said.
Later that night, I went for a ride with two of my good friends, Miro and Cody. I told them the story. They both laughed.
“Who says that?” Miro said. “Looking for love, boohoo.”
“You are not going to see that guy again, are you?” Cody asked.
“What do you mean why not?” Cody stared at me through the rear mirror. “You know why not.”
The truth is, I don’t. I don’t know why I shouldn’t see a guy again just because he has the courage to admitting to what he wants. I don’t know why I had to lie to him. I don’t know why Miro and Cody laughed at him. They are both looking for love, I know that for a fact from all the shitty things they do. Everyone is looking for love. Everyone wants to be loved. That’s why we risk a mini heart attack asking someone out. That’s why we drown our sorrow in alcohol when we get rejected. That’s why therapy sessions at Stanford are always overbooked. Why can’t we just admit that we have feelings already? Ah, I hate Silicon Valley. Freaking cut-and-dried people.