Friday, June 15, 2012

My Failure to Land Mr. Right: A Theory

I'm very lucky to be in the position to take a travel nursing job: I'm relatively young, have the requisite amount of RN experience under my belt, and am single, with no kids. Let's be honest, though: I'm not that young. Why, exactly, is a nice girl like me so totally unattached that she can move across the country without a second thought?

If we can assume, and I think we can, that my single-status isn’t because of my looks or personality, then some other factor must be at play. The way I figure it, my apartment may be the problem. It’s not that my apartment is messy. Although I am, in fact, not a naturally organized or neat person, like a not-naturally-thin person who is very strict about diet and exercise, I keep my apartment livable through discipline and a system.

It’s not that my apartment is frighteningly girly, either, at least as far as I can tell. The walls are painted in gender-neutral light greens, gray-blues, and yellows. No poster of a shirtless David Duchovny graces my living room wall (the Duchovny poster is tacked to the ceiling above my bed, of course, and you don’t see my bedroom on the first few dates). Still, the apartment might be scaring the gentlemen away. Because, alas, neither my forced neatness nor my subtly beached-themed décor can hide the evidence of what some men fear as much as snakes or babies: I have a cat.

Sure, the litter box is as out of sight as a litter box can be in a 900-square-foot two-bedroom apartment. Cat toys are not strewn about the living room. She has to eat somewhere, though, so the food and water bowls are sit neatly on a mat on the dining room floor. And I can dust, sweep, and lint roll every day, but I can never seem to get every bit of cat hair off of the couches. See, you’re turned off by this description, right? I’m turned off by it, too. Who wants to date a cat person? I love cats, and I don’t want to date a cat person.

The irony of the situation is that Zooey, the guy repellent, is only here because she belongs to a guy I used to date who can’t take care of her right now. Yes, I've been watching her for almost two years. Okay, I could see how that looks. It seems like she’s my cat at this point. She’s not, though. Zooey’s just a furry, non-rent-paying guest. A squatter who eats food I buy for her, doesn't clean up her own messes, and occasionally pukes in my living room. It’s kind of like I took in a truly irresponsible former sorority sister, except that seeing a cute girl lying on the couch when my date and I walk through the door together would probably be less of a deterrent than a feline draped across the back of the sofa is.
So, I can protest all I want. “She’s not mine, I’m just watching her for a friend, etc.” The mortifying stray clumps of fur that swirl, tumbleweed-like, under the dining room table, speak much louder than words. “Caution: crazy cat lady lives here,” they scream. So I think from now on, until I've really reeled the guy in, all of my dates should take place in public locations. No picking me up at my apartment, either. I’ll just have to meet the guy at the restaurant, at the bar, wherever. Better yet, how about a date at his place? If that freak is hiding a porcelain-doll collection or an affinity for the New England Patriots or something equally appalling, better to discover it and weed him out early.

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