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you're doin' it wrong
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)

Once upon a time, I was drunk and sad on a layover in Amsterdam. Anyone can be drunk in Amsterdam, but why would anyone be sad in such a beautiful place?

I was on a six day trip that included two twenty-four hour layovers in Den Haag, a gorgeous seaside town forty-five minutes outside of the city proper. Flying with some super-senior women, I was the low girl on the totem pole, and they were quite frankly really mean to me. Usually, I can deal with anyone, but this trip fell just after a breakup and my feelings were a little sensitive. Dealing with bitchy older women, stuck on a metal tube blasting through the sky, three nights in different hotels I was a little wrung out and emotionally down.

I ended up getting drunk, by myself, and surfing the internet (as you do). I have absolutely no idea how I wandered into a website about finding The One, but somehow I did. And I discovered an e-book entitled Catch Him and Keep Him.

I ought to be embarrassed to disclose this information, but with a little hindsight and a lot of perspective, I'm entertained. I read that e-book and cried my poor little eyes out that night, then suffered my way through a final flight home to New York. When I got back online and discovered my own shenanigans, I read through the book again sober, this time.

Overall, it wasn't worth the money I paid for it (yes, yes I did pay for it. And I still cant believe that charge will be forever reflected on my credit card statement). Its full of things we all know already. I could have written that book. But, because we all know these things, and we could ALL have written that book but we DON'T, it sells. And I bet it sells quite a few more copies than anyone would imagine.

Dating. You're doing it wrong.

That's what I would have called it.

It breaks down to as simple as this:

Be yourself, whoever that is. If you don't know who YOU are yet, then you shouldn't be dating.

Respect yourself. If YOU don't value you, then no one else will.

Love yourself. To find someone YOU love, you've got to BE someone you love.

In order to make a 265 page book that I paid thirty (yes, $30) dollars for, they had to draw these three ultimate suggestions out so far it was almost ridiculous. DON'T do this, they said; DO this instead. Well, thats not being true to you, that's faking someone else into believing you are the person they want to get to know. SAY this, don't say THAT. When you do get to drop the facade, and eventually be you? Never, by this book's rules. You're forever stuck being what they want. You know what we call that in the movies? A Stepford Wife.

I can't say that I've had the best time dating either before or after I was married. But if every guy I went on a date with was that awesome, they would already have been married. It's a learning process, both for you and the other person you're on a date with. They're learning about you and themselves in the process, and if you're doing it right, so are you. You're learning what you would like to find in a person whose presence you'd like to spend time in. You're learning about sharing talking time and listening time equally. You're learning about how to value a person more on what they stand for and believe in than on what they do or how much money they make. You're learning to meet someone halfway - maybe its halfway across mid-town because you live in the Financial District and he lives in Harlem or maybe its because of a compromise made when planning what to do for the evening.

I don't think dating is about callously culling a select person out of a herd, because finding a true and lasting relationship isn't about picking one and sticking with it. It takes time and understanding. It takes trust and honesty and boundaries. It takes finding someone lovely in everyone you meet, but not settling for less than what is exactly right for YOU.

I wish this hadn't been an e-book, because if it was made of real paper and I could hold it, I would put it in a place of honour: The bottom of the Fire Pit. I would have a ceremonial burning, dedicated to all the wonderful people I know who put up with shoddy relationships because they think they aren't worth better; a bonfire dedicated to all those healthy couples who constantly inspire me with the respectful and happy way they live their lives together.

No one really needs a book to find a soulmate. We don't need anything more than to understand ourselves.


Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.

more about maigen thomas


find a couch on craigslist, not a boyfriend
a horror story about internet dating
by maigen thomas
topic: humor
published: 11.23.09

well you didn't tell me that, now did you?
things learned about traveling while traveling
by maigen thomas
topic: humor
published: 10.26.09


russ carr
12.30.09 @ 2:41p

I've decided what you need to be: A nun with benefits. It solves so much!

maigen thomas
1.1.10 @ 9:40p

Right? Wait, does that mean I have to be like, religious? Or maybe one of the Satanic order of Chattering Nuns from Good Omens?

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