News flash:  I’m dating.

In the spirit of the holiday season, my newfound yogic way of life, and <gasp> turning another year older, I’ve been trying to focus on being grateful for the things I do have as opposed to pining for what I don’t.  Easier said than done when the one thing you don’t have is something you really, really, really want.  And, if we’re being honest, really, really need.  But I digress.  The point is that despite my proactive efforts to get what I want, it’s just not happening.  So I have two choices.  Focus on the nonexistent, which seems really ridiculous when I put the phrase in writing.  Or focus on the present, my current surroundings, and what I do have.  I remember watching an episode of House once where he tells Cuddy, “…like the philosopher Jagger once said, ‘You can’t always get what you want.'”  At the end of the episode she gets to remind him, “…you can’t always get what you want.  But sometimes you find you get what you need.”

So no, I don’t have what I want.  For a long time the running joke with my friends has been that although I don’t have a significant other, I have lots of “plutonic boyfriends.”  In other words, male friends with no benefits.  I’ve collected them over the years in different ways.  Some of them I’ve known since college, met through mutual friends, met at the gym, or attempted to date once or twice and realized we were better off as friends.  They are all incredible men that any girl would be lucky to date, and I cherish each of those friendships.  Unfortunately I just never had a romantic connection with any of them.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t still go to dinner, see a movie, grab a drink, watch a game.  (Except when they move 5 time zones away, but I’ll deal with you later JP).  So I’ve been thinking a lot about what dating even means, and what you get from it.  Why do we get in to relationships in the first place?  What are the aspects of relationships that make them so desirable?  Do I already have what I need?

I always hear women say they are looking for important qualities like trust, honesty, and loyalty.  Check.  I’ve got that with my plutonic boyfriends.  Of course I trust them.  They tell me everything and have no reason to lie to me.  They even give me their honest opinions about pseudo-relationships I might be in.  That’s the difference with male friends.  They’ll tell you what you need to hear, even if it might make you cry.  And I appreciate that.  Most women also want a guy with a sense of humor.  I’ve absolutely got that with my PB’s.  We may not kiss, but we’ve got inside jokes.  Who doesn’t want friends that send you random pictures of themselves wearing elephant thongs..?  Come on.  That’s funny.  And everyone wants someone who shares the same interests and values.  That’s not even limited to romantic relationships.  All of my friends share similar interests and values.  That’s usually why you become friends with someone in the first place, right?  Then there are other qualities that are debatable necessities in a potential boyfriend.  Chivalry.  Making plans.  Opening doors.  Picking up the check.  Having a good job and a good education.  Someone who wants a family and would be a good father.  Someone you could bring home to your parents.  Or in my case, my siblings whose standards are sometimes higher than my own.  Whatever your requirements are, at the end of the day you want companionship.  Isn’t the ideal situation is that your best friend becomes your lover?

Am I missing out on the intimacy part?  Absolutely.  The funny thing about that is – most of my friends that have it complain about it and could take it or leave it.  Incomprehensible to me, but like I said, focusing on that isn’t going to make me feel better.  Who am I to complain when I’ve got every other good aspect of a relationship, and no drama?  “Boyfriends” who are willing to sit with me for hours helping me make life-altering career decisions and who offer to drive me around when I’ve had too many drinks and who let me live in their condo for a while when I’m struggling to find an apartment and who have their mother bake me cakes and send them to me on my birthday and accompany me when I have to go to joint bachelor/bachelorette parties at strip clubs and hold my hand sometimes so I don’t die like the Lithuanian Babies.  There is something to be said for being able to let your guard down and be yourself with someone.  It’s a lot easier to learn what it is that you really need, want, and enjoy in a companion when you’re not focused on the relationship status or picturing what your kids would look like. Maybe none of these best-friend-boyfriends will ever get down on one knee for me, but I’m grateful that I can ‘date’ them before they are swept off the market.  Which is inevitable.  I don’t foresee any of them having my fate…

I’m going to be single forever.