(And don't forget to keep those guest posts coming!)
You know you've reached an interesting point in your dating career when your friends nickname not just your man-of-the-moment, but the entire collective of men spanning a given time period. Bonus points if the nickname incorporates not just a nod to the sheer number of men you've gone out with (e.g. "parade"), but also some derogatory term for each and every one (e.g. "freaks"). I am that girl...Grand Master of the Parade of Freaks, if you will. It should be noted at the outset that not every single member of the Parade is as weird, unusual, or flat-out dysfunctional as the name would imply. Like any parade, there is variety....marching bands, floats, balloons, the occasional small-time celeb.
With each new person passing me by in the Parade, I learn something about myself; about what I do and don’t want and what I will and won’t tolerate. Sometimes I just get a funny story out of the experience and, really, if you can make your girlfriends laugh over margaritas with your latest dating disaster, the evening isn't a complete loss. There's something to be said for getting caught up in the parade as it goes by, even if just for a moment: to surrendering to the unique elations and frustrations of casual dating, to appreciating the hand-in-hand comedy and tragedy of life as a single woman.
Ultimately, I’m still searching for my Ferris Bueller. For the man who will stop the Parade with song and dance and cheering. Perhaps my expectations are ratcheted just a bit too high. But I believe he’s out there. Stuck in a cab somewhere, perhaps. My encouragement, though, is to always attend the Parade; get caught up in the fun and excitement; and sort out the memories, keeping the lessons and leaving the trash.