Re­think­ing what my type is

Los Angeles Times - - HOME & DESIGN - By Sofia Bar­rett Ibar­ria The au­thor is an L.A.-based free­lance writer. She is on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram at @eve­saint­lowrent L.A. Af­fairs chron­i­cles the dat­ing scene in and around Los An­ge­les. If you have com­ments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffa

I’ve al­ways had a thing for peo­ple who don’t like me. Men, es­pe­cially. Like, a sex­ual thing for any­one who def­i­nitely isn’t in­ter­ested, can’t pos­si­bly be in­ter­ested, and will never be in­ter­ested in me. I’ve fallen in love with prac­ti­cally ev­ery shiny gay man I’ve brushed up against at the Abbey, ev­ery moody open-mic co­me­dian in Hol­ly­wood who’s cor­nered me into a con­ver­sa­tion, some hot lady from my Bikram place in down­town. Best friends’ broth­ers, girls with girl­friends: Tra­di­tion­ally, th­ese have been my prime tar­gets.

I’m not a to­tal piece of trash. I do try to stay away from th­ese kinds of eth­i­cally am­bigu­ous, HR night­mare type of sit­u­a­tions, but I def­i­nitely have a type, and my type is un­avail­able and un­in­ter­ested. “Bad boy” prob­a­bly isn’t the right word be­cause it’s tacky and rem­i­nis­cent of some kind of ’80s teen movie and also be­cause I’m bi­sex­ual and I’ve met and fallen into hor­ri­ble un­re­quited crushes on “bad boys” who aren’t boys.

Most peo­ple I talk to about this ten­dency wrongly as­sume that be­cause I’m an ex­cep­tion­ally cute bi­sex­ual liv­ing in L.A. that I should have “twice as many” ro­man­tic op­tions to choose from and should have no prob­lem meet­ing nice, good-look­ing peo­ple who are also in­ter­ested in me.

Un­for­tu­nately, that’s not a real thing be­cause if any­thing, it’s the op­po­site.

I’d guess that I meet only half as many peo­ple who might be in­ter­ested in me be­cause bi­pho­bia is real and most of my OKCupid mes­sages are in­vi­ta­tions to sad, straight three-ways that I promptly re­ject but later try to swoop in to save the girl­friend. Girl: Get out!

And, in keep­ing with my per­sonal tra­di­tion, I’ve al­ways re­jected peo­ple who do seem to be in­ter­ested in me at least three times be­fore they ei­ther give up or I even­tu­ally re­al­ize they’re cool but now they’re dat­ing some­one else. Like I said, it’s tra­di­tion.

L.A. is where hot and emo­tion­ally un­avail­able peo­ple mi­grate in or­der to mate, spawn and mul­ti­ply in abun­dance. They’re all unique and spe­cial in their own way, but united in their de­sire to “just hang out,” avoid “la­bels,” and not text me back.

There was the much older than me and un­em­ployed trust-funded “play­wright” I met as a fresh-out-of-USC in­tern at a DTLA theater com­pany. The hot les­bian club pro­moter who asked me out for what I thought was a date but turned out to be a pro­mo­tional “ladies night” event with 300 other ladies in a packed bar in Sil­ver Lake. And pos­si­bly the grand queen supreme of all L.A. un­avail­ables: the guy in a band with a small fol­low­ing based in the Val­ley. Who was also my neigh­bor. Don’t do that.

The thing about peo­ple who are un­avail­able, though, is that they’re al­ways hot, and they’re al­ways re­ally, re­ally, cool. And dat­ing them can be fun and wacky! The minute I leave their dingy Kore­atown apart­ment, they dis­ap­pear with­out a trace and I never know when they’ll resur­face, like magic. They’re al­ways ready to make in­sane plans at 2 a.m. and in­vite me to a Los An­ge­les Lady Arm Wrestlers event, which I think is so cool even though they know I have to get up early.

I never know if this per­son ac­tu­ally even likes me or if they’re do­ing coke in the bath­room while I wait to in­tro­duce them to my friends, fi­nally. They know where to go and who to go with and they al­ways have cool friends or know a guy who can get us in some­where. Oh, but they never in­tro­duce me when we go out in pub­lic to­gether? Who cares? I’m a mess any­way and this is silly and whim­si­cal fun.

I al­ways had a ton of wacky sto­ries about how I was in a weird, un­de­fined sex thing with some­one for six months and was ghosted af­ter I asked where the re­la­tion­ship was go­ing. Or how my heart was be­ing shat­tered be­cause I found my­self in a poly thing that ended up be­ing a cheat­ing thing. I’d lis­tened to a sad-sack self-help au­dio­book while sit­ting in traf­fic on the 405 on the way to see my ther­a­pist, and for a while I thought I was mak­ing progress but the Bo­tox in her fore­head made it hard to tell if she was proud of me or mildly un­com­fort­able.

My friends had come to ex­pect th­ese weekly re­caps of some ill-ad­vised hookup, but it was al­ways the same story: I was way into them, they never texted back, they never wanted to hang out in pub­lic, or they stopped talk­ing and only resur­faced to ask for nudes. Oh well, that’s just what I do!

But then, as al­ways, there would come a time where I would get sad. I’d al­ways get my feel­ings hurt and think I was a fail­ure be­cause this per­son didn’t like me. That was the part that at­tracted me to them in the first place.

Chas­ing af­ter peo­ple who flat-out ig­nored me be­cause I thought I could make them like me was cute and fun un­til I started hat­ing my­self for it.

There was al­ways a part of me that won­dered why any­one would want to bother with me, any­way. Af­ter all, it was eas­ier to fo­cus on some­thing or some­one out­side rather than at my­self. I was afraid of what would hap­pen if I ac­tu­ally liked some­one, and if I ac­tu­ally liked my­self, so I pushed peo­ple away who ac­tu­ally did like me.

I thought there was some­thing wrong with any­one who’d like me, be­cause I didn’t like me.

This all came to me as I was sit­ting with my friend at our fa­vorite ra­men spot in Sil­ver Lake when he asked if maybe the rea­son I was only in­ter­ested in un­avail­able peo­ple was be­cause I didn’t want to be with any­one, re­ally, be­cause re­ally be­ing your­self in front of other peo­ple is scary. When you pur­sue un­avail­able peo­ple, you don’t have to talk about your feel­ings or fears or be your­self.

When I saw my­self the way my friends and the peo­ple who love me see me — at that very mo­ment with my cheeks stuffed with greasy noo­dles look­ing like a chip­munk wear­ing winged eye­liner — I saw that I ac­tu­ally am re­ally cool and fun and that I should like me too.

The thing that hap­pened when I stopped de­pend­ing on other peo­ple to make me happy is that at first, it hurt. I cried in my room a lot (and still do) be­cause L.A. is a huge city full of at­trac­tive peo­ple find­ing their soul mates over Na­turewell green juices on Sun­set ev­ery day and I don’t like feel­ing alone.

But then I re­mind my­self that I’m go­ing to be OK. I’m al­ready OK.

Now, I’m not try­ing to find love or at­ten­tion from any­one re­ally other than my­self. I’m learn­ing to ac­cept love from oth­ers, and from my­self.

Lik­ing me is so much bet­ter. And I don’t even like juice.

Hanna Bar­czyk For The Times

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