About a week ago, I turned 30. This was not my favorite birthday ever. My favorite birthday ever was when I turned five. My mother made me this giant chocolate cake and I got about a jillion presents.
When did birthdays start getting depressing? I can’t remember but it was a while ago. I remember turning 17 wasn’t depressing at all, but turning 20 kind of was. So it was somewhere in there. At some point, I stopped thinking “oh, I’m getting older” and started thinking “oh crap, I’m getting old.”
Of all of them though, 30 has been the worst so far. I got the sinking feeling that this day was coming from the moment I turned 25. That was the halfway point and I knew it was just a matter of time.
I feel like if I were married and had kids, I would think differently about it. But I don’t and isn’t there that statistic that you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than to get married after you turn 30? I don’t know how likely it is to get struck by lightning or if that statistic is even true, but I’m really feeling like it’s not going to happen for me.
In fact, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen for me. I’m never going to get married. There, I said it. I’M NEVER GOING TO GET MARRIED. OK, I feel better now.
Like I said, I saw this coming. Even when I was in high school, I knew. I’m sure you’re wondering why and it’s a hard truth that has taken me years to admit, even if the most I can do is admit it in diary form. So here goes:
Maybe now that I admitted that, you don’t want to read anymore. You only want to read the musings of a pretty girl. I totally understand. When a pretty girl is single and can’t get a date, it’s something you make a movie about. When an ugly girl is in the same position, it’s pathetic. It’s something nobody talks about or wants to hear about.
I’m not going to describe myself in detail, but you’re going to have to trust me on this. I’m ugly. I’m not, like, awful monster hidden away in a cave ugly. Little kids don’t see me and scream. But I’m not pleasurable to look at. Weight, okay, that’s a big issue. A big, big issue. But I think even if I miraculously managed to drop the extra fifty pounds or so, I don’t think you’d be seeing me on any runways. Let’s leave it at that.
It’s hard for a woman to say she’s ugly, so I hope you appreciate this. When I was in elementary school and middle school, boys would tease me and call me a dog, but that’s just par for the course. When I was in high school and I couldn’t get a date for anything, I still wasn’t totally sure. My mother told me the boys were just shy. Then I went to college and all my girlfriends, even the unattractive ones, were dating and I wasn’t. All my attempts to meet guys at social events went sour. No one was interested.
I do get dates, but not in the traditional way. See, there’s this little invention called the internet and it contains dating sites. And there are some guys on these dating sites who are not incredibly picky. And I live in Silicon Valley, which is supposedly the best place in the world to meet men. So yeah, I got some dates, and even second dates, and even, eventually, got laid at age 24. But every guy I went out with would eventually decide he could do better and that was that.
You may be wondering why I started this journal. Just to announce to the world that I’m ugly? No. Not just that.
I guess the reason is that I want to show that it’s okay to be 30 years old, ugly, and single. I’m not desperate for some guy to sweep me off my feet. I’ve been single a long time and to be honest, I don’t care. You hear me? I DON’T CARE.
So yeah, welcome.
I think a good purpose for Entry #2 of my journal is to introduce my job. I bet you thought I was just going to talk about being ugly every day. Nope, sorry to disappoint.
I work as an actuary, which mostly involves statistics and computers. What a shock, the ugly girl works in computers, right? It’s actually a very good job, with decent hours and a decent salary. The only thing is that it can be a little bit mind-numbingly boring sometimes. Well, all the time.
My friend Sandra works in the cubicle next to mine. I adore Sandra. She is what the youngsters (I can talk that way now that I’m 30) would call my BFF. Sandra is married, but thankfully doesn’t have any kids yet because I don’t think I could deal with hearing about diapers all the time. I feel bad admitting this, but I’m dreading the day Sandra tells me she’s pregnant. I think our BFF-dom will be over at that point and she’ll start hanging out with all the annoying women with the breast pumps.
Sandra is okay looking, but not that pretty. If she were pretty, I don’t think I could be friends with her. I’d feel so incredibly hideous by comparison. I’d have to start wearing a paper bag over my head. My only chance is to be friends with women who are not that great looking.
Aside from my mother, Sandra is the only person in the universe who is interested in my social life. She wants to hear about all my dates, despite the boringness of them. She’s always very positive, telling me I’m definitely going to meet someone someday. For some reason, when she says it, it’s not as annoyingly patronizing as it is when other people say it. For example, when my aunt said it to me when I was at my younger sister’s wedding.
There’s always a new guy in the building that Sandra is sure will become my new boyfriend. The latest was the new security guard downstairs. Sandra kept insisting he was flirting with me. He wasn’t.
While I was at work today, my computer exploded.
Not quite, but it did crash spectacularly. I was just doing my business in an Excel spreadsheet and all of a sudden… blackness. Not even a blue screen of death. Black screen… then… hieroglyphics across the screen in a single line. I kept staring at it, thinking, what the fuck? Then, oh fuck.
Finally, I did my super smart trick of turning the computer on and off. That always works. Except this time.
“My computer died!” I cried out. Like I thought if I said it loud enough, Superman might swoop in and help me.
Sandra heard me, except she’s as much or more of a computer idiot than I am. You’d think that between the two of us, since we work on computers nonstop all day, one of us would know what to do when a computer crashed.
“Did you try turning it on and off?” Sandra asked.
She suggested I call the computer helpdesk, which was as good a suggestion as any. I called the operator, got the number (even though I’ve literally called them 500 times since I’ve been working here), then they put me through.
I got through to the computer helpdesk and a guy answered the phone. The computer people are all guys. All nerdy guys too. Speaking of being desperate.
“Can I have your name?” the computer guy asked.
“Tessie,” I told him.
“Your full name?”
My full name is Anastasia Manousakis. It’s Greek. I hate my name. A psychologist might say that I hate my name because I hate myself or something, but seriously, my name sucks, right? It’s long, nobody can pronounce it, it’s just awful. And the computer guy chucked when I said it.
“Is that funny?” I said. I was not in a good mood at this moment.
“That’s just a really awesome name,” the computer guy said.
“Well, what’s your name?”
“How do you go through life with such an embarrassingly short and non-weird name?”
The computer guy, Jim, started chuckling again, then said “touché” or something like that. I noticed that he had a pretty sexy voice, actually, especially for a computer nerd. And here we were, flirting. He probably thought I sounded real cute on the phone. It’s much easier for me to flirt on the phone than it is in real life.
“And what department are you in?”
“An actuary, huh,” he said. “Interesting work.” He laughed again. He had a super cute laugh. “So Ms. Anastasia Manousakis…”
“Tessie,” I interrupted him. I don’t know why I cared what he called me (and he had amazingly pronounced my name right). I guess it was fun flirting with a computer guy with a sexy voice.
“Tessie,” he corrected himself. “So what’s wrong with your computer?”
I explained to him about the black screen and the hieroglyphics.
“Did you try turning it off and on?”
But he had me do it again and goddamned if it wasn’t fixed that time. Jim started explaining a whole thing about sometimes you had to leave it off for a couple of minutes so the hard drive could reset. I felt really embarrassed. I’m sure Jim with the sexy voice thought I was a total retard. So much for my fantasy of him coming down to fix the computer, then we fall in love and get married.
So I mentioned before that I use a dating website. The photo I use in my profile is real. It’s not doctored and not of some random other person on the internet. But it’s dark and from an odd angle so you really can’t see much of my face at all. It’s acceptable enough that I don’t get tons of rejections just based on the photo.
I didn’t have much interest from guys in my profile in the last week or two. I’ve been on several dozen dates from internet dating sites and the scariest part is that moment when we first meet. I’d rather the guy stand me up entirely (which has happened before) than see his face fall when he sees me. Most of them probably have had enough bad dates that they learn to mask it well, but some of them just look crestfallen. Then we share a meal and it’s just SO AWKWARD.
Even though I know it would never ever happen, I still have this remote fantasy in my head that I’ll be walking down the street one day, and some guy will see me, smack himself in the head, and say, “My god, that is the girl of my dreams! She is my exact type! I must have her!”
Am I the only one who fantasizes about that? I can’t be.
Anyway, back to internet dating. Great, here’s a photo of a guy with a nipple ring. Classy.
I made the mistake of admitting to Sandra today that I found the computer guy’s voice sexy.
She was so excited. She looked him up on the personnel directory, which was surprisingly easy to do considering all we knew was his first name. Within two minutes, she had pulled up a photo of James Matchett, 32, of Information Technology.
“Oh my god, Tessie, he’s so cute!” Sandra kept squealing.
Actually, she was right, he was really cute. I expected some typical nerdy computer guy, really awkward with thick glasses and probably balding. But Jim Matchett was objectively cute. Well, he did have glasses on, but even behind them, I could see he had really nice blue eyes. His brown hair was kind of tousled in an endearing sort of way. I’m doing a bad job describing him, but trust me, he was a cutie.
What’s funny though is that I was disappointed that he was cute. He was flirting with me the other day because he was a cute guy and cute guys flirt with everyone. It was probably like breathing for him.
Also, it definitely occurred to me that if I was looking up his photo, it was just as easy for him to look up mine. My ID photo is just awful, even for me. I had just rolled out of the shower, so my hair was sopping wet, and I was having a really bad skin day too. I look at myself in a mirror many times a day, so I’m used to looking at myself, but I always wince when I see that photo. It’s bad.
“Maybe you should give him a call,” was Sandra’s suggestion.
First, calling the computer help desk was no guarantee that Jim would pick up. There were at least three guys down there and they alternated calls. Also, just… no. Jim was not going out with someone like me, so it was stupid to even waste another second thinking about it.
The Jim saga came to an interesting conclusion today.
It started when my computer exploded again at about 4:15. Honestly, I had been planning to slip out a little early and it was tempting to just say fuck it and leave, but I couldn’t very well go home with my computer dead and possibly eating up all my data as I slept that night. So I bit the bullet and called the computer helpdesk.
Jim answered again. One in three chance and I hit the jackpot. I actually recognized his voice right away and I think he knew me. “Tessie, right?” he said.
“Yep,” I said. “And you’re boring Jim.”
He laughed that sexy laugh. I wish I were a cute girl so I could date cute guys. “Right, glad you remember me. What’s the problem, Tessie?” he said.
I explained to him about the hieroglyphics and how I had tried turning it on and off in every way it was possible to do so, and it just wasn’t working. I even got down on my hands and knees and unplugged it, then plugged it back in.
“Down on your hands and knees, huh?” Jim said. “Maybe I better come take a look.”
“Can’t you just tell me what to do on the phone?” I didn’t really want to meet Jim. I liked our little phone relationship.
“No, scary hieroglyphics mean I gotta take a look,” Jim said.
We hung up and I noticed my heart was racing. I honestly felt stupid for being as nervous as I was. My palms were sweaty.
“What’s wrong?” Sandra asked me, because I was just standing there.
I explained to her about my computer and how it died yet again and Jim with the sexy voice was on his way down. She looked so excited that I was immediately sorry I told her. “It’s not a big deal,” I tried to tell her. In her head, I think she was already planning out the wedding invitations or something.
Anyway, get ready for the punchline.
I’m standing there pacing for like ten minutes, then Jim shows up. And he looked just like in the photo, except, get this, he was in a wheelchair. And it wasn’t like he was in a wheelchair because he had a sprained ankle or something, he clearly was disabled. His fingers were all curled up although he seemed to be able to turn the wheels okay. I had no idea why he was in the wheelchair or any reason why a 32 year old would be in a wheelchair and it wasn’t like I was going to ask him. I guessed he wasn’t retarded since he sounded normal and clearly was intelligent. Anyway, I was completely laughing at myself for how nervous I was and how I’d been secretly planning a future relationship with him.
When Jim wheeled over to me, I was immediately worried he was going to try to shake my hand. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with shaking that claw. Thank god, he didn’t try. But the whole thing was super awkward. I’m sure it makes me a bad person, but I don’t know any people my age who use wheelchairs.
He made a beeline for my computer, probably because it was getting close to 5 and he wanted to leave as much as I did. “Wow, you weren’t kidding about the hieroglyphics,” he said.
He tried a few different things, pecking at the keyboard with his claw hands. I wasn’t sure if I should watch him or not. Was it rude to watch him? Was that staring? Yikes, so embarrassing. The best part is that Sandra hung around to see him and I could see her eyes bugging out.
We were there about twenty minutes and I was looking at my watch a lot. Jim kept saying things like “hmm” and “that’s not good” and I was thinking this wasn’t going to wrap up any time soon. Finally, a pager went off on Jim’s belt.
“Tessie,” he said, “I’m really sorry but I’m going to have to come back tomorrow.”
I was relieved. “Okay,” I said.
“I can’t make it till 10.”
I freaked out. I need my computer! I was almost in tears and Jim looked like he felt sorry for me. “Okay, how about 9:30?” he said.
So anyway, now Jim’s coming back tomorrow at 9:30 and I’m going to finally get my damned computer working again. I hope.
Sandra and I got coffee after work and we laughed about how we’d both been ogling Jim. It’s funny the way things work out. Oh well.
To be continued...