Cleo's Dating Blog

My Rejected New York Times Submission

Posted on: April 26, 2011

A couple months ago I submitted the following essay to the Modern Love section of the NY times and was REJECTED. And they decided not to tell me why…. I guess it was not boring enough. Hopefully you will like it better than they did! xx, Cleo



I try to be a glass-is-half-full type of person. However when you are chronically single, as I seem to be, remaining optimistic becomes emotionally and mentally tiring. Sulking with a tray of cookie dough and a bottle of wine sounds so much easier.

I have been dating since I realized that I could (sometime back in the 8th grade when I got my braces off), yet for the past year and a half, I have taken a whole new approach to the dating game. Refusing to take a back seat to my love life, I have been on what I like to call, a dating expedition. This journey is based on my philosophy that the sooner I figure out what is it that I want, the faster I can have it. At least, this is the hope.

This whole expedition stems from my inherent impatience and inability to sit around let things happen. I do not do well with passive. “Chilling” is not my forte. Of the role models in my life- Richard Branson, Lance Armstrong, Oprah Winfrey, Lindsay Lohan (just kidding!)- none of them are passive. They take calculated risks, persevere through set backs, and are ultimately successful. Yet, I would almost consider participating in the Tour de France than deal with some of the men I date- key word is almost.

Tall, short, rich, poor, old, or young men are… interesting.

First there was the ex-marine who had no car, confessed how he has gotten four women pregnant, been engaged twice, AND still thought that my early 20-something self would not be scared out of a relationship. Then there was the modern day, heartless tin-man who, after 9 months of commitment-free “hanging out”, admitted that he had never once had real feelings for a woman as he is only capable about thinking of himself during the day. He loves the mental and physical connection (of course), but when confronted about the missing emotional connection, had no comment or idea what I meant. Next came the 30 year old white male who grew up in an affluent community yet still refused to give up his baggy jeans, metal chain-link necklace (ugh!), and wanna-be gangsta mannerisms. In between these men was the hilarious guy from London who flaked on a weekend together 30 minutes before departure, the North Carolina sweetheart who promised to fly me to see him 100 times then fell off the face of the earth, my Miami love from Spain who did nothing wrong but could not combat the cross-country distance, and how could I forget, the couple of model-actors I threw into the mix.

But wait, there’s more. There was the young, successful attorney who begged me to send him pictures… of my toes. The Hollywood club bouncer who name-dropped like no other (as if I should be impressed?) and sent me pictures of him and his gut drinking Coronas. The New York stockbroker who, upon meeting me for the FIRST time, explained how he could tell I orgasm nicely. The security guard who told me everyday that he knew I was eventually going to break his heart… so I had too. The numerous “straight” bartenders that I met at gay bars around the world. The UCLA water polo player with no personality. The finance guy who was MARRIED. The french guy who bought me expensive gifts but never asked me on a date. The medical student who told me, “in a year I would be in love with you,” but never made a move. The loan officer who pursued me solely based on the sound of my voice. The CPA, who against my better judgment, was indeed boring. The twice my age and three times my weight celebrity attorney that sent me long emails about how enchanting I am. And possibly the most interesting, the three different couples throughout the year that were persistent about having a threesome with me (which I safely avoided).

All of this in less than two years is a lot to handle, and I’m sure I blocked out a few from my memory.

I have become what some call a “serial dater.” I usually try to keep between 2 to 5 guys going at one time and cycle through them as necessary. After all, it is never wise to put all your eggs in one basket and any experienced gal knows that most men are a disappointment. Until I find one great man worth committing too, I will continue to date around. However, this does not mean sleep around. My dating and life mantra is: always stay classy.

As my volume of dates shows, my skills at picking up men have grown exponentially. I have mastered the art of eye contact, flirting, and being approachable and have gotten increasingly better at knowing when to call it quits. With each dating experience I am learning how to better recognize the warning signs and having a solid pipeline of prospects makes it easier to cut out these losers and move on. Men are everywhere… I’m just not sure where the good ones are hiding.

Of all the men I have dated in the past year and a half, I have had genuine feelings for about five. And when I say genuine, I mean genuine. I thought about them all the time, wanted nothing more than to be by their side, and wished them well in all areas of life. I was open with my feelings, thoughtful, sexy, fun, listened without agenda, and could honestly see commitment in my future (at least on my end). Initially, being vulnerable does not scare me and the potential of suffering for love has yet to hold me back from diving in. Yet once these feelings develop, I have found that the confident, easy-going woman that I try so hard to be starts to become a hopeless romantic, hanging-on-every-word, love struck kitten. I get soft. Why? Because deep down I am a relationship, all or nothing kind of girl. I melt easily. I love cuddling. I let my guard down before they do. Unfortunately, all five of these men did end up hurting me in some way or another.

Sadly, my naturally loyal, self-sacrificing attitude toward men that I genuinely care for is often interpreted as clingy. Although I have only ever been called clingy (to my face) by one guy, I find the adjective extremely undesirable and derogatory. Thus, I am constantly fighting my instincts in order to survive in this cold, hard world of dating. I force myself not to call. I force myself to be busy. I force myself not to care. I force myself not to give too many compliments or be too sweet. I force myself not to think too far into the future. I force myself not to believe what a man says but to go by actions instead. I force myself not to equate sex with love. I force myself to continue to pursue new prospects even if I do not want to. Force, force, force.

The good thing is, practice makes perfect. I really do live a busy life. I really do think rationally when it comes to men and do not live in a fantasy land. I really am independent. I really do go by actions and not just words. I really do not need or even want a phone call everyday. I really do love myself. I really do believe that I deserve nothing but the best. All I want is to be treated well and, from time to time, shown that I am thought of, cared for, and valued. I want security and consistency. I think this is more than reasonable yet so far, very difficult to find.

Why do so many men associate commitment as analogous to prison? Is love really that suffocating? Maybe I get too excited.

Although I have and continue to battle my naturally lovey-dovey, hopeless romantic, “clingy” behavior, there are some things I still cling to that I will not compromise. I cling to the idea of love and the idea of one day having my own fairy tale. I cling to never settling for less. I cling to good first kisses. I cling to the belief that not all men cheat. I cling to the hope that marriage is not just hard work, as most couples make it seem like, but a beautiful partnership. I cling to true love lasting a lifetime. I cling to my perfect man being out there somewhere. I cling to waking up smiling everyday. Yes, I am clingy and I always will be.


2 Responses to "My Rejected New York Times Submission"

I always have a lot of respect for anyone that’s genuine and able to write what they feel

Your a great writer! Don’t let a crappy newspaper keep you down :)

This is very well-written! I’ve only read this entry so far but look forward to catching up on the others.

Don’t fight your natural self. The right guy will appreciate it and love you more for it. Short-term pain, long-term gain?

And yes, you do have the eye contact thing down.

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