A few men I’ve dated have gone on to become minimally to somewhat famous. The other day, I was watching CNN and up popped an attorney I had dinner with a few times before unceremoniously dumping. It was right after my divorce, I just couldn’t “do” a relationship. Now, the guy’s got his own show.
Largely, my marginally well-known exes are comedians. When I was in college, I worked at a comedy club and so, like many of my waitressing colleagues, enjoyed the opportunity to be romanced by overly ambitious funnymen. These days, I see lots of them waxing philosophic on those VH1 countdown shows or starring in their own thirty-minute Comedy Central standup showcases. One comic I dated was “this close” to hitting it super big in the ‘00s while another became a stadium-sized rock star blazing through the comedy stratosphere. There was even a moment with an Oscar winner.
Really, I’m not bragging. Quite the contrary. When I see these guys on television or in movies, two defeatist thoughts surface in my mind:
Should I have stuck with one of them? And two, am I a big loser?
I’ve been mostly happy with my romantic life. I’ve had a marriage, a fairly lengthy string of hearty romances and one or two true loves. But I wonder if a more ambitious partner might have helped me achieve some of my professional goals. Maybe he would’ve turned up the dial even more on my own ambition. The more excruciating question is whether or not I’m a big loser for not having achieved these goals on my own. Some women would feel fantastic knowing they were once the cat’s meow for men marvelous enough to reach some level of national acclaim. But when you’re the kind of gal whose identity is pumped up by her own successes, and not those of her other half, it’s challenging to feel anything but envy when an ex’s mug is all over CNN.
But really, I didn’t choose the lawyer or any of these men because we just didn’t connect. Thus, I should wish these fellas a silent good luck and be on my merry way.
I guess, like every freakin’ lesson in life, this has nothing to do with other people and everything to do with me. I feel envy because of what’s missing in my world and it’s all up to me to find and fix it. I know “it” has something to do with carving out my own little place on the cultural landscape. Presumably, the challenge is not to look up so much to see what everyone else is doing.
So, I’ll stick to my real loves and true connections, and continue working toward my goals in my less than Type-A fashion. And if I ever need to wonder ‘what if,’ I’ll just turn on the TV.