Dating isn’t easy, no matter where you live or what’s between your legs. And though I’d love to steal the easy first down for my fellow men by articulating the under-appreciated hardships of being single and male in Charleston, I simply can’t be so dishonest. Guys here have it pretty darn good.
When I was 18, my first impression of Paris was, ‘How did all these homely dudes score such gorgeous girls?’ Then I went off to college in North Carolina, where I was lucky to land the cutest girl in my class (a Charleston native, of course). When she first brought me to her hometown, however, I was blown away. Charleston felt like Paris all over again, but this homely dude actually spoke the language. After graduation, I hightailed it to the Holy City—solo this time—carrying my habit of serious relationship mishaps into adulthood.
The truth is, men here don’t know how to commit. I’ve watched friends float aimlessly from one love interest to another, holding on just tight enough while keeping one eye peeled to the side. It’s tough; ask any man on a Calhoun Street corner—the girls here are pretty as pie.
After moving to Folly Beach, I witnessed a microcosm of the wandering eye phenomenon. One spring/summer a few years back, I overheard my roommate giving the “I really like you, but I’m just not ready for anything serious” spiel five times in as many months. Five times (!) I watched a different beautiful girl sullenly slink from our house, no doubt wondering what the heck is wrong with the male species.
Around October, when the balmy weather starts to fade, my pals all began settling into a winter squeeze, and I started to hear musings like, “She really gets me” and “This one might be IT for me.” I knew better. Half of these winter relationships wouldn’t even make it to Valentine’s Day, leaving my buddies bored til bikini weather returned or grabbing the first new girl that came along and going all in—for a month, at least.
Of course, with each passing year, the chance of settling down improves. A 45-year-old playing the field better tread more carefully than a 20-something whose sins are still easily washed away. My transformation came at 30. Although I speak as an observer, I’m guilty as well. There are a few girls out there who surely loved me and held on tight, and if they’re reading this, they’re no doubt recalling what a noncommittal dog I must have seemed like back then. My apologies are genuine. It all prepared me for this moment. This pup is reformed.
Come November, I’m getting hitched. In the end, for me, it simply came down to meeting “The One,” and all those years of passion and drama, breakups and makeups slip into the forgotten, irrelevant past.
It’s true—sometimes you do have to try many puzzle pieces to find the one that fits. So ladies, if you’re feeling walked on, walk away. Don’t smother right off the bat, but after six months, if he’s still noncommittal, pull your head out of the sand and forge ahead with your pride intact.
And guys, play nice. Sometimes it takes losing love to learn how to treat a girl right, but the reputation you build now will follow you, and it may be you with the broken heart next time. Be true to yourself and be true to love. If you are patient and kind, you will find her.