Bluff YOU, Love!

“Man. You must turn down a lot of guys,” he said as I crawled into his cab to head home from karaoke. I’ve been calling this same cab driver about once every month or two for a few years and never had a companion so, knowing that the world thinks I could get any guy I want and that there have technically been opportunities, I just laughed and replied, “Well, sort of. You could say that.” I was fairly certain he was implying that I was too pretty and interesting to go home alone so frequently and didn’t want him to think I didn’t appreciate the unspoken compliment… so, I bluffed. The full truth is quite similar to the range of hands you might be dealt at a poker table. Taken at face value, most of them aren’t worth playing.

The only man who actually, literally asked me out anytime recently was a drunk old rich man who wandered into the restaurant where I work. He was sitting at the bar when I came over to ring in an order for one of my tables. (Normally I’m the bartender, but I was only serving tables that night.) The bartender asked me to ring in his order and he took that opportunity to flirt. He asked to take me to dinner in Beverly Hills (1.5+ hours away, depending on traffic) before telling me a single thing about himself. I asked his name and what he was interested in. He told me where he owned real estate (multiple cities) and dropped the fact that he had a driver into the story somehow. When I discovered that he left without signing the credit card slip, despite the fact I told him I couldn’t add on the 20% tip he claimed he wanted to leave multiple times unless he signed, I was glad I had (strangely) decided to give him my actual phone number. Unfortunately, he never contacted me and gave me a chance to ask why he was too busy and important to sign off on his own expenses. Although that was an extreme example, many of the men I meet seem that poorly suited to stand at my side. Meeting them is about as exciting as finding an eight of spades and three of hearts in the hole. The only ways to win with such a hand are to bluff and/or get really lucky.

There have been a few guys at karaoke who have shown a tiny bit of interest. Not one of them has offered to buy me a drink. Some of them attempt a conversation. Even fewer have any questions beyond, “Are you going to sing?” and “What are you going to sing?” Sometimes guys merely stare at me from across the room all night… often in a corner behind a crowd of people. I feel like these guys want me to play with them, but they rarely make any actual moves. (Side note: it’s the lack of actual conversation that bothers me the most.) To me, these guys are like being dealt a hand with moderate odds of success i.e. ten-eight suited. They only really look interesting when you haven’t seen a great hand in a long time. Their odds of winning don’t change over time – you do. You get desperate and decide it’s time to bluff. While this strategy can work in poker, it’s not one I want to utilize to find love.

Finally, I’ll admit that there have been a few moments where I enjoyed the company of someone who showed the potential to be the King perfectly suited for this Queen. Unfortunately, all of those candidates did things that showed they weren’t interested in spending more time with me… and while I might defend that hand against a poker table bully, I unwillingly fold when someone pushes me out of their romantic game.

I don’t want to spend so many days and nights alone, but I know that you have to fold a lot of bad hands and face some bad beats in most poker tournaments and feel it is no different in my love life.  I peek at a lot of hands and fold because it seems the wisest choice. In romance, it’s too easy to become attached to a bad hand once you’re invested in the pot. I’d rather wait around for the hand that feels incredibly valuable before I invest a single embrace. Life’s too short to spend it bluffing about how much you love your partner. I’d rather spend it bluffing about how much I love being alone.


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