Where is 34 year old Ben Covington?

Ben v. Noel? No Contest.

I love the present. There is such a thing called the interweb where I, for the price of two Starbucks lattes per month, can access Netflix's streaming movies and TV on my tiny laptop screen in the comfort of my own bed.

I have spent (wasted) the past two weeks and counting watch Felicity, the show from 1998 about a wide-eyed college student who moved to New York City to follow her crush. A dude she never said more than one sentence to in high school! Genius premise for a show, truly. 

I never really watched the show when it aired so it's all new to me. New and old making me (slightly) nostalgic for my youth. Felicity started college in 1998 two years behind me. She was in the city and I was upstate, but our struggles were mostly the same. 

Felicity watched movies on video tape, listened to mix tapes from boys, and saved her papers on a floppy disk. Boys called her on a phone with a cord. No one spoke of email, text messages, or carried a cell phone. Dating and relationships were not conducted that way.

We both had high hopes for what college and life after would bring.

If you have never seen the show - spoiler alert - it covers four years of a painful love triangle between Felicity, Ben, and Noel. Painful because it was obvious who she should choose. Noel was cute but whiny and over-analytical, while Ben was hot and mysterious, and when he smiled my heart broke for all women who have fallen for the Ben Covington's of the world. She chose Ben in the end.

However I'm still only in season 2 right now. In episode 2 Felicity and Ben tried to actually date but he freaked out (no, I'm not surprised either). She gave him the best break-up speech I wish I knew when my ex left me:

"You want something with me but you aren't strong enough to have it. And that makes you a coward." 

My ex was a coward. Not because he wanted out of our relationship but because of the way he handled it (or didn't). Ben is only a sophomore in college so I forgave his cowardly-ness. My ex was 34.

I thought watching Felicity as a much older sort-of-adult person, I might have different feelings about the type of guys that Ben and Noel represent.

Noel is husband and father material. He's smart, driven and incredibly responsible. My 34 year old self should want Felicity to choose Noel. 

But I don't. Ben had chemistry with Felicity that I can't put into words. The stupid kind of butterflies-in-your-stomach chemistry that I write about in almost every post. The chemistry that I look for on every date.  

I've tried to date the Noels of the world because it seemed like the right thing to do. The sensible thing that a 34 year old woman should do. I'm done. I'm looking for the Ben Covingtons of the world, who learned about love and life in their 20s and are strong enough to be with me now.

75. Jun - Aug 2012: Craig, It's Not You. It's Me.

Dried roses: Longer lasting than my relationships

How did you meet? offline through Improv

Name: Craig

Height: 5'10"

Age: 34

Occupation: teacher

Good quotes from date(s):

"You're like the Bachelorette, and I'm competing to get a rose."

"Do you let certain people preview posts before they're published?"

Why is he still single? Looking for the right girl.

Did he pay for the date?  He paid for everything on the first date. The other dates we split or alternated who paid.

Did he contact you after the date? Yes. He's a phone call guy!

How many dates did you go on? 6 or 7

Would you recommend to a friend? Absolutely


Craig knew from the beginning that I had a dating blog and if he asked me out he'd be written about. He asked me out anyway. We had several casual dates over the summer - bars, dinners, bowling, movies. Dating him was comfortable and easy because we had some of the same friends and already knew a little about each other.

One hot, humid 100 degree night Craig told me he "like" liked me and that he could he see having a relationship with me. It was everything I wanted to hear from a kind, funny, genuine guy, who is a good communicator and who brought me flowers (Two of them preserved in the pic above). 

I freaked out. I was confused about him, about what I was looking for, about everything. I needed space and time to think and I told him so. He listened with an open mind and without judgement.

The problem was not him. It was me, except it wasn't a problem it was a fact. I did not have the same feelings for him that he had for me, but I really wanted to. I had an inkling that we didn't have a physical connection after our first kiss, but I didn't fully understand this until later. Turns out wanting something badly enough doesn't make it true.

I blame myself. I kept seeing him in hopes that chemistry would miraculously appear. I know what you're thinking. I'm thinking it too: After 75 dates I should know better.

Dating is an experiment with no scientific equations and measurements (even though online dating sites say otherwise) that guarantee the same result every time. There are many variables of which we have no control. This a hard concept to accept for logical, analytical people like me.

The only dating truth I know is this: I cannot create chemistry, it is there or it is not. The only thing I do have control over is to recognize this sooner rather than later. A lesson that I re-learn each time I go on a date.