Bruni in the City: The Perfect Macaroons
A Column by Christina Bruni
Stay True to Yourself and You'll Find the Right One
I've drowned myself in macaroons, courtesy of Cream, a new coffee bar in Bay Ridge on Third Avenue at 72nd Street in Brooklyn. My favorite is the wedding almond. I buy two and a hot chocolate with whipped cream, no marshmallows.
Cream has free wi-fi and a quartet of tables in the back, plus a restroom. I prefer going here to the Starbucks down the street. Donuts are also on offer, like the hibiscus or the chocolate with cocoa nibs. A standard variety of coffee, too.
The winter is not my favorite season. Late summer into early fall is when I have the most energy. Thus I decided to try to find a guy in the early spring or thereabouts. I bombed out on the Internet matchmaking services. Earlier this year, I decided I would never again be untrue to myself by trying to get other people's approval.
The guys online left a lot to be desired. That is, I wasn't willing to settle for one of those average guys. For a number of years, I've bristled at how sick people are praised because they hide behind a cloak of normalcy. You can be rude to customers. You can fail to do your share of the work at a job. You can be outright hostile. And you'll be celebrated because you don't have a mental illness.
The guys online were crackers. I was open-minded, so I sent a message to a vegan, and he didn't respond because I eat chicken and fish. I also sent a message to a psychiatric worker who specified he wanted to meet a "sexy" woman. No response here either.
Not only were the guys a few bricks short of a house, I realized I couldn't compete in these traditional dating arenas because 95 percent of the guys are only interested in finding out if a woman is "fuckable." If you're an intelligent, hip, socially savvy woman, you're expected to be grateful for the crumbs on the table that these guys deign to give you. You're supposed to overlook that they're unmedicated yet not normal.
As my efforts derailed, one after the other, over the last two years, I decided that I hadn't failed; it was my approach that failed me. I took myself off the market to focus on publishing my memoir, Left of the Dial, which went on sale on Amazon this past December 2014. After the book came out, I kick-started marketing it and selling it via my new website and my blogs and other channels.
The more I thought about things, the more I realized that changing myself to fit a mold of what other people in society deem acceptable is a no-win game. The self-doubt was replaced by a new confidence because it suddenly hit me: Do I really want to date a shallow guy who seeks a tarted-up, tatted-up woman? No, no, no.
Two real-life experiences cemented the truth in my mind that settling for any old guy who expresses an interest in me is not the way to live. I hold two truths to be self-evident. First, I have a best friend I'll call Josh. He has a female companion who collects SSI. He takes her to lunch. He takes her to dinner. She doesn't wear stilettos and a cleavage-baring, leopard-print dress.
This cheered me because I realized I might be able to find a great guy like Josh who doesn't immediately want to get under my skirt. I am not a bimbo. My great worry has always been that I would have to stuff down my personality and change myself to be in a relationship with a guy.
Have no fear. A free spirited woman I know wears cowboy boots with a skirt. She is always nattily attired in jeans and a t-shirt. She pulls it off with her own joie-de-vivre. And no, she doesn't wear stilettos on a date either or slit-up-to-there skirts.
That's how I realized there was hope for me. A psychiatric worker only wanted a sexy woman, and a narrow-minded vegan was critical of a woman's food and fashion choices. Since I couldn't compete online in this arena, I realized I would have to live my life and see who I met in person at a book talk I gave.
I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn't have to get tarted-up or tatted-up to snare a guy. The equation is simple: Only by acting true to yourself can you find your true match. I'm convinced there's a guy out there for me. Right now, the macaroons sure are delish.