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Is this town a bad setting for the game of love?


By Hannah Wallace


I grew up in a pretty stable environment, relationship-wise: My parents have had a decades-long marriage, and I was stably without a boyfriend until…y’know, like last year.


So, like so many things about adulthood—those things I wanted to imitate as a child—I’m fascinated by grown-up romantic relationships, mostly because they’re so much like what I observed in my high school classmates…while I was obediently doing my homework and going to bed early. (…shut up.)


Scoops, our 45-year-old Canadian hockey teammate and ice cream store clerk (which explains the wonder that is Scoops well enough), just had a break-up to rival any 10th-grader, complete with her sending emails to his friends and him…well, ignoring her.


Krazy Kevin, also in his 40s, is absolutely a 16-year-old girl when it comes it his latest love interest. “Why did she say that? What did that mean? Maybe you should ask her to come over and then I’ll play it cool and see what she does, but then she doesn’t do anything and so I don’t do anything but I thought she kind of looked at me like she was thinking about me but then she seems kind of angry too and why won’t she just say she loves me?!”


(I just had this moment, thinking, “Maybe I shouldn’t discuss these things publicly.” But nobody outside of hockey knows who I’m talking about. And all you hockey players, well, we’ve already discussed these things. Heh.)


It’s definitely a refrain of Sarasota living at almost any age: “There just aren’t enough available [insert sexuality/age/gender here]s.” I don’t mean to discount the frustrations of dating life—believe me—but I never associated my love life with volume. (Cue Beavis and Butthead laughter here.) Then again, I’m pretty socially anxious, so I never wanted relationships to be a numbers game. I didn’t see the tie between “lots of guys” and “one for me.” I didn’t want a Costco selection; I wanted to do my love shopping at a specialty store.


Hee. That sentence made me giggle. (And yes, CCB is definitely special.)


Also, I’m pretty sure the “relaxation centers” across the street from our place are actually “love shopping specialty stores.”


I just found a Dear Old Love entry that read, “You’re the part of town that’s missing,” which I think illustrates my point of view—ie you can have lots of things and still be missing The One. But I guess there’s a pretty big difference between “dating” and “looking for a serious relationship,” and if you’re not doing the latter, you at least want a good selection for the former.


Of course, in a small enough town, it’s also a lot harder to get away from the inevitable post-breakup (or post-hookup) drama. (Y’know, your friend may post your business on her blog for all the town to see.) Which may be exactly why the relationships I’m seeing all have that high school feel. Then again, even in a big town, everyone has their little communities. Maybe love is this silly and entertaining everywhere.


But hey, my views are often warped by my own neuroses and self-doubt. What do you think? Are dating and relationships harder in Sarasota? Or is it a frustrating endeavor wherever you go?