I’ll be blunt: Dating a fellow lawyer—especially one from the same firm—is an epically bad idea. I understand the time-honored “don’t shit where you eat” principle. But that’s not the precise problem I’m having.
Let’s rewind to only a few short weeks ago. On a cold, snowy night in January, I silenced my anxious pessimism, swallowed my doubtful resolve and allowed myself to fall for Carson, the firm’s new-ish corporate lateral from a few floors down.
The honeymoon phase was stunning. I adored every second of it. How could I not? Despite signaling the unexpected red flag of being a single dad, he practically rode a white horse to the office and read my whims telepathically. But that only lasted a few minutes, and I’m now realizing that his daughter was just a baggage smoke screen concealing Carson’s real underbelly.
I’m quickly noticing that Carson possesses the attributes that make me hate all other lawyers—and, incidentally, myself (though I haven’t gotten to that in therapy yet).
He is a sanctimonious, argumentative, prestige-obsessed, snarky know-it-all. Since that’s usually my role in a relationship, I’m beginning to understand why I’ve had so little luck in the dating department. In fact, I’m actually starting to sympathize with all of the non-lawyers who stopped calling me after our fourth date.
In an attempt to find some clarity (or, alternatively, create a record of evidence for when I inevitably dump him), I’ve been keeping a running list of things he does that I hate. If nothing else, it’s somewhat cathartic.
Here’s the short list:
Him: “Were you on a law journal?”
Him: “Which one?”
Me: “Um, my school basically only had one.”
Him: “Really. Mine had several.”
With the above examples of suffocating pompousness and Order of the Coif-derived infallibility, Carson has proven himself over and over again to be exactly the same as all of the lawyers at my firm (and every firm) whom I despise. Not to mention, none of our stars align. Our signs aren’t compatible, I hate his last name and our birth orders conflict being as we’re both oldest children. Control issues!
However, the real tricky part is that there’s one very, very important distinction between Carson and the roster of assholes clogging up my firm’s carpeted halls with their disgustingness: I am massively, arrestingly, devastatingly attracted to him.
There’s even a sense in which it turns me on to be challenged by a worthy opponent.
In my defense, if the aforementioned non-lawyers had called me after the fourth date, I’m sure I would’ve lost interest shortly thereafter. There’s nothing hot about having to spend the rest of my life editing or dumb-ing myself down in order to get along with a guy. I really can’t imagine being long-term attracted to anyone for whom I have to patiently explain the jokes on The Daily Show. I don’t want to have to search for the layman terms to describe my day. Being a lawyer is miserable enough, so isn’t it nice to lament it to someone who already speaks the language?
Carson’s other saving grace is that—when he’s not unintentionally insulting my legal education and patronizing me—he treats me perfectly. For God’s sake, my mom loves him so much that I almost started drafting this list of my complaints just to persuade her to actually take my side for once. The day she took an overly dramatic beat after my tirade about his didactic nature to say, “I’m sorry, but he really seems to like you,” was the day I came closest to throwing myself off the el.
Before you go running to comment on my relationship paradox, I’m fully acknowledging here and now that this tale of two cities is also plagued by my own insecurity. It’s just that I don’t know how much. What if he isn’t pompous at all? What if it’s just my ego that can’t tolerate losing a battle or two?
Which means I really don’t know where that leaves us. I’m either working with a full deck (two people with looks, considerateness, intellect, spark and a legacy for our future children at two excellent schools) or we’re on a rudderless collision course. For once, I’m truly stimulated by a guy. Yet, all the attributes that make him a good match for me infuriate me.
Last week, I shouted to him exactly how I feel, and he laughed and called me spoiled. It was almost as if he had a death wish and was asking me to dump him on the spot. But my paralyzing fear of making an irreversibly bad decision leaves me with no choice but to adopt my least favorite course of action. The one that involves patience and a lack of rigidity.
In other words, I’m going to have to just wait and see. And hopefully, I won’t throw any heavy, glass objects at him in the meantime.