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Snooze-lose syndrome

The pressures women face due to the minuscule amount of time a decent guy is totally available; our lamentable inability to put a guy on hold like a sweater.

The Snooze-Lose Syndrome is best illustrated with the quote. "She who hesitates is lost." I remember first understanding this frustrating phenomenon when I was looking for a house. House hunting as a single woman is already slightly traumatic, because although it's a sign of career success to be able to buy a house alone, you're buying a house alone! What's next? Seven cats? Are you throwing in the towel? These were the thoughts in my head when, after exiting one particularly lovely house, my real estate agent told me we should make an offer now, on the car hood. Here's the paperwork, Well, I don't respond to pressure. I wanted to come back later with a friend ... or fiancé. I didn't believe this house was going to "fly off the market" the very next day. Until it did. Actually I think it was gone by nightfall. And now the same thing's happening in the dating world. It's a seller's market, and unfortunately, single men seem to be the sellers.

Here's why I know this to be true: Last year in New York a female friend fixed me up on a blind date with someone who, we realized during our pre-date phone call, also knew a male friend of mine. Curious for a second opinion. I asked my male friend his take on my prospective date, and he said, "Oh, that guy. Yeah, I don't know if that's gonna work out." Basically, he wasn't sure I'd think the guy was cute enough. "He's kind of a less good looking Jeff Goldblum," he explained. It was hard to imagine, but true. My blind date was nice, funny, smart -- but there was nothing happening for me in the chemistry department. I called my male friend the next day and told him he was right, no sparks, and then he did something a bit jarring. He said, "You know, if you're not interested, maybe I should fix him up with Elizabeth."

I know Elizabeth. Elizabeth has high standards. I started to panic. He did take me to a nice restaurant. Maybe I should give him another chance. Maybe he could get his teeth fixed. Maybe I am shallow and unworthy of a relationship. And while I was having these thoughts, he and Elizabeth went to dinner, fell in love, and moved in together. My male friend enjoys taking credit for fixing them up, but he only fixed them up after I reminded him this man existed. It was like I turned over a rock, found a single guy, and suddenly there was a feeding frenzy. I should note that I have seen Elizabeth out with this man, and they are terribly happy, and he looks cuter than I remembered, which is always the case once a guy is in a relationship.

Another friend, Laurie, recently heard that a handsome, successful man she knew was separating from his wife, so she called him the day of the news to ask him to a charity event. He accepted the date, and hours later she found out he was gay, which was why he was separating from his wife, and that he was involved with his male assistant. Her story is the essence of the Snooze-Lose Syndrome, because it illustrates just how tiny a decent guy's window of availability is. The time between which this man was officially married and officially gay was about three-and-a-half minutes, at which point he was officially unavailable to women and men. You snooze, you lose, baby. Of course, the danger is feeling like dating is a game of musical chairs, and you better grab a seat-any seat-quick. But I don't respond to pressure. I think there's someone out there who is right for me, and ... Okay, who just grabbed the last chair?