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When recycling’s bad for the environment

Special to The Times

I’M as environmentally conscious as the next girl, but I have never recycled a man.

The concept, in case you’re unfamiliar, means putting back into circulation someone you’ve dated by introducing him or her to your buddy. Not exactly catch-and-release, but sort of.

I’ve seen it done, successfully, but not lately and not in this town, where it actually should be mandatory to pass along a guy you’re no longer dating. The pool is so agonizingly small in L.A., certainly for those of us over 30, that no one should be discarded, right? In theory, yes.

But to me, it seems like a cruel perversion of the “Pay It Forward” concept, in which the conversation with a girlfriend would sound something like this:

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Me: Well, he’s a raging narcissist, he’s immature and he’s a “producer.” You guys should go out!

Girlfriend: Are you mad at me?

I just don’t have the stomach for it. I can’t in good conscience unleash my rejects on my friends. Maybe I find out too much about them, with my nosy reporter’s instincts always driving me to dig to the core. Or maybe it’s just because I have tragically bad taste in men, which has been well documented. Then again, I don’t see anyone else in L.A. recycling their castoffs either. What gives, ladies? Little help?

Because I carp constantly about the dating scene, I do try to stir things up. I had a party not long ago with the sole purpose of tossing together a bunch of people from disparate parts of town and different backgrounds. In prepping for this soiree, I asked all my single girlfriends if they had any date-worthy guys they could bring along. The criteria weren’t too strict -- single, interesting, fun, employed. I could’ve added “hot” to the list, but why be unrealistic?

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The answer was unanimous. If my friends knew such men, they’d already be dating them. Ah, of course.

Bottom line: There was a better mix at this party than I would’ve expected, and there was much mingling. Only one hook-up, and that lasted about three dates. Would my girlfriend recycle that guy? Only if she knew someone who was really into bitter, cheap guys who seem incapable of giving compliments and brag about their zero-percent body fat during dinner. Yeah, not so much.

A friend suggested recently that instead of a recycling pool, I should create a website populated with men to avoid at all costs. It’d be fun to create all those “most unwanted” profiles.

I considered it, if only for the sense of vindication that would come when others agreed with my scathing assessment of Mr. Wrong for Everybody. But I can’t bring myself to do it. I’d like to save my sisters-in-arms some agony, but I won’t stand in the way of a girl getting some male attention, however brief, in this love-starved singles scene.

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I recently met someone, went on one date and realized quickly that there was no reason to go on a second. Seemed like a good guy, just not for me. Could he be my first recycling prospect? I don’t know him well enough to heartily recommend him to a friend, but I don’t know enough to feel guilty for sending him someone else’s way. I don’t want it to be the end of a friendship, but maybe it could it be the start of a trend.

T.L. Stanley can be reached at weekend@latimes.com.

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Dating, jury duty, and uncovering evidence of their parallels.


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