“Some people are settling down. Some people are settling. And some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.” – Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw
I went on my first date a year ago at 30. It was awful.
I had met the guy through an online dating service. He was weird and we had nothing in common. He wore what I can only assume was the same thermal top he’d worn snowboarding that day, old jeans, and a there’s-a-good-chance-I’m-a-creeper-smile.
We met for a drink – which I paid for – and I honestly couldn’t finish that beer fast enough. I ran away pretty quickly. It took him several weeks and many ignored text messages on my part for him to finally take the hint.
I tried the online dating thing on and off – mostly off – for the last year and finally threw in the towel for good a couple weeks ago when my last date took off his sock and shoe and invited me to feel the weird bump on the top of his foot.
To be clear, it’s not that I’d never had a boyfriend, just that I’d never gone on a proper date. You know, like a get drinks or dinner as a way to get to know a potential suitor situation. As an adult, I’ve met my boyfriends through mutual friends and sort of always skipped the dating part. As a teenager, well, I didn’t really have boyfriends. The whole dating & relationship thing has never come easily to me (cue the violins).
People who don’t understand how challenging the dating game is for some of us like to ask, “Why are you single?” I cringe every time I’m asked this. I have two go-to answers to this painfully stupid question:
- A curt smile and a quick, “I have no idea,” will sometimes do.
- Or, if I’m feeling particularly feisty, I go for the, “Well, if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t still be single, would I?”
Honestly, I’m really not sure what answer people are looking for, one of these days I’ll offer to put them in touch with my exes and other guys who have rejected me and we can all sit down and really hash things out until we get to the bottom of this situation.
Recently I’ve started to realize that the very reason I’m still single might have something to do with the fact that I simply hate dating. Now, I know I’ve only been at it a year, but honestly, folks, I really dislike this practice. Let me tell you why.
- I hate making small talk. After you cover some basic subjects, you’re inevitably going to come to some significant lulls, during which you take looong sips of your drink or eat the rest of your salad too quickly while the voices in your head (you hear them too, right?) scream at you to THINK OF SOMETHING WITTY AND INTERESTING TO SAY. And then you silently scold them when something like, “Soooo, did you know kale’s a superfood?” comes out.
- Despite the fact that I have been on the receiving end of the I’m Just Not That Into You conversation numerous times I have discovered it is surprisingly difficult to reject someone. What is the polite way to deflect unwanted texting advances from a guy who asked you to feel the weird bump on his foot? I just don’t know.
- I hate sacrificing Me Time or time with my friends to go on a date with a stranger or a semi-stranger. I know this is more a result of where I’m at in my life than a symptom of the institution itself. And I know it’s selfish. But, frankly, it’s how I feel.
At the end of the day – or, rather, the date – I have realized that dating, at least the kind that involves cyber connections or set-ups by well-meaning friends, isn’t going to work for me. At least not right now.
I’ve realized that what I’m looking for is someone who is first and foremost a good friend. Someone with whom I feel no need to fill the conversation lulls. Someone who will never ask me to touch that weird bump on his foot, at least not until we’ve been together for a significant amount of time. Someone who loves my friends and family as much as I do and who gives me the copious amounts of Me Time I crave. Someone with whom I feel safe, comfortable and relaxed – someone who feels like home to me.
Unfortunately these things I seek can’t be forced or found from an electronic matching service. They grow organically from other moments and circumstances. And I suspect they are very rare, but that’s OK. I can wait.
Because right now, in this very moment, just being me on my own is quite enough.