I’ve been told my clock is ticking, but…

15 Sep

I am a “single gal” in my mid-20s, so from time to time I poke my head into the dating world. I’m pretty sure I was better at this game a few years back; I had less experience and more eagerness to connect with someone. Some might call me jaded, but I prefer to think that the more comfortable I become with myself, the less energy I have to impress someone else. If that comes across as less attractive than the next girl, so be it.  Nevertheless,  I’m not better than anyone else, and as much as I rejoice in the ‘freedoms’ of single-dom, there is no denying that we thrive with companionship.  There’s also no denying the psychological and physical benefits of frequent sex, so for my own well being, I’ve got my baited fishing rod in these seemingly still waters.

As the gorgeous and eloquent Jennifer Aniston recently put it, “dating sucks.”  The majority of people I know would agree; especially the married ones. “I’m soooo happy to have found my husband. I can’t believe how many losers I had to date before we met.”  I’m never quite sure how to respond to that, so I opt for the half smile and change of subject.  The truth is, I really, really dislike dating. I psyche myself out before I even get there. I’m a chronic over-analyzer, and there is no worse position in which to put myself than on a date.  I’ve prayed to have him call and cancel, I’ve wiggled myself out of dates last minute way too many times, and I’ve even stood up a couple of really nice guys.  I have no issues spending time with men; I have a lot of guy friends and I’m pretty good at making new ones wherever I go. But the minute I know someone might be romantically interested in me and I’m asked out to dinner, I want to run and hide just as much as I might want to spend time with him.

Dating is a moment you set aside to judge and be judged; I cannot help but feel this way. I am being judged on my appearance, my mannerisms, my humor (or lack thereof), my choices, my manner of speech… I’m supposed to analyze his and my body language, laugh only at appropriate times,  keep certain opinions to myself, and anticipate how awkward things might get if I do decide to go in for a nightcap. And what I struggle with the most; do I let him pay or not? I once went on a lunch date with a bar manager I’d met while completely inebriated two nights earlier.  Ten minutes into it, I couldn’t wait to get back to work. I insisted I pay for lunch and he was incredibly offended. With another guy, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about him after our first date, but I let him pay for dinner anyway. At the end of the night, in the car, he closed his eyes and puckered his lips my way… I turned my head really fast, he landed a wet one on my cheek and I said “Good night!” while staring at the ground. The look of disappointment on his face was so obvious, I once again, wanted to run and hide. In conclusion, if I don’t let him pay, he’s offended. If I let him pay, he thinks I’m interested and when I’m not, he’s offended.  I can’t ever win.

I can’t ever win because I’m analyzing every second as much as I think he’s judging my every move.  That’s why boyfriends are few and far between and why I find amazing comfort in making new friends.  There are no expectations; I can say the stupidest things that I eventually will say, I can walk into walls and trip and fall, and I’m happy to laugh at myself with you. But I can’t do any of that in high heels and I have to remember to not mention the apathy I have for the Red Sox and the Patriots, because I really would’ve preferred to have stayed at home than chew my food through the awk-ward-ness.

My scene is hanging out with my friends, meeting new people in a relaxed environment and being completely honest from the get-go. When I’m not wearing a push-up bra, when my makeup hasn’t transformed me into a different girl, and when I don’t have to list my hobbies in bullet point format.  I recently met a guy at a show, and before I even remembered to ask his name, we had already discussed our favorite authors and our love for writing. He was holding my hand before I knew his age. I still don’t know what he does for a living; I don’t care. My biggest issue with dating is all of the packaging and marketing you have to do of yourself before any connection is made.  I prefer to look into someone’s eyes until it gets uncomfortable and listen to him laugh, before I find out if he has a car. At the end of the day, you have no idea how long any relationship will last. I have fallen in and out of love and hope to do it again at least a few more times.  If I worry more about hyping up my career and my plans for the future than how he reacts to my unfunny, badly told jokes, then I won’t have shared myself with him and I’ll probably lose a bit of myself in the process.

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