The (Un)Wonderful World of Dating

My married friends often tell me they are jealous of my singledom. The freedom and all the possibilities of firsts; first dates, first kisses, first rounds of make-up sex…the possibility that that person you may have all these firsts with could be just around the corner.
My response to my married friends? Bite me. Yeah, you heard me. BITE ME.

Sure, being single has some perks. I do what I want when I want, no one to answer to, no one to give me crap if I end up at Happy Hour with friends and completely forget to call. I can’t lie, after dating a guy that was rather controlling way back when, I truly do not take those freedoms for granted. But, I’m not so sure that those freedoms are worth the trade off of having to wade through the shark infested waters of dating.

I came from a time when dating didn’t really happen until college. In middle school and high school you simply ask someone out and commence months upon months of hand holding and grossing people out while devouring each others faces at your locker. And you know what? I did that quite well. But then, college came along. The time when you are supposed to figure out what this whole dating thing is really about, the time when you develop social skills to use on the opposite (or same) sex in a romantic way. This? I didn’t quite do well. In college I was in an on-again, off-again, all consuming, unhealthy (for me), tempestuous relationship, so I really didn’t do a whole lot of dating. During one off-again period I did date a friend of a friend. We were in the same major, shared of a love of random pop culture trivia, sarcasm, and beer, but almost immediately I put him into the friend category. Why I did this, I’ll never know. I mean, even if it wasn’t going to be a forever thing, didn’t I realize I needed dating practice?! Sigh. Hindsight and 20/20 and all that stuff. (Side bar: I’d also like to note that college is where most of my friends met their significant others. Man, I really screwed the pooch on this whole college dating thing!) Anywho, what this whole story leads me to is this: I SUCK AT DATING. I am a person who is naturally shy and awkward to begin with, so missing this whole experience has left me baffled. Are there seriously people who are GOOD at dating? Are there seriously people who ENJOY dating? If so, point me to these people, because I need tips!

I think it’s safe to say though that, in general, most people truly don’t love dating. If you are truly hoping to find that special person in your life, dating is merely a hurdle to get over in the single start line and the marriage finish line. Conversely, if you are truly not hoping to find that special person and looking more for that special for tonight someone, dating is merely a hurdle to get over in the locking eyes at a bar start line and the locking eyes in your bedroom finish line. Either way, it just seems pointless and stressful. And what’s even more stressful? Figuring out if you are “dating”. It seems like being vague is standard operating mode for most people anymore. Are we dating or are we not dating is one of the true confusions to me. Case in point…

On Friday night I am going to a wine and beer tasting shindig at the botanical gardens. I’m going with someone I’ve “hung out” with once before. Is this a date? As I’m currently convinced that no one wants to date me (post-heartbreak talk speaking here, people) I’ve determined this must be a friends-only outing. But, while chatting with my future wine tasting partner in crime about our days at work and how much they stunk, I received this text…
“Really the only thing that got me through it was the fact that I get to hang out with you on Friday.”
WHAT?!? Is this friends-only outing speak?! Why can’t people just come right out with it and say “Hey, thought we could go on a date Friday to this wine tasting…”? Throwing out that one word could kill all confusion and allow me more time to moan about how much I hate dating! And really, it only gets worse from there. What if it goes bad and the whole night is filled with awkwardness? What if it goes great and then you have to sit and think for a solid day (at least) if you should call/text/facebook him to say it was great? And even worse, what if you both think it’s great and you go out again, and then again, and then you have to have the awful and awkward “what are we doing” conversation to see where you two stand with each other? It never ends! I would guess all these super fun firsts are exactly the kind of thing my married friends were referring to… So, come on married friends, I welcome you all to come wade through the muddy dating waters, something I’m sure you’ve all blocked from your married minds by now. Tell me how fun and exciting all these possibilities are after your third unsuccessful second date in four months, because I promise you, it’s just a laugh a minute!

I can’t lie…I may or may not have canceled a date once for this very reason.

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