Sartre was wrong, helI is dating.
Finding someone you want to see more than once. Someone you don’t want to club with a mallet. Someone who does not offend you and your sensibilities. Someone you enjoy, in every way. It seems like a Sisiphyian task.
And yet I persist.
I’m often left wondering why one would (why I would) bother to try to date anymore. It’s because under my sarcastic, cynical exterior, I am a hopeless romantic. Please don’t tell anyone. If this gets out it will ruin my reputation.
The hopeless romantic in me thinks, no matter how much it hurts, after I lick my wounds, band-aid my heart, that I want to find someone to love and who loves me back. It also wouldn’t hurt to have intelligent conversation and hot sex but I try not to be greedy.
I think I was spoiled with boyfriends in my past. Romantic gestures abounded in my younger years: mix tapes (I would kill to have someone make me a “mixed tape” today), candles, personalised poems (written by an engineer no less), paper hearts floating over my dorm room bed, dancing on the island at Queen & University, etc…Most of the things I loved the most didn’t cost much but had meaning and thought behind them.
Today when you date, you probably met online. Scrutinized all the information the other person put out there and tried to evaluate if that person was worth getting dressed up for. I don’t date a lot, if you knew what was out there you’d understand so when you see someone who doesn’t immediately take themselves out of the running by having something revolting/bro-like/douchey in their profile, you seize the opportunity.
That’s what I did a few weeks ago when I messaged DJ. According to the OKCupid robot we were/are a 98% match. I’d never seen that with anyone so I felt compelled to say so. Messages were exchanged and not long after I gave him my phone number and jokingly said, “Don’t make me regret this” (ok so there was some truth in that statement too). The texting was fast a furious, then talking, and then wanting to meet. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that the day of I was sort of ambivalent about meeting – just pre-date blahs. I went and had an incredible time. It felt comfortable. We chatted, shared tapas, laughed, drank; it seemed so easy for once. I felt relief. During our post dinner stroll he reached out and grabbed my hand. I don’t remember the last time on a first date that someone held my hand but I went with it. We stopped on the corner to decide which of the pubs around we were going to next and he used my hand to pull me closer and he kissed me. Not unwelcome but certainly unexpected in the best way. So we spent a few more hours on a patio with an epic storm, literally, raging around that area of downtown – clouds and thunder and lightning – it was unbelievable.
In dating, I tend to follow the lead of the person I’m with when it comes to displaying affection and voicing interest – in part because I’ve been burned and in part because it’s a good indication of where the other person’s head is at. Don’t confuse that with me withholding from the other person, I am very heart on my sleeve much to my detriment. DJ seemed to be interested, into me, affectionate, snuggly, etc. so I responded in kind. For me, I think it’s easier for me to open up if the person I’m with is open to me. It seems like a safe bet, right?
You know when you first start seeing someone you like and you want to talk to them constantly, and see them, and be close to them, and smoosh yourself into them? Yeah, it was all of that quite quickly. We made lists of things we wanted to do together, places we wanted to go. We talked about our past relationships, hurts, our present, and tentatively, the foreseeable future (a week at a time – not forever).
It was fun. It was light. I didn’t think we were being overly serious. No, I wasn’t seeing anyone else, neither was he but I also wasn’t demanding a life time commitment after a month.
Tuesday night “I need to talk to you”. I felt the knot in my stomach instantly and I knew it was over. He went on to explain how there was “no spark” he kept thinking someone better was out there, etc… (Who words it that way? When I followed up the next day I told him that was a shitty way to end things – lie a little, word it different, I don’t know what).
I am not heartbroken. A little disappointed. A little hurt but I wasn’t in love, I was smitten. The hopeless romantic in me was taken by the simple gestures of affection and caring he’d shown me. So now I wonder if these gestures had real meaning or was he going through the motions to get what he wanted? (Post break-up analysis is horrible).
So I want to lay out some tips I have for not manipulating people’s (my) emotions in dating. Stay tuned.