I’ve been asked time and time again why it is that I don’t date and while I have a list of reasons longer than my legs, I will dissect.
The truth of it all is that I fucking hate dating, like really fucking hate it. I hate the nerves. I hate the waiting game. I hate pretending to play it cool. I hate having to pretend that I’m not gross. I hate it all. Though I dabbled grossly in dating in my former years, I think the ageing cynic in me is truly tired. The idea of getting to know someone new and getting used to that someone only for it all to be a mere memory four months later seems like a waste, where efforts could have been placed doing things far more lucrative, like I dunno, learning an instrument or learning to strip.
Over the summer, I gave my number to all but three men and immediately regretted each and every one of those exchanges. Sure, they may have been somewhat interesting for all of five minutes, but I learned early on in life that not everyone is for you and while I didn’t really expect anything from these test subjects, I was curious to see if a conversation with someone new would reignite my interest in dating. Lol, it didn’t. In fact, I lasted all of four days before I let each one know that it absolutely wasn’t it and that it must’ve just been that I wasn’t ready. From being told that I send one too many gifs to being told that I was “too sarcastic,” I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling that if I changed even a morsel of myself, I’d be doing it for… a man? *shudders* Those three acquaintances passed faster than Chris Brown’s death in Stomp The Yard and I was quickly back to indulging myself in reruns on Netflix.
One reason I adore having male friends in part, is that you get to see things from a different perspective. Where I’m probably being entirely irrational, they’ll clue me into just why. Having had a discussion with a male friend the other day, I realised a few things. One, not being ready to date is a completely rational feeling and not at all a fear tactic, though it may come across as one, and I’ll explain why. You’re routinely told that you shouldn’t enter a partnership when you’re not yet “whole” yourself and it’s true, after all, you cannot give from an empty vessel. But also, I’ve learned from my male counterparts that many men in their 20s are incredibly fearful of anything becoming ‘something’, that they project those fears onto you and I literally cannot even. Though this is not specific to my own experiences, it’s just what I’ve come to learn from analysing the relationships of my friends; be they in the early stages, the getting to know one another stage or three years into a relationship stage. (The. Fucking. Irony.)
I’ve picked up on the fear and watched those fears manifest into ghosting, pointless paragraphs and more often than not, blocking one another on socials. What these conversations have taught me, was that while many women can be trash, men can also be incredibly clueless. If we were all upfront from the jump, there’d be a lot less of those pathetic paragraphs you only skim read because you really just canna’. I wrote many years ago in The Games We Play that an initial conversation of your intentions would likely save a lot of heartache and I still stand by this today. Case in point, I quickly clued in these three anons that it just wasn’t for me, dusted my hands of it all and went back to rewatching episodes of Ugly Betty to fill in the moments where I had “no one to text”. No fuss, no muss.
Another male friend of mine returned to the dating scene after a painstaking breakup and while my approach was very much, “no man must enter, avoid my pit of doom at all costs,” his was quite the opposite. Welcoming new women with open arms, he flirted with the ideals of dating many women at a time and more power to him because everybody heals in different ways. His lessons, however, taught him that again, actions have reactions and while they may have been pointless interactions to pass the time to him, they were slightly more meaningful to the women who weren’t mending from a recent heartbreak.
It’s difficult to unlearn the harsh lessons you’re taught through gruelling life experiences. For example, I’d have likely never understood the root of my anxiety had I not sought to find it out. And with this in mind I actively steer clear of situations I know won’t make it in the long run. While some would liken my overall upfrontness to being wildly dramatic, in my head and word to Shrek, it’s better out than in I always say. Rather than plague myself with the “will we, won’t we,” mental dialogue, I’d rather it be out there for you to choose what to do with. It’s not that I’m running afraid, it’s just that it makes more sense to say, “dude this isn’t going to work because x,” than to pretend to be okay with frolicking along with the notion that this is just “ok for now.”
Challenging myself to read again, I picked up a book my mother gifted me when I was in a pairing. No longer feeling uneasy with the idea of eventually ending up with someone, I opened it up and learned many (many) things about myself and how I love. Or rather, how I would love again in the future. I immediately grabbed a pen, underlined and little by little I began to forgive. Forgive myself for my errors, forgive someone I’d loved for his and forgive those I had even a slight interaction with over the years for wronging me. I often forget the healing power of words despite it being my coping mechanism for most things, but I stayed up until 5 am that night reading, writing and understanding.
I’m not even entirely where I’m headed with this all, but I know this to be true, nothing should be rushed before its time. If your love is meant for someone, it will be I guess. It’s okay, and this is namely a reminder for myself, to spend time working on yourself, learning new skills and becoming you, even if you are bollocked for not taking up someone on their offer to take you out to drinks. Your ‘no’ needn’t be followed up with reasons why and a simple ‘no thank you’ is just enough.
For now, I’m rather happy giving my admiration to the things that bring me joy. From re-runs of the old TV shows that I’m ready to pick apart, to picking up a new hobby, creating jazz playlists and or challenging myself to read four books before the year is up. My past will not hold a candle to this gals future.