Tuesday, September 29, 2009
So on Sunday after Mo’s race, I gave one of her friends a ride home. In the car we were discussing living in New York, both of us originally from somewhere else. She said she’s been living in New York for 2 years now - moved here from PG County Maryland - and in that 2 years, has never been on a date in NYC. I was stunned by that.
She’s a pretty girl - I make her out to be about 27 years old if I had to guess – smart, friendly disposition. I found it hard to believe she hadn’t been on a date in 2 years. She says, “It’s not like I haven’t been asked, I just didn’t want to go out with them.” I asked her to describe who “them” was. She said, “You know, the Fedex guy, the mailroom guy. I want to date a man who wears a suit everyday.”
I automatically thought about the “French Fry Factor” blog. Poor girl…denying herself a date simply because the men who asked her out didn’t wear a suit and tie to work. I guess I never viewed dating that way in my 20’s. I dated all over the place, whenever I could. Ironically, I spent most of my 20’s in monogamous relationships that lasted a couple years at a time; so I never dated around as much as I do now. I haven’t had a serious boyfriend since I moved to NY, which has been 6 years now and counting. I go on dates here and there, weather personal revelation fatigue from the “getting to know you” phase of conversations, and I rely on pep talks from my other single girlfriends to keep me going.
Now that I’m in my 30’s, dating just to date doesn’t seem like a good idea, but I do it anyway…if for no other reason than to get out of the house and enjoy a man’s company every once in a while. I love my girls, but sometimes you just want to spend an evening talking to a man. I’m not saying kiss a few frogs, as I learned that kissing the wrong guy can set in motion a sort of unwitting hormonal bonding stronger than rational thinking. But going out doesn’t require that you have to find Mr. Right, it just means you can spend a “chemical free-think clearly-getting to know him first” night just having fun.
Women tend to romanticize everything…and sometimes I can be no exception. We think dating means tumbling into bed, then falling in love, then getting married – which is not always how it works…or how it SHOULD work. But dating can give you enough experiences with Mr. Wrong to help you understand what it is that you DO want when Mr. Right finally shows his beautiful face.
We’re all looking for that person who can see our BEST self despite all of our imperfections. But in order to know who our best self is, we have to learn it first, and sometimes that means exposing ourselves to others so that we can understand what it is we truly want and need. We won’t learn who we are by being pent up in the house, and a couple years of loneliness can make us become unglued at a moment’s notice if we’re not careful. That first date after a 2 year hiatus can wreak havoc on you mentally and emotionally, so if nothing else, you should date all types of men just to get some practice. If a date turns out to be a disaster, so what? You’ll meet someone else tomorrow. For every Saturday night that you spend alone or with girlfriends, there are several potential dates out there somewhere waiting to be had with a guy who just might throw you for a loop and knock your socks off.
To me, your 20’s are for figuring it all out. In my 20’s, I’d go on dates with guys I didn’t really think I’d like, only to be pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I didn’t feel like being bothered, and I’d lie and say I had a man or that I was moving to Africa so they’d leave me alone. Who knows what I missed out on? Now that I’m in my mid 30’s with no man in sight, I feel confident in accepting dates and getting to know people, if for no other reason that to possibly make a new friend.
Dating doesn’t always have to lead to something. Think of it as doing your homework. When Mr. Right finally does come along, think of how much he’ll appreciate all the hard work you did in finding him - cuz after all, you won’t find him sitting at home. The parade of men who will have preceded him will help you to know yourself better. The Mr. Wrongs will teach you when to speak up, when to stay quiet and listen when you need to, to pay attention to what you want in a relationship, and what you don’t want. They will undoubtedly teach you how to appreciate the man who, in the end, will be the one to capture your heart. And he just may be the Fedex guy.