Hating the Dating

For a while there it seems like we were getting a lot of stories about dating. It’s been like a wave and most of them seem to be horror stories of some kind. You are all reinforcing the notion that I have had for some time now that if ever I were to become single again, either through divorce or unfortunate accident, that I would happily embrace the single life.

First off, I’ve been out of the dating scene for over 40 years, and it now seems like the use of on-line services is a must. So that means I’d have to create a profile right? Something with just enough honesty, but emphasizing my good points and minimizing the bad ones. I tried unsuccessfully to get on a site and look at what the elements of a profile were, but I’m guessing it would go something like this.

Interests: To start with I’m interested in all things outdoors, such as rock-climbing, running marathons, backpacking, surfing and BASE jumping. I’m interested in all of these things and think anyone who can do them would be a real blast to hang out with. I just can’t physically do any of these things any more. So my actual interests run toward napping, reading, movies, concerts, music of all kinds, napping, gardening, small backyard projects, napping, beer, eating out and travel. Did I mention napping?

Personal qualities: I am patient, except for when I am not. I have a good sense of humor—or at least I think I am funny. I am suspicious of spontaneity, generally expecting some kind of disastrous outcome. I love being around free-spirited people, I am just not one of you. I am filled both with a sense of adventure and a sense of impending doom. I am often confused.

See, I can feel the left-swiping starting already.

I’ve mentioned that I don’t show or share emotions easily because, as vulnerable as I can be in my writing, I’m afraid of them in real life. I have this unfortunate habit of developing a crush on nearly any attractive woman who is nice to me. It’s not anything I act on (in most cases) but the fact that those unruly emotions can burst so easily from me scares me, and to begin dating full of hope and expectation just to be crushed by rejection eventually leads me to feel that being alone would not be so bad.

And not getting rejected could possibly be worse! All of the uncertainty, complexity and commitment? I’ve been trying to make that work, more or less successfully, for all these years, but would I really want to start it all over?

A plan is already beginning to form in my mind just in case. In one scenario, I see myself getting rid of the house, downsizing to a small apartment in an area full of bars and restaurants, getting a much larger television than I could possibly need, and maybe a cat–really independent cat who hangs out in the apartment just so I won’t feel like I’m always talking to myself.

In scenario 2, one of those attractive women who is nice to me casually mentions that she is looking for a roommate, preferably male, and I end up with a companionable person, without commitment or expectation, who is pleasant to look at and nice to talk to. Sort of a replacement for the cat in scenario one.

My very best wishes to all of you who are out there doing the dating thing. I admire you and hope that you will soon stumble across a really nice, hopefully sane person who shares your interests and personal qualities, or at least is willing to tolerate most of them.

 

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High School All Over Again

Maybe because I lived more than half of my life in a high school environment, it occurred to me that this daily writing group is starting to feel like a high school party, like the high school party that I would never have been invited to back in the day because I wasn’t cool enough.

But this time I was cool enough to get invited because a friend of mine was looking out for me and thought (I think) that I might have a good time doing this. But after getting the invitation, I sulked around for a bit worrying about fitting in, trying to decide if I really wanted to go to this party, trying to talk myself out of it even though I knew I desperately wanted to go and hang out with the cool kids.

So, finally I decided to go, and after reading a few pieces realized that these really were the cool kids. There were some great writers—some were so funny, others so real and honest, some so creative. Man, how was I going to fit in?

Because I could see right away that the cliques had already begun to form. Some people were always “liking” each other and “commenting “ to each other, all the time, and right in front of everyone else! And for some reason there were mostly women at the party, and everyone seemed to be talking about yoga.  It made me want to curl up into Child’s Pose and try to hide.

But, god, I was there–I had to at least try. So, I pushed out of few observations and tried to be social, reading some other people’s work and “liking” the ones I liked and making a comment here and there. And before I knew it, I started to get some responses. People were reading my work, and some people seemed to stop by and “like” me all the time, so I started to read their stuff and “like” them back. Sometimes we even began having little conversations. I was making friends! I was so proud of myself.

I mean, there are lulls in the party at times. Suddenly, no one seems to “like” me and believe me, I am checking ALL of the time. That’s right. I’ll admit it. I live for the “likes.” I mean how can a piece be “seen” by 35 people and only liked by 8? Were the other 27 people just stopping by because they felt sorry for me, sitting alone in the corner there for a while? That’s when the insecurity creeps in, just like when I’m roaming around at the party and suddenly I don’t have anyone to talk to.

Just when I’m ready to bolt and slip out the door, hoping nobody notices, Kirk drops by and “likes” a couple of my recent pieces. Oh, man. Kirk, who’s like the captain of the football team walks by me and says, “S, up, dude?” on his way to the back to grab a beer. He calls me “dude” because he doesn’t actually know my name, which is perfectly OK right now because the big dawg noticed me. I mean it’s his party after all, and one of the cool girls invited me, and maybe, maybe, I’ll just hang out a little longer and see what happens.