While waiting for our food to arrive on a date a few weeks back, the girl I was with asked me, “What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?”
Ordinarily I would look at this as a trap, based on the number of faux pas that come with it: 1. Never talk about exes or other women on dates. 2. Don’t bash past women on dates. 3. Never reveal too much detail about anything from your past if you must address it.
She’s the kind of girl that will tease me for liking Twisted Tea, so I felt confident to answer honestly without facing any repercussions from her. I started thinking… and thinking some more… and some more… until I realized that I couldn’t find one that really stood out. I easily knew my best, but couldn’t label the worst.
In the middle of stumping myself, my date drew what seemed to be an obvious observation: “Wow, you date a lot.”
Over the last two years, I’ve made it a point to get out there more in the dating world. I never read much into going out with someone, it not working out, and that being the end of it, but I also never thought about what perception that would give off to the outside world — namely, future dates.
(Editor’s note: For those reading my work for the first time, I’m a strong advocate for doing things on your terms and not what society expects of you.)
She wasn’t a big dater. I could see why my dating experience might spook her, so I tried explaining it the best I could: I date because I know that I want to find someone, and the reason that I’ve gone on so many dates with different women is because there was something about each situation (either on her end or mine) that led to it not working out.
It’s not about being a playboy, or anything of that nature; I like to think of it more as a process of elimination.
If I know after the first date that I don’t see anything (or want anything) with her, there won’t be a second date. If there’s potential, I’ll ask her out again. If I’m really into her, I’ll make her a priority. I like to think that this is a similar thought process for other people, but I can easily see that not being the case.
Everyone around me always talks about “keeping options open” in dating as an insurance policy, but I think that logic is irrelevant when you have someone that you’re genuinely interested in.
I believe in investing in people — time, effort, care, and so much more — and I expect the same from them. If you don’t think I’m worth any of the aforementioned, I don’t want to be a part of your life.
I’m not the fourth-string option you call for dinner when your date falls through; I have too much self-respect for that. If you really want to see me, make plans with me that include more than an hour’s notice.
I’m all for a spontaneous date, but if the only time I hear from you is at the last minute, then I have to assume you’re talking to other people — people you obviously see as more of a priority than myself.
I also believe that we should listen to our hearts, not our minds. Our minds may have the most logical answers, but our hearts will always tell us what we want. When it comes to love, logic should go out the window.
Whether we openly admit it (or realize it), we rank the “options” in our life. If you don’t think that’s true, consider this: Who is the first person you’re going to make plans with? If they fall through, who is next? And so on, and so forth. That’s your list. It’s not a bad thing, it’s reality.
Everyone can’t be No. 1 on the call sheet, but you can choose to take your name off the list when you realize you’re not a priority in someone else’s life.
I date around because I feel that, even if it doesn’t work out, I’m learning more about myself through each date — what attracts me on a physical level, on an emotional level, the kind of dialogue I want to have with a partner, how much of myself can I truly be around them, etc.
But when I find someone that stands out from the crowd, I don’t like the thought of keeping her as just another option. I’ll address my interest at some point. Frankly, I would want the same from her.
Why let someone you’re into or care about wonder what they mean to you? Why restrain yourself from something that you want because of nothing more than the fear of being vulnerable? None of it makes sense to me, and it never did.
The days of our childhood and adolescence are well behind us. We’re adults now, dammit, and it’s time we started acting like it.