The Dating Game (aka. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here)

There are a lot of exciting things happening right now. New job (C’mon, next Monday!!!), the possibility of moving, the new (and final!) Hobbit movie. I finally get a Christmas where I won’t be planning parties or stressed out and not sleeping. The weather is blissful – yes, I know, unpopular opinion but I love the snow and cold. Life is good, and I am so happy to be moving in a positive direction, rather than the usual round and round.

But. I have to say the one thing that I’ve been thinking about for the last 24 hours. What in the actual truck is up with dating?

I know, I know. Like my brother recently stated to me – “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Touché, bro. I am also not the sort of woman who defines her life in the having of a man. I don’t need a man to complete me, my happiness does not hinge on having a boyfriend – the older I get, the more completely aware I am of the self-sufficient lady I have become. Sticky jars? I have a pile of tricks to use, right down to the good old elastic on the lid after the slamming of the bottom of the jar. Light bulb out? No worries – I have a headlight we can use. I can unplunge the toilet, move my winter and summer tires around, and then bake a cake after bringing home the bacon. I got this. I have no functional need for a man, I’m content and more than able to take care of business.

Let’s be honest, though. It’s nice to have a partner in crime. When I turned 25, my thoughts started drifting towards marriage. I was of the school that when I met him, I’d know. Enter JM (UGH. I KNOW.), who was pretty much on the same page (or so I thought). I pretty much thought of him as my soulmate, my One, my Darcy. And we all know how that ended up (And will forever end up, because I won’t allow a coward back into my life). So, with that ending, I fell into the dating game. I started joking – I’m going to find a Leonard, in reference to Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, a fictional character from The Big Bang Theory. Handsome, geeky, brilliant, kind – I joked that I was going to wait for my own version of Leonard. So, dating – not for a very long time, though, because I met SK and we settled into a relationship of sorts that was on and off for a while. Again, better off when that lil relationship ended – no one needs a manipulator in their life.

But, now I’m dating again. Trying to date again. Far less a comedy of errors this time around, I’m taking it seriously… And then, all of a sudden, my version of Leonard comes into the picture. And I’m dead serious – brilliant with degrees in physics and math, co-founder of a successful tech business, finishing his masters in international business, recording artist, well dressed, handsome, amazing hands, and willing to debate the Walking Dead and doesn’t talk through the trailers of the movies. We won’t get into the accent or the kissing ability, or the scary matchy belief in the same kind of God who loves good music, or the mutual dedication to A Course in Miracles. Or the love of travelling.

Are you kidding me, universe? Our first date took place by candlelight – so needless to say, after months (…years) of joking and hoping for a Leonard, I’m crushing a little bit on this version of Leonard. Our dates were stimulating, the first kiss blew my socks off, and I had a crush. I hadn’t had butterflies since I met JM. Leonard gave me mad butterflies. Every. Single. Date.

So, when we get to date 5, and we are hanging out at the other’s houses, and watching movies… things are getting a bit more intense. So I, following the lessons I’ve learned after 2 years in the dating pool, ask what Leonard’s goals are. I know what my end goal with dating is – namely, I don’t want to date forever. So I lay my cards down – I like the guy, I am not pushing for a commitment (because this kitten needs WAY MORE TIME before she can commit to anything), but I want to know what he’s after. I get a beautiful, articulate answer – that doesn’t answer anything. When I reframe the question, and ask again (what’s with the vague, Leonard?)…. Same beautiful, flowery language, no answer. I tell him that I like him, lay out my goals, ask again….. Nada.

Date 5 ends, he leaves, N is left with massive confusion. What the hell, Leonard? Then Leonard goes missing. More or less for a week – given both of us having a busy schedule, we can’t find a time to meet. So he calls. Thank God. Because I have the world’s worst poker face, and wouldn’t have been able to hide my confusion when he said:

“I like you, but when we were talking the other night, we were talking about crazy dating stories. I met someone else (N’s note – we are both dating other people. Full disclaimer, we both knew about it), and she got super attached after we got intimate. So I got scared, I’m not dating anymore, but I’d like to see you when I get home from Australia in January. Will you stay single until then?”

So I dig for a little more clarity – did I freak him out? No, he likes me. Is he expecting me to remain single while he’s away, to wait for him? Yes, because I like him. Are we playing a game? I flat out asked – and I get back “do you think I’m playing a game?”

Well, Leonard, I really don’t know. Why don’t you give me a straight answer and then I’ll judge?

As a woman who doesn’t need a guy, and who is looking at this like a “nice to have” over a “need to have”…. I hate dating. I hate feeling like I’m being judged, I hate preening to date, I hate feeling like I have a crush only to have the rug pulled out from under my feet, I hate that I’m awkward, I even hate the godawful dates that make great stories later (“Oh, you hate freckles enough that you think women who have them should be flayed? Why are you on a date with freckly, Irish me, again?”). The level of abhorrence I have toward dating cannot be overstated. I hate dating. To echo Sex and the City – “I’ve been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?”

In the meantime, while I wait for Mr. Darcy – I’m focusing on the career. The new job! The aim of a house and travelling and living alone. Because I literally cannot handle any more games from men right now. I have so many good things happening to me, and that is my focus – I think I just needed to write down my confusion, because holy schmoo. I’m so confused!

a woman