Dating Don’ts: The Case For Doing Nothing
I have something I need to get off my chest. I’m experiencing pangs of guilt about writing about dating when I’m no longer doing it. I wake up some mornings and feel like I’m the Benedict Arnold of the single population. During my time at The Frisky, I have gone through pockets of non-singleness, but for the most part I have been single and proud to be so, with moments of not-proud-to be so. I’ve written about the ups and downs of that, but mostly, I accepted and embraced singlehood. I cultivated an identity around it.
As much as I griped about having to sleep on the pull-out couch every Christmas (that did genuinely suck), as much as I blamed myself for being single, as much as I kicked and screamed my way through online dating, as many times as I gave up and went on dating hiatuses, the truth is that I liked being single. I liked being free to hang out with friends, or go to hot yoga, or wake up as early as I felt like on a Sunday morning (I never sleep past 8 a.m). I liked reading my books on the subway and always being in charge of what to watch on Netflix live streaming. Season 3 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” at 7 a.m. on Saturday? WERK! I liked making unilateral decisions about everything in my life because, seriously, it’s the height of personal freedom. It’s something that everyone should experience. It’s a state of being to be savored for as long as it lasts.
While maintaining my single identity, I would date around until I met someone I liked enough to date exclusively. Then I’d date them anywhere from one to six months and for some reason or another — I wasn’t Jewish enough or his apartment wasn’t sufficiently girlproofed — things would go south. I always had an instinct when I would date these guys, that things weren’t quite right. But I didn’t believe in right right, so I trudged ahead, waiting for those inevitable moments when things would go wrong. And they always did. That was my pattern for the last eight years — since my last serious relationship.
When I started writing this column a little over a year ago, I would say that a good 90 percent of my spirit had resigned to the idea that I’d die alone with my plants. Meaning, I’d be dating until I died alone with my plants. So, I reasoned, it made perfect sense to write about the farce which was my love life. It was all ghostings and vagina killers and comically bad dumpings. I never stopped to think about what life would be like if I ran into an old friend from college on the subway and it turned into a full-blown relationship within a matter of weeks. I never considered what I would write about that. I guess I’m discovering it, butI don’t have the words yet. I think HUMBLED and AWED and INCREDULOUS are as close as I can get. But those are just words. They’re not even sentences. I have no sentences. There’s a rainbow ball that’s taken up residence in my chest and it refuses to be named.
I never would have predicted that I would be a person who fell in love quickly. I always imagined that if I ever was lucky enough to stumble upon some acceptable enough man, the long, arduous process of becoming a couple would be fraught with struggle and anxiety. I thought there would be fights and adjustments and an endless series of negotiations. I thought we’d have to make provisions for all the things we didn’t like about each other.
There’s none of that. It’s easy with him. Well, let me amend that. It’s easy with him, but not every aspect of it is easy. I carry a lot more tote bags around now, lugging my extensive collection of beauty products from my place to his is a bitch, even though he always insists on helping me carry stuff. I rarely have the appropriate shoes for the weather; my flats always seem to be at the place I’m not. And I’m behind on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” because I’ve yet to convince him to watch it. He caved on “Project Runway,” but that was bartered for two episodes of “South Park.” He likes “Game of Thrones” and I like “Mad Men.” The apex of difficulty has been negotiating what to watch or not watch on Sunday night. Because we both prefer talking to watching TV. So, we usually do that instead. Not to oversimplify — we’ve both brought our own baggage to the party because, well, we’re human. And that’s part of what we talk about on Sunday night. We call it “digging sand.” There is a lot of sand to dig in our future, but I enjoy digging with him. At some point, the digging may get arduous, but we’re not there yet.
I feel obligated to share some grandiose wisdom about going from being single for nearly a decade to not being single. Something you can do or say or somewhere you can go or some insight about how it happens. I don’t have anything to share. Maybe I will at some point once the rainbow ball decides it wants to speak. But for now, all I know for sure is that I didn’t do anything — not a thing — to bring love into my life. I just recognized it when it showed up and said hello.
[Photo of young woman from Shutterstock]