I hate dating.
There, I said it.
I hate dating.
The truth is that I’m not good at dating. Dating is all games and facades and illusions. It’s play. While I like to play as much as the next girl, I don’t like to play with people’s feelings. I think people’s feelings ought to be respected; to me, dating is inevitably a process of bruising people’s egos and breaking their hearts.
No, thank you. I’d rather pass.
The problem with not dating, however, is that you leave little room for love. I am firmly pro-love. I have the heart-shaped earrings to prove it. I’m wearing them right now.
After K and I broke up, I was deeply disappointed. I had high hopes for that relationship, and when it fizzled, I wasn’t really broken-hearted because the relationship ended per se. My expectations were crushed, and that broke my heart. I knew that it was going to take me a long time to recover from it. About two years, in fact. I needed that time to find myself again, to be comfortable being alone, to not feel like there was something missing. At times, I felt lonely. At other times, I felt exhilarated. I hated being alone, and I loved being alone. But most importantly, I started feeling whole again.
Once I felt whole again, I was ready to feel something other than numb. The Brazilian jolted me out of my numbness, and even though things with him didn’t get beyond a second date, I was suddenly and ravenously hungry for love and sex. In that order.
The irony about the Brazilian is that he was the catalyst for the romance that has developed between Matt and me. Matt and I were friends for over a year before the Brazilian came along, and in my lusty confusion, I turned to Matt for advice, reassurance, and empathy. He’s good for those things.
In the months that followed, our friendship deepened until that fateful October visit when we gave up all pretense of a platonic friendship. I haven’t looked back since.
Yet, there are caveats to this romance. We are not monogamous. This fact has not posed any problems for us yet. We also live very far apart. This fact has posed problems for us. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Our love has blossomed in letters, which is terribly romantic. Distance gives us both plenty of space to live our own lives, which, I imagine, makes our conversations that much more interesting. Somehow, Matt manages to be very much present in my life, even though he is rarely with me in person.
But missing him can be very painful. I miss him every day, but some days are worse than others. And there’s a certain sadness in living from visit to visit, which seems unavoidable despite the fullness of my life. Even his visits are a little bittersweet because they always end with him leaving.
My friends are mixed in their opinions about Matt. That’s okay. It’s difficult to understand a non-monogamous relationship if you aren’t living in it. My friends are not mixed, however, in their opinions about Internet-assisted dating. “Go for it!” they all say.
And so I am.
My friend Ian, doom-sayer that he is sometimes, says that dating will be very hard because I will always be comparing the new guys to Matt. He’s probably right; comparisons are hard to avoid. But I feel like this situation could work to my benefit. I’m happy now. I feel loved, I’m not stressed about my paper, springtime is approaching. I’m ready to try dating without the pressure of finding the love of my life.
Last night I set up a profile on OkCupid. It’s a free Internet dating site; it was recommended to me by friends and acquaintances. It attempts to find good matches for you in a three-step process:
1) You answer a slew of questions.
2) Give your ideal mate’s answer.
3) Rank how important your mate’s answer is to you.
I breezed through 100 questions last night and chatted for a while on OkCupid’s instant messenger with some guy in Naperville who found me through the site. I’ll admit it: it was pretty fun. This morning I found messages from three different men. Thus starts the screening process.
I’m really not interested in meeting every single guy who sends me a “Hey, what’s up?” (Naperville dude, I made an exception for you last night.) I want to be impressed. Entertain me! Tell me something interesting! My first attempt at screening will be to limit my replies to men who answer my question: What would you make me for dinner?
So far, no man has answered this question.
But that’s okay. I can afford to be patient and picky these days. I have already found love and sex, in that order. But I’m willing to give local love a chance.