About a month ago, I announced my plunge into the world of dating. It’s been a busy month! True to form, there have been a series of rejections, but I also exchanged messages with a handful of men. I even met two of them in the flesh and happily enough, their on-line personas were consistent with the live versions. I’m thinking this on-line dating thing might turn out to be quite the clever move on my part.
I’ll admit it: I’m a tricky one to date. At least, it’s tricky trying to date me at the start. My friend Shawn Marie calls me a heartbreaker. Really? That seems a bit harsh. But maybe she’s right. I have all these ideas about how a guy ought to go about trying to date me. Try hard, but don’t try too hard. Be bold, but don’t be an ass. You can touch me, but don’t be too invasive about it at first. Be honest with me, but impress me. Be confident but not arrogant. Be smart but not snooty.
My goodness. I’m not sure I’d want to date me with all these instructions! Maybe I AM too picky!
The thing is, I’m not likely to change my ways any time soon. I don’t need a man. I like men, but I know I can care of myself. I also have these hermit-like tendencies that compel me to spend time by myself, away from others. I really need that time alone, and perhaps because I like being by myself, it’s too easy for me to dismiss perfectly nice men who want to date me.
But I had a wonderful first date on Saturday with Naperville Dude, who I so unceremoniously introduced weeks ago. Naperville Dude, who we shall now call Joe, is kind, smart, easy-going, and very, very funny. He had me doubled-over in laughter at one point, and it was in that moment, driving up to Evanston along Lake Shore Drive, that I realized I definitely want to see him again. Because a guy who can make me laugh that hard while driving and not crash the car is a keeper.
I didn’t mean to tell Joe about Matt so soon. I had been feeling uneasy about the situation for weeks. Before I began flirting with polyamory, it was essential for me to know that Matt is not monogamous. Joe and I hardly know each other, so I thought maybe I could get to know him first before sharing the details with him. But over hot chocolate at Starbucks, the conversation meandered in just the right direction for me to explain my dating goals. And now that he knows, I feel relieved. I have nothing to hide, and while I never tried to hide the truth, I also know that most people do not see polyamory as a desirable lifestyle choice. I know, because I was once one of those people. But I can’t pretend to be something I’m not, and the last thing I want to do is risk what could be a lovely relationship by hiding something that is, to me, a wonderful friendship that has made me extraordinarily happy in the most ordinary of ways.
To his credit, if Joe was shaken by this revelation, he concealed it well. I mean, he didn’t end the date on the spot. I feared he might not be entirely comfortable with polyamory, and my fears were confirmed, but Joe’s voice lacked the conviction that I would expect from one who is adamant about monogamy. I suspect that real-life polyamory is a foreign concept to him, that he has never enountered one like me. I have no idea what he will decide is best for himself. I only hope he is able to make that decision without too much heartache.
I am aware that in choosing Matt, I am choosing not to be with some really great men, men who believe firmly in the power of monogamy. Perhaps I am seduced by the happiness that Matt exudes, the balance of contentment and excitement that he has found in life. Heaven knows I am seduced by Matt the man, this person whose hug makes me melt with joy, whose presence I carry around with me in my heart during all the time we are apart. I don’t choose to love him. I just love him.
Do I want too much? I think not. I want the simplest of things: love and friendship. I just happen to want them from two men, one of whom has proven himself dedicated to my happiness. As for the other man…well, I’m waiting breathlessly for him to reveal himself. Perhaps we have already met.