It has been about 16 months since I went on a proper date. You read that right. Just shy of a year and a half ago I went on my last date to...er...date. Sure, this could be the start of a heartwarming love story about how I fell in love with that boy, we spent the rest of our days playing games, watching the ocean ebb and flow and talking about intellectual mumbo-jumbo, but that'd be a lie. Why I haven't been on a date since isn't really the topic at hand here...yet. So let's talk about dating.
First, what constitutes a "proper date" as mentioned before? Through a number of sources I have crafted and solidified what I consider a date: A pre-planned outing of two people with the intent of exploring a possible relationship between the two or, if one already exists, nurtures and furthers the existing relationship. Yes, this may be a slightly antiquated definition of a date, but it is a definition I can handle. Friends do not go out on dates. Friends have dinner plans. There are certain parameters to a date that can further formalize or in-formalize it. Examples include, but are not limited to, being picked up at your door verses meeting at a restaurant, dressing up or dressing down, opening doors or not and who pays. While all of these things can enhance the date, none of them alone would make a friendly outing become a date. Chivalry does not equal a date, though the two are not mutually exclusive.
Since December, 2011, I have been out to dinner with many a friend. Many of those friends are male. Many of those friends picked me up, paid for dinner and kept me happy and entertained for an hour or two. These do not count as dates because there was no purposeful exploration of a relationship coming from the outing. The purpose was either to catch up or to have dinner and not be solo.
I've also been out to a pre-planned, paid for dinner for which I was picked up at my home. I have done this with a person with whom I was involved. This situation is still not a date unless there is an emotional relationship to grow or explore. If there is not, and you were just "friends with benefits" or something along those lines...no date.
Now that we've defined the breadth of a date, I suppose the next step would be to find someone with whom to go on a proper date. Where does one meet people? In high school or college it was easy: you were all cattle prodded into a room or building and forced to interact with one another. Once you're an adult, it gets a little muddier. Those of you who know anything about my life before reading this blog may know I play kickball, go to kickboxing and, as of last week, do hot yoga. Surely I'd meet someone at one of those places who'd like to take me out on a date...right? Wrong. At least not since December 2011.
Many people meet at a bar. Hell, that's where I met one of my ex-boyfriends. Actually, two. However, in my feeble attempt to save money and my dignity, I've drastically cut down on my drinking (especially at bars) and if you've never been the sober person in a bar of people having drunk conversations it's MUCH less fun than you might have guessed. Therefore, my time spent at my local watering hole is so minimal that no eligible bachelor would notice me, let alone stop by to say hello. I also do not intend to go to a bar with the express purpose of meeting someone. That's not reason enough for me to drink and spend unnecessary money.
A rousing amount of people meet via internet dating. I do not knock this practice. At this point in life the stigma is basically gone and it's become common scuttlebutt to have met your significant other on the interwebs. Editors note: I successfully used the word "scuttlebutt" and the phrase "significant other" in a blog. I'm no longer 27; apparently I am an 85 year old retired marine." I did try out the online dating a few years back. My experiences were hardly average, much less positive. I ventured to three dating sites. I won't say which three, but one rhymes with a slang term for a woman's reproductive organ, one was free and one was marketed to members of the tribe. All three provided seemingly nice enough males with interests similar to mine. I went on plenty of first dates and came out on the other side with three categories of guys: (1) those who just wanted to bang it out, (2) those who were dumb to the point of conversation blocking and (3) those who seemed nice, but a little boring and never called or texted again.
Less commonly spoken of, but probably just as commonly practiced is the act of being set up on a date. This can be blind or more along the lines of a group introduction, but either way it is your friends, family or coworkers way of connecting you to someone they think is a good match on some (or ideally, many) levels. Often times this is more common in families or circles where there is emphasis on getting married and procreating, but the practice also exists in the more mainstream of society. I, personally, have never been set up on a date. I could speculate as to why, but all I know is that no one has sat me down and told me they have someone that I just HAVE to meet. Not even my Jewish chiropractor in Boca, and everyone knows how Boca Jews (or really Jews in general) have a tendency to want you to meet their nice Jewish nephew.
So why? Why haven't I been on a date in over a year? I'm not an ogre. I don't smell. I don't have dandruff-y hair. I don't burp or fart in front of people (except for family...then it's just funny.) I am not a demanding person. I am only moderately superficial. I come from a good stable family full of values and morals. I am medium height. I have great hair. I have boobs. I have a butt. I have a good grasp on grammar. I am not fat (I'm not skinny, but I am not fat). I am not emotional. I am confident. I am approachable. I am a great cook. I am smart (to whatever level doesn't make you uncomfortable and makes me sound confident - not cocky.) I am witty. I have a good sense of humor. I am a great time. I am adventurous. Yet, I am perpetually single and dateless. Being dateless can do a lot to a girl, even one as awesome as I claim to be. It can make a girl sheepishly spend her time with people who are entirely wrong for her just to keep from being alone. It can make a girl question herself and try to come up with reasons why no one has asked her on a date. It can make her look inside herself when the answer may or may not be in there.
Wouldn't the next step be to change something? You know, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten... or some other proverb I could apply to this topic. Maybe try a new hobby (one that involves more males 3-10 years older than myself) or go to a bar, or at the very least, tell my friends to set me up. The thing is, what if that doesn't work? What if I do all of these things that I may not be interested in doing just to find out nothing happened. I didn't go out on any dates, I didn't meet anyone of interest and I, ultimately, changed something about my life purposelessly. More over, why? I'm not lonely. I do not sit at home and worry about my single life (contrary to how I'm SURE this blog portrays). I do not long for a relationship. I am no less happy being single than I am in a happy relationship. I mean, who doesn't love a free meal with interesting conversation and fun, but I don't need to go on a date for that.
That's the thing about all of this. I'm alone; I'm dateless (which I've about pounded into your skull at this point); however, I'm absolutely not lonely. I'm definitely jealous of all the set-ups my non-catfishing friend goes on, though she claims the grass ain't always greener... I'm absolutely envious of some of the couples I know and one day wish to have a quarter of what some of them have... But let me be clear, I'm not sad or lonely... I'm just in a different place. A solo place. A place where I have time to think and blog this extremely rational version of a conversation that would evoke many emotions in most people. I call this place my life -- the life I know.
So...um...are you free Saturday night?