The first time a boy showed interest in me, I was 3 or 4 years old. Michael came into nursery school one day and handed me a purple plastic butterfly ring “It’s for you.”
I tried it on, and gave it back. “It’s too big, I don’t want it.”
And you know what, I don’t remember Michael crying or pouting. I don’t remember telling all my friends what a clown Michael is. He was like cool, I’ma go about my business, and I was like same, and then we went back to doing the Hokey Pokey or whatever kids in nursery school do. Do kids know how to approach relationships better than adults?
Dating. Add this to the list of things that make me feel like I’m missing something. Not missing in the sense of “longing for,” but missing in the sense of unaware. So what am I missing?
I get it, rejection sucks, I know first hand. Picture this: it was 1996 and I was in 6th grade. Our desks were in that 4-desk square setup where we all faced each other. And there was Dan Mertzig, sitting across from me. The perfect 90s kid, he was tan with a bowl cut, skateboarder (or at least he looked like he was in to skateboarding), and a chipped tooth that I found so freaking adorable. I crushed on this kid hard. And finally, I did it.
I took a deep breath and started…”Hey Dan, would you want to go…”
“No,” he answered the question before I even got the whole thing out.
Like OK damn Dan, you could’ve chewed on it for a second, but I respected how upfront he was. And obviously it had no effect on me whatsoever because it’s not like I’m still telling people that story 22 years later. (Dan, if you’re reading this…you ruined my life).
Do I remember that story? Of course I do. Not just because I’m like why in the hell would I ask out the kid I have to sit across from for an entire school year (which in kid years feels like an f-ing eternity), but because absolutely nothing changed in my life. We just kept on going about our business, just like Michael and I did in nursery school. If the person you ask out says no, does anything in your life change? Not at all. Chances are you asked out a stranger, they didn’t even really turn you down…they just turned down your face, and your body, and their perception of you. Wait, that didn’t help, did it? My point was supposed to be like it’s nothing personal.
Except people seem to operate with two conflicting thought processes. The first being the non-committal, dipping your toe in the water, beat around the bush mindset. The “if I don’t really put it out there, it’s not rejection!” revelation. The too cool to care vibe. Every sentence ends with an “LOL” or some other “I’m just here testing the waters” verbiage. “Hey how about that date lol.” Why are you laughing?! Is it nervous laughter? Because that’s uncomfortable to text out. Stop making me guess, just go with “I’m interested in getting to know you more. Dinner on Saturday?” Too upfront? Because as casual as people play it, it’s the “could be” that makes people nervous, building up an entire relationship in their head. The ideal relationship, which most likely doesn’t have anything to do with the person they’re currently considering. We’re talking goals and dreams, and we just need to insert a person in there. Which is why “no” hurts. It puts us further from the fantasy.
I’m not on Tinder, Match, or any other dating app. As much as I like people, I like myself, too. I like reading books, hiking, going to the movies, exploring, listening to music, writing, recording, exercising. These are all things that I enjoy doing by myself. So as a homebody, how do you meet people? I always thought Alessia Cara was an asshole in her song “Here.” I dig the track, but why go out when you really don’t want to and then hate on everyone else because they’re having a good time? I don’t have FOMO so I kick it by myself and do what makes me happy, what challenges me, and what inspires me. But of course Target is more fun with someone else. Maybe I should create a Tinder for Target app.
We’ll set aside my views on relationships and if “forever” is a reasonable expectation for now. Let’s talk about how relationships start. For some reason, romantic relationships are treated so much differently than platonic relationships. There are rules to this! Don’t text back too fast or too slow or don’t reach out first, because it all means something. I just saw on a listener’s Snapchat “I forgot to tell her she has 24 hours to contact me. I do not chase women.” What? These are rules that apply to no one except a potential SO. All it means to me is this is exhausting.
A few months ago, a guy asked me out, it would’ve been our first date and our first time meeting one another. He had an extra ticket to a box suite at a baseball game where his parents would also be. I happened to be in a co-worker’s office and I told her and she said “Nah, that’s weird you can’t do that. Parents on the first date?!” Later, I found myself thinking about it, why is that weird? If it was just a friend and they asked me to hang out with them for the first time with their parents at a baseball game, I would’ve said hell yes. Why do we treat potential partners so different from friends?
I shouldn’t say us or we. I’m just here biding my time until Aaron Rodgers reads my Twitter, sees what a cool person I am, falls in love, and DMs me “You’ve been the one this whole time.” And I’ll be like “I know, my bags are already packed, I’ve been waiting.” THAT’S CREEPY, RIGHT? Tell me you never thought that about the man/woman you once passed at a farmer’s market who for some reason caught your eye. You’re a liar.
What’s your dating experience been like? What are your rules for dating? What is your outlook on dating at this time in your life?
Also, fun fact that has nothing to do with anything, I wrote this entire thing while listening to DMX “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.”