Monday, March 8, 2010

The Dating Lesson

I guess I am dating ... It's more than a bit stressful, actually. It kind of snuck up on me, dating. Previously, I always liked to try to find a dating loophole (think Elaine in Seinfeld). The problem with dating loopholes, is they aren't actually dates. If I go out with friends to blah blah blah, or visit someone I like at blah, blah, blah, or casually lunch with so and so at work it's not really a date. So, no pressure. And no romance, and no reward, and no second date. If I don't admit they are dates, the likelihood of failure drops substantially, but so does the likelihood of success. No date, no prizes. Sure, I like you. I am pretty busy. Yes, (maybe) we can be friends. If it's not a date, then actually, I don't want to that much.

The problem with dating is that it's dating. There's a bunch of pressure to be Mr. Right, to be smart, to know how to behave, and to know what's the cool thing to do. I was at the grocery store tonight and this woman was retelling a horrible first date story, and it's brutal. The guy, that guy, didn't stand a chance, but not because of the woman, he didn't listen, basically wasn't dialed in at all, and didn't even know how to pay for dinner politely (I mean without being inadvertently insulting). He missed at every opportunity to succeed.

It's hard to be the guy though. I am supposed to know where to go, what's cool to do, and when and if I should offer to pay for everything. So I feel a little bit for that guy. But not that much. He obviously didn't catch the subtle clues, do his homework, or really appreciate his predicament. I am not sure I did any better on any of my efforts last week. I had one date -- that wasn't actually a date. I met one woman at a funeral and managed to figure out how to go to where she works and try to ... well I don't know ... get a date (I have been reduced to stalking). Another person didn't show actually, and the third, well it went better than that guy. At least I knew how to pay for everything. And to give my date some credit, she wasn't too hard on me for having absolutely no idea what I am doing.

Aside from last week, I think the last real date I went on was in 2001 ... So, maybe I am a bit rusty. I'm 51. I was married for ten years, had a couple of romances in college ... have had all of about a dozen real dates in my life, if you count the prom, so maybe I never was all that good at it. In addition to being dialed in to a substantial career, having two kids in college, being a ambitious photographer and wilderness adventurer, I am supposed to know where the great place to eat is, have reservations, and know where the good place for Margaritas, despite real indicators that my date isn't going all that well, and do it without a kayak, hiking, riding a bike, being able to eat raw fish (or use any other superpowers).

I am supposed to do all this, even though I never really cared all that much for dating. I like sex (go figure), girlfriends, love, partnership, marriage, family, and to be committed to these things. But dating, not so much. Being on the spot, hair combed, clean shirt, best behavior, funny, charming, smart, with a plan, and a back up plan. I am not sure I am up to the job. It's pretty clear that I need to sharpen up my game. After having heard the review of that guy, I am sure I am in a lot better shape than he is, my date actually might want to go out again. Imagine what he feels like.


Braedy Tritthart said...

I feel the same way about dating and I'm 23... just got out of a serious relationship and have absolutely no interest in the dating rituals that some people go through... it's just not "me". I'm more into the wilderness and adventuring as you are. Finding restaurants/bars and pretending to be this person I'm not just isn't my cup of tea!! Good luck, though!

The Old Bag said...

Who wants combed hair? There are women who want nothing better than to head out into the wilderness and have supper around the fire. And you know, the best margarita place is actually the beer cooler in the back of the truck after a great hike/kayak/ride.

She might even appreciate sculpture once she's cleaned-up.

shawnkielty said...

Bready -- I think on some level you have to put it together. And I really figure I have.

@ Jeanne -- Thank you sweetheart ... I just have to have to find that mythic woman. That wilderness savvy beer sipping goddess, river running ... sculpture lovin' babe. It's going to happen.