As a newly single girl living in Manhattan, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about everything the “rules of dating” tell us not to do. Don’t appear needy or desperate. Don’t text him first. Don’t be too available. Don’t Don’t Don’t, because let’s face it, dating is a game; one that I’m admittedly horrific at, for the record. When he says this, he really means this. When I say this, I really mean this. Be mysterious, but not weird. Expect him to pay, but still offer. Don’t talk about past relationships, but don’t make it seem like you’ve never been on a damn date before. Be interested, but not stalkerish. Include that you like to write, but don’t mention your blog because he’ll instantly know you’re a real loser.
It’s illogical to the point of exhaustion. It’s false advertising at its finest. It’s a power struggle: How many times each of you say you have other plans before finally meeting up. The number of screened calls before an answered one. How long it takes to text the other one back. It’s like some sick competition. Constantly trying to one-up one another with how well one can balance the high beam of simultaneously interested and uninterested.
My girlfriends and I talk a lot about this horribly masochistic thing called casual dating (ok, that’s a bit dramatic but you get the point). Some of my friends are more emotionally distant than most men I know, others have a new future husband every week. We compare notes on how we made jackasses out of ourselves, how we played it cool, and how great or how much of an a**hole he is. We discuss the common misconceptions and failures in perceived intentions. (No, wanting you to text me back in an appropriate length of time does not equate to me wanting to introduce you to my mother, moron). No, just because I’m single doesn’t mean I’m perpetually on the hunt for my next relationship. Me saying “You’re really funny,” isn’t code for “I have a Lisa Frank notebook at home with your name written in hearts in twenty different fonts.”
Why is it so difficult for people to say to one another “I think you’re really cool, and I’d like to spend time with you again,” and that be it. Nothing more, nothing less. And how much easier would that be? Because then you’ll cut to the chase and hang out sooner and save yourself both some time by seeing if they actually do suck. Instead, this ridiculous “it takes forever to go on a few dates because we can’t be overly eager” dance continues, that’s about as sexy as Nancy Grace’s cha-cha on Dancing With The Stars.
Now I’ll admit- it’s starting to get to me. Not in the “I’m throwing in the towel and joining a convent” sense, but I’m just finding myself increasingly discouraged by the lack of openness that we’re expected to exhibit toward one another. I think that it’s especially difficult for me because I’m transparent by nature, as much as I try to be guarded, I’m an open book. I can be dramatic, stubborn, insecure and a whole cocktail of less than flattering attributes, but dishonest I’m not, kids (Insert cliche Marilyn Monroe/Sex and the City quote here).
So I’m going to try to be a little less schemy and manipulative for a bit and see where that gets me, probably the fast-track towards my next blog post entitled “True Life: I’m Apparently That Overbearing and Crazy Girl.” No big deal.