I am so, so done with dating. In the words of Miranda Hobbs, “I’d rather be home alone than out with some guy who sells socks on the Internet.” I cannot sit across the table from another guy as he recounts word for word, some NPR podcast he listened to, or his PhD dissertation, while I wonder when the date will be over, if I can still get away with ordering dessert, and most importantly, if there’s something here that I can turn into an article. Thus, for the 40 days of Lent, I’ll be giving up dating.
Of course, as one friend pointed out to me, “That’s not how Lent works. Aren’t you supposed to be giving up something you like, not something you hate and never want to do again?” This was a solid point. I pointed out that I don’t hate guys, in fact “I love guys. I would really like to find one of them to spend the rest of my life with some day,” so I’m not just giving up dating. I’m giving up guys and all behaviors associated with them – there will be no flirting, no exchanging of numbers, no Google-stalking of exes, no texting that guy I went out with a year ago to see if he’s still single, no obsessing over crushes that will go nowhere, no nothing. It’s going to be just like that Josh Hartnett movie I never saw. Okay, it’s going to be nothing like that Josh Hartnett move I never saw, and never will see, because the Wikipedia article I read summarizing the plot makes it sound terrible.
That said, there’s a part of me that wonders if I’m not trying to run some sort of romantic comedy ploy on the universe, that as soon as I say I’m giving up men, the perfect one is going to pop out of the woodwork somewhere. I’m fully aware that my life is not a movie so I know this probably won’t happen. This does highlight one of those dating conundrums – we’re told love comes to us when we’re not looking for it, but we’re also told we can’t just sit back and wait for the universe to deliver Mr. Right to our doorstep. So which is it? For those of us with busy lives who don’t want to meet someone at work and are exhausted by the bar scene, where exactly are we supposed to meet this guy? I know he’s not sitting on any of my friend’s couches. Believe me, I’ve looked. (My friend who usually hosts girls’ night has two male roommates, and they’re sweet guys, but not my type.)
I’ve tried online. I’ve let friends set me up. I went back to school. I joined a running group. I let someone from said running group set me up with her son. I volunteered. I went to alumni mixers. I played kickball. If love is something you’re supposed to look for, then I think I’ve done my fair share of looking. But like I said before, I’m not quitting the search because of that “you’ll find him as soon as you stop looking” adage.
I’m giving up dating because while I don’t mind having guys buy me dinner, I’m not really interested in the alleged goal of dating – a relationship. For the first time in my adult life, I’m actually pretty happy with everything I’ve got going on, and I’d like to focus on that, rather than arbitrarily trying to add another person to the mix. I’ve basically become the Katherine Heigl character in all movies, and I’d really like to focus on my career right now, rather than going out with horrible guys based on some fear that I’m “running out of time” and great guys are “passing me by” and that by the time I’m in my 30’s and ready to meet someone, all the good ones will be taken and the not-good ones will be dating 23-year-olds. I’m not going to date out of fear of dying alone. It’s a foolish recipe for disaster and I won’t follow it. So for the next 40 days, I’m not going to. The time I would have spent listening to strangers talk about themselves or putting on mascara to go to happy hour, I’m going to use to do things that actually add value to my life. Not that the right guy wouldn’t add value to my life, but for the moment, I just don’t have the energy to do things like respond to text messages that just say “hey gurl.”
If you’re still worried I’m copping out of Lent, don’t be. I’m also giving up Diet Coke.
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