About a month ago, I realised I was in a rut. A serious, blah-filled, stupefying, OH MY GOD MY LIFE IS SO BORING, utter lack of excitement, rut. A soul-destroying ennui, if you will. I knew it needed to change. I needed excitement! I needed the opposite of ennui. (Off-we? Perhaps?) So in a moment of madness, I rejoined Match.com.
I KNOW. Trust me, I know.
See, my thoughts were these: I have a pretty busy life, I have good friends and lots to do and most of the time I like my work, but I don’t have that thrill that gets me out of bed in the morning. The thing I look to most on my weekends is getting to sleep in. I AM busy and when I’m not busy it’s by choice. But I want something other than planned activities. I want some mystery, some anticipation! And what’s MORE of a mystery than men? Plus I haven’t been on a date in about eight months and I’m not sure I still remember how to kiss someone. I tried going out and flirting with guys in bars, but that is just SO boring. And it made me feel desperate and stupid, like the only reason I had to go out was to go looking for guys. Also, have you all TRIED talking to men at a bar (IN SCOTLAND) after about 10pm? HELLO DRUNK. When it got to the point where my friend told a guy he couldn’t come home with her and he then turned about a foot to his left to face me and asked, ‘well then can I go home with you?’ I realised I had to think up a new strategy.
Apparently my strategery is pretty sub-par because I weighed up how much work I was willing to invest in this and decided on Match. It seemed like the easiest way to get in touch with a large pool of available men without too much effort on my part. I know, I know, I’m so lazy it’s ridiculous. But I’ve also been attending the rock climbing wall practically every day for two years and have only ever managed to meet one guy there. And the climbing wall is lousy with men! They’re everywhere! And they’re cute and fit and we share similar interests, and still…nothing. I’m SO lame with striking up conversation, you guys have NO idea. Clearly I need the help.
So yeah, I went on Match and had men emailing me and looking for dates, which was pretty exciting for about three days. Men! Emailing me! I haven’t been on a date in about A MILLION YEARS, this is so exciting! Look at all the cute men! Hey, look, that hot guy that I emailed who I never thought in a million years would write me back? He did! I am the Match.com GODDESS!
Then I realised, CRAP. I have men emailing me. I have to respond to these guys and eventually may even have to go on a date. What is, essentially, a blind date. I’m going to have to make uncomfortable conversation with men I hardly know and figure out a way to only spend an hour or so with each guy without making it obvious. (‘What? You got into a car accident? Oh my god, I’m so sorry, my friend just called and I HAVE TO GO!’) It went from exciting to daunting in a matter of a couple of days. It all made me realise something:
I hate dating. No, seriously, I really hate it. I hate going out with guys and being forced to make witty conversation when I’d rather be home with a good book (or even, let’s be honest, a mediocre book). I hate feigning interest when I’m really thinking ‘you voted for WHAT?!’ Most of all I hate going out with someone when he’s more interested than I am. Or when I’m more interested than HE is, which is still horrible but I’m not sure if it’s worse, though thankfully that hasn’t happened to me very often. And don’t worry, I’m not saying all men love me, trust me, they don’t. I just so rarely meet anyone I’m interested in who is actually interested in me, plus I’m virtually incapable of asking out someone I’m actually interested in, which has resigned me to a lifetime of bad dates. Hooray.
See the thing is, I’m a really sociable person! I LIKE talking to people. I like meeting new people, I like going to parties, I generally think I’m pretty good at talking to anyone. But there’s something particularly depressing about sitting on a date with someone, when you’re supposed to be getting to know him in the hopes of pursuing a relationship, and knowing without a doubt that you would never EVER want to kiss this man. My problem is that with virtually every single person that I’ve met on Match, I have a vision of that date happening. I have such incredibly low expectations that if I actually had a good time on a date, I’d be shocked.
How depressing is that?
The thing is, I do want a relationship one of these days, even if it doesn’t seem like it. I LOVE being single. But I can’t be single forever, if for no other reason than it can get a bit boring sometimes. I want to meet someone who I deeply connect with. I want to be crazy in love. Who doesn’t? To be completely honest, that desire for a relationship embarrasses me, because I don’t really understand it. So far in my life I have always, always preferred being single to being in a relationship. I find relationships confining and boyfriends too demanding and needy. I want to be able to do what I want when I want to, I hate having to change my life and my routine to encompass someone else. I have been intensely relieved whenever my relationships ended in the past (and yes, sad too, though relieved). So why, WHY, would I still want one? It is inexplicable. The only thing I can think of is that it’s some sort of deep-seated biological urge, which is very annoying. I should be able to ignore biology!
So anyway. Match. I think, in a way, I’m sort of on a metaphorical Search for the Holy Grail. Everybody wants to find The Holy Grail of Dating. You all know what I’m talking about. That date where you go out and everything just clicks. You have flowing conversation that encompasses books and politics and deep discussion and everything you discuss you agree on. And if you don’t agree, it’s not really about anything important and it’s actually fun to argue with someone you like. There are never any awkward silences and you only realise that it’s taken you three hours to eat dinner when the waitstaff start glaring at you and hovering conspicuously. He’s always super polite and doesn’t ever touch you disrespectfully, to the point where you’re just DYING for him to touch you and when he touches your lower back to guide you out the door in front of him you just about swoon. Then maybe you go for a walk after dinner because you don’t want the night to end, and you’re totally fantasizing about him kissing you, which NEVER seems to happen to you on a first date but for this one you’ll happily make an exception. So that when he finally does kiss you, the whole world disappears in a huge flood of white noise so that all you can think about is the rush of blood to your head and you know, for better or for worse, your world will NEVER be the same after this.
My problem is that I want THAT. And I don’t want to settle for anything less, which kind of sets me up for disappointment. This is probably nothing new to the majority of people, I realise. Many many other people sit through bad dates all the time. I guess when you’re actively NOT dating, as I did for six months, it’s so easy to forget about all the crap you have to go through to get to that one good moment. Maybe that convenient amnesia is the only way that any of us keep going, instead of throwing in the towel in disgust. I’d forgotten all of that (as you do) which is probably how Match.com makes all of its money. We ALL want to fall in love, we ALL love the idea that there is this sea of available men and women just waiting for us to email, that the only thing that is keeping us away from love is OURSELVES! What are we waiting for?!
I’ve decided that I’m waiting for the right person, not just a chance to go on a date. Though, as a friend very kindly pointed out, you can’t find the right person if you never even try. So for better or for worse (and I’m still expecting a lot of ‘worse’) I’m going to give it a try. I don’t think Match is necessarily the answer, but I know that I need to stop being so negative about dating. So I’m going to work on that. I really hope I’m ready for this…