So. Life went on after Mr. Fruit Plate and I went on more first dates, none of which took for months. In fact, it began to feel more like a job search gone bad than a merry romp through fields of potential long term mates. I began to despair and wonder if I was really cut out for this online human crap shoot.
I’ll admit it: there’s been ( many ) times when I’ve felt that dating was a malicious and unusual game created by men to just play with my feelings and fuck with my head. I have felt that men must be nigh invulnerable with the capacity of such casual cruelty that it would sometimes just take my breath away. Sucker punch much? And though we’re definitely from different planets, I’ve wondered if maybe different UNIVERSES might be more apropos. I mean, well you’ve gotta know what I mean.
But here’s the rub: I work with a guy who’s not had any luck lately with the ladies and he would vehemently agree with the entire statement above if I replaced “men” with “women”. And he would bold it and CAP it and reiterate it. He’s been that hurt. In other words, when it comes to dating, what’s bad for the goose is apparently just as shit for the gander.
Dating can seem to be all about the battle of the sexes, a power struggle, Gladiator on bar stools. Who likes whom? Who holds what cards? Who holds all the cards? And what is he/ she going to do with them/ with you and your delicate ego?
Men can ask you out…and don’t. Women can say yes…and won’t. Who wins?
I guess that’s my point: if you approach dating as a traditional game - and you’re supposed to - there’s always a winner and unfortunately always a loser. If you see men as fish to hook or they see you as a cave woman to bash and drag, it’s always going to be an adversarial situation and you’re always going to feel like shit if things don’t go your way ie if he rejects you before you can reject him.
Even if you’re the one time after time who says: “Well, it was nice meeting you...” over your shoulder as you're walking away, after a while you start feeling like a bad person. Trust me. I’ve been there.
But one day, suddenly Susan, I stopped looking at dating as an us against them emotional strategy/ Battleship kind of situation. I think it was about the time I went on my first fun date, after just six short months online! It was the beginning of my “summer of love”, ish, and the pleasure quotient made me remember I wanted to be with a man because I LIKE MEN and liking men also meant remembering they’re as human and fucked up and fallible as women are. Huh.
They’ve got no master plan to destroy each and every one of us, one ignored text at a time, while acting all innocent and into us. Come on! Let’s be real - men SUCK at multitasking. They’ve just got their male shit and insecurities that sometimes come out in a Children of the Corn way and if you have feelings for that guy, it’s going to fucking sting. And he can be all kinds of wrong and you can be all kinds of right and yet still #humansfuckup
We all know or are related to good guys/ great guys/ angel guys in physical bodies. We’ve given birth to amazing men. We’ve seen Hugh Jackman for Lord’s sake! on 60 Minutes talk about the clause in every single contract that says his family travels with him and stays with him everywhere period. ( Okay, Allison did but her word is gold )
So even if it seems we’re getting the fuzzy end of the POF lollipop every single time, if you can just take one baby step back you can see that it really IS all just a game and you win just by participating. Games can be lighthearted and chill; WE can be the same. Or we can at least try. Celebrate the fact that you’re brave enough to play – because do not kid yourselves, it takes big hairy balls to go online dating at our age, girlies. Like HUGE. Celebrate the fact you’re strong enough to KEEP playing. And celebrate the fact that for every goose there is a gander so they say and you won’t find yours at home stewing, if you know what I mean.
Fuck the conundrum. Get out there and play.
And if you find you're at the top of your dating game, please share your best shots and closest saves here. I'm not super sports minded but I do like to score. Ha!