This Thing Called Dating

DatingI did a count the other day.  Now that the leaves have started falling, and I realize I had a wonderful summer, I counted on my fingers how many months it’s been since I’ve been officially single.

Nine.

I was a little shocked.  Nine?  It doesn’t feel like that long.  And yet, it feels super long at the same time.  Nine months.  It occurred to me that in those nine months, I haven’t done as much dating as I thought that I would.  I’ve gone out a few times, but really, my life has been mostly about hanging out with friends, having a good time, and just… being.  And I’ve loved most of it.

But I did write about being in love in my last post, and I think the reason I wrote about it, is because in a way, I miss it.  I miss having a person you can count on to be happy to see you.  I miss the companionship that went with being part of a couple.

Of course I have this with my friends.  I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m alone.  And there is one very important thing I’ve learned since I broke up nine months ago.  I very much appreciate the time I get to be alone in my own space.

Here’s something that dating has taught me.  I judge.  That sounds horrible, I know.  But dating sights teach us to judge people.  We judge mostly based on looks.  Tinder is the worst for this.  It’s a bunch of pictures that you scan through and reject people, until you find one, on site, you’re attracted too.  If that person happens to be attracted to you as well, you’re a match.  None of that is based on anything other than physical attraction.

I’m a believer that physical attraction is important, but it’s not more important than any other things.  To be compatible with someone, you have to be compatible personally, but you also have to be attracted to someone.  And don’t we do this out in the world as well?  I look at someone across the bar, he smiles at me, I decide on the spot if I’m attracted enough to him to smile back, and if I do we have the first connection without having spoken a word.  I’m not Sherlock Holmes.  I can’t look at someone and know what they do, what their thinking and where they were before the bar.  I can only look at a person and judge their physical appearance.

My ex and I knew each other for about two years before we started dating.  We slowly become friends, got to know each other, and I was really attracted to his shoulders looked at from the back.  But did I like him right off the bat?  No, I didn’t.  I know that, because I don’t remember first meeting him.  We worked on a film set together, there are pictures of us together, but I don’t remember working with him.  In the end, we were together for seven years.

So what’s the formula for meeting someone?  Should I look at someone I’ve known for awhile, like, but never been attracted too?  There’s a guy at work that fits that description.  Two actually, but one I can’t stand, so I’m certain he’s not a good choice.  The other one, I think, is holding out for a girl he’s been friends with for years, who seems to jerk him around a lot.

Here’s the thing with a slow build friendship romance.  In my experience, there’s no spark.  You’ve known this person a long time, and while you’re happy and having fun in the beginning, that absolute need to see them, that excitement for the unknown, that experimental completely in love phase, it’s just not there.  When my ex and I first officially started dating, we never… dated.  We’d been friends for so long that we’d already done the dinner and movies, and hanging out and parties, and walks and long conversations.  We’d already done it.  So there was no getting to know one another.  There was only the figuring out if you’re sexually compatible, which is fun, but only one part of the whole.  (Turns out we weren’t super sexually compatible, but we only found that out at the end…)

I want to date.  I mean really date.  Get to know someone, wonder if there could be a future, be attracted to them for the first time and feel nervous when we kiss.  I feel like I was robbed of this the first time I was in a serious relationship.

When I think back to all my boyfriends throughout my life, and the number is not huge, I have a way with guy friends.  My first boyfriend was grade three.  Justin.  He used to hold my hand too tightly when other guys were around.  He and I were best friends right the kindergarden and grade one.  We never spoke after we broke up.  Josh, grade seven.  My first kissing boyfriend.  He and I had been friends ever since he transferred to our school in grade three.  We were both really into basketball.  We dated for two years.  That awkward two years when you’re all going through puberty, you’re thinking about sex, but you’re too nervous to do anything about it… yeah… we broke up after a summer I’d travelled and not seen him for months.  He used to buy me jewellery, which is super sweet, but I was a crazy tomboy back then and just wanted new cleats.

And then there was Sean C.  I have to use his last initial, because we had three Sean’s in our class, and everyone always called him Sean C.  he was the ‘cool’ guy that transferred in for only two years.  He was experienced.  He broke up with me because I wouldn’t have sex with him.  I felt too nervous, too young.  The day he broke up with me, he asked a friend out, and she called me to ask my permission.  Here’s a tip ladies.  If your girlfriends boyfriend asks you out the same day they break up, and she gives you a tight ‘of course it’s fine’ response, it’s really not fine.  You should know better.  Anyway, he dated her to make me angry, and I felt really bad after a few weeks when he started spreading rumours about her.

So there it is.  The actual dating experiences I had.  there were a few people in there that lasted a day or two, but I don’t count them.  Four guys in total in my life, and all four of them I was friends with before we dated.  And all four of them I don’t speak to anymore, despite how close we were in the beginning.  This dating friends thing can be super harmful to your social life.

I think my pattern shows that I shouldn’t look at friends again.  I’m not good at keeping those relationships together.  So I guess that means keeping up with casual dating until I find someone I click with.

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