Dating someone new is uncomfortable at first.
There are things we aren’t supposed to talk about. Topics we stay away from because they make our dates wish they were anywhere but across the table from us. People would rather be forced to sit at attention for back to back showings of The Twilight Series than bring up a topic that forces them to politely clear their throats, shuffle their feet back and forth and look anywhere but directly at you, all the while wondering how the hell they can get out of there and back to their apartments to forget about that horrible setup they just had to endure.
But what happens when your whole life is a bunch of messy things we don’t talk about or acknowledge; otherwise known as baggage? I am not trying to be the leader of my pity party here (though for those interested, banners and confetti will be half off for the first five people to place an order); I just honestly come with a lot of crap attached. And in the interest of being totally honest, I have always been slightly
awkward. Sure, my friends call it funny, quirky or cute, but to those who don’t really know me, it’s just plain weird.
I recently had a blind date, and while the guy was sweet and cute and we had lots in common, I didn’t feel it. And yeah, maybe it’s because I just got out of one of the messiest relationships I have ever had with a guy I was, and probably still am, madly in love with. Maybe it was because we didn’t have enough chemistry. Maybe it was because his quirkiness was just a little too different from mine. But maybe it was because I spent a whole lot of time wondering what I was and wasn’t allowed to say on our first date.
We talked about our taste in books, music, movies and food. We laughed about the awkwardness of first dates and how thank the lord we knew the friend who set us up well enough to trust her judgment. We shared funny stories and things we were planning on doing in the near future.
We didn’t talk about my family. How was I supposed to explain the craziness that is only now winding down to a perfect stranger?
We didn’t talk about the future, trying to see if our plans matched up. How was I supposed to talk about the very topic that made the last, and really only guy I ever loved, run for the hills?
We didn’t talk about why it was so important to me to become a self-defense instructor. How was I supposed to confide in someone I had just met when just a few years ago I was hiding it from everyone, even my parents?
I gave the guy what I believe was a fair chance and even accepted a second date, but it didn’t continue much beyond that. And let me be clear and say it didn’t have anything to do with him. He was a perfect gentleman.
After I ended things, I tried to understand why I hadn’t felt that spark, why I just couldn’t see this person in my future. True, I don’t think it was just one thing that made me so unwilling to keep accepting dates. I really don’t believe I was ready to date someone new, I really didn’t feel any chemistry and his quirkiness was just too different from my own special brand. But I also didn’t want to burden anyone else with all my messy crap. I honestly believed myself when I thought I am never going to find someone who accepts and loves me for every piece of shit I come with.
Until my little sister called me out on my crap. And she was one hundred percent right (don’t ever ask me to repeat that sentence – it was a one time thing). The so called baggage we bring into our relationships can make everything messy and complicated and hard, or it can make you really realize what a catch you’re dating. It can strengthen the bond the two of you, and only the two of you, now share. They know all this shit about me and still love me? I must have been Gandhi in a previous life to deserve such treatment.
So next time I go on a date I promise to not be such a scaredy cat. I promise to give whatever guy has taken time out of his day to sit with me in a dimly lit, out-of-the-way café a real chance. Because we all come with baggage, it’s just whether or not you choose to let it define you that will determine how crazy you come off on that slightly, or not so slightly, awkward first date.