On Taking Up Dating

I recently broke up with my boyfriend and have spent the past three weeks thinking about nothing but me, me, me.

I’ve never tried to find love. I’ve never been on a blind date. I’ve never dated anyone for two months without it starting to “get serious.” I’ve never been flat-out rejected. I’ve never been a tease and I’ve never slept with a bad kisser. I’ve only had two bo-mos (blackout-makeout), one blacked out hookup and two one-night stands, one of which turned into an undefined relationship, two years later. And up until recently, I had never asked a guy out.

I guess I’m really lucky.

I’m not an easy girl to start talking to. I avoid eye contact with strangers in favor of looking at my friends, I have a natural face of disinterest and I’m actually shy around strangers, though upon spending time with me, one would forget all traces of timid. I have high standards; I expect to be seduced.

I’m one of those girls who don’t sleep around, would rather take two months off from sex after a relationship and yes, always seems to be in a relationship of one kind or another. I don’t know what it is about me, but I suspect dating me gets kind of intense, since guys always put me into the dating category rather than the sex one, probably because I speak my mind, I’m witty and I can make an awesome dick joke. I’m endlessly picky and willfully intolerant, traits that have led me to the men I have loved because they alone passed all the tests I constructed for them. Anyone less than that didn’t enter; anyone who does enters immediately and stays for a while.

These walled qualities have long protected me from the vast majority of futile dating and have led me to the men I’ve loved, the men who were willing to trespass when all signs told them not to. I admire them endlessly for their willingness to be exposed and to be sincere, because I have never been, and that it is the very thing I crave within myself: sincerity.

I’ve been suffocated. I’ve so long attached my understanding of self to who I’m seeing at the time, adopted their likes and dislikes, entered their world because I fiercely protect my own, and finally, for the first time in my life, I want to develop my world without anyone getting my way, the idea being, once it’s developed, I’ll be able to let someone in truly and fully. With the men I’ve dated, I knew from the very beginning what I liked about them and that, yes, this is going to last. These beautiful men that I loved, I have loved them only as a beautiful girl in a mirror, they see me standing next to their reflected selves. They received all of me, I could give them everything they needed. I could stroke their egos and their faces and curl up gently into their arms, but never did they see that I’ve been unable to step out of the mirror. The illusion of a whole girl was enough for them. It no longer is for me.

I want to break this mirror, shatter into little pieces the masks, the ones that so many of us make. Now I want to see what I don’t like, test what I can tolerate, be surprised by people I didn’t think I would like. Everyone talks about the ups and downs of New York dating, the horror stories and the euphoric flings, the embarrassing minutiae of social navigation and the exhilaration of not know what to expect. I don’t know what these things are like. I no longer want to be a girl who only dates guys she already can imagine a future with. I want to fuck things up and feel guilt because I made a huge mistake; I want to break people’s hearts and feel nothing; I want my cheeks to turn red when I show up impulsively on a doorstep.

To forget some of the people I sleep with; to be shown worlds the guys I’ve dated in my social circle cannot access; to feel hopelessness in the ever fleeing back of true love. To feel embarrassment, to take a chance, to make a goddamned fool of myself. These are the things I have not experienced, because I’ve always played it safe and fast, premeditated spontaneity, calculated risks.

That placid time is over and I’m leaping head first into the open, anything-goes dating scene, starting with two dates this week with guys I met at parties, who weren’t already friends with people in my group (this is a first for me). I’m going down to Atlanta and I’ve decided to go on a date with my best friend’s roommate down there, who I’ve always written off as being too dumb to sleep with, but hey, who knows. I feel my soul starting to pick up and run, run fast and run hard, ready to take on the challenges that await me and flee from the emotional expression I’ve so perfectly honed over the past few years of dating. I’m ready to crush and be crushed and let go the delicacies and secrets of the relationships in my past, in hopes newer and better ones will come.

As my friend pointed out…a monster has been born out of a swan, a monster that is screaming me, me, me, for the first time in its life. I choose me, not him.

So please, ask me out on a date. TC mark

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  • Jordan

    I like this; I was kinda worried it (well, you) was going off in a narcissistic path in the beginning, but actually I can kinda relate to a lot of what you wrote.  The girls I've actually dated long term rather than hookups were GOOD because it takes so much to get to me because of my own shyness that anyone who 'enters' is worth the time.  So I feel ya.  At the same time, there's lots of other good people you miss out on by not opening up.
    I also really like the sentiment at the end, I'm a huge fan of the 'fuck it, go ahead and make a fool of yourself' idea.  Go make some mistakes, get turned down, take some chances, feel good and feel bad.  Good luck!

    • Jordan

      BTW, you're 3 for 3 as far as I go.  Keep it up!

  • Polly Ester

    can you let me know how you get on?
    we're very alike.

  • http://twitter.com/threv threv

    Welcome to Atlanta.

    • Fasdflkasd

      Where the players play?

  • coffeeandinternets

    Listen –  best of luck to you in the NYC dating world. As they say in the Hunger Games, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

    However. Don't think for a second that guys won't hit it and quit it with girls who speak their mind, are witty, and know dick jokes. If guys only wanted to date 'that girl,' I'd have a god damn harem of dudes over here dying to be my boyfriend.

    But I don't have that voluntary harem…which is why I have to remember to always lock up the basement.

    wink

  • http://twitter.com/raystraight Ray Straight

    Don't forget that in embracing the possibility of making a mistake you have to admit it to yourself once you've made one.

  • lauren

    Good read, seems like a lot of us don't really do the dating thing anymore because we're too apathetic to put in the effort or we're too fearful of being rejected. We immediately approach dates with a “I hope he/she likes me” attitude rather than thinking “I hope I like him/her”, which is equally (if not more) important. If everyone approached dates for what they are: low-pressure, low-expectation trials of compatibility, we'd probably far more successful.

    My only complaint is that I wish this essay was copy edited!

    • Fasdflkasd

      I think it's more the same than it's ever been. What's different now in the OKCupid/Facebook world is that we don't go on dates unless we find the person attractive in advance. In that case of course every date you go on will be “I hope he/she likes me” because you already decided it's acceptable to hook up with this person.

      Allow me to romanticize a past that I didn't live for a second but if you think about it ugly people got a much fairer shake in the dating deal. If you didn't have looks at least you could impress people in real time with your personality. These people don't stand a chance in the pre-screened internet age. Their hookups are still delegated to the old school method of bars and other social gatherings.

      Obviously there are still plenty of bars so we're not talking forever alone but you still have a big swath of demographic that is excluded from one of the most efficient means of getting a date.

  • Anonymous

    I understand that after a relationship, you might want to try a new approach to dating, but there's something wonderfully dignified about your previous method. I don't think you should give that up.

  • Marlboro27s

    I, MISS, WILL BE YOUR DATE.

  • Jay-Z

    All I can say is…don't do it girl!

  • 5050

    Stuck up bitch thinks she's better then everyone else.

    • reyaizyu

      oof. you got me! clearly you also think this way.

  • ALLERGICTODATING

    PREACH. you're strumming my pain with your fingers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=29100501 Alexander Baron Lash

    Doing the same damned thing myself for the same damned reasons. No idea how it's going to turn out. Let the monsters reign, let dignity be cast to the wind, and if you ever end up in Seattle I will happily trade drinks for stories…because I know I'm going to do this for about a week and then shut down :)

  • Olivia

    Are you me?

  • chelseafagan

    “I admire them endlessly for their willingness to be exposed and to be
    sincere, because I have never been, and that it is the very thing I
    crave within myself: sincerity. “

    We are now in love.

  • http://twitter.com/jduvel Jason Duvel

    I hear you.  And if you end up in KC – would you join me for dinner and something fun?  Me, you, place of entertainment to be decided dependent on when you're here and what's happening at the time.

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