5 Metaphors For Dating

Not everyone enjoys dating. While many of us are excited by the prospect of meeting someone new, engaging in flirtatious text messages, picking restaurants, reading body language and offering romantic gestures, some of us that find the whole process entirely daunting. For hours beforehand, our imaginations run rampant as we envision every possible uncomfortable situation. We can’t help but go a little crazy.

It seems odd that we engage in an activity which causes us so much angst, doesn’t it? Dating, after all, isn’t a requirement — nobody’s forcing us to seek out these situations, nor are we obligated to go out with anyone who asks. So, if we don’t like it, why do we even bother? Well, here are five metaphors that explain why date-haters are doing it anyway.

Dating Is Like Getting Your Teeth Cleaned

Even though it feels like a chore, you do this because you’ve been told you’re supposed to. By regularly subjecting yourself to discomfort (often involving foreign objects being shoved in your mouth) you’re preventing something worse from happening in the future. You go to the dentist so you don’t need a root canal. You date so you don’t die alone. Sometimes it’s necessary to put up with small pains in the present so you don’t suffer exponentially more in the future.

Dating Is Like Shopping On The Clearance Rack

Shopping on the clearance rack is a lot like dating, in that one must sort through hundreds of bad items in order to find a small handful of good ones. There will be tons of things you don’t need, like a sweater in July (or an alcoholic when you’ve just finished AA). You’ll find things that might have been great at one point, but now have some glaring defect, like a stain (or a codependency issue). Occasionally you’ll even find something that seems perfect initially, but then you try it on in the dressing room and realize something isn’t right — you can’t put your finger on it exactly, but it doesn’t quite fit. It’s easy to lament how much better your life would be if you could just indulge your fantasies and shop solely at Prada (here, a metaphor for dating your celebrity crush) but you know that’s unrealistic and so you keep searching through the rack in hopes that you’ll eventually find something worth purchasing/ taking home to the parents.

Dating Is Like A Job Interview

It seems like everyone wants to be in a relationship and everyone wants to be employed, but nobody wants to suffer through what it takes to get there. First, you have to worry about your outfit, usually opting to dress nicer than you would on an ordinary day. Then, you have to prepare answers to inevitable questions; all the while knowing every response will be judged and critiqued later. Why do you think you are right for this position /me? How did you leave your last job/ lover? Where do you see yourself in five years? You answer to the best of your abilities and hope that you’ve made a good impression, but your efforts are rarely validated right away. Instead, you must sit at home and wait for the phone call letting you know they’re interested. Occasionally, this is the sign that you can finally relax, but most often you’ll still have to survive second and third interviews as well. Sometimes, even after you’ve landed the job, you’re only given probationary employment and won’t start accruing benefits for at least 90 days. In the same way it’s impossible to skip the interview and go straight to paid holidays, it’s impossible to skip dating and go straight to comfortably watching movies together on the couch in your sweatpants. You want that end result so badly, but getting there is such a laborious process!

Dating Is Like Being On A Diet

You’ve been bad in the past but now you’re trying to be a strong individual. You’ve given into drunken one-night-stands in the same way you’ve given into late-night ice cream binges. You’ve taken shortcuts and messed around with people who seemed ‘easy,’ much like you’ve ordered greasy take-out food instead of cooking something nutritious for yourself. But not anymore! Now you are going to be responsible and treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. True, unhealthy relationships, like unhealthy food, can feel so satisfying while they last and their indulgence is so easily rationalized, but you always seem to regret it later. That’s why you’ve decided to be better — you know the process will be painful and the results won’t show up right away, but you cross your fingers in the hope that it will all pay off in the end.

Dating Is Like a Gambling Addiction

You know the odds are against you right from the start. There are just so many ways you can lose and only a select few in which you can win, but you still hold on to that irrational hope. You can imagine it happening, you can see yourself pulling the lever or rolling the dice and having all the lights start flashing around you, everyone clapping and cheering as you collect your winnings. You know it won’t happen (well, it probably won’t happen) but it’s so fun to think about. It is fun to think about how one measly quarter can turn into thousands of dollars and it is fun to think about how a two-hour date could turn into a lifetime of happiness. So why not give it another go, take one more risk, one more gamble? Sure, you could end up losing it all, but one of these days you might just get lucky and win big. And then won’t it all seem worth it? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Håkan Dahlström

More From Thought Catalog