I carefully look over the menu, hoping to find something that isn’t too pricey, that isn’t messy, and that lastly and least importantly, that I would actually want to eat. I carefully choose the salmon, cutting it into tiny bites, women are supposed to eat neatly and politely, not my usual ‘half a burger in one bite’ eating habit that I’ve developed while laying in my bed, dribbling ketchup on my chest and watching reruns of SNL.
I make sure to smile, to keep my hair neatly divided on both sides equally between my shoulders and back; I sit up straight, hoping to convey confidence and conviction.
I gingerly pick up my wine glass, lifting it effortlessly to my lips, taking a quick sip and going into the typical “dating resume” that I have carefully compiled.
I graduated with an English Literature degree (it took me five years, because I’m lazy and hate going to class) I’ve been single for two years and I’m very happy (I’m miserable, I miss my ex-boyfriend and sometimes I like to drive around the back roads of Tennessee listening to Les Miserables with a donut in my hand sobbing as the chorus of ‘On my Own’ blares through my stereo speakers) I love cats too! (I really only like them when they are jumping into boxes that are too small for them, and sometimes I sickly hope they get stuck and are trapped for eternity).
The search for love is often a difficult and tiring one, full of masked identities and false truths.
We go on dates, we exaggerate our accomplishments and downplay our failures
We sit in judgment playing the ‘where could we be in five years’ game, we use alcohol to ease anxiety and the dull situation we have put ourselves in, wishing we had just stayed at home with an oversized order of Taco Bell with a mountain of sauce choices that we will never use and our Netflix account.
As women, we feel the societal pressure of perfection. As we walk towards the checkout line at the local grocery store, pint of Ben and Jerry’s in tow, we see the gorgeous photo shopped faces that grace every magazine, perfect and unflawed. As we get ready for dates, we have this distorted idea that we somehow need to be a walking, talking, breathing version of this magazine photo.
So, we apply layers upon layers of make-up, wax every part of skin that has any resemblance whatsoever to a mammoth, our outfit choices often aim to excite and peak interest like some overly parading peacock, look at my feathers, look at me. I’m going to be honest; I do not wake up flawless. I wake up with hair that has somehow formed into devil horns, my pajama pants half on, and sometimes a cinnamon twist that somehow evaded my overeating mouth crunched into cinnamon dust underneath my pillow.
The issue becomes, who am I really? Do I want to pretend to be who I hope to be, or who I am now? Do I want to try so hard to impress this person that I border on lying, or that I enjoy doing things that I don’t? It’s human nature to want to be accepted, to be loved, but at what cost?
To fall in love is to surrender your heart, and to find someone that allows you to do so.
This is not an easy journey, and is not for the faint of heart, finding love takes time; it takes patience. By pretending to be interested in things we are not, or alluding to a certain future that we are not actually interested in, we are building an unstable foundation in which a house is supposed to sit, sturdy and unwavering.
Be honest and open; admit your accomplishments as well as your failures, be the kind of person who can show not only where you’re going, but also where you have been. When the right person finds you, they will fall in love with the real you, rather than a persona of who you want to be. This is the path to true lasting love, the type of love we hope to find, the type of love that understands, completes, and transforms us.