Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Oh, dating.

There is a deep dark time that most everyone encounters in their life: dating time. Granted, there are some incredible fun times that come when you're dating, but there is also a lot of dark murky crap that all of us have to wade in to try and cement some great and worthwhile relationships.  

When I was engaged, I felt as though I had outsmarted the dating world by pairing off with someone indefinitely. Never again would I have to worry about when or what to text, what to say, how I looked (oh, poor Peter, the effort I put into my personal appearance exponentially decreased lightning quick once we started dating. I should work on that), if my smile looked flirtatious or mildly threatening, holding in my farts... All the really stressful things that gives everyone stomach ulcers and headaches. Truly, I was right, and for a glorious eight months I had alluded dating. Then we got married and I learned a new fact: DATING NEVER ENDS. 

I'm sure for some people it genuinely does, but for Peter and me, it is still going on. Luckily, this time we know we're always going to be heading home with the person we love after every date. So there's that, but I digress. 

So, let's first discuss the ritualistic doings of dating culture. 

Step one: You find someone who you are attracted to. That attraction can be for their physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, fertile, pet-owning-al, comedical... state, whatever you want. This attraction is super exciting! There is someone who you like and want to be around! Then suddenly emerges the first and most common dating dilemma: do they want to be around YOU? Sometimes you get lucky, and they do want to be around you all the time, and eventually want to kiss your mouth aggressively and possibly sign a legal document saying that they will continue to aggressively kiss your mouth and your mouth solely for the rest of their lives. However, even in cases where they do want to be around you, sometimes they just don't know it straight away. 
Herein many find the tango and sadistic game of dating communication. 

I have recently had a few friends turn to me for dating advice, surely thinking, "ah, here we find the all powerful and wise Married Woman in her natural and knowing habitat. Let us have her reveal all things unto us." Sadly, I have to disappoint them, because often I have no good advice to give. 
If you think about it, no one will ever be a fully successful dating expert. The people who have 100% of successful relationships aren't actually that useful to turn to, because they have, statistically speaking, only ever had ONE successful relationship (we're discounting polygamists here). Everyone has had a relationship end, many people have had a relationship go terribly, and most everyone has been rejected, those who haven't, clearly are way too privileged to matter at this point. So, does that mean it is better to receive advice from someone who has had a dozen break ups? Clearly that person must be terrible at relationships! They have had twelve relationships end. There simply is no winning. 
I can always tell anyone who wants advice what worked for me, but what worked for me was to refuse to be his girlfriend yet simultaneously depending on him for everything, get really over emotional and unreasonably angered when he leaves for two years, write him obsessively while he's gone, then get engaged immediately when you're reunited like there is no time to waste EVER AGAIN. Definitely something that doesn't sound even close to being a winning formula, but yet here I am with a ring on my finger and legal "Bet I Can Love You Longer" document signed. GUESS I'M A DATING GENIUS, GUYS. 

My original point that I was attempting to get at was how stressful it can be to communicate with someone who you're ridiculously attracted to, while simultaneously not being sure how they feel towards you at all. You don't know where their head is, so you don't know how they are going to respond to your advances. Will they find your banter endearing? Or worthy of getting a restraining order? The sad fact of life is that with the same exact behaviour and words you can simultaneously repulse one person while seducing the other. It all depends on how they feel towards you, which is ultimately completely out of your control. Whether you find someone's advances creepy, or romantic depends solely on how attractive you think they are.  

So here I am, married, thinking, "I have vanquished that foe Dating once and for all! Never again will I stare at my phone screen feeling like I may vomit and have violent diarrhoea repeatedly if that certain someone doesn't respond to my flirtation ASAP." The sad truth of the matter is the dating continues after marriage. Now Peter and I have become one person seeking after another couple to do fun things with. He definitely doesn't freak out over the possibility of rejection like I do, but we do have that same "getting to know you" awkward first dates and encounters just like the good ole' single days. We also have discussions of, 

"Do you want to text them?" 
"No. You text them, they never respond to me. They like you better."
"They like us both the same. I'll text them. What should I say?" 
"I dunno...." *suggests a text* "No wait!!! That's a terrible idea! Stop. Delete! Delete!" 
"I sent it." 
"Calm down." 
"We'll never have friends." 
"Not if you keep acting psychotic we won't." 

Ah, romance. Do you like how I left out names so that some can believe I am the rational calm one in our relationship for once? 
It's also a lot harder to date as a couple, because you have to account for both of your preferences, as well as the like-ability of both husband and wife of the couple you want to double date. There's all sorts of losing combinations (you like her, not him, he likes him not her; you don't like either, he likes both; you like both he likes one, and so forth) with only one winning combination (*DING DING DING* COUPLE SOULMATES 5EVER!!)  

So here's to a future of double dating. I'm lucky to have a husband who I like aggressively kissing on the mouth, so even if we never find another couple to play with us all the time, playing just us two is still pretty fantastic.

Now for your viewing pleasure: modern dating. If you're feeling sad, remember: this isn't you! 

Oh, online dating, you bring me such joy even without having to try it myself. 

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