June 02, 2011
I’ve started dating again, after a full year of being as far removed from the scene as I could be without being on a different planet. Two dates in and a third around the corner and do you know what I’ve come to realize?
I hate dating.
I make an awkward first impression. I’m usually nervous and therefore make inappropriate jokes at the expense of people I do not know. I typically wish for some kind of natural (or unnatural) disaster to strike so I have an excuse to go home and hide. I’ve even been known to stick my foot in my mouth on occasion (no, not literally).
Dating requires an openness of character I’m not yet capable of providing. I’ve built walls over the last four years around the parts of me that are charming and welcoming and sweet. They only come down around the people I’ve known for years, like family members and friends. It takes a lot for strangers to make it past those mile high fortresses of concrete and reinforced steel…and I confess to not aiding them in their quests.
I make it difficult for people to get to know me, because it makes it easier for me.
Which is oh so very selfish…
* * *
It’s been unbearably hot in Maryland for the last three days. I haven’t slept well, haven’t eaten well, haven’t done very much well besides sit in one spot for hours at a time, willing the sweat to stop running down my back.
Perhaps that’s why I’m not really feeling the idea of a date this evening. I’d rather climb into an ice box and sit there until October, when the heat will finally fade and the coolness of autumn will arrive and the man I’m supposed to meet for cocktails will have forgotten about me completely.
It’s been suggested to me, though, that this is not an appropriate way to deal with my fears – and yes, dating has been added to the list of fears, alongside dying alone (which is just ironic, really) and never realizing my full potential as a writer. There’s a quality to dating (especially internet dating) that scares the bejesus out of me. Waiting for a date outside a restaurant sometimes reminds me of the beginning scene in Jaws: there’s either an evening of peaceful, Amity tranquility awaiting me or there’s a gigantic shark eyeing me up as dinner.
They make it look so easy in the movies…especially in romantic comedies (evil, treacherous romantic comedies) There’s always an ease between the characters, a comfortable quality to their interactions. The dates go well, the people on the screen always know just what to say and when to say it, and there’s never this sense of “wow, they’re never going to see each other again because that was so totally an epic failure”.
If only all my dates were scripted and directed like a romantic comedy.
I wonder what Garry Marshall has planned for this evening…
* * *
I’m sure this, too, shall pass.
I’m sure dating will grow on me, just like I’m sure the idea of settling down will eventually grow on me. I’m not quite sure how any of that will be accomplished, but I’m at least trying to feel a little hopeful about it.
For the moment, though, I’m back in the awkward saddle…waiting for the horse to throw me off once again. I’m wearing a helmet this time, though – just in case.