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.

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Putting aside her commitment to the National Ninja Association, this young, bright and talented author has finally come out of hiding. She currently exhausts her brain capacity working for government, but spends many afternoons dreaming up new ideas for her incredibly blasphemous novel, The Absolutely, Positively, True Adventures of a Religious Prophet, while keeping her typing fingers limber. She can be reached here on the comment board or over at her blog, The Unbelievable Adventures of Claire Elizabeth Rogers.

16 responses to “Back in the Saddle Again…and Other Nonsense Statements”

  1. Jillian says:

    All I have to say is that I second your emotion.

  2. jmblaine says:

    I think you are on to
    something completely novel here.
    Scripting the entire first date.
    Loosely, I mean.
    Some improv but overall.
    Next post, we want details.

  3. Oy, I know how you feel. I’ve been in the dating pool for 2.5 years now and I hated it from day one. But then, my only other option is to sit at home sad and alone, which sounds just as bad on most days. I love that you point out the irony of being afraid of dying alone, but also hating the idea of dating. I think most of us single people struggle with this.

    What I can say is that even if it doesn’t get easier, dating (no matter how awful) has allowed me to at least see what it is I DON’T want. That’s winning half the battle, yes?

    Anyway, best of luck out there! I hope it grows on you. 😉

    P.S. I, too, believe romantic comedies should be banned. Do I sound bitter?

    • There’s that constant push/pull, of wanting to feel satisfied while alone but also craving affection and love from another person. It’s frustrating…

      And yes, dating is definitely good for figuring out what isn’t wanted. 🙂 I’ve compiled a very long list of those things – thankfully it’s longer than the list of things I do want. Or maybe that’s unfortunate. Hmm…

      Thanks for the luck! And no, you don’t sound bitter. You sound realistic! I like it. 😉

  4. Irene Zion says:

    Meghan,

    Wouldn’t it be fun if the dating script were a musical?
    I can see a date coming to pick you up.
    He knocks on the door and you throw it open while belting out a song.

  5. Jess says:

    I was going to make an off color remark about helmets, but maybe this isn’t the time :o)

    The thought of a blind dates scares me enough for the both of us. Why do you think I Googled the heck out of your last date? Yeah, I admit it! I damn near cyber stalked him. I think you are very brave for getting back on that horse.

    PS Romantic comedies should be banned! They are not good for anyone–not even people in relationships. They implant false notions of what a real relationship should be like into our brains.

    • Meg says:

      Haha, it’s always the time for off color comments regarding helmets. Always.

      I love that you’re the one googling (seriously, when did that become a word?) my dates! It’s kind of sweet in a terrifying way. 🙂

      Romantic comedies are the fruits of the devil…which just gave me a great idea for a Claire posting!!

      Thanks, Jess!

  6. Teagan says:

    and yes, dating has been added to the list of fears, alongside dying alone (which is just ironic, really)

    *small ahem* Pretty sure that’s a paradox, actually 🙂 And, oddly enough, the way you feel about dating in the summer is the same way I feel about going to job interviews in the summer: my cute but professional tops make me sweat, my nice black pants are always lined with clingy material, and I’m cranky as all hell that my hair’s fallen down just as I shake the hand of the person who is about to interrogate me. Does not make the best first impression, is what I’m saying. You could imagine my horror at a little 2009 film called Post Grad, that combines my fears of being overeducated and never finding a job/purpose with my fears surrounding dating/men into one easy cinematic experience!

    • Meg says:

      It truly is a paradox…with time/space continuum ripping qualities, I’m sure.

      Nothing – and I mean absolutely nothing – made to be worn in the summer should have a lining. It’s usually acetate or polyester and it’s always terribly uncomfortable. Give me cotton and lots of it.

      I’ll have to check out Post Grad…Alien vs. Predator seems pretty clued in, as well. The idea of getting a job just out of grad school (Alien) vs. dating someone (Predator). It’s kind of evenly matched in the scary department.

      🙂 Good luck in both, Canuck!

  7. A girl endeared herself to me totally and completely on our first date by gulping the first part of her first drink and saying ‘God, I hate this.’

    It was awesome.

    I mean, true, we didn’t make it past Date #3. But still. Date #1 was good stuff.

  8. angela says:

    Oy, I HATED dating, though of course it’s a necessary evil to, you know, actually meeting someone. 🙂

    Have you seen those Match commercials of supposedly real people on supposedly real dates? I think they make dating look all the more horrible.

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