On Friday I went on my last date.
Not my last date forever, just my last date for a project that's consumed the last 11 weeks for my life and simultaneously felt much longer and much shorter than that.
See, it all started at a friend's wedding when I had a minor emotional breakdown and I did it pretty much alone while always being surrounded by people. Chatty people. Married people. Living-together people. Carefree dancing and toasting people. I was none of those things at this wedding. And I couldn't figure out why.
Well, I figured out some of the why on the married, which I think is where much of the breakdown came from. I'm not married because I don't date. It's all a numbers game; didn't Babe Ruth, who had the most home runs in his time, also have the most strike-outs? He could have gotten rid of the dubious honor, but only at the expense of his other title. Dating is to marriage like getting up to bat is to hitting a home run. You can't do the second one from the dugout, from the stands or, from my perspective lately, somewhere across town not even paying attention and wondering where my home run is.
So, I began dating in earnest. I threw out my no-asking-guys-out rule. I prohibited myself from choosing movies as a date. I started Facebook messaging random guys I know because I have no other way to get a hold of them. Hot, I know.
That was close to three months ago. Since then, I've made myself follow in dancing and had lots of doors open. I paid three times, although the guy only really had the opportunity once since for the other two events, I bought the tickets before. I've talked about favorite books, movies and music about a dozen times. I've asked the same questions back about a dozen times.
I also learned that I'm much more into traditional gender roles that I perhaps realized before. I really much prefer when a man calls me, when he drives, when he takes charge of what we're doing. It just seems more natural. I don't like telling people what to do (really, it's true, although most people who know me might not believe me), and I hated being the one to find activities, drive and make plans. In an actual relationship I feel differently, but for a first or second date, I like men who act like men.
I got pretty good at reading people, specifically, what people were not interested. I have this book that basically says, if he doesn't tell you when he's going to call, he's not going to call. So, after a first date that I had a really good time on, when at the door he told me, while standing distractingly close, "We'll see you again sometime," my brain registered disbelief even as my heart was metaphorically dancing. Lo and behold, I have not seen him since. The other blind date that ended with, "I'd like to take you out again sometime" I knew, waving goodbye at 9 p.m. because he had to turn in early for "something" the next day, that a second date was not gonna happen. And it hasn't.
Kissing is like riding a bike. Though I might be a little rusty. :)
Still, though, at the end of this, there's no one visible in the future. That's not that I think I'm going to be alone forever, by any means, I just thought maybe one of these dates might have turned into something. And I have to wonder if I'm still subconsciously sabotaging myself, if I went after men who were easy to go out with because I knew them or had no interest in them, thus shielding myself from actually getting hurt by someone I did like. (To be fair to myself, there were a couple I was interested in on some level. One opted to not see me again sometime, though I tried, so I'll give myself points there. One I realize is just not meant to be -- I can't decide if it's because we're too different or too similar.)
But there's the guy at the temple that I've been talking about for months, the guy that I see every week and consider it a victory if we make eye contact. Ugh. The guy from another ward that I see every now and then that I couldn't talk to myself, so I made a mutual acquaintance hand over my number. Then there's the guy that I really want to ask me out, come to my house and pick me up and go out with me because he truly wants to spend time with me and get to know me. The guy who is really interested in my day and thinks I look great and can't wait to tell me something fun or interesting or different that's happened since the last time we talked. The guy who looks forward to the next time we talk. The guy who will sit through a chick flick with minimal complaining and just a little sarcasm and eye-rolling but who's not afraid to remind me the next week that it's his turn and he wants to watch "Rambo." The guy who wants to tell all his friends that we're together and wants to introduce me to his friends and wants my friends to like him. The guy who LOVES it when I make him dinner. The guy who will shake his head in feigned disgust because I cry watching sporting events sometimes but every now and then skips the game with the guys to watch it with me.
YOU know. That guy. Wish me luck.