Cross posted at Feminist Dating and Solo in the Second City.
Ugh, I hate dating. Really, I just hate the beginning. Not all of it, of course. When you are newly starting out with someone all you have is possibility and that’s exciting! Plus, the making out is awesome. But, you also haven’t developed trust yet and that shit makes me CRAZY! You don’t know the person at all and no matter how deep you may have gotten into it during your brief (or not so brief) OKC messaging – all bets are off when you are doing actual face time. You are relying on indictors, clues, your own past experiences, feelings, emotions, signals all to give you some idea of whether you like this person and if they like you. You are trying to learn about someone while also navigating your emotions not to mention trying to create space in your life for another person to fit. Of course that doesn’t happen over night. It takes some compromising, probably some discomfort but it’s worth it in the end, right?
Personally, I can tell within the first 5 minutes if I want to see someone again and within the first few weeks I know if I am interested in giving it a go with him. I’m a one at a time guy kinda girl so casual dating doesn’t really appeal to me. And, honestly, this ain’t my first rodeo. After a solid 20 years of dating, I’m getting pretty good at picking them, even if most of my relationships don’t surpass the 90 day probation period that should accompany any long term commitment. I’m single because at the end of the day it is all one big fat fucking maybe. That and the fact that the guys in my dating pool have still not quite figured out how to face all the REAL SHIT that goes along with trying to be with someone. What’s with y’all?
Here’s the thing: There are always going to be issues in relationships – especially in the beginning. In the beginning, we get all hopped up on possibility and allow the smallest commonalities to speak to someone’s entire personality. OMG, he likes coke in a can! I mean, who doesn’t? It’s obviously the best way to drink it. OH! He thinks David Byrne is a genius. All that proves is he’s not a complete idiot. Matter of fact, it really only proves that he has some valuable intelligence around music. Us ladies, we tend to let that one random piece of information speak for other facets of his personality and we allow this idea of possibility, or potential, lead us to believe that all we’ve ever wanted from relationship will be fulfilled by this person who has just entered our life. The fact that we (all of us who date) know very little about them is probably the single thing that keeps us doing it over and over again. All of us are allured by the maybe… Maybe this one will stick around or stick it out or just, ya know, stick. Because love requires all those things. And if dating isn’t about love then what the fuck is the point?
The unfortunate part about all of this is that most guys are idiots when it comes to dating. This idiotic behavior usually presents itself around the same couple of issues most of which are culturally engrained and accepted “male” behavior. I have also come to realize, after a brief stint with online dating, that lots of guys are happy just having the attention and affection of a girl from a distance but get all fucking weird as soon as the relationship moves offline. But, I have to believe, that there are just as many guys out there who like girls but are just unpracticed, unaware, uncertain about what to do about it. I love men too much, especially the men in my life, to watch them make the same stupid mistakes in order to avoid their fears and feelings while loving, honest relationships slip right between their fingers
So fellas, this is my advice to you with the help of my favorite male musicians. The kind of guys I think I’d like to date – if only they were real. See that’s the thing about me. As messy, hard, hurtful, confusing and scary as it is, or as appealing as the fantasy is, however alluring the idea…I want something and someone real. Always.
Watch out. You might get what you’re after.
Embrace vulnerability. It’s not easy but, honestly, enough is enough. Too many times have I had a guy act like he wants a relationship (calling, texting, taking me out, making out, sleeping over) only to back away when it becomes more stable…more “real.” This culture of masculinity that allows and encourages men to ignore emotions and puts the sole responsibility of relationship a female desire is bullshit. It’s inevitable you’re going to experience hurt, fear, embarrassment – all the horrible things you have to face in order to be close to someone. We are all worried that we are going to choose to love someone and they are going to leave. If love is what you want, it requires risk. Be brave.
*Side note* this is my biggest issue with online dating. I got onto a website to help me weed out the players, the scammers, the I-don’t-know-what-I-want-ers. I didn’t sign up to be pen pals with someone who lives a mile away. If you don’t have the desire, availability, or interest in exploring a potential relationship then why are you on this website. Trust me, its way easier to meet girls who want to fuck at a bar.
Oh tell me please, that I don’t have to read between the lines.
Just say what you mean, already. Or at least try to. Don’t leave things unsaid or think that I already know. We just met! I don’t know. Keep me in the loop and share a little about how you’re feeling about me. This is really important for cultivating trust. Let me know that we are on the same page. If we are not on the same page, and you know it, but you are still letting me hang on: STOP IT.
You can’t start a fire without a spark.
A girl needs to know you’re interested. How you say it or show it is irrelevant. A girl needs to feel like spending time with her is something special, something you want to do. Even an assertive girl who is comfortable doing most of the initiating needs to know there is some intention on your end, that you’re not just saying yes because she asked or because you have nothing better to do. If you are doing either of those things: STOP IT. This is extremely important for developing trust, which is a HUGE factor for women to feel safe in relationship, both physically and emotionally.
A kiss from the window tells me she loves me and how she’s sending letters and drawings. But the letters never came. So I waited by the phone.
Relationships are made, not born. It’s something you create with someone. It doesn’t work if one person is more invested then the other. It cannot work if one person doesn’t care. I know a lot of guys get freaked out by labels (see #1). I don’t think labels are as important to girls as the security of knowing someone is into you and, usually, a label represents that. However, when I’m confident that a guy likes me, I could care less what you want to call it.
I travel from Maine down to Mexico, to find that girl that loves me so. No matter where I’ll be I’ll find that girl and she satisfy me.
Step up or step off: Yes, I am saying this (revisit #2). No girl is waiting at home for you. Even if a girl is really into you, while you are messing around not making a move somebody else will. If you are reading this thinking “Oh well, then somebody else gets the girl” – why did you even take her out in the first place?
Noted: Richard Berry wrote this song and The Sonics made it popular but these boys made me love it:
Part Two: For the Ladies…coming soon!
*I also feel compelled to mention, while I am mostly opposed to online dating, I am not opposed to respectful and articulate fan mail.