In case you haven't heard, Valentine's Day is this week. For lots of reasons, it's not my favorite "holiday," but it's as good a good time as any to talk about dating. Many of the people who asked me about starting a blog mentioned my dating "adventures" as a great topic because...well...it's been entertaining if nothing else. Well, I'm here to entertain.
I'll be honest, though. For someone who really values relationships of all kinds and loves to love on people, I think dating is kind of awful. I mean, yeah, it can be fun when you find someone you like (until it's not fun anymore), but the whole process leading up to that? The worst. When I complain about dating, I hear a lot of "you just need to put yourself out there" or "give it another chance," but a lot of those people have been out of the dating game for a while. If you're not currently dating, you might not realize how bad it is.
First of all, I'm in my mid-30s. At this point, a LOT of people have gotten married, so the dating pool has diminished tremendously. I used to think that at this point, the men who are still single are single for a reason. But then I realized that I'M still single, so I'll give them a pass because clearly some of us just slip through the cracks. Yeah, let's go with that.
In addition to my age, let's also consider the fact that I'm a textbook introvert. My whole existence revolves around staying in my bubble and NOT putting myself out there. And you want me to reach out to new people and draw attention to myself for the specific purpose of being judged on my personality, character, and appearance? Eh, I'd rather not.
Finally, the last part of the I-hate-dating trifecta...I'm overweight. Now, I in no way think I'm any less worthy of anyone's love because I'm overweight, and I don't feel sorry for myself. However, it's a simple fact that I'm just not going to be everyone's cup of tea. That is totally fine (I definitely have a type too), but when you take the already small pool of single 30-something men and whittle it down to those who find someone with my body type attractive, the pool gets even smaller.
So knowing that the dating pool is small to start with, where am I even supposed to find these people to date? Lots of people have told me to just "get out more." I've spent my fair share of time "out" being social (okay, not as much as other people, but enough), and I have never met someone to date at a bar. Work? Nope, I work with a bunch of married people, and the few single people are way too young. Besides, I'm probably not down with dating a coworker anyway. (Also--DO NOT TELL ME TO GO TO A NETWORKING EVENT. Just no. That's an introvert's worst nightmare, and I'll get hives.) Church? That's not actually a bad thought, but there is approximately one single, age-appropriate man at my church. And we both like men. Welp...
So since apparently no one I know has any single male friends either, I've resigned myself to online dating because I'm probably just not going to meet "the one" in person. Of course, online dating hasn't been incredibly successful either, but I have dated a few people I've met online over the last couple of years...and that's a few more than I've met any other way!
After taking a bit of a break, I've found myself recently considering online dating again. I know it's bad every time I try it, so I've been scrolling through old screenshots from past online dating attempts to convince myself not to go back there. Here's a few of the greatest hits to give you an idea of what it's like:
The Man Who Doesn't Know Manners Apply to "Big Girls"
The Man Who Has a Wife and Also Says Too Much
The Man Who Turns a Thought of Me at My Least Sexy Into Something Sexual
The Man Who Thinks Most Liberals are "The Blacks and The Gays"
Do you believe me now that it's tough to find someone? Sure, these seem like extreme examples, but I honestly haven't seen much middle ground. This has been pretty typical in my experience. Oy.
But once you find someone to date, the hard part is over, right? You just get to have fun spending time with someone with you like, right? Oh noooo...if only! The actual dating part is weird now too. Like, I don't even understand what's happening anymore. There's weird terminology/labels that don't really mean anything and no one wants to define anything, so it's a total land of ambiguity. For example, did you know that you can hang out with someone for months and go on actual dates with them regularly and do cute couple-y things together and still not actually be dating that person? It's true. I learned that one the hard way. People, what even is this?!?
I am really starting to miss passing "check yes or no notes" in class. It was much easier that way. But I guess this is what dating entails these days, and it's what I'm stuck with. If I'd like to eventually get married and have a family and all that jazz, I suppose I've got to endure the weird stuff to get to the good stuff. Lucky me.
I tried to get back on the dating apps for like a second this week. The first person I matched with brought up sex in his third message--after "Hi" and "How are you?"--so I think I'm out for now. It's much easier to just avoid the whole thing, but as always, I'll get back in the game at some point. In the meantime, if you know any single 30-something men looking for a girl who isn't a size six but who does have a big heart and will do her best to make him laugh as much as possible....you know what to do!