“There’s plenty of fish in the sea!” is a phrase spoken all too frequently around me lately. It’s always meant with the kindest of intentions, but instead of encouraging…I tend to find it daunting.
If you ask me, there are too many fish in the sea. And honestly, I don’t even want to do any fishing! Sometimes, I just look at my life and wonder, “how did I get here?”. I wasn’t supposed to be here, now, at this age. My life was supposed to be figured out, I planned it so well.
But, that’s life, isn’t it? And now, I find myself faced with the newest and most terrifying part: dating.
Blech, I can’t even say/type/think the word without wanting to throw up. The whole idea to me is loathsome. I feel like a toddler crossing my arms, planting my feet in the dirt, and saying, “but I don’t WANT to!”. Aside from who I was married to, I enjoyed being married. I really liked building a home, a life, a family. Having a routine and a safe place. Singleness has it’s perks too, but dating? Ehh, whhhhy?
The highs. The lows. The awkwardness. Not being too forward. Not being too quiet and reserved. Say the right thing. Watch out for the crazy, no, run from the crazy. Try to find normal. Hope that they think you’re normal. Don’t text back too soon. Don’t expect a text too soon. Laugh at their jokes. Tame your laugh so they don’t think you’re crazy. Dress cute, but not slutty. Be witty, but not a comedian. Ask questions, but only the right questions.
Yeah, all of the above? Who enjoys that? It’s exhausting. And even better, this is all just a concept for me. Let’s discuss my actual experience in this area…it will be short:
The last time I went on a first date, actually the only time I’ve been on a first date, I was 15. I don’t remember the details, but it was probably a movie or something, and when you’re 15, it really doesn’t matter. We were already good friends, so it was just like any other time we hung out. We barely had cell phones, texting was still paid for ‘per message’, so it basically didn’t exist. Needless to say, it was a completely different world.
Fast forward 11 years and I’m now 26 and I don’t know “how” to date. [Insert sarcastic phrase like, “that’s cool”, or “awesome!” here.] What the hell am I gonna do?! Is there a book on this?? The more I think about it, the more I’m okay with just being a cat lady forever. Cats don’t care about dating, and neither will I. Ooh, with ice cream, too, ice cream doesn’t care about dating either. Problem solved.
I don’t even know what I want in a guy. I mean, I know what I don’t want. Been there, done that. I just wish there were checklists, surveys, or something that you could just randomly complete with people and it would just be simple. Sure, there’s online dating. I have several friends and family that it has been a complete success for. I do believe it can work. But, for me, I just don’t know if I’m ready for that yet. I feel like summarizing my life into neat boxes on a webpage is such a false representation of who I am, it would be unfair for any ‘passers-by’ to assume my life is that perfect. On the other hand, if I was honest and wrote “recently divorced, but doing great! I’m kind of a hot mess, but it’s worth it! ” wouldn’t really get many likes/winks/whatever you do on those sites.
So, for now, we will see where life takes me. Maybe it will be with 27 cats and a rocking chair with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Maybe it will be with a husband who was willing to take a chance on a girl who just needed a second round to do things right. Either way, it will be just fine.