“So when do you have time to date?” The question came in the middle of a conversation that covered everything from work to grad school to how I keep my apartment clean (the answer is barely). With all these things going on, it made sense to ask a single woman where dating fits in. But for me, the simple answer is…it doesn’t. In the last year or so, I’ve mainly taken a “take it or leave it” approach to dating. And more often than not, it’s been “leave it”. While my friends regale me with stories of the latest dates they’ve been on or the guy they’re talking to online, my guy stories have mainly begun, “well, I met him at this bar.” And with very few exceptions, I’ve been okay with that. Occasionally I’d start moaning (usually to Roo) that I wanted to be wined and dined, to have a well-dressed guy take me out for a night on the town. I might even begin to think that I wanted a relationship, to be loved, and to find a guy I could make that leap with. But inevitably, these bouts of romantic desire would end with a shrug and the declaration that it could all wait until I had a better job, better wardrobe, smaller waistline, or whatever the excuse of the week happened to be. After all, I didn’t need a man and I had no desire to waste my time with the d-bags that seem to populate dating sites these days.
So I would bury myself in my work (or search for better work), schoolwork, writing, socializing, alone time, or whatever else I felt was important at that moment. Dating, along with things like “(re)learn Spanish” and “make a new dress” just fell to the bottom of the list, because they’re not all that important. But sometimes, I feel like I’m missing something. When my friends gather at the bar to recount their latest dates, analyze the potential of said guy, or discuss the merits of the dude they’re currently talking to online, I shrug and offer my input but don’t have much else to contribute. It seems like too much work to cruise sites, exchange awkward online messages, show up for a first date not even sure you know what the dude looks like, then hope things click and he wants to go out again. And for what, a free meal? I’m unconvinced.
Friends have told me that it’s not so much about the outcome as it is about just having fun. Which I can understand, except that first dates among my generation in NYC tend to be “let’s meet for drinks” and I’d much rather do that with my girlfriends, knowing that I’m in for a good time rather than with a guy I maybe kind of like, hoping for fun. It’d be different if the prospect was something more akin to the dinner and dancing of our parent’s generation (and some well-bred and apparently rare men of our generation). Maybe it’s just another excuse, but when I feel like just heading home and crashing on the couch instead of heading out with friends, I’m much more likely to make the effort for a concert, movie, game, or dance night than I am for, “let’s go to that bar we always go to and split a pitcher of shitty beer like we always do”. At least if we’re not feeling particularly entertaining, we’ll still have fun.
I think it’s the part of me that’s just a tad old-fashioned, the part that lusts over the swingy skirts of the Mad Men sixties and the glamour of the Roaring Twenties, but dating as it’s come to be doesn’t interest me all that much. Find me a man who will sweep me off my feet, dancing on the Brooklyn Promenade against the backdrop of sparkling Manhattan with no music and maybe I’ll change my mind. Find me a man who can come up with an idea more creative than drinks at the closest bar to see if we “click”. Find me a man that makes the process of dating actually fun instead of a series of mediocre highs and inevitable disappointments, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get back in the game.