Last week I decided it was time to step up my dating game. I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, and I decided I couldn’t wait much longer to start actively dating again. I might end up just purchasing cats, allergies be damned.
In true Piper fashion, I jumped in, and lined up not one, but two dates. I used to do this all the time, a normal week would be two or three dates, but it’s been probably well over a year since I’ve used this dating tactic. I did this because it kept me focused on more than one person. Dating is tough, if I had a disappointing date, the disappointment didn’t last long because I had another date to focus on. I approached dating as a numbers game, and I figured if I dated a lot, I would have to meet a good guy, just because of sheer volume. I also realized it’s a fast way to burn yourself out; a couple weeks of duds and you’re thinking being single forever isn’t such a bad alternative.
2014, and the beginning of 2015 were filled with a couple of the worst break ups I’ve had, and I’ve sporadically dated since then, if at all. Most of my dating this past year had been safe, and kind of whatever happened to fall in my lap. Being an active participant in dating felt like more than I could handle. I gave myself some time to focus on myself, my friends and family. I gave my heart a much needed vacation from intense emotion, on both ends of the spectrum.
Lately, however, I’ve been feeling like it’s time for me to get in the dating game again. My heart is back in good working condition, and what used to feel like therapy to me has started to feel rote. So, I dusted off my dating book, and my match.com profile and voila, dates!
The first date was with someone I’ve known for years. We worked together when I was in college. We both went on to bigger and better gigs, life kept moving, and we lost touch. I’d always had a crush on him, but he is 9 years my senior, and when you’re 21, 30 seems like another planet. When you’re 30, the 21 year old drunk sorority girl probably isn’t all that attractive. Then, as life so often does, it brought us back on each other’s radar once again; now, 32 and 41 seem like a realistic age gap.
Theo and I had gone out a handful of times over the last few months. We’ve always had a great time, we talk about everything, and it feels very natural spending time with him. He’s tall, handsome, charming, and dangerous. He’s never been married and has a very successful career. Just my type. Just my type that gets me in trouble, Every. Damn. Time.
The second date was will a brand new person, I met him on Match. Even though I have never had much success with online dating, I still have an account. I’m pretty horrible at it. It can get pretty frustrating because a few idiots ruin it for everyone, and it can get exhausting. However, I’ve always felt it was a good idea to keep all my options open, so I try it out every once in a while. I digress… James and I had good text chemistry, he was a successful engineer, and from his pictures, seemed to be handsome in a nerdy sort of way, which was enchanting to me. I was excited to go out with him. The fact I was excited was terrifying. I don’t remember the last time I actually was excited about meeting a total stranger at a bar for a drink.
These two men couldn’t have been more different, which is exactly why I paired them up in the same week. One was exactly the guy I always fall for, and one was someone who was out of the scope of someone I’m typically drawn to. I wanted to see if I have changed in the last year, if I would approach dating differently, if I was open to a different formula when it comes to dating.
This is what happened. I had a pretty awesome time with both of them. Theo is utterly charismatic and delightful. We talked, we laughed, we drank until it was far past my bed time. We had a passionate make out in the parking lot. I went to work the next day with not enough sleep and a hangover. We’ve been talking every day. We have plans to see each other early next week.
James was pretty much exactly what I envisioned. He is intelligent, charming and fun in a totally different way. We played Uno at the bar. He took me for a pizza slice and sat on the same side of the booth with me. He gave me a kiss on the cheek when I dropped him off at his car. It was refreshing and light. It was good. It wasn’t I want to rip your clothes off passion, but it was a lovely time, and as I type this, we are texting to plan our next adventure.
What I’ve learned in the last week in my dating experiment was, I’ve learned some patience. Normally, I would have been head over heels with Theo, and James would have never gotten a second thought, let alone a second date. I’ve learned to temper my enthusiasm with Theo and be a little more cautious in pursuit of him. I’m keeping my eyes open to any red flags I normally would have pushed aside. I’m open to seeing how this goes with him, but I’m not going to just abandon everything because I’m enamored by him.
I’ve learned to also be open to a second date with someone, even though I didn’t initially feel an intense “spark”. I think with James, there is enough of something to see what happens. I’m willing to take the time to see if a greater attraction grows.
It takes time to uncover someone. What usually happens in my dating life is what I uncover is a person don’t want to be with. I realize the morals, values, and who they are as human being isn’t someone I can invest my time and rnergy in. I have realized I have been “sold” a lemon, and what looks good on the surface hides some pretty nasty stuff underneath the sexy, sparkling exterior. What I need to see is, if I take the time to uncover someone I normally wouldn’t have invested the time in, is there a better human than I could have imagined. It’s kind of exciting to think about. I’m kind of excited to see how the rest of my “experiment” goes!