Every time I start to seriously join a dating site I get the vapors. Not gassy, exactly…but, I get really anxious. It’s not a fun feeling. Putting yourself out there, waiting to see if you’re good enough. Feeling like a sheep…or as one of my oldest friend says “Sheeple”. We select our finest photos, write up a witty profile and wait to see if we are chosen. Do we have the softest, pristine coat of fluffy wool? Have we had a suitable pedicure so our hooves look presentable in sandals? Are we bloated from eating too much grass? Do we measure up with the younger sheeplings?
It’s a numbers game, y’all. You obsess about how many likes you get, how many people reach out to start a conversation, how many actually ask you out on a real life date and how many people are really in it for something serious. It’s a little like waiting to see if you get chosen for Dodgeball on the school yard. You’re not overly excited about getting hit with the ball, but you want to have fun so you stand on the side lines and wait to be chosen. So far there have been several nibbles, but only one that has actually met me in person for dinner. It was very nice, we have a second date already scheduled. Before someone comments that I should just ask the attractive men out, that’s not really my jam. I guess I’m old school and in my life, I want the men to be in charge of the asking.
This seems to be so much different this time around. Dating outside of hookup culture is something that requires not only patience and self respect, it involves weeding through the profiles of what you know you don’t want.. You wait until a good one comes a long -not unlike fishing. You don’t just want to pull any scrawny fish into the boat and blow your limit. You want to wait and only select the ones that are the primest of the prime. You’re not in it for the number of dates, you’re in it for the quality of people you’re actually going to shave your legs to meet.
You want to make sure they have a job, they have some security, they don’t have little kids or BMD (Baby Mama Drama), you want them to be free on the weekends to be able to adventure with you. You want them to not be completely jaded by the opposite sex, still have some whimsy about the idea of courting, you want them to be a gentleman, but you also want them to make it clear that they are attracted to you in a carnal way – but please, God – don’t act on it….yet. You want them to be stable, comfortable in their own skin, have their crap together, be able to offer you some sort of carrot in the form of a future but not be so over the top wealthy that there’s an overlying cloud, like they can always trade up and do better than you.
It’s a dance really. A very uncomfortable, uncoordinated, negative self talk dance.
The negative self talk is what gives me the anxiety. Am I good enough? Am I too old? Do I intimidate men? Am I too independent? Am I too good looking? Am I not good looking enough? So instead of buying into the negative self talk I’ve decided to flip the script and remind myself that I don’t need any of it. I am like a pristine, artisanal loaf of beautiful crusty bread (crusty in the good way here). I am nourishing, complete and lovely all on my own. I am perfectly capable of being a meal all by myself without any accouterments or additions. I can be good enough to sustain all on my own.
Would a little bit of lovingly made, grass fed, sweet cream butter be a nice addition? Why yes! Yes, it would. I would be very much benefited by a sweet pat of warm, beautifully smooth butter to make my nooks and crannies glisten…..ok, this is going a different direction in my mind. Let’s reign it in a bit, shall we? If you haven’t figured it out, the butter is a metaphor for a man.
I don’t need anything or anyone to complete me, I am complete on my own. However, if someone came along that was like a shiny pat of butter to accompany the nourishing bread that I already am, would I shun it? Of course not. It’s the weeding through all the profiles of chemical laden margarine that is the stressful part. A lot of them present themselves like Irish Hillside, grass-fed, sweet cream butter but really all they are is oil and water whipped together over heat and chilled till it solidifies into a mass of goo. Not the real thing, though on the surface they look close to the real thing. I am willing to wait for the real thing, the butter that melts and becomes nutty and brown and is a great accompaniment for a lot of different dishes, including bread.
I know that butter is out there. I know the wait will be worth it. I know that I may have to tolerate some margarine as I find the real butters of the world and see myself through the processed bull shyte. It’s all part of the dance of dating in later life. I have hope, I have self respect, I have patience. I am in no rush.
I’m sure many of you are curious about how the first date went this past weekend. He is a really good looking man, a Silver Fox you might say. He’s really into cars and can fix anything so we’ll call him Car Guy. Car Guy and I met at a local Mexican restaurant at 6 PM and didn’t leave until the place closed at 10. We had so much to talk about, I laughed until my throat hurt and we only nursed two drinks apiece and had dinner. It was a great date and it ended with a nice hug, no attempt at a kiss and him taking great interest in the front tires on my car, which he said were low. I took the car the next day to the shop and sure enough I’d picked up a nail and the tire was back on the road at no cost for the patch.
If you remember my last blog post (I’ll link it here) where I spoke into being that I wanted a man in my life who would see the things in my life that he could help fix or guide me in fixing myself and make the whole process of adulting a little bit easier,…is that what happened here on this date? It’s much too soon to tell but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind that it was exactly what I’d asked for. I don’t know if we have any real, lasting chemistry – but I get a whole second date to help me figure it out.
I’m glad I wrote this post, I needed to work through why I was so anxious and connect it to my feelings about being good enough. I would be willing to bet it’s not much easier for the guys out there on dating apps. I’m sure most of them are feeling a little bit like cattle at the local auction barn waiting to see if any of the ladies think they are Stud enough.
If any of those men are reading – I’m good enough and YOU are good enough too. I think there is a second act for most of us at our age, if we’re willing to work at it and wait for it. Also, any men reading this – women still really enjoy being asked out, so please do the asking. Chivalry is not dead and it’s circled around to be back in fashion. So dust off those manners, those dating rituals that worked in the old days and put them to use again. You never know, we might say yes.