I have a date tonight. At 8:45 pm. How ridiculous is that? It is 4 now and I am ready to go home, put on some pjs and watch my latest Netflix movie - Bride and Prejudice - while eating dinner I order off the internet. He wanted to pick me up at some unspecified time and I insisted on meeting him at the restaurant because a) I don't like first dates showing up at my house - awkward; and b) I thought we would meet at a normal time like 8 and I could just run errands and get a pedicure before dinner without going home to be tempted by my couch. I know 45 minutes isn't a lot later but on a Friday night I would rather be dozing on my couch with my leftovers in the fridge at 845 than meeting random guy at a new Asian fusion restaurant in Hell's Kitchen - even though I am interested in trying the restaurant.
I guess by now you, my dear reader, have figured out I am not entirely excited about this date. I was going to try and avoid the date but then he sent that fun email. However, each subsequent email has gotten worse and worse to the point of being irritating, like he's trying too hard. Plus, and this is the worst part, I found out he may or may not be divorced. Meaning, he definitely was married but it is questionable whether or not the divorce has been finalized. My friend who handed my number over to him is "pretty sure" the divorce is final and knows he is anxious to get married again. This sounds terrible to me. As a divorcee, I must say much like newly returned missionaries, the newly divorced are an odd lot. They are needy and anxious and are in far too much of a hurry to fill the void their ex-spouse has left. They are also in great need of loads of counseling which they tend to seek from random passers-by, including dates. I understand. I was there, for years. But in order for me to want to endure that emotional hurdle, I would have to have a strong attraction to the guy. The kind of attraction I cannot manufacture here, at all.
So here I am, a few hours away from a date - a novelty I rarely experience - already trying to figure out how to avoid going out with the guy again. You see, I never really learned the fine art of dating so I usually view them as traps. I've had many, many boyfriends (I'm not bragging here, just stating a fact that is mostly due to the great length of time I have been single, besides most of them were bunched up in the 90s, this new millenium thing hasn't treated me as well) but I have done very little dating. In fact, very few of my past boyfriends ever started with a date. I don't know how I slipped through the cracks and never learned how to date - it just happened. I am just not a date-girl. As a result I have never been what I like to call the "flavor of the month." You know, the cute, perky girl every guy in the ward asks out. These are the girls that get confused by the fact that they will go through long periods without a date (say a month) and then suddenly 2 or 3 guys ask them out at once. They are flavor of the month date girls. They are sweet and nice and adoring so Date-Boys like to ask them out. Date-boys are generally BYU grads who have mastered the skill of creative dating. I wish I had some examples but I've only heard second-hand accounts of these activities so I view them mostly as mythical happenings. Although I once had a date-boy boyfriend. He was frustrated by my lack of interest in dating and I was frustrated by his interest in dating. I blame my early years for this gap.
In high school I managed to convince myself that people only went on dates to dances or maybe if they had a boyfriend already. I don't believe I ever saw dating as a means to obtaining a boyfriend. I remember once a guy friend of mine invited me to a high school football game and I thought it was a date until I had to pay for my own ticket. Never again did I assume. Of course the handful of actual dates I went on in high school generally either involved going to a dance or was with some undesirable guy who had already claimed me as his girlfriend by forcing some pretty gross kissing on me (honestly, it is a wonder I ever learned to like kissing after Cro-Magnon man shoved his tongue down my throat for my oh, so sweet first kiss in my parents' basement after a Jazz game or after Broken Neck puckered up like he had a whole lemon in his mouth - as an aside to the aside, Cro-Magnon man received his name for sporting a beard in high school which probably explains my aversion to facial hair and Broken Neck is so-named for his inability to lift his head after I broke up with him after 3 dates and he turned into a skin-head).
During most of college (except when I was married) I pretty much had a new boyfriend each quarter but never managed to go on dates when I was between boyfriends and I can't exactly explain how I ended up with each of those boyfriends without ever going on a first date - except for maybe my kiss-a lot-of-frogs philosophy. Although I probably owe a great number of them either directly or indirectly to the SUU rock climbing club. Post-divorce, post-college has resulted in the same pattern. Since I never learned how to date in high school or college I never managed to pick it up later. In fact, since the boys I liked generally magically morphed from guy-I-was-interested-in (or simply guy interested in me) to boyfriend without any awkward first dates, I came to the conclusion that all dates are bad and I am not missing anything by not going on them.
A handful of awkward first dates (most of them blind dates) that thankfully never resulted in second dates have continued to confirm that I do not like dating and as a result I have no sadness or self-pity when I choose to spend Friday night in my pjs, ordering Thai food and watching a movie with popcorn and peanut m&ms. In fact, I find this one of my secret joys of being single. I have never been able to understand the girls who complain about not dating during testimony meeting (most of these I saw at BYU, some at SUU). Lamenting the lack of love in my life, yes (but never from the church pulpit!); a lack of dates, no. I've had my low points and I have a strong desire to meet someone and get married and all of that but I would prefer to get there by avoiding the dating process altogether. Is that really so much to ask for?
Unfortunately tonight, as much as I would like to indulge myself I have to nearly starve myself until 845 to go on what is sure to be the type of endurance dinner where I try to be nice and engaging but not so engaging and interesting that he will want to ask me out again. I have an all too vivid memory of a bad date a couple of years ago that went so poorly I was convinced he would never try and call me (I refused to hold his hand - literally, I told him I didn't want him to hold my hand - and practically jumped out of his car before it was stopped in my driveway). But he tricked me by calling me at work from his unknown work number and asked me out again. I avoided and then he asked me to be direct and I was forced to flat out tell him I was not interested. I felt my whole body temperature rise by about 15 degrees and I started sweating and I wanted to scream to break the tension as soon as I got off the phone. I can't deal with that, I just want the guy to realize this won't work. I will also have to figure out a way to go home straight after dinner (no extra movie or other activity) and not let him walk me home.
And people ask me why I am still single. . .