Plug Nose, Close Eyes, Jump In

Disclaimer: I will never be one of those people that regularly broadcasts or writes about her dating life as a main topic unless there’s a darn good reason. In fact, up until very, very recently I didn’t have a dating life nor did I want one. I’m still not even that sure I do. Even as I type I am reconsidering the posting of this so as to not jinx it. Though if I’m honest, maybe a part of me wants to jinx it a little. Eek. Basically, I don’t know if I’m ready for this.

I haven’t gone on a date with a man that I had only just met since, get your head around it, 2006. Any dates that happened after that year, happened with men I already knew and weren’t even really traditional dress up-and-impress dates but for a small handful. I am, to say the least, out of practice. Which got me thinking about all the things that come along with being new. New to town, new job, new geography, new grocery stores, new bars, new services, new prejudices, and on. Dating is another extension of that, I know. Much like the standard job interview and the stresses that go into being obsessed with a first impression. What do I wear? Remember to hold back a little, be cool. Is this conversation forced? Will it take more than one meeting to develop a feeling one way or the other, or will I just know? Did I come off as a total dork? Will he call? Do I want him to call?

Something I’ve noticed about dating these days, and dating in Cleveland (this is going to sound terribly snobby), is that I need to recalibrate my level of expectation. It’s casual. People don’t dress up really, but for their nicest pair of jeans. Going dutch is normal. Fancy restaurants or higher-end locations are not the traditional mode of impress. It’s not that I can’t afford to split a check or don’t feel I should have to, it’s that… hmm… it’s that I can’t find the words for how I feel about splitting a check. If you know me, you know that I’m a fairly traditional girl when it comes to dating and relationships so I guess the first date is the first impression of that standard of tradition.  But I’m in a new town with new standards and new traditions, right?

So there have been two dates so far, different guys. Soon there will be a third with yet another one. Neither have resulted in second dates and I’m ok with that. “Get back out there” is what has played on a loop in my head during all this. I’m forcing myself though, I’m not really giddy or excited at the prospects. It’s kinda more that the cobwebs don’t get a chance to develop and I get rustier.

The first ten minutes, more accurately the first 30 seconds and ten minutes, is spent trying to sniff out any whiff of chemistry. If inside of 30 minutes I don’t want to make out with him or hope he holds my hand, is it doomed? Probably. Then again, I know plenty of people who are in great relationships after not being so sure after the first outing. Conversely, my relationships that began with a lightening bolt have ended (and in some cases, with different lightening bolts). What does it all mean? To quote the brilliant and learned Bill S. Preston, esquire, “So-cratz – ‘The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing’.” And if there’s one sentence that sums up dating, that may be it.

Allllll that said, I had a real moment this morning when I got up off my awesome new couch and walked towards the kitchen, thinking about breakfast. I knew I had eggs but suddenly remembered that I also had potatoes. Thus, I made my first proper breakfast in my beloved apartment with my first edition of the Sunday paper sitting near my coffee, ate it whilst watching a few movies and am now happily gazing at the lazy sun rays dance across my hardwood floors. Heavenly. I’m happy. I don’t need to go on dates and I think as long as that need doesn’t take over, it’s all one big weird experiment.

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