Valentines is a day for reflecting. If you are in a relationship it is a time for reflecting on all those things you love and appreciate about your significant other. What it is that makes them special, how you can continue working to cultivate a healthy relationship, and blah blah blah.
For those of us that are single, it is a time for reflecting on the ones that got away. Are we really progressing in this dating adventure or have we just gotten more desperate and too picky along the way so that one truly amazing person slipped away without us even noticing? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves.
To start this time of reflection for myself, I am going to guess where some of my past dates are now – hopefully you can relate to some of the types of people I have dated (please? make me feel less abnormal!) And by taking a trip down memory lane we can all hopefully learn a little bit about whether we are progressing in our dating attempts or have yet to raise the bar for ourselves.
First, there’s Little Justin. I am not sure he counts since he was my next door neighbor until I was about 4. All I remember is chasing him around trying to kiss him. Since I have not seen him for 24 years I am just going to guess he is in therapy.
Then there was Tyska. I chased him on the playground in first grade and kissed him on the cheek (I am JUST NOW realizing what an aggressive little girl I was!). He told the teacher on me so I had to go sit in the timeout chair. I am going to guess he works for a collections agency for the CIA.
Then there was Flower. I guess we never really dated, but I had the BIGGEST crush on him ever and he took me to a couple school dances. My dad hollered at him across a football field during the homecoming coronation. I have a FEELING that didn’t help my cause in trying to marry him. That’s a great story if you ever want to hear the full thing sometime. I am guessing he is married to a woman with a father that does NOT yell at him in front of large crowds of people.
Then there was Jesus. Cause, you know, I kissed dating goodbye. But it got hard when I wanted to cuddle or kiss him. He felt distant….physically. Don’t get me wrong – best boyfriend I’ve ever had. I just thought we should not get so exclusive so fast – I was only in High School and I was sure my parents would not be happy if I settled down so early.
Then there was Hardy-Boy. You know this type, the boy who asks you to date him but keep it a secret. I am guessing he works at WalMart and plays Second Life on the weekends.
Then there was Scottish Storr. What a dream. An intense dream that scared me. But a dream. You know, the type you can’t find ANYTHING wrong with but there’s still no spark? I am sure he is climbing a rainbow on a unicorn with an elvish princess somewhere.
Then there was SpongeBob. The guy that had spongebob everything and was a little too obsessed with vampires. But you’re willing to overlook the really odd things because he worked as a barista so I got a lots of free coffee. I am guessing he is an extra in some of the Twilight films and currently collects Robert Pattinson paraphernalia.
Then there was Blogger. I hope you don’t know this type, but I think they’re pretty common. The guy that after you break up with them write terrible awful things about you in a public forum, and USE YOUR REAL NAME. I am guessing he works for TMZ now.
Now we will run through a series of men I went on just ONE date with (see if you can guess why!):
Ferris: The guy that got behind the wheel of a car after drinking and said “seriously, I am fine, but just don’t get too rowdy, I don’t want to get pulled over – cause I am good enough to drive, just not good enough to blow into one of those tubey thingys”. My guess is he is dead.
School Bus Guy: The guy that admitted hitting a school bus full of children with his car. I am guessing he is in jail.
Bouncer: The guy that lit up a joint while we were out. I am guessing he is a model now (that has nothing to do with the story – he was just VERY attractive).
Latin Lover: The guy that I met salsa dancing that later that week dropped cases of beer off at my house. I PERHAPS should not have let this one go. I am guessing he is in AA.
Myself: That one night I drank a whole bottle of wine, ate a two year old steak and too many chocolate chip cookies, and then topped it all off with the second cigarette of my life. What? Oh, yes, I did wake up puking at 3am. And my lovely roommate cleaned it up.
Consultant: The guy I accidentally went on a lunch date with (accidental dates DO happen, am I right?) and then told I would never want to go out with again over voicemail. Oops. I am guessing he is now dating a blonde.
Eyeball: The guy that would pinch my nose and play with my hair throughout our meal and then tried to kiss me three times at the end of the date after I explicitly said no. I am guessing he works in a hair salon.
Dogpark Guy: The guy that called me Dude and still lived with his parents. I am guessing he still lives with his parents.
So, I guess you could say I could have done better. And I’d say – I KNOW, but a girl’s got to eat! Even though none of these guys turned out to be the love of my life, I don’t regret the journey I’ve been on. I’ve laughed a lot – and those who know me have laughed even more (mostly at me).
Christian society puts too much pressure on perfect love, on finding “THE One,” on not taking an active role in your own life and waiting for lightning to strike you until you ever do anything for God or yourself. I’m not advocating you go crazy – date everyone you see – have promiscuous sex – and marry a couple of wrong guys to find the right one. I’m just saying that dating around isn’t such a bad thing. If I’ve learned anything from all my online experiences and the random conversations with guys in bars and the various coffee dates it’s little bits of what I simply could never handle in a potential marriage partner someday. The traits my husband could not have or I would go crazy. And on the flip end I learn little bits of what I love in these various guys that I will be sure exist in any man I might pursue something serious with one day. And it’s this learning that helps me grow and, perhaps most importantly, learn about myself and how I engage with others.
I think my friend Aaron puts it well when he talks about his experience with dating and meeting his wife Megan: “I know I’ll never be asked to write a book on dating. I’m cool with that. But I do know one thing about dating and that’s this: some people already know exactly what they are looking for in a mate and some don’t. I didn’t. I thought I did, but I didn’t. Sure, if I could go back I’d do some things differently. I’d approach dating much more casually and I would have been much more mindful of the feelings of others. But all in all, dating was a good move for me. I ended up finding Megan, my wife. She is perfect for me in so many ways. Had I not dated anyone I probably would have ended up marrying someone like the sex Ed. girl or the drama queen. And life would have probably been a lot like wearing a jock strap for the rest of my days. I’d survive to be sure, but no amount of adjusting would ever make it a comfortable or enjoyable experience. Thank God for dating.”