I’ve been on a lot of dates in my life. A lot. And like most people who go on dates, I would really like to find someone I can truly connect with, as this would save a heck of a lot of time, energy and JDate money.
I get my hopes up every time, even for the guys I know won’t work out from the get-go because they use military time when they’re not in the military or say “sweet” when they’re not talking about candy. Not that I’m picky or anything. I just want people to talk normally, that’s all.
I tend to convince myself that each date is the last date I will ever go on, and if it isn’t amazing I am that much closer to being doomed to a life of Chinese takeout and probably cats. I often fail to remember how Chinese takeout is amazing and not shameful at all, and I would choose a dog or a monkey or a plant or really any other kind of pet over a cat. Plus, each date is never the last date; thanks to the fine folks who plan Jewish young adult events and run dating sites, there are always more. Thanks, fine folks. Feel free to get more awesome people.
Most of the dates I go on aren’t terrible. Yes, there was that one guy who, on date two, casually mentioned he was married and he and his wife enjoy “hanging out” with other women and would I want to meet her sometime? And there was the guy who basically said “I love you” on the first date (and not in the precious Ted-Mosby-and-Robin back in the day kind of way).
But other than that, everything has been pretty ho-hum. We go. We chat. We eat and/or drink something. We look at the clock. (Okay, that’s usually just me. Sorry. But guys should stop taking me to places with clocks—and being boring.) We try really hard to avoid awkward silence. We (just me again) do the Check Dance. We leave. We (me) stop for fro-yo on the way home to make ourselves feel better about life. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
It’s fortunate that I’ve gotten pretty good at the aforementioned Check Dance over the years so I’m able to spend my hard-earned money on frozen yogurt instead of on these silly people. No offense, lovely men I’ve gone on dates with: you’re generally a nice bunch, just not right for me. I’m sure you’re frustrated, too, going on a date with a girl who is eager to ditch you for frozen yogurt.
I think average dates are actually more disappointing than terrible dates, because at least with terrible dates you know there’s no way it’s going to happen, ever, even if he’s the last five-eight-or-taller-nice-Jewish-boy left on Earth. But average dates leave you wondering—was it truly average, or was it just an off day for him/you/the world? Could he/she become above average with a little training? Oftentimes you realize that if you’re asking these questions, you already know the answer.
Sometimes my anxiety is all, “if this person likes you, you need to like this person. Where do you think you live, in a vast, free-flowing, cascading pool of nice, tall-ish, not-too-nerdy-but-not-too-douche-y Jewish boys who are having Scrabble tournaments to determine who gets the distinct honor of being with you? No, that is not where you live. So like the average dude, darn it!”
Luckily, I also have a very functional, rational brain, and it usually chimes in with a little “hi, let’s be calm now. You haven’t lost anything by not liking this person, as you did not have anything to lose here. There will be more dates. Somehow, as improbable as it seems, there are always more dates. Now go simmer down and have a cookie.”
That is the important thing to remember, folks. Not necessarily the “simmer down and have a cookie” thing, though that is pretty solid advice if you ask me. Cookies make everything better, as do rainbow sprinkles and, yes, fro-yo. But really, average dates are not making or breaking anything. You’re fine. Nothing’s changing. And in this day and age, you just need to be glad if he/she isn’t married or a serial killer. Little victories, my friend. The big one will come eventually. I hope.