Dating is a weird thing, am I right?
I mean, in normal life– normal defined here as “not awkwardly stammering about your favorite Jackie Chan movie while nervously sucking down a vodka tonic”– you meet people as they are. You’re working or you’re schooling or you’re hanging with friends. You’re buying cereal. You’re just being yourself, doing your thing, and sometimes you meet new people and hey, that’s good times.
But dating? Is a weird thing. Because it isn’t just a meeting, it’s an interview. And I’m not being myself, because I don’t even know what that means yet. Because there is no “me” right? There’s only ‘me‘ in relation to ‘you‘ and your ‘you’ is still unknown.
Too: in real life, my affection for people tends to grow over time, but in a dating scenario this is nearly impossible. We meet, we make small talk, and if a string concerto isn’t soaring by the first or second meeting, we give up and we move on.
Maybe that’s smart and maybe it isn’t.
And then there’s this other thing; this complication of adulthood that has me chewing my nails and blinking at my ceiling at too late of an hour. This thing is this: I have a group of friends that I love, love, love– they are smart and witty and kind and I like them more every time that I see them. The only problem? It’s a group of beautiful, happy couples and when I’m not the third wheel, I’m the fifth, and when I’m not the fifth wheel, I’m the seventh.
And this is never as awkward as it sounds and it’s always a good time, but the insecure middle-schooler in me wonders if there’s an expiration date on my dinner party inclusion. I feel, after all, sort of stunted. A single woman is, in some ways, a child in our society, no matter what her age, and I feel like this strange Peter Pan in an island of grown up people.
And so I’m not just dating for me, am I? If I’m being honest, I’m dating because I need to be part of. I need to be included and adult; a whole person and not just an unwanted half. And this not-quite-existent someone needs to fit in with that, too. And it’s all very complicated and there will be babies sometime soon and play dates that I won’t be a part of and good lord, no one ever told me that 26 would be this hard.
Anyway, this is all to say that I have a date with Fantasy Football this weekend. Wish me.
My Chicago sunshine, To Kiss the Cook, wrote a lovely post yesterday in celebration of fall. And oh! how I share her joy. Light sweaters and crackling air; autumn leaves and warm blankets. Winter is already whistling its sorry tune, but after a too-sticky summer, we’re almost humming along.
Fall means fresh notebooks and fresh starts, clean trapper keepers and neatly labeled folders. A matching outfit laid neatly on the bedspread. There was always so much hope surrounding that ritual; it was a new year and anything could happen.
As an adult, that feeling has become a stranger: we just wake up and we are. But in those first crisp days of fall, with a warm mug of cider and palms pressed against, I can almost feel it again.
My housemate says that fall is a time of hoarding, a sort of anxious desperation. I feel that, too. Another year gone, leaves alight with a bittersweet swan song. It’s a beautiful death and one charged with the promise of rebirth, but it’s death all the same. These days of flip flops and tank tops and back porch barbecues, they’re numbered and we’re counting each one, quietly, quietly. Cold nights and heavy boots, they’re peering in our windows and waiting in the cobwebs, and we’re lighting every candle to shoo them out, to welcome them in.
This is how it goes.
photo credit photographer padawan