After getting many responses from the “50 First Dates” article, it is apparent that dating and the complexities that go along with it is something many people are dealing with especially with the online dating era. In fact, as I was looking up a meme about dating to post on my Facebook wall, I came across many blogs and articles about dating. What each writer had written seemed to resonate what I was already experiencing after just beginning to date.
I think I liked things better before I opened that door to dating. The one where innocence still abounded and looking through the dating door seemed full of opportunities – all it took was stepping out. I did. I stepped out and now I want to crawl back through that “unopened door”… but I already walked through it. Now, my mind is not fresh thinking there are opportunities to get to know someone who might make a good friend.
Now, what is in my mind is how shallow single men of this world can be. When I left my un-repairable marriage, I prayed that God would keep me from becoming jaded, or becoming a man-hater. I liked my trusting heart. I liked my ability to love easily. I knew that I could love again when it was time. And now, after coming through the dating door, my eyes have already seen how messy it is out there. I don’t know how to view dating as a possibility to get to know someone who could turn out to be special.
I already want to give up. If I were in my twenties, that may seem a bit hasty after only beginning in August and now it is just September, but this is not my first rodeo.
I had years of dating experience between my first and last marriage. I had learned what type of man attracted me; I had learned what boundaries to have. When I had tried the online dating sites a few months ago, I never even went on a date! I deleted my account after only a week. Maybe these are baby steps and I won’t really give up on dating, but today… this is where I am. Stepping my toe in the water the first time to see what was out there was not pretty.
Then after moving past the fear of meeting someone, feeling strong enough to keep my boundaries in place, I tried it. After the 50 First Dates article, I planned to delete my accounts with both dating sites. I deleted my profile on EHarmony and I was about to delete my account with Christian Mingle, only to find a message in my inbox that intrigued me. I was already bummed and this guy was about to hear about it. I didn’t choose any words carefully, I just let him have it – “If you see my photos and want Barbie, trust me, I am not. Look carefully at my recent photos and if you want to get to know me, feel free to email me – I am deleting my account.”
I didn’t expect to hear from him and I didn’t care. He emailed me… he said all the right things. I sent more photos just so that he knew exactly what I looked like, head to toe. Profile pictures show your face or upper body but what people can get in their head can leave them disappointed when they meet you “un-cropped”. I was tired of that. I didn’t really want to go through 50 first dates and never a second. We spent a week, non-stop, emailing three and four page emails. Things seemed ‘right there’ and we just had to meet. My son Nathan overheard me “voice-texting” where I spoke into my phone and I had said, “I am excited, too” in a response to his text.
My son was joking with me after having read my last article and he said, “Why are you excited? It’s just a first date… get excited if there is a second.” He had no idea how right he was!
Of course, it is the same old story, the same old song and dance. This man had heard me speak of the last date that I had who clearly ‘blew me off’ and so this guy decided he wasn’t going to do that. No, he would still send flirty texts after our date and THEN send the email telling me that he is in a bad place and it is not meant for him to have anything potentially with someone, (this, after his profile read that he was looking for that Godly wife).
I don’t need to be anyone’s wife right now, but I did want to just be in a “one on one”. Before accepting the date or putting all the time and energy into getting to know him through emails, I had already wanted to get out of the saddle and hang up my spurs. And this only added to that feeling.
My first date that I had tried with “Delmar” was actually pleasant; I like him and am still friends with him – we just are not in the same place. So, attempting dating has not been horrible, but it sure has a stigma attached to it. It does take a lot of time and energy to get to know someone through our medium of online social correspondence. Waiting on emails, taking the time to read them and to write them, waiting for them to be read, texting back and forth periodically throughout the week… it is so different than it used to be. I miss beginning with the physical contact, getting to know each other in person.
That is why I deleted my online dating profiles. Call me old-fashioned, but I just don’t see how an old soul like me could ever fit in in today’s dating society and the way it’s done. I also seemed to be paired up with men my own age when honestly, I have always been attracted to much older men. Well, not much older… not my parents' age, but a gentleman over 55 up to maybe 60 something is where I find men intellectually stimulating, I connect with older men who are ‘over themselves’. I also find more things in common because I am an old soul. I like old music, I like to cook and clean. I guess I am the displaced 1950s housewife.
But I like my career and want to continue in it. And when I put time and energy into my work it gives back. What I do now may not pay what a professional makes but it has its own rewards. I have several girlfriends who have a successful career and make enough income to have what they want in life – yet they have dating woes too. Men don’t see their hearts. They seem to be measured by such empty standards and it is the same when I am measured by my appearance or lack of a degree that would get me into a social club. Does anyone care about character anymore? Integrity? Honesty? Loyalty?
After the last slew of dates and getting bummed about them, I had gone out to the ranch to see Smokey. I wasn’t depressed or sad; I just needed to be accepted for being me. I needed to put on my cowgirl boots and hug a horse! I walked far out to the pasture where Smokey’s herd was. The dark horse that looks identical to Smokey was out front. I began singing my favorite Billie Holiday tune that brings Smokey to me. The dark horse came up to me and another white horse came over to me as well. I knew it was not Smokey because Smokey doesn’t share me. He always chases the other horses away that come up to me.
I spied the lone dark horse farther out in the pasture. Smokey always stays off to himself. He is a ‘people horse’. As I got closer to him, I started singing again. He raised his head from grazing and began nodding and moving towards me. I held out my arms until he came to me. I had forgotten his treat, but he didn’t care. He was ready to follow me back to the barn. Smokey didn’t care that I was not a size two. He didn’t care that I didn’t drive a Mercedes. Smokey loved me for me. He loved how I brushed him and he loved how I kissed his soft muzzle. He loved how I scratched his back and massaged him. He loved my touch – the special touch with so much love energy – all for him.
After he was beautifully groomed and we shared a few kisses and hugs, I saddled him up and mounted him. Not having insurance, I don’t take risks with riding Smokey, so we stayed in the ring. As we rode, I listened to the therapeutic sound of his hoofs and the creaking leather saddle. As I reflected on the past month of trying to ‘get back in the saddle’ of the dating scene, I already wanted to hang up my spurs. Of course, when I backed up the first time of sticking my toe in the water and then making an attempt and trying out three dates – and recently, a fourth one… I realize that this could be an on again, off again kind of thing.
Maybe it takes that “1-2-3 Go!” kind of beginning, where you don’t just “go”. You ease into it. I have no idea. I didn’t make the rules and no matter how much you read on the subject no one person can advise you on what to expect or how to do it. You just have to take your risks and then step back if you need to. At least I tried and was not chicken anymore, but I am hanging up my spurs for awhile. It’s time for a girlie play date that I have with a four-year-old little grand-darling named, Kylee. One day, I may have insurance and have that safety net to be able to dig my spurs in and tell Smokey “Go!” … maybe by that time I will put my dating spurs back on and be able to dig in and say “Giddy up!”