I can admit that I went on 32 first dates in the 16 months before I met my partner, Dutch. Thirty-two first dates is a great deal of work. There were times when I had to do some fancy footwork to avoid an awkward, unwelcome kiss and when I had to dig deep into my patience reserve to stop myself from screaming, “STOP TALKING! You are being such an ass!” or “Keep your hands to yourself!”
For my search for a mate, I utilized online dating. Where else was I going to meet someone upscale, intelligent and successful? Definitely not at my local laundry mat or grocery store and certainly not at work. I didn’t want to meet anyone exactly like me, who is just beginning to get life figured out. I wanted to meet someone with some life experience who could show me remarkable and amazing stuff that was still unknown to me.
Online dating taught me some important life lessons during my search for a mate. I want to share some of those lessons in this blog.
Honesty really is the best policy. Users of online dating forums fill out questionnaires about their physical appearance and personal likes and dislikes. I checked that I like “sci-fi” thinking that meant the Star Trek character Captain Piccard or the card game Magic. After a long day at work, I went out on a date and fell asleep watching the 50th episode of Dr. Who with an overly enthusiastic Dr. Who fan and was dumped the very next day.
Apparently, the Devil really is in the details. I probably should have been suspicious of the Tardis in my date’s front yard, but I didn’t know then that a Tardis was not just an oddly-colored English phone booth.
Always carry an emergency stash of cash with you. I had changed jobs and had just enough money in my checking account to go on a small grocery run before my new job’s paycheck was freed up from accounting limbo. I met a publicist for dinner and a drink at the place of my date’s choosing. My date ordered us both a very expensive shot of bourbon to “sip and enjoy.” We ordered Food Network worthy food. The waiter started to bring the check when my “date” told him to split the check. I had seriously hoped the restaurant floor would open up and swallow me whole without a trace. No such luck. I ended up giving my grocery money to the server to pay my half of the tab and to leave an above decent tip for the server, whose fault this situation was not. I lived on crackers and cheese until my paycheck arrived.
There are some people you will never make happy. When you meet one of these unhappy souls, your inner radar should make a sound. It may be a sonic boom, or it could just be that incessant chirp made by a smoke detector with a bad battery. Whatever sound your inner alarm makes around unhappy people, RUN for the nearest exit and don’t look back.
Be open to new possibilities. Going out on lackluster and sometimes awful dates gave me the opportunity to learn more about what I was wanting for my future. The biggest game changer for me was discovering and accepting that I don’t want to be a mother. I needed a partner with either no children or grown children with all their apron strings severed. Once I figured out that my ultimate desire is to remain childless while enjoying a good life, I quit dating people my own age because most of them wanted children or had children. I then launched into dating people at least a decade older than me. This was the best move I ever made in the dating game, and the one that would eventually lead me to Dutch.
Leave the past in the past. Give the basics of your past. Don’t hide anything that a quick Google search will reveal about you. We all make mistakes, and we all have had some less-than-stellar moments in our lives. Accept your mistakes and learn from them for a happier present life.
Be yourself. Being a chameleon is just fine ‑‑‑ if you are a chameleon. If you want someone to love you, be the real you. You will either be accepted or not. When you find the person who will accept you as you are without trying to change you, then you have found love. It really is that simple.
Happy Anniversary, Dutch!