Here in the land of Dating for Dummies, my three-dimensional life has been coming between me and the hordes of men who want to date the digital me. At least, between me and all three of the members of the aforementioned “horde” — the two dudes with hair, and the one quasi-juicehead who doesn’t quite look like either Hans or Franz.
Part of the reason that the Dating Experiment began was I had a Real Life that was impingeing upon my ability to Go Out And Meet People. Now, my Real Life is also impeding my ability to take part in the Dating Experiment.
As previously mentioned, this crazy adventure really reminded me that I should go out more. So in some sense, the “Thirty Days of Dating” project has worked like a charm. But as to the “actually introducing me to strangers/serial killers with whom to mate”…that portion of the experiment seems to be a bit of a failure.
But the question that keeps coming up in the course of my finally deciding to be open to other people is: When starting over, where does one begin?
(Relatedly, three years after the end of a marriage, can one still be in the starting over phase?)
First, let’s talk about where one DOES NOT begin.
1) Bars: Bars are not good places to meet prospective partners, period end of discussion.
For instance, early this year, I met a guy friend for dinner and drinks. This particular friend had always enjoyed Jewish Mothering me, and was thrilled to take me out and smother me with dating advice. On the night in question, we wound up staying out later than I had expected, and at the end of the evening, we went for a nightcap at a bar that was clearly not a nightcappy sort of place. There, we met two guys who first had to be convinced that my friend was not trying to take me home, and then, it was like someone had thrown a bucket of chum into the shark tank.
The two poor fools were each whispering into my ear: Do you want to come uptown tonight? Since I was a bit dense, it took me a good 20 minutes to understand that this was not an invitation to accompany them to the Upper West Side for a game of Scrabble.
All things considered, it was kind of a shame, because I played a mean game of Scrabble.
But what the hell. Did people actually behave that way?
I suppose I should’ve taken it as instructive when I encountered that same thing last Fall when Strand, Miss Mal and I accidentally crashed an Eton reunion. But I thought that was somehow different because everyone there was approximately 22 years old and maybe didn’t know better.
FYI: It’s not different. If you meet him in a bar and he asks you to go somewhere else, he doesn’t want to play Scrabble.
2) Your Drycleaner: You probably will not have this problem, but if your tailor or drycleaner ever tries to set you up with anyone, I strongly recommend saying “no.” See, e.g., my experience with Taylor, the guy who waxed poetic about his cats all night long, whilst committing so many other, greater dating transgressions that I didn’t even I feel comfortable describing them in a recap.
3) Your Ex-Husband’s Law Firm: If you ever find yourself at an event at your ex-husband’s law firm, and one of the lawyers, and/or some random Irish securitisation guy asks you out, decline. Run away. Even if it seems romantic that he’ll fly to New York for you — multiple times — it’s like letting a vampire into your house. He’ll never go away.
And that’s how I shouldn’t have met people. The internet is proving to be a marginally less intimidating than a bar; less ridiculous than my ex-tailor; less absurd than my former husband’s law firm. But the internet still seems oddly suspicious to me — I don’t think I like picking a suitor out of a digital lineup, and/or having one search for my details and order me up like a sandwich.
Is waiting better than dating? My Real Life is strange, and fulfilling, and worth being lived to its fullest. And many of the things I want, I can have on my own if I don’t ever find a partner. While there are no substitutes for some of the other benefits of companionship, I think, in this waiting-space looking back on my experiment thus far, three-dimensional me is doing a bit better than I thought.