So what drives a normally content single lady into the jungle of the dating world?
Is it some kind of biological pre-alarm clock that goes off without warning one day, driving you bear-like into the icy waters of the Singles Scene to drag your perfect mate still struggling from it's murky depths? Or is it the frustration inherent to waking up alone and having to open your own jars of pasta sauce?
Loneliness: It happens to the best of us.
The causes can vary, but we all fall victim to It just once. For me, it was an unfortunate combination of being the eldest grandchild on my mother's side while attending the wedding of the second eldest. I went to the wedding because I normally fail pretty badly at being a Relative. I can't keep up with anyone's address except my own so I suck at sending Christmas cards, I'd rather save my money than spend it on plane fare at Thanksgiving, and I can only really keep up with my relations if they update Facebook pretty regularly. However, I promised that I would be there for the wedding and I was --bored, that is.
Looking back, I'm pretty sure that my boredom was being mistaken for either depression or a good sulk because once the wet bar had been open for a little while I began to find myself the focus of a certain variety of Wedding Predator. Not the 'Groom's Drunk and Randy Friend', but rather the Spinster Great Aunt.
To be honest, I didn't even recognize half of those women except to acknowledge that I probably was related to them somehow through the circuitous and spider web-like network of Family Connections in Appalachian Kentucky. That being said, everybody is related to everybody somehow in Appalachian Kentucky, it’s just a matter of how tenuous the connection might be.
I was sitting down and sipping a nice glass of unidentified rose wine -having failed to keep up with the electric slide- and resting my feet when the first one found me. She plopped herself down in the chair next to me and leaned in with a sympathetic look in her eyes while I was still floundering about and trying to remember if I ought to know who she was.
"Don't worry, Dear. I'm sure you'll find someone soon too. Don't let it get you down." At which point she patted my wrist and was gone.
I was, of course, thinking that maybe she'd had a little too much of the excellent red they were serving at that point (having run out of the rose) however within the next hour I had three more such visitations. At the time, I brushed them off, but apparently those words stuck with me as the night wore on and we headed back to the hotel. I was sharing a room with my mother who, among other things, has a sleep apnea -- so she snores loud enough to wake the fucking dead. Combine that with the fact that the air conditioner in the hotel room was set somewhere between 'meat locker' and 'blast chiller' (in December, WTF?) and you have the makings for a bad night indeed.
Laying awake and staring at the ceiling around three AM is never a fun thing. At that time of night you can't help but think of all the things you manage to avoid during the day. For my part, I wish I'd had one of those bad nights where you worry about being able to pay a parking ticket, or arguing with a friend, or something else. However, that night I found myself thinking about the profound lack of a man in in my life since my first boyfriend at eighteen.
Men seem a lot more appealing at three AM in the morning when you can't sleep. Not in the least because even if one was keeping me up with his snoring at least I'd be able to snuggle up against him and keep warm.
I've had time to remind myself of all the reasons that men are tedious and time consuming during the past year. In a moment of being very bored and lonely indeed, I booted up my computer and started to peruse dating websites. I found a few and made profiles before the glow of the monitor helped me drift off for a little rest. By the next morning I'd forgotten about the dating sites and was more or less back to normal. However, some kernel of that dissatisfaction with my otherwise good life stuck with me.
Nothing really came of those websites until February. I guess Valentines Day gets a lot of guys in the dumps, because I started to get messages for the first time shortly after that auspicious day.
The first guy I met online was pretty much as good as it gotten for me. We'll call him M ... M for Mistaken Connections that is. I liked M. He was nice, funny, well employed, educated, with his own place and his own car. I thought things were going pretty well, except for the part where he seemed to consistently miss some of the signs I was trying to give him. You know, the 'I'll just let my hand brush yours while we're walking to encourage you to hold it' thing. Didn't take. We had fun dates up until the third when I decided to make a more aggressive move and kissed him when he dropped me off at my truck. I thought it was a pretty good kiss, but apparently it wasn't because the next time I tried to set up a date with him I got 'the email'. You know that email. The 'I like you, but...' email.
I didn't keep the email in question, but it went something along the lines of 'I don't think there is any spark there for me and I think that it's the same for you'. That last bit kind of pissed me off and still does admittedly, especially when I realized that I was the only one making overtures that he either missed or wasn't interested in. Now, I kind of figure that if he feels that he gets to tell me what I'm feeling then it probably wouldn't have worked out anyway.
Since then, I've never made it past date one with a guy. I have, however, come up with a tradition of summing a bad date in ten words or less. So, for your amusement, I'm listing them here with a brief description so that the internet at least can get some mockery out of my dating failures and what I've learned from them .
1. Mr. "I'm not bitter about my Ex! Why do you ask?" - Seriously. If it's date #1 and you're telling this girl you just met about that horrible bitch you just broke up with (especially if you're phrasing it in this 'I'm totally reasonable about this' tone) it's not going to exactly give the girl warm fuzzy feelings about you. Especially when you have this habit of saying truly horrible self-esteem destroying things without batting an eyelash. Ending the date by saying 'I don't consider this a date, but I'd like to take you out some other time' only drove the last nail into the coffin.
2. Mr. "Creepy McStares-a-lot" - Left the movie three times and just stayed gone for fifteen minutes at a time. Spent the rest of the time at lunch staring at the juggler over my shoulder and Just Not Talking. Have never actually tried to escape a date through the bathroom window, but I was Seriously Considering it after the first twenty minutes. Lost his number. New rule: Drive yourself to all first dates.
3. Mr. "Punk Rock Hobo / Hard Sell" - Poster child for how personality does not make up for all ills. Great guy. Wonderful guy. Arrived at the pre-arranged meeting point and couldn't decide if I was offended that he hadn't bothered to clean himself up for our date ...or worried that he had. Warning Sign: When a guy starts doing the hard sell about things that didn't actually come up in conversation... such as how he loses weight really easily and is really tidy except that his brother's a slob and that's why his house is a wreck. After a while, all I could hear was 'I'm a fixer-upper!'. Rule: Shoes don't stretch and Men don't change. Last but not least: Smoker. Spent the entire week after seeing him wishing for a cigarette.
There will probably be more to add to this list. There are plenty of guys that I've talked to, but never made it to 'actual date' status.