If one day I wake up in Hell surrounded by pillars of fire and my insides laid on a cheese grater, I will have no questions. I will know why I’m there: I love dating.
When you long to be held close by a person who is your soul’s equal and opposite, dating is a pathetic activity, a merry-go-round of rejection that spins into a sickening infinity. But if all you want to do on a Thursday is have a drink and maybe peek into a stranger’s medicine cabinet, there really is nothing better you can do than go on a date.
Dating is a whole new experience. There is no other socially sanctioned opportunity to meet a new person, talk about ideas and feelings, and then leave without a commitment to one another.
A first date with someone you meet online is isolated from every other strand and filament of your social network. It’s suspended in time, and it only exists because two people decide it should be. It’s an absurd and hopeful thing.
For the right person, dating is the perfect hobby. Dating combines the best of hunting, fishing, puzzles, creative writing, community theater and stamp collecting.
Dating has been one of my greatest interests for many years. I got great advice from dates, visited new bars and restaurants, learned about different jobs and family dysfunctions.
A first date is a front-row seat where another person reframes their own personal myth. It’s my number one resource for meeting new dogs. It’s an exciting way to discover that you’re not interested in recreational ax throwing.
I am in a relationship now. We went on a first date, a second, and a third, and then suddenly I wasn’t just peering into his medicine cabinet, I was storing a multi-step skincare routine inside. I don’t feel the urge to date anyone else – but I do miss the freedom to sit down with strangers and let a possibility unfold.
video of the day
But before my relationship, I was single for most of my twenties. Thinking about dating feels like being a babbling kid waking up from a dream. Sometimes dates wanted to vent to use a stranger’s blank canvas as a safe space for their questions about life. Sometimes I’ve done the same — a man on a first date isn’t a therapist, but at desperate times I’ve tried.
It’s invariably interesting to learn about people’s roommates, their childhoods, their favorite pasta joints, and hidden parks. I love that data is finite, the parameters are less sticky than most interactions. After a first or second date, it’s not only acceptable, it’s practically inevitable for a person to say, “We’ll never see each other again.”
Shortly after getting my first Covid vaccine, I went on a dating spree. I’ve had three first dates in one week, all at the same bar. My first date had an intense gaze and asked good questions. We chatted animatedly for about 25 minutes, then he interrupted me. “Something terrible has happened,” he announced. I was alarmed but he refused to explain and shook his head in disbelief so we split the bill and left the bar looking pale and haggard. We walked a few blocks in silence. Finally he turned to me. “Look,” he said. “I think you’re such an interesting person.” I was confused but intrigued. Being dumped after 25 minutes was a first. Would this man claim that he telepathically reconnected with an ex-girlfriend during our date?
“You talked too much and kept interrupting,” he said. There was more. I had seemed scared. I had misunderstood one of his jokes. He was very apologetic but wanted to be honest. These things bothered him.
I knew right away that most of what he said was true – I’ve talked too much! I interrupted. I certainly didn’t understand his jokes. I had been so excited to get back into dating, but it came at the cost of actually listening to the other person. I asked if he wanted to come to my apartment and give me an overview of how he thought the date went. This was not an attempt at seduction. My date was very surprised, but he walked in and we sat a polite distance apart, chastely reenacting and repeating the date. There was no sexual tension. Analysis only.
Two nights later, I went to the same bar for my second first date of the week. As my date spoke, I had an urgent feeling that if he got up at the end of the night and went on with the rest of his life, it would be a loss for me , as I had loved to do on other dates.
I started frantically repeating the tips from my previous date. What had the first man said? That I should listen, not interrupt, make time for the other person to talk. I took a deep breath. I silently thanked you on my last date. I tried to behave like a normal person.
Now we have been together for more than a year. I was still on my third date this week, with the third guy, and at the same bar. Just one more thing on the go.
If dating is torture for you, there’s little point in hearing that someone else enjoys it. I don’t think singles who want to be partners should be lucky or enjoy being single. Rather, I think people in relationships lack opportunities to find humanity in strangers. This is a real loss that is not acknowledged often enough.
The closest I’ve come to finding a substitute for dating is when I’m waiting for public transportation. It starts out awkwardly like a first date – furtive glances, long silences, distant looks. But then everyone starts asking personal questions (“How long have you been waiting?”) and finding common ground (“45 is always late! They keep each other company. They wait — faces flushed, hearts pumping — for something to happen.
https://www.independent.ie/style/sex-relationships/i-dont-miss-being-single-but-heres-why-i-do-miss-first-dates-41896293.html I don’t miss being single — but that’s why I miss first dates