If you’re reading this, you have been told you are now ready to date. Your mourning is done, enough time has passed, you’ve lost some weight (ok, well you planned to but instead just bought new Spanx), you’ve got a new haircut on your head, new lipstick on your lips and a new sponge in the sink. All is ready. Or if you’re reading this, it’s because you were specifically told not to date. You’re not ready, you need to love yourself first, give yourself time to heal before just rushing into the arms of another man. So naturally, you’ve thrown that advice to the wayside and are here to date.
Well dating in your 20’s is a far cry from dating as a single mom. There’s terms and codes to abide by. There’s the language of emojis one must learn with fluency – a kiss emoji with the heart eyes sends a very different message from the emoji with just a wink.
The internet used to be a shameful place to meet someone. It was the equivalent of wearing a beautiful dress and reluctantly admitting it’s from Kmart only to hear people say “who knew you could find such quality there?” But now, I wouldn’t even know where to go to meet a man in the flesh. I mean that would require leaving the house, make up, a babysitter all on the hope of MAYBE meeting someone? It’s like shopping on Boxing Day – yeah, there is great stuff to be found but the hassle of the parking and the people just isn’t worth it.
And then the app downloads begin. Let me just warn you, before you do this make sure your devices aren’t synched with any that your children may have access to. The last thing you want to hear is “Mommy what is friends with benefits. Is that like someone who brings you lollipops all the time?” “Uh, yeah sure sweetie…exactly”
You’ll soon discover, like an infant with an iPhone, that your fingers are magical. They can swipe you all over the world without ever leaving the couch. At first it’s fun. “Oooh he’s cute!!” “Oh gosh, he’s gorgeous.” “Lord, where have these men been all my life??” But then as the top picks start waning and real men start filtering through….”nope, I don’t like his face.” “Nope, his name is weird.” “Nope, he dated my cousin.” “OMG! that is my cousin!!”
You trudge on with the apps, beginning countless conversations with endless disappointment only to discover he lives in LA and lives a Vegan lifestyle and you have no idea what else he said because after no sugar, no flour, no happiness you stopped reading. Day in and day out this is how it goes, you check your phone on your lunch break, maybe someone popped up.
There will be the guys who play it hard from the get go with less than honourable goals in mind but they reveal themselves quite quickly. There’s the ones who have one foot in and one foot out so they say, “hey you wanna grab a coffee sometime?” Let me just say here, I don’t know when coffee became a date but here in North America, coffee is a given, nay a civil right. It is part of routine and basic hygiene. It’s like asking someone to shave their legs with you. You show up to the date dressed, legs shaved, teeth brushed and coffee consumed. Then there are the me, very very few and far between, who will ask you to go on a date with them. No preamble. No nonsense. These are my favourite amongst the breed but are facing extinction at alarming rates.
And then one day someone does match with you. And he lives in your city, isn’t closer to your grandparents age than yours, looks like he showers regularly and may be able to know the difference between your and you’re. You begin talking. He’s engaging, charismatic, charming with just the right amount of flirtation thrown in so you know he’s really interested. You make plans for a date for a Saturday night. Immediately your head is racing. What do I wear? Should I get my hair done? I want to look like I tried without looking like I’m trying, you know?? Should I go for a wax? No no no, I’m not that kind of woman! But, what if I am? How do I know what kind of woman I am? Somehow you manage to quell your nerves and make it to Sunday.
Now, in your 20’s, the guy would show up in a leather jacket, wind blowing through his tousled hair as he comes around his sexy little car and says “hey” and gives you a look that makes you…makes you just want to eat lollipops all day. Fast forward a decade and four kids later and things look a bit different. He pulls up in his 5 star safety rated Volvo sedan, with two top of the line boosters in the back seats. He gets out and says, “Hey…I’ve got split custody, a full time job with benefits and a retirement savings plan.” And you’re just like, “oh my….is it getting hot in here?” As you stand on your front porch.
You go out on the date and a few more and have a pleasant time and enjoy each other’s company but know you’re not for each other. You start thinking which of my friends can I set him up with and you make the call…”I’ve got a guy for you, he’s not for me but perfect for you and so sweet and nice.”
You keep at it but become slightly more jaded in your search. You realize the irony in getting dressed up in the hopes of meeting someone you can just loaf around in pyjamas with and that you have to spend endless hours talking just to meet someone you can sit in comfortable silence with.
They say when it happens you’ll know, when you’re really ready, he will come. Somehow when it seems like you’ve dated the entire city, he’ll just fall from the sky. I don’t know if this is true anymore than anyone knows the true ingredients of the short lived Unicorn frappucino. But I do know that there are amazing people out there, people who want to love and be loved. And I do know that all of us are worthy and deserving of receiving and giving love.
“At some point you are going to want to give up. Consider this a reminder: Don’t you dare.” ― Karen Salmansohn