It seems like I am destined for dating déjà vu as I sit across from my date du jour spewing out answers to his random questions and wondering to myself if there is really any room left for love in the world of dating?
So many of us put ourselves out there, willing to meet and greet a complete stranger for an entire evening while being asked random questions about the most intimate details of our lives and our existence:
Do you get along with your mother?
When was your last serious relationship?
Why did you get divorced?
What do you do? (Are we talking profession, after the kids go to sleep or when I go into emergency mode with a flat tire and a meeting starting in 20 minutes on the other side of town?)
To answer each one of these questions on any given day would require the dedication of a full session of therapy, at the very least, for each one, not to mention a huge amount of emotional strength.
And yet, while on a date, you are expected to shoot out quick and witty answers, one after the other, about the topics that normally you would choose to avoid like the plague. And realistically, do the answers to these questions make you feel closer to the stranger sitting across from you? Does the response to what kind of computer programmer he is really light your fire and affect how the next couple of hours of your date will unfold?
Most of the time, he has, or doesn’t have, you at hello. And vice-versa.
One of my favorite questions (right after the one of how old are you REALLY) is “How many kids do you have?”
Just recently someone asked this question in the form of: “So you have a kid?” To which I politely thanked him for his call, wrapped things up and disconnected.
Now, you might think I was a bit hasty to hang up on Mr. You Have A Kid but let me tell you, there was something in the tone of his voice coupled with my dating prowess that made me distinguish the sentiment of him knowing that I have a kid and despite that fact, still being willing to date me anyways. Don’t do me any favors.
Now, granted the tone in his voice could have just been from him being flatulent and I may have lost out on the opportunity of a lifetime (I have always wanted to date a pilot and instead I just let him take off). But I was not born yesterday and I didn’t have the strength at that moment to get to the part of the conversation that would inevitably follow when I would answer him and say, “No. I don’t have a kid…I have five.”
The response to the question of how many kids I have always leads to one of the following interactions and shifts me into a type of dating auto pilot (pun intended):
What he says: Wow that must be such hard work.
What he really means: She is crazy.
My response: Yah, but I manage (crazy smile).
What he says: How do you do it? You must be Wonder Woman
What he really means: She is crazy
My response: Yah, but I don’t have the deflective bracelets or crown like Wonder Woman. They are on back order. (crazy smile)
What he says: Five kids? Were or are you religious?
What he really means: She is crazy or has a tendency to act cray cray.
My response: Yah, but it’s a long story which is sort of complicated. (crazy smile).
And so on it goes, the dating conversation that goes on autopilot, sharing or not sharing whatever details one deems to be relevant or appropriate during that specific time or place. It’s stale and boring and sometimes invasive (you don’t have to tell me about your dating history if you don’t want) and leaves me constantly dreaming about my couch, warm fleece blanket and a good movie waiting for me at home.
But I still do it because despite all of the airplane pilots, perverts and dating profiles that consist of pictures taken 20 years ago or from half a kilometer away, you sometimes actually meet someone who makes you feel so real and alive that you forget everything and everyone that came before.
Someone who sits with you over breakfast and discusses random avoidance worthy topics that are even heavier than the Shakshuka and bread that is laid out on the table in front of you.
Someone who doesn’t look at you with that “she must be crazy” look in his eyes.
Who carries your bag nonchalantly while you laugh together about things that no one else usually finds funny.
Whose imperfections mirror yours in a way that makes you both sigh and relax.
No withholding of information.
No playing of stupid mind games.
Because at a certain point in one’s life only you, and you alone, know that you have plenty of room in your heart and soul to be patient and tolerant with someone if they know how to reciprocate the same courtesy to you.
And to love. You have room to love.
So I stood up slowly to leave from that overly predictable date knowing full well that we probably wouldn’t meet each other again, at least not intentionally. I leave to go home feeling calm because I know that what I am looking for is something that suits me better, the real me.
And I know it’s out there.
We all do.
Which is why we continue to hold our hands out, outstretched, over the great dating abyss, hoping that someone grabs onto it, holds it fast and never lets it go.
What’s love got to do with it? Everything.
And no, I am not crazy.