It seems to be the plight of anyone single to grin and bear it. We suffer through awkward blind dates, uncomfortable online encounters and ginormous zits that somehow manifest the morning of the first date with the boy/girl of our dreams. Ask any coupled up person, and much as they sometimes yearn for the green grass on our side of the fence, they’ll eventually admit that they would never trade it in to have to re-enter the dating pool.
In fact, if you are a single person, ask any coupled up person and they’ll be “more than happy” to offer you any advice you are seeking. And sometimes, even if you don’t ask them, they’ll be more than happy to offer their generous insight to the delicate intricacies of relationships and the deepest recesses of your mind. My personal favorite offenders of this are the friends less than 3 months into a relationship who have somehow become Dr. Phil or your distant related sixty-five year old fourth cousin twice removed who knows you would be able to find someone because “you have such a pretty face (oh, and you should work on finding someone soon, cause honey let’s face it…you aren’t getting any younger!)
Yep, coupled up people are like your own personal HGTV channel…they can fix you in a matter of seconds.
Ok, now that I’m done that rant I’ll go on record saying that I actually have a few coupled up friends who aren’t on the payroll of this consulting firm. Couples who drink wine and sit down for dinner with me once a week, couples who take me out to Binga’s Stadium for beer and wings when I get stood up, and couples that helped me name my dating column. In fact I have some pretty great coupled up friends who never impose their “help.” Even when asked.
Still, those smug married/coupled people are lurking about out there. Doling out advice like a food sampler at Sam’s Club (ever notice how militant those people are?!) And let me tell you single folks, you think you got it bad, try writing a singles column. EVERYONE wants to “help” you then!
I’ve heard the “don’t be so picky”/”have you tried online dating”/”maybe if you’d just wear more dresses” (this one tends to work better for more girls than guys…) But my personal favorite, the one that get’s whipped out at least weekly by someone is the ever popular “It’ll happen when you stop looking/least expect it.”
Dear readers, the cat would have been out of this bag sooner or later so might as well spit it out. I have been single for over ten years. I mean, I’ve dated and gone out and seen boys, but the closest thing I’ve had to a serious relationship ended circa 1998.
And let me tell you…during that time I’ve been putting a pretty half-assed effort into looking or expecting a boyfriend. Maybe even quarter-assed. So I would like to go on record saying that is one of the lamest pieces of advice I’ve come upon in the grand scope of relationship advice that is given.
Yet in the past month, a weird thing has begun happening. Hosting a series on my personal website about love, starting this column, discussing warm fuzzy feelings daily. And in the past month I’ve done more flirting, set up more coffee dates and conversations (hey, I’m ten years rusty at this…let me take baby steps!) and somehow seen more interest than I have in years.
It’s like I learned in my high school physics class (with Survivor winner Bob Crowley no less!) A body in motion (or at rest) will remain as such unless acted on by an outside force. So floating through life “hoping” that someone will magically fall into your lap while you sip chair at Bard Coffee or be entranced by your newest profile pic on Facebook is a passive and frankly far to idealistic way of dating. We all know the story of someone that worked for, but there’s gotta be a reason that matchmakers and cupid.com and 8 minute dating still exist and are popular.
Sometimes you gotta put in at least a little effort if you expect something to come out of a first date. Or more importantly, you have to let yourself be open to the possibility that something is going to happen. It isn’t about “not expecting it” or “stopping looking.” It’s about convincing yourself to look without staring and expect without clinging.
Oh, and kicking back to enjoy the ride, wherever it might take you.
How about you? What’s the worst dating advice you’ve gotten? The best?
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