Otto von Bismarck, the German statesman, once said that “Love is blind; friendship tries not to notice.”
It’s a lovely sentiment, and often true. When you love someone, after all, you love all of them — the cute, sweet parts and the ucky, evil parts both. When you’re really good friends, you notice all that stuff but try to look past it, even though you don’t have to.
Somewhere between “just friends” and “old married couples” lies the means of getting from one to the other: dating. Dating apparently was invented by underworld minions to ensure that only the species’ best would get together to procreate.
Girls, you know that old saying, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”? Have you figured out what to do when 1) they’re all frogs and 2) you don’t want to kiss any of them? Besides despair that a prince exists, I mean.
I am dipping my toe (singular – I haven’t worked my way up to a whole foot yet, or even more than one digit) back into the dating pool for the first time since roughly the Paleolithic Era. It’s the first time in decades I’ve felt good enough about myself, on both a physical and an emotional level, to bother.
Do I still have work left to do? Yes. I know that. I say that to people up front. I offer no surprises; ask and you shall receive; yadda yadda. This deep into middle age, everybody’s got baggage, and I just carry mine on and open it up for inspection as requested. Not a big deal.
Not everyone who qualifies for AARP is mature, however.
I had a blind date recently. As with the quote at the top, they’re called “blind” for a reason. Yes, on one level it means you haven’t seen the person before and probably don’t really know them well, even if you’ve talked a bit on the phone or via text or whatever. On another, it means you haven’t seen the person before and OMG-what-have-I-done-get-me-out-of-here.
With age, fortunately, comes the ability to assess situations in a hurry. I knew the second he opened the door he was gagging. I also knew he was no prize, and badly needed to stop dyeing his hair, badly being the operative word. What I did not know was that he was going to be the world’s biggest wuss and run out — without a word, mind you — while I wasn’t looking.
Honest to god: Deep into your 50s, can you not have the grace and courtesy to say, “I’m sorry you wasted 500 of your precious anytime minutes on me before we met, but I can’t do this”? I’m an adult. I can handle it, now, anyway. There was in fact a time when having something like this happen to me would have sent me into a month-long depressive spiral. With a tremendous amount of therapy and hard work (OK, and probably the medication and the ECT), I’m able to shake my head, chuckle bemusedly, and call your sorry butt out in a blog post that a few million people will see.
You, sir, were divorced after 19 years and haven’t had a relationship in almost 10 for a reason. If you are that emotionally arrested, you need a therapist, not me. I can pass along some names of good ones for ya.
As for me, I’m not discouraged from trying again — especially if I get more great stories like this out of it. I love that I’m learning (after many, many, many years and much resistance) to look at a situation from more than simply the negative side, and not necessarily to look at that one first. I love that I am becoming able to look in the mirror and think I’m kind of cute, for the first time ever, than stand there and think what a dog I am and how much I hate myself for it. I love being able to place blame where it belongs, instead of taking it all on myself no matter what. I love finally having learned how to reframe bad events to turn them into at least OK ones.
Bring on the frogs.