Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are…

3 Jul

Online dating

What’s new?  Likely one of the most used pleasantries when engaging in small talk.  I actually have my 20 year high school reunion this weekend and I am 100% positive that question will be asked many times.  What’s new with you?  Hmmm.  When you are single that is a hard question to answer.   You don’t have the usual filler material that those who are in a relationship or those who have children can use – ‘I got married’ or ‘I had a baby’.  Instead it feels somewhat awkward and I find myself grappling with what to say.  What’s new?  Well, I have lots of new things on the go, but not the type of stuff you say when engaging in small talk. If the level of small talk is a bit deeper and you perhaps know the person a bit better, ‘Are you seeing anyone?’ will come up.  I am willing to talk about that.  Dating.

I spent a lot of time this weekend with single girlfriends.  They’re smart, confident, fun, pretty, athletic, independent, well travelled, social, interesting and not emotionally messed up women.  I would say the topic of dating comes up every single time we are together.  In fact, it might trump the topic of weather – it even trumps the topic of Trump.  It is like a merry-go-round… we always circle back to it.  It is hard to find someone who is a good match for you.  It is even harder to find someone who is a good match for you when you are 38 and not normal.  That is right NOT NORMAL.  The new normal is flakey and complicated.

Dating has always been a source of emotional highs and low for anyone who engages in it:  triumphs and also complete emotional vulnerability.  In the past, it was giving your number to a guy at a bar and then obsessing with your girlfriends over when he was going to call.   Checking the messages just in case the phone didn’t actually ring when he called.  I remember one girlfriend telling me that she hid in a bush outside a guys house as she was sure he was dating someone else. A low moment.  There have always been the ‘ghosting’ tendencies – not calling after taking the number, not calling back for a second date or being stood up.  Today though, it is a real jungle.  You are no longer required to get dressed up, drink a bottle of wine, take a taxi downtown to your favourite bar to sort through a room full of drunk people in the hopes of finding someone who floats your boat.   You can do it from anywhere – from your toilet, your bed, your sofa, the subway, the doctors office or when even when your date goes to the bathroom if you’re not that into them – you can swipe away as you have access to every other single who is within a given radius of where you are.   More is more.  Options are endless. We make quick judgements based on carefully (or sometimes not so carefully) curated photos of potential mates.  While I was typing this I decided to look at Tinder to see who is around me.  There is a guy named Liam, 36, with 4 sexy photos of himself.   He wrote:  ‘Always love pizza.  Down for whatever’.  John, 42, 3 photos – one of his truck, one of his dog and another of him smoking and having a beer with the dog in the background.  He didn’t write anything.  Graham, 47, one pic of himself with balloons up his shirt which look like breasts. He wrote ‘Married, looking for summer fun.’ I wonder who swipes Yes to these guys?   The pool isn’t overflowing with options.  Just like ordering from the Sears catalog when I was a kid – a lot of stuff in the photos didn’t look as good in person or it just didn’t fit.  On top of this catalog style mate selection – no one talks to each other anymore.   Human to human connections are limited these days.  We shop online, we pay our bills online, we book travel online and we can even order groceries online which greatly lowers the likelihood of meeting someone in a grocery store.  Look around the next time you are sitting at a bar or you’re at an event – everyone is looking at their phones.  It fills a void for the social awkwardness that being alone creates.  I am guilty of it.  They might even be swiping you while you are sitting beside them.   I used to be an amazing wing woman.  I brought a lot friends to the men they were lusting over – there have been a few marriages as a result of my skills .  I wasn’t shy to go over, strike up the conversation, slyly bring my friend into the mix if he seemed cool and then slide away.  I was like Will Smith in Hitch.    I think that’s why old guys always like me because I still enjoy talking to people.  I remind them of ‘the good old days’ when people, just, you know, spoke to each other.  Now if someone comes up to you, you think they are a Jehovah’s Witness or they’re going to put a drug in your drink.  Now don’t get me wrong – online dating has brought me to meet some great guys.  I am discerning with who I meet – you can sniff out quite quickly if someone is worth meeting or not.  You know, if they ask you a question beyond ‘what’s up’ they are really standing out of the crowd.  I’ve had some hilarious dates, great connections and lots of fun.  In fact, this past winter I thought I met someone who was a keeper via online.  It ends up it wasn’t my ring finger I gave him… it was the middle one.

Sex and the City aired for the first time 20 years ago – they were more or less the same age as I am now.  I’ve watched every episode a few times over, and do you want to know what I notice – it is the same stuff my friends and I are dealing with today just in a different package.  My sister-in-law (who luckily found my anomaly of a brother while they were in university) said she thinks she would die if she had to date today.  I am telling you I deserve a medal for the resilience I have shown.  It is actually harder than running a marathon… at least in a marathon you know the struggle is over at 42 km’s.

Just like Carrie never lost sight of the fact that her Mr. Big existed and that romance was not dead… I too remain steadfast in my belief that there is an amazing man out there for my girlfriends, and hopefully for me too.  I am not sure what he looks like, what his age is, where he lives, what he does for work or how much hair he has – it seems that those things matter less and less.   Emotional intelligence, the ability to communicate, the ability to compromise, consideration, reliability, integrity… those attributes are actually the sexy ones.  I know he exists, it only makes rational sense to me that there are also amazing single men out there who are  thinking the same things as my single friends and I.   I don’t think, however, that he is on Tinder with pics of himself at the gym or with balloons up his shirt.  Come out, come out, wherever you are… please.

 

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One Response to “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are…”

  1. Lynn connolly July 3, 2018 at 9:31 pm #

    Good read Emilie and yes I agree, ‘tis a challenge these days I am sure but stay optimistic! Like I always say, good people meet good people! Thanks for a little insight into the dating world today, lots of fun!

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