There is a strange phenomenon I have witnessed that occurs whenever someone becomes attached. Until seven months ago I was perpetually single, mingling my way through school, parties, and birthdays with no man to invite, no one to introduce. Sometimes it was bothersome but, for the most part, I accepted it for what it was. I am slightly awkward with a strange sense of humour, someone who doesn’t easily open up on the first meeting and isn’t comfortable making the first move. In other words, I am not someone who finds herself easily ensconced in a dating situation.
As anyone who has followed this blog would know by now, that changed on the last day of Summer when I met Sam at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (no but seriously) for our first date. The rest is, as they say, history.
Since finding myself in a loving, respectful, usually grown up relationship I have learned a lot about myself, a lot about dating, and a lot about what it takes to create such a thing. I would not, however, count myself an expert in all things relationships given the fact that I simply found someone who has accepted my awkwardness, my oddness, my penchant for saying the wrong thing because her mouth works faster than her brain, and loved me for it. I did not do anything smooth or miraculous but people do seem to think that, as someone existing in a good relationship, I can shower them with advice and ideas of how to get the girl/guy they’ve been trying to get.
I can’t. I really can’t. And this is the strange phenomenon I’m referring to: the sudden belief that one who is officially taken has sage wisdom to pass on to those that are not even though a few short weeks earlier they never would have considered asking them for advice beyond what kind of peanut butter they think is best.
It should go as no surprise that I have managed to rack up a list of embarrassing dating moments in my lifetime, ones that should automatically remove me from any list of experts anyone has made in their head. While they may not allow me to become an authority on how-to relationship advice, these experiences may provide hope for those that believe they are “hopeless” (you are not) and “forever alone” (probably not and if so, buy a pet).
A girl who is being counted on for proper tips and tricks should never be the one that found herself showing up to a first date in a hoody, hair in a messy bun on top of her head because she just came from work and, frankly, she forgot when she was getting ready for work that day that she had a date. So she was late, poorly dressed, and, as the other party informed her later on in their interactions, generally giving off an air of “I’d rather not be here”. That girl is not the one you want to come to when you’re feeling lost in the world of does-he-love-mes and what-does-that-means, especially since she didn’t want to kiss that boy on that first date so, instead of being a normal human being and hugging him, she shook his hand. And then promptly walked away.
Okay, I’ll stop talking in third person now (it’s a form of defence mechanism, okay? As if you might not fully realize that that girl in the hoody with the messy bun and the shaking hand was me). So yes, I shook someone’s hand, someone that I actually enjoyed hanging out with and wanted to see again. My signals were so mixed he might as well have been put in a blender for three hours.
It is possible that wasn’t my worst moment in dating history. That isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things, really, just a little embarrassing when I look back on it now. Perhaps the time I found myself in the bathroom of some restaurant, trying to get my friend to log in to my online banking to see how much money I had in my account. I had forgotten to take money out of my savings where I kept the majority of my free money at the time and which I normally accessed for “going out” purposes. I wasn’t being one of those “Oh, he’ll just pay for me” girls, I just simply forgot (this seems to be a recurring theme throughout my dating adventures). It wasn’t until he ordered a beer and said, “I would normally pay for your meal but since I’m going to be getting beer I won’t be able to afford your dinner too” (winner!) that I thought of it. So there I was, on the phone, and she’s asking me to answer these online security questions so that she can get into my account and I’m stuck on what my favourite vegetable is. All I can think is broccoli or potatoes, potatoes being most likely. Neither of them work. So I say to try potato, singular, in case I decided to answer the questions caveman style.
Turns out it was carrots, which at the time I wasn’t really eating because they were hard and hurt my jaw. I am really a cocktail of oddities, I’m telling you. In any case, the failed attempts locked my online bank account and I had absolutely no clue what was in there.
I spent the rest of the date worried we wouldn’t have enough money between the two of us and it would become a dine and dash situation. I then started considering whether that would be a good story to tell people later on in life when they’re all, “Oh, tell us about your first date” or something unimportant like that but then I remembered he’s now on his third beer, the beers he’s drinking so that he can remove all chance of paying for me, and I don’t think there ever will be such a conversation. Turns out I had more than enough money because I hadn’t yet transferred money to my savings (I need to start writing things down so that I can remember them or something) and it was all good.
But I spent a lot of time in that bathroom and he was likely embarrassed for the both of us by then.
Maybe that’s not all that bad, either, though. Perhaps the time I became a little too far from sober and found myself at Burrito Boyz at three forty-five in the morning, staring at the poor burrito roller dumbly after he asked me what size I wanted my burrito. I must have stared at him for ten whole seconds before I slowly, quietly, uncertainly said, “…burrito sized?” He pointed at the wall where it was clearly drawn out for me that I could get a small or large burrito and I laughed, hoping to laugh in a demure “oh, haha, look at how silly I am” but instead laughed like a donkey. A really loud, really drunk donkey. I then, I suppose in an attempt to make it look like I was always that loud, yelled at him that I’d like chicken on it. To top it all off, a few seconds later I screamed, “NO BEANS!” with my hand out in front of my face like I was stopping traffic. Turns out the guy I was trying to date had a friend that worked there and he promptly introduced me, not without some level of chagrin. I didn’t hear from him very much after that.
The thing is, in all these moments, I have embarrassed myself in one way or another. It is possible I felt more inward embarrassment at them, cringing at what is coming out of my mouth, than the person I was with felt. There are countless other moments where I have said something or done something entirely strange, entirely out of line, that were probably the catalysts for my later sitting with friends going, “But why doesn’t he like me?” Those friends were always so lovely, never bringing up that maybe I shouldn’t have cried when he told me we weren’t dating (when we definitely were not even remotely dating, just in my noggin) or made fun of him in front of his friends or run away when he tried to get close to me as if I was playing an extremely uncalled for game of hide and seek or maybe just told him I liked him when asked instead of being like, “Please, if I liked you I would have told you, you big douchebag” (cue more crying because one week later he’s dating someone else and that was my chance).
But now someone not only likes me, he loves me. And he has sat there as I have said and done things that are strange, embarrassing, and outright fucked up. He has laughed at some, shushed at others, and simply just given me a hug the other times to show me that he will never leave me but he just has nothing nice to say to whatever I just happened to say or do.
I am not an advice queen, especially in dating, I can’t tell you any more than this: One day you will meet someone who will love you for the things you do, and the things they do not love they will accept because, for some reason, they still just love you like crazy. So don’t stop being yourself and don’t stop giving up. It will all come together one day, incredulously, and you’ll be so very happy for the hand shakes, bathroom phone calls, and burrito-sized burritos that led you to that person.