Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Dating Over 40 (aka The Misadventures of Mating)
I am way too old for this. Just like they should have another word for "boyfriend" once you reach the age of 30, they should have another word for "dating" when you hit 40+. I suggest something like "midlife catastrophic event" or "self-inflicted, self-esteem buster." Ya know, something catchy like that.
Let me preface this blog by saying that I am aware that there are bigger problems out there. The thing is, that's not what my blog is about. I'm not intelligent enough to smartly debate the real world issues, like gay marriage or global warming or the political repercussions of Ashley Judd running for U.S. Senate (spoiler alert! She isn't.) If you want that, I can steer you to some of my super-smart friends - just message me.
No, this blog post is to air my mid-life dating woes. It's peeking over the fence and wondering how green the grass would be if I would have been in my 18th year of marriage, raising kids and trying to find time to go out together and fighting over the bedcovers or the TV remote or something dealbreaking like that. It's constantly lamenting what could have been, and wondering what's wrong with me that I am seemingly in the minority of my mid-40 year old friends who have settled into their lives that I outwardly crave but am inwardly terrified of.
Marriage, by definition, is work. Dating, by definition, is drudgery. How people find their soulmates in their 20's, when they are still evolving into adults, is beyond me. Fast forward 20 some years and the odds of finding that better half decrease significantly, with obstacles like exes, kids, betrayal, miscommunications and other negative baggage. The hope has dwindled. The sparkle is gone. Yes, Debbie Downer is reporting for duty.
I'm not even sure how to date anymore. I'm not sure how to meet anyone who could possibly have the basic criteria I'm looking for. Cute guy in the grocery store? Could be married. Could be gay. Could be in a relationship. Could be in his 20s. Could be a psychopath. And let's not forget that I usually go to the grocery store in sweats and no makeup. Same scenario for the gym, only both of us most likely smell. Bad. I'm not one to strike up a conversation, and honestly I'd be ridiculously defensive of any guy who struck up a conversation with me. What does he want? Why is he talking to me? Do I have something in my teeth? I become The Elephant Man. Go away!!!! Don't look at me!!!
I've learned a few things about myself since I've been dating. Well, some of them I knew but I guess I was hoping no one would notice. Other characteristics have been blatantly conveyed to me as a reason why they don't want to see me again. Others just stop calling. Funny part is, I'm not interested in ANY of them. Funny part is, it makes me feel even worse when I can't even get someone to like me whom I don't even particularly like in the first place.
So, here's apparently what's wrong with me:
1) I'm intimidating
2) I'm snobby
3) I'm too serious
4) I'm too mature
5) I'm unreadable
The thing is, none of those are necessarily untrue, except for the second one. I don't think I'm snobby. I abhor snobby. I don't try to be intimidating, but I know I come off that way. My seriousness is sometimes misinterpreted because I have a dry sense of humor (which must lead into #5.) And if I'm too mature, I'm not apologizing, unless they mean "senior citizen" mature. But at age 46, I'm thinking "mature" kind of comes with the territory.
1) Don't yawn on a date. (If you're trying to give me a clue, I'll take it. If you're not, I'll think you're just being rude. Either way, I'm out.)
2) Don't belch loudly on a date. (Same rationale as #1.)
3) Keep the cursing to a minimum until I know you better. (I can rip the bad words like a sailor, but I don't do it in a job interview. Think about it.)
4) Keep the dirty jokes to a minimum until I know you better. (I can be raunchy when I get to know you, I'm not going to lie. But you don't know that yet, so try to be a freakin' gentleman.)
5) Keep the sexual innuendos to a minimum (think NONE) until I know you better. (Just because I text you "so I'll meet you in the bar?" does not mean you respond with "Sure! Wanna role play?" Because I don't. And that creeps me out, even if you're kidding. So just don't. You're trying to make an impression here, too.)
These are the basics. There are more, which is probably why I'm still single. Don't be emotionally void. Don't be too emotional. Don't be a macho man. Don't be a sissy. Don't be overbearing. Don't be too absent. Don't be controlling. Don't be a pushover. Don't be a comedian. Don't be too serious. Don't be stupid. Don't be pretentious.
Sigh. Someone once told me I'd meet the man of my dreams when I hit him with my car. That would be my luck. I'm convinced it will be movie-worthy - a tale to tell our friends at parties years later - the incredible story of how we met. Right now, I'll have to be content with regaling friends with my dating horror stories and hoping there's someone right around the corner waiting for someone Just. Like. Me.