I don’t have cable, so my sports intake is directly correlated to how much I go out. There are plenty of games to watch, Stanley Cup Playoffs, MLB, and NBA Conference Finals, so there isn’t a shortage whenever I do want to get a fix, but no matter how much I stay busy with work, going out with friends, and watching games at an Applebee’s near my apartment, I spend most nights going into OT. More times than not, it’s with DAD. Not my father, but with a looming figure known as Dating after Divorce. (Technically it isn’t “after”, yet, but work with me here.)
Dating was never simple or without stress even before I got married, or even when I wasn’t thinking about getting married. Scratch that. I’ve pretty much always been thinking about getting married since I knew what marriage was. Even so, dating is something that, I’m sure many of you can agree with, is rarely easy. You there, you seem fun. Let’s hang out. I may also be attracted to you. Even if I am, who knows if you’re attracted to me? Can we just hang out as friends? Are we hanging out just as friends? What do I wear? Am I paying for this? Do we meet there? I want to talk to you but I don’t want to be that dog that sleeps under your porch because he loves you even though he just met you. I’m not trying to get married tomorrow. You have a kid. I want a dog. Am I too short for you? I like that you’re tall. Can we hang out again? With friends? Just us? Can I invite you over to have you over without thinking all I want is sex? Is all you want sex? Can we just grab a couple of beers and get to know each other? Let’s get tattoos. Not matching tattoos, just both get one because it would be a hell of a first date. Or second. What do we do? Dinner and a movie is so cliche, and at a movie we don’t even get to talk. So maybe a comedy? But they’re usually cute in some way, so then there’s the whole yawn-stretch-arm move and sharing cupholders and, oh, that’s your hand. Was that accidental? It’s dark in here. Where am I? How did you get here? Nobody’s supposed to be here. (98 points if you get that one.)
Straight up, I’m not jumping into anything serious. In the words of one of my friends from my east coast home, I’m no longer a “serial dater,” and I won’t be doing what Fifeman calls “no lag between the vag.” (It sounds better aloud. And 200 points.) I just like meeting people. I’m in a new area, I want to make some new friends, and if we get a little cozy, then so be it.
But it’s so much different to me now. I’m not in school, so I won’t be meeting people in my classes or in rehearsals. I’m not a karaoke DJ anymore so I won’t be cool by association and meet folks that way. And at my job, I’m in a leadership position, and even if I wasn’t, dating someone from work is a terrible idea. So it’s up to random conversations in line at the grocery store maybe someone I know introducing me to someone they think would be cool to hang out with. Or a friend telling a waitress at dinner that I’m single and asking her point blank if she’s single and would like to go out with me.
That actually happened.
But the biggest eye-twitch causing thing is (maybe not so) obviously bringing up the D. (No, not that one, sicko.) Divorce. To me it’s the 800-pound elephant/gorilla hybrid sitting in the room that only I can see. Whomever I could possibly go out with would have no idea I’m going through a divorce unless I told them. So how does that even get brought up? How soon do I bring it up? I know it isn’t written on my face (or maybe it is), but therein lies the concept of lying by omission.
That’s the thing. I told myself years ago I would be as honest as I could with everyone I meet. Because of this I’m a very open person (shocker, I’m writing a public blog about my divorce and inviting complete strangers to partake in my storytelling), but that leaves very little to the imagination. I’ve met a lot of guarded people. I myself used to be very guarded. But I didn’t like it. And I don’t like it when others are. Now, let me be clear and say that I know there are varying levels of guards/walls/what have you, but you can see a big difference in people who are guarded versus people that completely shut people out with no intention of letting them in.
I’ve essentially erased how to be guarded in my life. And I’m not really sure I want to relearn. I mean, I should, at least at an elementary level, but I like being open. I just need to find the compromise between being open and just dumping. This is directly related to my struggle with wanting to Crank up the AC.
I’ve literally made myself nauseous thinking about how much I overthink things. There’s no need to go into OT in every game of a series. So I just need to get myself together, get out there, and play the field like every other gladiator that’s ever suited up for battle. Yes, I took it to Gladiatorville. Because, let’s be real, dating is a bit of a minefield and we’re all trying to win in some way. Thankfully it isn’t to the death, but sometimes you may just feel like you want to die and be carted off.
Maybe that’s the thing. I’m looking at it all wrong. It isn’t a warzone. It’s freakin dinner. Or drinks. Mini golf. Movies. None of those are typically known for leaving fatal wounds, so at worst, I go home and think, “Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time.” Oh no. I’m back in my comfortable bed to sleep. That doesn’t sound so bad at all. It isn’t a win/lose situation. It’s a win or break even. I like those odds.
Well, DAD, I know Father’s Day is around the corner, but it isn’t about you. It’s about me. And that’s what I need to remember. Just be me.
Just be me.
And there’s the buzzer. No OT needed. I win.