BShan suggested that I write about dating.
When I said “But I don’t know shit about dating, no one does. None of us have any idea what we’re doing. I’ve never even used Tinder.” She replied something along the lines of “Well whatever, you met Joel. You’re getting married. You must have done something right. I’m sure as hell not going to write about it and our people want to hear about it.”
Don’t worry though, I’m going to make her write about it one day too. I want her to go on every online dating site there is and report back on all the fun and awkward details. I actually can’t wait for that, now that I think of it.
Dating or rather, dating advice. No. I’m not even going to call it that because, like I said, I have literally no idea what I’m talking about.
There are no tips, or strategies, or go-to mantras that worked for me when I was navigating the New York City/online dating scene. Sorry.
There was a time, as a single woman in New York, that I told my brother “get your future kids ready for drunk Aunt Dana that lives in the basement.” I was even the Maid of Honor in a wedding and invited without a date. They really weren’t betting on me meeting someone I guess, not even nine months out, not a chance in hell. I mean, come. on. you guys.
But then I met Joel, online, on Eharmony to be specific, over four years ago.
I was the first person he ever met online so he likes to say that he is ‘the best ever’ at online dating. I can’t disagree with him there. I am awesome. I wish I had met me on my first online date.
But, I didn’t.
My first online date in New York was so far down on the lower East side that I thought I’d mixed up the address. I didn’t know Manhattan went that far down, and I lived in StuyTown. Let me see, yes, there it is… the blue circle on the bottom. The Google calls it a “relaxed bar with eclectic bites”.
It occurred to me, while walking around down there in the dark with no other humans around, that I was going to be murdered. Damnit. I thought about running, but then I figured, I’d already met all my friends’ boyfriends’ friends and my guy friends’ friends and none of that had worked out. And my mom had begun reminding me that my clock was ticking every time I saw her blonde ass so, I just decided “Whatever, let’s do this.”
And it was fine.
He didn’t try to murder me. He liked Iron & Wine and craft beer and I was in a super emo phase, so that was nice. Turned out though, he had some unusual, genetic disease where his hands were slowly starting to fail him and he was going to get really sick in the near future. Not exactly the best news on a first date that’s going well.
But he was really excited to hear that it was my first internet date so we talked all about what I could expect, what to look out for and good ways to make a rapid exit gracefully. He bought all my drinks and we played darts. I love darts. It turned out to be the best, first, online date ever. I left feeling really hopeful, which was hard to explain to my mom. (“What do you mean, weird disease? Well, can he still have kids?”)
Between that first date and meeting Joel, there were a lot of mediocre dates, laughable dates and shitty, awful, awkward dates. One time, a guy tried to french me in the street so I smashed his knee with the cab door. One time, I dated someone for six weeks and then poof, he vanished, never heard a peep from him again. Not an awkward “It’s not you, it’s me” text. No email. No call. Nothing. He was either a total jerk or he got hit by a bus and no one else in his life had my number to let me know. I’ve decided on the latter and made my peace with his passing. R.I.P., homie.
I tried a bunch of different sites, I took a month off here and there, and I learned that drinking wine at home on a Tuesday and responding to online dating emails doesn’t always turn out well. More importantly though, I learned that if your mom is also online dating, try not to forget who is logged in on her laptop when you visit, ‘lest you have 84 responses from men over 60 waiting for you on a Sunday morning in New Jersey.
Through it all, I learned that dating can actually be really fun and comical, while simultaneously making you lose your will to go on but, it’s all gonna be okay. Really. Even if you think your clock is ticking, it’s not the end of the world when it doesn’t work out … if you don’t let it be.
Like so many things in life, it’s all about the story we are telling ourselves in our heads. We just have to calm down, try not to take anything personally, and leave our expectations at the door of the bar.
The other thing I did though, was read this book by Marie Forleo called Make Every Man Want You. Más importante, mi gente.
I know it looks and sounds like a ridiculous book, one you might never admit to wanting to read, and definitely one you’d put inside of another whilst reading it on the subway but, I promise, that title is the Trojan Horse for a book about standing in your own worth. It gives you tools and strategies, not just for dating but, for living your life right now and for feeling good now versus waiting for your life to start when you get a boyfriend.
If I have any dating advice at all, it’s to calm down and read this book.
It’s fantastic. And I think implementing these strategies is what ultimately lead to feeling really good about me, my own life, and who I was, so that when I finally did meet Joel, I was feeling really good about D-Money.
So even though I really, really wanted to meet someone great, I was happy on my own too. And there’s nothing more attractive than a happy woman, amiright? Well, maybe a happy woman who is also really good at darts.