The beginning stages of dating can be really fun. You don’t really know anything about yourself, so you think anything can work: “I could really like boys in bubblegum pink shirts, so let’s give this one a try”, “It could be possible that my Future Husband plays Dungeons and Dragons on the weekend”, “Maybe I’ll end up with a younger gentleman”, so you try them all out. I think dating serves many purposes, one important purpose being that you learn more about yourself in the process–it is a period to find a life long partner, but also a period in which you do some very important self-exploration.
The more you do it, the more you learn about yourself, the more you realize that maybe the guys in the bubblegum pink shirts are a little too high maintenance for you, but maybe ones who wear light pink shirts might work; the ones who play Dungeons and Dragons won’t work with your sleep schedule, but perhaps sleeping is something you are willing to bend on, and younger gentleman ARE a little more immature, but perhaps you won’t necessarily rule out ALL younger gentleman (except the ones under 18 because that is most likely illegal). This is an important stage too, because while you are still learning about yourself, you are also starting to filter out things that will and will not work for you.
Then, you suddenly hit the end of your dating rope and you really don’t have the patience for anything anymore. NO boys who wear ANY color shirt seem to be worth your time; ALL boys who have a hobby are just a little too devoted to it (and not to you); and the only age you can possibly see working for you is someone who is 92 and about to croak.
I realized I was at the end of my dating rope a couple of weeks ago when I was dancing at an establishment in Cancun and this boy attempted some grotesque form of gyration with me. Now, Stage I Dater Britany would have said, “Hm, well who knows, maybe I like guys with no rhythm” and I would have accepted any and all invitations with guys who wanted to dance. Stage II Dater Britany might have said, “Eh, not sure I’m into this, but he might have a good personality so maybe I’ll stop dancing and ask him some questions”. But, Stage III Dater Britany turned to the kid, said, “I don’t dance like that”, and proceeded to do chicken wing dance moves and jump all over the place so that he would go away.
When you are first out in the dating world, you have all these grand illusions and fantasies of meeting your Prince Charming. Right, your apartment could catch on fire late at night and he is the one who scoops you up in his arms to rescue you (so you need to make sure you are always wearing cute pajamas to bed). Or, maybe he’s the cute guy who asks you to dance, twirls you around the floor, and smacks a wet one on your lips at the end of the night, and forever you are inseparable (so you need to make sure you are always carrying a pack of Extra Gum just in case). Or, perhaps, as you are pulling out of the canned soup aisle, McDreamy absentmindedly runs over your foot because he is helping a poor old lady save her cat (not even sure how this scenario is possible). Anything is possible, right? Then, you go to all of these places and do all of these things and still haven’t met Prince Charming yet, and realize that maybe a friends’ wedding or Bible study is a much more likely venue, so you save all of your primping and priming for those special occasions. And when you have been to enough weddings and tried enough Bible studies and still haven’t met Prince Charming, you realize there is NO point in getting ready at all so instead, you shift your schedule to include more sleep and less showers.
Then you have all of your friends trying to set you up on dates (you know, because apparently there is something “wrong” with you if you are single). At first, you are so flattered that your friends would think of you, and also so desperate, that you say YES to anyone they suggest: the 20 year old, the guy who wears platform boots to your date, the one who still lives at home with his mom and plays video games and clearly eats Cheetos all day (his teeth are stained orange). I mean, you don’t really know what you want, so might as well try them all, right? Then, you get to a point where you start a screening process before saying “yes” to a blind date: what’s his credit score? how often does he brush his teeth? how weird is his mom? how much taller is he than me? From this screening process, since you still don’t quite know your type, you probably still take 65% of those blind dates, but reject the other 35% because, by now, you know yourself well enough that the one who voluntarily drives the minivan just isn’t going to cut it for you. Again, you aren’t 100% sure what your type is, so you still have to accept some dates, but you don’t have to accept all. And, when you are at the end of your dating rope, you just say “NO” to all blind dates because you have encountered SO many weird people and SO many awkward situations, and no one really knows you as well as you know yourself, and you’d rather stay home and pretend your life is JoJo’s.
I think you become most jaded when you have to start rejecting people (my dad always says “rejection” is too harsh of a word but I think it fits perfectly). At first, you accept so many dates from people and when you decide they aren’t going to work out for you, you are kind of skeptical about rejecting them. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, there is a possibility you might like them sometime in the future, so you give wishy-washy responses: “I really like you, but I’m not quite sure this is working out”; “I can’t hang out this weekend but maybe we will see each other sometime in the future”; or you just do some ghosting. Inevitably with all of these noncommittal rejections, they interpret your message that you are still interested, so you find yourself continuing to respond to their requests for dates, their rebuttals, or their late night text messages. Once you have enough of these, you move your rejection style to be just a little more affirmative. You start to say things like, “I had a great time and I just don’t see things progressing any further”, “I decided I would rather write my paper than hang out with you again, so that just means I’m not really into you”, “Yeah, I didn’t really want to kiss you and that was an awkward moment I never want to revisit again”, “I am busy from now until the end of eternity. Thanks”, or some more ghosting. You find yourself responding to still some more rebuttals and late night text messages, but you feel not responding or responding in bitchier ways is more justified because you already told them you weren’t interested. And finally, you are so fed with rejecting more date requests, rebuttals, pleaing for your love, late night text messages that make you feel like someone’s prostitute that you just straight up reject them. I mean, it feels bitchy and mean, and you are probably going to get a bad rap, but it has to be done. I’m pretty sure the last guy I rejected, I just said, “Sorry, you aren’t my type”. No, “I had a great time”, because that makes them think I am up for “more great times” (I’m not). No, “You are a great guy and I know you will find someone great as well”, because that makes them think they can persuade me into thinking I am “that great girl”. And definitely no, “Let’s just be friends” because, to be honest, you are deleting (and maybe blocking) their phone number as soon as you send that rejection message.
…have I ever mentioned how much I Hate Dating?…