Liz knocked on my door. “Let’s go out lady!” she said, swooshing into my house dressed to the nines and smelling like candy. I was in my flannel pajama pants, pimple cream on my face and my hair pulled back into a pony tail. I looked at her and plopped down on my couch. “It’s been 6 months since you and Mr. Adventure broke up – it’s time for a new adventure!” I raised my eyebrow and looked at her. “I’ve had plenty of adventure, thanks. I’ll pass.” She pouted, disappeared into my room and started throwing clothes out into the hall. I buried my head into the cushion.
The truth was, I had indeed had my fair share of adventure. One month after my break up with Mr. Adventure, I got on Match.com. Since that time, I had been told that I wasn’t beautiful, had been stood-up mid date, and had become a favorite piece in the “I’m keeping you in my back pocket” game. I was tired. I was done. “It will happen when it’s supposed to happen.” I yelled out to Liz. She marched into my living room, looked at me and said “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, Rita. And your prince doesn’t know where your castle is. You have to find him and give him the address.” I rolled my eyes. But I knew she was right.
So when date 29 cancelled on me, while I was tempted to find a friend, grab a quick drink, call it a “date” and spend the rest of my evening in my pjs, I knew that would be the worst thing I could do. I’d be breaking a promise to myself, letting myself down and not putting myself in a position to meet my “prince”. So when Ramiro e-mailed and offered to be substitute date 29, I said yes. And, as always, I’m glad I did!
Ramiro had placed us on the list for the US Draught Masters Championship at the National Building Museum. I can’t believe that I’ve lived in the DC area for 28 years and have never attended an event at the National Building Museum! It’s a beautiful building! The competition was exciting and the Stella Artois more than delicious! While we were having an extreme amount of fun, the atmosphere was not conducive to carrying on a conversation so we took off in search of a couch in a quieter part of the hall.
It was then that Ramiro was able to open up to me regarding the trials and tribulations of being a male and dating in DC. While I know that women are not the only ones out there “kissing frogs”, hearing Ramiro talk was like looking into a mirror. I saw the same eagerness, the same excitement, the same hope but also the same frustration. “Don’t you get tired?” I asked him. Ramiro is constantly out and about in DC (and lives in Gaithersburg), is always mixing and mingling, meeting people, attending events. It sounded exhausting! And this is coming from the girl going on 35 dates in 35 consecutive days! “Yes” he replied, honestly. “But I want to find someone and I won’t meet her sitting at home. It’s a numbers game. You have to meet as many people as possible.”
In her book, “You Lost Him at Hello“, Jess McCann talks about the importance of prospecting. “It’s the law of averages – a numbers game. Every no will bring you closer to a yes. And the more times you go out, the better your chances,” she explains. She further explains that it will take time, and you won’t meet someone you like every time you go out. But to meet him, you have to put yourself out there.
Last night, at a Singles in the Suburbs event, I was speaking with a group of women and the conversation turned to dating and, specifically, comparing dating to a job search. That is, we will spend hours looking for jobs online, sending out resumes, getting ready for an interview, selling ourselves during the interview, looking the part for the interview, carefully crafting any follow-ups post interview. We will do all of this, and spend all of that time, without a second thought – for the “perfect” job. Hell, sometimes, just for “a” job! But, when it comes to finding our partner, the person we (hopefully) spend the rest of our life with – we expect it to just “happen when it happens.” We think that if we have to put effort into making it happen, that it’s not meant to be. That our love is supposed to just find us.
Ramiro’s energy and committment to finding love is admirable. And it made me look at myself and my interactions during the 35/35 project so far. I’ve definitely met people. I’ve definitely put myself out there. But I’ve also let myself become a little frustrated by those dates that I wished had sparked, but fizzled. By those times that it never sparked. And I found myself looking towards the end of the 35/35 and wondering if I should just take a break from it all when I’ve reached the end.
But after my night with Ramiro, I’m more energized than ever. And I’m eager to put in the time and effort that it takes to find someone. And I know that it will take time, and effort. Both in meeting people, and in establishing relationships with those people. It won’t always go smoothly. It won’t happen over night. Dating is like my own “US Draught Masters Competition”. It takes time and effort to perfect the “perfect pour.” I need to work on my technique. I won’t always get it right. I’ll be judged. I’ll lose some rounds. But, in the end, it will be worth the effort and, what a ride it will be in the meantime!
Dating should be a part of your life, not your life a part of dating. There is more to life than finding a date. But at the same time, dating is a part of your life, and if your “traffic patterns” don’t include new people, they are not serving that part of your life.