I have a date tomorrow afternoon at the Toledo Museum of Art.
I met the guy through Tumblr of all places (apologies to WordPress). He liked what I wrote and re-blogged. I liked what he wrote and re-blogged. I struck up a conversation. Conversation led to asking location in the country. Finding out we lived four hours from one another led to my asking him on a date. And here we go.
I really do not like this phase of dating – the audition phase. It is completely useful and necessary, but I don’t find it to be all that much fun.
I am not quite as bad as my spiritual twin Leslie Knope, but I just really lack smoothness.
In the past (as in many, many years ago), I was known to let down my boundaries completely. As in:
“Mi casa, su casa! You did the bare minimum by sitting with me in a restaurant for however long, therefore I am going to overlook all of these blazing red flags that indicate to me that you are not the right person because you gave me attention.”
Other times in the past, I have been known to lay on the flirtation or attraction devastatingly thick, but almost in a passive aggressive sort of way. As in:
“Hey, I am not bold enough to come out and declare my attraction to you, so I will make you cookies/draw you something/write you something. Fall in love with me please.”
Neither of those approaches worked, obviously. And they were, also obviously, completely bat-shit insane and desperate.
What I have learned in the intervening years is how I’m fine with being single. Honestly. I could take or leave having a boyfriend. I have a pretty great life as it is – graduate degrees, career, house, pets, family (though I wish I was closer), friends – and I treasure my autonomy and independence. I’m also a lot more confident than I was in the past. Basically, I don’t need a partner to feel complete. I feel complete right now, though I would welcome a companion on my journey.
Of course, acquiring such a companion requires an audition phase. It requires a first date and other getting to know you dates. And they are meant to be fun and low stakes and all that other stuff.
But I would much rather fast forward to the part where it is just chilling out and cuddling and doing a running commentary while watching TV or something.
Then I consider that the fast-forwarding would skip over some of the fun stuff, like finding out what makes the person laugh until they cry, or even the feelings of hating to leave them and the excitement of getting to see them again. Things like being surprised about stuff you are both passionate about and introducing them to things you care about (and hoping that they aren’t assholes about it or at least will humor you because they like you so much (see also: Li’l Sebastian)).
The audition phase is necessary, even if it is somewhat uncomfortable. I try to remember that he is supposed to be impressing me as much as I am attempting to impress him.
In any case, I am trying to just play it cool with this guy. Worst case scenario is that I get to see what the Art Museum of Toledo is like – and I like art museums to begin with. No grand machinations about it.
We’ll see how it goes.