He had a thick accent and he was buying me drinks. This was a Tuesday at my favorite neighborhood bar and it was supposed to be an early night. I was supposed to just get sushi with my friend then a drink then home by 10. But his accent and story about being a federal agent stopped me. It was definitely a lie but I was that kind of intrigued that comes from three stout vodka sodas. I began to feel that restless, excited feeling that comes when I realize the night is about to take a turn and I want to be there for the ride.
I love this feeling. Well …mostly. Most of the time it takes me to some pretty cool places and lets me experience some pretty cool things. Occasionally though, it leads me down the wrong, gonna-be-way-too-hungover-and-it’s-not-worth-it-because-this-place-was-lame path. However, this night it was the former. Lorenzo (that was the ‘federal agent’s name) asked me what I did for fun. I mentioned I sing a mean karaoke and that was it. We were off to one of the coolest gay bars in Dallas that has karaoke almost every night of the week.
This is the other big D in my life. Dating. For all intents and purposes I’ve been single for about 3 years. And I have dated. A lot. So so so many dates. In fact, so many I’ve decided to start a blog so I can one day remember them all. Good and bad.
Dating has been a strange thing for me. When I became single again at 32, I was basically a rookie. I had maybe gone on actual dates with a grand total of 3 guys in my life. Like the ‘I don’t know you, let’s go out and get acquainted and see what this is’ kind of dates. I was pretty sheltered growing up, no boyfriends, very little male contact and had my first kiss at 23, which is the same year I met Jay, my first boyfriend and now ex-husband. We met online and basically started a relationship almost immediately, but he was long distance. So we ‘dated’ over the phone. VERY different. After Jay, I had what was intended to be a one night stand with another man and found myself immediately in a relationship again. So when that ended and I was single again, I had a lot of firsts yet to experience.
The first time a guy at a bar asked for my number, the first time a guy asked me on a date, the first time I gave my number to a guy without prompting and so, so many first dates. I truly didn’t know there was an art to it. An art to juggling multiple guys and trying to seem aloof until they show a deeper interest. I didn’t know the signs of men just wanting to be ‘casual’ (aka they just want sex and have no interest in getting to know you further). I didn’t understand the rules and I didn’t ‘get’ the game. Hell, I didn’t even know myself. It’s not the games fault or the men’s fault. Many times it was my own lack of understanding of how I functioned outside of a relationship … it had been so long since I’d been single it was like I was learning to walk again. And I fell … a lot.
Dating can suck. It can suck when you don’t click with the date. It can suck when you THINK you click with the date but they don’t think the same. It can suck when you’re sitting at home dreading the date because you’ve been on so many dates and you’re so tired of dating but you have no choice because to find the GD prince you gotta kiss the GD frogs and to kiss the frogs you gotta date em. Dating is scary too. It’s scary because it’s amazing how many people are out there but how few of them will actually be a match for you. That thought can be scary on a Friday night when you’re halfway through a pint of chunky monkey and you think, my god, is there no one out there for me? Why am I putting myself through this?? Have I dated EVERYONE ALREADY? It can also be scary when you start to run into guys you’ve dated out and about. Dallas is big but it’s NOT big enough. Dating is exhausting. It’s exhausting to meet a new person and teach them about you and try to sell them on you and listen to their sales pitch too, only to find that neither of you are buying what the other person is selling. Before I dated, I didn’t realize how freaking hard it was.
BUT … I also didn’t realize how amazing it could be if you just opened yourself up to being truly present. I have been on some amazing dates. Well … amazing to me, that is. Moments that I treasure because even though those guys didn’t turn into something more long term, they let me experience something different and I got to learn a little bit more about myself. They were all worth it.
That night when we arrived at the bar for karaoke there just happened to be a drag queen beauty pageant in the main room. And the talent portion had just started. Serendipity. I put my song in for karaoke (Alone by heart … I killed it), then he paid the $30 for each of us to go watch. He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the front where I was in utter awe of these beautiful queens dancing and lip syncing to some show stoppers. Glitter and makeup and hair and my god, the pageantry. And I had a moment. One of those amazing single moments where I realize all the other moments in my life – being with Jay so young, ending two relationships only to date without ceasing to the point of exhaustion – had lead to me being right there. Dating may be tough and though I might want a relationship pretty badly, it’s moments like that that make me realize how magical being single can be.
Dating can suck. Being single can be tiring. But sometimes … sometimes you get to say yes on a Tuesday night and witness sheer magic. And I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything in the world.