I figured I should probably choose a semi-country song for my track on dating. When I first started contemplating what I would say about this topic, I went through (and discarded) many ideas. One was doing a sad post then a happy post using two songs, but as I tried to formulate what and who I would include in each, I realized that each dating experience I've had has been both happy AND sad. They have all ended. This was usually sad. On the flip side, I usually had a great time until that point. Usually. I'm getting ahead of myself, though.
Because dating has been a part of my life for so long, this post will only include my dating here in Utah. Trust me, there's not much to say before that, although I am sure it will leak into posts as I go further back.
First, a few pictures:
I came down to Utah looking like this. Hot. Or hawt as they say now. I knew it. I wasn't one of those women who downplayed her beauty. Every advantage I could take, I did. I had finally gotten the weight thing taken care of (haha) and was ready to take on the world. Here is what separated me from the usual beautiful woman...I didn't tell anyone I knew or was aware of this or act like the typical "hot" girl. I don't act bratty or like I'm owed anything. I fully expected to work at a relationship and not have everything given to me. But, I mean, look, I'm hot.
Okay, okay...I know what you must be thinking, Imaginary Cyberspace Friend: Really? I'm so totally not going to read anymore because it's obvious she's completely full of herself. Well, ask any of the men I've dated and they will tell you that I've never acted like a diva or like a drama-filled, you're so lucky I'm with you type of person (they didn't know how lucky, though....) That brings us to the meat of this post: The boys, er, ummm, men. I'm not going to mention any names because I don't do that. Most of it won't be even super specific because of the personal nature of dating, especially stories of those you are no longer dating. Also, a disclaimer: I spend most of my nights alone, with my TV or studies when I am in school, so please don't think these experiences are typical, especially now. I have also only had two legitimate boyfriends since being here. But oh...so...many...dates....
The first man I met when I was down here turned out to be a flop. We had been communicating since before I moved and our match online was 99%. We both had degrees at BYU in History. We both had jobs that didn't use that degree at all (seriously...why did I get that degree?). Everything on paper said we should be together. We went out once. Meh. We went out again. No sparks. But! I don't give up. I never have. We went out a third time because 99%!! By the end of that date I knew I would be calling him and telling him that there was no chemistry and no more dates. He agreed. So, no hard feelings. Before that experience, I thought that I could just make any LDS relationship work with hard work and determination even if there was no chemistry. I was a staunch believer in that old LDS saying/myth that any man and any woman could get married regardless of personality and circumstances. Untruth. Not true. No. Especially in this time we are living.
I've just written, then deleted a paragraph about the next one. Still doesn't need to be shared and probably never will. I think of the sport of running whenever I think of this guy. And not in a good way.
I went on several more dates. At this point I had something lined up most nights of the week. There was a day when I had two dates. Before work. In the same complex...opposite sides. I was getting goooood at this.
But still no real connection.
Until I noticed a boy who kept looking at my profile. He didn't send me a message, though, which was odd. I thought he was pretty cute, so I tried to send him a little nudge in the form of a wink. Instead I somehow sent him a blank message. I got back a really long response. We started chatting, then talking on the phone, then he asked me out. This is still my favorite date of all time, so I'm going to tell you about it. It started out with him coming to pick me up and driving me to an unknown destination. We were at a stop light when I looked over at a flier for ice skating and said out loud that I have never been, nor do I ever want to go ice skating. He got really quiet. And then told me that was where we were going. I felt so bad! We get there and tie our skates up. Mine are super tight, but I don't want to tell this man I don't know how big my feet really are, so I just deal with it. Since I'd never been before, and I did not trust my balance, I clung to the wall for one rotation. One. Then, I got off the rink grateful to still have unbroken bones and all my teeth (seriously afraid of it for some reason). We ended up sitting on the side where he told me he wanted to take me ice skating because I would be forced to hold his hand. And as he told me this, he took my hand. We didn't let go for 13 more hours. We ate, we met part of his family, then, not wanting the date to end, he drove me up the mountain. It was still winter at this point and, not being from Utah, I was slightly scared, but he told me to look up at the stars and we would be safe. We arrived at the top, above the clouds, snow all around us. We got out and, in the light of the stars, I let him kiss me. I truly believe that if cameras had been there it would have been as good of a kiss as any you see on the big screen. No, better because it was mine. He kissed my forehead, then each eyelid, then each cheek, then finally my lips in a perfect snow covered mountaintop kiss.
And I was gone.
Then, a cop showed up. Haha.
I will never say anything bad about this man. He was never anything but kind, thoughtful and honest with me. I loved him as a boyfriend, but I loved him even more as a friend. And that is eventually what we became. Best...friends. The day he broke up with me, I knew it was coming. I had been crying almost everyday because I wanted this to work so much but I knew, I knew it wasn't right. And I couldn't make it last no matter how kind I was. No matter how thoughtful I was. No matter how great a girlfriend I was or boyfriend he was...it just wasn't right. And fighting against that was making both of us miserable.
After that I took the appropriate amount of time to grieve, got myself back into fighting shape and, six months later, I was back in the game. It was different this time because I was different. I knew what love looked like. I also started school at this point, so I really didn't have time to waste on dates every night of the week or with men who only wanted to hook up. You might think that making out hook-ups would be the way to go with time constraints, but contrary to a belief that somehow took hold about me within some of my circles, I never kiss with a man that I don't have intentions of pursuing. Or that has pursued me. It was never not a personal thing. And I didn't have time or desire to feel bad about myself.
My next boyfriend really doesn't even deserve a whole paragraph. He was a liar, cheater, and I let him break my faith in men for a long time. He doesn't deserve that honor of being a part of my dating past. But he is, unfortunately.
I've had a hard time letting go of most of the men I've seriously been interested in. They all had qualities I wanted in a husband and father and this was not a bad thing...at all. I am not ashamed of the choices I made, the men I dated or loved. I don't like some of them anymore, but that's from choices made after we started dating.
I still hold out the hope that one day I will be able to add to this track list a love song that doesn't end. But until then....enjoy the bitter-sweetness.