I never dated until I was in my late twenties. I mean, when I say that, I mean that I never dated properly, i.e. ‘to go on dates’ with someone as though you are both inside a metaphysical date bubble, or something. I met my first boyfriend when I moved to Scotland to do a Masters degree after undergrad. I ended up chatting to him in my somewhat consistently foiled attempts to avoid another guy who was not getting the hint that I wasn’t interested. That, coupled with his Italian roommate who played cupid/wingman, we started dating two weeks after I had moved across the pond. We dated for just over 3 years.
My second boyfriend I had already known from my social circle. I absolutely didn’t expect to get together with him, but he visited me one weekend shortly after I’d moved to NYC, and it just happened. We dated for about a year and a half.
At the end of these two back-to-back relationships, it was five years later, and I was single for the first time in what felt like forever. That autumn I moved to NYC to start another degree. I was chatting online with an American friend in California who was telling me about all of the dates she had lined up. I asked about this ‘dating’ situation – how does one get ‘dates’? She told me that she used an online dating site. It sounded terrifying and fascinating. It was 2009, and online dating hadn’t quite caught on yet in most cities, but in New York it was entirely mainstream. She recommended OK Cupid. I signed up, and embarked on my first dating adventures.
Now, at this point in my life, I had just moved (back) to NYC. I had never really committed to the city the first time around though, so while I had a couple of good friends, I didn’t exactly have a lively social life, and online dating helped me fill in my evenings while also getting to know the city I had decided to give a second chance. And stories. Ohhhhh did I have stories. So. Many. Stories.
I had watched Sex and the City when I was in my early twenties, and I remember feeling incredulous that these women would date so many men, not to mention so many bizarre men? When I started dating in New York, I finally understood. (I also started understanding Seinfeld on a far more profound level but that’s for another post.) You see, New York is an incredibly difficult city in which to forge lasting connections. The city is like one enormous shiny object. There is constantly something else to do, someone else to date, someone else, in fact, who might even live on your train line, or in your neighbourhood. NYC also attracts lots of strong personalities, so there are a lot of energetic, ambitious people, but all with our very own very particular neuroses. And online dating encourages a kind of gambling mentality: maybe, if I just roll the dice/push the button again, this time I will win. Maybe this time. Maybe this time? You go out with someone, and even if they’re nice, somehow, even though you mean to call them, even if you both have the very good intentions of seeing each other again, it just never quite happens…
Needless to say, I went on a lot of dates. I’ve had five relatively serious relationships in my life, fifteen or so semi-serious relationships, and many, many, many dates. So many dates. I’ve probably been on at least 100 first dates since I started going on dates. So after a fairly recent break up with Bachelor #5, I found myself back here, but I felt I needed something more. Some kind of support system. Or a way to vent about bad dates. Or, more accurately, some place in which to process both my dates and all of the complex feminist analyses that accumulate in my head about the ethos of dating in North America.
So, welcome. Welcome to my blog that details the experiences of at least one feminist as I try, once again, to navigate the complex and often consternating world of dating. I hope that I can create value out of even the most mediocre experiences.
Let the games begin.