“Be open!” This is what I’ve heard from family and friends. I also see this message subliminally in many places regularly. While I’m sure the universe wants us all to be open to new experiences, change, love and learning; lately, in my case the message has been specific to dating. Apparently, I haven’t been as open as one should be when one desires to be “in relationship” with another.
So I heed the signs and the pleads of my friends and I say one simple word; “yes”. Just so we are clear, this “yes” did not roll off my tongue with ease as I accepted an invitation for lunch with a gentlemen I would categorize as a stranger. This was a guy I may have seen a few times on the street in the vicinity of where I work – or maybe I didn’t. Either way, as I waited on line at a local store, this kind man asked me two questions: “Are you married?” and “May I take you to lunch?”. I easily said “No” to his first question and reluctantly said “Yes” to his second. We exchanged telephone numbers and I walked back to my office thinking that my friends would be proud of me.
As soon as I hit my desk, I emailed a few choice pals and shared my “Yes” story. There response was almost immediate. “Finally! You said Yes!” “When’s the big lunch date?” “You go girl!” With far less enthusiasm as them, I did eventually go on this “date”.
Here’s why I’m okay with saying “No, but thank you for asking.” Whether you call it gut instincts, intuition, finely-tuned radar or just good ole’ common sense, my antennas work!
The date was interesting. We met at a nearby restaurant where he gave me over a dozen roses at the door. That was nice, albeit a bit too much for a first date. We took a seat at our table, ordered and began to talk – sort of. He did most of the talking.
It’s good to learn about someone when you first meet but it can be overwhelming to learn everything. Everything like where he grew up, where he went to college, how he was proposed to twice but never married, where his son lived, how long he’d been at his current job and all his vacationing habits. That last piece of information was important for me because he informed me that when we go on vacation together… Screech!!!
Is it just me or does a first conversation seem too soon to start planning vacations together? Maybe I’m not being open enough, but this doesn’t feel right. So I tried to go a little deeper than surface level and asked questions about his parents, his son and his engagements that never materialized into marriage. Hearing about people’s core relationships and what they’ve learned from their derailed love affairs can tell you a lot about a person. That theory didn’t work so well in this conversation. I learned that his son’s mother married a guy of the same name and that he likes to be the first person to board a cruise ship.
But before I appear to be too snobbish, let me share the questions he asked of me. There was the breathtaking “what’s your favorite color?” Then he asked, “Are you left-handed?”…which actually turned out to be a rhetorical question because his asking was an opening to share that he dated mostly left-handed women in his well-traveled life. I sat in amazement at the realization that this date was happening without my involvement and wondering where all the other left-handed women of his life were now.
As I found myself wanting to phone a friend, I braced for the third and final opportunity I had to speak. He asked, “Have you ever been on a cruise?” I quickly answered “yes” and he quickly said, “I can’t wait for our second date”.
At this point, a light bulb flicked on in my head which quickly redirected my attention away from the tension headache I was beginning to develop. It occurred to me that this generally nice man was searching for a woman to replace the left-handed, cruise-loving, matching, favorite-color wearing mate he lost. He wasn’t looking to know me, he was looking for her. It’s kinda of sad actually. So, of course my reflective personality caused me to ponder if I was doing the same thing.
Am I seeking a carbon copy of a lost love? I don’t believe so, but anything is possible. I started thinking about who might fall into that category for myself. All of my relationships ended fairly well. I don’t think about any of my exes longingly or at all for that matter. I’ve released them and prayed for their continued happiness beyond our days together. I’m not coming up with anything but I will continue to explore for this behavior in myself because one thing I know is that we tend to notice things in others because it exists within ourselves.
As I went back to my office I found myself feeling exhausted from disappointment. I realized that part of the reason I’m less open than I should be is because the journey has weighed on me. I’ve unconsciously closed up shop to keep myself from having to feel the high hopes of every “yes” that is followed by the lows of he’s not the one. So I sat at my desk and sighed. But, then I realized that my dating could be nonexistent. I know people who haven’t been on a date in years! I also realized that having two dozen beautiful roses to look at while I deal with my date disappointments isn’t such a bad thing.
Most importantly, I’ve figured out that us single folks have to be hopeful and open to every possibility because the the finding of love is always in the travel and never at home on the sofa. The takeout delivery guy realizing that the headscarf, warn-out stretch pant, breakfast stained version of yourself that answered the door is the woman of his dreams is not reality; it’s a commercial. So until the marketing geniuses over at the firm of Fantasy, Fiction and Foolishness start working on your personal commercial, you (and I) will have to get out into the real world and explore. Ultimately, if we want a suitable customer, we have to be open for business.