First it is important for you to know that I don’t date.
It isn’t that I’m not dating at the present time, or that it’s against my core beliefs, or that I have some hideous growth on my face rendering me unable to find someone to date.
Or that I’m utterly unattractive (or at least I don’t think so, but you tell me).
It’s that I just don’t do it. I’ve always been apprehensive of the entire process and it’s an extra level of anxiety, that dating. Some find it it exciting to get ready and the butterflies that come with not knowing what might happen – whether or not this one date will lead to The One. All of that makes me want to cower under the covers. As a person who cannot stand the unknown I find the entire process excruciating so, I just don’t do it. And I know what you’re thinking that I am insane and possibly missing out on one of the great joys of life. Or at least not providing friends and family with tales of Dates Gone Wild.
Despite my nervousness I do try. Really. There was an eight-month relationship that left me shell-shocked and winded and spending the subsequent years recovering. It was a process to say the least, once you have your heart stomped on and tossed out of a window only to be run over by a Mack truck, it leaves the already apprehensive to shy away from anyone who could do that to them ever again.
But you get over it, eventually. At least I did. Once I had my friends started giving me the look—you know the one—where they wink and point out an attractive somebody hoping that you make some sort of contact. Meanwhile, I just go along sipping my Grey Goose on the rocks updating said friends on what was going on in my life.
I enjoyed/enjoy being single. I am good at it. I excel at leaving the dishes in the sink and making my own plans. I like that my time is my own and that while I have the opportunity to share things with friends and family there’s something wonderful about being able to have peanut butter, from the jar while in bed. Or how I like to get up at 6 AM with my cup of morning joe while watching Morning Joe. These are all very simple things: the cuddling with the cat, the choice of bedding, that I can fall asleep to episodes of Arrested Development. Simple but my things and my way. I enjoy it.
I recently returned from a four-month stay in the District of Columbia. Pre-departure a friend/former roommate thought that I should get on that dating thing. What’s the harm? she said. It was decided that yes, perhaps DC would be a good place to finally meet someone and have a go at it. So I did.
I met a lovely woman (here’s the part where I say that I date both men and women and that really isn’t the most important part of the story, but whatever, yes. I do that. Moving on) named Heidi who was great. We had fun, held hands, explored new restaurants and when I left DC for three weeks, she watched my evil cat and offered to send me a pair of pants when I realized that the temperature in New Hampshire wasn’t exactly tropical. But…I don’t know…I missed my me time. I missed having the bed to myself and watching terrible television in lieu of um…other things. Ahem. I missed being by myself. Isn’t that just the saddest thing you have ever heard?
The thing is that while I like the cuddling and would love someone to do things with, I have gotten so good at doing it all completely alone that another person around all of the time spoils things for me. So my point, and yes there is a point to this, is that my perpetual single-ness in addition to PTSD of getting my heart broken has lead me to living as a recluse. Or at least well on my way to doing so. Now here I sit in this middle place of loving being by myself and wanting to have someone to go apple picking with.
I want to drink wine while in bed but I also want someone to snuggle with. I, do, in fact, want both.
Heather Barmore writes about the hodgepodge of her life at No Pasa Nada and about politics at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue. She started her personal blog as an early twenty-something with no idea of what she wanted to do in life. She is now a late twenty-something with the same problem! (Who knew?!) She started Poliogue because she loves politics more than anyone you’ve ever met and wanted to share that love (or obsession) with anyone and everyone. She now lives in her hometown of Albany, NY where she works in politics while writing (or as she says, ‘creatively whining’) on the side. You can read more from Heather on her blog, No Pasa Nada.