I don't date. It's not that I don't want to date. It's just that I don't make time to date.
Like, when I'm scheduling my week out in my little planner, I only block out certain hours for things I really care about, like a hair appointment for my split ends and a grocery trip to buy my favorite overpriced chocolate. Y'know, the things I know hands-down will bring me happiness.
I also have a lot of hobbies. When I'm not at work writing about ... well ... dating, I'm jamming with my band or exercising in a group fitness class. And when I'm not doing either of those, I'm sleeping.
My time is too precious to be wasted on making definitive plans to see someone I don't yet know. How do people spend anywhere from one to three hours with a stranger, and then, if it doesn't go well, have enough motivation to do that whole thing all over again a few days later?
Meeting people you've never met before and judging them in terms of whether they'll fit into your life romantically is exhausting, time-consuming and a huge investment for something that more likely than not won't turn out to be anything huge at all. Dating is a big gamble with little pay-off.
Now, meeting someone organically while doing my own thing is a completely different story. One time, I met a guy on the corner of Broadway and 8th street in Manhattan who ended up being my boyfriend for three years. Another time, I met a guy at a bar I bartended at who ended up being my boyfriend for a year.
Both of these relationships happened unknowingly, accidentally, unexpectedly and without any effort on my part. I didn't have to give up something I love to do for something I'm not sure of. And I've been told the best loves happen without asking for your permission first.
So if love supposedly finds us when we aren't looking, then why does dating even exist? Why are we encouraged to proactively seek something that will come find us? Why do we invest so much of our time, energy and hope into Tinder and Bumble and set-ups from friends and blind dates as per our parents' suggestions?
Sure, dating isn't a complete waste of time. It can be enlightening. We learn about men. We learn about ourselves, too: what we're willing to put up with for the rest of our lives and what we're not. But trying to strike that balance between "doing us" and actively going on dates is entirely up to us -- and, to be honest, seems impossible. The freedom to plan is paralyzing.
I wrote a piece once about how I will absolutely never, ever give up my gym time for a man I don't know. I'd think twice about giving up a good sweat sesh for a guy I care deeply about, but getting to that level is the tough part. Weeding out all the terrible guys to find the one who's actually worth stealing me away from my precious exercise time is harrowing. Thinking about getting there makes my brain spin and my heart hurt.
Am I asking for too much? Is my unwillingness to run, eyes closed, arms wide open, toward a random dude without knowing the outcome just a sign that I'm too consumed with my own desires and needs to entertain someone else's? My mom does say that I'm single because I'm selfish. Is it true?
In my eyes, my schedule, as is, is practical. Therapeutic. Ambitious. But in the eyes of someone who wants to take me out on a date, that same schedule is impractical. Counterproductive. Egotistical.
I don't know. Am I too jaded, or am I just too lazy? I'm not sure if I'm spending my time as well as I could be. Or should be.
All I know is for right now, I'm banking on the poetically wild notion that I'll run into the love of my life at that shady deli on the corner of Bumblef*ck Street and Invisible Avenue. I'm banking on not having to try that hard, and hoping to come out with a huge reward.