Earlier this year, my therapist challenged me to go on 100 dates. I simultaneously grimaced, seized in terror, and got an idea for a podcast. I, like Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation, thirst for new business ideas. Fast forward eight months, a loss that made dating seem trivial, and a need for a project, and I have embarked on a strange experiment with my BFF that we are calling "51 First Dates." (Because 100 is insane, but nobody wants to get sued by Adam Sandler.)
You're probably wondering, "Why did your therapist recommend this?" and that's a damn good question. First: I think she was joking. Second: To be fair, she did not suggest the whole "podcast about it" part. Third, let me explain: I am a human woman who is never in serious relationships, but constantly in very-lengthy-but-casual relationships. Like, years. (Ugh, so many retroactive eye rolls.)
Maybe I've just had really good luck meeting people IRL and on dating apps in the past. Good luck in that there was some chemistry that would last for a while. Or maybe, when I connect with someone, I cling on for dear life. (Very possible and also, woof.) When these half-relationships inevitably fall apart, I insta-spiral about all of the ways I'm not good enough. A little narcissistic of me, no?
In the past, I've left everything up to the men I dated rather than saying "next" when a relationship wasn't working for me anymore. Going on a whole bunch of dates is supposed to teach me that it's OK if you don't click with one person. It doesn't mean you are "a leper" — my nickname of choice for myself. In fact, if you're doing "dating" right, there will be many more misses than hits. I'm four dates in and I'm batting .250.
My not-single-at-all BFF is picking out dates for me to go on so that I can't be a picky a-hole, until we get to 51 dates, or until I meet someone super cool. Each week, we podcast about my date — no names, details, or meanness — and talk general love and dating stuff. Because even if you are in a relationship, sh*t's weird, you know?
We set some ground rules in that, as I mentioned, we don't go into any details on the podcast, we don't talk about any dates beyond the first dates, and our goal is that if any date listened to the pod, they'd feel respected. Dating is hard, and everyone putting themselves out there doing it is a champion, so cheers, swipers of the world.
Before you @ me, I hear you. Isn't it counterproductive to go on dates with the goal of opening up, but then be podcasting about it? Honestly, yes, and we are still working out how this little "experiment" is going to work. Some side real talk: I lost my mom to cancer earlier this year, and I have had zero interest in dating since. She knew about this project, and perhaps this is an attempt at getting myself back out there with a weekly deadline.
On the other hand, this experiment could be chalked up to the weirdest self-promotion of all time — my BFF is also my business partner and we have a comedy production company. Our goal is that one person listens to the podcast and feels a sense of comfort or empowerment, because that would rule. My personal goal is that I start looking at dating like a grown-*ss woman, and not a timid sixth grader hugging the wall at the dance. We'll see.
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