It had been a while since I went on a first date. My last relationship lasted almost seven years, and I knew the dating scene had probably changed a little bit. It was apparent though that some things, at least, had stayed the same.
Perhaps the most exciting time lies in the messages and phone calls that take place before you meet someone face to face. Nowadays getting hooked up by a friend, or meeting someone online gives people an opportunity to see if there’s a connection before the first date even takes place. The only thing one needs to be careful about with this, is the perceptions that we fill in about the other person. It is easy to make someone laugh, or, in my case, it’s easy to make me laugh, but it’s also easy to create an image of that person that might not be real.
Another thing that you can’t fake in person: chemistry. This one is so important. After texting back and forth for a few days, I went on a couple dates with someone. He was kind, funny, good-looking, and we got along well, but there was something missing. It bothered me that I couldn’t figure out what it was. On paper, and logically, it should have been a match, but there was a spark missing that should have been, and it became obvious.
I reflected on it, surprised at myself for misjudging the situation since I normally deem myself pretty good at being perceptive, and then it dawned on me: I was no longer tailoring my answers to fit the situation. Ten years ago, (or even five, for that matter), I would have convinced myself I liked things, even when I didn’t. “Sure, I love snowboarding! Falling down a mountain for three hours is one of my favourite things to do. Sports? You can absolutely find me sitting in front of the T.V. whenever you have it on. Yes! I’d love to spend three hours watching a science fiction movie while I contemplate why I told you I liked this in the first place.”
The difference, between twenty-one year old Diane and nearly thirty Diane, was that I am now much closer to knowing who I am, and I don’t feel the need to hide any of it anymore.
I like lazy Sundays, the kind where you sleep in, grab a coffee, and wander around the city leisurely taking in the fresh air. I have a short attention span, and the likelihood of me paying attention for an entire movie at home is zero to none. I get ridiculously excited about silly stuff, like the first day of spring, or watching a prairie sunset over an open field. I throughly enjoy going to hockey games, but my motives for attending usually involve beer and a Jets-dog, and less about watching the game. I now am just as content to curl up in a chair with a book and a glass of wine on a Saturday night, as I am going out with friends. I use the term “cooking” loosely, and have much better luck making dinner with a phone and a credit card. I like tattoos, and I like them on me – we are so impermanent on this earth, that decorating the skin I am walking around in with art brings me nothing but joy. I will make plans, but some of my best days have been filled with spontaneity. If I’m on a road trip, I will enthusiastically make a playlist, stay awake for one hour, and then be sleep-drooling for the duration of the trip in the passenger seat. I will only yell if someone is on fire, or if they do something incredibly stupid in traffic. Family has become increasingly important to me, and I have learned through this past year just how much. I want to see the world, not in the comfort of my living room looking at my T.V., but with my own eyes. I can be sensitive, which I always thought was a weakness, but I have learned that empathy is one of the most important traits that a person can possess. If I have a bad day, which are few and far between, they can be easily fixed with wine and good company. I start a lot of things with childlike excitement, but can take a while (or a very long while) to finish them. Simple makes me happy: all I want in the summer is a tent, a campfire, and the appropriate amount of booze from the LC for all of us to enjoy ourselves. The most important thing during any day is to make sure I’ve laughed, I don’t care if it’s at myself, but a day without a smile is a day wasted.
After Mr. Few-Dates and I agreed that we were lacking chemistry, I found myself at my parents house, sitting beside my mom with a glass of wine in my hand.
“Oh I forgot to ask, how was your date the other night?”
I laughed, “another one bites the dust,” I said with a wink.
She turned to me, smiling.
“You know, Diane, I was thinking earlier; I was always sad over the past seven years when you were in Alberta. Every Christmas and birthday that went by when he didn’t propose, it upset me. Not because it was necessary, but because I just wanted you to know how much you were loved. But it dawned on me in church today, that’s not important. The thing I want most for you isn’t for someone else to love you, but for you to love yourself.”
I looked at her and smiled, tears welling up in my eyes a bit.
For the first time in a long time, I think I do.