By Dana Gornall
There is something comforting about communicating in writing—especially in digital format.
For me, writing as a form of expression has always been a better way because I could take my time with my thoughts. For some reason everything in my brain seemed to flow so much smoother when I had the chance to write it out rather than talk about it. In this texting and social media age, not only do we have the opportunity to gather our thoughts in writing, but we have the immediate gratification of being able to get a response or reaction rather quickly.
Typing back and forth with potential future dates meant I could weigh my words and take in what they were saying before responding. Also, there is something about the unattached way of a digital screen that means you can talk about things more readily than you might if you were looking at a person face to face. It was easy to talk about what I did for a living and what I wanted to do in the future. It was easy to ask about the other person’s past. This kind of communication, however, sometimes breeds a false sense of connection with a person we’ve never met. So when it came to actually meeting some of these guys in person, I was more apt to avoid than move forward.
It’s a defense mechanism I am sure, and the response to my wariness was very telling in each person’s personality.
One particular potential date seemed to get frustrated that I wasn’t ready to have a phone conversation with him yet (after only a couple days of communicating back and forth in emails and texts). While I realize this may be odd to some, I am not a “phone person” and I wasn’t ready to jump to casual phone conversations. Not to mention, I am a busy working mom and I don’t really have a lot of time to sit on the phone. This guy pushed and pushed and seemed to get more frustrated, which of course made me back off even more. He then started telling me about all of the money he made and all of the places he could take me. That was it. I was done.
The day came when I finally agreed to meet someone in person. To say that I was nervous is an enormous understatement. I hadn’t been on a real date in quite some time, and this was a complete stranger.
What if he was a serial killer? What if he was a weirdo? What if he liked country music? So many things to consider.
We agreed to meet at a restaurant. I dropped the “Oh, by the way, I am vegan” bomb on him; it didn’t seem to phase him. Extra points earned. After parking my car, I sat for a few minutes as the butterflies began to swarm in my belly. I checked and re-checked myself in the mirror. No odd things in my teeth, eyeliner on somewhat straight, hair—ugh, I flipped the visor back up. I took a few breaths and closed my eyes, doing a silent short meditation and tried to find a center.
Gathering up the nerve to walk in to the restaurant, I soon realized I was there before him. Oh my god, what if I’ve been stood up? What if I am at the wrong restaurant? I quickly checked my texts and confirmed I was at the right place, so I found a bench and sat. It wasn’t long before the car pulled up and a guy got out. I studied him as he walked toward me, trying to be certain this was the person I was meeting. I was pretty sure, but since I only had the free version of the dating app I only had one picture of him—I had found after stalking him a little on Google.
He smiled and approached me. Bingo. You’re on, I thought to myself.
We sat and chatted about kids and jobs. He told me about the strained relationship he had with his ex and asked me about being vegan. I talked about my job and my career changes. The whole thing was polite. Nice. I clearly remember Marvin Gaye crooning Let’s Get it On over the radio speakers of the restaurant during one of our awkward pauses and making eye contact, both of us kind of laughing. He paid for dinner, which felt weird for me, and we left with a handshake.
He texted that night: so you want to go out again?
I responded, sure. I was going on a family vacation soon with my kids and a friend of mine though, so I suggested maybe after we get back.
Okay, he replied.
But, we never texted again.
It was awkward and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be feeling. I think there was something inside me that wanted this ideal immediate connection, but it just wasn’t there. He was cute, in good shape, seemed intelligent and had a sustainable career. He was kind and polite. There was no reason to not want to go out again.
Maybe I just wasn’t ready. Maybe love just wasn’t real—not romantic love anyway.
To be continued
See Part One here: Dharma & the Dating Mom: After the Divorce
Editor: Alicia Wozniak