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Thoughts on Dating (or Emo Ernie, Part 2)
buzzed, B&W
Yesterday I wrote about how I'm an introvert, and part of what prompted that entry was that I've been dating a bit lately. It's made me realize that dating is a lot like a opening Christmas presents.
  • When you first meet the person, you're sizing them up, seeing just how big the box / package (yes, I realize there's a double-entendre) is, judging if the paper, ribbons, and bows make the package attractive, or if it's just ostentatious.
  • You go a step further, shaking the present, wondering just what's inside, but getting some clues - is it heavy or light? does it rattle? plastic? dense? metallic?
  • As you unwrap, you peel away the paper and then the packaging, exposing more of the person (obligatory Shrek reference).
  • You throw aside the wrapping paper and the box, realizing that it's not important, as you pull out whatever the hidden present is. 
  • Now, you know what you're dealing with - and more times than not, the excitement is gone before Christmas morning is over.  This is the part of dating that can really be painful, in that you have to keep going through presents till you find the right one . . .
Recently, I feel like a little kid on Christmas - I went on two fantastic dates with someone, and was definitely excited about how things were going.  Both of us seemed to be really interested, and I was optimistic about the future.  We end the second date, discussing the good time we had, and talking about the next date, but leaving it open (we both already had Halloween plans and things).  Anyway, two days later, I get a very terse email from her saying that's she's not interested in anything more than friendship and that she's sorry.  A bit of a bombshell, and part of what put me into the tail-spin that made me write my post yesterday about who I am.  I'm assuming that the woman isn't bat-shit crazy, but something really came up; maybe a family emergency, re-kindled old romance, etc.  Granted, a two-line email is rough for me as the dumpee and I would have preferred at least a phone call (and maybe some explanation), but as always, I'll give the other person the benefit of the doubt.  In fact, I still really think this person is cool, and wouldn't mind being her friend, but we'll see if that's in the cards or not . . . my response to her (via email as well) was pretty brief, telling her I was surprised, but thanking her for the honesty.  Not exactly the best way to leave the door open for a friendship . . .

At first, I was pretty upset by this - it was like I was the little kid, who had asked for a new bike for Christmas, and there's this big box next to the tree, that's the perfect size for a bike.  It's got the right heft, feels like there's something inside that's on wheels, etc, etc.  I'm super-excited, but as I'm pulling away the paper, I wake up and realize it's all a dream.  I go downstairs and see there's lots of presents, but definitely nothing that's a bike.

With a bit more thought though, I'm trying to take a bit more positive look on this.  First, I had two fantastic dates - none of the awkwardness that seems to mar first dates, and it seemed like we clicked and got along pretty well, and had a fair number of similarities (and a good number of differences as well). 

In fact, as I told a co-worker, these dates reminded me of what a good date should be.  Lately, dating has felt like a bit of a job interview, where I'm jumping through hoops, trying to feel things out, and second or third dates still feeling like work.  These two dates were just fun.  I felt like I could be myself, and things were good, and it's reminded me that dating doesn't have to be a chore.  It can definitely be painful (especially when expectations are crushed), but the rewards are worth the effort.

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I think that a better analogy is that the box in front of the tree is indeed a bike, but it was mislabeled with your name and it was really meant for someone else.

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