In the time since my last post, two things have happened:
1. Someone asked me out.
2. I asked someone out.
I haven’t gone on a date since December, and then it was with a dude who ended up squashing my heart into a pulpy ball of sadness. After that, I had basically arrived at the conclusion that my college dating life was over—I had given it a good run, but this was surely the end of the road. My job now was to wish fervently that there would be eligible bachelors just dying to take me out for a drink when I move back to the East Coast (to an actual city!) this summer—maybe I could will them into existence. However, things were looking pretty bleak. And then, in less than 24 hours, multiple prospects magically appeared.
That always happens, doesn’t it? Just when you think you’ve lost hope, there it is, knocking persistently at your door.
The hard part is knowing what to do with it. Although I was initially elated to realize that Guys! Are! Still! Interested! In! Me!, nerves were not far behind. Because I know well—and have been recently reminded—that romantic entanglements can easily and quickly go wrong, I’m hesitant to give into my excitement. I don’t want to set myself up to be disappointed yet again. As a result, I’ve found myself dreading having to pick out an outfit, worry about whether there’s food in my teeth, and, worst of all, that awkward moment when he tries to pay and I insist that we split the bill. (It’s a personal policy—most of the time.) While I can recognize that I’m acting in the name of self-preservation, it kind of takes the fun out of having a date. It becomes this big, scary, nerve-wracking thing with disaster seeming right around the corner—rather than just a fun way to spend a few hours while getting to know someone who could turn out to be really cool.
Ironically, the other thing I find myself doing is irrationally fantasizing. (Okay, when do I ever not do that? But still.) Datiquette knows what I mean when she refers to herself as “the girl who has to constantly rein in her intensity and pretend that she hasn’t planned her wedding down to the smallest details shortly after the onset of a crush [peonies, lace dress, vanilla cake].” Even though it’s totally in conflict with my nervousness, here I am, wondering how many kids these dudes will want to have and whether or not they’ll be down to buy a house near my parents. I’m likely (read: definitely) making them into something they’re not. In a way, it’s like I’m already setting myself up for the disappointment I want to avoid. It’s pretty convoluted, but it keeps happening.
Much as my friends keep telling me to relax, to go with the flow and just enjoy the ride, I can’t stop flip-flopping between these two emotions. Is it worth it to go through all this angst just for an hour of conversation over coffee? I guess that’s the consequence of having had your heart broken: you worry that it will break all over again, even as you yearn for the Mr. Right who will bring you back to that place where you feel deliciously vulnerable, where you feel things you never thought you could. And that tiny sliver of possibility, the ever-intriguing maybe, is what’s keeping me here, teetering on the edge of potential nothing and potential something—for better or for worse.