There was this trend in my life that is somehow funny and poignant at the same time. I was this girl whom single guys dated before they got married or engaged. Now don’t get me wrong, these guys are single or at least they claim they were. The funny part about this trend was- I was never sure of how these guys define the word “single” because they give me confusing definitions of it: (1) single with options, (2) technically single with past baggage, (3) pretending to be single and hoping the target wouldn’t find out, (4) single-wanna-have-fun and (5) single after thought, these are the ones who got stuck in problematic relationship, waiting for that right timing to let off the hook.
One thing I am sure about this trend, it started with these single guys asking me simple question “why hadn’t you found love yet” followed by seemingly curious question “what do you desire in a romantic partner”. As simple as these start-up questions maybe, the ending questions are complex with ostensibly complicated goodbyes or no closure at all.
Well, I never intend to be that last girl whom these single guys would check out before they popped the question “will you marry me” to their significant other but somehow it happened and I had been that unofficial girl. I would be hypocrite if I tell you that it didn’t hurt me. It did- a lot. I felt frustrated when I realized that my love life looked nothing like the romantic comedies that I loved; drowning in a drizzling storm of text messages, mixed signals, ambiguous interactions and missed connections.
Because of these interesting encounters I have had in the dating field, I had an epiphany that dating is a fruitless waste of time rather than hopeful quest to find the one. Here are the reasons why:
- The Endless Shopping– There was this guy whom I dated for about seven months. He was very intelligent, has a very good personality and good values, which I found very appealing. Months of dating, I blurted the tough question of where our relationship is heading to or “what are we” and he gave me an ambiguous answer like we should not put labels on the stages of our dating. This was apparently followed by a long silence. A friend of mine told me that the reason might be was he is still keeping his options open; like he is still ‘toying’ of the idea that there is much more out there. Well, true to what my friend told me, two months after, I saw this guy with a new woman who seems to won the “genetic lottery”. His insatiable appetite for that ‘endless shopping’ is honestly quite disappointing. I know that possibilities are endless. I mean you might meet someone lovely today, but you may meet someone even more wonderful tomorrow- so it is like we better keep your options open. I find this mentality of ‘while you are still technically single, why not expand your options’ offensive and upsetting. A lot of people treat dating scene like window shopping– comparing products, brands and prices, but never committing to a purchase. It is like a big marketplace that makes people less likely to see the value of the person in front of them, because they are always looking over their shoulder for something better… because probably the ideal one might be just around the corner.
- The Game of Thrones- I don’t know if single-20-something woman could relate to this but when you reach the milestone age 30, chances of getting a date is very slim not because there is scarcity of men out there but because they see you as their competition or probably some well- crafted target that once you have fallen to their trap it is their greatest achievement. Naturally, when you entered 30, in one way or another, you had accomplished most of what you are set to do. It could be that you have finished your graduate studies, landed on stable job or perhaps you are that strong economically independent woman that you treat men as a complement not as a need. As I go along dates, I have realized that men are devoted players with phobias to committing to independent women. I don’t know if they have this irrational fear of being emasculated or in Filipino term “under the saya” or a man being boss around by a woman. But the reality is when woman outperform man chances are meaningful relationship will never developed or if it does flourish there would be a lot of problems down the road especially when it concerns their ego. What ultimately turns me off is that a lot of men have these hook-up philosophies of trying to be that “superior” being that you have to chase them, beg them, need them and please them, when all you wanted is to get to know them better and work things out.
- The Superficiality and false awakening– The ugly truth about dating is its superficiality. It is always about that fake ‘perfect’ version of reality, the best foot forward, society’s rigid standard on gender and the dating rules to abide with. I understand that it is arbitrary to question rules or the power of presenting your best self but if these factors are astutely followed then one petty mistake means the end of what could be a meaningful relationship. These mistakes could be an innocent slip of the tongue or a different take on issues or a little misunderstanding early on dating scene. Following dating rules make me extremely confused and exhausted. Another thing that really turned me off is the notion of men awakening women’s emotion without intention of getting serious with the women they are dating. Well I had a few dates with men who truly impressed me to the point I have fallen for them only to find out that their well-crafted pick-up lines are plotted and designed to enchant their selected targets such as me. It is as if I’m the elusive catch that only the bravest and most cunning wins. If successful and was able to seamlessly execute the plan or they have tally up their scores, then here comes their ultimate getting out excuse of “we are just hanging out” or “I don’t know you are that serious, we are just checking things out”. The sad thing about this; you don’t deserve an explanation, nor do you have any right to get upset because basically you are also trying to discover as much as you can about the person you are dating without getting too serious. Unknowingly, you play the game. The hardest part was you lose.
This trend in my life comes as a blessing in disguise because it ultimately helped me to focus on becoming a better person. Right now, I am thinking of things I want to accomplish and commit in. I am not desperate to date just to fit in on society’s definition of being happy. I am happy on my own. I enjoy taking walks in solitude, watching movies and dining alone as well as spending hours in bookstores and coffee shops with me, myself and I. Frankly, I don’t find it awkward to say that I am 33 years old and still single. I actually find people’s reaction to my being single, hilarious.
Yes, I kissed dating goodbye not because I’m not interested in getting married but because I am disappointed with the whole process. Don’t get me wrong, I still yearn to be with a man that would looked at me in millions ways and loved me in each but I also believe that there is much more to life than waiting and looking for the one.
Perhaps, in God’s perfect time, Mr. Right and I will cross path and tie the knot. Or maybe happy ending does not include a man; maybe it’s me on my own. Well, whatever God’s plan is, I am entrusting it all to God because it is always the best.
As for the men I dated, I sincerely thanked them for reminding me what butterflies feel like and for making me look forward to what is to come.
I kissed dating goodbye because there’s a lot more to life than dating.