This is a major, major occasion: It’s the 100th entry in my “beloved” Big Book of Bad Dates!!! (Exclamation points courtesy of my 6th grade self). And a grand occasion warrants a MAJOR ENTRY. Right? I know what you really want: a heart-bursting, true love at first site, dream date scenario in which the not unattractive, but heretofore thought of as rather ordinary, heroine (myself), meets her prince, dashing in shiny new blue jeans with throbbing biceps. He whisks her (me) away in his brand new all-wheel drive Subaru to a cabin with a fireplace somewhere in the mountains and they spend a weekend reading Contemporary American Poetry and feeding each other imported Chilean strawberries on a very plush white bear skin rug (faux, obviously). Together they OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY of being middle-aged of average intelligence and slightly soft around the edges and they find each other oh, so, attractive especially when impressions are tempered by 20-year-old bourbon, soft firelight and a playlist of moderately hip indy rock. Happy endings, etc. etc. BUT, instead of telling you that story, which is still in the scheduling phase and pending, I’d like to take this opportunity of a major ENTRY to give you a little advice. A friendly suggestion from one nice, well-meaning person to another.
Gleaned from my varied and rich experience I would like to offer this tip: don’t, whatever you do, start writing a dating blog. That is, unless of course, you want to write a dating blog for the rest of your life. Because I can assure you, if you start a blog about dating, you will never have another relationship, ever again, and the aforementioned dream sequence, will remain just that, a dream.
Let me tell you how I came to possess this information…
When I was in grad school, my friends and I had a couple few weekly traditions. One was “martini night.” Another was “new restaurant Thursdays.” Yet another was “Sunday mimosa brunch.” There was the occasional “German exchange student beer stein party,” and the usual “Sunday afternoon movie at the comedy club and beer.” Once a week, Renata and I would watch The Soprano’s and eat Italian food and drink red wine. Chris and I also had a weekly tradition: The Amazing Race and homemade “Long Island ice teas,” maybe a take n’ bake pizza. Believe it or not, I’m telling you this not to make you suspicious about my grad school drinking habits, which may or may not be classified as “alcoholism,” but to clue you in on the birth of this here blog. It was in business school, during these after school, social gatherings, that I would tell stories of my dating life. My friends would prod me, beg me, usually after a few drinks, to regale them the latest installment of ridiculous encounters with the opposite sex. Maybe I was a good storyteller. Maybe I was having more than my share of weird dating situations. Whatever it was, they kept telling me: you should write a book! It’s like a young Joan Rivers in Sex in the City. Hijinx! Snarky commentary! Weird guys with weird accents! Finally, I thought, they are right. This stuff is 2 good 2 be 4gotten.
So, in August of 2009, I asked my friend Melanie to design a header for me and I launched The Big Book of Bad Dates with the story of that poor schmuck Howie. If you had told me that 2 ½ years later, on the eve of my 35th birthday, I’d still be making entries, nothing (also, everything) would have changed and that life would seem even more bleak (seriously with this economic shit show? Job situation? Weather?), I might have just ended it short and sweet. Enough of this slow, sad suicide from over-drinking.
The “thinking it through” is not exactly my strong suit (clearly) and the truth is, I didn’t exactly think this whole dating blog through. I’m a genuine “head first, looking before leaping, counting my chickens before they’ve hatched” type. “Ha, ha, ha, this will be SO funny,” I thought, “and it is, right?!” I’ve enjoyed it. Other people have enjoyed it. But, not to be complain-y, there are a few problems. Believe it or not, each of these problems was unanticipated when I started this whole façade charade.
One of the biggest problems is that I’ve limited myself to one topic: dating. There really is not that much to say after several years of the same old, same old. I’ve exhausted the topic and would really love to think and talk about something else. I have so many interests/experiences/hobbies, etc. that I find much more enriching/interesting/exciting than DATING. Granted, I’m using my English degree, which is more than most people with an English degree can say. At least I’m writing…right? And they always tell you, when you’re an English major, that you should write what you know. (Sadly, this is what I know…at least I don’t have a “mommy blog.” Geez.) The thing they kind of gloss over, which is nearly as important as writing something believable, true, relatable, is that if you do that, people will dislike you. Especially if that believable, true, relatable stuff is unflattering about them.
Why tell my dates about the blog? It’s a slippery slope, I agree. It’s not usually the first thing that I reveal, but I lean towards brutal honesty in the end. I feel compelled to tell them about it, especially after a few dates, because I don’t want them to find out and feel like I led them into a dark alley only to shank them by a dumpster. I’d rather shank them in the daylight in the Denny’s parking lot pre-breakfast, after a night of hard drinking and making out. Anyway, I guess I could keep it a secret but it’s pretty easy to figure out via the all-seeing eye of Google. And then we’d have trust issues, right out of the gate. Instead, we have…other issues.
Boys don’t want to be with a girl that has a dating blog. One of the cardinal rules of early relationships is that you should be a little mysterious, play your cards close to your chest and let the other person “discover” you, slowly. Never, never, just lay everything out on the table for them to sort through and find fault with. All the crazy all at once isn’t a good look for anybody. If the getting to know each other thing is gradual, then the crazy tends to be easier to digest because it’s mixed up with coy looks and cute, flirty stories and a heavy dose of lusty chemistry. Usually, by the time all the crazy is revealed it’s 7 years in, and there are kids and bills and you realize that, when you boil it down, we’re all in the same pot stewing anyway, so you might as well just go with it.
Having a dating blog is presenting the giant wound of your personality in the most non-dynamic way possible: it’s a slide show of a family reunion at your elderly neighbors house with no exit strategy. No winking, no soft-shoe tapping around the weird stuff, no karaoke, no sequins, and definitely no hot pants.