--> divine angst: bad dates ≠ dating is bad

Monday, January 10, 2005

bad dates ≠ dating is bad

Stag has this post about a recent bad date she went on.

Now, I'm married, and Mr. Angst and I have been a couple for almost five years, so I haven't had to date in a while. And reading stag's story, I'm glad I haven't had to date. I remember the dread in my stomach when I'd go on a date with someone. I always hoped he would be compatible with me, interesting, fun, and funny; but I always knew there would be something wrong with him. (And there always was something wrong with him until my first date with Mr. Angst. Seriously—that date was about as perfect as a first date can get.)

So I don't envy stag her bad dates because I wish I were still dating.

I do, though, feel a tiny bit of jealousy. And it has to do with meeting new people.

Look, I admit it, dating sucks, but dating is also a way to get out and meet people, people you might become friends with even if you don't match up romantically. (This has never happened to me, because the people I went on dates with before Mr. Angst were all profoundly unlikeable people; this has, however, happened to my best friend—a lot.)

There's something so nice about the possibility of meeting someone in a class or at the gym or even (though not as nice) at a bar and then striking up an actual friendship that extends beyond the original common ground. But for some reason, the people you meet in class, at the gym, or in bars don't want to strike up friendships with you when you're married. They just want to date, and married people are pretty much off-limits. (Again, I am generalizing; I took a class where almost everyone in it became good friends, but that was an unusual situation and a quite rare result. I'm also generalizing about married people being off-limits; there are some people who don't seem to mind that situation, but for the sake of argument...)

This sounds really stupid and petulant, and it's probably at least a little erroneous, but I miss the spontaneity of going on dates with people I haven't gotten to know yet. It's exciting, it's new, it has so much promise for what might happen. It's sort of like when people say they're afraid to get married because they'll never have another first kiss, and they'll miss the rush of kissing someone for the first time. I don't feel that way—married kisses are awesome—but I understand the feeling.

And I kind of feel the same way about dates. I don't want to date anymore, but I kind of miss the excitement of meeting new people that way. Once you're married, there's not really a corollary way of making new friendships.

Oh, and of having good stories to tell about how awful the date was.