Friday, March 23, 2012

Table for One

I've had somewhat of an epiphany over the past few months. After numerous dating disasters, I decided to delete all of my online dating profiles. At first, I just "hid" them. I really didn't feel like taking an hour to recreate profiles all over again because of one rash decision due to yet another bad date. But, the problem with those sites is that they hit you up when you least expect it. I'd be grading papers in my classroom and I'd get an email from Match.com telling me that seven men just winked at me. Really? How is this possible when my account is supposed to be hidden? So, of course I just HAD to look. Clever, Match.com, very clever. 

After another month of this back and forth dance, I finally pulled the plug. Now what was I going to do? About half three-fourths of my social life had consisted of going on dates. What was I supposed to do to fill all this extra time? I reached out to friends and started third-wheeling it to different events and get-togethers. We'll call this the Bridget Jones phase of my pre-epiphany. A couple things I learned about being a third-wheel: 

1) I'm kind of a fun chick to hang around
2) unless you give me Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka.

I did end up meeting a couple guys through my friends. But, after years of disappointment, I think I've created this shell around my heart that's becoming increasingly harder to crack. I slowly started to realize that I needed some time to be by myself. Like, totally by myself. And you know what I found out? Being alone sucks is totally awesome. 

At first, I didn't know what to do with my time. Pulling the plug on the Internet is one thing; pulling the plug on dating altogether is a completely different beast. I've spent many evenings reading on my Kindle, getting addicted to Snapped (dirty, dirty fun), and trying not to burn down my kitchen (seriously, on a side note, keep a box of baking soda right next to your stove because your brain tends to turn off when toddler sized flames are leaping off your skillet).

There's only so many nights you can spend sulking chilling at home before you go completely BSC*. Building up the courage to dine at a restaurant by yourself is the best way to enter the Shaft Theme phase. Wear sunglasses while you eat to get the full effect. 

Being up off the couch and out of the house isn't enough though. You really have to own it. I'm a firm believer of the Fake It 'Til You Make It philosophy. I have met many women who have attempted the "single and loving it" lifestyle, but have failed and jumped right back on the dating bandwagon. While they may have been single, they truly weren't loving it, regardless of what they say to the average Joe. Talking to close friends reveals the truth: they're spending all their alone time obsessing over couples! Couples on the beach, couples holding hands in the mall, couples sharing every little facet of their life on Facebook ("Johnny just made breakfast in bed for me. Someone's getting lucky this AM!").

In my case, I've had to force myself to ignore couples altogether. Instead of worrying over what my friends are doing with their husbands, I started relishing all the things I get to do that they don't. I leave the bathroom door open, I eat peanut butter out of the jar, and my hair is a cleverly crafted rat's nest most days. When I go out, I pick the movie and the restaurant. Every time. It's freaking fantastic. 

I'm sure there will come a time when I miss being in a relationship, or miss just enjoying the company of a handsome man. But for right now, I'm loving this newfound freedom. It's teaching me what I want out of life, and who knows me best better than me? Well, and Dr. Phil, of course.

*Bat Shit Crazy