It’s over. Terminated. Cancelled. Disengaged.
My personal profile is officially expunged from the online dating universe. (For now anyway…everything in life’s impermanent).
While I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to look, the online hustle is over. It no longer resonates with my life strategy….self awareness, trusting the process, and reducing “automaticity” (habits and reactions) in favor of mindful responses. To do that, I need less distractions…meaning less boys hanging around in my peripheral vision.
(Side Note: After tirelessly whining that there should be an app just for friends and activities, I’ve discovered “Meetup”, the app people use to search for honest connections and shared adventures, such as book clubs and ski buddies…. not naked company for a lonely Friday night. One of my best non-dates so far via this site has been skiing with a 70 year old Norwegian guy who has kicked my a$$ down every run at Steven’s Pass.)
Despite some dating calamities, my experience hasn’t been futile. In fact it’s been quite beneficial in some ways:
- Supreme “Selfie” Style: No one has to know it took 32 practice poses to achieve the perfect pout. Filters, cropping, color, light….I can do it all.
- Muscle Strength: powerful right hand “adductor pollicis” muscle from hours of swiping left.
- Enhanced Interview Skills: Confidence meeting a perfect stranger, answering inconsequential questions which ultimately lead to a 90 minute chat, commencing with an awkward hug, sincerely fake smile and resigned plan to endure the next one.
- Virgin Drink Order Mastery: Ice tea connoisseur and Pellegrino pro. I can name every non-alcoholic beer available in the U.S. Waiter making fun of your non alcoholic drink? Simply order a virgin margarita, give a provocative wink (a la Marilyn) and purr “Hey, I’m still a virgin…you gonna try and change that?”. Throws them every time.
- Refined Red Flag Radar: I can spot a fake profile and sniff out a catfish faster than you can say Neve and Max.
- Resume Practice: Profile creation translates very well into resume making – Prior Experience: 3 weddings, multiple long term relationships. Skills and Strengths: Serial monogamy efficiency. Loyal to a fault, a co-dependent’s dream. Confident facade; will argue point to death. Reliably right in every situation. Apt writing ability; steady stream of diary entries beginning at age 5. Hobbies/Passions: Competent motorcycle passenger, excellent Swedish Pancake cook. Will barter breakfast for a ride on your bike. Enjoys meaningful chats on chairlifts in winter. These notes will also come in handy when my blog goes viral and I need a quick bio for magazine articles.
It was fun in the beginning; attention, new outfits, mani/pedis. Dates gave me a reason to go to the gym, see a new movie, or try a new restaurant. But the gratification barely reached my libido, much less my heart. And that’s not just because I chose the wrong men. There were potential winners…in fact, one in particular you’d probably question why I haven’t begged him to marry me. But I felt nothing. It’s as though my neurotransmitter/hormone and limbic center switches have been turned to “OFF” and a clear message is flashing across the screen:
“Tiffany. Do not take one step further. You are NOT sufficiently prepared. You are NOT emotionally available. You MUST NOT DATE.”
Dating distractions may have been what I needed initially, to keep me from growing mold under a blanket while watching Bravo. But when the swiping ends, there’s just me, my glossy shellacked toenails and a closet full of new dresses. (Well, there’s me and the dog of course! My emotional availability for her is at an all time high!)
My best cousin-friend shared some wise words with me. “Tiffany, you’re dating yourself.” As a metaphor that’s perfectly accurate. Every dinner, dog walk, or “drink” rendezvous, I’ve been getting to know me. But I can take it one step further – edit out the male counterpart and all the energy it takes to share my space with him. Single and sober, this is the time to literally date my self.
Every girlfriend who’s ever cried on my shoulder post – break up has heard these words. “It’s the best thing that’s happened for you. Take care of yourself! DON’T get involved with someone else right away. DON’T settle. BE SINGLE. Find a hobby – take a class – travel. Do everything you’ve ever wanted to do WITH YOURSELF”. Brilliant advice to be sure.
But definitely never the right advice for me. In fact, I was single for a minute in my twenties, yet quickly moving on to another relationship when a close girlfriend said, exasperated “I thought this time you were actually going to take your own advice?! Do what you’ve always told me to do – stay single, find yourself, enjoy life without jumping in to something just to escape being alone?!”
Hmmm. I guess she had a point.
I used the excuse that my situation was unique– I knew what I was doing. The truth is I was too scared to believe I could manage it, and felt too inferior to believe I was worth it. Its’ a repetitive theme for women in recovery -the inability to offer/receive the same compassion they would readily shower on their friends. Or even a stranger. But I’m ready this time. I’m wide awake and listening.
Life is giving me an opportunity to practice what I’ve preached. I now often say to myself “Tiffany, what would you tell your very best friend in this situation?” then I act accordingly. It’s a beautiful side effect of sobriety – this ability to make mindful, positive choices.
So don’t go looking for me in tinderland, bumblebox or eharmonious…..
Consider me officially (if temporarily) off the market. When I return, I’m guaranteed to be new and improved, worth every penny.
Until then, trying to listen to my own ingenious input…
Cheers & Gratitude,
Top Shelf Tiffany