The other day, my friend Kayla told me that she never goes out on dates. Ever. It’s not like a guy has never asked her out, but she’s so intent on getting into a serious relationship she refuses to date anyone whom she doesn’t already like. This doesn’t make any sense to me. I know there are other ways to meet men and even become seriously involved, but dating is definitely one of those ways and to completely rule it out seems counterproductive.
Just the other day, Kayla was telling me about a guy who asked her out to lunch. She told me that she declined because she could already tell she didn’t like him and therefore didn’t want to lead him on. I couldn’t believe it! Accepting a date is not leading a guy on because there is no realistic expectation there. It’s not a marriage proposal or even a guarantee for a second date. It’s not a commitment of any sort except promising to show up at a particular place at an agreed upon time.
Had she considered that she may go out with him and actually like him?, I wondered, or that he may go out with her and realize that he doesn’t like her? Isn’t that’s what dating is about anyway? Why so serious about something so trivial?
I know Kayla is interested in having a boyfriend because she always tells me she is so tired of being single and she consistently bemoans the “lack of guys anywhere!” Finally, I told her “You should just date the next guy you meet.” Of course she looked at me as though I suggested she go skydiving without a parachute, but I was serious.
I believe in dating. Not the “come to my house and watch a movie” non-date, but the actual “let’s go to dinner, play miniature golf or ride bikes to the local ice cream shoppe” date. There are no real downsides. For one, it’s an opportunity to do something new (for free if he’s paying!) and an opportunity to meet someone new. I also think that dating makes you feel better about yourself and gives you a realistic view of “what’s out there”. In addition, it’s a sheer numbers game: the more guys you date the more likely it is you’ll date a good guy.
When I was single, I accepted dates from guys I knew in high school and guys I met while running errands. I even went on a couple of dates with a guy I met in a club (but that eventual disaster is another story). Of course, if I was going on a date with a stranger, I played it safe by meeting him there, telling friends where I was going and who I was going with, etc. It’s not like I was trying to end up on some documentary of women who were killed by their own stupidity and there were definitely men who exuded way too much creepiness (or ugliness) & thus were swiftly turned down. For the most part though, dating was fun.
To be fair, I am probably such a big supporter of dating to increase the odds because I proved my own theory. Today is the two-year anniversary of my first date with my husband. I hadn’t been to the Ohio State Fair in years, so when he texted me a few days before to ask if I’d like to go, I accepted. We attended the same church, so I knew him enough to assume we were not each others type. The only times I’d seen him outside of church had been in group settings, so I figured that the Fair would be a group event too. However, no one else had been available to go that night, so it was just the two of us.
We had a good time at the Fair, walking around, eating concessions and playing games. We even took one of those Olde Time photos. At the end of the night, after a terrifying Sky Ride (terrifying cause I’m afraid of heights), we sat on a bench sharing funnel cake and fudge and talked until it was just us and the street sweepers.
Sometimes, I think back to that night and how I had no clue that I was sitting there on that bench sharing a messy Blueberry funnel cake with the man I was going to marry. I had simply accepted a date like I had tons of times before, had fun, and went home.
Of course, every date isn’t going to be the beginning of an epic love story, in fact some will be downright epic failures. But when that happens, you just go on a date with the next guy and the next guy — all the while increasing your chances that eventually you’ll end up on a date with a guy you want to marry.
What do you think about this approach to dating?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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