I've said a million times, I don't date well. I relationship. I'm a freakin awesome girlfriend. I'm not usually one to brag about myself, but I feel like my girlfriend qualities far exceed most men's expectations. I'm sweet. I know how to cook and bake things from scratch. I don't hog the covers and I like beer. I'm not high maintenance by any means. I don't mind doing laundry and I can get mildly excited about the occasional sporting event. The problem is, you can't just jump into a relationship. You have to start with dating. Perhaps my problem has been the combination of long-term relationships at a young age.
I had my first "real-life" boyfriend when I was a mere 16. I call him Original Mike (as there have been others since). It was your typical high school relationship. He teased me mercilessly until I realized that he was flirting. Then we held hands and went to prom. You get the picture. We dated for 3 years. Though, it wasn't really "dating". Meeting at the mall to shop, watching movies in his basement, having my mom drop me off at his place to hang out on Sundays. These aren't exactly dates. While they were a good basis for a high school relationship, they didn't lay much of a foundation for an adult relationship.
The next guy after Original Mike we'll call Drew. Drew and I did go on dates. Original dates at that. He was pretty thoughtful when it came to planning. However, we were short lived as he moved away for college and started his grown up life.
The lucky bachelor after Drew was TJ. TJ and I met in a college lit class. He was older, 22 and I was 20. Our "dates" consisted of watching movies on my living room floor and me picking him up after bar close on Friday and Saturday nights. After I was legally allowed in bars, our dates were spent consuming large quantities of alcohol with his crazy friends. Somehow, despite the lack of creative dates, we lasted. For 2 years.
Next came "the biggest lesson I'll ever learn". He and I met in a bar (classy). He was a bouncer I was a drinker. I gave him my phone number on a napkin written in lipstick. No lie. We also didn't really date. We moved right into a very serious relationship. It was quick and intense. First we bought a dog together and few months later he bought me a ring. Then came the wedding and the honeymoon and the divorce.
I was now 25. A divorcee back on the field. I started seeing someone quite a bit younger than me. So young in fact, that he couldn't legally buy me a drink. Our "dates" were pizzas and bad tv at my place. We couldn't watch tv at his place, because we'd wake up his parents. We lasted 8 months.
At this point I was starting to notice a trend. I was moving too quickly into the comfortable relationship stage. While I certainly don't mind low key evenings spent hanging out at home, I have been skipping over a crucial step in the relationship process. According to the wise editors at Glamour and the Hollywood followings on TMZ, I believe dating involves two key concepts: 1. is going out. That means NOT hanging out at my apartment or his. This means doing things. Creative things. Dinners, concerts, museums, walks, coffee shops, book stores, etc. You get the idea. 2 is talking. It's hard to get to know someone when they're sitting on the couch next to you, zoning out on a Matt Damon action flick. Going out gives you the opportunity to really talk face-to-face with someone and get to know them.
I may not be ready to be back in a relationship, but I am ready to date. I'm ready to go out and take chances and really get to know someone. I'm ready to move slow and live in the moment. I'm ready to let go of my future expectations and just see how the night goes. I know it won't be an easy thing for this controlling, life-planning, decision making girl, but my Happily Ever After will be so worth it!
So, Mr. Joe Mauer, if you're reading this, I like steak. Good steak. And I like live music. And it just so happens that I'm free this weekend! Just let me know what time you'll be by to pick me up.