(Click the link to listen to the essay spoken with sound effects/music)
I asked her about dating, what it’s been like for her…
And then, I asked her on a date.
We made plans for the next day and she put her information into my phone.
She went dancing and I caught a ride back to Atlanta.
I called her the next afternoon and we made plans to see a movie together.
I was nervous when I went to scoop her up. Just, like, little butterflies. I was excited.
I arrived at her place and we drove to the theatre.
Outside of the theatre, I told her I didn’t like the social construct of “dating”. I felt weird about it.
It’s just that there are too many expectations implied with “dating”.
I mean, straight up, if we’re dating, chances are we’re moving in the direction of mating.
And with that expectation comes a multitude of emotional, physical, and intellectual checks that need to be made:
“Am I willing to let this person inside me? I mean not just physically, but emotionally? Mentally?”
Wait…I don’t let women physically inside of me…I mean…how would that even work?
I’m not looking for an answer to that question.
I’m just saying:
Dating is mating waiting to happen.
On the way into the movie theatre, I told her that I wished we weren’t going to a movie even though it was my idea to go to a movie.
I suck at dating so bad that I didn’t even like the date I chose.
We went into the theatre anyways and sat down for the film.
In the theatre, my mind began race:
“When am I going to hold her hand?”
“Does she even want to hold my hand?”
“She agreed to go out out with me…that must mean she’s at least a little bit attracted…”
“But what if she just wants free food?”
“Maybe she just likes having doors opened for her and movie tickets and popcorn and stuff…”
“I gotta find out if she likes me.”
During the movie, I reached over the armrest and held out my hand.
With palms up, I whispered:
“Do you want to communicate?”
She looked at me all confused.
After about 20 minutes of hand communication, I disengaged.
I wanted to see if she would reach for my hand too.
She never did and a part of me died inside.
The moment I feel like “something” is happening between “us”, I begin to doubt it.
“Maybe I’m just feeling this emotion…maybe it’s in my head.”
I second-guess my desire to touch, or kiss.
“Maybe I’m just horny…maybe my instincts for sexual engagement are overpowering my better sense of judgement…”
I blame the desire for affection on the physiological instincts of my gender.
I mean, I could be experiencing a “want” to touch because I’m a dude and I want to touch stuff…
Cause that’s, like, what dudes do right?
It’s what humans do.
“Am I trying to human too hard?”
I don’t know.
I have trouble dating because I don’t know how to be anything other than honest and a lot of times, I get scared that I’m not talking enough. I’m afraid that I’m not “funny” or “engaging”.
I hate the fact that I’m not “me”. Like, I’m the “me” that’s trying to get to know someone…
Not the “me” that’s comfortable with “you”.
I hate that part about dating. The uneasy semi awkwardness. The litany of guess and check to see if we jive the same frequency.
I hate that fact that I recognize frequency.
I don’t like how easily amused I am, or how intrinsically impressed I get when someone, especially an attractive “someone”, wants to spend time with me.
It’s weird to think that I’ll never know what I truly mean to another person, yet in the moment, I “feel” like it’s symbiotic.
That we’re on the same page.
It’s difficult to know if what I feel is real.
It’s not that I’m nervous, or anxious, or afraid to date…
I’m just afraid that I might be wrong about how I “feel”.
But still, I want to meet someone…
I stay open to discovering a match because I want a companion.
And, I know what people say…
That this is all just part of it. That “the right one” will show up, or “just keep being the best you”.
I mean, I get it. I really do…
But I can do all that stuff while NOT dating.
I just want to share the journey with someone.
It just so happens that whatever journey I’m on is weird as shit, and…
I seem to date like an awkward alien.