The thing is, as I've just mentioned, I was very young when I met the man who would become my husband (Tom) ... and so I hadn't done a whole lot of dating back then and here I am now, having just turned 28 and trying to navigate not only dating in general, but what dating in 2016 looks like. Both the age and the current year have made quite the difference to how I last left the dating world.
For starters... Dating in 2016 involves apps, fucking APPS! What the fuck is that about?! And there isn 't just one, there are loads! And depending on the one you're on it states more about your intentions, but do not be fooled-- they all have nasty folks who just want to send you photos you never in your life thought you'd receive. APPS! I just can't quite get my mind over this rat race of a world that we've come down to apps, but I will admit they can be useful in stream lining and filtering through the bullshit that can be dating which brings me to the next item... dating in your late twenties.
Dating at the age of 28 means it's amongst people who've been dating this entire time and are either very jaded by the shit they've come across or they're simply the trash left at the dump that everyone else has recycled through and found unsalvageable.
Here I am having just lost the love of my life who I've essentially grown up with as an adult and seen through some rather large trials and tribulations and felt the real meaning of a partnership and unconditional love... I had envisioned a whole life with this person and he the same with me and it just didn't play along the way we'd hoped (don't worry I meant it when I said this wouldn't be depressing). The point is, I was fortunate enough to see all the wonderful sides of a great relationship and I miss the absolute fuck out of that and look forward to hopefully sharing that with someone again.
The problem is, those who are out there fall into the following categories:
1. The Narcissist Asshole (10%).
They're just assholes and there's a reason they're single. They might be attractive, successful, smart, or funny, but with a side of thinking that they're clear gifts to women (she says heavily sarcastically)... or they might not be attractive, successful, smart, or funny at all, but for some reason they're just incredibly large assholes.
2. The Peter Pan Dude (60%)
This guy literally has not done any emotional or intellectual maturing since the age of 14. These are your "dudes" (we cannot call them "men") who have zero life ambition to not necessarily consider university and careers, but even consider something significant and full time. These guys "just want to have fun" which means they just wanna drink, get high, and fuck bitches. You will never "change" one of these guys and they might be funny, but they're fucking emotionally inept and aren't ever going to wake up magically as a man wanting commitment. These are the dudes who still hang out with those same middle-school friends and is totally okay living in Grandma or Mom's basement and they skateboard down to their job at Taco Bell and then skate to their buddy's to smoke weed and play Call of Duty all night while drinking 40s of Mickeys... which is totally cool, I'm not hating... but it's not the "man" I'm looking to re-settle down with.
3. The Vintage Piece Just Needing Buffering (20%)
This is sort of what you kind of have to cross your fingers and toes for. This is the divorced guy or the guy who's been in a long-term relationship or two. Obviously this guy has some good shit going for him. This guy was good enough that they were in a serious relationship of some sort, they know what it means to share space, they know what it means to share dreams and push one another (you hope), and something just went south. So this is where you have to filter....
A. Was it infidelity and on who's part?
B. Who left who and how long ago? How mutual was it?
C. Perhaps they just grew apart or weren't getting what they needed...
The problem here is also, how many times has this happened... there are some broken people out there and for someone such as myself, we must proceed with caution because B. is a danger zone (Archer reference) and you don't want to just be a part of rebounding and you don't want to get caught up in a lot of negative feelings... ain't nobody got time for that shit. But the plus side is... again, this person has shown some serious potential and clearly wants all that good stuff that a functional and loving relationship offers.... (unless they're in the A filter as the one who just couldn't keep it in the pants).
The other interesting point in this category is that they tend to be "figuring out life" and you know what, I dig that. Because I'm fucking figuring out my life right now too so it's kind of a good low-pressure situation; so long as both parties have some kind of goal and are ambitious and hungry for their bettering. You don't meet a guy in category three who just has it all fucking figured out and Susie and him just weren't clicking anymore... usually Johnny's world is a little shaken as he's getting it back together to re-enter the market. Also, I've found the jaded cynics to also be incredibly witty and sarcastic. Category three fella knows what it can be like when it's "right" and he will be appreciative when that occurs. This category is really the category you want most...
4. The Forged Da Vinci Masterpiece (9%)
The guy who has it together but just has never found "the one".... here's the thing. This guy may be a unicorn... or may be some fucking sociopathic danger. This is the guy who is not only eye-appealing but has the house, the degree, the career, good with money, likes to travel, has no kids, hasn't had any serious relationships... but why? He's gonna tell you he's just been "career focused" or "hasn't found the one" and call me a cynic, but girls are very attracted to a driven and attractive man so it begs the question "what the fuck is wrong with him?"
This guy is going to:
A. Be terrible at texting or calling back
The problem here is that A. makes you feel like you're only worth his time when convenient and he's never going to listen to a single story you tell and he's
probably not very funny and possibly not even very intelligent.
B. Be a desperate texter or caller and smother the fuck out of you which also means
he is that straight away PDA, constantly-fucking-touching you guy like the fly that
just won't fucking die and buzzes around everyone's food at the family gathering.
4B's are just disgusting because they will exhaust the hell out of you with their need of attention. This is the man with mommy issues and so then you have to factor that there will be crazy family attached as well. Just really a no-go zone.
**The 1% remaining is the guy who perhaps genuinely was just university and career focused, perhaps moved a lot, or just had some serious life things going on and is really kind of cool.... it's more or less just a margin of error because I just don't think this can be**
So that is your full evaluation of what dating at 28 and in 2016 looks like. It's a fucking hell hole of disappointment. The option is to just sit and hope and pray that you can find a #3 that isn't so broken that they might actually be willing to give you a chance and you might have some good times together. But as you can see, this can be fucking dismal as hell when you're just missing what you had and you're hoping for a glimmer of that to happen again. The percents represent the general guesstimate of each of these categories in making up of the current late 20's-mid 30's dating pool.
Now, with all of that in mind... it's very hard for me to explain this to my Grandma Lois who (bless her heart) wants nothing more than for me to feel as loved and giving of love as I was fortunate enough to have experienced. Every time I speak to this woman she asks if there's a fella on the horizon and then reassures me that I'll find one. Every time I also remind her that I'm an independent woman and I don't need a man and that there really isn't very many good options out there. That said, it was very recently my birthday and I received the following in a letter from my grandmother:
Hope this card isn't late (it was, ha).
I heard you have a boyfriend. We are so happy for you.
You are still so young don't live your life alone. Just hope he's good to you that's all we want.
It's important to note that there certainly was no boyfriend. In fact, I'd actually gone on a really horrible date of a category 4B.... a FOUR B!!!! It was horrendous! But apparently through a game of literal telephone, my grandmother was under the impression that I'd found a man who was going to now take care of me. When we spoke on the phone and she so excitedly said "I hear you have a boyfriend" and I said "Who in the hell is spreading these rumors?!" She tells me it was my dad and then sounded so disappointed, saying "well we were just so happy for you to hear you had someone...." (she then caught herself and quickly said) "but of course you don't need anyone." "That's right Grandma, I don't. I'm a strong independent woman." "You'll find someone," she says.
No pressure. Thanks Lois. Thanks for holding hope for me as I'm researching convents and wondering just how much manual labor would be involved and whether celibacy and not swearing would be things I could realistically handle.