I gave up dating for Lent.
Truth be told, it was a conservative sacrifice but ultimately it has led to some interesting observations. My track record with dating has been anything but robust. I’ve been on a handful of dating app dates, remember only three of the individual’s names, and have had zero follow-up encounters. As for non dating-app dates, there have been a few that have stuck around long enough for me to learn middle-names and family pets, but I still don’t know their Christmas morning traditions.
However, over the past year I feel that I’ve become an active dater. So as the time of sacrifice approached, I felt that a break from seeking other’s attention was probably the right move. And of course, a break from the booze, texting, anxiety, and outfit-planning was a solid plus.
As it goes with Lent, I’ve had some enlightening moments, some dark moments, and some really bland ones that I’ve made sure to capture over the past ~35 days. Because it isn’t an actual experience unless you share it with a bunch of strangers, right?
Day three was the first Friday of Lent, but it will forever be known as the day that I died from a hangover. Thursday night I made it to two separate work happy hours and treated each one like my adult version of a cotillion. I somehow managed to convince myself and two others to take Fireball shots, all while butchering my shot at ever being considered for a raise. I wrote this instead of working on actual work because I knew if I looked at another Excel sheet I would legitimately vomit on my keyboard, and would eventually regret it.
The one good thing that happened Thursday night was that I did not actively seek out any boys via text message, dating app, or calls. I did, however, privately Snapchat message 5 guys that I may have french-kissed in the past few months with one word, “Whitlow’s.”
None of them asked for my location. Or responded to my message.
This weekend I hung out with two couples, my best friend and her boyfriend, John, and my cousin and her girlfriend, Tess. I’m not one to actively try to fifth-wheel, but it was a special weekend, and really I felt worse for John being the only guy. What I gathered from my non-stop time with them is that as much as I recognize how couples are in fact two peas-in-a-pod, I got the sense that they recognized my pod-less-ness more than I thought they would.
One of the nights when we were playing shuffleboard and having a couple beers, a group of tall, attractive guys walked by. Tess walked up to me and asked if I wanted to go talk to them, and said she could wing-woman me. I politely declined the only way I know how to, by being completely honest and explaining my Lenten resolution. I wouldn’t have thought much of it until every single person in the group came up to me during separate points the rest of the night and asked if they could set me up with someone at the bar. I politely declined each of them and explained that I was taking a little hiatus. Once they were all aware of the situation, my single-ness became a conversation–one that I was not completely a part of. Highlights:
“You just need to meet people in person,”
“You just need to meet people on apps.”
“It’s ok you’ll find the right person soon enough.”
“But don’t go for the bad guys. I feel like you’re always dating shitty people so maybe don’t do it this time around”
It was a lot of unsolicited advice that I wanted to drown out but the music wasn’t loud enough. I refrained from texting, calling, or even Snapchatting that night. Honestly though, right now I’m fine with being single. If dating is all about commenting on your one single friend’s life, then maybe I’m down to be the center of attention. Ideally with a few more drinks in me.
I was slightly tipsy, which was fine. I didn’t necessarily need to be on a date right then, or having a sexual awakening experience. But a cute/timely text from anyone except my in-a-serious-relationship-right-now ex boyfriend would have been ideal.
Him: Hey KC
Me: ….Why do you keep talking to me?
Him: What do you mean?
It’s the last week of this me-time and I have a few thoughts. Clearly I’m feelin’ myself since I had this conversation with my mom this morning:
Her: How are you?
Me: I’ve been great. I’ve been working out a lot and going into the office a lot more. Spending a lot of “me” time. To be honest I realized that this is the last time I’ll be able to be this selfish and I shouldn’t waste it. So I’m not.
Her: That’s great. But do you still have a cold?
What I found during this dating hiatus is that with the absence of the pressure to date, the sense of relief or empowerment goes beyond just a no-boy thing. It transcends into a me-thing. When I typically approach these dates, I end up judging others off these 2-hour encounters that feel more like an interview than a mating session (awful description, but in the literal sense- it is.) Honestly, I end up feeling the pressure of this judgment as well. Taking a break from dating, and investing time in myself (or according to this post–more alcohol, Snapchat, and happy hour) has been a nice experiment for myself, the battery life of my phone, and my appearance (or lack thereof) at Circas in the DMV area.
Don’t get too bored with me though. Lent is officially over.