Previously, I detailed how years ago a girlfriend and I both fresh off the divorce boat decided to take back our self-esteem and set out for five first dates to show the world how confident, and slightly crazy, we were. You may ask how did the dates go? Did I find true love? And I have answers for you: horribly and absolutely not.
In those five dates I experienced one guy breathing a sigh of relief as we followed the host to the table because “I couldn’t tell from your profile picture if you were thick in the rear or not.” I had the pleasure of a coffee date as a quick out only to realize I was going to have to endure burns to my mouth in chugging down the coffee to get out of there once he told me he didn’t have cash then pocketed the change from my $20 despite me asking for it back.
Another date broke down in tears as to how his divorce had affected his children. Utterly sad but not what I was prepared to experience in the least. I had to shoo the waiter off a few times as they were afraid he was choking due to the amount of sobbing. And then there was the date who purchased the $200 bottle of wine and used that as his reason why I should be putting out that night. Remember that this was a Christian dating service! Jesus take the wheel. And beat that guy with it.
Finally, my fifth date came and I can’t stress the utter relief I had to hang up my eHarmony membership once and for all. Beyond all of the previous drama and disappointments, this was just a vanilla date. No sparks, no charisma, just two people who could have been co-workers out to lunch. Dealing with the “it’s not you, it’s me” awkwardness of not being interested in setting up a second date as he walked me to my car is not something I had prepared for or enjoyed in the least. Years later I saw the same fifth date guy out at a restaurant dining with some guy friends and judging by the stink eye he gave me, then subsequently the glares I was shot from his male counterparts, he didn’t take the let down as graciously as I had hoped.
What was learned? What was accomplished? Looking back I’m not sure at the time I saw any value in the experiment coming home from yet another disappointment. Until one night in the middle of all of this dating disaster I said out loud “well at least it beats coming home to him.” In that moment, I saw the value in the challenge beyond just helping my self-esteem and confidence. I had put myself back out there “in the game” so to speak. I had put my big toe in the cesspool and I hadn’t drowned. I was no worse for the wear despite all I had gone through. And now I was hyper aware of my worth and how I should expect respect from a future mate. I knew I was worthy of being charmed in the wooing and beyond. Cue Destiny’s Child. My survivor story didn’t crush me nor did it define me. It simply inspired me for better, for more, for God’s plan. Not mine. I unsubscribed from eHarmony that night and never looked back.