I have been on exactly one real Valentine’s date in my entire life. I’ve been on plenty of V-Day dates with my girlfriends where we sit around and talk about how awesome we are all and how being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t all that bad. And I’ve spent plenty of Valentine’s Days watching action films instead of rom-coms to ignore the holiday altogether. I’ve even wallowed in the romance of Valentine’s Day and had marathons of every Jane Austen film ever made. I’ve done it all. And this Valentine’s Day, I will be celebrating Galentine’s Day with my executive producer and all around great friend. We will be doing a Rom-Com walking tour of New York City… so stay tuned for that.
But what I’m talking about here is that one and only Valentine’s Day date. It was with a friend, so I do call it a date, but only in the strictest sense of the word. Meaning that he asked me to get dressed up and to go out with him on said day and he paid for dinner. That made it a date and nothing else. We were not interested in each other in THAT way. But it was probably the second best date I’ve ever been on and the most fun I’ve ever had on Valentine’s Day. There’s a very good reason for that. We were friends (still are.) And there’s something safe and comfortable in friendship that I have not found on any of these dates I go on. We ate Italian and he threatened to fake propose to me to give the couples a little show and we spent the whole night laughing and making fun of all the weird couples around us doing weird couple things. (This one guy kept his hand, palm up, on the table the entire night while his girlfriend periodically held said hand. It was strange!) And incidentally, that night makes the all time favorites list.
See, when it comes right down to it. I don’t know how to date. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong! The small talk, the dating etiquette, how long to wait till texting after a first date, when to reach for the check… I know nothing about it. And all it does is depress the hell out of me. People always tell you, it’s a normal part of the process, it’s what you have to do to get to the good stuff. People tell you a lot about love when they’re in it and you’re not.
But I know what the good stuff is. Let me tell you about the good stuff. I’m gooood at the good stuff. I’m good at being a friend and wanting to be around someone. I’m good at baking cookies and laughing till my sides hurt. I’m good at remembering occasions and caring about someone. I’m good at Netflix binge-watching and being silly. I’m good at playing and loving and just being there for someone. That’s the good part. The part people suffer through small talk to get to.
Of course, it’s easy to be good at something when there is no threat of the hard stuff. That’s probably why I’m good at all of that. It’s easy with friends. Lack of expectations. Lack of romance. The romance is the messy part. The hard part.
But no one tells you that. They tell you things like “you’ll know it when you feel it” or “you’ll find it when you least expect it.” What does that even mean? How can I find something that I don’t even know how to look for? And what is it magic or something? It just comes upon you and your sixth sense just knows it’s happening. Sounds like a lot hocus pocus to me!
Listen, I hate having butterflies in my stomach and I hate dating. I like being comfortable with someone. I want to be sure of someone, of something. And all dating does is lead to massive uncertainty. To wondering if the other person likes you as much as you like them. To wondering what exactly about that text you sent made them never text you back. This is why people get this part out of the way in high school, because by the time you reach your 30’s, it’s just ridiculous to still be this uncertain. But here we are.
So… sure, maybe it’ll come when I least expect it or maybe it’s here and I just don’t recognize it yet.
What I do know is that I have a standard that I measure these dates with and it’s that one Valentine’s Day date. And no one has come even close to measuring up. Not even within throwing distance. It’s not their fault… you can’t compete with deep friendship. It’s unfair to measure by that, but measure I do. Now isn’t that an interesting fact!
As always, the future is bright! And I look forward to sharing it with you all, lovely readers!