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By Steven Joseph McCrystal
Okay, you’ve been around the block a bit. You’ve been in love a couple of times. You’ve partied on the tables to your favourite songs. You’ve had a rich hedonistic life pubbing and clubbing but eventually the alarm bell tolls. You get to that age where you wake up alone, and it feels like a fate worse than death.
The clock is ticking. It's time for a "who am I?" check:
Okay, I still have some looks (subjective of course), I still have some brains (subjective of course). My figure, well, it’s okay for my age but one less dinner mint wouldn’t go a miss. I have a sense of humour but that’s subjective of course..
This subjective list goes on and on, and that’s just the men trying to convince themselves that they’re a worthy proposition. Goodness knows how single women perceive themselves when they get to being left on the age shelf. The pressure from the "look good at any age" industry is unrelenting.
The chase is on. I still have some blood pumping in my veins. I’ve transformed my life. I’ve travelled the world a bit. I’ve done things that I never dreamed I could. I’m ready for love.
The problem is I have collected some baggage on my travels, but I’m still prepared to have a go at the dating game.
So, it’s time for a dating site. I know a few but there isn’t one called Dysfunctional Dating. A place where real people meet. A place where baggage comes first and love comes later. On the posh sites where people go base jumping off the Eiffel Tower, or camel riding across the Sahara people like me have no chance. I’m just an average Joe. Although, I’ve had a rich, and cultured life so far, but I don’t think I fit the bill. Even if I do fit the bill.
I’ll admit it; I have jumped out of an aeroplane a couple of times but the last time I asked a woman out on a parachuting jump I received a stern look, and a slap of Vodka and Coke to the face. I mean it's harmless enough asking a woman you like out, but that moment when you’re just about to tap her shoulder for a dance is excruciating. I usually have an insecure anxiety implosion the second I’m rejected. I sometimes reject myself just to avoid this pain. I go off and lick my wounds. Then wait for another six months before I can pluck up the courage to try again.
Dating sites are a whole different animal to good old fashioned dating. Nobody seems to give a toss. Well maybe some guys do. I’ve read some of the complaints women put up on their profiles: I don’t want a link to your cock. I’m not interested in seeing a photograph of your poodle. Your car just looks like a car to me. I’m not interested in players; one night stands, sex games, liars, cheats, or that twelve inch dildo you posted on my profile. Plus, if you can only manage a, "Hello, how are you?" game, don’t bother sending it, and definitely no text talk. I won’t reply.
I avoided all the clichés when I made my attempt at communicating with other single women because I am none of the above. I come from a long line of togetherness. It was easy not to fall into sex pest bracket. I am genuine, honest, and the rest. All I wanted was a quick dance but by the time someone like me finds someone whose profile, and picture that’s attractive; and it sounds like we would enjoy a coffee: some walks, poetry recitals, theatre, art exhibitions, photography, the opera, and maybe even a fish supper; it’s time to get shot down in flames. The women on the other side of the dating software have been burned that many times by idiots sending them links to their cocks that it’s impossible for a decent guy to get a date. Don’t get me wrong, sex is part of the equation but some intelligent conversation, and a couple of jackets thrown over puddles beforehand never goes a miss.
Apart from that cocks are ugly. Even if they’re trimmed. Why even bother using Gonzo’s nose for a chat up line?
So, you’ve traversed the dating minefield and someone begins to chat. For me it’s like a drink of ambrosia. I feel young. Someone’s shown an interest. I buy some new clothes, and tidy up the house. It’s invigorating. We talk about life. What we’ve done. What books we’ve read. What films we’ve seen. We talk about everything but not about our baggage.
The thing is I’m not a liar. My friends tell me to refrain from revealing my baggage until a couple of dates in so I took their advice once. I’ve done it once, I lied, denied, diverted, and avoided the subject of my negative press, and I’m still emotionally scared because of it. I do understand that people shouldn’t charge in with their whole fruitcake story but one thing I do know is that if you aren’t honest from the onset you’re no better than a piece of shit to you, and to the person you might just fall in love with.
As far as Dysfunctional Dating goes: I think it’s a brilliant idea because by the time you’ve lived a life to its fullest you’re most certainly damaged. Whether it’s a couple of love affairs, heartbreak, a crap job, a medical condition, a divorce, you’ve had an affair or your partner had an affair, you’re unemployed, or you’ve failed university. You are a product of your experience, and not all of that is good. Of course, there will be some who say that there’s nothing wrong with them but they’re just in denial, and that’s baggage.
I would love it if I could just get things off my chest and start from there. Hello, I’m diabetic, I’m bipolar, I’ve been in love twice, I’ve rebuilt my life, I do good deeds, I help other people like myself. I’m an artist, writer, and poet. I want to do life-enriching things. I want to have fun. The horrible thing is nobody gets past the first two dysfunctional labels. The shutters come down, and my prospective dates run to the hills.
The advertising slogan says it all - Dysfunctional Dating: where baggage comes first and love comes later. I think it’s a priceless idea. It should be funded.
Apart from all that neurosis I might just be ugly. I should choose option B. Go to the pub. Get steaming drunk and hope for the best. The trouble is I don’t drink. Yet another dating dilemma. Quite a serious one at that.
#Real #Essay #Dating #Relationships #OnlineDating #Baggage #Sex #Love
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