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So Here's The Thing: A new dating column to read now

Single and ready to mingle

So Here's The Thing: A new dating column to read now
Do dates take us to our fates? Or are we under the illusion of control when it comes to the matters of the heart? Tune in every other Thursday to find out

I've been dating for a long time. Or at least, I've been dating for what feels like a really long time. Days I've been single since I called it quits with my ex (he might have a different story, but let's stick with my version for now): 567 days. FYI, I used a date and time calculator to sort out the numbers; I'm not that crazy nor am I that skilled in the mathematics department, effort notwithstanding.

But yes, 567 days have gone by since I was in a relationship and I've not wasted much time getting back into the game, apart from a 6-month hiatus in the middle of last year to regain my sanity. Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn (where nothing happens, really) and most recently, Bumble... I've used them all, to varying degrees of success.

Some people tell me that it's a long time coming — not the delivery of my next beau, but this play-by-play chronology of my singleton adventures within the dating community. That's what being single feels like, a string of AA meetings during which we trade stories and hopefully find some comfort in others' tales of woe and triumph. We are a community of individuals in search of boyfriends, girlfriends and lovers — some people call those "activity partners" but I'm in the habit of calling a spade, spade. But more often that not, we stumble upon a handful of great dates, a truckload of bad ones (one for your picking below) and wide variety of in-betweens.

While a small part of me (ok fine, a rather sizable part of me) relishes in the idea of calling out men for their dating faux pas — and in doing so, inadvertently calling my own too — that's not why I came up with So Here's The Thing. Call it a dating column; call it a love song to all my single sisters and brothers out there. I get you. I got you.

"Call it a dating column; call it a love song to all my single sisters and brothers out there. I get you. I got you."

So here’s the thing: Dating is hard work. We're talking countless Friday and Saturday nights you can't get back. It's also a costly hobby for those of us who do the dance of who-foots-the-bill and come out on top. And then there's the case of the routine. You know, the outfit and the makeup that go to waste when the flavour of the week doesn't call you back. Heart-breaking stuff.

Take my last date.

Steven* was running late, so while I was waiting for a table at The Black Nut on Emerald Hill, a friend, who happened to be there with her boyfriend and her boyfriend's buddy, asked me to join them while I waited. Since I wasn't done with my cocktail when Steven showed up, we insisted that he sit down for a chat.

He and I fully intended to go off on our own after my last sip. Except we didn't. And it wasn't because things took a turn for the weird. On the contrary, we all got on so well (especially Steven and the two guys, which I saw as a positive sign!) that it took several rounds of drinks, countless fist bumps and inappropriate jokes before we called it a night.

Chris*, my friend's boyfriend's friend, insisted on taking care of the bill. When we all agreed that his generosity is appreciated but too bountiful, he handed the receipt to Steven, who passed it on to me after he pulled out just enough cash for his two beers. Let me get this out of the way: I never go on a date expecting the guy to handle the tab. Having said that, it would be nice if he offered. I would offer too. This was our first date after all, and I would have enjoyed the dance of who-foots-the-bill I was talking about.

"Dating is supposed to be fun, I remind myself. Do it for the laughs. Do it for love! Or at least, the possibility of it."

And then there's the matter of how, though he drove to town, Steven didn't offer to send me home. Sure, he lives in the east and I, the west, but once again, the gesture of asking if I wanted a ride would have been nice. Gentlemanly. Though it was well past midnight, he didn't offer to walk me to my Uber either; of which the consensus among my friends and umm... my father was: Strike three. After an awkward butt-out sideways hug, we went our separate ways.

Fun as it was, it would have been a forgettable date, if it weren't for Chris' revelation the next day. Apparently, Steven stuck around for a bit after my girlfriend and I left. Fun fact: Her date walked her to her car. He must have stayed longer than what was comfortable for Chris and my friend's boyfriend, I gathered because he tried but failed to persuade them to continue the night, boys' style — whatever that means. 

Tsk. All along, I thought my competition (I use this term liberally, not literally) was women. I guess I have to watch out for the men too!

Most of the time, I take it all in stride. Dating is supposed to be fun, I remind myself. Do it for the laughs. Do it for love! Or at least, the possibility of it. And then there are days when I'm jaded and all I want to do is stay home and watch 10 Things I Hate About You but skip the happy ending before Patrick Verona wins over Kat Stratford. Even when I indulge myself, I never stay that way for long. A good friend once called me the most optimistic person she knows. Behind all the sarcasm and the 'tude, I suppose she's right.

A few days after Steven, I began swiping right again, fingers crossed this time.

*Names have been changed. You know why.
Tune in to the next entry on 4 May.

Teresa Hee

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