Awhile back I declared that I was on a forever man ban. I was, and I wanted that to be it. I was ready to be done with dating until one day, at the age of 70 I found my new boyfriend Sven upon the day of his college graduation. But then, to quote the Godfather, just when you think you're out, they drag you back in. And so I went, kicking and screaming.
That was mid December. I am still here, and kind of dating. My thing is this: I try to go out once or twice a month. When I was dating previously I would sometimes go out once or twice a day, so it's a tiny little bit different. Dating has changed in the 4 or 5 years I was out of the game. I approached it like I had in 2011, AKA the last time I was actually looking for someone: by joining OkCupid and Eharmony. You guys, don't join OkCupid and Eharmony. OKC is now the dregs of the internet. It's so unfortunate as my very best ex and I met there and I know a handful of incredibly happy marriages that were born there, too. Now it's essentially Craigslist personals with pictures. And then Eharmony. Oh Eharmony. The 'serious' dating site. They wooed me back with a super low cost offer. I joined and then suddenly their 'system' booted my credit card and my account was cancelled, despite an hour on the phone with customer service. They did tell me I could sign back up though... for $59 a month. In short: all the profiles there are fake and they will scam you. Be warned.
This leaves us with the dreaded swipe apps. Welcome to 2016: you can find a date by swiping their face to the right. It's weird and kind of creepy? But also addicting? To me Tinder is basically collecting bros. It's a fun ego boost I guess to see how many people find you attractive enough to click on your face and swipe. I've weirdly had some of my better dates from Tinder which is odd to my little brain, but, nothing that's gone past date 1. And that, my friends, all comes down to me.
I've gone on a few handfuls of dates now, each of them varying on the scale of 'I would rather eat my own foot than date you again' to 'you could be ok, I think'. But, they're not ok enough. Each of these dudes has asked me out again and I've turned them all down. Previous Meghan would already be in a relationship with the dude who came on super strong and was basically planning our wedding after date 1. Previous Meghan didn't really sit down and think about this guy and how he fit into her life, how he would make her happy and vice versa. Previous Meghan was like 'OH MY GOD YOU LIKE ME' and dove straight in, with abandon. She was kind of dumb.
But dating as a single mom is weird. It's heavy and hard and let's face it, expensive. I have to weigh the cost of having my nanny come for a few hours at night against the potential value of the guy. Not to mention, finding guys that are willing to take on a woman who has a toddler with her 100% of the time is hard. Most men in my age range are looking for 28 year olds with no worries or obstacles. I come with a lot of baggage and a lot of things that would keep me away from spending time with him. There are some willing to consider it but what I've found is those are generally single dads who have 50% custody and the other 50% of the time they want to go out and live it up. My version of living it up is 1.5 glasses of wine before bed at 10. In short: I'm a party rockstar who is super dateable.
The thing is, my standards are finally high. It took 20 years of dating but I'm finally where I should have been in my early 20s. I value me enough and I am fiercely protective of the life I've rebuilt. I am not ready to upset that balance in any way. However, some companionship would be nice. My cats just aren't the fun conversationalists they used to be. I am lonely. I can finally say those words and realize that it's not embarrassing to admit. It's ok to be lonely. It's ok to crave companionship and ultimately, it's ok to walk away from the guys who just aren't good enough. It's also ok to sometimes, get a little dressed up, remember what it's like to feel nervous excitement and head out of my house at night into the potential of the unknown. I'm working on finding the balance of it all, day by day, one swipe at a time.