The Art of Not Dating
I have had limited experience with dating. By that I mean the formal kind of dating where someone asks someone else out, intentionally singling out that person for a to be determined period of undivided attention. I’ve been in two serious relationships, both three years in duration, with an eight month relationship sandwiched in between the two. During my pre-legal drinking years I went on three dates. I’m curious to find a pattern in my early years, to see if there is in fact an Art of Not Dating. I strongly suspect there is.
The first experience was during my freshman year of high school. Things began ambiguously enough with laser tag, a thrilling group date of which I can remember nothing except that he drove us there in his mom’s mini-van. Then came his house party at which Iron Maiden songs played too frequently and black lights filled a corner of the room in which his “band” “played” “songs.” Then came the date. Dinner at a restaurant where I was too nervous to eat anything while he talked about playing bass, George Lucas, and some other shit I can’t remember. That evening ended with a very late movie watched from a couch. I was hugely relieved when he didn’t try to kiss me. In the following weeks I ignored his calls and avoided him in hallways at school (easy enough given that he was two years older- scandal!). Eventually he tracked me down, insisting he needed to come over to give me something. Outside in my front yard under a sunny tree and bird songs, he handed me a box set VHS of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. #WIN. He worked in a non sequitur story about some girl in my grade who accidentally bit him mid fellatio in his car. #WIN. Thus ended my non-romance with an eagle scout.
The second date was during my first semester at McGill University with a fellow named Tristan I met in my intro level sociology class. Square jawed, thin wire framed glasses, shoulder length dirty blonde hair and a penchant for henleys and jeans with holes at the knees. He had great penmanship. He always did the reading. He always saved me a seat. He was quiet, smart, shared his notes, told excellent biographical stories, and despite a svelte frame and likely awkward adolescent, knew how to ask a girl to ambiguous coffees (to which I wore my trademark green MSI tee-shirt with jeans and red chucks, something of a power-outfit for me). The next afternoon he called to request a date. We were great conversationalists until beer entered the mix. At a too loud bar on St. Laurent we yelled to each other through the din and fake spiderwebs, eventually walking to a nearby park where, once deposited side by side on a tiny bench, he presented a joint he discovered only then he had sat on and bent during his bus ride. Those 20 minutes in the park by the frozen fountain was the highlight of the night. Seemingly significant silences passed between us. From there the evening stalled out. In class we continued sitting together but by November he was dating a french girl from northern Quebec. That’s alright because I had started inadvertently dating boyfriend number two.
The third dating experience was with a strange mannered boy who walked on his toes and wore only jeans with holes in the knee, black band t-shirts and black chucks. He started walking with me from our dorm to Political Theory 101. Then he started asking me to sit with him. I really liked the two lady friends he was always with so I obliged (the company one keeps, etc, etc). Cut to Halloween and him suggesting we go to the club together. Which club? Duh, the one that every first year living in Upper Rez was going to. Cut to that night – my best lady friend fastening my costume and teaching me how to apply eyeliner and him not leaving with his friends/floor for the club, instead waiting for me and my tardy floor to depart. Cut to the club where he awkwardly put his head in my airspace all night. Thankfully my costume involved wings with a wire frame and made proximity difficult. Cut to an emergency consultation before last call with my inner circle and a classy wing-woman move by one of his aforementioned lady friends who said, “yes, duh he is interested in you, are you stupid.” Cut to me returning to my room sometime just before sunrise. Cut to a few days later – me asking a close man-friend to confirm that this guy does not want to date me. Confirmation. Relief. More group hangs. A week and a half later the poli-sci guy requests my concurrence that we’ve been dating and thusly I am his girlfriend. I muttered something ambiguous and inaudible and a relationship was born. Throughout the duration of this relationship I wished I was seeing a guy who lived in my dorm, had an amazing accent and whose pheromones I could detect from across a crowded room. That’s a story for never, because some memories a person must keep locked up tight in a temperature controlled, light proof safe because it becomes duller, less vibrant, less precious every time it’s taken out and touched. BUT ANYWAY.
Having recounted my history of formal dating, I am seeing a couple of things.
1) I don’t ask people on dates.
2) I say yes to anyone who asks me on dates. Especially if I’m not interested.
3) I tend to accept dates from people who wear black chucks.
4) I date people from whom I can acquire goods. Namely, Buffy The Vampire Slayer swag and lady friends.
5) I prefer dating in the fall.
6) I have no idea what I am doing.