Life taught me a lot of things, but she never taught me how to play games. Not that she didn’t play games, she did. The whole game where she pulls away when I don’t want to do what she wants, the silent treatments, consciously or not, she did it.  The problem is that I never learned, and I don’t understand the need to do so.  So in a world of rules and games, my dating life has never been smooth.

You see, I don’t understand dating and the games people play. What is this thing about waiting three days to call? What is the three date rule? Unless you’ve already done the deed and met when you woke up on his arm, or if it’s a friend you’ve known for a while who asks you out, isn’t three dates a little soon? Plus all these other things that come later in the relationship that I don’t get.  The whole idea of letting someone hang around to validate your own self worth when you’re not really interested, to me, is selfish and childish. The whole “I’ll wait for him/her to call, so that it looks like he/she is chasing me,” is a waste of time and the idea of just being there without giving it much effort, is just exhausting.  Maybe I am naïve, but really, I don’t understand how matters of the heart need rules.

The dating world is such a jungle it’s almost as bad as the corporate world. And to be honest, it really is like the trying to get a job. The first date is the preliminary interview, and then sometimes there’s a second and third date. Once you get through that, you’re on probation, and if within three months it doesn’t work out, it’s time to let go.  Games are played all the time, and as much as we don’t want to believe it, “treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen,” is very much practiced. Hard work. Then there are lies, cheating, abuse, and sometimes, I just don’t think it’s worth it anymore.  Being only a 15 year veteran, I think I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in this field and if that’s all there is to it, I’m throwing in the towel.

Perhaps I’m bitter. Perhaps I’m tired. Perhaps, I just can’t keep up with the rules and whatnots.  But perhaps I’m not the only one who feels this way. A friend and I had a conversation late last year. We are both women in our 30’s, just having ended long term relationships. Both of us have jobs, a pretty set social life and were both on the way to changing our lifestyles to what we wanted them to be.  However, when we started speaking about dating, both of us were doubtful about going back into the field.

Yes, were out of practice. We also did not get what was going on. Both of us live in big cities (she in London and me in Sydney), where the dating life seems to revolve around meat market type pubs, and more often than not involve meeting someone while we had beer goggles on.  Then of course, we’d have to be savvy enough to know the difference between a real call and a booty call. Almost a year later, we’re both still trying to get our heads around it.  Needless to say, it’s been a journey, further complicated by the fact that my lifestyle choices meant that pubs and bars are no longer places much frequented.

Is the other choice online dating?

Yes, well, I know a lot of people who met online. Quite a few went into long term relationships. However, after a short stint, I’ve decided that it’s not for me.  As much as the convenience of meeting someone from your couch appeals, I like the idea of letting nature choose. I’m not going to go deep into it, but I feel that dating is only the prerequisite to mating, and to mate, I feel like the whole pheromone/testosterone/chemical/immune system thing has to be in action.  See where I’m coming from?

Friends who are married with kids, or even shy friends think they can live precariously through me.  How wrong they are.  Sitting at home with the cat somehow appeals more than “pulling.” Honestly, even thinking about it exhausts me. Add to that I live in a city that has more of a hookup culture than a dating culture, and I find first dates an awkward test on my sensibility anyway.  So where does one start, or rather where does one head to when the place where one started is just not working out anymore?


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