I had been living in a bubble my whole life, and this was my chance to see what the world was like, to meet the people that make it interesting. I once went on seven dates in four days — three of them on Easter Sunday!
He was handsome, my age and newly divorced. The only thing I wanted was fun with zero expectations of anything going anywhere. Millennials and their courtship-killing ways have killed romance. Then when you finally agree, they lose interest and release you to find their next target.
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Conversation and laughter flowed easily. My main issue with dating is that most of the women I encounter all want to get married, and this is a deal breaker for me. Here are some current dating terms to get you up to speed. Men laughing in your face when you muster up enough courage to say hi is not on my list of fun things to do on a Saturday night. So annoying! Although none of these dates has resulted in a long-term relationship for one reason or another, I feel I have learned something about myself from each and every one of them.
Most of the more than dates yikes, again! Some have had the nerve to lie about their age, weight or educational status, or post photos that were at least a decade old. It was perfect. Last, I gained wisdom, friendships, and experience.
I was on my phone at all hours of the day and night, checking Bumble like an obsessed teenager. And … they are definitely interested. Kittenfishing — A less severe form of catfishing, kittenfishing refers to online daters presenting themselves in an unrealistically positive way on a dating app.
I had dates lined up, stacked one on top of the other during the weekends my son was with his dad. Oh, was I in for a surprise.
They love sending flirtatious texts in the hopes of catching a date with you. This dater stops being as responsive to texts and calls, eventually ending communication until it dwindles to nothing. They lie about their age, job, height, weight and use outdated photos.
Dating in your 20s
Immediately drop these people, who are a complete waste of time and energy. The zombie will try to get back into your life by following you on Instagram and Twitter. I was sitting at a small high-top table in a bar across from an intelligent, attractive lawyer in his mids. First, there are a plethora of good, kind, successful and attractive men out there in the dating pool. I know that can happen quickly for some online daters, but for me, the process has been much slower.
My focus are my sons.
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Love bombing — They fall in love with you immediately, bombarding you with constant praise and attention. My second and third Tinder dates were also with airline pilots. Situationship — Urban Dictionary describes this as a relationship that has no label on it, like a friendship but more than a friendship but not quite a relationship. And that is the biggest gift post-divorce dating has given me: It slowly whittled away at my cynicism and mistrust, leaving in their place hope, desire, and excitement for the future, for a future with someone.
Second, I gained a huge amount of respect for single d. Zombie-ing — On the opposite side of the ghosting coin, zombies resurface again, often acting like nothing happened. Bad move.
Catfishing — This oldie-but-goodie refers to when someone lures a person online into a relationship by pretending to be someone else, using phony photos and life stories. I also met people who became true friends, and who will continue to be in my life in that role moving forward. I had dates with both a year-old and a year-old. Get lost already! Cuffing season — You know your perpetually single friends, who flirt with different people every night and rack up as many free drinks as possible? Breadcrumbing — You meet someone, they seem to like you and you like them. Or, they just want a night out with some friendly conversation.
We talked about our relationships and our children. Benching — Similar to cushioning, these people relegate you on the bench as a back-up option as they continue to look around. My ex-wife got remarried and then had with her new husband, so my kids now have a half-sibling and three stepsiblings. And I did survive. My mother always reminded me that boys mature much slower than girls, but jeez, how much slower? O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou my nerdy Romeo? It was easy with no strings attached. These are things you learn about yourself when dating in your 20s.
Our conclusion is that the KC single scene is what you make it. Most men though have been quite fun and charming. He lived in Phoenix and we met at the airport Marriott. One even told me he was a widower, but in reality, his ex-wife had died long after they got divorced. And, with a positive, stick-to-it attitude and a little thick skin about it all, still have fun in the process. I learned how to relate to many different kinds of people, how to put them at ease, making almost every first date a good one. I doubted their existence when I first got divorced.
But after one or even a few dates, they avoid making plans to meet again. Well, they do exist.
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I set my hopes high and I followed every bit of advice given to me: I checked in my church, on campus while getting my undergrad, in the nearest coffee shop or bookstore. The jig is up when they meet their romantic prospect. I had been there and done that, and I have no desire to do that again. There is a little finesse required these days about dating and relationships, which can begin and end with a click of a button or swipe of a smartphone. Then, when the infatuation wanes, usually fairly quickly, they drop out of sight, only to find their next target. I met many dedicated, loving fathers who parent their children with full-time devotion, and others who share custody and always want more time with their children while doing their best to make the time they do have meaningful.
Suddenly, all of my tentativeness disappeared … I was back out there. Half of Americans older than age 18 are without a mate AND most of the single folks report that they are happy with their unmarried status, thank you very much. Catch and release — People who love the thrill of the chase often employ the catch-and-release dating technique. Good riddance. My first post-divorce date. While wading through the muck and misfires, you wind up fine-tuning your preferences.
And, sure it has made me a little jaded, but at least I got some good stories out of it to tell over drinks. And since I got married at 19, it really was the first time I had been out with a full-fledged, career-settled, life-experienced adult in this capacity. So, what are my takeaways from all this dating craziness?
I went out for Saturday night drinks with a pastor and for Sunday brunch with a rapper.
One took me to a Rush concert, another to the Kansas City Symphony. The Kansas City Star reported a while back that dating while black in KC is a hard feat, and I agree, but not for the reasons you think. Talk about a losing strategy. And if you think Johnson County is too big for small-world coincidences … I went out with a felon several times before randomly meeting and going out with his former supervising deputy! As a blerd a portmanteau of black and nerdclubs and kickbacks are not my scene and they attract a certain type.
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He even asked for a second date. Most of them have children themselves. A study by the American Psychological Association backs that up, citing that single people may have more fulfilling social lives and experience greater psychological growth than a lot of married people.