Given my tendency to over-think most situations I find interesting, there are several posts I could write and several more I have written but not published. What I want to do - what I used to enjoy doing - is tell a cohesive story. There are reasons and plans and timelines behind why I started dating and what I hoped to get out of this and who I've met and what's gone well and what's been wrong.
"I don't believe in soul mates," one date told me as I stared across the table and thought about how completely sexy he was. "I think there are many people with whom you could have a relationship."
And - in my mind - he is correct. There is a spectrum of individuals - some are wildly repulsive, others completely unattainable and then a whole crowd of men in the middle. There are predictable permutations, of course, but also a number of surprising subtleties.
At a high level, I subscribe to a line from The Screwtape Letters. "I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked."
"All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say, as one of my own patients
said on his arrival down here, "I now see that I spent most of my life in doing
neither what I ought nor what I liked". The Christians describe the Enemy as one
"without whom Nothing is strong". And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to
steal away a man's best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of
the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of
curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of
fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in
the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give
them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature
is too weak and fuddled to shake off."
[Aside: Is CS Lewis not ridiculously elegant? The entire chapter is online. I also highly recommend The Great Divorce. If you enjoy audiobooks, both are excellent for a thoughtful listen as well.]
Therefore, if I like someone but don't particularly desire him, I've been willing to explore a second date. And sometimes it's lovely but not right. And that's fine as long as I'm enjoying the process.
And when I desired someone I ended up not liking, I ended up with a naked man in my bedroom and asked him to leave. Sex, for me, is not casual or solely physical, but that's a longer story for a different day. I can say that I very quickly realized it was for the best though.
There was a completely perfect first date - a post that made me tingle and smile and hope even as I wrote it.
I've read someone completely wrong - my default opinion that cute boys can't like plain Katie not holding true in a constant sense. I'm both baffled and flattered when someone is attracted to me.
I'm learning preferences. I like tall men - there's something about standing on tiptoe to hug or tucking my hand through an arm when walking through a parking lot to the car. I'd rather kisses start slowly and build gradually. I love knowing someone is thinking of me and am completely enjoying the distraction of thinking of someone and looking forward to the next encounter.
I hesitate to reveal all my thoughts at the moment though. First, I think too much already - I don't want to tell some pieces of the story until I'm really ready to assess and share it. Second, I do use my blog email when meeting men and there are some neuroses better hidden in the beginning. (Though, yes, I'm aware that any time spent reading the blog as it exists now could find any number of quirks and oddities.) Third, if I fail - and I might - I'm going to be going over the experience in excruciating detail in my mind so I may as well write about it then and avoid being redundant!
Luckily enough, my professional life is ramping up at a rather alarming rate, meaning next week is utterly date-free. And while I wouldn't have selected this particular week as being off-limits, perhaps it will work out for the best as I settle and process thoughts and feelings.
But I wanted to tell you that I'm happy. I'm gathering confidence and learning that there may be someone for me after all. Either way, the story is yet to come.