Rather than bore you all with the details of this year’s Congress on Research in Dance Conference (or the fact that the paper I’m meant to deliver tomorrow morning remains little more than a pile of notes and slides) I’ve decided to ask Zak, my “blog boyfriend” to fill in for me today. You may know Zak from his blog, Slow Down Son, or from his regular comments on my love life; turns out he was quite the serial dater himself back in the day, so grab yourself a cup of coffee (I’ll probably be on my fourth by the time you read this) and enjoy a little dose of (male) perspective!
I was asked by Kat to write a guest post about relationships and sex, with a focus on serial dating and one-night stands. At first I thought “I don’t have any experience regarding one-night stands, and do I really qualify to talk about serial dating?”
As it turns out: I do, and yes. And they’re related.
Prior to my adventures in the online dating world, I was relatively “innocent,” at least by some standards. I had high hopes that I would fall deeply in love with any woman I had sex with. Actually, it was probably more accurate to state it as: any woman I fell in love with, I hoped to have sex with. The more I love someone, the easier I find it to get “turned-on.”
As a scientist, I like breaking things down into manageable categories. It helps me better understand my “data,” and then ultimately it helps me convey my interpretations to others. With that in mind, I look at relationships – and by relationships I mean any romantic or sexual interaction with another person – in one of two categories: you want it to work out or you don’t. Taking it a bit further, relationships seem to fall into one of three broad categories:
1) Romantic relationships
2) Friends with benefits
3) One-night stands.
As a serial dater, I struck out and went on 34 (and a half) dates in a nine month period. My goal from the get-go was simple (or so I thought): find a woman whom I was attracted to and with whom I could sustain a meaningful romantic relationship.
My first date and I had spent hours on the phone getting to know one-another before actually meeting. Upon meeting, I was pleased to find we were smiling a lot and enjoying each other’s company, but also saddened that there was clearly no romantic spark.
With the exception of Date #3, each date I went on felt like I was drifting further from my goal.
I stopped talking on the phone for any appreciable amount of time. I stopped worrying if I remembered everything about a date’s profile. I found myself quickly making the dates into a game. Over the course of the next few dates, I fine-tuned my initial contact email (so that I could email more women with the same generic note); I created a list of places to go that were inexpensive, an easy commute and fun for me; I stopped caring if I was interested in the person I was meeting and my mantra became “meet first, decide later.”
In short, I became jaded by serial dating.
It wasn’t until I met Date #20 (MJ ) that I started to get interested in dating again. Even though it wasn’t enough to make a sustainable relationship from those feelings, it was enough to remind me they existed. Data #22 (the Cupcake Queen ) really brought those feelings front and center. I found myself in a friends-with-benefits relationship with her. I wanted more, and she didn’t. I pressed on, trying to meet new people to see if these new-found (or was it re-found?) feelings existed for someone else—someone who actually wanted a relationship, too. But after a few more dates, I found myself back in the game. Only this time, I was playing a different game, one which in retrospect I’m glad I hadn’t fine-tuned.
My experiences with online dating had left me emboldened. So much so that upon meeting someone, if I wasn’t terribly interested in her but found her attractive, I would text her to tell her my thoughts about hooking up. At this point I was having such terrible luck at finding Ms. Right that I decided I should at least be trying to find Ms. Fun for Right Now. A few times, I came close a few times to finding a “taker,” but ultimately I kept losing interest whenever the Cupcake Queen would re-enter the picture.
It finally did happen, though. One weekend the Cupcake Queen shrugged me off, and I managed to sweet talk my way into having a one-night stand. I never gave her an official number, hence the whole “34 (and a half)” business.
I’ll say this: I’m not proud, but I’m also not ashamed. I didn’t con, bribe or otherwise sell that encounter as anything more (or less) than it was. We were two consenting adults, and it happened.
If you had asked me before Ms. 34 (and a half) what my feelings were regarding one-night stands, I’d have told you that I wasn’t interested in actually pursuing a relationship like that. I had – as I suspect many males and females alike have – fantasies and desires about hooking up with certain people I found attractive but I never pursued them.
If you ask me now, after my one-night stand, I’ll tell you the same. My fantasies and desires should remain just that: fantasies and desires.
For me, the actual hook-up and the subsequent one-night stand were unexciting. To this day, I still feel that the more in love with someone I am, the more I find myself getting turned-on, which I think is directly related to how unexciting the one-night stand actually was.
Serial dating, however, I view positively. Regardless of the fact that I failed at my goal of meeting a special someone and building a romantic relationship with her, serial dating had positive side-effects. My confidence level, thankfully, rose significantly. (I was coming off a divorce and two years out of the dating scene.) My knowledge of local hot-spots and things to do around town was greatly improved since I had to be creative and find places to meet dates. Most importantly though, was that I met several people as dates that have since transitioned to friends. Close friends, in fact.
Then again, on second thought, perhaps serial dating did help me to achieve my goal—you know, to find a woman with whom I could build and sustain a romantic relationship? It wasn’t long after I gave up serial dating that I realized my feelings for someone I had met in “real life.” Taking my newfound confidence and local knowledge out for a spin, I asked her out to a roller derby, and she said “yes.”
That was almost six months ago, and the rest, as they say, is history.
- Are Serial Daters Just a Bunch of Emotional Polygamists? (katrichterwrites.wordpress.com)
- The One Night Stand (katrichterwrites.wordpress.com)