You might have noticed that I’ve cleverly avoided the subject of my love life for the past few days. This is because it’s easier to offer my opinions of “hooking for food” than try to make sense of… well, whatever it is that’s going on in my life.
I’m always amazed when friends come to me for relationship advice. Sure, I’ve gone on my fair share of dates over the course of the past year and a half (okay, maybe more than my fair share—70-something dates with 30 men to be exact—not that I’m counting) but relationships? Relationships aren’t exactly my thing.
I went from serial monogamy (with a penchant for long distance relationships of the international variety) to serial dating. Now, thanks to marvels of modern technology (i.e. Match.com and an Excel spreadsheet), I’ve been able to line up five first dates in as many days. And although it’s been a while, I’ve even dated two guys in the same day. I’m not exactly proud of this fact but nor am I terribly ashamed of it either. (I did always go home in between to change outfits.)
Considering the circumstances, I’m in no position to be doling out relationship advice.
This is because relationships require work. And why work to build a relationship when you could just as easily slip into a new pair of heels, log back on Match.com and find someone else?
Now dating advice, on the other hand, is a different story. I love dating. I love every bit of it, from the part where you stand in front of your mirror trying on sixty three different outfits (only to discover that you’ve now completely destroyed your bedroom), to the awkward hellos and hopefully less awkward goodbyes.
After a six month stint on Match.com, another six months on eHarmony and an ill-conceived subscription to Plenty of Fish that’s turned into a lifetime membership because I still can’t figure out how to cancel (206 unread emails and counting…), I consider myself more than qualified to give dating advice, and I have, on many a happy occasion.
But when my single friends come to me for relationship advice, I just shake my head and ask, “Have you seen my track record? Don’t you know I’m still single?”
I used to think this was because I’d lost my touch. I had boyfriend in high school, college and grad school but maybe I had forgotten something along the way? No matter what I did, it seemed, my budding relationships would always self destruct around the fifth date, and once I realized this was happening, it because a self-fulfilling prophecy.
(In 30 men, I’ve only passed the fifth date mark on three occasions.)
Over the years, I’ve come to recognize that my girlfriends and I (and probably most women) tend to put a lot of stock into the whole friend vs. girlfriend thing. When do you make the switch? How do you make the switch? Is it okay to ask someone out via Facebook if you’re past the age of… say… 12? (Methinks not.)
But the real question isn’t about the title, or even when you upgrade (or downgrade) from one title to another. The real question is how you go from dating, and all of the associated cocktails, chemistry and inadvertent first date hook ups, to being in a relationship.
This, I’m beginning to realize, is where the going gets tough.
And seeing as I’m rapidly approaching the fifth date mark with The Wedding Date while Date #7 continues to orbit somewhere in the periphery, I’m finding the “going” even tougher than usual.