“Dating is a game,” she said.
I looked over at her, but it took everything in me to not roll my eyes.
Yes. Everything to some extent is a game. The job market. Real estate. Navigating the produce department — have you fought for the soft avocados at Trader Joe’s? Anxiety inducing.
It’s not that it wasn’t true to an extent. It’s just that it started to bore me.
I got bored of pretending.
So I said “screw it.” I showed up to the next date in almost exactly what I was wearing that day. A baseball cap. A cute top. Scrapped the minor details and tweaks, didn’t even look in the mirror and…voila! I was done.
Something strange happened. I actually felt like my looks weren’t the main focus of the whole thing. Instead of making sure everything was in place, I had more time to make an honest assessment of this humanoid I was meeting.
Which is the whole point of this thingy called dating anyway, isn’t it?
The point is to evaluate if the person sitting across from you is a compatible partner. Would you grocery shop with him? Would she binge The Handmaid’s Tale with you? Would he be okay with you sitting in your bathrobe and sobbing to Taylor Swift songs?
I’ve watched a lot of relationship coaches and guru’s get into 10 point lists on how you shouldn’t respond too quickly. Or talk about your ex. Or complain. Or throw wine in his face.
Okay. Maybe don’t do that.
But if I’m being honest. None of that has ever worked. It’s always put me back in my head. I can’t focus on the situation in front of me when I must. overthink. every. micro. movement.
(Also, I text back when I’m interested. If me being interested is a turn-off for you, we’re not a match.)
What I’m saying is that you can’t keep up the facade forever.
You’ll slip up.
So it’s worth thinking about this before you’ve spent months or, god forbid, years hiding who you are in a relationship,
I’m not saying to show up in rags. To not brush your teeth or throw water on your face.
What I’m saying is that we fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of a date. Our eyebrows might be perfect, but that won’t make someone who is the wrong fit for you the right fit for you. It shouldn’t be important to them anyway. And if it is, you’re dating the wrong person.
But most of all, I’ve never been more or less attracted to someone because they say I love you on the 3rd date vs. the 8th. I’m not more or less in love with him because he texts me back quickly. Or has a wrinkle on his shirt. Or burps (like a normal human).
I’m just into it or I’m not. It’s that simple.
They’ll figure out who you are eventually. Let perfection go. Drop the performance.
And just fucking burp.
Previously Published on Medium