It's happened so many times: me, surrounded by a group of people -- friends, family, coworkers, whoever -- explaining my latest dating disaster. And trust me, there have been many. I've been Catfished. I've been ghosted. I've matched online with men and watched things get insanely weird, insanely fast. I've had horrendously bad first dates. I've met total flakes who consistently made plans and then forgot about them or broke them. I've had encounters that have scared me or made me uncomfortable or made me take a VERY NECESSARY break from dating.
So I don't blame the people in my life for essentially saying the same thing each time I finish telling another one of these stories: "At least it's good blog material!"
That it is.
I've written dating-related posts that have gotten so much attention and traction due to their bizarre, funny or crazy nature, and I understand why people like hearing these stories and how those posts tend to be my most popular. This is a trait I've inherited from my family, but I've always been good at turning lemons into lemonade. Any time a bad or uncomfortable situation occurs in my life, I know how to spin it and transform it into a good story (whether I tell it in person or in my writing), adding humor and making it entertaining. To me, it's a sense of empowerment: I've taken a negative thing in my life and used it to my advantage; it's now become a good story for me to tell and a way for me to laugh at an otherwise shitty situation.
But when it comes to dating, I realized something recently. For me, dating has ONLY provided me with blog material, and not much else. Sure, the blog posts about the unfortunate experiences I've had have been funny (yes, even to me), and I'll continue to write them. But when I think about it, it's actually really sad. This is my life. This is me, a 33 year old woman, making some kind of effort to meet a person because -- despite being okay living my life as a single person -- it's nice to have a significant other, too.
Just because I've written lighthearted posts that are meant to be humorous about what I've experienced does NOT mean I'm okay with it. I'm deeply disappointed at the state of dating and relationships now; not just for me, but for friends and other people I talk to who all experience the same things. Everything's become a STORY ("So, get this, my friend met this guy and they were dating for two months and she found out he was MARRIED!") and while it may be a good 'juicy' one, it still absolutely sucks for those involved.
Dating shouldn't be a joke -- a literal punchline -- and I certainly didn't expect it would be in my 30s. In fact, I laugh now thinking that when I first became single at 31 years old, I assumed every man I'd meet would want a wife...and QUICKLY. It's actually proven to be the exact opposite, and I've only met a handful of men who actually take things seriously.
I just need people to know that despite the silly posts and often outrageous stories, I DO take dating seriously. I don't go on the apps to find "blog material" nor do I want to have to tell my friends yet ANOTHER story about how things went awry. Again. That's not why I'm here, and in fact, it's starting to get old now.
Whether I want a boyfriend, a husband or a person to just simply hang and do things with, I still am hoping one day things will turn around and I don't have to publish yet another embarrassing, crazy or horrifying dating post. As I said, this is my life, and I'm not trying to be the butt of some joke. I like to think I'm better than that, and especially better than some of the stuff I've had to endure in my almost-three years being single.
As for continuing to write about it, it may seem hypocritical but writing genuinely is my therapy, and while there ARE things I've chosen to keep private, I've felt some were worthy of sharing. Any time I can make someone laugh or have them relate to me or share stories and anecdotes of their own, I'm ecstatic. That's why I do what I do.
But maybe -- just maybe -- one day in the near future I'll actually meet a nice guy who will turns things around. There will no more outlandish blog posts about dating-related nightmares and instead I'll be in a situation that's healthy, makes me happy and is no longer a "funny story" at my expense.
Sure, writers always want good blog material... but at what cost?