Just Frances

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I’m ready, but I don’t know how

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: widowhood, rant, fear, faith, ego, dating, confession

I decided quite some time ago that I was ready to date again, though I admit to not actually doing anything about it. It’s not because I secretly don’t really want to date though. It’s because I don’t know how to date.

Actually, I suppose it’s that I don’t know how to meet men.

No, that’s not accurate; I have managed to meet men. But it must be that I don’t know how to meet the right men, because the ones I’ve met so far are not really doing the gender any favours!

(In fairness, I did meet a very nice man before Christmas. He was just a little lot too keen—to the point of talking about getting married before we’d even ordered dessert, and then letting me know how very much he would miss me when I was away for Christmas. And we really didn’t have anything in common. Nice guy though; very nice. But I digress.)

Online dating isn’t an option. I tried my hand at it before and I was left feeling unattractive and unwanted. Since then, I’ve checked out a site or two on occasion to see if there were any interesting profiles that would make me want to risk rejection again, but I couldn’t get past the poorly written profiles that some of the men were sharing. They were either filled with grammatical and spelling errors or had rants about “crazy bitches”, “manipulative exes”, or “time wasters”—or both! (If this is the best foot they have to put forward, I’m outta there!)

Meeting guys in a pub or on a night out isn’t an option, either. In part because I rarely go to pubs or for nights out, and in part because I don’t really fancy meeting drunk people. (I didn’t date men I met in the pubs when I was younger either. I really can’t stand drunk people hitting on me!)

I have loads of friends who say I just need to have someone introduce me to a nice man, but when I tell them to do it, they inform me that they don’t know any single guys. Or that the single guys they do know are single for a reason. (But they insist the best way to meet people is to be introduced. OK, but it seems that no one I know knows anyone to introduce me to!)

I meet people at university, but I can’t date someone in my department because that doesn’t sit with my personal “don’t fish off the company pier” policy. Not to mention the university’s ethics policy, which surely must mention faculty and staff not dating students—old(ish) PhD students or otherwise! (My personal policy meant missing out on dating someone I quite liked as I was finishing up my master’s dissertation, but I was adamant that until my degree was in-hand, it was a no-go zone. Sadly by that time, he met someone else. Damn! I really had hoped he’d hold his breath and wait for me.)

And I see guys that I like the look of when I’m shopping at Waitrose, but I don’t really know how to approach a guy in the supermarket. (“Hi there. Would you mind squeezing this melon and telling me if you think it’s ripe?” No, that would just get security called. Wait. Maybe it would be a male security officer?)

I’m not going to meet men at church because 1) I don’t go as regularly as I should (I know; bad girl) and 2) I’m not hitting on men in the House of God. (And there aren’t really “mixed gender” social groups in any Catholic church I’ve attended.)

I’m not going to meet men at races because 1) I wouldn’t know how to start the conversation, 2) they’re generally there with other people, making it even harder to start the conversation, and 3) I can’t date a runner—they might insist that I start training for races!

So, yes—I am ready to date again and I really would like to find someone nice to date (despite it sounding like I’m throwing up roadblocks). I’m not desperate and I’m not necessarily “looking” but I’m open to the idea. No, more than being open to the idea, I am actively excited about the idea.

But where do I meet guys to date? Volunteer programmes? Community classes? Hospital waiting rooms? (But not if they’re a doctor in a unit I might be treated in, because that’s the whole fishing off the company pier thing again.)

And how do I approach guys? I think that is the hardest part. I may seem bold and open in a group of people I know, but I am a very timid wallflower around people I don’t. (My sisters-in-law were very surprised to see the difference in me once they got to know me. They’d initially worried that Paul was dating a meek, shy little mouse. Boy, were they shocked when the “real” me came out to play!)

For those who say “you won’t find him if you’re looking” or “it will just happen”: Yeah, yeah; take your platitudes elsewhere. Whilst you’re right in that it will “just happen”, sometimes you have to look for something if you’re going to find it. It’s a matter of how frantically and desperately you’re looking!

So (again) how do I meet a guy (or get introduced to a guy) without actively seeking him out through online dating or singles clubs? How do I catch someone’s eye when I’m out and about? (No, I won’t do up my hair and makeup to look all glam. I must insist on looking like the real me because I don’t want a guy to get the wrong impression of who I am.)

Or is it just possible that I’m not destined to meet someone new? (I mean, I was told once that God always meant for me to be single and I should just accept that. Bollocks!)

Yep, I’m sure it’s obvious from this ramble that I am struggling with how to meet (decent) men. I know it’s not a unique problem. I know it’s not the end of the world. And I know it’s not going to kill me to not meet someone.

I could ramble on this topic for longer, but I will end it for now. (Don’t be surprised if the topic is brought up again though.)

And if you happen to know a nice, single man around my age who I may get along with ...

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