The Chore Of Dating

This is a lesson I’m coming to grasp more and more.

Now before you jump on my back, I’ve already heard it all:

“You’re still so young!”

“Don’t even *think* about getting married until  you’re 30!”

“These are the best years of your life! Just live them and have fun.”

Got it.

But despite my relatively young age of 25, I *feel* “too old for this shit.”

Dating in your teens and early 20’s is fun.  You’re young, you look ahead to your future and think, “oh please, I have TONS of time to figure this out.”  This is your prime time to date boys who drink too much, have lots of tattoos, and no desire to ever settle down because he’s a “lone wolf.”  Ah-wooooo! (That’s a wolf sound.  Just go with it.  Or insert your own howl here.)

But at the ripe old age of 25, I’ve officially passed the age when it’s cute or silly to date around. Everyone in my family before me was already married at my age. My grandmother actually calls me an “old maid.” True story.

Now I understand that 25 is still very young, but just this week I’ve figured out exactly how *not* young I feel.  When I was in college, I would quite literally stay up past midnight each night (doing homework, hanging out with friends, doing midnight yoga in our common room (and by “yoga,” I mean “eating brownies”), and then was up at 4 a.m. for an internship on a morning radio show. I was kind of cranky, sure, but other than that I still managed to work a part time job, handle multiple leadership positions in organizations on campus, have a budding social life, and graduate Cum Laude.

This week, I have been facing impending deadlines in one job while working the over-night shift in a second job, and have gotten a grand total of five hours of sleep in the past two days. Let’s just say, my body feels like it got hit by a ride-mower driven by an old man with poor vision. It’s as if he doesn’t realize he’s slowly turning my body into mulch, and he can’t really do much to remedy the situation. Too much?

Now, I get that I am not special in this way. We’re all busy. We’re all sleep deprived, over-worked and under-paid.

But my point is this — in the midst of figuring out my career, my finances, my health, and trying to make sure my friends remember that I haven’t moved to Minsk, where am I meant to fit in “find the love of my life?”  In the least romantic gesture of all time, it’s as if I’m forced to squeeze “find a husband” onto my calendar.

The situation reminds me of when my sister (“N”) and her husband decided to have a baby.  Now, for those who have tried to have a baby, this is old news — but I had NO clue how much work goes into getting knocked up. At some point, N getting pregnant seemed more like a chore than the romantic and beautiful moment that it was “supposed” to be.  The sheer amount of scheduling and stress was emotionally exhausting. And I didn’t even have to do anything.

I can hear you now — “the love of your life will magically appear when you least expect it.”  Or, “you’ll find him when you stop looking.”

I’ve been in both of those situations. For a long, long, LONG time.

My sophomore year of college, I realized I pick the wrong men to date, so I decided to take a dating hiatus of sorts. I stopped looking, I stopped dating, I stopped bothering. So that would have been the ideal time for theory number two to happen.  But no.

And at this point, I pretty much never expect to find someone, mostly so I can prove my grandmother right, and also so I can have a lot of cats and people won’t judge me.  I mean, they *will* judge me, but at least they won’t be *surprised* by my feline ownership. This seems like a comfortable way to while away the hours.

So then everyone says, “what’s the hurry?”

I know it’s cliche and I know we’re not meant to say it.  But every woman I’ve ever met feels it, whether she says it or not.

We avoid the topic to avoid seeming “crazy,” but newsflash gents — we’re all crazy. Even the not crazy ones are crazy. We can’t help it. It’s in our DNA.

So dating has really lost all its fun. It’s a chore. I have to log on to these dating websites — not because I’m looking forward to finding someone, but because of this impending sense of necessity.  Wait too long and they’ll all be snapped up. So you better get moving.

And that being said, it really doesn’t seem fair, does it? Looking at my friends who met their husbands in middle or high school, even college. Women who know they’ve found “the one” before they can legally drink. I’m not even sure if I’ve made the right choice about what I had for lunch.

And for N, things seemed even *less* fair as I looked around at my irresponsible friends who accidentally got pregnant and bemoaned their fate.  How come things are so easy for some people, and such shit for others?

A man, called “B,” messaged me the other day on OK Cupid. He’s a doctor — so basically, I should try to start roping him in, right? But I feel so bogged down that I can’t possibly think of even wanting to try to start a relationship. I look at my life and think, I’m not even responsible enough to watch N’s baby while she goes to get a cupcake, and I’m meant to build a life with someone else?

And despite the sound of mothers drooling everywhere, dating a doctor doesn’t sound all that appealing to me. My other sister (“H”) is a doctor, and she works worse hours than I do. While she and her husband have an awesome relationship and make it work, I’m not sure that I’m that kind of person, which is really not fair considering that *I* have a horrible work schedule myself. But if putting “find love” on my calendar is exhausing, imaging putting “fall in love with a doctor on third shift” on my schedule.  Ew.

So now every time I log onto eHarmony or OK Cupid and scroll through my potential matches, I think “really? This is the pool of men left for me to find love?…

…I’m too old for this shit.”

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