Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dating in 2011

I said this year I was going to try to date. I've been on the shelf for a while and hopefully my 'preserves' are still good (have no idea what that means, but I like referring to myself in the jelly/jam sense). It's come to my attention that I'm a 30+ man who has lived in big cities all my life and I have no idea how to date, pursue, ask out, engage and be a boyfriend or partner.

Years of internet browsing has made me a consummate consumer: of products, of people, of exchanges and relationships. And with consumers the premium is on the 'ease and please' of what's being taken. Being a consumer is a lot different from being a lover. A lover of the arts, a lover of film, a lover of people. A lover engages on a different level from a consumer. A lover takes risks, has their hopes dashed, experiences anguish. Most of all, a lover gives back. Consumers ingest, while lovers play.

I have never experienced anguish in my relationships. When they are difficult, confused, tangled, then I stop consuming. I move down the aisle. I am trying to change myself. And the best way I know how to do that is to 'BE' the change as the oft-quoted Gandhism says. If I'm seeking, then I must be what is sought. This is a fundamental shift. As a shopper, I buy with the expectation that the external is going to change me internally. Even though I know that's impossible, on some level when I'm buying and consuming like a good little American, I expect alchemy. Voila! Six-pac abs, sleeved blanket-warmth, and a lover.  As a partner, I first enact the change in myself and slowly start to see the change out there. In dating, I guess there is a play between like-hearted  people to share. In what is shared, there is some growth. The colors, flavors, excitements increase.

So what should I be like? It sounds too needy. An awkward teenager question, but what and how can I be in the world to make myself a lover?

I guess I would need acts that are

The easiest way I know how to do that is to give to others. Give hugs, give actual things, give time, listen, smile, and enjoy my friends and family. It sounds easy. I'm guessing there are some people who do this on a daily basis as second-nature. For me, I have to acquire this in my heart. I'm going to be willing and more open to being enthralled and disappointed.

So far 2011 has been a series of 'nos' and 'not reallys.' And surprisingly, the 'no's didn't kill me. I'm still here, still seeking. If I can take a New York 'no' in romance then I can take anything. The 'yes' will come soon from the right one. For now, I keep saying yes and trying to invite the world into my heart.

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