Man, has it been an interesting past couple of days. Let’s see…
I’m trying out this duty dating thing I heard about on Dr. Emily Morse’s “Sex with Emily” podcast.
I went out with a guy I would normally never date after meeting at a networking event.
I finally made my way to see one of Dr. Pat Allen’s Monday night forums on relationships where I found myself in the hot seat in front of 100 people.
I also heard from Moby (not his real name), an old friend with benefit who I sort of lost sexual interest in the moment he became a dad. We’re still really good friends and talk every once in a blue moon when one of us needs to hash out whatever relationship troubles we might be having at the time. Tonight happened to be one of those nights.
“I needed to talk to a girl about this, but I can’t talk to other girls like I can talk to you… we have a connection,” he said to me. This is coming from the biggest “bad-boy” player I have ever known.
“That we do,” I replied. Just knowing him and having him on my team has always given me the upper-hand in dating. He’s my go-to “guy speak” interpreter. He’s basically like my secret weapon in the dating game, and the reason I am so empathetic toward men. I hear all the bullshit men have to go through just to make a woman happy.
But before I get into all that…
What is love?
I recently listened to Tim Ferriss interview comedian Whitney Cummings for his podcast. The topic of the hour was turning pain into creativity and rituals for success. The conversation started with Ferriss asking about a white tattoo on her wrist that said, “I love you” which led to the title of one her hour-long comedy specials and her definition of love.
“My definition of love is being willing to die for someone you, yourself, want to kill,” she said. I laughed right on queue.
It got me thinking about my own definition of love. As the byproduct of a loveless marriage between two people who should have never been together in the first place, let alone gotten married after only six months of dating, I’ve come to see love as a team sport.
Deny it all you want, but dating is a game, just not in the mindfucking kind of way that most people refer to when they say they don’t like “playing games” in dating.
Here’s a screenshot of something I wrote in the Tinder Society’s private Facebook group a little while ago when the subject came up for discussion:
As cliché as it sounds, it really does take two to tango.
My definition of love is when this game of catch and release has no end. Sure, it comes in seasons with everyone’s fair share of wins and losses, but the game never really ends when you love someone for all eternity and make a commitment to them.
It reminds me of the time I interviewed a firefighter for a front page piece in the local paper. He gave me the best unsolicited relationship advice I have ever heard after he told me the story of how he met his second wife on an airplane headed to Australia where they ended up vacationing together.
“Never stop dating your partner,” he said as they were getting ready for their weekly date night. That always stuck with me.
I guess you could say I’m looking for someone to play proverbial catch with. I just haven’t met my ideal relationship teammate yet.
So the last guy I dated was about 10 years younger than the guy I dated before him who was about four years older than me. I usually prefer dating older guys, but I figured dating someone significantly younger might give me some perspective.
Even though I knew it was doomed before it even started on account of not sharing the same values, I dated the young’n anyway because he was hot and had a big dick. When it didn’t work out, I wasn’t heartbroken at all, but my ego did take a huge hit.
I’m a fucking catch, and you won’t even realize it until you’re my age, I remember thinking.
I went on sort of a dating detox for a few months so I could get over myself basically. I figured I could also use the break to recalibrate my “man-picker” (as some dating experts like to call it).
Then I heard Emily Morse talking about this “duty dating” concept coined by Dr. Pat Allen. From my understanding of it, the idea is to date three people at a time, three times each, with people you’d normally never go out with just to practice your dating skills until you’re ready for real dating, which is what happens when you’re mutually attracted to someone and you go out.
Duty dating is not based on chemistry or attraction like real dating. Instead, it’s based on practicing essential dating skills. (Hmm, not a bad idea for my dating column on Examiner.com… need a guest dating expert….noted.)
Since the love life is currently non-existent, I decided I’d be open to dating someone I normally wouldn’t date should the opportunity present itself. Sure enough, it did when I met a guy at a panel discussion / networking event.
I thought nothing more of him than a friendly person making conversation with the people around him. During the networking portion of the event, we ended up chatting a little bit.
At one point during our interaction, he made some kind of quip about me going out with him, but I just gave him my “uh-huh, yah right, never gonna happen” laugh. (If you happen to know me, then you know the laugh because you’ve heard it before.)
When he asked me for my number, I gave it to him figuring he’d forget he had it a day later. When he asked if I was free on Sunday or Monday night, I didn’t think we’d actually meet until he made good on his word and followed up with me on the day I said I’d be free with a meeting time and location. This is how seamless dating should be, I thought to myself. Now this is the right way to use text messaging in dating; short, simple and to the point.
Long story short, I’m glad I gave him a shot and didn’t judge him by his name or his looks. I would have missed out on a potentially great guy had I dismissed him right off the bat.
Even though I think some of Dr. Allen’s advice is a bit outdated, maybe there is something to this “duty dating” thing afterall.
Speaking of Dr. Allen…
The Pat Allen Show
I finally got to attend one of Allen’s weekly Monday night relationship forums. I volunteered to be in the hot seat to ask her a question about dating, only I didn’t know what I was volunteering for initially.
I don’t really I have a serious dating dilemma I actually care enough about to make a whole scene of it, so I asked her how to negotiate a sex contract since that’s kind of her M.O.
Her advice to me was kind of lame in my opinion, because I’m not trying to get married like most women. And she didn’t really answer my question without talking about a promise ring or some guarantee of a marriage in 6 to 12 months. Eek, that’s a little too soon to be thinking about marriage, in my opinion.
“What if a guy says he’ll commit or marry you just to have sex with you? How do you weed out the liars?” I asked. She evaded the question entirely with an answer that wasn’t really relevant to me at all.
Instead, she suggested that I must have been raped or molested as a child, which — for the record — never happened to me as a kid. Sure, I was verbally abused by my mother, but she never touched me inapproriately, nor did my dad.
Despite that embarrasing moment when she called me a really horny girl and made a crowd of 100 people think I was sexually abused as a child, I still learned a lot from her during her interactions with other people and their dating dilemmas. She was also a lot funnier than I thought she’d be. I would definitely go again.
My friend hit me up with some baby mama drama. All I can really do is listen because I will never understand what it’s like to be a parent and stay in a bad relationship thinking it’s better for the kids. It’s not. I would know.
My parents stayed together for me and my brother, but they should have divorced a lot sooner because I had a hard time with it while it was happening, always being stuck in the middle and mediating between two grown adults acting like children. I was only in junior high.
Naturally, Moby asked if I was seeing anyone and offered himself to me if I needed any dick. “I’ll keep that in mind,” I told him. To give him a bit of a ego stroke, I added: “You’ll be the first person I call if I ever need some dick.” I lied. So sue me.
I really had nothing more to say to him that he hasn’t already heard me say before. I know him, and he’ll just keep going back to her. For starters, he wants to be the man his daughters need and make it work with baby mama. But the truth he’ll never admit is that he is a slave to her pussy. She fulfills him sexually, and that’s why he fell in love with her in the first place.
That’s part of the reason it would never work between him and I beyond a friends with ocassional benefits type of relationship. A) He doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body and B) I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to fully satisfy his needs.
Moby’s appetite for sex is so great that if we ever did date, I’d gladly let him get his needs met elsewhere just so that I didn’t have to shoulder that responsibility. But that’s also not the kind of relationship I want with someone. I’m leaning toward something closer to monogamy. I still have hope that the relationship I want with someone special, and deserving of me, is out there somewhere waiting for me to trip all over it.
What I want more than anything is fall in love again, in every sense of the phrase. I want to stumble upon it haphazardly or let it hit me like a ton of bricks. I want to love and feel loved. And I want that with someone I admire and respect. While I may have a certain level of respect for Moby, having been long-time friends and all — even before we started periodically getting each other off as personal favors — he isn’t exactly someone to be admired. But that is a whole other story not mine to tell.
The new guy I met, however, is more along the lines of someone I could admire and respect. I thought he was a gentleman, and he had really good game, which was very much appreciated.
I’m going to give this “duty dating” thing a serious try and stay open-minded. If I don’t find love, at the very least, I’ll restore my faith in humanity.