I have been out on a couple of dates of late.
And I mean actual dates, as in food and conversation… Not whatever contrived version of dating people have in their minds.
And you know what?
Dating is very much like online shopping.
In fact, it is exactly like online shopping.
You have been in desperate need of the perfect-est LBD (Little Black Dress for the less privy). You have been scouring the internets trying to find something that can be upgraded with a great statement piece but is generally versatile and fits your body like a glove. You are going to show off, obviously, and this dress needs to make every man, woman and boy jealous of your everything. I mean, there is a general return policy if it doesn’t work out, but you want something that will be more or less a life time commitment. Something classic, and you are really willing to splurge to make sure you get exactly what you want.
How I feel when I find the perfect dress!
You find the most adorable knee length, backless number that looks like it will be the best purchase of your life. You read all the reviews (because you are a pro at online shopping and you know never to just judge a dress by its picture). For the most part, everyone agrees the dress is cut small so you have to buy one size above what you would normally buy. Otherwise, most past users love the dress and have even recommended great ways to jazz it up with jewelry and shoes.
You. Are. Elated.
After searching for what feels like centuries, you have finally found the perfect dress.
And then it arrives, and you realize…
This is everything I asked for and NOTHING I wanted.
Now back to reality. I am sure you are already seeing all of the ways in which this analogy fits perfectly well into the discussion on dating. You spend what feels like forever, looking everywhere (or rather placing yourself in the right settings to be… looked for, lol!)… you have followed all the advice that has been given. And when you finally meet the guy who loves Jesus, is about 6 foot 4 in., has at least 2 degrees, makes at least double what you have earned in your lifetime, is kind and funny— even gets a hip hop reference from time to time … and happens to be a mean chef, you realize, this actually doesn’t fit. This is everything I put on my well-crafted list and yet… I am so bored. I mean… is it me?
So here are the three ways in which dating can be a bit like online shopping— gone wrong.
The number one reason for returning clothing purchased online is fit (I think… I made up this statistic, but I said it with authority,
True. Say. Had to learn the hard way.
so you probably believed it. bruhahahaa). Same with dating. I met this guy, he was all the things that I thought were important in building a strong relationship. Educated. Financially Stable-ish (I mean we are twenty somethings… how stable is stable reallly at this age, unless I am going for children of oil money— which I am wildly unopposed to… but I digress). Interested in Jesus (I mean, not exactly on the deacon board but willing to come to all four of my weekly church services— that’s basically love, right?). Worldly (in the… I have travelled and read books and listen to the news sort of way— not, like… secular, hedonist psycho sort of way, lol!).
Understood my hashtagging and hip hop references.
Down to earth.
I was attracted to him and we could laugh, though not the kind of best friend- belly laughter… but fun nonetheless. And yet.
He didn’t fit.
All the ways in which I thought this could probably be a great relationship were suddenly turned upside down. I mean, he was really nice and polite. And yet I fear… I was bored. Hmpf.
So here I was, having spent my time and now I was going to have to return the dress— I mean, dead the situation. I think it was mutually agreeable (shut up Afua.) No feelings were hurt (shuttup Afua.) But like… how sad is that? Plus now I am thinking, maybe I don’t actually know what I want at all… which is horrifying really, don’t you think?
The thing is, when the dresses are on the websites and on these mannequins and the form and body is just right… and everything falls so perfectly, it makes you feel like you will look exactly the same way. And I mean, you think, ‘I am going to lose like 5 pounds next week anyway, so then all of my back fat will vanish and this backless number will look like something out of a Vogue magazine.’ I’ll baaasically look like Lupita, but lighter… and longer hair… and wider… but yeah, basically exactly the same.
Then you try it on and you are like, how could they have misrepresented the dress that way?! Why don’t they ever have ‘real’ models who are ‘real’ sizes like the rest of us on planet Earth?!
Maybe I am a little bitter. whatever.
But yeah, with dating… time reveals all manner of things. And you realize that what was glittering about a person is actually just the glass on his watch and not his actual personality. Social media does that though… people seem so much smarter and wiser and knowledgeable on their facebook profiles. It’s crazy how reality can sort of shatter everything about a person. Nothing like spending 45 minutes over a meal with someone and realizing you have spent the entire time thinking about what you will wear to work the next day (you know you gotta turn up for traditional friday’s!…)
Plus… maybe what looked right on another girl’s arm or in a Hollywood romance, isn’t actually what’s right for you. I guess you don’t know until you know… but Sanaa Lathan seemed to have it all in Love and Basketball… that’s all anyone really wants ever right? Hmpf…
3. Lowered Expectations
So now… all you want to do is run to your closet… with your old dresses and just find something you know is tried and true and
Start to hate all the advice about going back.. suddenly the ex seems like McDreamy!
may have a few kinks but is generally gonna work out for the purpose for which you intended. And here… we are talking about exes.
Nothing like meeting someone new and playing the compare and contrast game. “Okay, he does this better than Elikem… but omg, Elikem definitely got this right”. But there’s an Akan proverb that says (essentially), “There’s no need to go deeper into water once you realize it’s coming up to eye level. You should just go back and stand where you are comfortable and where you have been already.”— ok, that was a lot of imagery, but … it’s true though… the devil you know is better than the angel that doesn’t fit.
I know I am not alone in this realization. There is nothing worse than wanting something really badly, and then getting it and being disappointed. I used to joke that, if I knew I liked strawberry ice cream and it tasted like heaven, there was really no point in sampling all the other flavors like strawberry choco champagne with macademia nuts and sprinkles— who needs all that in their icecream anyway? Monsters! I have always been of the mind that ‘dating’ isn’t about meeting people so you can figure out what you want, but rather making really good friends and deciding whether any one of them are particularly useful for the type of long term affair that marriage requires. But then… this experience, and the comparison to online shopping, makes it quite apparent that if you are not out there experimenting… you may actually jump into something that makes you look fat and lopsided with a second belly button…
Tell me, have any of you found in your experiences that you’ve finally met someone who seems to check all the proverbial boxes, but somehow doesn’t excite you in anyway? Did you have a
quarter life, medium term crisis and wonder whether you had spent your whole life chasing the wrong things moment of reflection? Do tell! (and by do tell, don’t like whatsapp us or send us messages but share in the comments so everyone can see ya’ll.. #sharingiscaring)