For The Off Parent, letting go of dating opens the pathway to knowledge.
Those of you who know me and how much I value and need companionship may find this hard to believe: I’ve just revoked my own dating pass. I’m done. At least for a while. Instead, I’m learning, and beginning to understand things about myself as I reset and recover my center. I’ve decided to take back all the energy I used to put into dates and bring the focus back to me, on rebuilding myself. And the stuff I’m learning in that process is too good not to share.
Sitting in a coffee shop, I’m observing the flow of people and noting my own wandering eye. WHAT IS IT? Really. Which women resonate with a “yes” in the flowing line of candidates (in fantasy only) versus a “meh?”
- Body type
- Attitude (You can see it in their eyes and smile, or opposite of smile)
- Hair (over done, colored, natural, dark, blonde or graying)
- Clothes (what mode are they in: work, yoga, casual Friday, dressed to the nines)
- A pretty face (some magical equation combined with historical context)
Sure it’s impossible to get an accurate picture of the whole woman just from a visual, much less from one 15 – 20 feet away. But the elusive “chemistry” is not as random as you might think. Rare, but not random. So what is it? What’s the thing that makes my heart beat faster?
Before you think I’m just scoping out women, let me be clear. I’m engaging in a personal exploration exercise, not a predatory process. I am not actually looking to “relate” to these women. I’m observing my thoughts as they pass by. The availability or reality of the actual woman is not part of my evaluation. I’m cataloging what I actually feel.
The “spark” as I tend to call it is obvious in the first 10 seconds. Beyond that I’m taking my own projections and using my desires as a magnifying glass from which to evaluate each woman.
In life, women stream by all the time. Married, young, athletic, damaged, bright, angry, euphoric, women, all are part of the flow of life. It’s our observations and actions in this flood that are going to determine if we remain alone and hungry, or if we are willing and able to take the plunge into a relationship.
As I’ve released the “dating” concept for the moment, I’m learning some new things about myself in this detached state.
- I am much more easy-going around all women when I’m not actively sizing them up
- When I am not interested, I’m more able to see them clearly as multifaceted humans and not just potential partners
- I’ve got a lot more energy to use in other aspects of my life
- I can see my craving for a woman more clearly for what it is—a craving, an addiction
- I can savor the anticipation and desire and all the wanderings of my mind without any of the logistics or planning that’s required in actually taking action
- By suspending action, I’m allowing these women I come in contact with to be more natural and relaxed
I’m not outright saying, “Hey, I’m not interested in you,” but the idea is circulating in my mind. For the moment, even in the presence of a willing and available woman I have taken a step back from my own inner “spark” so I can see more clearly.
This week I had a clear hit. A date potential that sort of came out of the blue. And all of the components were in place. She was cute, articulate, enthusiastic, and she had a direct approach to life. She was also training in an exotic sport, that was clearly a passion. I’m attracted to women of passion. Always passion.
After a week or so we found the night we could meet in-person. Again, this time, while I was enthusiastic, I was somewhat reflective of the opportunity rather than “looking for a relationship.” At one point, an hour before we met, I was a little concerned that I was going to underwhelm her, that I was too subdued. I was just tired from a busy day that had started at 5 am.
When we met and sat eating a late dinner, I was able to keep my “observer” at the table with us. I was watching her and even watching myself, as we chatted and flirted. And while I noticed her fine figure, her sparkling eyes, and her contagious enthusiasm, I was also aware that something else was feeling odd.
That was enough. I didn’t need to judge her. I didn’t get turned off, because I had never been turned on. So I listened. I noticed how she often didn’t hear what I’d just said. She was on some kind of monologue performance. There wasn’t much room in her active and imaginative genius for me or my ideas.
As we parted she mentioned wanting to write an article for my blog. She was all over the map. “Um, okay,” I said, surprised by the new concept. “No, really. I’m a great writer,” she said. She didn’t notice that this is a first-person narrative, about me and my experience. I’m not sure where she thought her post might go. I’m not all that interested to find out.
It would be great to think we have evolved beyond Hot or Not, but I believe really it’s hard-wired. The immediate reaction that we label “chemistry” is really a swipe to the left “nope” or a swipe to the right “yes.” Given that, it’s what happens next that is more important. In my paused state, I think I am able to evaluate more objectively—and less visually—who turns me on and who registers as a “pass.” By taking myself off the playing field, I’ve made it easier to recognize the players, and even my own playbook becomes more obvious.
The swipe happens in our mind regardless of our evolution. Our own game plans kick into gear almost automatically. By interrupting the pursuit, I’ve been able to sit back and watch in a new way. And I know when I’m ready to re-engage, I’ll be clearer in my actions and intentions.
The Off Parent
back to On Dating Again
- The Lover I Had This Time Last Year
- Dating Time Out: Swiping Left or Right is Wearing Me Out
- Gentle Catch and Release
- Unadulterated Love: What Is Joyful Sex?
image: random coffee shop, the author, cc 2014