I call 2008 “The Year I Dated.” I’d dated before, but in 2008, I dated a lot. I lost track of how many dates I had and how many guys I went out with. I dated so much, I got tired of dating. You married people out there who think it might be better to be single and going out with different people and trying new things, please keep reading…
In 2008, I also taught a class called Chase the Lion, which teaches that taking risks, trying new things, and not fearing failure are important to our faith. Many of our Biblical heroes were risk-takers, including Ruth who threw herself at Boaz’ feet and wound up with a rich husband and a famous descendant… I liked the curriculum (by Mark Batterson) so much that I taught the class about six times over the next two years.
Around that time I also picked up a book on dating by one of my favorite authors, Henry Cloud. The basic principle of How to Get a Date Worth Keeping is that singles are afraid to take risks. We should do everything we can to meet new people and get dates with them, dating basically anyone who asks at least once, and getting out of our comfort zones. He says it’s a fun social experiment, allows us to gain new experiences, and challenges our preconceived notions of people. This very godly man challenged singles to go on dating websites, give our numbers to people we meet at social functions, and stop sitting alone at home on Saturday nights crying into our pillows.
Well, I didn’t often find myself sitting at home alone on Saturday nights (unless I was tired and wanted a break), but I was still single, dateless, and ready to take a risk. I decided to give his method a try. I joined eHarmony and match.com and told my friends that I was going to make dating a part-time job. I asked them to set me up on dates with anyone they knew. And I got bold about giving my contact information out to anyone who might be a possibility.
My efforts worked and I soon started dating. A few of the guys I dated that year stand out to me. The first one was a really nice, Christian guy who took me out on some amazing dates. He was a perfect gentleman and I enjoyed his company. But he didn’t seem to know what he wanted. At times he’d be very attentive and seem totally interested. At other times, he pushed me away and acted like a jerk. Yet he kept asking me out on amazing dates, so I kept going, at one point making a kind of game of it in my mind. Who would I get that night? After a couple months of his craziness, I decided I’d had enough. I missed the fabulous dates, but not the emotional roller coaster!
Another guy I dated was wealthy and fun, going to great lengths to plan dates around things he knew I would like. What girl doesn’t like that? But after going out for a few weeks, he started complaining when I went out with friends instead of seeing him, then told me to change my hairstyle… He eventually told me I should just quit my job so I could go with him wherever he wanted. Oh, and I found out he had a bookie and only met when one owed the other a large amount of money. I decided he wasn’t for me!
Probably the most memorable date I had that year was with a guy I’ll call “Steve”. His pictures showed a professional, clean-cut, attractive man. But right before we met, he texted me to say he was afraid I was better-looking than him and other really insecure things. Huh? One of my only requirements during this dating experiment was that a man be reasonably attractive. He didn’t have to be McDreamy. My only expectation of him was that he looked like the man in the pictures.
I drove up to Starbucks and parked next to his car. I got out of my car and then he got out of his. As he stood up, I looked down at just the right moment to see him nearly lose his pants. And he wasn’t wearing anything under them! Trying not to show my shock and horror, I looked up to see his face. He was in bad need of a haircut and had a beard. He walked around his car to greet me and was wearing old jeans and a ratty shirt. I wasn’t sure if I was meeting the same man I’d met online, pictured in suits and ties.
We went inside and talked for a few minutes. His voice was the same and I could see some similarities, but the pictures he posted must have been several years old. Unable to get the image of his butt from my mind, I was grateful when the barista came over and told us they were closing just 20 minutes after we walked in the door. He invited me to get a drink at a nearby restaurant and I made up some excuse and got out of there. I probably would’ve met him anyway if he’d put up accurate pictures, but the fact that he so blatantly misrepresented himself bothered me almost as much as seeing his butt.
Most of the guys I met during my dating experiment were nice, good guys who wanted to get married and have a family. I was surprised by the number of times they brought up marriage. But none of them were right for me. After all that dating, all I felt was tired. I didn’t feel like I could go out with one more random guy. I got off the dating websites and started working on become the best person I could be. I hired a personal trainer and started spending a lot more time on my relationship with God.
I learned a lot that year. I got to go to some amazing places I never would’ve gone to any other way. I met some really interesting people. I’m glad I did it. And I’m also glad I didn’t marry any of the guys I dated that year.
Have any of your dates made the Hall of Fame for worst dates ever?