By Kenneth Stepp
I’m single… These two words mean something so different than they did before meeting my wife of 24 years. Back then these words were not associated with self centeredness, scary dates, stalkers, or narcissists, or people with major addictions and diseases. Although they all existed back then, they are now becoming the norm.
I reread the paragraph above to make sure I wasn’t being too harsh. I really wasn’t. Most of my friends are females and I hear the stories often. I’ve even met some of the men they date or meet along the way. To sit in front of what is really a stranger and try to seem open, genuine, and transparent. All the while trying to hide your baggage, issues, and flaws. No wonder most of us remain single…
Meeting new friends is what I do. I almost never meet someone with the expectation of them becoming a new romantic relationship or lover. I meet them on a friendship level. This takes so much of the angst away and it seems more like two friends having a chat than a job interview.
The dating apps today, or many of them, allow you to swipe right or left, one way you are interested, one way, you are not. I have to admit, I’m a little lost by the concept. I just want to get to know a person, then decide. My hope is to make a friend, my dream is to find forever. If I swipe left, both disappear.
I am reminded daily that I live a life with many regrets. I used to think they were hurtful and annoying. Today I see them as lessons not to repeat. And as I am a man, I need the reminders. Time is a funny thing. It is really the only thing of value we have. I find that time helps me to cope with loss, time doesn’t heal, it teaches. At least in my case.
We’ve all met people we only knew online before, whether from a dating app or another platform. Most do not look like they do online, most are different from their online persona. This is one of the reasons I meet as friends. I believe there’s a need for so much grace in the dating community. We’re all trying, we all want something. Just be nice.
I’ve met girls who go on fault finding tours. Men do it too, I’m sure. I’ve had girls ask me when we meet, questions that are more acusitory than actual queries about me. Like I said, I’m certain men do it too. I believe these people would love for coffee shop tables to be equipped with right or left switch. That way they could swipe one way or the other or do nothing and wait till the next meeting.
Being single these days and at an age that none of us ever thought we’d be single, is confusing enough. Add to that the varying personality quirks that so many have today, the lack of accountability because we’re alone, and the fact that trust has been damaged so many times for all of us and you have a toxic mix of psycho soup to swim through just to get to a feeling of safety with someone.
The remedy is simple. Be honest, be you, and above all else, be nice. For me, being a gentleman comes natural. I cringe when I hear stories from my friends about dates they were on. Being honest is important if you are serious about finding forever. And being who you are, not someone you are not. This may be the single most important thing we can do. Be safe and be real…
“She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.”
― Shel Silverstein