I had a date Friday night. I won't tell you the details of the actual date but I will tell you the befores and afters of the the whole thing. Remember how I used to be signed up for that free dating site? Well...this date was with one of those guys. He asked me to come to his place for dinner and I said yes. I said yes because he asked. This makes me sound easy (most Earth girls are) and maybe I am a little. But I thought that it had to put this guy in a really vulnerable position to ask a stranger out to begin with. The least I could do was be kind and supportive. Plus it got me out of the house. The thing is though...I really didn't want to go. I was forcing myself to go because it was out of my comfort zone to do this. Like reallllllyyyyyyy out my comfort zone. First of all, the guy lives an hour away and as I was navigating myself to his place, I made a mistake. I ended up driving for 40 minutes in the complete opposite direction. You would think that I would have taken that hint from my subconscious, but no. I turned around. I went. I listened. I ate. And then I skedaddled out of there. But the important part is that I did it and I'm still alive to tell the tale. See? I can meet new people and hold down a conversation that doesn't include the words "this one time, Chris and I...".
I can hear some of you screaming from here "Cindy!!!! What Where You Thinking?!?!?!". It's OK. I was safe. I had people who knew my whereabouts. Actually, my favorite text came the next day from my friend Jeff who said "are you alive? Text me the name of my kid, so I know it's you". Chad had a safe word I was to text him when I got home. I was being looked after. I never felt threatened or unsafe and I learned that I can handle myself in an uncomfortable situation. I learned a lot actually. First of all? NEVER meet a complete stranger on their turf. Choose neutral ground.
I know I've talked often here about authenticity and allowing people to see my vulnerability. I've come to realize that the world of online dating is all about vulnerability. Maybe not so much authenticity, but definitely vulnerability. Actually, I think that's why there's such a lack of authenticity. Being vulnerable is scary. It's easy for me to be vulnerable here because I know you guys love me and support me. But out there in a mess of strangers? There's just too many of us that have been brokenhearted enough to be suspicious of each other, handing out bits of information in snip-its and code. Suspicion and vulnerability do not dance well together. Add that to trying to figure out what it means when a guy virtually winks at you and suddenly you're back at that eighth grade dance you wish you'd skipped.
I'm learning to balance my vulnerability and authenticity without being suspicious. I think I'll be ready for clown college next.