I would like to make a somewhat formal announcement: despite the stories I have in my pocket, I am actually not currently dating.
All of my online dating profiles are dormant, deactivated, and I haven't gone out on weekends with much purpose besides having a blast with my chosen company. Besides occasionally playing wingman to the single members of my crew, I haven't really had much romance in my life. (Except for working up the courage to #likelikeit, that is. But that, again, is another story to be shared at a different time.)
I had actually sworn off dating before Thanksgiving, but failed to actually do so.
My reasoning, is, well, is it really such a great idea to try to meet someone new right before the holidays? It's a busy and stressful time for many people, where some folks disappear into black holes for days at a time. That's just not something I was interested in--meeting somebody amazing, and then having them fall off the face of the Earth for the last half of December.
The original plan was just not to date until the end of February. Can you imagine the emotional rollercoaster of Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's-Valentine's Day with a new beau? Maybe I'm shortsighted, but the idea didn't inspire high aspirations of romance.
So, time to take a little breather.
Right before Christmas, I committed to really stepping back. By January 1, I had friend-zoned or politely declined all of the suitors I was engaging with, in real life or otherwise. The messages, texts, phone calls, and first dates came to a lull.
Ahh, how relaxing!
But now we're in this weird time of year. Following Blue Monday, I was worried the loneliness would be palpable. Mine wasn't. But I could feel it dripping out of other people. I felt it the weekend before. And the weekend following. I could see it in strangers' eyes, as I ordered a beer at the bar. It felt like every interaction with someone I didn't know lingered just a beat longer.
Other people's loneliness is difficult to navigate. In the past week, I've experienced far too many uncomfortable silences, which I've steamrolled through with an extreme, forceful (platonic!) warmth. The slightest downgrade of hugs.
Following the holiday hangover, and especially considering the crazy cold snap, everybody seems to be only seeking a warm body to spoon. My flannel pajamas and I are just fine.
And despite it all--the promise and plan to keep me all to myself for a few weeks, I've found myself in the throes of a long-lingering, slow-burning crush.
Based on the last person I found myself immediately attracted to, I thought it would have fizzled away by now. But there it is, still simmering slowly in the background.
And normally I would have already boldly ridden the train of chance all the way to the last stop, impatient to figure out what! when! where! next.
But this feels different. Important, even. So I'm just sitting back, and letting the train keep on rolling. Slowly letting the adventure unfold, rather than tearing through the pages to choose my own.