As a glamorous, perpetually harried, and extremely single career woman, I am acutely aware of the fact that I’m not going to meet the long-term romantic partner I’m looking for unless I put myself out there. Which is why, usually, I do.
I’m on three different dating apps. Every reasonably close friend whose judgment I trust is on the lookout for potential prospects. At least twice a week for the past six months, no matter how tired or pressed for time I’ve been, I have fixed my hair, put on my lipstick and heels, and met a man for a drink.
I am oddly proud of the effort I’ve made, despite the fact that it has yet to have yielded tangible results. I have many female friends who are also glamorous, perpetually harried, and extremely single. Many of them want to find someone but believe apps to be desperate and contrived. (They are. So what?)
These women have a vague fantasy of meeting someone through friends, but all their friends are either married (and friends with other married people) or other single women who are looking for the same thing. So these idealistic friends of mine are left complaining about being single while simultaneously doing nothing to change that.
Participation in a romantic partnership does not determine the success of anyone’s life, male or female. There are many unhappily partnered people and many blissfully single ones, and the last thing I want to do is imply that being single is a problem or a flaw.
All I’m saying is that if you want something, you have to set yourself up to possibly get it. As I see it, even a bad date is an opportunity to learn about myself.
And by dating all the time, I’m able to maintain perspective and prevent myself from getting my heart set on one particular guy before it’s clear he’s worth it.
But in the past few weeks, something’s changed for me. Yes, I do have a huge work deadline at the end of the month, which has rendered me temporarily incapable of even thinking of anything else.
Yet even more than that, I find that I have temporarily lost interest in dating at all. This is my dating sabbatical, and it’s awesome.
The last date I went on ended when the guy said, “You have such beautiful hair. I can’t wait to pull it while I do you doggy style.” (To be fair, I met him in a bar – and if I’d been able to read his profile on one of my apps, I wouldn’t have wasted that hour of my life.)
I didn’t feel threatened or unsafe; I simply told him that the night was over and that he should definitely take an etiquette class before dating anyone else. “Also,” I told him, “Never, under any circumstances, use the words doggy style.”
Even a month ago, I would have loved telling this story at brunch. I would have mimicked the guy’s voice, his crushed expression when I told him off, and his sad, mumbled “Sorry.”
I would have delighted in my girlfriends’ riffs and responses and our mimosa-drunk theorizing about what kind of person would even say such a thing.
Dating requires a healthy sense of humor and a genuine curiosity about other people. Right now, I have neither. It’s not that I’m bitter; I can’t even muster the energy to be indignant about my last date. I’m just completely apathetic.
It’s battle fatigue. The sheer number of dates I’ve been on recently is staggering, and most of them have been completely forgettable. Again, I will defend dating in volume until my dying breath. But the other side of this practice, I think, is taking a break.
Many men are extremely boring. Many are libertarians. Many think they are intellectuals because, since college, they have read a single book, and it is by Charles Bukowski.
These are all deal breakers—at least to me—but nobody’s perfect, and the point of dating is to get to know someone. Most people, thank God, are not as aggressively extroverted as I am; they open up slowly over time. And right now, I don’t have the patience to see that through.
Here is a short list of things I’d rather be doing than dating:
- Drinking wine with my friends.
- Finishing the novel and can’t put it down.
- Playing hide-and-seek with my cats.
So I’m sticking with that. I’m also taking time to learn more about myself to discover new hobbies, places, and people who help me grow. When I decide to start dating again—which sooner or later I know I will—I will be even more myself and maybe even open to dating someone I might have dismissed out of hand before (as long as he’s not a Libertarian).
I’ll be capable of being a thoughtful and receptive partner, and hopefully, I’ll be better able to discern who can offer me the same.
The point of a sabbatical is that it’s not forever. In dating, as in all things, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your hopes and goals.
So I encourage you to do everything on purpose, as a conscious choice. If you want to date, date, and don’t want someone else to make it happen for you. And if you want to take a step back, then go on with your bad self.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.