The three mental phases of an online date

I've been on a lot of dates. Like a lot. I don't know if that's a sign I'm too picky or just have really bad luck with men but I could write the holy bible on dating. I recently realized I've probably been on more than 25 first dates in my 15 years of dating and a good portion of those were online meet ups. It was while going down this dating memory lane that I also realized I go through the same three mental thought processes before meeting a date. Whether it's a defence mechanism or stems from laziness or insecurity, who knows. Finding someone compatible is a big enough struggle, I don't have the energy to dissect the origins of my pre-date demons. What I can tell you is over the years I've learned tools to overcome these thoughts and for the most part go out and have a solid date. Clearly none of them have turned into forever after but that's beside the point. The point is it's completely normal to feel discouraged and anxious before the big meet up. So without further ado, let's dive into my top three dating brain ninjas!

Thought #1) "It isn't too late to cancel" This thought almost always pop into my head the morning of the big date. If you overthink almost any event in life you're bound to get yourself all worked up and dating is no exception. In fact, if you think about it, online dating is kind of messed up. You create a profile telling the world you're lonely and don't want to be. Then after exchanging a few "What's your favourite food"? and other banal topics with a guy you hope isn't a serial killer, you agree to meet up with the person in a "neutral setting" where you can further quiz and judge one another on whether you're meant to be lifelong soulmates. The whole process makes me uneasy to this day.

The most common thoughts I have the day of a date are '"maybe I should say I'm sick" or "maybe I should push the date to tomorrow." How a Wednesday date is is going to be less nerve wracking than a Tuesday date is a mystery to me but hey, no one said said the subconscious makes sense. Last fall my nerves got the best of me and I cancelled a date two hours before I was supposed to go. Yes, I am that girl. In the text I asked the guy if we could meet the next day instead. The guy text back saying I was the first girl who has cancelled a date on him and maybe this was a sign to run. He did follow it up with a smiley face emoji but still, the whole thing cast an awkward cloud over our first meet up and had me wondering the whole time whether he does secretly think I'm crazy. Since then I promised myself I would never cancel again. One method that helps me get over my dating despair is reminding myself in one hundred years I'll be dead. It may sound a little extreme but it's a coping mechanism my sister Brittany and me have used and joked about for years. Realizing you and your date won't be around in a century has a way of bringing one back to life and reminding you that one meet up really isn't a big deal. You will get through it just so just chiiiiiiiiil.

2) Thought #2) "Ugh, I have to look nice."

My usual blog writing getup is pajama pants and a big bun on top of my head. Unfortunately most people label people who wear sleepwear in public as lazy or troubled so unless you've already thrown in the towel on being a crazy cat lady you do in fact have to put on real clothes if you hope to find love.

(Typical messy bun/no make up on a Tuesday night)

I"m not a lazy person. I pride myself on showering everyday and wearing a layer of MAC makeup when I leave the house. However there's a difference between "done up" and "date done up" and I right ladies? Since most people choose a generally good looking photo of themselves as their main profile pic, reaching that level of attractability a second time takes at least one hour or more in the bathroom. And guys are no exception. A really nice guy I went on a date with in December joked how he started styling his hair at 4:30 p.m. and our date was at 7 p.m! When you're dating someone new you want to put your best foot and face forward. I would hope a person is less likely to judge my top bun and jammies six months into the relationship but in the early days you want to look nice for one another, at least that's the way I approach dating.

(Me after a bit of "work")

It's usually while watching Netflix or cooking in the afternoon leading up to the date that'll it'll suddenly dawn on me the time has come to doll myself up which is inevitably followed by an "ugh." After peeling myself off the couch I jump into the shower to begin the transformation (a glass of wine in the shower always gets the energy going.) The next steps include washing your hair, putting on makeup, blow drying and styling your hair, picking out some nice jewelry, and of course a sexy perfume to lure his senses LOL. Then there's the crucial decision of what to wear. Too much cleavage or midriff could make you look easy while a baggy sweater vest could give off the (likely) probability your last roll in the hay was when Obama was in office.

3) Thought #3 "Be interesting/Interested" I am a naturally curious and optimistic person. I enjoy learning about the world and the people in it. However the routine and rejection that encompass the world of dating is enough to make even the Dalai Lama feel discouraged. Dating is work and like any line of work there are procedures one has to follow in order to achieve a desired result. As Carrie Bradshaw said in 'Sex and the City' dating is an interview with cocktails. There's no way around it. In order to get to know someone better you have to ask life's bread-and-butter questions "Where did you grow up? What do you do for work? How many siblings do you have? Do you want to be married or have children?" They may not be the sexiest questions but they are important. Before each date I make a point of reminding myself that although I've asked these questions what feels like a hundred times, this could be the last time. The next man across from me could end up being my husband. Can you imagine how sad and awkward it would be to ask him to repeat everything he told me three months later because I didn't feel the need to listen on our first date?

One of my favourite quotes is "The greatest gift you can give anyone is your undivided attention." Whether you end up marrying someone or not, every person deserves to be heard. Besides, dating can be fun! Over the years I've learned so much from my dates such as the top lakes to hit up in the summer (Johnson Lake outside of Kamloops is my next go to), top breweries to check out in B.C (Yale Ale Brewing in Chilliwack is my next stop) and totally random information such as did you know the Aberdeen Mall area in Kamloops had to be blown up by explosives back in the day to lay the ground for the first construction in the area (ok this may be completely untrue or exaggerated but it made for a good story) I also learned a lot of men pee sitting down. Kind of a weird thing to tell a first date but hey the more you know.

So my fellow singletons understand that yes, anxious thoughts and lethargic feelings are normal before a date. The important thing to remember is to recognize the thoughts, ignore them, and go out and have fun. Meeting a stranger may be scary but it won't kill you. Well, here's hoping.

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