The Deep End
By Kate Throckmorton
Dating is a game with many rules, and as many exceptions. It can be exhausting keeping up with them all, especially since they seem to change each year, or with each new partner. Still, I had come to place where I counted myself fairly well acquainted with the in's and out's of this Texas hold 'em, Do-Not-Pass-Go existence that is the singles' scene.
That's when the Save-the-Dates started arriving.
The core group of friends from school will all be married off and settled down by the end of 2009.
Though I am, of course, happy for my friends, I admit to the requisite single-girl bitterness that comes with seeing your former party pals suddenly uninterested in hitting the town, drinking Patròn shots, singing bad karaoke (is there any other kind?) and posting incriminating pictures on Facebook that aren't nearly as cute in the light of day as they were at 12:30am, then laughing at it all while nursing hangovers with fried eggs and strong coffee the morning after.
Yes, just a little bitter. Not to mention a little shell-shocked, dealing with the reminder that we’re all grown-ups now, doing grown-up things like merging bank accounts and adding an “Mrs.” to our names.
Now, I am forced to re-examine the way I have moved through my social life. The fact that people my age are getting married drastically changes the way I look at a night on the town – is that brawny and beautiful boy who’s offering to buy me a drink really someone I want to marry? I know, I know, I’m getting ahead of myself, but at bottom, isn’t that what dating is? Looking for the person you want to marry/spend the rest of your life with? Isn’t any dating without that end in mind simply sleeping around?
Which is not to say that being casual and getting your jollies, provided it’s done safely, is a bad thing, only that it carries with it different connotations. “Dating,” and “having a relationship,” does, whether we like it or not, imply that we are seeking the person who is better than all the others, and who we want to spend more than just a few months with; the person we will invite into our lives and have pets and perhaps children with.
And for those of us who aren’t ready for all that commitment yet, we’re simply “being casual,” dating “around,” as it were; circling the pool without being ready to jump right in. Nothing wrong with that, as far as I’m concerned, but, as the girls I grew up with become women and wives, I’m starting to get the sense that I’m missing out on something. Marriage is no longer just a distant reality that will happen someday – it has and is happening to my closest friends – and that changes the whole game.
Yes, I’d like to have the type of relationship that I see so many of my friends enjoying, but I know that it will happen for me when it’s supposed to. I refuse to settle. I’m not going to lower my standards or date someone who doesn’t make my butterflies flutter just to give myself the title of “girlfriend,” and possibly “wife.” And maybe that’s the biggest change in the dating game so far – despite the barrage of marriages in my social circle, I’m more ready to wait for Mr. Right than I was before.
Watching the growing-up that’s taking place around me, I’ve done a bit of it myself. I’m pickier, now. I’m more attuned to what makes me happy and what doesn’t, who I’m willing to let into my life, and above all, looking out for myself rather than trying to make everyone else happy.
As I pack the bridesmaid and maid-of-honor dresses away in the closet, start saving money for another bachelorette trip to Vegas, and hit the gym in preparation for nuptials in Maui, I can remind myself that just because these gals are swimming in the deep end, doesn’t mean I have to leave the beach any time soon.
Hey, there are hot lifeguards up here.
copyright 2009 www.ScarletGirl.com
Kate Throckmorton is an author, editor, and romance consultant who has been one of Scarlet’s girls since May 2007, and is loving it more every day! The products are fun and classy, and she is excited to share them all with the women she knows and meets through Scarlet Girl. She is also a regular contributor to Scarlet’s Letter and the archive of articles at www.scarletgirl.com.
Kate’s favorite items – at the moment – are the Jenna’s Velvet Jewels vibe in pink, the Jack Rabbit Vibe (always a classic), and the Hot and Heavenly Massage Oils. Katie is always booking shows in the San Jose, CA area, but is also willing to travel up the peninsula and to the East Bay, and even San Francisco if she is needed there.