Dating over 40: Listening to your Gut
We’ve all been dumped. We’ve all dumped someone. Largely it sucks but sometimes, wonderfully and rarely, sometimes.. it just makes you laugh. And I am laughing this week.
After a few weeks of a lovely ‘getting to know you’ dates – the usual Colorado mix of hikes, beer gardens, dinners and dogs- I decided that while my date was smart, somewhat together and nice.. he just wasn’t the one for me. I didn’t really want to rip off his clothes with my teeth and to be honest, he stopped having a sense of humor after our second date. And if there’s two things I need in a guy, its mad chemistry and the ability to laugh. Because being with me.. you’re going to need a sense of humor (skin like an elephant and a butt you can bounce a quarter off doesn’t hurt either).
And even though I want a boyfriend, I’m not that motivated to keep dating just to ‘have a dude’ and found myself pondering the process of dumping someone who’s not got any obvious flaws..you’re just not ‘feeling it’. My head said ‘ wow he’s great’ but my gut said ‘nope.. move along. nothing to see here’.
As anyone dating over 40 will know.. you don’t take this decision lightly. Its not like you’re panning for the gold in the 1880s; these days there really aren’t that many nuggets left in the creek. And finding one who’s employed, articulate and not a Republican.. even rarer. But despite proceeding slowly, getting to know him before getting naked and really starting to ‘like’ the guy.. I still found myself thinking ‘um no’ at the thought of getting naked. I really liked him.. I just didn’t ‘like-like’ him.
So after much thought (and not a little consultation from my lady friends), I decided to cut this thing off at the knees before he started planning our Labor day or our Thanksgiving or any ‘L’ words started being thrown around. I felt like a picky bitch, but hey, if you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it.
But he made it easy… oh so easy.
I spent the day wrestling with why and how to walk away from a ‘really nice guy’ for reasons not completely clear in my head, (but obvious to my gut). Was I just getting too picky in my old age? What was it really? And could I get over it? Was it fixable or was it just that I wasn’t giving it a chance? Why was I not head over the heels for this guy? It made no sense.
But it all started to crystallize when I showed up for dinner on Saturday night.
Now I’m not a clothes Nazi. In fact my ex wore jeans and t shirt every single day of our 2 years of dating and subsequent 3 year marriage. He wore Tevas to get married in. Didn’t bother me in the least. He had favorite boxer shorts that I physically threw out – twice- but I do have some standards.
You should not, not ever, show up for dinner wearing faded Mom jeans pulled up to your mid chest. Nor should you ever… ever… wear jeans that don’t reach your shoes. Nope.. not even if you’re Italian. And if I’m reminding you, ever so gently, that the restaurant is ‘kind of up scale’ and I am wearing a dress and heels, this does not mean ‘you look awesome’. No.. this means ‘you need to change into pants or at least jeans which reach your shoes’. And if you must wear a Tommy Bahama shirt.. no man (unless he’s Kevin James), needs to wear an XXXL. I don’t care how comfortable you feel wearing a super large shirt – this isn’t bed you’re not meant to be that comfortable.
But hey.. he’s a nice guy. And I’m really not a clothes horse myself so I figured that after a cocktail, I really wouldn’t care. So he looked like my Dad… no biggy.
Except it was. Because as all women know, we spend a lot of time on looking nice. (even if we’re only a 6 or a 7 on the scale of attractiveness). We get our nails done, we get our roots highlighted, we push away dessert, we sweat it out at the gym (ok, that one is for me.. but you still get the benefits), we consistently buy clothes and shoes that accentuate our best features and we always, always want to look nice for a date. Whether its the first date or the 10th year of dating, its our way of showing you that we care, that we want you to feel proud to be out with us, and dammit, we want you to want us.
Which apparently this guy didn’t get at.all.
How many guys, dressed up for a nice dinner at an expensive restaurant, would take a women out to dinner who showed up in old jeans and a big baggy t shirt paired with an old pair of Dankso clogs? 10%? 20%? How about NEVER? Because this has NEVER happened. No woman would even consider showing up for a Saturday night, fancy restaurant date, dressed like she doesn’t give a shit.
But this only occurred to me after the fact. Instead, I just mentally filed it as ‘wow.. casual Colorado’ and we went to dinner. And if I felt slightly embarrassed that you could see 2 inches of sock when he walked, I didn’t say anything because… well… it was only date #6 and I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. I knew this was our last date and it cemented that I was never tearing this guys clothes off…ever. ..unless there was a nearby bonfire.
Sure there were a number of things which didn’t click, but the lack of effort in trying to make himself attractive to me… well it put the cherry on the sundae for me. Because if you don’t care now… you sure aren’t going to care in a year.. or five years… or ever.
My head finally had something tangible to grasp and my gut cheered along.
So I made the break. Nicely, politely and lightly as determined by our few weeks of dating.
It happens. You like someone.. but not ‘like-like’. You say ‘thank you, nice getting to know you’ and you move on. No drama. No biggy.
Which is when the ‘real’ version of my date appeared and my gut feel of ‘nope’ suddenly made sense…..
Text messages, nasty emails, accusations and personal attacks. A listing of my failures as a person and as a datable woman (or undateable woman). Wow…the man was mean. And nasty. And I don’t care how hurt you are…no rational human being who has known someone a few weeks acts like that.
Which is when it struck me. Sometimes you gut knows more than your head. And my gut apparently knew that this guy… not.for.me.
And while you shouldn’t ever judge a book by its cover, if its rocking Mom jeans and an XXXL Tommy Bahama shirt the universe is trying to tell you to judge ..judge away my friend. Judge away.