Dating Games

Most of us haven’t been lucky enough in love to have found our soulmate while we were playing in the sand box during recess in Kindergarten. How nice would it have been to cross off “Find the One” on our list of Life Goals back before we could read? No, for 99% of us, we weren’t so fortunate. We didn’t find “the one” before getting a driver’s license. We weren’t flaunting our promise ring at pep rallies.

As much as we’ve tried to fight it, most of us regular folk have had to wade through the dreaded social purgatory known as dating. Some of us have been thrown back into the dating pool more than once. As you are probably aware, the entire process of dating is a very difficult and often scary endeavor.

Meeting up with someone you hardly know? Terrifying. What if the date goes poorly right from the start? What if he shows up drunk? What if he makes a stupid joke? What if his breath stinks? Hell, what if HE stinks? What if he’s an ax murderer? There are so many valid fears that can flood the brain as you walk through the doors of the restaurant/café/zoo/bookstore to meet your date.

Nowadays, we have online dating. It’s supposed to make everything easier, but in fact it comes with its own series of perils. Getting to “know” someone online is so much different than meeting face-to-face. (“Know” is in quotations because the anonymity of the internet doesn’t really allow two people to get that close physically or emotionally. So how well can you actually get to “know” someone online? I mean, it’s all predicated on the parties being honest, and well, in this day and age, we all know how that can go.)

In some cases, having that digital distance between yourself and your suitor can be a good thing. I personally find it easier to speak my mind when I have a little time to formulate a reply to questions. My written responses have more depth to them and I represent who I am better in the written word. In person, there’s always the chance that nerves and anxiety will get the best of me and I’ll blurt out the first thing that comes into my head, and that’s not always a good thing, trust me. Such is the life of a raging introvert.

Those of you who are familiar with the online dating process know that in most cases there are only two roads to go down when you’ve identified someone you might want to get to know better. Option #1: Either you or the person you’re corresponding with loses interest after a while and—POOF—one day they’re gone. No explanation. No reasoning. Just gone. Try not to take it personally. It happens to all of us. Option #2: The dreaded meet-up. Now, this is where it gets tricky.

Everyone gets nervous before a first date, but I’ve found that the things we’re scared of are usually completely different depending on one’s gender.  Men are often afraid they’ll show up and find that the woman sitting across from them looks nothing like their pictures. Yes, the chance that she might be 20 or even 30 pounds heavier than she claimed to be is usually the biggest fear that keeps many men up at night. Or so I’ve been told by the men I’ve discussed this topic with (yes, I did my research).

In fact, in what seemed like a moment of kismet, just as I was finishing up drafting this entry the other day, a member of a group I belong to on Facebook posted about the anxiety he was feeling over getting the number of a woman at work – apparently a colleague of his thought that he and this female coworker would hit it off. Well, since the colleague couldn’t describe this woman to his satisfaction (or else, he didn’t trust the description), he asked said colleague to surreptitiously take a photo of her and text it to him, you know so he could see that she didn’t resemble “large Marge,” a character from Pee -Wee’s Big Adventure. Only then would he be interested in even getting her number. I’ll leave it to ya’ll who don’t know the character to Google it.

Women, on the other hand, are mostly afraid they got suckered into a date with an ax murderer itching to use the new tools he has stashed in his trunk, and that their body will be dumped into a garbage can before the night is through.

Dating games. Aren’t they fun?

No Thanks

The biggest nope that ever noped in all of nopeland.  Think I will add this to my reverse bucket list. The thrown-together planks remind me of the small wood bridge over the creek to get to my grandparents’ house in the holler. But at least that was only a 7 foot drop or so into some cool water…not an endless fall into an abyss.

 

Reverse Bucket List

Did the movie The Bucket List make “the bucket list” famous? I’m sure you all know what it is – a list of things you want to do before you die. So that you can “feel the fear and do it anyway.” What a dumb motto that is! At least to me. I have no desire to feel fear. In real life anyway. Horror movies don’t count.

Well, I came up with a reverse bucket list – things that I will never do before I die.

  1. Jump out of a plane

Somebody – I forget who – replied when asked if they’d like to try skydiving, “Are you nuts? Why would I jump out of a plane that is working perfectly?”  That’s my feeling on the subject, too.  Just why?  I put this at the top of my reverse bucket list because if I were ever to do this, I’d be dead before I hit the ground, so…end of bucket list.  Easy peasy.

 

falling out of plane

I’ll just stay inside this perfectly good plane if you don’t mind, thank you very much.

 

  1. Go bungee jumping

Second only to my desire not to jump out of a plane is my desire not to go bungee jumping. I mean, really. You get yourself togged up in some harness – I think it ties to your feet or something? – and then you jump off a perfectly good bridge or tower and go plummeting earthward? Then wham, bam, thank you ma’am, your plummet stops and you are jerked back upward.  In my mind’s eye I can see it…my nose two inches from the ground before I snap back upward.  And with the way my brain works I’d be thinking the whole time about the guy up at the top of that bridge who is probably being paid minimum to make sure the bungee cords are set right, adequate length, perfect weight for the person, etc., and the whole way down, I’d be thinking…”Did he come in sober today?”  Or worse yet, “Did he come in hung over today?”  And considering I’m afraid of falling (not heights so much mind you, as falling) the ending to this little adventure would be much like the jumping of out of a plane fiasco – I’d be dead of a massive heart attack, or what they used to call just plain old “fright,” before I made it to the finale of this nonsensical free-fall.

So, nope – sorry. Not going to happen.

 

 

  1. Go on a crazy roller coaster

As has been made apparent from the first two things on my list…I’m not afraid of heights. I’m afraid of falling. Falling and being suspended in the air with seemingly nothing to hold me in would give me a panic attack or worse. On something like the Tatsu roller coaster at Six Flags where you’re not even buckled firmly into a normal cart but rather left hanging out in the air freestyle, strapped onto a flying booster seat kind of thing, I’d be dead before the roller coaster came back to earth.  You know how people say “Such and such scared her to death?”  Yeah, well, that would be me. Now you guys get why this is a reverse bucket list, right? And I don’t know what happens to the vomit one expels in the middle of an upside down whirl on a roller coaster, but I don’t want to find out and I’m sure the people within range of my vomit wouldn’t want to find out either. So, we’ll give this one a pass.

 

 

  1. Go on the Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood Caverns

This little gem is in Colorado. Their promotional literature states: “Ready for a screaming thrill ride soaring above Glenwood Springs?” Why no, no I’m not.  “Launch yourself out into Glenwood Canyon, 1,300 feet above the Colorado River, on the Giant Canyon Swing!” it says.  Nope, nope, nope –  not going to happen.   “If you’re brave enough to open your eyes…” I think you mean, stupid  “…your views of the Canyon and Glenwood Springs are breathtaking as you soar through the air at speeds up to 50 miles per hour.” Fifty miles an hour? If I’m going fifty miles in anything it will be in a car on a road! Or a train. Trains are good. And while I realize that we hear of more accidents happening on the roads than on these adventure rides, in my mind’s eye, I can still easily see this “swing” taking off from its girders and flying into the Canyon à laFinal Destination” with me in tow.  And while that might be a hell of a ride with an excellent view for a few seconds, just nope.   

 

click on the photo to go to Glenwood Caverns site

Nope, nope, nope, and nope. But if you’d like to learn more about this ride, just click on the photo to go to the Glenwood Caverns site.

 

  1. Go anywhere near the Kishtwar Kailash road to base camp:

The Kishtwar Kailash is a mountain in the Indian Himalayas…and people try to climb it… “because it’s there,”  the fools!  Apparently its west face was climbed for the first time in 2013. It’s all very cool when you think about it. But the “road to base camp” is carved out of the side of the mountain and there is no guard rail (obviously) preventing a bus or car from plummeting over the side of that mountain and going down, down, down and down about a few more hundred times.  From a video I watched recently, at a couple of points the wheels of a bus traversing this path are only a couple of inches from the edge of the cliff side of the mountain. At one point, not being able to see the cliff’s edge from around a corner they had to navigate, the driver’s helper (or one of the passengers) got out and directed the driver around the curve. Now, that’s trust. This is what you go through just to get to the base camp before even beginning your attempt at climbing what is apparently an incredibly challenging and dangerous mountain.

No, thank you. Onto the reverse bucket list it goes.

 

 

  1. Eat an insect dipped in anything and fried

I don’t care if they are a delicacy in some countries or how much protein people claim they have, it’s a bug.  And not only would I not eat an insect dipped in anything and fried, I wouldn’t even eat it if it just came au naturel. No.  Just no.  No a million times.  Bugs need have no fear of being eaten by me. The plus to this is when aliens come to take over the Earth they will know that I was kind to their kinfolk and they won’t disintegrate me or try to eat me like they will everyone else.  Oh, they might stick me in a cage in some kind of an interplanetary zoo. But at least they won’t be feeding me bugs.

men in black

I solemnly swear, no bugs, fried or otherwise, have ever passed these lips. (click photo for more info on edgar)

 

  1. Attend anything that calls itself “fashion week”

Have you seen some of the fashions the designers come up with, seemingly to make women look as silly as possible?  The clothes that are displayed in the fashion week specials they show on t.v. do not look like the outfits you’d see on “real women” out in the “real world.”  Or at least not in the world I live in.  But then I don’t have a kajillion dollars, so maybe that’s why.  And no-one ever looks happy at these things. The models look petulant and ill-tempered, and the attendees all look as though they’d rather be anywhere else on Earth than at that particular event.  I thought clothes and clothes shopping made people happy.  But then again…I did mention what these outfits look like, right?

fashion week

Okay, so who has ever seen these clothes anywhere besides on a fashion runway? (click photo for link to Vogue article on designer)

 

  1. Go swimming with sharks

I love sharks. I’ve even got an app called Shark Tracker that helps me keep track of my favorite ones. But going swimming with them?  My tasty flesh in the same vicinity as all of those lovely sharks with great big teeth?  No thanks. I will watch them safely from the comfort of my armchair, or maybe a big, powerful boat that has no chance of sinking. But in the water?  No. Just no.  Now that I think about it, maybe not even on a big, powerful boat…I’ve seen Jaws. I know how that played out. It wasn’t good.  Not good at all. Not to mention the Titanic was a big, powerful boat that was unsinkable. And we all know how well that worked out. Armchair is good.  Yeah, I like the armchair.

 

"Fish are friends, not food." Hopefully people are friends and not food...but distance makes the heart grow fonder...so I'll stay far away...

“Fish are our friends, not food.” Hopefully people are their friends and not food…but distance makes the heart grow fonder…so I’ll stay far away… (click photo for more info)

 

  1. Act in a play

Actors say that the adrenalin rush of being on stage – at the end of a play – and getting the applause makes it all worth while. But I’m sure no one would want to pay to see me standing stock still on stage, forgetting to move, forgetting to talk, having to be carried off with a dolly because I’m too scared to move. I will spare myself, and the audience, that, thank you very much.

 

stage fright

The beautiful Marlene Dietrich in none other than Stage Fright… capturing the exact face I would make if ever forced to act in a play.  (click photo for more info)

 

  1. Go caving

Some people call it caving. Others call it spelunking. I call it plain silliness. Hey, I’ve seen the movies. I know what happens. Does “The Descent” ring a bell? Okay, how about “The Cave?” Crawling through utter darkness, pressed in by stone on every side, mourning the friends you’ve just lost…having to squeeze through tunnels barely big enough for you and what if you get stuck? Can’t move forward, can’t move backward, having to wait a week to lose enough weight until you can move? I don’t want to lose weight that badly…oh, and the mutated monsters that just ate your friends. Nobody mentions those in the tourist literature.

 

creepy crawlies from The Descent. Click photo for more info.

Creepy crawlies from The Descent. You never see those on the brochures, do you!? (click photo for more info)

Night Mares

As any parent out there knows, the older your child gets the less it seems they need you. The more children learn about the world, the fewer things about it frighten them. When they learn that shadows are nothing more than the absence of light, the monsters lurking in them seem to disappear. When they realize that there really isn’t a goblin hiding under the bed, they call your name out less in the middle of the night hoping to God you have a flashlight with you. When they understand they will see you again after school lets out, the cries when you drop them off seem fewer and more far between. While it’s great to watch your child mature and develop, to become their own person that is slowly but surely building their arsenal to someday take on the world on their own, this growing up phase can be bittersweet for us parents.

I don’t know if you want to say that we feel left behind. More so I think we don’t like the idea that we are slowly but surely being stripped of the role as the all-knowing all-saving protector of this precious life, a life that looks to us when the rest of the world doesn’t make sense and is filled with dangers around every corner. I know, I know, selfish, right?

I get especially nostalgic about this when I think about the nightmares my daughter had when she was little. She had them often. We’re talking screaming in the night, trying to escape the hell her bed had become, while never fully awake nightmares. So to help her get to sleep I used to lay with her in bed and we’d talk about all the beautiful dreams we were going to have that night and made plans for how we were going to meet up. We’d make gloriously detailed plans about what we were going to do when we saw each other in this wonderful dreamscape. The setting would vary a bit but we always chose horses to be a part of our joint dream.

Sometimes they’d be the everyday horses we see grazing in the fields now. She and I would choose what color our horses would be; the hair, the mane, even the color of the eyes. Then we’d pick out where we were going to meet. Oftentimes our destination was a peaceful riverbank where we’d enjoy a picnic, our horses neighing next to us before we would take off on a ride along the countryside next to the bright blue water. Other times we’d be creative and imagine ourselves flying on the back of majestic winged Pegasus horses. We could see the colors of the feathers in our minds and wax poetic on where we’d fly to.

black horse white mane

one of our favorite color schemes

Once all the details were settled I’d hug her tightly, slip out of bed, and we’d say, “See you there!” to each other as I turned the light off and sent her to a restful sleep. It really did seem to be an effective way of taking her mind off the fear she had about possible bad dreams creeping in. Sometimes worrying about having nightmares can be worse than having the nightmare itself and ends up being a twisted sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

My daughter brought this memory up just the other day as something she had treasured…and it warmed my heart thinking about this little game we used to play, back when she still needed me to protect her from the Boogeyman.  At the same time it also made me a little sad that she’s certainly old enough now where she doesn’t need me to join her in her dreams anymore. But even though I’ve lost that, I know she’ll always need me for something else and while it might not be galloping through the stars on mythical beasts, I’m more than happy to help her cross through her valley of fears in any way she needs.