As far as I was concerned, one of the highlights of getting married was kissing the dating scene goodbye. I met my ex-husband when I was 27, so I’d had my fair share of sizing up strangers as potential dinner companions or life partners, which is about as much fun as shopping for swimsuits. You know—facing your nearly-naked self in a dressing room mirror lit by hideous fluorescent lighting. Paradoxically, it’s enough to make anyone entirely self-critical and incredibly picky at the same time.
If you’re lucky enough to experience the exhilarating thrill of finding a pretty damn good fit, the humiliating part pays off. I won’t say “perfect,” because I’m no longer convinced that’s a helpful way of looking at the world. Or bikinis. Or love, for that matter. Such a mindset previously led me on a several-years-long quest for such an inconsequential “treasure” as the perfect brown shoes. Who has the energy for that? So. I was a very recently divorced 29-year-old, living in my parents’ basement, and much to my own surprise, I actually wanted to date again.
I felt like I had seen what was behind the curtain, and the rules of the game seemed clear. I was disgusted with the old-fashioned drill of meeting guys in a lame twist of fate, like on a plane (I had), at church (check), at work (yep), or in a bar (of course I did). This time, I wanted to go about it more intentionally. You know, actually think about what qualities I was looking for ahead of time. A radical concept, I know. So, just a month after my divorce, I did the practical thing—I jumped on the match.com bandwagon and started spying on potential dates in my pajamas.
Was it too early to be dating? Maybe. But, my heart had slowly detached from my marriage months before I escaped, and I felt more at home in my own brain now than I had in years. I wasn’t looking for anything serious, but I was intrigued by the process of screening potential dates online and making better decisions about who I chose to spend my time with. I had lots of good reasons to slink my way back into the dating pool, but mostly, putting myself back out there felt assertive, and when life gets this woman down, “proactive” may as well be my middle name.