Thursday, February 3, 2011
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Dating
Over at Faith Barista, Bonne Gray is hosting a blog series this month – yes, this month, the one that contains Valentine’s Day, so you know that it’s going to be a blog series on romantic love. And the first topic is – “What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Dating.”
Well, yes. Dating.
I remember dating. I think. It was, oh, let me think about it, yes, it was something like 38 years ago, when Bonnie Gray hadn’t even been born.
I think I can remember back that far.
Actually, I can remember back that far. I can remember back to my first date. I was 13. It was to a junior high dance. Her name was Carrie. All of our teachers were there as chaperones. And it was shocking -- we didn’t know teachers could dance, or were even allowed to dance. And they were there with their spouses. At first it was embarrassing, like walking in on your parents when they’re all romantic. Then it was OK. But we never thought of our teachers in the same way again. (If you want to know the date, “Land of a Thousand Dances” was a big Top 40 hit at the time and the Beatles had just come to America.)
I could dance. My mother had taught me a lot of her late 1930s-early 1940s dances, including a rudimentary jitterbug. When I was 10, I taught my 18-year-old brother how to do the twist, and he was the one who watched American Bandstand all the time. (At my oldest son’s wedding in 2008, I had a great time dancing at the reception. Both of my sons were shocked. Their father didn’t just dance; their father performed. But I digress.)
But I had no mentor, no guidance, no advisor to tell me what dating was about. My older brother had left home by the time I started dating. I wasn’t about to ask my father. My mother told me a little. But I was essentially on my own, or had to listen to my peers, who knew even less than I did.
So I stumbled through the early years of dating, usually doing fine or at least not embarrassing myself too badly (I was polite and could be trusted; the girls’ parents always seemed to like me more than the girls did). I’d get crushes, usually lasting a few days or at most a few weeks. I “went steady” a few times.
It was all so serious and intense. Every new date seemed like a trial run for marriage, if not for me then for the girl. But nothing seemed to last or last for very long.
That’s what I wish someone had told me. It’s OK if things don’t last when you’re dating. You’re not going to fall in love with everyone you meet, and vice versa. So relax. Chill. Have a good time. When you meet the person you’re going to marry, you’ll eventually know it.
I met my wife when I had one semester to go in college. We met in the editorial office of the student newspaper at LSU. I was the managing editor and she was one of 35 reporters. And I remember her very first words to me, like it was yesterday.
“Do you have any stories for me to do?”
And I remember my first words to her in response.
“Yes. I need a story on the new chemistry building. It just opened.”
Three weeks later, we were talking about getting married.
To see more posts on "What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Dating," please visit Bonnie Gray at Faith Baristahttp://www.faithbarista.com/2011/02/alsdkfjdkls/.
Photograph: Jump by Anna Cervova via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.