There’s a lot of hate and unpleasantness surrounding us lately, so I figured we could talk about my dating life for a few minutes to lighten the mood.
Because it’s pretty laughable.
When I was a little girl, Disney (and many other companies, I’m sure) led me to believe that, if I wished for it hard enough, I’d get the dream life I had always imagined, and it would include the dream man to sweep me off of my feet, and we would have such a wonderful life together.
And then I met this thing called the real world.
I would like to take a moment to point out that I do not have an angelic voice, and animals do not flock to me, so I probably should have recognized from the start that I was not going to live the Disney princess life. But sometimes we’re blind to the things we don’t want to see.
I’m at the age when most of my friends are either in serious relationships or already married and starting (or growing) their families. And here I am, ending up in situations like the one I’m about to share with you.
I went out with some of my friends last Friday night, which was a much-needed adventure. At one point, my friend Amanda and I decided to get up from our table to walk around, and we ended up going to the upstairs portion of the restaurant/bar. We almost immediately spotted a very attractive fella, and so we began discussing how we were going to talk to him when he was in a group of guys. (This was for me—Amanda already has a man.) Apparently my new go-to tactic to strike up a conversation with a guy is to ask him to take a picture of my friends and me. But I had left my phone downstairs on the table, and Amanda didn’t have hers, either, so we had a slight predicament.
We finally spotted an opportunity to talk to him when he walked up to the bar by himself, and there was space next to him, so we went and stood there, too. And then I did something I’m not too proud of: I asked him what time it was. To those other single people out there, please do nothing I do. We sort of awkwardly stood there for a few seconds, and then I walked away. Amanda and I went back downstairs, and we felt slightly defeated.
We told the other girls at our table about our failure, so it was decided we needed to go back up there. This time, Bonnie came with us, and I took my phone. There’s a great view of the city from the patio up there, and we obviously needed a picture with that wonderful background. I went up to the group of guys and asked if one of them would be willing to take our picture, and I was sort of looking mainly at the guy with the watch when I said it. His response: “I am so the guy for this job!”
We made small talk, and he pretended to be a professional photographer, and we commended his work when we saw the pics. He told us he and his friends were about to leave to go to his buddy’s rehearsal dinner for his wedding the next day, so I congratulated the groom when we got back to his friends, and then told the guy with the watch and iPhone camera skills that it was nice to meet him. He said, “It was really great to meet you, too, Natalie,” and then the girls and I went back downstairs, and I’ll probably never see him again.
I don’t think that’s how it happens in the movies.
Being single is not always easy. I could list about 72 reasons why, but I’m pretty sure the story I just told you says enough for now. People have been telling me for years that the right man is out there for me, but I think it’s important to face the possibility that he’s not—I might be one of those people who is single forever. And I have to be OK with that.
The truth is that love is all around us everywhere, and it’s not just the type of love that’s in romantic comedies and fairy tales. It’s the love that makes people know that they matter and that others care for them. There are so many situations right at the heart of where we are that have proven lately that what the world truly needs now is love, sweet love. It’s not love that you get by trying to catch someone’s eye on the second floor of a swanky bar. It’s the love that you give by accepting others for the individuals they are and appreciating them in spite of their differences and in spite of their flaws—because we all have flaws, and we are all imperfect.
Whether you’re single or dating or engaged or married or just don’t care, you always have the opportunity to love and to be loved. I know it’s difficult to show it to everyone all of the time, especially when we all have our own struggles and pains we’re dealing with in different ways, but the smallest acts of love really can impact others in such big ways. And if you see those opportunities, don’t let them pass you by.
Otherwise, you might end up spending too much time eating Sour Patch Kids: Berries by yourself. (Side note: They’re delicious.)