As DJ Khalid says, “and another one!”
I waited a full year before diving into the shark pool again. You know, the swiping and the messaging and the meeting. Then there’s the lying and the ghosting and the blocking.
Once, this guy showed up high off his ass, wearing sunglasses indoors, jeans sliding down his non-existent waist. Inside of the RH Courtyard Cafe, he thought it’d be cool to take out his vape pen/stick/thing and start smoking around some very expensive furniture. He took out his phone to show me photos of his puppy and ended up showing me naked ones of his ex-girlfriend.
Ahh, the wonderful world of dating.
My marriage ended five years ago and because I’ve been a serial relationship-ist since the age of fifteen, I did not know how to exist as a single woman in her thirties, let alone as a single mother, who is also ostracized by the Indian/Punjabi/Sikh community.
Enter: terrifying dating apps.
No, dating is not what it once used to be.
I experienced love at first sight at fifteen, sitting on the couch at an Indian Aunty’s house, drinking tea with her and my mom, when her fifteen year old son walked in and we locked eyes. Of course, everyone labeled it “puppy love”, but we knew the authenticity of our feelings. And we assumed we would just be together for the rest of eternity.
Three years later I was accepted to a university four hours away from home. He asked me to stay. I didn’t. He married someone else.
Love happened to me two more times since; once with the boyfriend I had in university (whom I thought I would marry and I didn’t) and then with the man that I did end up marrying.
So, yes. Single. Thirties. Two Kids.
There was a small window that opened in which I saw myself finally settling down with someone. I even told my ex-husband about him. But it turned out he was cheating on me with one of my best friends who was cheating with him on her husband. Oh, and he “borrowed” thousands of dollars from me.
(Yes, you can definitely expect a novel about that one).
After my younger sister got married, I thought, “what the hell. It’s been a year. I’ve healed. This time will be better”, whilst love swirled in the air around me.
I met Mr. Chivalrous himself: Prince Fucking Charming.
He held doors open for me. He looked into my eyes when I spoke. He complimented my accomplishments as a person, a woman, a mother, a writer. He told me how inspired he was by the many adversaries I’d overcome. He drove hundreds of kilometers just to give me a care package when I was sick (complete with Buckley’s, Thai soups and curries, a family-sized Nutella jar, chocolate, macaroons, cookies, a pink Orchid plant, etc). He paid for all our dinners and drinks because he thought it ungentlemanly of him not to. He always made the drive to make it easy on me. Brought a bottle of red wine with him. He laughed at all my jokes. We played a relationship card game called “Husbands and Wives.” He brought me roses, a balloon and a card on my birthday, because when he’d asked weeks earlier what an ideal birthday gift was, I said, “roses, balloons, and a birthday card.” He even made notes about what I need on my period! Finally, he asked me to be exclusive with him, wanting to see me more, wanting to know everything about me, wanting to get serious. I said yes. A week later he didn’t answer my phone call when he was supposed to meet with me. He said he was heading to Vancouver for work to deal with some issues.
You know. Work issues. It happens, right?
But, alas, Charming was not in Vancouver. He was in Toronto.
When I saw his Instagram story pop up on my dog’s IG and not on mine (I knew it was a good idea to have social media for pets) I texted him and … he blocked me.
And that, my friends, was that.
Swiping, messaging, meeting.
Lying, ghosting, blocking.
My news feeds are filled with couples posting their perfect photos and I don’t feel envy at what they share because there is no such thing as a perfect marriage or family. But I do, however, envy their unknowing of the vicious, bloody hunger games we singles call “the dating life.” They will always remember dating as something completely different. A courtship during high school. Meeting at a party. Office romance.
My mother tells me not to question why this happened to me, but to ask myself, “what did I need to learn from this experience?” She also tells me I am worthy, I am kind and beautiful and wonderful. A good person who will one day be swept off her feet.
As much as I yearn for my daughters to see me being loved and respected by a partner, I fear that it will remain a dream. They are gonna grow up, move on with their lives and call each other every weekend to arrange who will be checking up on mom and all her random dogs.
Because there are a lot of cowards out there who don’t have the slightest clue how to date like a mother.
Anyone want a pink orchid?