There’s a meme I’ve seen around that says something along the lines of “keep your standards like your heels- high”. I’ll admit, I’m a bit more of a no shoes or Toms with holes at the toes much to the chagrin of my friends kinda girl. I mean I wear heels occasionally- always to the consternation of the men in my church who think its clever to tell me I’m too tall to be allowed to wear heels. Every Sunday. But that makes for a lot less fun of an analogy or clever quip. “I keep my standards like my shoes- bare-minimum-and-sometimes-with-random holes-where-my-toes-peek-out-because-they-are-so-comfy. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite the same way…
This past year in my dating life has certainly been one to remind me of the standards though.
If you have been around the dating scene for any amount of time, especially online dating, you can probably agree that it seems like the bar gets lowered with every swipe, every match, every date. If you’ve read any of my blog posts you’ve recognized that I have had more than a couple epic bad dates. So much so that mediocre, non-sucky dates become the “good ones”. Guys that I can kinda hold a conversation with become candidates for second dates. And the friend I’ve got so much in common with becomes the fantasy of the perfect guy in my mind for no other reason than a couple of shared interests.
Its weird to think that 2020 held both my all time least favorite and all time favorite dates. But then again, if that isn’t 2020 for ya…
Sometime early in 2020, before I quite realized what the pandemic was going to be, I scrolled through Hinge and found the profile of a guy who said he valued family, loved adoption, enjoyed reading, was a former firefighter, and had pictures that seemed to indicate he was a fun loving guy. After we matched he quickly asked if I wanted to meet up and grab some ice cream.
Red Flag #1: not realizing I lived 2 hours away (its literally in my profile) and asking me to come to him on only a few hours notice. But hey, it was quarantine life. What else did I have to do with my time.
Honestly my first date wasn’t terrible (there’s those standards for ya). Not terrible was the standard by which I judged the interest in date #2. Conversation wasn’t great I thought, but hey, first date nerves right? At least he bought my ice cream and had all his teeth… And yah he asked me for a ride back to his house because he didn’t have his own car, but it’s The Bay, not having a car seems totally possibly normal right?…..And he didn’t really have a job, but it was because he was helping his family with their business and since they took care of all of his bills he didn’t really need a job right?
I know… I hear it.
Date #2 though. This time I pointed out thoroughly that I lived a couple hours away and so he drove up, picked one of the fanciest restaurants in town and told me to dress up a little. He had been oddly asking me throughout the week to text him scripture verses which I was already weirded out by… it felt like a ‘ask your pastor’ kinda thing but since he knew I was one it felt like that was what he was fishing for. And I’m not on the “raise a husband” kinda life plan. Not ever.
I get to the date location in my dress and heels (yes they do exist), only to find out that the place we were going to go is closed… So instead we go next door to a brewery. No biggie. Just me and my fancy-ish clothes and dingy bar stools (I’m much more of a brewery kinda girl to start off with but it was the fish out of water feeling I didn’t love). Also, as soon as I arrived and met up with him, it was pretty instant for me to realize that the attraction wasn’t there.
Baseball caps and beards. They are they “makeup” for men and conceal a lot.
Then I went into the date that was the only one I ever faked a call to get out of. If you have read about some of my other dates maybe you are wondering how that is even possible. It was the most awkward to sit across a table from someone who would rarely look me in the face, never ask me questions, stare silently into the distance for 5+ minutes, make weird innuendo comments, answer any questions I ask with one word, and randomly talk about how his best friend is either his neighbors dog or 8 year old brother. I know that doesn’t sound like it compares to a guy missing a tooth or a racist third wheel, but I don’t know if I can adequately explain how uncomfortable the date made me feel.
Thank you to good friends and emergency call emojis and creative BS-ing on the spot, I paid the bill, got out, and went home and blocked him almost immediately. Fake excuses and blocking are not me. I’m all about being clear that I’m not interested in someone. Sincerely. But not this time around. I just had to be done.
Fast forward a couple months and I match with someone that I promise you I believed was likely going to be one of those “too good to be true” things that was going to turn into a catfish in real life. I met up with him for an indoor, sit down lunch after things had opened back up. After the last date I went on I was not expecting much. Just hoping for something better than uncomf.
Standards. I know…
But instead I walked in and had one of those rare moments. I felt almost sucker punched because this guy was even better looking than the pictures. Shook. And then when he leaned in for a hug I had to step on my tiptoes to hug all 6’8″ of himself (the short one in the family I later learned). The conversation was easy, interesting, and stimulating. I laughed and felt at ease being around him and almost as if we’d already known each other for a long time. Such a good date that made me realize the others had only been “not bad”
Over the next several weeks I grew astonished and warmed by the intentionality that I saw- good morning text messages, following up on things that I had said, prayers when I shared tough things, clear communication of his interest in me. I wish that that hadn’t astonished me. But this boy did.
When I was in college, I remember going through a period in which I felt frustrated by the prospects around me, and I prayed a prayer: “God brings someone across my path that reminds me of the good things you have for me”. And he did. Every time in my life that I’ve prayed that prayer, God has brought someone across my path in one way or another- friend, stranger, date, etc- that reminds me of the promises of God and the good things that he has in store for me.
Pray that. I dare you.
If you want to know more about why that didn’t work, that’s a post for another day “The One with Interracial Dating in the Middle of the Revolution”. But I still think fondly on that experience even though it didn’t work out. I met someone who exceeded my expectations who raised my standards on good. Someone who shared the core values I had and whom I could laugh, and dream and pray with.
I had the thought recently that I’m not really sure that I want to get married. Its actually a kick I’ve been on for a few months. Why? Well, I KNOW that I am happy now- single, independent, adventurous, creative, etc. I don’t know or have any guarantee that I’d be happy married. Not that I wouldn’t try or work hard at it. I do know that its not just about happiness and that a good marriage takes work. I get that. But so far, I’ve not really met anyone that makes me want to risk it by giving up how content and satisfied I am with life now- even in the most difficult of seasons, I still find joy and contentment in my singleness.
But as I thought today about that and the rest of my “options”, I came back to this thought.
I’ve had enough sorrow, sacrifice, pain, trauma, and sucking it up and dealing with it in life to let this be another one of those areas. I am strong, I am resilient, I am joyful. I will continue to remain so. But I am not going to settle for a love that is a worn out pair of Tom’s with holes in them. I will not keep dating to find a less sucky option.
If there’s not a connection, I’m not trying to force one just because we share common desires and goals.
If there’s not attraction, I’m not going to hang out and hope one grows.
If there’s not deep rooted faith and kindness and love for adventure I’m not going to pretend.
If it doesn’t get under my skin, make my heart race, and make me thank Jesus for answered prayers, I don’t want it.
I’ve learned that high standards is the way I plan on living. Having a mediocre life that I “don’t completely hate” is not enough for me. So I’m going all in. Chasing the adventure, beauty, magic of it all on my own. Eating good food, taking each adventure I can, catching flights everywhere, loving Jesus with my whole heart- no half measures. And if by chance someone comes along that throws even more fuel on my full measured life fire then great, lets go.
And if not, catch me solo, barefoot on the beach belting my heart out as I chase my dreams with my high heeled standards for life in hand.