“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Words to live by.
I’ve noticed, though, that the opposite seems to be true about dating experiences. Listen to your friends talk about the people they date, look through Instagram and Twitter memes, and listen to YouTube videos – most of what you’ll see and hear about dating is negative.
- “I’m tired of all these fuckboys!”
- “These girls just want Instagram followers.”
- “We text and text but I can’t get her to meet me!”
- “He won’t call me back.”
- “She talked about her ex the whole time she was with me.”
I’m guilty, too! Most of the blogs I write and most of the content Citra and I put out is about the struggles and mishaps of dating.
Why do we focus on the bad parts of dating?
The answer to this question is multi-faceted. There are plenty of good reasons why you hear more bad stuff than good stuff. Let’s go with the bullet points again… actually, nah, this time we’ll use numbers…
- Sharing good experiences seems like bragging. It’s sad, but it seems to me that truly supportive friends and family are few and far between. From what I see, people largely bond by sharing negativity rather than positivity. Nobody wants to hear your good news.
- Bad stories are more compelling and funnier than good ones. “We met at the bar, had an amazing conversation, and went home together.” Cool story, bro. “She showed up late, acted disinterested in everything I said, expected me to pay, came home with me anyway, than refused to get physical and shouted as she left.” Wait, what?! Tell me more.
- Bad experiences are more common than good ones. I can’t be sure if I’m right about this, but it seems logical. It takes a lot of variables to click together to produce good chemistry while any single one variable being off produces bad chemistry. So, it seems fair to say that good chemistry is probably rarer than bad chemistry.
- We’re actually ashamed of our good experiences. THIS ONE RIGHT HERE. It’s my hottest take because it seems illogical and fucked up – but think about it. Even though we’ve come a long way from our puritanical days, we’re still embarrassed about sex and love before marriage. When we share our good experiences, they tend to involve physical connection; people still look down on us for this type of thing.
Fuck it. I’ll go first.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog – or any of my stuff – you’ll have read plenty of my bad experiences. But if it’s all bad, why do I keep trying? Why don’t I just give up? The answer is simple: I have tons of great experiences, too. In fact, many of the girls I complain about only affect me so much because I had so much fun with them before things went South. Here are some vague (and not so vague) details about my recent great experiences with dating:
- I can say that I’ve had three “real” girlfriends in my life. I spent a combined eight years with them and we connected so deeply that if you say I “don’t know what love is” or “just need to wait for THE ONE,” then you can go fuck yourself. Sometimes, things change and love fades, but I’ll never forget any of my girlfriends and I will always feel lucky for having known them.
- I’ve had my share of short-term relationships or “flings” (if you need to call them that). These relationships were less intense in nature, but I don’t value them any less. Some of these girls taught me so much. These girls are usually the ones that I write short stories about.
- I don’t seek out “one-night stands,” but they happen. In my view, if I like a girl enough to sleep with her, why wouldn’t I want to see her again? Well, in a perfect world, that’s how it would go. But we don’t live in a perfect world and sometimes things happen but the chemistry isn’t all there. It’s not a problem. As long as she has fun and I have fun, it’s all good. That’s usually what happens.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what really happened?
Fine, I’ll tell you! Here are some peak experiences that I’ll never forget:
- Taking ecstasy with the girl I respect most in this world at a Texas music festival and watching my favorite band.
- Riding through the mountains of Da Nang on a motorbike with my ex-girlfriend on the back, her arms locked my waist.
- Napping in a hammock with a girl I really cared about – lying stacked on top of each other and not minding the heat despite the fact that it was over 100 degrees out.
- Making out with a girl I just met on the rooftop of my Bangkok hotel past midnight.
- Helping a wonderful girl get over her thalassophobia on Berawa beach.
- Running through the rice fields of Perenenan barefoot in the rain.
- Meeting a girl on the second floor of a Siem Reap bar and going to the top floor for a heart-to-heart conversation.
- Watching a lovely Thai lady haggle with vendors at Chatuchak market and get prices far lower than I could even ask for.
- Getting drunk in Incheon with a girl I’ll never forget and singing Karaoke after eating some of the best barbeque I’ll ever have.
- Having a first date with a Thai girl at a Bangkok comedy club and watching her laugh her ass off even though she only understood about 20% of what the English-speaking comics were saying.
- Finding out that my Spanish actually isn’t that bad by navigating an entire 4 hour-long date with a Mexican girl that spoke absolutely no English.
- Staying up all night in bed getting to know girls. REALLY KNOW THEM. On a night like that, when neither of us have anything to hide, I get to know stuff that they’ll never tell the guy they eventually marry.
Those are just the ones I’ve been able to remember in the last few minutes.
Dating isn’t all good. It can even be painful…
… but there’s a reason that we do it. We crave connection with others. We want to have new experiences. We want to learn new things and challenge our own ideas. We want to have fun. Yes, you will have to endure hardships if you really want to have good experiences – but you will have good experiences. If you’re willing to put up with enough bad shit, you’ll even have amazing experiences.
Nobody could blame you for giving up. Sometimes, I consider it. It would be a lot easier, less stressful, and less painful to just spend more time alone or with friends. Actually, sometimes I really question my sanity for dating the way I do. But at the end of the day, I press on. I know that there are great people out there. And I want to meet them.