And what I mean by that is this whole 'not dating' thing. The funny thing is, the expectation that I be dating, or 'have a friend' (this is a new one--must be some new middle-aged single parlance) comes from most of my circle of co-workers, close neighbors and friends.
It's not a question of ready/not ready because let's be honest. Who is ever ready to date? Name a system that is more awkward, miserable and emotionally scary than dating. Go ahead, I've got time. Yep, me neither.
I'm mystified by their expectation. They're lovely people who care about me, but they are also, apparently, blind. I believe in being pragmatic, realistic. I see me for what I am--and I see myself the way men see me. Plain, fat and middle-aged. And based on my perusal of men's profiles on a couple of the dating sites, guys want 'average, athletic, toned'. There are a few who say 'curvy' but what they mean by that is skinny with big boobs*. The other (decidedly amusing) hallmark of their profiles is the age range of women they're looking for. Almost to a man it's 25-40. I'm talking about guys who are 45+ years old. Yes, they want to date 25 year-olds. And they do. Because they can.
I'm finally getting to the point where I'm re-finding my own rhythm in turns of living & being alone again. All those years of my twenties when I didn't date, I found contentment in doing things by myelf. It was all I knew. It's been harder this time around because I know the difference between being alone & not being alone. The trick to being alone this time around is to learn how not to compare it to what I had with my late husband.
My point, and I do have one, is that I know my friends mean well, and they ask because they care about me and don't want me to be lonely; they want me to be out, having fun, enjoying some companionship. I wish I could find the way to gently tell them how much it hurts when they ask me about dating, because all it does is reinforce how lonely I am and how unrealistic 'dating' is, for me anyway.
*Big boobs I got. Skinny, not so much.
4th time's charm
4 hours ago