I’m dating now. Wow — releasing that from my thoughts and onto this page made me break out in hives and a small pimple has just erupted on my chin. No… this isn’t going to become “Becky’s Dating Blog”. Chances are I’ll never actually write about a date — so, all you potential suitors… relax. Although, I can’t guarantee I won’t call up my best friends late in the evening and gossip like we are 13 year-olds just home from our first school dance. And the reason I would even say that I’m dating has nothing to do with actually going on dates — it’s just the feeling. The feeling that something new is happening. The feeling that butterflies are dancing around in my lungs, preventing me from taking a deep breath. The feeling that newness is wonderful and scary and awkward and amazing.
At this point, it doesn’t seem like too much time has passed since I needed my best friend to make that initial approach to a boy. The one where she asked if he thought I was nice and pretty. I would wait anxiously for her to come back to me with the news — back then it was easy… check yes, no, maybe. If the news was bad, I would send her off to the next cute boy. I think I was much better at being the liaison for my friends then they were for me. I remember coming back to tell them good news much more than they told me (I will say this is because of my cool wit and charm when I was speaking to the boys for them). Having a friend make that initial approach seemed vital then — we were all so awkward and afraid and unaware of what our own feelings meant. Having my best friend do my talking for me was the greatest thing in the world.
I picked my daughter and her best friend up from school recently. They’re freshmen now — a time when everything is new. When my daughter got in the car she asked if I saw “him”.
“Who?”, I said.
“Him”, she said, “my boyfriend — the one I was walking with.”
Well, the boy she was walking with was actually walking about 30 feet away from her, no eye contact, not even a glance in each other’s direction. When she and her best friend got settled in the car, the best friend started receiving texts from “him”, and she would relay the message to my daughter. This made me laugh — and it made me miss my best friend. The thought of doing this alone…
So, now I’m dating… again. I’m talking and meeting and learning and embracing the fun and joy and horror of it all. But… I can’t help but wish my best friend was standing beside me. Helping me with that initial hello. Prodding me to say “hi”. Letting me know which boy is going to laugh when she says, “guess who thinks you’re cute”? Letting me know which boy has a bad reputation and which boy doesn’t do well in school and which boy smarts off to the teacher. Something about going at it alone this time around makes the knots in my stomach swell up even worse.
But, here I go. The newness, the awkward pauses, the nervous dinners. I think I’ll enjoy the talks and the walks and the laughs — but, mostly… I’ll enjoy the late night chat sessions with my best friends to tell them which ones like me back. So, if you promise not to panic… neither will I, and we’ll never have to speak of this dating thing again (unless I have your phone number).