Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quasi dating

There's the old adage that says, "if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it probably is a duck." I've had that phrase in my had regularly this year. But not about the birds in my back yard, but for the relationships I have with certain men in my life. Often we spend time together in a way that seems to "look like a duck", or at least looks like a date.

Yet both of us (whoever the other seems to be) agree that "we are not dating." Our insistence, however, seems to raise a few eye brows.

Do you go just the two of you? Check.
Do you text throughout the day? Check.
Do you talk on the phone a couple times a week? Check.
Do you email? Check.
Do you get dinner together? Check.
Do you go to Disneyland together? Check.
Do you go to special events together? Check.
Do you share the details of your day? Check.
Do you share stories of your past in an effort to know one another better? Check.
Do people wonder if you're a couple? Check.
Do you cook for him? Check.
Do you watch movies at home together? Check.
Do you walk or hike together? Check.
Do your dogs know and love him when he comes over? Check. Does his? Check.
Does he offer support and encouragement when you're having a rough day? Check.
Does he call to vent when he's had a tough day? Check.

See how that sounds like dating? I think it's what my parents define as dating: two people spending time with each other to see if they're compatible. But if you ask me, I'll tell you "No. We're not dating."

But it sure looks like a duck, doesn't it?

That's why I think it's quasi dating, it's close but not quite there. It has most of the necessary markers, but it lacks the mindset. We lack the "to see if we're compatible" element. We spend time together because we get along well. But the purpose of our relationship is not to see if we could be life partners, or even if we could have fun being in a relationship for as long as it lasts. We're just friends.

I will admit that it can be awfully confusing. I mean, even I, despite my insistence that we aren't dating, wonder if there are possibilities for dating, if we are both on the same page, and if our time together "sends the right message." They're muddy waters.

I also know myself well enough to know that I would split in nothing flat if it converted to dating. I don't date. I hate dating, at least the early stages. I hate the awkward moments, the guessing games, the delayed return calls to "keep 'em waiting", all that mess of our over-sexualized and under-loved society. Bah! It's a mess, and it's complicated, and I don't enjoy it. So I avoid it. And delude myself into believing that it's not a duck.

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