Back in third or fourth grade I remember our tiny eight-year-old dating circle well. Basically, if a guy asked you out, and you said yes, then you went on the slides together, you were boyfriend and girlfriend, and life was simple. No flowers, no dating, no stress — just eight-year-old love on the seesaws.
Times have changed.
These days dating is twisted into invisible spider webs of questions: Is this a date? What should I wear? Are we friends or does she like me? Do I tell her I like her? Wait, do I like her? Do we kiss at the end? Should I touch her arm? Wait, that’s weird, why did I just think that? What about a hug? Do people hug? Does he want to kiss? If he wants to kiss, he should kiss me, I’m not kissing him. Should I text her tonight? Should I text her tomorrow? Do I call tomorrow, do I call in two days, does anybody call anymore? How long so I don’t seem desperate … but not uninterested? What should I say? Wait, is this a date, because now I definitely think this is a date.
And on and on and on.
When you think about how tricky dating is it’s a wonder any of us end up together. I suppose once in a while some combo of spinning electrons, random nights, and crackly connections ends up turning flickering questions into interesting reflections. Dates grow into dating, dating grows into more, and just after you think that nothing’s happening… it’s happening now for sure.
Holding hands on wintery walks, big plans on Saturday nights, showing up together at parties, and feeling like everything’s all right. Yes, it’s a beautiful time when your questions turn into confidence, sparks grow into flames, and all those glowing embers in your heart start telling you… it’s time to fall in love again.