On our second date Patrick took me to the Denver botanic gardens. It was late November and the garden was filled with Christmas lights, bright colors and an endless amount of decorations. One of the moments that stood out to me the most from the date was when we talked about the upcoming Broncos vs Patriots game.
I asked him, without much thought, if he wanted to watch the game together. He said yes and that he had planned to ask me the same thing. As we walked deeper into the garden I remember thinking how cool it was that he thought in two weeks we'd still be hanging out. I was, for the first time in a very long time, impressed by a guy.
Fast forward seven months; about two weeks ago Patrick and I got some really awesome Rockies tickets. When I saw the date on the tickets, for over 30 days away, I was taken back to our second date and the moment where I first got a glimpse of his hope for our future.
Growing up I thought that men were supposed to be hard to get, harder to understand and even harder to keep. As I got older and I went to college and eventually traveled, this idea became firmly cemented in my brain. In order to keep someones attention I needed to laugh a little harder than the snobby girls, give a little more than the prude girls and be sure not to text back too quickly like the eager girls.
I remember hanging out with men that showed no interest in my passions. Guys that could laugh with me and would jump at the chance to kiss me or cop a feel but couldn't make the time to sit next to me at church. It was embedded in my brain, from hookup culture and an Over-Sexualized society, that men want to touch you but they rarely want to love you.
Until I met Patrick.
Patrick, from our very first date, began to unpack all of the ideas and conceptions I had about relationships. Where other men were forward and impatient, he was attentive and genuinely invested in the process of getting to know me. He wasn't mysterious or guarded about his feelings but rather was open about what he wanted and giving of his feelings towards me.
It was unnerving at first. I was so used to the games, the chasing and the wondering that I couldn't quite wrap my mind around the consistent and the reliable. I saw it everyday reflected in the character and integrity of my father but never had I experienced a date treating me the way Patrick did.
I don't think that dating culture and the way that we currently model it is safe. It's a dirty, nasty cycle of people thinking that they can't get invested or fall in love, that they have to play hard to get; that they can give away their bodies but God forbid they give away their hearts.
When Harry met Sally is a movie that I've grown quite fond of in the last few years. There's a part in the movie where Harry and Sally both call their friends, a couple laying in bed together, to talk about a romantic encounter that they just had with each other. After they hang up the phone the couple looks at each other and the wife, played by Carrie Fisher leans on her husbands shoulder and says "Tell me that I'll never have to be out there again."
Lines like that are humorous but for me also very telling of what it's like to be single in a society that sends you all the wrong signals. What I'm getting at with this whole thing is that regardless of where you are in the dating universe, you deserve more than what's being sold to you.
You deserve someone who is reliable and consistent, level headed and secure. Someone who is guarding of your heart and respects all that you have to bring to a relationship and this world and not just what's under your clothes. Someone who even before you're in a relationship makes your dating experience easy, exciting and refreshing. Someone who adds to your self-esteem, your joy and your peace of mind.
A person that respects and treats you so well that if you were to break up your life would still be better and more enriched from meeting them.
Playing hard to get, being elusive and mysterious, not returning phone calls or being open about how you feel; those things do not add joy to someones life. They bring confusion and insecurity and if someone is cultivating that experience in your life, I'm sorry to say, they're not the right person for you.
Wait for the right person, wait for someone who cares and isn't afraid or too macho to say so.
After we took this picture I remember showing it to Patrick and us both laughing about how cute it was. As we walked deeper into the garden admiring the lights and all of the happy families, I felt a sense of security and freedom that I had never felt on a date before. The nerves and the games were gone and all that was left were too openhearted and sincere people eager to see what would become of date two.