Maybe the little ditty “99 men on the wall” will replace the old song we sang loudly on long bus/car drives, but only women will be singing it.
Today I have a meet/date with man number 99. It’s taken nearly 5 years to go out with 99 men and I have slowed down a lot in the last 2 years. No longer do I feel like the kid in Baskin-Robbins wanting to taste all the flavors. I have now narrowed down the flavors that interest me and can often tell beforehand if a man has qualities that appeal to me or not. Most often not.
I continue to be open to new encounters, but am more discerning if a man telegraphs “We don’t have the same values” even before meeting. I can often tell that by the content of his emails and phone conversation, by what he chooses to talk about, the questions he asks me (or doesn’t), how much he shares the conversation.
If you were looking for a dream job or fabulous house, you might investigate 100 before finding the one that meets most of your needs. Dating nearly 100 men isn’t the goal — finding a great match is.
When I share my dating numbers with interested friends, most gasp, “I haven’t dated 99 people in my whole life.” It seems few have, unless they were very active in their high school and/or college years. Most people have dated from zero to several dozen people. Then they met their mate or withdrew to either no or infrequent dating. I am an anomaly.
People say, “I wouldn’t have the patience for that,” or “I don’t have the time,” or “I’d just give up.” Yes, there are considerations for staying active in the dating pool. There can be times of furious activity (like when I had seven dates with six guys in five days) and long stretches of treading water. There are the days of hopefulness when you’ve met someone with whom you think you’re a match, then disappointment when he stops calling with no explanation or you decide he isn’t who you thought him to be.
One weighs the options for staying in the emotional whirlpool. You can just drift down the dating river, hoping to bump into your soul mate. You can swim upstream in the rapids, trying to attain someone who isn’t interested, getting frustrated and bitter along the way. Or you can tread water until you connect with a possible match, then both swim in the dating pool together, playing and interacting to see if you like each other.
Giving up is an option, of course, but I have learned much about what I want (and don’t want), as well as about men in general, I do not see that as the best option. And I’ve gained several dozen men-pal treasures for whom I’m continually grateful.
So going out with 99 men may sound daunting. But it’s better than the option — to be lonely and bitter. I’m staying in the pool until I find my guy — or he finds me.
Want to know what to expect from midlife dating? Download your copy of Dipping Your Toe in the Dating Pool: Dive In Without Belly Flopping