Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Curse of the Fourth Date

And once again I find myself without a boy to kiss.

I've noticed a very upsetting pattern in my dating experiences and I call it the Curse of the Fourth Date. Other than Eric (who I am not taking into account because in all of our stops and starts, we were never "on" for more than four dates before we were "off" again), I have only made it past a fourth date on ONE occasion. ONE. But even more disturbing than that fact alone is what occurs on this fateful fourth date. Here's the setup: A gentleman and myself have just finished a.) watching a movie, throughout which he alternately held my hand and stroked my hair; b.) drinking a bottle of wine in his bedroom while listening to music and making out; c.) walking around the city at night, talking and kissing; or d.) eating a candlelit dinner. As the date comes to a close, I expect the usual goodnight kiss and vow to call me to plan a future date. At least, that is what I used to expect. Now I expect to hear the very worst as night closes in on the fourth date, for after each of the above referenced scenarios, I have instead heard some version of the dreaded "let's just be friends."

This is excatly what happened to me last night just as I was settling into a comfortable dating routine with an adorable male who was clearly enjoying my company. Apparently he was enjoying my company a little too much and everything else I have to offer not quite enough. Sometimes being friends is a good thing. In fact, my two closest male friends are results of dating experiences that just didn't work out and yes, we decided to "just be friends." But I have enough friends now. Hear me, loud and clear: "I do not want to be your friend!"

The worst part is probably that, as described above, the friendship invitation comes completely unexpectedly. There has never been anything that I can look back on and interpret as friendship gestures rather than romantic or passionate. And then out of nowehere... BAM! The guy that I was seeing up until last night prefaced his declaration of independence by saying, "So... there's something I should probably tell you. And I know that makes it sound like it's probably going to be bad, but it's not!" He then explained that he was in a six-year relationship that just ended four months ago and while he thought he was ready to date again, he apparently is not. He told me how much he really does like me and how much fun it is to spend time with me and he hopes that we can still do so... in a friendship capacity.

I understand, I really and truly do, and I was of course flattered by his compliments, but... how is that not bad? I knew exactly what was coming when he began his speech and it would honestly be so much easier to hear "I just don't like you and this isn't working" as opposed to "I like you so much that I want to be your friend! Isn't that great?!?"

He also told me that as we continue to hang out, maybe something will evolve and that it would be "serendipitious." And while I think that the possibility therein presented was sincere, I know how these things work. The first time I encountered the Curse of the Fourth Date, I thought that being friends was a fantastic idea! Obviously we would continue to spend time together and he would eventually realize he was hopelessly in love with me. I waited for that day for two years and it never came, so I promise you that I will not make that naive mistake again. Sure, I'll continue to hang out with this former suitor who tramped on my hopes for a future together last night, but I know how it will end because once you enter the Friend Zone, there's no going back. And I can guarantee you that when he's ready to start dating again, I'll be playing the role of Wingman instead of Girlfriend.