Who needs a boyfriend or emotional intimacy when I am my very own Ron Swanson, right…?
I don’t mean to brag, but I’m analytical and always over-prepared.
Not in an annoying way—well okay, sometimes in an annoying way. Except, while my analysis skills come in handy when discussing the success/failure rates of celebrity couples (though, I’ll admit: I did not anticipate the Poehler-Arnett break-up), they can also cause some serious over-thinking.
If I’m bored, I’ll sometimes strategize Ocean’s Eleven-style escape routes from whatever building I’m in. And if I had to give an impromptu speech, I’d probably still find time to make a PowerPoint presentation. Once, a friend gave me a book entitled The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Life, so I think other people have noticed my special tendencies.
Case in point: I was catching up with Matt, one of my closest friends, on the last day of our hometown’s street fair—which is basically a huge people-watching event that includes tractor pulls, steer shows and deep-fried candy bars. After an incredibly fun and engaging discussion about my part-time proofreading job, he asked me, “So, are you seeing anyone?”
“Ha! Oh, no. No I’m not. That’s a project for another day,” I answered.
Matt laughed and said, “Only Megan would look at dating as a project.”
And of course I would. But projects are fun, right? They involve planning and preparedness. Like the time I bought a couple of old wooden dressers and sanded them so I could freshen everything up with black paint: I needed new furniture, saw an opportunity, created a goal, and achieved it. Isn’t it fun to have a plan and know what to do in any given situation? I’ve always thought so.
But I think dating, non-dating, romance and love might be a different kind of project. Sure, these things involve quality time and a little effort like most other projects, but there’s one big, insurmountable difference: I can’t control the outcome because this project wouldn’t be all about me.
I could try to control the situation. I could be super-selective about the people I meet, the guys I talk to, the times and settings of every interaction. But I recognize that most people don’t consider that approach to be fun, or romantic. And I have a feeling this business of being in a relationship is supposed to be an enjoyable process.
For an anxiety-prone lady like myself, not being in control is…unsettling, to say the least. I like knowing what I’m doing, and vulnerability makes me uncomfortable. Maybe in this area of my life, though, the best way to be prepared is to accept that anything can—and will—happen. “Anything” could mean rejection and hurt feelings, but it could also mean meeting fascinating people and possibly hitting it off with a great guy.
Allowing myself to be vulnerable doesn’t really thrill me, but I know this is something I want, this love thing. It would’ve been nice to introduce Matt to the handsome, intelligent gentleman I was dating instead of discussing something as boring as run-on sentences. And it might have been fun to complete a furniture project with a buddy (though, see the photo above, I really did an impressive job by myself; seriously, I felt like Ron Swanson).
I’ve avoided the idea of finding and/or being in love because I’ve been focused on building up other areas of my life. But now that I’m almost done with graduate school and I’ve got a pretty good idea as to where I’m headed with job prospects, I think it’s time to meet new people and see what happens outside of my control. I know can’t devise an outcome in this new venture, and as a mature adult, I can accept that. I just hope I won’t want to strategize an escape route along the way.
Megan S. is an associate editor at Dating & Hookup. She's a big fan of pop culture, comedy and essay collections (but just a regular fan of any sport that isn't softball or golf).
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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