In case you were looking for another reason — Reason #598, let’s call it, why not? — why dating can be the absolute WORST:
Let’s think about the brain. We’ll use my brain as an example. Okay. On any average day — here’s today’s — my brain looks kind of like this:
And then this. This is my brain on dating:
It’s incredibly irritating. I don’t want to believe that it’s true. I hate hate hate that it is true. But honestly? It’s kind of true. And I KNOW it’s not just me who does this. I had a friend who affectionately nicknamed her post-date brain-self ‘Sandy,’ after Sandra Bullock in that movie “Speed,” because suddenly, SOMEONE ELSE IS DRIVING THE BUS AND THEY ARE GOING REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY FAST AND WE’VE LOST ALL CONTROL AND THERE IS NO STOPPING NOW.
(Ok. I’ve actually never seen “Speed.” But calling my post-date brain ‘Sandy’ sounds better than calling it ‘Time Traveling DeLorean,’ which was the only other 90’s-era movie featuring an unstoppable vehicle that I could come up with, so. Sandy it is. You’re welcome).
My rational brain knows that it’s statistically unlikely that it’s ever going to work out. My rational brain is trying to evaluate this person based upon their personality, attractiveness, sense of humor, charisma, intelligence, appeal. My rational brain is trying to process a lot of information — so tell me about your job! where did you grow up? how many siblings do you have? — and see if there’s a connection, a compatibility. My rational brain is telling me to take things slowly. My rational brain is telling me to chill the fuck out.
My emotional brain just picked out the floral arrangements at our wedding. My emotional brain is the WORST.
(I’m lying. I actually don’t really care about floral arrangements all that much. I mean, maybe I will, if I ever get married, but I really just said that to try and express a complex idea in a simple sentence. My emotional brain is ACTUALLY working through an elaborate fantasy where I try to picture my date being interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Hand to God. That’s where I zone out to.* By the time I remember that I’m still on a date and focus back on the conversation and the actual person sitting in front of me, inevitably I’ve said something weird and the moment’s over and I’ve totally blown it and there’s truly no way of explaining what just happened and then I wonder why the good ones never call me back.)
So yeah. THIS IS WHY I’M KIND OF BAD AT THIS.
And more to the point — this is why I don’t do this all that often. It gets exhausting, losing your brain like that. Even if only for a few days. It’s nice to be back. I’ve lost a LOT of “thinking about sandwich” time in there.
*I’m aware of how incredibly pretentious that sounds. I don’t care. Look, some of you ladies have been secretly saving wedding magazines for years, and some of you have elaborate princess fantasies, and that’s awesome, and I don’t begrudge you that at all. You do you. It’s just that my version of romantic fantasyland involves, like, some good-looking dude in glasses and a blazer who buys me a subscription to the Sunday New York Times in print and knows which wines go with things. A GIRL CAN DREAM.