In Friday’s post, I wrote many, many words about how I defined myself and how it applied to dating. It was purportedly about gaming, but I spent most of the post focusing on dating. Now, on a day when I’m supposed to be talking about personal issues, I’m going to focus mostly on gaming. Why? Because it’s funny to me.
In the last post, I left it off by describing how death in Dark Souls made me learn this game back and forth. Let’s take the Undead Burg because it’s the first real place you explore after the Northern Undead Asylum. You’re dropped at the Firelink Shrine by a big black bird, and there are three ways you can go. One, across the way by the skellies in the graveyard. Two, down by the mute Fire Keeper, then down again, to New Londo and the ghosts who don’t take damage (unless a certain condition is met). Three, up the stairs where there are more skellies, but manageable one.
One small gripe. Some people ‘in the community’ say it’s obvious that you’re supposed to go the third route because the other two are so hard. My retort to that the one thing everybody knows about the game is that it’s brutally hard. How the hell are you supposed to discern ‘too hard’ with adequately hard? Especially if you’ve never played that kind of game before.
Anyway, here’s the Undead Burg run. Go up the stairs from Firelink Shrine. There will be a boney to greet you. Then one jumps down as another chucks firebombs at you. There is an armored one further down the way, but I ignore him for now. After dispensing with boney number two, I go up the second set of stairs to take care of another boney, then firebomber, then two more bonies.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m ready to dip my toe in the dating world. Well, to be more accurate, I’m ready for some sexing, y’all! It’s been far too long, and while my hand is a reliable companion, sometimes, I long for the touch of another body. Just to refresh your memories, I want someone with whom I can have dinner, a few laughs, maybe a movie or a show, raucous sexing, and then I can send them home with no hard feelings. I want this two to three times a week (I’d be down for more sex, but that usually slides into an actual relationship, which I don’t want), and it’s starting to feel urgent.
Before I went to Malta, I installed Bumble and actually put in a few photos. They’re not current, but I still pretty much look the same with just a few more wrinkles. The power of being Asian, yo! I looked at the first dude and immediately came up with a problem–I have to swipe one way or the other on him. I couldn’t just ‘like’ him or something like that and ponder him later. Also, you have to pay for something called Bumble coins to get more info, which is not something I appreciate. Anyway, I swiped left on most of the people I saw (looking for both men and women) for various reasons, but there was one guy that caused me pause. I didn’t want to swipe right on him because that felt like too much pressure, but I wanted to save him for later. I realized that because I would have to be the one to make the first move, swiping right on him was essentially saving him for later, so I did.
I let it go for the day, but checked it the next day. To my surprise, I had a woman swipe right on me (is it right? I never remember which is which, which is a problem), and when I tried to look at her info, I accidentally swiped right on her. I panicked and wanted to undo it, but Bumble won’t let you unswipe a right because they said it wouldn’t be nice. I panicked some more because in a same-gender match, either person can make the first move, and I don’t do well with rejecting someone. Yes, I hate to be rejected (who doesn’t?), but I hate rejecting someone else even more. Which is a problem if I’m going to use a dating app.
I uninstalled Bumble and haven’t touched it since. Yes, it was an overreaction, but it was also because I was leaving to Malta, so I really wouldn’t be doing much chatting for the next week. Now that I’m back, I’m thinking about installing it again. In fact, I’m doing it now. I just opened it up and found someone has SuperSwiped me. I don’t know what to do with this information. I really hate having to make a decision right away, so I just left it and set down my phone. That’s how I tend to deal with things–I push them away until they either go away or until I absolutely have to deal with them.
I’m a lifelong single person with brief periods of coupledom, and for most of my life, that’s the way I’ve preferred it. When I was in my teens, I despaired of ever having a boyfriend*, and when I was asked out by a boy at the not-so-tender age of 16, I was ecstatic. Not only was he cute and smart (oh, boy, was he smart), but finally, I felt like a normal teenage girl. I met him in summer school (T-CITY, Twin Cities Institute for Talented Youth. He was in physics, I believe, and I was in theater or writing or Latin). He went to a different school, which means we only saw each other on the weekends. It’s funny because most of my relationships have been long-distance, and this probably started the whole thing. I’m more comfortable with people if they’re not too close to me, if you get what I’m saying, and I think you do.
We dated for two-and-a-half years, and despite him being a great guy, I started not feeling it near the end of the relationship. I was working at a Claire’s in a shopping mall, and there was this really cute boy who worked at the shoe store down a level. He was a tall drink of hello, cutie, and I would flirt with him whenever I had a break. I was anorexic at that time and actually wore makeup at that point, so I was cute as hell in the stereotypical way. He was definitely into it, and while I didn’t do anything because I was in a relationship, there was definitely a zing there.
My boyfriend was going to Stanford for college (did I mention that he was super-smart?), and he insisted I had to go to school near him or we’d have to break up. I had applied to schools around his, and I got accepted to the one in CA (one of the UCs, Santa Clara, I think), but the closer it got to the time to leave, the more I started panicking. I wasn’t ready to be out of state. I wasn’t in love with him any longer. I didn’t want to go. We had several emotional discussions about it, and we ended up breaking up. I asked out the shoe shop guy after that and ended up going to his place. We made out, and he made it clear he wanted sex. I wasn’t into that, and we ended the date, amicably, I thought. Well, he rebuffed me after that, so it was pretty clear what he wanted.
During my twenties, I thought I should be in a relationship. It’s what you’re supposed to do, right? At that time, it was still the norm that a woman’s first obligation is to get married (in my Taiwanese culture as well), and the joke, “I’m going to college to get my MRS degree” wasn’t so much of a joke, frankly. I had several bad relationships in my twenties as have a lot of people, I suspect. In my thirties, I thought I *should* be in a relationship, but I wasn’t really sure I wanted it. In my early twenties, I realized I didn’t want kids. In my mid-twenties, I realized I didn’t want to live with someone. In my late twenties/early thirties, I realized I didn’t want to get married for political and personal reasons. I still felt I should be in a relationship, however, because only losers were single for their whole lives. I would loudly declare that I didn’t want to be in a relationship while secretly wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t be in a relationship while simultaneously dating exactly the wrong people. Yeah, I was a mess, yo, and I didn’t know how to get out of it.
I’ve been thinking lately a lot about dating. Why? I don’t really know, but I’ve discussed it with friends to try to puzzle out my feelings. I’ve written before about how I realized in my early twenties that I didn’t want children. That’s also roughly the same time I realized I was sexually attracted to women as well as men. In my late twenties, early thirties, I decided I didn’t want to get married. It’s only recently that I’ve questioned whether I want to be an a monogamous dyad relationship or not. I’ve been in an open relationship before, but it was more because that’s what my boyfriend wanted than because we both agreed, so I don’t really count it when calculating my metrics about what I want from a relationship. I also realized in my mid-twenties that I was more comfortable with casual sex than are many women, but I didn’t really know what to do with it.
Now, I’m questioning whether I want a traditional romantic relationship or not. I’ve been reading a shit-ton of Captain Awkward, and I must admit that the letters she gets makes me very disinclined to date. Intellectually, I understand that she’s seeing the worst of the worst because you don’t write to an advice columnist if your relationship is peachy keen. However, the steady stream of women (let’s face it. A vast majority of the emotional labor done in a heteronormative relationship is done by the woman) writing in with horror stories that curl the very straight Asian hairs on the back of my neck confirm my bias for just snuggling down on the couch with a good book, a mug of tea, and my cat instead of venturing into the dating world.
I hate dating. I always have. I know most people don’t love it, but I hate it to the point of revulsion. I don’t like making small talk with people I know, let alone people I don’t, and there’s the possibility of rejection constantly hovering in the back of my mind. It’s hard to not feel as if I’m auditioning for the role of girlfriend, and it’s only recently that I’ve realized I have veto rights in a relationship, too. In other words, I’m not just auditioning for them–they’re doing the same for me. Even so, the thought of having awkward conversation with someone while sipping coffee makes me cringe. When I used to meet people online for dating (read, sex) purposes, I was very comfortable with the emailing portion of the ‘courting’. I’m a writer, and my strength is in my words. I can be witty, vibrant, intelligent, and fearless in my writing. It’s quite different when I actually open my mouth. It’s the same with me and my Twitter persona. No, I’m not being someone different, but I’m being a more confident, more brash me. I’m sure if people on Twitter met me in real life, they would be slightly (or not so slightly) disappointed that I wasn’t as dynamic as I am online. Also weird–I swear way more in writing than I do in real life.
The real me is low-key to the point of inertia. I have low energy, and it takes a great deal for me to do something that it outside my norm. Take going out dancing with my bestie, for example (when she used to live here). We would set a day to go to First Ave. I’d be up for it when we set the date. Then, when the day arrived, I would think, “I don’t want to get dressed and leave the house. I have to drive to bestie’s house, which, ugh. Then, I have to dance around people I don’t know and maybe fend off unwanted advances. Then, I’d have to drive home again in the wee hours of the night.” I didn’t want to do any of it in the moment, and I’d have to force myself step by step. I had a great time when I went, and I love spending time with my bestie, but my depression makes it seem like going out is a mountain when it’s really a molehill.