A NOTE FROM ME, (I GUESS “THE EDITOR”), BEFORE THE ACTUAL NOTE:
My current status is full amoeba with a nasty cold that, despite my suspicions, is most definitely not COVID after several tests. While I don’t have much will to even shower let alone put on a full face of makeup and take photos of myself with various edible objects, I do have the will to answer as many Insta DMs as I can while I recover on the couch today. In lieu of my typical photo content that accompanies my advice, I’ll be sharing photos that we just got from our wedding photographer for each post over the next couple days.
Hello. Just saw one of your posts on another account. After 25 years of marriage I am recently divorced and I don’t know how to date. I totally agree with your sentiment about sex but I am genuinely curious if you can answer me since I’ve been struggling quite a bit. Do you allow for some type of intimacy/physical contact but stop just shy of sex? These are difficult questions and no one to ask. Any advice is helpful.
My dearest bad biddie,
I’ll let you in on a little secret: no one knows how to date. Dating is this weird ritual that everyone goes through, but everyone hates going through because it’s basically an endless string of interviews with Mr. Definitely Not Right, Mr. Not Quite Right., and Mr. Very Fun But Absolutely Crazy until you meet Mr. Right.
And so armed with that knowledge, here’s how you date: you sign up for every dating app and online dating service, you let your friends set you up, you go out there and you go on what may be one thousand crummy dates or what may be three crummy dates before you meet the man who makes you feel the ways your ex-husband couldn’t. You go on dates with strangers from the internet* armed with the knowledge that the men on the other side of the table are just as nervous as you, wondering whether they’re saying the right thing, whether they have anything stuck in their teeth, and whether you find them attractive and valuable and worthy. You let yourself feel hopeful, discouraged, apathetic, joyful, and every feeling in between, but you don’t let those feelings stop you from doing the one thing you must do: to keep going and to keep dating.
Regarding the intimacy portion, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did. I reverted to what our parents called “heavy petting” and made it my policy. And how do I define heavy petting? My clothes stayed on at all times. This resulted in some very long make-out sessions and probably some very frustrated men, but it was what I needed to do to protect myself. And if the question ever came up about why my clothes always stayed on, my response would be “I don’t sleep with men unless I’m in a committed, exclusive relationship where you are my boyfriend and I am your girlfriend.” Yes, it really is as simple as that.
Dating is a simple thing, though not easy. It’s not easy to go out and find that one human who you will choose to spend the majority of your life with (again) and it’s certainly not easy having to date all the wrong men before you find that one man again. But you can let it be simple, and maybe that’s where you start. You can let yourself find a man you’ve enjoyed talking to on a dating app take you out to drinks and start there. There’s beauty in simplicity.
Your internet hype woman
*asterisk here because while I want you to go out there and meet all the men, I also want you to stay aware and trust your gut. If a situation presents itself as potentially dangerous, do not throw caution to the wind.