This year I decided to "do" dating for the first time in my life. After two divorces. At the age of 30. With a kid. It was a surprising process for a whole lot of unanticipated reasons, and I leaned some great lessons:
  1. There are actually "good" men out there. A lot of them.
    Without exception, the many men I dated were good and interesting people: kind, intelligent, thoughtful, quirky, storied, and honest. This was a million miles from my expectation, and was a lovely surprise.
  2. I am not a dud.
    Coming off of a divorce, this was a big lesson to learn.
  3. Internet dating is amazing and a godsend for self-employed non-hobbyists, and I don't even care who says otherwise.
    When you work for yourself and don't have a built-in activity group, your options are basically Internet or bar or, like, hitting on the staff of your favorite grocery store and your kid's friends' parents. Internet beats those unsavory options, with bonus of getting to know someone beforehand.
  4. Kissing is great. We should all do more kissing.
    'Nuff said.
  5. It's okay to meet many people at your favorite haunt.
    Survey says: this is socially acceptable! Also super convenient if your friends/regular bartender want to vet your dates.
  6. Gracious breakups exist, but not painless ones.
    And also I can strive for gracious but will never be graceful in anything I do, even with best efforts.
  7. Modern-day messaging technologies make it easy to develop a lot of intimacy between a fist and second (or second and third, etc) date, and I'm not convinced that's a good thing.
    Don't get me wrong—I'm pro intimacy. But I wonder if maybe it's dangerous for high-communication and high-intimacy people like me to be able to communicate so much that a second date feels like a fifth.
  8. It is actually possible to meet the right person, and just know.
    I'm not going to say I believe in love at first sight—that's a dangerous fiction. But, for the first time in my three decades of human experience I think it is possible to just KNOW about a person, without perseveration or rationalization or "what if"s. We'll see how this last one pans out for me in the next few months/years, but I hope I'm right on this.