(In order to meet Mr./Mrs. Right, perhaps you need to update your fairy tale.)
It’s time to update your fairy tale.
Your early twenties are over and your friends are coupling off. You’ve started to notice all the ugly bridesmaid dresses you’re buying or you’ve come to realize that Las Vegas is a horrible place for bachelor parties. Congratulations, you’re growing up. No longer are you dropping shots of Jager in to beers, no longer are you waiting in line to pay cover for a club, no longer are you able to pull all-nighters then function at work the next day. Now your “pre-partying” consists of things like taking multivitamins and chugging Smart Water. You’re growing up, and you’re body physiology is changing; so maybe it’s time to change your dating strategy also.
Remember in college when you had an endless pool of people to date from and automatically had things in common with them. Now it’s people at bars, but you can’t just go up to and ask to borrow their notes from Chem class. Now you’re climbing uphill and you have to demonstrate value with these strange women you meet. You’re no longer equals like when you were both in college chugging domestic beer and eating top ramen. Now you need to have a good job and a respectable address. Now you’ve got to have suave clothes and witty banter. Now you have to turn to horrible things like online dating or getting set up by your friends.
Remember in Cinderella when she met Prince Charming on OK Cupid? No? That’s because it didn’t happen. Remember when Romeo met Juliet at that club in Vegas that’s so edgy the name is a one-syllable word? No? That’s because it didn’t happen. Dating post-college is like a fish that grew up in an aquarium then is suddenly dumped in to the ocean — things are a lot different now. Life evolves. That’s why in order to meet Mr. Right/Mrs. Right you’re going to have to lower your expectations a little bit. There’s not going to be some grand romantic moment when you meet Mr. Right like doves circling when he walks in the room, or you’re not going to walk outside and see Mrs. Right washing your truck in a bikini. It’s a lot more likely that she’s going to be slurring words to you over a beer or you’re going to finally find him after weeding through the tons of garbage in online dating.
The truth is, you’re going to have to lower your standards. Not necessarily your standards of a quality mate, but your standards of how/where/when you’re going to meet this person. It could be at yoga class, in the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joes, or waiting for your prescription at the methadone clinic. Meeting complete strangers from scratch and going out on dates is an awkward situation for everyone because there is no manual to love.
So how about you update your fairy tale, because the days of college and pining for Disney romance are over. It’s time to get out there and make your own story, so take charge and pick up a pen. And the good news is you don’t have to write the entire book by yourself, just the first chapter. But all great tales start with a single word, and yours can be as simple as “hello”.
[Photo: Westminster Abbey in London, England. The site of Kate Middleton and Prince William's wedding.]