Stay home for the Holidays
This is the first Thanksgiving in history that we have been told to stay away from our families. Do not gather, do not mingle, do not share in person, is the message we are receiving. Such an opposite message from what we usually receive this time of year.
In spite of this, I felt a positive energy around me when I did my walk to the beach with my dog on Thanksgiving morning. It was a beautiful sunny day, and people seemed happy to be walking with a friend, spouse, relative even if it was just one or two people. Maybe the order not to gather on Thanksgiving made it less stressful. People didn’t feel guilty if they didn’t want to travel. Also, if you didn’t feel like cooking and hosting, you had a perfect reason not to.
It has been a strange year to say the least, and this holiday season will mark the ending of 2020. A year that will go down in history, for the pandemic and lockdown but also for the changes in my own personal life.
I celebrated 2020 New Year’s in DTLA at a church with people I didn’t know. It was an event that was alcohol free and all about setting intentions for the year. I met a group of fabulous women there that are my friends still. It was one of those nights that I felt ok being open and vulnerable with them, in order to get more clear on what I wanted for the future. I told them that I had left my marriage and was going to file for divorce, but that I hadn’t started dating yet. They were sympathetic and encouraging, and they gave me strength.
So, in February I finally got the courage to start dating. It was my first date in over 20 years. I called my friend in Portland hours before the date and cried into the phone; I was so nervous. How do I even flirt, or talk to a man? I thought I was going to have a panic attack and talk gibberish all night.
Luckily my date was nice and he was a gentleman, walking on the street side of the side walk to ‘protect’ me, and opening doors for me. No one had done that for me in years! He told me I was beautiful and smart. I just wanted him to like me, because I was so unsure of my desirability. My husband had made me feel so unattractive and unwanted, it was going to take time to build myself up again.
The date went well, and he asked to take me out for Valentines Day. I started dating other men too and I was just getting into the swing of dating, when the pandemic hit. So from April to June I didn’t meet dates in person, but just texted and talked. The news was that the world would open back up in June, so I thought I could wait a few months. When June rolled around, I was eager to see a man in flesh and blood, and a handsome gentlemen suggested we meet at the Hermosa Beach Pier and watch the sunset. I said ‘YES’.
He was more handsome in person than in his photos, he was tall and eager to please me. I don’t know if I felt a chemistry with him as much as the fact that an attractive man was giving all his attention to me and it felt really good! After dinner we kissed on the pier, and then he invited me back to his home in Manhattan Beach. He had a beautiful place with panoramic views of the ocean, and as he showed me around he told me that he hadn’t worked in 4 years and that he had enough money so that he didn’t need to anymore.
He was smart, intriguing, and interested in me. I told him that I hadn’t been with anyone else but my husband in 20 years. So, he invited me to spend the night and change that. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. There was a point when I went to the bathroom that my whole body was shaking. Not in a bad way, just in a release way. I was moving forward. I was so used to the way my husband touched me, it was hard to accept someone else’s touch. But it felt good at the same time. He was gentle and kind and he was the perfect person to introduce me to sex again.
I wasn’t sure how to feel after, as this was all new to me. Were we dating now? Were we a couple? We dated for a while, but I was so nervous and confused that it ended eventually. It hurt, but I didn’t regret it at all, and I started to move forward and date others.
Then in July everything was locked down again and the beaches were closed for July 4th. Once again, I wasn’t sure how to navigate dating. All the dating profiles talked about ‘quarantine Buddies’, and ‘Friends with Benefits’. I could feel the panic in the men as they realized it might be a long time before they could meet someone and have sex. As if it wasn’t hard enough to date in the best of times, the pandemic added a whole confusing layer to the situation. Did these guys like me, or were they just searching for a friend until the pandemic was over? I couldn’t tell!
The summer was interesting to say the least, with my introduction to guys asking for sexy pictures of me, and sending me their excited body parts unsolicited, better known as ‘dic pics’. Huh? Was this a thing? I just laughed in disbelief getting these pictures, and thought that these guys have guts! Who does this? Was this normal, or was the pandemic making these guys act out of character? I didn’t know!
Through all the panic and confusion,I met a few nice guys that I still talk to today. And about month ago, I deleted my dating app profile. With the second lockdown, and trying to make sense of dating in general I am just burnt out. I am thinking maybe 2021 will be my year to date again. But will dating ever be the same? Now that video chat, texting for longer periods of time, not to mention photos going back and forth has been introduced, will we go back to the type of date I had in February where we talked for a few days and then met for dinner? I don’t know. The pandemic has changed dating, just as it has changed everything else.
So, I am going to enjoy my favorite time of year! I love Christmas and I always have. Sure it would be nice to have someone special to share the holidays with, but I am ok alone. Ever since I deleted the dating app, I feel more in control and happier. I am not checking it throughout the day, and letting it affect my mood. There isn’t the excitement of the possibly connecting with someone, which I miss. But there also isn’t the confusion and rejection. So, I am good with my decision for now.
On Monday more lockdown measures will go into effect in LA County, so I feel safer just watching out for my own physical as well as mental health. I will get back out into the dating world next year, and I have a feeling the men will still be there waiting for me.