I was watching an episode of Say Yes to the Dress the other day and it brought up an interesting idea. (If you’re not familiar with the show, it basically follows real life brides as they search for the perfect wedding gown at New York’s ultra chic bridal salon Kleinfeld.) A bride on the show had already tried on 100 different wedding gowns* before she even got to Kleinfeld. The fashion director noted that trying on 100 gowns was like dating 100 guys, at some point you don’t even remember each one and it’s just pointless.
That got me to thinking. How many guys have I dated in my life? Have I dated 100 guys? More?
Being a writer and all, I decided to put my count on paper. Each guy, from the awkward boys I used to sneak around with before I was “officially” able to date at 16 to the self-assured grown men I encountered when I moved NYC, they were all reduced to mere slash marks on a page. That loooong break from dating I took after a bad break up with a college boyfriend? Just a space between lines. My first real boyfriend who was a part of my romantic life on and off for years? Just one little line. No matter if the guy was an awkward one time date dud or a guy who became a big part of my romantic life, he got one solitary line. Mind you, I counted each different guy I dated, not each date.
Here’s my count:
There it is. Roughly ten years of dating and relationships (16-26) on one page. The average would be that I dated 9.2 guys per year. When I was single, it was common for me to date more than one guy at once. Nothing tawdry, just getting to know people and figuring out people and relationships. There are a couple relationships in those 10 years that lasted a couple years each, but those guys still just got one little slash mark. If you take out the boyfriends, it’s really about five years worth of dating. The rest of that time was spent booed up.
This took a while to do. I had to think back to those super random guys I dated for apparently no reason and those awful or not terribly memorable dates that I had pushed to the very back of my mind. I took a quick peak at some of my old journals to make sure I wasn’t skipping over dudes. Pretty sure I’ve probably forgotten a few guys though.
I also had to determine what constitutes a date. Back in the day, I was allowed to have male company, but only in the living room if my father was home and if my father wasn’t home, I could entertain male company only on the front porch. That front porch thing was a genius stipulation on my father’s part. We lived directly across the street from the nosiest woman on the block. Entertaining company on the porch was basically like sitting down right in front of my father. He knew EVERYTHING that happened without having to actually be there. I wouldn’t be surprised if that woman typed up reports. I appreciate “eyes on the street now,” but back then, not so much.
Anywho, I decided not to count those porch-restricted pre-dates. I also didn’t count outings with male friends/acquaintances who for some reason or another thought our outings were tinged with romance. It’s not a date if I don’t think it’s a date, damn it.
All in all, I had a ball being single and dating. Met a few losers, but mostly I kicked it with interesting, intelligent, kind young men. Every guy was not the guy for me (obviously), but I tended to look at the bright side of things. Nobody was a waste. Everything was a learning experience.
So, there it is. My relatively diverse, mostly awesome and always story-worthy dating life boiled down to faceless slashes.
What’s your count?
*I bought the very first wedding gown I tried on! Sure, I tried on six more after it just to make sure I wasn’t being swayed by seeing myself in a wedding gown for the first time, but the point is I was efficient den a mug.