The Art of Dating, Dying, and Everything In Between: Part Four

//Part One // Part Two // Part Three

I last left you with the image of me as a lonely single goldfish, dying belly-up in a forgotten bowl with no husband and no kids. Happy Rainy Monday errrrrbody! If you’re just joining us– welcome! It’s not always so bleak, I promise. I left you as a fish.. and then I went on vacation. As a human. Onward! 

I went to New York City on a whim because I wanted to be reminded that the world is a bigger place than Athens, than the South, than where my little car can carry me for a weekend. I wanted to hear street musicians and walk past a thousand strangers… Eat dessert for breakfast and blast “Welcome to New York” in my headphones. I had never been on vacation by myself, and it was equally terrifying as it was invigorating. 

I thought a lot about life and dating while I walked those city streets, unknown strangers zooming past me at incredible speed– incredible talents and incredible dreams tucked within each passing one. I loved that no one knew me, or cared that I had on two mismatched socks. No one knew I was single, or lost, or listening to Taylor Swift, or wishing I had worn tennis shoes. The city was a breathing, heaving mass of energy and hope and I was a tiny, minuscule cell in its body. For a moment, I forgot the book tucked away in my bag.

The book– oh, THE BOOK. The book that started this whole thing. The blog series, the trip… all of it. The book I urge every single girl to read, and anyone who knows a single girl but has forgotten/no idea what to say: How To Get A Date Worth Keeping by Henry Cloud. Despite the book’s unfortunately embarrassing name and cover, it’s one of the most honest things I’ve ever read about Christian dating. This realization, however, didn’t come easy. 

In fact I was down right indolent to explore anything self-helpy about dating. It all seemed so vain, so needy, so desperate… and those are three adjectives I usually try to stay far away from, especially in book form. But there I sat on a Saturday afternoon, lying on the couch, the book staring at me from the coffee table where one of my roommates had left it. You should read me, Morgan. You’d like me! I think you’d be surprised how much sense I make. The book taunted me with its dumb name and dumb cover. I tried reading a magazine for a while, but the book– oh THE BOOK. It just kept begging me to take a peek.

And when I did, I read the whole thing cover to cover (not a whole lot going on for a dateless, single Saturday, lemme tell ya.) Though you should read it, if you’re interested… Here are the basics:

1. Stop thinking that doing nothing will result in something. This is both generally good advice for non-dating related matters like mowing the lawn and paying your taxes and also extremely practical for relationships. As Cloud says, unless you’re going to marry the FEDex man, God probably isn’t just going to send someone to your door. Especially if you’re staying in on a Saturday reading books for hours on end in your sweatpants. So be bold. Ask someone you’re interested in to grab a drink. Have your friends set you up. Start online dating. You’ll at least have better stories than sitting at home #netflixboyfriend

2. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. This turned out to be extremely, meta-level true as I really dislike this book’s design, but also I often write men off because I am not sure they are my type or that I could eat pancakes with them in my PJs or envision a life with them. It is actually certifiably insane to judge someone’s date-ability based on surface information or meeting them for like, 10 seconds. I don’t do this with new women I meet as friends, so why do I do this to men? Plus, I haven’t dated enough to even know what my type is. 

3. Forget “Your Type.” People are exciting and unique and God can surprise you! He is a master craftsman and humans are his most beloved! If you focus too much on a type, you could be missing out on someone amazing just because he doesn’t have a beard and is into Nashville country music.

4. It’s a numbers game. How many new guys have you met today? This week? This month? If your answer is hovering around zero like me… you gotta get your numbers up. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to meet someone you could go out with. Stop looking at your phone when you’re in line for coffee. Talk to the guy sitting next to you on the bus. Go to shows and talk to the people who also love your favorite band.  Look people in the eye and smile. Even just telling yourself that you’re available and interested in meeting someone new can make you physically more approachable.

5. Don’t be afraid. This is probably the hardest one for me, and for the last installment of this blog series, I’m going to focus on this.

Until then…

This is Part Four of a series I’m writing on relationships, anxiety, and everything in between. Lofty, right? There’s a line in the movie The Wedding Date (I love a good chick flick) where Dermot Mulroney’s character says to Debra Messing: “Every woman has the exact love life they want.” This statement has haunted and bewildered me and I have always hated it (which is hard to hate anything said by Dermot Mulroney’s mouth) because I didn’t think it was fair, or true (chick flicks can be dumb, let’s be honest) and it scared me. But recently… well. Maybe I’ve started to kinda think it is true. This is my exploration.

morgan cogswell