The Drought and the Trick
According to my carefully maintained spreadsheet, the longest "dating drought" I ever had was for 6 months in 2016. There was a very simple explanation for this: I moved home to the small town where my parents live and where I had been offered a job out of a summer internship at a prestigious firm.
I figured that, after 1.5 years of dating, it was time for my miracle. I would move to the small town and randomly there would be a guy there for med school or to get his PHD in being rich. He would come into town to visit a cousin and our eyes would lock at our shul's mixed kiddush* (I KNOW!) He would be at the airport during a stopover and I would be picking up a friend and he would propose to me from behind the security line.
I've heard stories where these things happen-older single spends 10 years in New York only to meet her spouse in Omaha. These stories are great and if that is your truth-share it! Just don't share it with me because it gives me ideas.
Instead i went home and started my job. My internship had been exciting-sitting in on meetings, scheduling major client dinners, learning all I could.
My job, to say the least, was slow. I was essentially a glorified assistant. Also, because I work in marketing and that was considered a "support" to the real work of the firm, everyone I worked with was decades older than I. The young people, the ones doing the actual labor that I was marketing, the other ones who were recent graduates, sat on a different floor while I sat with copywriters, IT team and office managers.
I was terribly lonely.
The perpetual state of anti-social behavior made me anti-social even when i could have been social. I had two classmates in town that year who were also single and I rarely saw them, my anti-social week led to an anti-social weekend. It was pretty miserable.
In December I had an opportunity to travel to a more "in-town" community for a friend's wedding. A shadchan had set me up with someone in that community who was interested in meeting me. I will call him SNL because we dissected the most recent episode of SNL together.
It was a spectacular first date.
He took me to a nice hotel lobby for drinks. He was cute and tall. I felt like we really connected, a feeling I had never felt on any dates before. We talked for 4 hours before I had to ask him to take me home to prepare for the wedding I was attending. I don't remember much of what we discussed (other than the recent episode of SNL) because it didn't matter. What mattered was the feeling, that we jibed that we could have dated for eight hours and found things to speak about.
That was when I made my fatal mistake.
On the ride home, he asked me about my sister's marriage and the strange way it had come about (he was vaguely familiar with their story.) I shared the story with him, giggling a bit that he had clearly wanted to ask me this and that he had waited until the end of the date to do so. He asked about my feelings on the matter-and I shared with him that I was working in therapy to resolve all of the complicated feelings that arose.
Guys, I know. I told him about therapy on a first date. Like a crazy person who needs to be in more therapy. We reveal this stuff slowly, we are all ogres and ogres:
I don't know for sure that that mention was what led to what happened next but I had a feeling.
I went to the wedding. It was beautiful. I flew home. I heard from the Shadchan, he liked me and I liked him. I began to coordinate a flight back to his town for Christmas Day when I was off work because of Jesus's birthday party.
I asked the Shadchan to confirm that he would be able to go out on Jesus day so I could book my (monstrously expensive) flight.
A day went by. Then another. The flight prices were going up. When was he going to get back to the Shadchan?
Never, was the answer.
Little did I know after giving me a yes he had started to have second thoughts. He told the Shadchan he wasn't interested in going out with me anymore and the Shadchan told him that he couldn't change his mind after giving a yes. He decided to ask a Rabbi what to do. Meanwhile, the Shadchan let my mother know what was happening and everyone decided not to tell me so I wouldn't sour on him if there was still potential.
As the days dragged on, I realized that something was happening and confronted my mother and got the whole story. I told her to tell the Shadchan no. I wasn't interested in a guy who would treat a girl like this. I closed the chapter. I went to a friend's sisters wedding. I got some major unrelated life news. I spent Christmas day sobbing with a friend and reading in the park and drinking.
I later heard that this guy had a pattern, that when a date went well, he would find an excuse to run because he was terrified of commitment.
But about four years after we dated he must have gotten over that because I saw him with a red head on simcha spot. I was happy that he had solved his issues. Or, at least, solved them enough to get on simcha spot.
This experience was particularly hard because of the drought the proceeded it. I began to wonder-at 22 years old- if I would ever get married or if I would have drought to bad date to drought to bad date. It was also hard because there was nothing I enjoyed in my life at the time.
This taught me that I needed a life. I needed to stop living to date. I also desperately needed to get away from the small town where I found myself. If this place caused a drought then I would find a wetter climate where I could go on more dates and therefore make each single one less significant.
It was still early, but I was learning, more than I had ever wanted to learn.
And that was enough for then.
*I have a family member who is convinced that Mashiach has not come yet because our shul has a mixed Kiddush. I'm pretty sure Mashiach isn't here yet because I sometimes wear ankle socks and a short skirt. I guess Mashiach will have to let us know.