'Juggling' creates distractions that challenge dating dexterity
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By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer
The elements were in my favor.
An out-of-office assignment at the beach on the coolest day in July, with trade winds tossing around my hair. I felt like I was in an Herbal Essence commercial.
Then he walked toward me, the lifeguard I had to interview. I couldn't believe my luck.
Green eyes, strong arms and the most infectious smile. I love my job, I thought.
But minutes after he nervously scribbled his cell number into my notepad, I did the unthinkable: I called someone else.
Oh, no doubt I wanted to see the lifeguard again. But that was the problem: I liked him too much, too fast.
So I quickly starting filling up my PDA with lunch dates and movie outings with other guys.
It didn't make sense at first. But on the advice of one of my very experienced girlfriends, I did what most single people do: juggle.
(Well, we use the nicer word "dating," but technically it's the same thing.)
"It's all about the distraction," she said, running her manicured nails through her highlighted hair.
By dating other guys, I had no reason to obsess over one. I was too busy. I knew if I dated just the lifeguard, in my mind we would be exclusive since I wasn't seeing anyone else. And all those emotional strings would inevitably tie me to my cell phone, waiting for his call.
It's what we do: We wait, wonder, worry. Our obsessive tendencies are apparent in our restroom conversations: "It's been five days. He didn't call. Should I call him? Is that too weird?"
So it didn't matter that the lifeguard scheduled a date with me that weekend an unbearable four days after we met or that we hardly talked on the phone. I had enough distractions during the week to get me through to our next date, without any pathetic outbursts of self-created drama.
At first it was fun, always having something to do nearly every night of the week. But there comes a point when two or three, in my case becomes too much.
The hardest part, as a fellow juggling girlfriend said, was not dropping the ball.
I found myself repeating stories, mixing up names, scheduling too many dates on too few days. I scrambled from one restaurant to meet the other guy at another. It wasn't just confusing, it was exhausting.
I had always been a girlfriend, never the girl you dated. And now I was playing the part of the player, and I couldn't keep up. I had girlfriends who dated three, four guys at once, giving me advice like, "Never stay at his place" or "Don't see two guys in one day." But after awhile, all those rules didn't matter. I just wanted to see the lifeguard, not the other guys, and I had to make a decision.
So I stopped the madness.
I'm still seeing the lifeguard a year later. And the other two guys are still friends.
And from this whole experience, I made a very important career decision: I'll stick to writing. Juggling's not for me.
Reach Catherine E. Toth at 535-8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.