So a thought recently occurred to me on a disastrous (one of what seems many) date: what must people think when they realize they’re going out with a writer? I feel like for us, there’s a bit of a higher expectation in people. We spend most of our time analyzing and creating worlds, crafting and fine-tuning characters. Our thoughts are so jumbled with information that we tend to be a bit socially-awkward. It isn’t necessarily because we don’t know how to communicate with the outside world–though lets face it, most of our interactions are with the imaginary voices in our head–but because we see the world in a very different light.
Every date I’ve been on in the last six months has ended in a big flop. Why? Because I hold each person to a specific standard. It isn’t the same level as my characters, but rather myself. I expect–correct that, I require–the person to be on the same intellectual level and hold some semblance of ambition. Now I realize that my ambition is higher than most people’s. I dream about publishing. I dream about writing. I have goals, and as a very goal-oriented person, I achieve them one way or another. So I don’t expect a person to be as ambitious as me; but I think as a writer, I do hold some kind of expectation. After all, we can’t be writers if we aren’t ambitious.
It makes me wonder, though, if that’s why it’s so hard to date as a writer. We’re solitary people. We find it hard to share our minds (though don’t get me wrong, I do love talking about myself). It’s easier to bond with the pages of a book or the character in your head, than it is to understand a real flesh-and-blood person.
The only positive thing out of dating (at least when you’re the writer) is that each experience provides inspiration. I’ve traversed the online dating scene, and let me tell you, it’s as horrendous as the rumors say it is. While I didn’t find a life partner, I did walk away with a story. My time maneuvering the wild world of Ok Cupid (or as my friend calls it, Ok Stupid), provided me with enough inspiration to write a novel. I’m now in the midst of revising said story and preparing it for submission.
I guess the best thing to take away from dating is that it’s an excellent source of ideas. And for those that become our innocent victims, be mindful of how you act. You never know when you’ll become a character in our story.