Over the years, I’ve kept myself to myself. I was focused on two things: raising my only son and my career. My son and my job in Vancouver kept me busy at all times — I literally had no time to think about anything remotely romantic. But don’t get me wrong — I live a full life! I concentrate on taking care of my son’s needs and myself. I work hard on weekdays; I focus on personal growth on the weekends. I travel with my younger sister; I watch movies on my own or with our Mom; I do fun activities with my son and his cousins; I go to restaurants and dine alone. I also went back to school and took writing classes. I joined dance classes. I immerse myself in creative pursuits — photography and oil painting. I even found time to write and published two children’s books over the last four years! (https://www.amazon.ca/Protector-Pterygota-Matheen/dp/1494838826; http://www.blurb.com/b/6008840-william-s-wonderful-world-written-and-illustrated — pardon the shameless plugging!)
I have girlfriends who are like “lighthouses” — women who have constant dates; they had men lined up that wrapped around the block. I like to compare them to a lighthouse, because just like a lighthouse — they are magnetic and luminescent; they are like beacons that call the sailors back to land; beckoning them toward the light. I, on the other hand, is analogous to a Bermuda Triangle. You may wonder why. Plain and simple: Bermuda Triangle is not somewhere a sailor would like to end up on. They try to stay as far away as they can from the Bermuda Triangle. I don’t swallow sailors. I don’t drown sailors. I don’t mean any harm to anyone; but just like Bermuda Triangle, I am not a frequent destination of sailors; I’m like an unknown territory.
My son is now 18 and is more independent and has his own social life. He really doesn’t want to hang out anymore with his Mom. Our usual Friday night dates are pretty much non-existent. He now spends Friday nights with his friends or at parties. I, on the other hand, spend Friday nights with Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog. I enjoy the company and the food but after a while, a woman can only handle so much cooking lessons! Two weeks ago, I decided to take life by its horns and go toward uncharted waters. I work hard during weekdays. I thought it would be nice to unwind on the weekends besides cleaning. My flat is super clean; you could literally eat off the carpet (not that I would want you to; but I assure you that it is quite possible). I wanted to do something different. Something bold and courageous. I decided that it’s about time I started dating again.
Living in Vancouver doesn’t make dating easier. Vancouverites don’t know their next-door neighbours most of the time. It’s difficult to meet someone special in person in Vancouver. Half of my friends are married or widows. Half of my friends are either gays or singletons like me. It doesn’t help either that there are more gays than straight men in Vancouver or that there are more women than men. Ah, not to mention, that the current population (as of 2016) in Vancouver is only 631,500. Oh, the city is also spread out and shuts early. Why is it so hard to meet someone in Vancouver? Are we such reclusive snobs? Has the dating scene become as tricky to negotiate as its geography — divided by waterways, inlets, bays and mountains? Or is it because we are so diverse a city that our very own ethnic enclaves divide us?
I found the perfect answer to my questions — I would embark on a personal research project. My girlfriends had registered on an online dating site. Ding! That gave me an idea. Out of curiosity, I told myself that I should start an experiment. Some kind of a personal research. Why not conduct a research and write about the dating scene in Vancouver? On Feb. 25th, I joined an online dating site. I posted interesting photos of myself and a brief summary about me. In less than an hour, my profile was viewed 115 times. I had a dozen winks, I was immediately matched with a dozen men who fit my interests. I received tons of messages from different prospects. At some point, I had to make my profile invisible just so that I can minimize the messages that I’ve been receiving. I had to carefully select and choose amongst the profiles that showed interest on me.
On March 1st, I went out on a couple of dates. Each date was arranged to be on a public place for approximately an hour each. It was more of a coffee conversation. There was no spark for me. The men looked nothing like their profile photos — I think they used photos that were taken 20 years ago. Really? Seriously!!! On both dates, I didn’t even stay for an hour; before my coffee was served, I was already feeling claustrophobic and was looking for the nearest exit sign. I thought I was clear and specific on my requirements: 6 feet tall and above. Instead, they were slightly taller than Snow White’s seven dwarves! I can’t help but wonder if you can Photoshop a person’s height nowadays?
On a more serious note, online dating must not be taken lightly — one must tread on its unfamiliar surface with much care and common sense. Make sure you prioritize your safety first and foremost. Suggest meeting for coffee or tea in a public place. Don’t get inside a stranger’s car. Before you meet, find the time to google your potential date. Because of technology, it’s easier to find out more about a person through their online profiles. Beware though, of fake online profiles. It’s tricky to navigate the online dating scene, but, you just have to rely on your instincts and common sense.
On March 4th, I went out on my third date. I guess the saying that third time’s the charm ring true! My third date exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t just a spark. For the first time in the last sixteen years, there were fireworks on display! I don’t really believe in love at first sight; but this was the closest it could get to it — if there ever was such a thing as love at first sight. He looked like his photo profile. He stood 6’1”. He looks very dignified and elegant! His manners are just impeccable. Over dinner, we constantly smiled at each other and never ran out of things to say to each other. We laughed a lot. I smiled a lot. Everything felt right. It didn’t feel like we were exerting any efforts at all. It felt comfortable and easy. It felt relaxed. After our first date, he was also very consistent. He texted or called me every day. He told me that he will be busy on Thursday and Friday for business. I understood and respected that.
On Saturday, I freaked out. It has been a long, long time since I was in a serious relationship. I couldn’t breathe. I was anxious. I felt scared. I felt really vulnerable. I haven’t allowed anyone to get this close to me. The next thing I knew, I was texting him and accusing him of “inconsistencies and multi-dating” — where did those come from? I’ll tell you where it came from. It came from the mind of someone with an imperfect past. It came from someone who would rather get out of the relationship first than get hurt by someone. It came from the mind of someone who has major trust issues. I’m very tough and a strong feminist. I’ve weathered all kinds of storms and hurricanes. I’ve dealt with the hand that Life deals me with. However, when it comes to the matters of the heart, I am not quite the expert. Just like everyone else, I do believe that we do not find the meaning of life itself by ourselves alone — we find it with another; the one that fits our lives in an imperfectly perfect way.
Suffice to say, I scared away the one who got away. You know that movie, “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days?” Well… I went over and beyond, for me — it was — “How to Lose a Guy in Seven Days!” I thought it was just going to be an experiment, a research to find answers to my questions on why it is difficult to find love in Vancouver; a subject for my next article in Femflection. Instead, it turned out to be an eye opener for me — it is time that I find the courage to learn to fall in love again. Whenever I’m faced with challenges, I strive to always find the solution to a challenge. Hence in this case, I have decided to seek help or counseling to combat my trust issues. Here’s hoping that I’ve resolved my trust issues when I’m ready to make a commitment to the right person. In the meantime, I’m rocking my single blessedness! After all, there’s no rush.
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