Dating (not) Optional

The quick walk from my perpendicular parking space to the double-wide glass doors of the local mega-bookstore is usually full of anticipation. My fingertips can feel the pages before my eyes can see them and my wallet nearly leaps forward, ready to support the economy of printed materials, gifted authors, and bright ideas.

woman-wearing-a-paper-bag-over-her-head-uid-1381253But, this average, rainy, Spring day in Portland, my gait was shortened and my arms crossed around me as if bracing from an arctic wind.  I ventured in on a reluctant mission to find reading material I have never bought before, felt nervous about obtaining and the thought of caused rosy pigment to appear on my otherwise pale, Irish cheeks.

I glanced through quickly, making sure I didn’t know anyone in my chosen far-out location.  My eyes darted back and forth as I formulated a plan to not have to ask for help, not have to admit what I came to find. I scanned the categorical signs above the shelves of usually harmless bound material for the proper location to begin my quest. Once found, I entered the dark aisle, slouched down so my head was below the top shelves and snuggled in close to the racks with my back turned to other patrons and my body hunched over the forbidden pages.

I felt a surge of anxiety as I read the promise on the cover, a promise to take me further then I have been able to go:

“Be dating in six months or your money back.”

The book that eras ago would have been burned in a bonfire of angry professors of literature? How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Dr. Henry Cloud.

Why, oh why, would I torture myself trying buy a book with the cover faced downward and hoping the clerk was too disengaged to notice? Why would I come home to its pages, promising to change my life, wishing it would get destroyed in a freak accident where I thought it was my frozen pizza and accidentally put it in the oven to burn up?!

The easy answer: It was recommended to me.

The hard answer: I have to.

While I realize that even beginning this reading means I should be launching the category of “Dating” under “31 Misadventures”, I can not help but secretly, quietly, in the pit of the seed of the center of my being hope it works – like magic, like practicality, like the world finally coming together in unity with rainbows, unicorns and fairy tale fairy-godmothers.

I shall unpack my hesitations, my anxiety, my admissions of fear and loneliness some other post(s), but today, I sit awkwardly with my first date in a long time: A book that is more intimidating than any man I have ever met, and, hopefully, keeps its promises.

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