Frog Hunting: The Dating Challenge
This is the final post in the Frog Hunting series. Just joining in? Start the Frog Hunting series at day one.
Meet the friend who started this whole dating frenzy. Once upon a time, we challenged one another to go on dates. Just—date. Don’t think about it, just date. The goal was to be actively dating within six months—and to have fun.
We both won.
It was nice we could keep each other company on the journey. You need pals to go through the ups and downs. A few days ago, we spent the day at a spa. A spa is the perfect place to reflect on your life and acknowledge it’s actually pretty good. It’s the perfect place to reflect on a half year in the dating world. But we realized, as we reflected, that we’d each entered a funk.
She was spiraling into the world of depression and overwhelm at just how many frogs are out there, wondering if it was really worth waiting for a decent guy when the decent guys seemed to suck at dating while the not-so-decent ones were way better at pursuit and communication.
I was slipping back into the Katherine of Yore, the Katherine who just didn’t think marriage was really worth all the pain and suffering of dating. Marriage sounded pretty shitty. And if dating is uncomfortable and time-consuming, gosh, marriage has got to be so much worse. Why the hell would anyone get married?
As we tiptoed from mineral bath, to Roman bath, to sauna, we decided to pull ourselves out the funk by celebrating. By commemorating. By naming the things we’d learned and ways we’d grown since starting the challenge. Our challenge resulted in:
More openness to guys we would not normally look at twice
More willingness to appreciate just being with someone without having an agenda
More confidence around guys in general
Increased ability to interact with attractive men without categorizing them as Potential Suitor or Not Potential Suitor
Greater attentiveness to our own reactions and feelings and the reasons behind them
Greater clarity on non-negotiables
For example, I was at a party the other night. The first two people I encountered were a male and female, both devoid of wedding rings. The man was wearing a shirt referencing one of my favorite TV shows and I made a comment about it before excusing myself to find the host and hostess.
After making the rounds, I sat down at a table and starting talking to another man who also appeared to be unattached. It took me less than three seconds to start talking to him. All the while, I felt Katherine of Yore, watching from above as I easily engaged with this man, noting that Katherine of Yore would have been hyper attentive to the stigmas of the Christian dating world. Katherine of Yore would have been moody and reserved, fearful third-party observers would think she was hitting on him or think she was on the hunt. Katherine of Today was inwardly shrugging, saying, “Who cares?” to the phantom onlookers with their judgey comments and raised eye-brows.
Katherine of Today was genuinely interested in this gentleman and his story and was not interjecting her own thoughts with “does he like me? Is he going to ask me out?” every five seconds.
After this conversation wound to a close, I found my way to the bar in search of something with bourbon. I again encountered the non-couple, couple, and struck up a conversation with the man who was wearing the Tshirt of my favorite show. While I did not exclude the woman from the conversation, I did not feel pressure to make sure she was a part of it in order keep her from thinking I was hitting on her man. I didn’t know if they were together, and that wasn’t my business. I wanted to talk to the man, so I did.
Heck, half-way into the conversation I wonder if maybe I was hitting on him. By that time, the woman was equally engaged, but not because I was overly attentive to her participation, but rather, because she also liked the show and had plenty to contribute. Even as Katherine of Yore wondered if this woman and her maybe-boyfriend might jump in the car later and ask themselves if Katherine of Today was being flirtatious (something I highly doubted they’d do), Katherine of Today asked, “Does it really matter?”
The fact was, I thought he was cute. I know I’m cute, and until you put a ring on it, it’s open season. (I don’t really think that. It was just fun to say it out loud). Katherine of Today is on fire.
After recounting our tales of how we’d grown in the past six months, My Dating Challenge Buddy and I also recognized since starting the challenge, we’d both gone on way more dates than we’d gone on the previous year.
We reminded ourselves that the purpose of the challenge was not to find a boyfriend or to get married. The purpose of the challenge was to grow and have fun.
And we did.
I promised the series was not a “how to” series. But I can’t help but contribute one nugget of wisdom. If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned it’s important to celebrate any small milestones in your own growth. I’ve learned it’s important to walk the road with others.
That’s the end of the series (for now). Thank you for joining me. There will likely be follow ups and prequals and revamps in the future. The dating will continue but the series comes to a close.
Merry, Merry, Christmas. And God bless us, everyone.