Dating is hard ...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My boyfriend, Gideon, and I got to know each other online over a period of three and a half years, so you'd think that I have great advice for anyone trying to strike up a relationship through a dating website. You'd be wrong.

I'm a really, really weird person. I'm not saying that to be self-deprecating and inspire sympathy from all of you. I'm saying it because it's true and because it disqualifies me from giving any sane dating advice to anyone.

The first real conversation Gideon and I ever had began with me asking him to tell me the worst atrocity in human history he could recall. Somehow that evolved into a discussion of holiday-themed horror films, which evolved into a game of 20 questions that I completely botched.

I was confused about the way the game worked after seeing a version of it in A Cinderella Story. Basically I just asked him a lot of specific questions, like "What's your favorite color" and didn't understand why he kept answering with "yes" or "no." Since Gideon doesn't like to confront awkward situations head-on, he just went with it and we spent two hours speaking to each other as if we were one person with split personality disorder.

I called him once in 2011 or 2012 to tell him about how I had been accosted online to be some stranger's sugar mama. This, I realized after the call had ended, was our first conversation on the phone. To make matters worse, I didn't even start the conversation with a real salutation. I just said, "You won't believe what happened to me last night." This was the first time I ever called him on the phone, and I couldn't be bothered to say "hi."

When I finally saw him in person for the first time in three years, I was so nervous that I left out a salutation again. "WE BROUGHT COOKIES!" I yelled at him, pointing to my friend Madison who had come to Fayetteville with me. She had known me personally for two years at that point, so her confused facial expression convinced me that I was acting really weird even by my terms. To make matters worse, I had already told Gideon about the cookies, so it wasn't like this was new information.

Our first kiss was really a culmination of me lunging at his face several times until I decided to go for it. Once I located his lips, I forgot how to kiss and just sat there staring at him wide-eyed for entirely too long.

Just don't take advice from me. My dating tactics would run off many men if anyone besides me tried them, and I know this because I have personally repelled a handful of men. Few men are as patient and tolerant as Gideon is.

That is why I can't let him go. If he ever tries to run away, I have a couple strategically placed bear traps on hand.

That last part is a joke. I have only one bear trap.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News.