The highs and lows of mountain romance: The game of Battleship
Editor’s note: Names, including the author’s, have been changed to protect identities due to the personal nature of this column.
Have you ever played the game Battleship? It’s a game of chance, strategy, and finding the right coordinates to get a “hit” on the battleship. Enough hits eventually equal a sink or a match. Dating is a similar concept, in some ways. Sometimes you get a great “hit” and you develop a relationship with someone. Some last long, some short, but most of the time the relationship eventually sinks. With the slim chance of compatibility when meeting someone online, the chance at an automatic “sink” is much greater than a “hit.” When one dates between mountain peaks—one meets all walks of life!
There is a plethora of professions living in these mountains: attorneys, ski instructors, milkmen, cops, farmers, medical students, teachers and bartenders, just to name a few. Good dates progress beyond the normal “let’s just grab drinks.” When a guy treats me to dinner, I know he is willing to invest the time to get to know me.
It is amazing how much I’ve learned about different fields of work when dating such varied professions. If nothing else, their stories are interesting.
One of my more memorable dates was with a milkman. I never learned so much about milk, cows, pasteurization, how much goes into delivering milk, and life on a farm. It was fascinating at first, but eventually talking about milk most of the time, date after date, just wasn’t cutting it for me. He was a very nice guy… maybe I shouldn’t have cut it off so quickly? But I just couldn’t see enough commonality and, thus, a future together was “udderly” unlikely (excuse the pun!).
Out of all the dates, my favorites tend to be with guys I meet organically. My definition of an “organic meeting” is either through friends, a life event, or even at a bar. It’s what many people call “the old-fashioned way” prior to online dating. Meeting someone in a bar seems to be even more difficult since the advent of online dating. People rely on Tinder or other dating sites instead of seeking out their own match in a local bar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people checking out Tinder while they are in a bar surrounded by real live potentials!
In spite of this trend, I did meet someone in a bar this past year. We kept eyeing each other from across the room, even intentionally walking by each other. Finally, he walked over and introduced himself. The feeling of butterflies rushed through my body. It happens organically: two people mutually interested, giving off flirtatious vibes, then meeting in person. (For me, relationships also tend last longer too when I meet someone organically.) I dated this guy for a while after that first meeting and it was fun, full of life, and he kept me interested. But eventually, it came to an end, too.
I think Charles Darwin was onto something when he came up with the theory of natural selection. Life does indeed adapt to environmental pressures and competition for mates. (I sometimes question the claim that species progress, however, as some people that shouldn’t reproduce have… Perhaps natural selection didn’t work on them?)
Organic meetings do, of course, have traps of their own to be aware of. One is the “friends zone.” This phenomenon happens when one person is attracted to someone, but that person thinks of the first person more as a sister than a lover. When this happens I continue to think, “shoulda, coulda woulda…” but the right timing is evasive. Despite my best efforts to move on, these guys are kept on the back burner, and I continue to tell myself, “maybe something could happen one day?” These guys tend to be involved in my life on a regular basis, fueling the hope.
Once you enter the “friends zone” it’s very hard to switch to a romantic relationship. In addition, if you choose to go down the path from friend to lover and it doesn’t work, you could end up losing a good friend.
In the long run, for me, it’s usually worth the leap of faith to find out… but not always. Maybe it’s the chase that keeps me going, or maybe it’s the hope that he could be “the” one and he’s right in front of my nose. All things considered, the dating road can be tedious and uninspiring, but it can also be exhilarating and, if you connect with the right someone, sensational.