Dating can be fun? In my previous article, I shared my thoughts about being intentional when going through the process of dating. I’m learning that you may still have to date Mr. Wrong a number of times before finding Mr. Right. Some people see this approach as settling, however, my experience has been the opposite. Although you may not find love right away, you can work on refining the process of selecting a mate while learning more about how you relate to others. I’m humbled and proud to say my recent experiences prompted me to craft a few apologies to some of my past companions. I may have tried to mimic some of the romantic relationships only found in the most unrealistic but classic Hollywood movies. Older flicks such as Ghost, The Notebook and Pretty Woman are responsible for many undeserving verbal digs to the past “Mr. Wrongs” in my life. How exciting that life gives you a second, third and even fourth chance to make things right. Since I’m in my thirties, let’s just say my chance lies somewhere in the middle. A great friend once told me that dating is like peeling an onion; you have to learn a person one layer at a time. While I don’t consider onions “fun,” I do think that getting to know a person (one layer at a time) makes for a fun and interesting experience. If you decide to use this analogy, remember that onions will make you shed a tear or two. Just remain patient and positive, and you may find that one day your tears will become more about the joy than the sadness. My new motto is to ditch the checklist of do’s and don’ts and just follow the fun. Make it interesting One way I put the fun in dating is to step out of my comfort zone. “Why not?” are my new favorite words. Who says you always have to go out with your “soulmate?” There may be a few “soul-companions” who like to have fun by just hanging out and enjoying one another’s company. I’m always asked this popular question by men: “Do you watch sports?” Of course my smart mouth responds, “does the reality show Basketball Wives count?” Let me be honest, I’m not the biggest sports fan. College football rivalry matches and championship games are the extent of my interest. I thought it would be fun to watch a game with one of my recent dates, so I agreed to meet him at a sports bar to kick off the fun. Sure, the evening didn’t include fine dining, but again, why not? One fun way to detect a relationship spark is to wear a sports t-shirt out on a date (I wear high heels. After all, it’s still a date). Experiencing his reaction when his eye catches my University of Michigan shirt is hilarious. Considering this town’s deep passion for college sports, my tactic makes for a fun conversation starter. The Date Him: “Is this an example of a rocky start?” (He’s referring to my t-shirt) Me: “I’m guessing your dream girl is an MSU fan?” (See … this is fun!) Him: “This is something that counseling can fix.” (Hehehe) Me: “I don’t know whether to slap or hug you.”(Great job accidentally mentioning the word hug in the first five minutes of this date. No pressure…) Him: “Does picking up the check save me from a slap?” (I’m glad that he realized that he’s picking up the bill.) Me: “It’s definitely a step in the right direction” (Love it!) Him: “With the exception of your t-shirt, you look very nice.” (I’m blushing) Me: “Well I’m not taking it off, so let’s just say I look a hot mess.” (No comment) Him: “So, tell me what you consider to be an ideal date?” (He couldn’t have asked me this question before I agreed to meet him at a sports bar????). Me: “My ideal date is to go out with someone that allows me to be myself. Him: “Well said.” (Yes, common ground!) Me: “Great, so don’t expect me to order a salad, bring on the fries!!!” (No really, bring on the fries!!). Him: “Fries it is!” (Hello potential soul-companion) Unfortunately, it will take more than one article to share the outcome of my date. While it may seem like the search to find “The One” should be mission critical, it’s not always about what’s going to happen in the future (is he the marrying type, does he want kids, etc.) Making new friends is also a great way to become clearer about what I enjoy the most about myself and others. Being compatible on a social level can be lots of fun. While I can survive this guy not ending up as my boyfriend, I’m having fun getting to know him as a new long-lasting friend. I’ll continue my story in another issue. As always, thanks for following my dating adventure. I’d love to hear about what you think, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.