| Bowen Marshall
She was recounting one of those epic second dates. It was one where you are just getting to know someone, and suddenly without trying, you are indescribably happy and entranced by the beauty of the world. I love hearing those stories, and I was listening intently to her happiness when suddenly she became very direct.
“I know to the outside world I seem like I’ve got all the answers, and I can say to myself, ‘Why wouldn’t he want me?’” she said. “But the thing is, I really like him and so there is a part of me that thinks, ‘What makes me so special that he would forsake all others and pick me?’”
My immediate response: “You’re a smart, funny, bombshell with a doctorate and absurdly straight teeth.”
“I know, but you know me” she responded. “When I really like someone, I get all giddy and nervous.”
Her statement made me chuckle because in love, or at least when we see the potential for love, being giddy and nervous is how we all seem to be. We’re excited at the prospect of what is to come because when you’re out there dating, there are so many more misses than hits. And we are nervous because, as we show our true selves, we worry the people we really like might see underneath our charming exteriors and decide they don’t like what they see.
My friend knows logically what causes her giddy nervousness, but she needed to be reminded of that and, more importantly, she needed to be reminded of her awesomeness.
“I’m going to appeal to the scientist in you. Right now, you are starting what you hope will be a very successful experiment. But, like the beginning of any experiment, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” I responded. “You have a hypothesis that this will be great. You are in the process of setting up your experiment, and then you collect the data. If this is meant to continue beyond infatuation the data you will see and feel is that he makes you feel like the smart, beautiful, and funny person that you are. Just give it time.”
She smiled and thanked me for the pep talk, but I got to thinking of love and, more specifically, dating as experiments in which we are all scientists; sometimes our methodology—the way that we approach someone or a situation—is all wrong for the given person. Sometimes we are far too eager and try to rush things and end up messing it all up. And sometimes, our best experiments don’t work out.
What we have to remind ourselves is that in the experiment of dating, sometimes a negative outcome is inevitable. The fear of that outcome shouldn’t stop us from experimenting, and it shouldn’t drive us to force things to get an immediate answer about where the relationship is going. Both of these actions are sure-fire ways to wreck our experiments
And even once the evidence starts to build that the relationship is going well, unlike the experiments we run in our labs, experimenting with love and dating, is never over. Living with the hopeful anticipation of an uncertain future is par for the course.
So, take heart and have courage if you are just starting to see someone. Consult with lab mates (aka friends) that you trust and who know something about these experiments. And remember, it is better to have lost your eyebrows in a freak Bunsen burner explosion then to have someone tell you that you need to tweeze your eyebrows…wait, that didn’t make sense. Scratch that. Bottom line, get out there and experiment, you love scientist!
Bottom line, get out there and experiment, you love scientist!