Dating Is Like A Bengal Tiger…


“Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank Him for not having given it wings.” ~Hindi Proverb

 

Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

 

Someone close to me recently asked whether I was intimidated by dating, since it’s been a few years since I’ve been “in the market.” The exchange went something like this:

Friend: Would you rather go on a blind date, or maybe to a party where you didn’t know anyone, or face down a hungry tiger while wearing a steak around your neck?

Me: Ummm…(long pause)…I think I could handle the tiger. Would I be allowed a can of Mace? Or a Swiss Army knife?

That says something: in all seriousness, I’d rather face down a 600-pound killing machine than really confront my fears about dating. Relationships are much like the striped wild cats for me. I can admire them from afar, paint them on the backs of leather jackets, write about them all I want; when it comes to dealing with them up close and personal, it’s abject terror time.

Now, having given the matter a great deal of careful thought, I think I’d be okay with the idea of being single for the rest of my life. But this would be like a sea captain given a fast ship admitting he’d be all right with the ship sitting in the harbor for its lifetime. Ships are meant to sail, and hearts are meant to interact. I’ve tried making excuses for my ineptitude at romance. I’m too shy, not confident enough, not “cool” enough to be liked, much less loved. In the end, these excuses have kept me from having a shot at love.

With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, I’ve made it a priority to at least *try* to get back in the dating arena. I have an online dating profile with a reasonably attractive photo of myself. I’ve told friends and acquaintances I’m looking. I’m even attempting to practice small talk with people I see at work. Every little bit of practice helps. Since I’m naturally an introvert, and going anywhere by myself is daunting, the Internet is my best friend. I don’t have to talk to anyone I don’t know, and I can politely decline any less-than-mannerly introductions.

Dating is also like the tiger to me for a different reason. I don’t like to “play the field,” “sleep around,” “hook up,” or any other number of euphemisms for the same thing. Dating, to me, is a serious thing. It’s an attempt to find the man I’m meant to be with. The one I can spend the rest of my life with. There’s nothing casual or cheap about it. True love is a rare and beautiful thing to be cherished, just like the ever-endangered wild tigers. I was brought up believing that love is a sacred bond. Call me old-fashioned if you will. But I do believe in proper courtship, mutual respect between partners, and shared trust. (Note that I did not use the word marriage, and I did not limit this statement to opposite-gender couples. These should be universal maxims. Sadly, in our culture of promiscuity and casual sex, they rarely are.)

I understand that, like the tiger, my idea of true love is rare and elusive, solitary and enigmatic. But that doesn’t mean it can’t exist. If we can save these beautiful animals from the brink of extinction, surely we can restore the idea of true and virtuous love. I’m trying to do my part.

And though I might be single for yet another Valentine’s Day, I’ll know I’m at least trying to confront that huge meat-eater of my soul. It’s less scary than the idea of jumping out of an airplane, or giving a speech in public, or walking on hot coals. Maybe.

And they lived happily...ever after.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on January 30, 2011.

5 Responses to “Dating Is Like A Bengal Tiger…”

  1. I’m battling a tiger as I’m trying to divorce the wrong one…but I still do believe in love. I think we all can find the perfect person for us, and I think fate has a part in this…maybe you haven’t found “the one” yet because you weren’t ready to. Avoid the tigers and I hope you find your sweet, kind soul mate 🙂

  2. Yes, well you never know until you get out there and try again. Good Luck, I’m sure something will happen. Just remember Muphy’s Law, when you are looking you won’t find anyone and when you aren’t looking you gonna be bombed with hot, single hunks:)

  3. When I was single for all those many, many Valentines, I decided to make my own tradition — being a guy, it was washing my car!

    I say you pop in the A-Team movie and watch it!

    And if you ever need dating help:

    http://paulbeforeswine.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/need-a-spouse-go-online/

    P.S. DON’T take my advice!!

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