There are things I am good at.
I can find an orgasm in a bag of mediocre. I can give you goosebumps with my voice. I make the best brownies on the planet and my pumpkin pie is worth its weight in plutonium. My sense of style is irrepressible. I am a damn good person to have on your team because I’m loyal and giving and clever and awesome.
I’m enumerating all these positive things because it’s important to me you don’t think I’m just feeling sorry for myself when I say that I seriously suck at dating.
Because I seriously suck at dating.
Lately I keep meaning to date more. Mostly because I want to have more sex, but also because I feel like I finally have room in my life again for another partner. I’m not in a hurry to get into another relationship, but I’m more open to it now than I have been for a while. The only problem is that I suck at dating. And it’s kind of more stressful than it used to be now that I understand why.
I mean, I like meeting new people. I want to hang out and ride bikes with every kickass person who comes my way, and there are a lot of kickass people on this planet. And I’m not generally unlikeable, so it’s not like dating is like sopping up failure with biscuits or anything. But dating is incredibly frustrating because I’m not attracted to many people, which means that dates are awkward and ambiguous and I’m oblivious to woo. I’m forever assuming that the lack of attraction is mutual, and that usually isn’t true because duh, these people wanted to go on dates with me in the first place. In contrast, the only reason I’ll be on the date in the first place is because I enjoy someone’s personality, and have agreed to go along for the ride on the off chance attraction develops. Chemistry for me is so often more of a slow burn, and it seldom really catches. Even if I meet people in an expressly-for-dating website, I mostly end up wanting to be friends. I find that this is especially true with cis men (sorry cis men!)
This used to be mere triva. I don’t have to feel magically drawn to someone to be willing to experiment with them sexually. I have even had lengthy relationships with people I wasn’t particularly attracted to. I could tap into their attraction for me, or use the power of having many orgasms together, or mine a thorough understanding that a person was awesome and fetching, to cultivate an appreciation that compensated for visceral attraction. It took me a very long time, actually, to realize it wasn’t the same thing.
But having experienced a few connections involving deep, resonant, multi-leveled attraction, I’m sort of meh about doing it the old way. Which means that if I’m not fundamentally excited about people I just can’t get excited about people because they’re excited about me. Not anymore. Not in the same way I used to. I’m not saying that the attraction has to be compelling and immediate for me to want to explore a connection, but I’m starting to question the wisdom of totally ignoring my gut. True attraction is a very strange alchemy for me, and it’s worth studying.
Another problem with not being attracted to most people is that I basically never seem like I’m attracted to anyone. Even when I feel a pull, I’m mostly just nonplussed because it feels so alien. And I normally withdraw or get all bro-ish when I start realizing a person wants to get me naked. For some reason this makes me bad at flirting. Weird, right? And then when I do really like someone there’s this weird thing in my brain that keeps telling me that if I’m obvious about it my face will completely melt off my skull and, unrelatedly, no one will ever love me again.
So while I’m hypothetically totally open to dating, it’s a fussy proposition to implement on account of me being so fundamentally fucked up. I know there are people out there whom I can have brilliant, life-altering sex and relationships with. I know I’ll find some of them eventually. Whenever it happens, though, it’ll shock the hell out of me.