Find a mate -> date

Let’s pillow talk, part I

The origins of relationships are weird.

Every relationship progresses from some initial foundation, but it’s interesting how most of the time our (my) relationships seem to sprout from seeds we (I) didn’t realize were planted in the first place.

Is this just me? Maybe it’s just me. But I find it strange when people say “I don’t know how to find someone,” because most relationships don’t seem to start with a person looking for someone and magically finding that someone. If this has happened to you, congratulations—your romantic life is incredibly simple and predictable and slightly boring.

So how do we come together with these people that eventually grow to mean so much to us? My mom and dad met when my dad saved my mom from his drunk friend who was obnoxiously hitting on my mom at a concert. One of my high school friends met her boyfriend when he accidentally hit her in the back of a head with a volleyball at a tournament. I met one of my exes when he started dating one of my best friends (oops).

My limited insights tell me the most pleasantly-unexpected, enjoyable relationships grow from these unanticipated encounters. You meet someone and you have zero expectations, which usually equates to zero pressure. Maybe it’s a brief encounter that equates to nothing, maybe it’s a slow swell into a friendship, maybe it’s a friendship that continues to swell and seep into entirely new, romantic territory. My parents and my friend and I had no idea or expectations of what our encounters would transition into, which made the gradual evolutions of our random encounters all the more organic and enjoyable.

At one point in high school, I decided I really wanted to meet someone with whom I could be serious. Every new guy I met, even old guy friends, became contenders for prom dates and party partners and subject to all of these unwarranted cookie-cutter expectations. I ended up getting involved with this great guy, but things always felt slightly forced since I went into things with such a preset picture of what I wanted and what I expected. It was supposed to make sense, but it didn’t work.

When I met my friend’s boyfriend I obviously anticipated nothing of meaning between us. Fast-forward a few months–they’re long broken-up and I’m skipping my lunch shift to visit him in strength training every day. High school romance. But it was so cool how an acquaintanceship randomly became a friendship and a friendship randomly became something more. The fact that the progression was so unexpected only made it feel more natural and authentic. It wasn’t supposed to make sense, but it worked for a while and became a time extremely important and meaningful to me.

My point is, I have no idea how you actually find a mate, but that’s okay. The best relationships seem to crawl out of dark, dusty, neglected corners void of expectations and predetermined intentions. Then, when you fill that void with unanticipated feelings, those feelings somehow hit you even harder thanks to their pure, natural evolution. My sub-point is yes, I broke “girl code,” even though I don’t think I believe girl code is real. Maybe this will be a later installation in the series. We shall see.


Here’s what my people have to say about finding that person they actually want to date.

Grace M.

I didn’t know Rett liked me at all, but I thought he was a dreamboat. He left me cookies on my birthday. I like cookies. Even if we were bored we’d usually opt to make chocolate chip cookies together and sit in his kitchen with a glass of milk and just hang and eat them. Pretty good way to spend a Friday night if you ask me. I also have wondered about people who are friends before they fall in love. It’s not an uncommon story: people are friends for a long time, best friends even, and then they start dating and fall in love. I understand that being friends with someone is a great stepping stone into a relationship. I feel like that happened with Rett.

Randy.

All of my serious relationships have been when the girl was my best friend, so I want a long-term relationship where I consider the girl my best friend but we also get it on. Obviously I’d prefer for my wife to be gorgeous and smart and into sports and hopefully a Tar Heel, but as long as she is someone who I can goof off with, we’ll probably have a solid relationship.

Grace L.

My parents started off as friends — actually, my dad had a girlfriend when they first met. But over time they grew closer as friends and started dating. My parents have the greatest relationship I have ever seen.

Hannah.

There was this one time in sixth grade I had this big crush on this kid Christopher. I was walking down the hallway and telling my friend I love Christopher and all of a sudden I turned around and there he was, standing right behind me. I was so embarrassed. He said, “hey, Hannah,” and I said, “heyyyy.” I kept liking him because I thought it was secretly endearing and exciting he knew my true feelings at last.

Joaquin and Vandi.

Vandi and I have been married for a little over nine years (crazy, right?). We met on July 25th…at a bar…but we’ll call it a restaurant. I was single, of course, with no kids and no responsibility. She was at the other end of the bar talking to a rough-neck dude with a beat up, oil stained ball cap who clearly hadn’t showered in days…maybe weeks. (Not true-he was talking to me and he was a competitive bull rider…but he did have a big chew in his mouth.) She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen but, at the time, I questioned her intelligence. We ended up talking that night for an hour or so but I didn’t get a number…probably because I didn’t ask. (I wouldn’t have given it to him, if he had asked…and note that I did NOT offer it up.) Fast forward…my friend ended up finding her on MySpace—I swear it was cool back then—and I couldn’t help but check it out. She had a son and she was looking for a replacement teddy bear. I knew where to find it and took advantage of my opportunity. The rest is history and we ended up getting married on January 25th, just six months after I’d seen her.

Katie R.

I just want a dude who will make dub smashes and understand YouTube references. He needs to be able to put up with some weird shit.

Raymond.

My partner has to be able to put up with me and all my weirdness and preferably also be weird since normalcy is overrated and boring. I’m not saying she has to be a Star Wars crazed, Lord of the Rings loving, Game of Thrones geek like myself, but it’d be cool if she watched those with me. After all, I’m willing to watch rom-coms with no objection. I love those movies, obviously Love Actually is the gold standard of rom-coms, but there’s just so much to enjoy about most of them. Maybe I love them cause I think it’s symbolic of all my relationships where I’m a comedic hopeless romantic. Maybe I’m overthinking it. Who the hell knows.


Who the hell knows how to find the right person, and then get that right person to date you, and then live happily ever after in that feeling of right? Maybe it all starts with a mutual love of cookies, or a willingness to make tons of dub smashes, or a competitive bull rider who hasn’t showered in roughly two weeks. Regardless, something sets off this magnetic pull and you realize you’ve unexpectedly found your person in the most unlikely of ways. Who the hell knows.