Spring! It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to...dating.
The woodland creatures are pairing up in twitterpation, the plants are gearing up their lures, birds croon their come-hithers, and even the stinkbugs are stirring themselves up for the hunt.
Valentine’s Day is long over, so the pressure is off; the weather improves every day and there’s an hour more of daylight to scope out the hordes of people venturing out into the sun to alleviate their wan spirits and pale complexions.
But, it seems many folks are already paired up and taking advantage of the gorgeous days for the couples’ promenade through Baker Park and the Carroll Creek Linear Park. Most of the singles seem to be under the age of 21 and gather in girl gaggles or boy bunches to toss off cute come-ons or indecent proposals.
In all my hours of observation over the last three springs, I’ve rarely seen a possibly single fellow over the age of 25 approach and speak to a possibly unattached female or vice versa. (It probably should go without saying that I don’t see similar same-sex interaction either.)
Unless, of course, the two are inside a building and alcohol is involved. Or at Alive at Five, or some such event, in which case alcohol is still involved.
Outside of libation-fueled link-ups, how do more -- let’s say -- mature (30+) folks go about paired socialization around here without involving alcohol? Not that I’m looking...
There have been a couple of lovely people I’ve met in the work environment, or in the course of my commute, on Frederick’s Transit service and on both the MARC train and the MTA commuter bus, whom I’ve gone on to meet with outside of the job or the ride. But there was the one guy on the Meet-the-MARC shuttle about my dad’s age who asked for my number. And, as I headed downtown on foot one day, there was this random dude (also near my parents’ age) driving by in a pickup truck who stopped, turned around and tried a -- well, I have to say it -- a pickup line. (Yes, I see what I did there. Sorry.)
I see that the FNP has an online personals section, and there are plenty of local folks on the other dating sites, like Match.com, but that’s all virtual, at least at the outset. Advice columns talk about catching someone’s eye at the supermarket, or a bookstore, or art gallery, or at some social or charitable event, and while we in Frederick have all of those, has ANYONE ever had success in those venues HERE? And there’s always church, but that has it’s own complications, from the lack of prospects within one’s own age range, to matchmaking members and from being too new in a congregation to being related to most of the congregation.
Some places I’ve lived, it was no big deal for either women or men to strike up a conversation with a stranger that looked friendly and interesting, and make plans for coffee or a park bench chat later if there seemed to be some compatibility, regardless of whether it was ‘chemistry’ and attraction or only intellectual and platonic. Other places, only folks who have known each other for years (or at least had a passing acquaintance with their extended families), are considered candidates for asking out. As I’m still getting the feel of Frederick, I’m suspecting this town (and surrounding area) falls nearer on the “knowing one’s family” end of the continuum, but that it’s been changing as more people emigrate from other parts of the state and country (and world!) and settle here.
For now, I’m just continuing to make friends.
In the meantime though, I’ll meander through the parks, make eye contact and converse with friendly and interesting people regardless of which one of us initiates it, go to local events, and maybe -- just maybe -- once or twice see what’s going on from the vantage of a restaurant bar stool.
If you see me, stop and say hi.
Sorry about this post's messed-up debut. I've fixed the formatting.