It’s been a year since I declared my year of openness open. So I figured I’d give you all an update on how things went.

Firstly I’d like to say that I’ve had a really good 12 months. I know I set out to get to know girls till the end of the year, but somewhere in there I decided 12 months was more appropriate.

Now let me give you some statistics (these are from memory so I could be wrong).

In the course of the year of openness:

  • I went on 9 dates, with 5 women, 3 which were blind (the dates, not the girls)
  • I drank 14 beverages (6 beers, 4 Cokes, 3 chai lattes and one tea)
  • I had 3 meals, watched one movie and went to 4 pubs and one art exhibition
  • I didn’t kiss anyone

The next thing important thing to say is that all 5 women are pretty great. I spent hours with each of these women* and found it a real privilege to get to know each one. First and foremost, all of them love Jesus and encouraged me to love Jesus better myself. All of them have different gifts and passions. They’re all fun in different ways and have interesting stories to tell. They all have unique qualities of beauty which I would never have had the chance to appreciate had I not got to know them. If I got nothing else out of the year I feel really blessed that I got to spend time with each of them.

I learnt that there are good ways and better ways to do dating. I’m no expert but for the early dates I didn’t do as well as I could (probably on the later dates too). Communication is difficult and knowing how much to tell the people around you is also difficult. Figuring out how to end the dating when you decide things aren’t going to go further is tough. Especially because everyone I hung out with/dated was good quality. If one of them had beaten up puppies, it would have made the conversations easier (“I can’t date you because you beat up puppies” – simple). Sometimes they told me they didn’t think we should continue and that was good too, it certainly took the stress off me. I appreciate that they all had plenty of grace for me when I did the dating/communicating/caring thing badly.

Following on from that I learned was that dating is not as simple as just hanging out. No matter how casual I tried to make it, there were always feelings to navigate, etiquette to adhere to, unsaid expectations to communicate and figure out. Dating can be stressful. None of the girls were stressful, but I was trying really hard to do it well, and it mostly wasn’t just a matter of hanging out and getting to know each other. Still, when I wasn’t stressing about how to do it right, it was pretty fun.

So if you are someone I went on a date with in the past 12 months I’d like to say “Thank you”. Thanks for hanging out with me, thanks for being fun, thanks for being generous to my faults, thanks for letting me get to know you, thanks for letting our crazy friends (or my mother) set us up, thanks for participating in my year of openness. I hope I encouraged you as much as you encouraged me.

As for the future of my dating career I’m not going to make any grand pronouncements. I have seen that being open to possibilities can be fun and rewarding. Whatever else happens, I will endeavour to find myself a Thai chef to keep in my kitchen (I’m not planning on marrying one, men can cook good Thai too), because while the year did yield a lot of good things it didn’t yield one of them and that is probably my greatest disappointment.

*I keep wanting to write girls, but that seems condescending, and none of us are teenagers anymore. On the other hand girls sounds more carefree and fun and it’s probably not offensive. As you will see I’ve written both women and girls, I hope no one is upset.