Becoming a minimalist, then dating…
I recently joined an online dating site. This isn’t the first time, but it’s definitely one of the longest periods of keeping a profile and messaging people. The results have been surprising, and a couple of conversations may turn into more.
But my mind toils over my values. Something about joining a site and attempting to meet new people pushes me to buy new clothes, furniture, and conform to the idealistic picture of success. I switch to a basic consumer, and it goes against everything I’ve tried to accomplish with this website.
Joining the frugal frontier has led me to sell the extraneous and embrace minimalism (e.g., I’m actively trying to sell my remaining books, as I’ve switched to ebooks). Amidst this lifestyle shift, the cost of dating seems to be measured in more than a meal.
There’s a psychological change — for better and worse — associated with going into “dating mode.” That mode urges me to buy, buy, buy. Like a laser beam surveying my belongings, I scan my apartment for the out-dated and unimpressive.
Out with the old, in with the new?
Dating mode makes me think, “Maybe I should get a nice, full couch?” Yeah, that would really spruce up my apartment. Cost would be no object. I want something that speaks to my unique personality. I don’t want to stoop to some cheap, tattered, beat up couch — that’s not me. Moreover, maybe I should’ve kept my TV — because what would a couch be without one? It’s like I draw from a catalog every time I enter this state.
Dating mode pushes me to upgrade my wardrobe. Most days I think I have the perfect amount of clothes — providing style and warmth, and offering a wealth of options year round. But when I enter this other place, I see the fault in everything. I think, “Look at my pants! I bought these about 5 years ago. Why do I still have them?” In this warped state: “That shirt isn’t crisp enough. It’s gotta go.”
Dating mode suppresses my critical mind. All I can think about is the stink of old versus new. Everything is stale and worn out. As a mere extension of what I own, I feel stale and worn out.
There’s only one solution: own it!
Not only can my budget not withstand wanton purchases, but I left that life — intentionally. It took a significant leap of faith to buck the trend — what we’re told and sold by corporate America. The Ikea catalog and Macy’s mannequin sell a life I’ve always strived for, but it’s artificial and constructed for maximal spend. Unfortunately, I’m conscious that many people subscribe and aspire to this “perfect” home and wardrobe.
Does that minimize my ability to see and date people? Perhaps, but here’s the important part: I’m willing to take the risk that someone doesn’t like me for my aged wardrobe and accoutrements. This is who I am. I am an environmentally conscious minimalist. I’m frugal, clip coupons, and look for the generic brands. I’m interested in saving for a future. I struggle to spend without restrictions, as there’s an entire class of people — globally — that don’t have enough healthy food, water, and basic necessities.
There’s only one solution that fits my new lifestyle: to own who I’ve become. I can’t be ashamed of this life I’ve chosen and the new path I’m taking. I have loved paring down my wardrobe, selling my car, buying a bike, and sharing my story with people. Hopefully, someone will see that passion when the time comes.