Get Your Game Face On: Dating (or a Singles Auction) is EXACTLY Like Athletic Competition

I suck at dating. I can back this up: I always fall for someone only after getting to know them for a loooong time. I’ve turned down guys I ended up being attracted to way after they’d moved on. It took me years to get over my high school crush. Do you read me? No wonder I’m a mess. The adult, not-in-school-anymore version of dating is like a foreign language to me!

So what the hell do I think I’m doing auctioning myself off tonight? When offered the chance to write my bio for the event, I didn’t know how to fill in the “Pam is looking for____” blank, so I panicked and passed.

Luckily, there’s one thing I’m REALLY good at: athletic competition. I might not be a gymnast you’ve heard of, but this is fact: 9 out of 10 times, I will do a better routine when it counts than I’ve ever done in practice. That’s because I’ve mastered getting into The Zone. When you have to compete alongside kids more than HALF your age (yes, I do that), well, let’s just say it’s a humiliation not to be enjoyed but to be survived. And The Zone is your strongest weapon.

Zing! Humiliation- isn’t that the very essence of dating? Who WANTS to be dating? Most of us suffer through this misery because we want to be married someday. Yes, even me. Someday WAY down the road I hope, but yeah, even relationship-phobic me.

Back to my analogy. If you really want something, you must go through (sometimes mortifyingly embarrassing) fire. It’s practically a rite of passage. Lucky me, I embarrass myself quite often, so I’ve got The Zone down to a science.

Preparing for a date (or auction) is OBVIOUSLY best done as you would for a competition:

FUEL UP
Because when you’re out there competing, or dating, not only do you need the energy, but the thought of eating might just make you nauseous in the moment, so you need to be able to go, go, go. And you never know; maybe your date will take you somewhere with horrible food. (Take a granola bar along just in case.)

REMEMBER: WINNING ISN’T EVERYTHING
Actually, every real athlete knows this mantra is total bullshit. If you don’t wanna win, why are you even bothering? The trick is this: you only think about winning during practice. When you’re under pressure, you BETTER be telling yourself winning doesn’t matter, because it’s the only way you won’t crack! So go ahead, tell yourself: this date does not matter. It does not matter if no one cool bids on me. If I don’t make a good first impression, it doesn’t matter. Etc. Feed your ego some BS during crunch time, because it needs it!

PRACTICE LIKE YOU TRAIN
You don’t spend all those hours in the gym just to falter when it counts. Likewise, you don’t enjoy being single, figure out who you really are and what you really want only to fall for the first schmuck who looks good and is fully employed. Stay focused!

DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO THE COMPETITOR AHEAD OF YOU
When I compete, I never, EVER watch the person who performs right before me. I’ll watch everyone else, then use those extra minutes to clear my head and shut out everything around me.

So, don’t think about so-and-so who met the guy or girl of their dreams last night, or another friend currently hiding from Bunny Boiler. Others’ performances don’t affect you! Thinking about them now can only trip you up.

SET SPECIFIC GOALS
Every athlete knows this. Set a new PR, increase your mileage, just finish—whatever. Goals are personal. For tonight’s auction, mine are the following:

–         Do not trip on stage. DO NOT.
–         Have fun! Because the 19 other Singles are awesome, and some of my derby family will be in attendance! (Look for the badasses on skates!)
–         Look good. Because when there are pictures to be taken, I’m extra vain. Simple as that.

FORGET ABOUT THE PAST
How you messed up in training yesterday does not matter. How royally you screwed up your last relationship or date does not matter. GET YOUR HEAD IN THE HERE AND NOW!

Do you give yourself a pep talk before a date or approaching strangers?

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