[Prescript: I made some minor post-publication edits based on some feedback I got.  One of those instances the director’s cut differs little from the original to everyone but the director, I think]

Growing up the only female child sandwiched between two brothers had its advantages.  I learned to play hard, act tough, and while I still cried way more than they did, hold back tears far better than most of my girlfriends growing up.  Layer on parents who wanted to make sure I was no wuss, and it’s no surprise that throughout most of my life I’ve been a pretty tough cookie.

This resiliency has had untold benefits.  But, its also had its downsides.  Other than when sick (when I morph into a total wuss), I never used to be good at letting people take care of me.  I always had to show that I was capable of getting my own back.  This has shifted a lot lately.  Mostly cause, as the song goes: breaking up is hard to do.

I’ve now been single for more than a year and in that time needed and asked for help with some pretty major stuff.  From selling, packing up, and moving out of my house, to installing things in my new condo to countless hugs of support, I’ve learned not only how to ask for help, but also to embrace the fact that many of my friends and family actually enjoy doing things for me.  It’s one way they can express their love for me.  I know, not rocket science, but a big leap for someone who used to think that independence was next to godliness 🙂

What does this have to do with dating?  Well, as noted in my last dating post, one of the advantages of dating in your 30s is that you know yourself better.  You know what you have to offer, and what you want from a date / potential partner.

So, turns out the girl who has finally learned to embrace being cared for has decided she’d like to try to date guys who can fill this role.  Especially given I’m still not the best at asking for help, I think it’d be swell to be with someone who was a bit naturally inclined to caring for the woman in his life.

Not ridiculous over-the-top shit like pulling out chairs, but, you know, the kind of guy who takes charge from time to time.   Who might be the type to get my winter tires put on my car for me (there may have been an incident involving lots of swearing as I extricated my winter tires from my storage locker by myself this fall that prompted this particular example.  Maybe).  Or, more consistent with the dating as opposed to relationship world, who might pick me up for a date rather than meeting me somewhere, or take my arm in a crowded place to make sure I’m okay.

I’m not a princess.  I came of age blasting Hole’s Rock Star on my stereo, and thinking Lelaina made the right decision when she chose Troy over Michael in Reality Bites.  Am I surprised to find myself caring whether or not a guy offers to pick me up for a date in my 30s?  Yeh, a bit.  But then again, I’m also surprised by how cool it is to be in a place where I’m so in tune with what matters to me in a potential partner.  Good surprised 🙂