En route meetup anxiety—it's a real thing.

If you didn't think writing your dating profile and fielding incoming messages (or just waiting for a message) is the worst part about this process, then we're on the same page. Here comes the dreaded meetup. But even before that, it's the time leading up to the actual meetup. This is the timeframe that begins the day of the meetup from the moment you wake up to the 2-3 hours just before trying to will yourself off the couch to get ready. But the worst of the anxiety culminates en route to the meetup location. 

This is the time after I've texted my "safe person" my predestined location and my date's name (just in case I go missing), and now I'm driving to the meetup. There's a strong urge to text my person to alert her that I'm not going, but realized by doing so, the repercussions of this might actually be worse than going to meet this person. Instantly, my brain freezes, and I can not for the love of God remember this man's name that I'm meeting. And because I'm in the car, I can't pull up his profile to confirm it. This is where I start sweating (premenopausal). At this point, I'm locked in. So what else can I do other than cue date-rally music (something Sara Bareilles, of course) and whisper a profane prayer? It's "Ride or Die," Baby—fully wishing that I could just die at this moment. 

I remember my very first date after my divorce, the first thing I blurted out of my mouth when I met him was, "Okay, full disclosure, this is the first 'first date' that I've been on in 20 years." (No pressure, right?!) And his full disclosure was that he had been doing this online dating thing on and off for the last 15 years (please add this one to the RED FLAGS category, too). Literally, my jaw dropped. But actually, that date was great!

But really, it's the post-date updates from some of the worst date experiences (the ones that have you convinced you'll end up an old woman surrounded by cats and wearing purple—alone) that are recognized as badges of valor amongst humanity. It's those experiences that make the best stories and keep us continually swiping right trying to believe that those can't possibly be the norm. So we continue to test fate, and for some reason, we always come back for more.   

Keep following Jinny in her dating series on the OCN.

What's the worst part of the dating process for you? Please share yours in the comments.