There must be something in the spring air, ’cause all of the sudden a lot (OK, 3) of my friends have been talking about “recycling.” No, not paper towels and saran wrap, though people do do that, which I’ve always thought was weird. No, what we’re talking about is recycling dates.

Recycling dates or boyfriends occurs most frequently during those months where nothing is really going on: no nice weather, holidays, or excitement to distract you from the crushingly boring reality that is your singledom. You’re suffering from an all-encompassing ennui that prevents you from getting excited about online dating or going out into the world and meeting someone new. You just…don’t feel like it. Meh. Blah. Zzzzz.

But you still want to get laid. You still want a little bit of excitement in your life. You just don’t want to have to put forth any effort.

So, you scroll through your Contacts list to look for the perfect Recycling candidate.

The Pre-Requisites

  • Can’t be someone you dated too seriously, or someone with whom you had an emotional breakup.
  • Has to be in the same city, unless one of you has upcoming travel plans.
  • Doesn’t need to be someone you’ve already hooked-up with: old flirts totally count.
  • Can’t be someone who is still desperately in love with you.
  • The relationship – or whatever it was- has to be long enough in the past that rekindling things feels new again, and not just…perfunctory.

Once you’ve found the perfect person (or perfect people?), you send them an out of the blue text or Facebook message, for example:

“Hey! Haven’t seen you in forever. What are you up to these days?” 

Which really means:

“Hey! I’m not seeing anyone interesting right now, are you?”

And then you meet up for drinks, and the rest is history. Literally. Because you’ve already done this.

Maybe this recycled date will turn out to be the love of your life, and you won’t be able to believe you had so carelessly discarded him before!

But most likely, you’ll carry on for a bit, until whatever it was that kept it from working out the last time proves to still be a problem, and you go your separate ways. Again.

Recycling dates is usually harmless, and pretty damn tempting when you’re lazy and it’s April and you just want things to be easy.

But there are so many people in the world, to meet, to date, to kiss, to flirt with! And you’re only young once. Why waste time on someone you’ve already gone out with, just because starting things with someone you don’t know seems like too much work?

Recycling a boyfriend isn’t the worst thing in the world.

But falling in love with someone new is literally the best thing in the world.

Isn’t it worth the extra effort in order to play for the higher stakes?

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