Love in a small town
I hail from the land of Ericson, Nebraska. Ericson is a little village (can’t even be called a town) tucked away back in the Sandhills. With only 93 people and the majority of them collecting their social security check, dating is pretty sparse where I come from.
Everyone knows everyone and thus everyone talks to everyone, about everything. Hard as one may try, nothing stays a secret in a small town. Trying to keep a relationship under wraps is next to impossible.
Everyone has an opinion about everyone. You will never get an unbiased opinion of that guy you are thinking about dating. This can go both ways, the guy could have been a heart breaker and that reputation stuck with him even though he has changed. On the other hand maybe he hasn’t changed and you are really into him but the little old lady from the coffee shop saw him holding hands with a girl at a rodeo last week. It is more than easy to find out what someone does when you aren’t looking in a small town.
This brings me to a big problem in small towns. There is no such thing as casually dating. You can’t go on two or three dates with one guy and a few dates with another during the same time frame. You have to choose, one or the other. Are you in or out sweetheart?
Once word gets out that you and what’s-his-face have been seen out at the local Pizza Hut together, you are pretty much off the market and claimed by the guy on the other side of that booth. To make things worse, if you aren’t really too interested and were just trying to get to know the guy and move on to another one you’ve got to wait a while. If you move on to the next one too soon, God help you. The places to go on dates are limited in small towns and more than likely once you move on to the next guy everyone will know. Word spreads like a wildfire. Worse yet, while you are out on a date with a new guy, there is a fifty-fifty chance you will run into the previous one, or his friends, or his family. You’ve got to stay gracious and stay strong, you’ve got nothing to hide.
You’ve all heard the phrase there are plenty of fish in the sea, well in a small town it is comparable to a puddle. Most of the good catches have already been caught or may just be your cousin. The dating pool is pretty small and you are left with questions such as “what’s wrong with him?” and “why isn’t he snatched up yet?” and worst of all “are we related somehow?” Break out the family tree and send your grandma on a mission to get all the details at Friday morning coffee. Like it or not he’s going to have been talked about and you may as well use it to your advantage.
If you want to avoid this altogether you may as well buckle yourself in for a long distance relationship. Friend circles tend to overlap in neighboring towns so make sure you do your research on appropriate distance and start saving up for gas money.
All in all, I wish you the best of luck. Dating in a small town is quite a challenge, but maybe you will luck out and the grandson of Mrs. Johnson down the road just moved back and is looking for a fresh start and someone to start it with.