I've obviously updated the banner, but I'm also wanting to work on the sidebar. Really. Promise. I've been seeing lots o' new commenters lately, and I haven't been able to keep up with the Technorati links. So comment with your blog name and link and I'll link to ya. Really. Promise. (Also if you're "new" tell me how ya found me. 'Cause I want to know.) Also, does anyone have a suggestion for blogrolling-managing free site/program/sytem, etc. Been using Blogrolling. The 'rolls gotten out of hand. Date details forthcoming.
After tons of e-mails, creepy IMs, winks, flirts, icebreakers, profile scanning, forward questions, obnoxious phone conversations and other generally uncomfortable happenings, I have done it. I am actually going on a date with on of the Online Dating Guys. The Academic. I’d been annoyed that we hadn’t been able to get together sooner. Our schedules seem to be pretty opposite. He had suggested lunch last week, and I’d canned that idea as politely as possible, since on most days my lunch break consists of me trying not to get crumbs on the keyboard or Diet Coke on the reports. So, we’re meeting for lunch at an Indian restaurant on Saturday. I’m excited and cautiously optimistic. He suggested Indian because we did days of e-mailing back and forth while he was out of town and the topic of food came up. He’s a fan of Indian and I like what I’ve had, so it seemed like a fun idea. I’m thinking a flippy blow out. I’m thinking casual flowy skirt. I’m thinking tightish T-shirt or tank. I’m thinking sexy little sandals. Nerves. There is this moment, before we meet, before the date, before the curry. When all I can do is give myself a wink and smile, take a deep breath and hope for the best.
In an e-mail to my anonymous free e-mail address used exclusively for junk mail and Online Suitors who make it past the initial wink/flirt stage:
"Shouldn't you be on hot mail? ;)"
What do you do when someone you KNOW messages you through a dating site? Send back a chatty, "Hey, remember that night at [The Cigar Bar] when we all listened to that little band?" Or, should I ignore the fact that we have mutual acquaintances and act "surprised" if I end up setting up a coffee date with him. This guy isn't a close friend, but we've met through friends at least once. He definitely was checking out one of my buddies the night we met. He even asked if she had a boyfriend.
The girlfriend I was with that night, we're kind of opposite types. I'm tall with brown hair and she's short with blonde. The other differences are harder to pin down, but they are there.
We approach things differently.
She's a lawyer. I'm a PR girl.
She was drinking Miller. I was sipping white wine.
I mean, he was definitely a nice guy, even if he did check his Blackberry at the bar.
But, sloppy seconds? Knowing that at first glance he went in the opposite direction?
Or, do I assume that it was dark and maybe he didn't get a good look the first time?
"I had a picture of the baby, and everyone thought he was my grandson," Mom announced as we gossiped in Southern style, around the cleared table, munching on angel food cake and pistachio pudding, a cool Sunday dessert.
"And I said, 'No no!' He's my NEPHEW," she said emphatically. "My friends are just amazed that I'm not more upset about not having grandchildren."
My mom took a sip of iced tea and looked on as the baby in question, my cousin, slept soundly in my arms. I'd been holding him and cooing at him and he'd slipped into sleep before I could put him down.
"Oh really?" I asked, almost accusatorily.
My grandmother interrupted to give me pointers on holding the baby. My aunt interrupted to point out that as the oldest of all of the grandchildren, I was quite skilled in baby handling. I could feel a satisfied smile coming across my face in appreciation that someone recognized the number of diapers I'd changed and bottles I'd made over the years.
"Yes," Mom said. "Well, I always tell my friends that if y'all had kids, it would be a case of kids raising kids."
"Is that so?" I brushed my fingertips across the child's cheek and listened to his gentle breathing. I didn't disagree. But I wanted to make a point.
"Then why are you trying to set me up with every divorcee who crosses your path?"
I angled my iced tea glass so I wouldn't drop condensation on the baby's head and pointed my eyes to Mom.
"Well, I want you to be with SOMEONE," she said, emphasizing the last word as if I am all alone, free of human interaction.
"Yes, honey," my grandmother interrupted, again.
"A woman needs a companion."
How do you break up with someone you’ve never met? The Accountant, a guy who messaged me through an online dating site, is kind of creeping me out. We chatted some online and I gave him my phone number so he called. We’ve had two long conversations full of red flags and me feeling uncomfortable. He asks really pointed questions. Questions you wouldn’t ask of someone before your first date – have I ever been in love, am I still in love with anyone, do I promise that I’m not into girls, do I wear thongs … I could go on, he certainly has. At first it was cute, but it is now borderline creepy. He’s trying to weed out characteristics of past girlfriends by asking if I’ve ever been “diagnosed with a mental disorder.” And he seems like he tries too hard to say things that he thinks women want to hear, like going on about how he’s going to take to me to a Five Star Steakhouse. Only problem? Had he been listening to me, he’d know that I don’t eat steak. But no, no, he’s too busy calling me “Little Girl” and “Poor Little Baby.” And now he’s gotten especially odd. Last night he kept saying that he wished he could be cuddled next to me. And when I gently tried to get him off of the phone, he accused me of “trying to get rid of him” and then saying that I was reminding him that he couldn’t be holding me tight. The kicker? Dude has yet to ask me out for even a coffee date. Next!
Friday night: Last year's bronze sandals from Nine West, worn with dark jeans and a brown tunic-length shirt to sushi and drinks for Party Girl's birthday. Saturday afternoon/evening: Brand new Gianni Bini Black Swirl D'Orsay pumps (listed under "dress" on the Web site if you want the specs) worn with distressed cuffed denim pedal pushers and a black lacy top, super straight hair and dangly silver earrings to a family barbecue and then out with Southern Belle and friends. My Mom was quite beside herself that I'd wear such "impractical" shoes to an outdoor event. I turned my shoe snob nose up at the suggestion that I leave my new lovelies at home on a Saturday night. Sunday: The blue-and-green Unlisted sandals I purchased at the Tent Sale from Hell. I finally found an excuse to wear them -- a baptism. I paired them with a knee-length light-colored A-line skirt and a bright blue cami under a white sweater. I felt truly fabulous strutting around with them on, the envy of every young girl who dreams of one day trading in her childish flats for lady shoes and every aging woman who wishes she could trade her boring Naturalizers for an afternoon of youthful shoe endeavors.
I smiled as I set a bowl of warm seafood bisque on the table and took my seat. I smoothed a napkin across my lap, crossed my ankles beneath the table and stirred my soup with a spoon.
"Well, what are you doing these days?" My Aunt's Husband's Stepmother asked. "Still in school?"
"No, I work in public relations."
I took a bite of soup.
"I work in the press office of [Organization Name]."
She seemed very impressed.
"Well, I have a nephew – actually, TWO nephews," her eyes filled with excitement as she spoke. "They are both very nice."
I politely listened, trying to fill my mouth with soup and salad and avoid having to comment.
"Yes, one works in computers. He's one of those network guys. And the other is in the software company; I think he's pretty high up. They help people install tax software."
"That sounds really interesting," I replied before chomping on another bite of salad. The more she talked, the less I wanted to have to respond. I don't want to be hooked up with this family's Men to Marry Off anymore than they want to be hooked up with me.
"Yes, they are very hard workers," she said.
I smiled and took another bite of soup. It is always best not to be negative about potential familial fix-ups, but I had a feeling that if two eligible single men existed in this extended family (not related by blood at all), my Aunt would have mentioned them. It's such a double-edged sword. If you like the family's fix-up, everyone stresses about the relationship and puts undue stress on it. And it becomes awkward. If you don't end up dating the person, then you constantly have to explain why you didn't like Nephew One and Two. And you can't say anything about wanting a boyfriend, because then everyone says, "But what about the Nephews?"
"Honey?" The Stepmother turned to my Aunt's Husband's Father. "Where did they have that apartment? Where do they live now?"
"I don't play matchmaker," he said and went back to eating.
"Well, they do sound very nice," I said politely. "And technology is an ever-growing field."
And I shoved a piece of bread into my mouth.
Spent a few hours talking with the Accountant, 35, last night. The conversation was nice. He seems like an okay guy. The positive is that he's interesting and talkative. And we are interested in some of the same things, which is nice.
The flip side of this is that while we're interested in some of the same things, we're bound to disagree on many of them. He's a hardcore political junkie with opinions opposite of mine. I don't mind this. However, he seems very into it and brought it up several times. It is as if his political preference is how he defines himself. This could be problematic in the future, as sometimes I don't want to constantly have my mind on serious things.
The phone conversation did seem long, mostly because I hate talking to people on the phone when they live in town. I'd rather just go have a coffee. This wasn't an option at 11 p.m. last night.
He also asked some very pointed questions, ranging from if I had piercings or tattoos to if I was somehow emotionally unstable or off-balance. He seems very interested in a serious relationship.
"What kind of women have you dated in the past?"
He just laughed.
I've also had some furious e-mailing with the Academic, who is visiting family on his break from teaching and researching. He's revealed his somewhat eccentric side, but we also share some common interests and have been exchanging some quality "getting to know you" e-mails.
I do have a few concerns, the first (and biggest) being that I'm tired of e-mailing the guy and want to have a beer with him or something. It seems like next week would be the first time would be possible. I'm over e-mailing.
The Jazz Musician sent me his contact info, but I haven't e-mailed yet. I was a bit perturbed because I sent him my e-mail and messenger name and then he messaged back through the site telling me his e-mail.
Um, just e-mail me.
Also, one guy who I'd e-mailed with a bit last week is proving to be very sweet. He's the Nice Guy. I haven't had a chance to call him, so I sent him a quick note apologizing for this and blaming my new job. He e-mailed back today to quickly say that he hoped my new job was going well and that he was still interested. Very cute.
So, I messaged back that I would give him a ring so we could set up a coffee date one afternoon this weekend. I felt bad because I have plans both nights already with my friends and I don't want to commit an entire weekend night (choice scheduling time) on someone I don't really know. I'd rather do a short coffee date first. Hopefully he won't feel like he's being blown off. (Although, he very well could, since I've been not very responsive this week.)
- Coffee with the Nice Guy on Saturday, if he can make it
- Drinks with the Accountant after work one night next week, because he works downtown as well
- Coffee or a beer with the Academic as soon as he returns
- An actual quality date for next weekend (not the one two days from now)
A guy, 35, who posed by his truck in a profile picture (pet peeve), sent me this gem in an e-mail:
you sound very interesting, but I am curious. your section on your wants for the guy is very open. what do you want besides a laid back confident guy with a sense of humor.Now, I employ the three-paragraph format I talked about here. Something about me, something about what I want, something witty-ish about me or as a closing. I'm not writing a thesis titled "Personality Traits of a Particular Single Woman and Her Theoretical Perfect Male Counterpart." It's a profile. Geez. I don't know why this irked me, but it did. Because I did list other traits. I said I wanted I guy who was opinionated, yet open-minded and someone who was fine both having a fun night out or staying in and relaxing. Part of me wanted to employ Professional Communicator tactics on him and restate my position in more forceful terms. Like this:
Actually, if you carefully read my profile, you will see that I've listed five traits that I want in a man, not just the three you chose to get hung up on. To summarize my position on the potential mate ...I ultimately decided that this was a bad idea. I checked his profile, and -- wait for it -- he doesn't list any traits that he wants in a woman. At all. He doesn't even say he wants a "Real, Honest Woman" or employ any other trite profile-isms, such as "not wanting drama." Next!
Since I figure I should take this stuff seriously, I started searching through profiles with the goal being to contact at least five guys who caught my eye. This was a bit rough, as I'm very anti-rejection and I was actually looking for guys who caught my eye and who I thought would respond. So, I ended up not contacting anyone and just sorting through the guys who contacted me. Perhaps this is not the best way to approach things. I know that I should cast a wide net. I'm approaching this with too narrow a view, I suppose. Things that annoy me about online dating:
- Winks and icebreakers and flirts. Lord, just send me a damn e-mail.
- Guys from bazillions of miles away contacting me. Did I mention on my profile that I wanted to move to New York? Nope!
- Guys who can't spell. Seriously.
- Wondering if I should politely decline the guys I'm not into or just ignore them. (I've been ignoring them.)
- Men who list substandard establishments as where they like to hang out. I am a bar snob, not going to be caught dead in some trashy bar known for attracting rednecks. Next!
- Academic boy e-mailed a short note back that he was out of town, but promised that if I replied, he'd owe me a longer e-mail. He used an e-mail address with his full name (I don't for safety reasons.) and I waited two full minutes before Googling him. (I think that is an accomplishment.) Seems cool and I'll definitely try to wrangle a meeting for coffee sometime next week. Maybe. Am I actually going to go on an online date?
- Another guy, 35, e-mailed me. He seemed sweet, so I e-mailed back. He sent me a really flattering e-mail about how I write really well (based on my e-mail?) and his phone number. Nice enough guy. I should call him.
- Chatted with a 28-year-old business student. Seemed ok, promised to e-mail. We'll see.
- Spent 30 minutes writing a really short and witty reply to a 28-year-old jazz fan who wears really cute plastic glasses. Hoping he'll drop me a line even though I know nothing about jazz music.
- Had some weird e-mail exchanges with a 30-something fitness trainer who seemed more into a hook-up than anything else. He sent an annoyed e-mail back because he apparently was hoping for something tonight. No thank you.
From S: Ok, I am going to hold you all personally responsible if this online dating stuff doesn't work. I'm in free trial mode now, but if this turns out to be a disaster, I'm putting up a PayPal and y'all can pay for it! 'Cause really, I'm doing this for all of you poor souls who must get bored with my nondating dating blog. A small sampling of the men I've attracted (and rejected):
- Two men with very limited use of the English language (One from California, the other from Africa)
- A 51 year old with a prominent picture of him in his convertable (Mid life crisis much?)
- A 19 year old who lives in the middle of the woods, but is "very interested" in me
- A 21 year old who doesn't like "the club scene," doesn't drink and wants to go on long walks in a park
- Many men who use animated emoticons
- A 38 year old who is making kissy-faces in his profile picture
- Several guys who've listed "NASCAR" as an interest
- Several men in their mid-to-late forties
- Responded to one e-mail out of more than I can count; sent him my e-mail address. He's already messaged back that he's e-mailing me there.
- Sent one (hopefully witty!) message to an academic-type guy who caught my eye.
- Both of these guys are older than 30. Because I've had such a great track record with the over 30s lately, right?
"I just think it would be fun to have a baby," I said after a glass of wine and two margaritas. I cradled an imaginary child in my arms in the space between me and the bar, showing off just how fun parenthood would be.
B raised his eyebrows and gave me a funny look.
"Well, not NOW," I shot back. "But don't you ever think that maybe it's time to have a baby and a house with a picket fence?"
B looked even more confused as to what possessed me to have serious baby talk at a bar. I asked if his biological clock had started ticking yet.
"Um, well, I've never really thought about it …" he stammered.
"I don't mean have a baby with YOU," I said forcefully, my drunkenness showing.
I sipped my margarita and repeated my original sentiment.
"I just think it would be fun to have a baby," I said.
"It's fun to go out drinking like this," he said.
He punctuated this thought with a sip of his Top Shelf on the Rocks before he continued.
"I mean, when I think of things that are fun, I think its fun to have a PARTY."
Small round pearls dotted the surface of her strapless white dress. I felt them press into my arms as I wrapped them around her in a big hug and held her tight.
"You're married," I whispered into her ear, more for my benefit than hers. "I can't believe you're married."
I pulled back and looked her, so simply styled, yet classically beautiful, with her hair pinned up and flowers nestled among the strands. A wide smile seemed permanently etched on her face.
Tears welled up in my eyes and I clumsily pushed one away, turned my head and apologized.
"I'm sorry, I just …"
"I know, babe, I know," she said.
"We just used to sit up at [The Bar] and drink beers and you were my other single girl pal for months and months …"
My words quickened as I tried to regain my composure. She just laughed with an understanding smile.
"And we just never thought that this was going to happen. Remember how we never thought this was going to happen?"
She laughed again and nodded. We talked some more about how beautiful she looked, how happy I was for her, how fabulous He is. I couldn't hear the loud music around me, didn't see the dancing, didn't smell the cake. I was tipsy, from both wine and emotion.
He came over, so handsome in his tux, slid an arm around her waist and they grinned. There were no more words. He has more of a connection to her now than I ever could, even on those nights when we downed crisp, cold beers and greasy bar food.
Perhaps it is all of the weddings and wedding talk lately, but yesterday I started looking at online dating sites. This is despite the fact that I don’t even like the concept of online dating. I don’t think I can distill myself down to checkboxes and 500-character fill-ins and I don’t want to date anyone who can. Oh yeah, and I don’t want to have to pay $30 to have the same people who are whining on their profiles about “the bar scene” do exactly what people in “the bar scene” do – make snap judgements based on appearance. At least in bars they serve alcohol. But, I’m poking around some of the sites to see which one might be worth a short investment on my part. A nothing ventured, nothing gained approach to dating. Whatever. The problem is that I don’t want to filter people the way these sites let you filter people. Sure, I do what to at least know things like if someone smokes (not a dealbreaker, but I’ve worked hard to quit, I still cheat and I’m not sure I could handle the temptation) and what a person does and if they have kids. But, I actually want to filter out the following groups of people:
- Men who type their profiles in all caps
- Men who do not know that apostrophes do not make word plural (No, I am not grammatically perfect. But it’s a profile! It has character maximums! You can’t string together 1500 grammatically correct characters?)
- Anyone who refers to himself as an “Italian Stallion”
- Men who excessively mention “drama” and a desire to live with “no drama” in their lives (It’s not that I’m pro-drama per se, it’s just that people who talk about not “wanting drama” usually end up “causing drama.”)
- Men who’ve obviously posed shirtless on a bed just for their profile picture
- Men I already know (Boys from my elementary school and current drinkin’ buddies need not apply.)
- Men who like cats (I hate cats and am mildly allergic to them.)
- Men who are looking for women who are “real” (What does that even mean? No plastic surgery? No fake hologram women?)
- Men who talk about the writing of the profile in the profile (Yes, I know you hate writing “these things” and “never know what to say.” I’m a professional communicator, and if you can’t figure out a better opening line than “I never know what to say because I hate these things,” then I’m probably moving on. I mean, it isn’t even hard! Three sentences! First, outline who you are! (I.e. “I’m a single accountant who likes to rock climb and cook.”) Second, outline what you want! (I.e. “I’m looking for a woman who likes the outdoors and exploring new restaurants and trying new types of food.”) Third, say something cute! (I.e. “Drop me a line if you want to spice up your life.” Look! Done!)