Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

With some resolve

Last year, I decided to take the advice of a very good friend, and go where I am happy - not where I think I should be. He told me I shouldn't settle for someone who wouldn't let me be myself, or who made me feel like I had to change.

It took some doing - a love cleanse, a few bad dates, and a guy who wouldn't go away - but I did find someone who makes me very happy. It turns out, it doesn't show up the way you expect, or when you're looking. Happiness shows up on its own terms - not yours.

I've learned to be okay with that. Things really do happen the way they're meant to happen. Once you learn to trust that, it seems things do start to fall into place.

So, for 2012, I resolve to keep on accepting. I resolve to keep on enjoying, and learning more about Trooper - and about myself.

I resolve to shine.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Priorities

On Christmas Eve, Trooper and I had a couple of different plans that sort of got squished together, time-wise. I have to admit - I panicked a little.Turns out, I'm not very good at mixing my schedule and priorities with someone else's. I texted Baking Suit, and thankfully, she was able to talk me off the ledge.

Trooper had something he wanted to do in the afternoon - which meant we had to go to a later church service, which meant we'd be a few minutes late for dinner with my friend's family. I was worried, too, because I wanted to change my outfit. Sounds stupid, I know, but I didn't feel my best in what I was wearing. I needed a boost of confidence, since I was introducing Trooper to new people - and two of them are my ridiculously-pretty friends.

But all of that was my concern - not his. I had myself all worried about silly stuff, and I was missing out on the good stuff, like enjoying time with Trooper, and what he wanted to do. I let myself get wrapped up in the idea that what I was worried about was more important than his worries - like who was winning the game.

In the end, I calmed myself down, and it all worked out. I reminded myself that just because we don't have the same priorities, doesn't mean mine are right. It means we're different, and dating isn't about figuring out how to get him to take on my priorities.

It's about learning to take on each other's.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Greatest gift

In case you're wondering, Trooper and I spent a lovely holiday together. We had dinner with a couple of my "families" and exchanged gifts together on Christmas Eve. I made (what would pass for) breakfast on Christmas morning.

As far as a gifts, he gave me a lot more than I gave him. That's always a little awkward, no matter what the relationship (unless it's a parent and child, I suppose). When you're searching for balance, and trying to sort out your place in each other's lives, it's important to feel...equal, I think, and like you get as much as you give. Otherwise, it's easy for one person to feel taken advantage of, and the other person to feel useless. 

But I also think that in any relationship, there's one person who wants to take care of the other; and each person wants different things. For instance, I like "stuff" while Trooper is more of a minimalist. He likes nice things, but doesn't feel like he needs a ton of anything. So giving him stuff isn't a big deal - but for me, having lots to open (big and small) is just fun.

He also gave me one of the greatest gifts anyone can; he spent time with me, and he gave up his time to go and have dinner with the people who matter most. It turned out it meant a lot to him to be invited.

So, I guess dating - and gift giving - isn't just about finding balance, and each other's place. It's also about learning each other's priorities, and what makes you both happy. You can learn a lot about a person based on how they handle holidays, and gifts, and families and busy schedules. 

After all, there's no greater gift than the chance to bring someone new into your life, and learn all about them - and what they can teach you about yourself.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Trust and confidence

I mentioned earlier this week how I'm learning that, in a solid, healthy relationship, outside friendships (even with the opposite sex) are okay. 

A couple of commenters thought this made sense; others disagreed, and stuck to the adage that men and women "cannot be friends; the sex gets in the way." 

One commenter admitted that one of her close friends is a guy who she "hooked up with a long time ago" and her boyfriend is okay with that. But, she says she would not be okay with him hanging out with a woman, especially one with whom he'd had a relationship. 

It takes a lot of guts to admit something like that; it's probably true for a lot more people than are willing to admit it. It's also very insightful; the commenter knows she can trust her boyfriend, and unlike so many others, she's not blaming him for her own self-esteem issues.That alone takes a lot more confidence than she may realize. 

I think any time that your partner, especially if you've been together a while, has something (hobby, relationship, success) outside the "unit" - it's scary. When you allow yourself to count on someone being around, anything that gives them a little independence from the relationship can make you wonder. 

It's even worse if you're insecure. "Oh, I'm very confident," some people respond. Fine - confidence is an attitude; it's how you present yourself to others. It's very possible to be confident on the outside, and still a little unsure of yourself on the inside. 

More than that, it's also possible to be confident in every part of your life, but maybe a little insecure over one small detail. 

I was once that woman who had no confidence in my relationship; at the end of the day, it truly was my own insecurities and self-doubt that caused me to feel that way. It wasn't about whether I could trust X - I just didn't trust myself.  

I didn't trust that I was good enough. 

It had nothing to do with him, or how he treated me, or how I thought he felt about me. It had everything to do with how much I didn't think I could do, and how threatened I was that X might "find out" what I couldn't do well. 

Thing is - eventually, we all have to come to terms with our weaknesses, and either accept them or overcome them. Once we do that, it won't matter who we meet, or what the circumstances. Once we trust ourselves - trusting them, and the situation, is that much easier. 

There's no definite answer for how to find self-esteem. Hell, even the most confident people struggle with it on a regular basis. Once you accept that it will be a life-long journey with its ups and downs, the closer you'll be. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Labels

I'm not really sure why I've been thinking about it so much - maybe because I've been buried in address and gift labels for weeks now. But I've been thinking a lot about labels, and their affect on people.

It turns out, Trooper and I have "labels" - of the official variety. I told myself that just because I was given a title, that doesn't mean I'm going to act any differently. I mean - why should it, right? No matter what name we give it, what we're talking about is a two-month old relationship that is going really well, and makes me very happy.

I believe where we are, and how we feel, is what should dictate our behavior - not the names we assign.

But I'll admit - since we started throwing the titles around, I've found myself...feeling a little different. Like, I have new roles and responsibilities - and rights. I caught myself the other day, when I was about to assume myself into his schedule - but I yanked myself back before it was too late. Phew.

It seems silly to me, not to mention unfair. I think one of the reasons things have been going so well is they have developed naturally. Nothing between us is forced or manufactured; that's why it works.

If I let myself get caught up in labels, I'll make assumptions, and set expectations. Basically, all that ease and comfort will start to unravel.

It got me thinking - is this why some people are so afraid to take that next step? Are people afraid that making something official is the beginning of the end? I've heard people use that as a reason to not get married; that marriage "changes things." I always wondered, "How?" How can just naming the relationship change it?

Maybe because we get so caught up in what we think the label should mean, we forget to just be ourselves? We get so focused on what we think people expect, we forget to just be true to our own feelings?

There's no way I'll be perfect. I know I'll slip and give into the expectations now and then. But I'm grateful I'm seeing this now, and hopeful I can remain true to myself and my own feelings.

After all - we know how I feel about other people's rules.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just friends

I was reading the other day that men and women can not be just friends; because the guy always wants to have sex with the woman. I also believe that Rob Reiner, with the help of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, have already covered that for us.

I used to think that was true. In fact - I used to have a real problem with X having a female friend. That ended badly; and isn't really the subject of this post.

Nowadays, I do think that men and women can be just friends. I have quite a few male friends. As it turns out, the ones to whom I'm closest are usually guys I once dated (or, you know, married then divorced).

I guess that's because that whole pesky sex-thing is out of the way; we've been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. It's not a lingering issue that stands between us and an honest, platonic friendship.

When I first started dating, I never thought I'd be okay with my significant other having friends of the opposite sex - and I certainly never would have imagined I'd be okay with exes. At first - I wasn't. I would worry and fret (and yes, facebook stalk), constantly thinking I was about to have the rug pulled out from underneath me - again.

I recently discovered that I no longer feel that way. Well, not as much, anyway. Trooper has plenty of female friends. Some are exes; and some are friends with whom he spends time. When I first found out, I thought I'd be bothered; I expected to be worried, feel insecure, and maybe even get a little mad.

I was surprised when that didn't happen.

I was so surprised that I actually asked a couple of trusted friends if they thought I was being crazy for not being upset. They assured me I was not.

Apparently, this is what happens when you're secure enough in yourself, sure of what you want, and you're in an open and honest and healthy relationship (at any stage).

Huh. Go figure. Here I thought it was all just a myth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Your own story

"You and your boyfriend are welcome for Christmas dinner...."

That's what my friend's mom said to me the other night. Then she caught herself, put her hand over her mouth and said, "Ooops...I forgot. I'm not supposed to use that word." 

Boyfriend. 

I'm not afraid of the label - but Trooper and I hadn't officially discussed using them, and honestly - I don't like to jinx myself. That, and I'm always afraid I'm too old to use the word "boyfriend" - but that's a different post. 

Trooper has been acting like we're a "couple" for a while. When I told a couple of my closest friends what was happening, they all reacted the same.

"He's totally into you." 

"You're in with this guy." 

"You're totally in a relationship - whether you know it, or not." 

The thing was, I felt that way, and I felt like I could trust Trooper. He's such a great guy (and no, I'm not just saying that because he might be reading). He's wonderful to me; sweet, kind, confident and honest and I have no reason not to trust him. If he's behaving like he likes me - it's safe to believe he does.  

I guess a part of me is was just worried because I don't always trust myself to read signs correctly. But, I've learned and grown a lot, and I've gotten better at relationships - partly because I've learned about other people, but mostly because I learned about and improved upon myself. 

In other relationships, I looked for signs; and when the signs I wanted weren't there, I looked for anything to point in the direction I wanted. I saw only what I wanted - and ignored the signs that were right in front of me. The conversations were forced; I couldn't be 100% honest because I was afraid of what the guy would say, how he'd react - and of the truth. 

With Trooper, I've never had to force anything, and I've never been afraid to be honest. Our conversations are always natural and comfortable. I'm able to be honest with him, and he with me. Maybe that's because we're both secure in who we are, and what we want - and I'm sure it doesn't hurt that we both really like each other. 

So, when we talked about the labels, it turned out we were already on the same page. Like everything else with him, it was simple, and comfortable, and easy. It felt right. So, maybe I'm getting better at reading signs. 

Or maybe it's less about reading others and more about knowing your own story.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Little bits...

Just a few thoughts to end your week (or start your weekend)....

- I told Trooper about this blog (Everybody wave!!)... He's such a cool guy, and took it totally in stride. 

- That said...he did make one suggestion. He thinks I should call him Bigger instead of Trooper. No - not because of that - get your minds out of the gutter! Because he's bigger, and better, than Big. 

- Blogs of Note really brought a lot of new visitors to my little corner. If you're new, welcome. 

- I'm totally tapped, time-wise, and want to make sure the community stays fresh, and we have plenty to chat about. That being the case, I am happily accepting guest-posts. Got something dating-related you want to get off your chest? Send me an email.

- If you enjoyed the Flowchart for Daters, outlining at which relationship stages to give a gift, you may also enjoy this helpful guide from iVillage - The right gift for every relationship stage. A vibrator that moves to the sound of his voice?!

Happy Friday!




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

White lies

The Free Dictionary defines a white lie as, "An often trivial, diplomatic, or well-intentioned untruth."

You know, like telling someone that you like an outfit (when you really don't) to boost her confidence, or telling a date you had a good time (when you really didn't) to spare his feelings. Or:
  • I know I sent that email...
  • I'll be ready in five minutes...
  • Oh, your baby is adorable!
You get the idea. 

For the most part, I try to avoid white lies, especially when dating. To me, a white lie is something best told to someone you won't see again. If the relationship continues, you may eventually have to fess up (depending on the lie). But still, they come in handy now and then, especially when I'm first getting to know someone. 

For example: 

"I blog sometimes..." Translated: I'm always writing something, and you'll find me everywhere if you google my real name. And then there's this other blog....

"Sure, I'm friendly with my ex..." Translated: He's one of my best friends, we're on each other's facebook, we still exchange Christmas gifts, and if this continues, you may eventually meet him. In fact, I'll be texting him after we say goodbye. 

"I like my job...." Translated: No, I really don't, but I want to make a positive first impression. You'll find out soon enough. 

"Of course I saw that movie..." Translated: I don't remember - but it's entirely possible that I did.

To read some other white lies daters typically tell, click here

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sound of rejection

No sound is louder than the silent sound of rejection.

Unfortunately, it's just something you have to get used to when you're doing the online-dating thing. You scour profiles, find the perfect person and it seems like you're their perfect person. You spend hours crafting the perfect email - the right balance of smart, witty and fun, only to be met with....

*crickets*

It happens; it's all a part of the game.

Read about it over at Singles Warehouse.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Write your own rules

"Maybe you can offer some insight?"

That's what my friend said to me the other day. My poor friends - they're never sure what they're getting themselves into when they ask for my advice.

Specifically - what's the time-frame for first kisses - and beyond?

Personally, I'm torn on this issue. I've said before, I don't really follow "rules." I think sometimes, we need to do what feels right - and write our own rules.

Relationships involve people - and people are unique. You can have all the rules you want, but things will play out differently with every new date, because the players are different. You might be a strictly 3-dates-before-a-kiss kind of girl - until you meet that one guy who is a game-changer.

Now, I've never been one to wait for a kiss - or much else, for that matter. Does that mean I run around sleeping with every guy I meet? No. But it does take an awful lot for a guy to get to date number two. Sometimes, that means things can move quickly - sometimes it doesn't.

It depends on the guy. I write a new set of rules with each one.

"Why is it we're willing to write our own vows, but not our own rules?" Sex and the City

Friday, December 9, 2011

Noteworthy

Any time my little corner of the interwebz gets recognized or promoted, I'm pretty excited. It doesn't take much to please me, I know - just don't tell any of my dates.

I'm pretty proud of this blog, and the fact that people have approached me more than once for advice, insight, perspective - and the occasional giggle, even if it's at my expense sometimes. Hey - I'm here to help. I mean yeah, the fame and fortune is nice and all... (Kidding.)

Anyway, just thought I'd mention that Girl's Got Shine was Blogger's Blog of Note on Wednesday, December 7, 2011!

Check it out, and while you're at it, check out the other Blogs of Note. There are lots of terrific little corners of the interwebz.

And if you're new here because you found me on that page - welcome! There's plenty of shine to go around.


Wrap it up

Assuming we're still together, Christmas Day will be exactly two months since my first date with Trooper. Someone close to me recently observed that it's so nice that I "have someone" during the holidays, the toughest time to be alone.

This person is also happily married to a freaking prince...

So while she's right that it is nice to be with someone for some parts of the holiday - I don't think she realizes all the challenges it presents. When a relationship is new at holiday time, it raises more questions than it answers. Like, does it mean anything if we spend time together on Christmas? Or is it too big a holiday to hope for, so soon into things? Does it mean anything if he doesn't ask me to meet his family, or doesn't want to meet mine? And the all important...

Should I get him a gift? 

I happen to know Trooper got me a gift, so I know I'm okay in at least getting him something little. I've already placed my order with Amazon Santa.

But in case you're looking for some guidelines, How About We posted a helpful flow-chart to help daters figure out what to give to whom, and when. Click here to see that post.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Price of doing business

This story about a woman who supplemented her income by dating guys she met online broke a couple weeks ago. I heard it from Cute~Ella first, and then Kristi blogged about it over here. I stayed quiet because...well, because everyone was already talking about it, and I wasn't sure what I could really add.

Then this morning, I guess ABC was talking about it on a morning show, and a friend texted to tell me about it. Her question was, "Why is this news?"

That's what I said. Because, let's face it - this girl didn't invent anything.

I've joked before that I've gone on dates when I'm short on grocery money. Now, I've never set up a system, and gone out with men purely for that purpose - but I have agreed to a date when I was less than interested, simply because I really couldn't afford to buy food that week.

Is that awful? Maybe. Bad for my karma? I'm sure. But original? Most definitely not.

Neither is the concept that men take women out on expensive dates because they're expecting hoping to get "something" in return. If some guys treat women that way, why is it surprising that some women respond accordingly?

When I go on a date, whether it's the first or the fifth, I go with an open mind. If I meet a guy and I know there's no chemistry, I wouldn't continue to see him. On the flip-side, when I meet a guy I really like, I call it off with everyone else, even if it means I have to eat ramen noodles for a week.

Maybe that's where I differ from Ms. Manhattan-on-a-budget. But I still don't think I am in a position to judge her (and really, neither is anyone else). While what she did might seem hurtful over over-the-top to some, the truth is, we've all done something while we're dating that others might find questionable.

If you're single and dating, there's always a chance you'll give more than you get, make a bad decision, hurt someone whether it's intentional or not.

That's just the price of doing business.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Signs everywhere

There are a million signs that a guy isn't into you. There are also less obvious signs that he is into you. My problem has always been reading the darn signs. I misinterpret and misunderstand when I'm forced to guess or wonder or try to read between the lines.

I'm getting all kinds of signs from Trooper. Signs that I think (and hope) mean that he is into me.

- I once read that spending all your time at his place is a sign he's not into you - which, I suppose, means that spending time at your place means he is. Following this logic, I was pretty happy when Trooper made an effort to hang at my place - and when he said he'd like to do so again. Score.

- Texting? He does it all the time. Even just to say he's thinking of me. And he flat out told me that he looks forward to hearing from me during the day, too.

- He asked me for a picture of myself, for his phone. And one day, while we were sitting eating ice cream, he randomly suggested we take a photo of the two of us together. That has to be a good sign, right?

- Facebook - he's "checked in" with me tagged, basically announcing to his facebook universe that we're spending time together.

The biggest sign of all? He tells me how he feels. I don't have to guess, or wonder, or prompt him for a response. He's just honest.

Finally, a sign I really can read.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dealbreakers

I used to have a "type." Then, after dating for a while, I realized that having a type often meant I would shy away from guys because they didn't fit the mold. For a while, I went on a date with just about any guy who asked, to make sure I wasn't walking away from someone worth keeping around. 

Sounds like a big waste of time, right? I definitely went on some lousy dates - but I learned a lot, so I wouldn't call it a total waste. Process is a better word; I had to go through it to learn more about myself, and what my real deal-breakers are. 

So what are they? 

* A job - or at least an idea of what he wants to do. In this economy, plenty of people are unemployed or underemployed - but there's a difference between a grown-up who had some bad luck, and someone who never bothered to grow up. 

* Live on his own. Again - while I get the economics, it just isn't for me. In fact Gardner had never lived anywhere but his childhood home. While he shares it with siblings now, and not parents - the point is, he'd never had to live on his own. I take care of myself, and I expect any SO to be able to do the same. 

* He's gotta like cats. I know, I know - it seems silly. But I love my kitties, and I know I'd never want to give them up. I considered it briefly, when thinking about dating someone who was allergic. The thought made me absolutely sad. 

* Previously married, or experience in some sort of committed relationship. Seem strange? Maybe. But I dated a guy once who had never been married, and had only been in one long-term relationship. He had trouble "getting" how compromise and balance in a relationship were supposed to work. I'd prefer to date a guy who has already learned those lessons. 

* Non-smoker. I tried; I really did. I just don't like it. 

* Tolerant of others. By this, I mean he needs to be politically and socially open-minded, and not judgmental of lifestyles that differ from his own. 

Now - maybe some of those are unfair. Everyone has their quirks, I suppose. But this article from the dating blog over at How About We lists some really picky deal-breakers. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Online herpes

Gardner texted me the other night. He asked how I was, and I said I was good - and then mentioned I was seeing someone. He responded by saying he wasn't sure why I'd say that.... Let me back up.

You may recall that the last time Gardner and I spoke - it didn't exactly go well. We basically broke up, and not on good terms. We were never just friends; we went directly from dating to not speaking at all. The last time we spoke, I wasn't seeing anyone; now I am, so I figured I should disclose that upfront. Whether he was reaching out to rekindle the dating, or just to be friends, it's new information, and seemed important to mention.

So that's why I said that.

In what seems to be normal Gardner fashion, he responded by saying, "I wouldn't have thought meeting someone meant you cut off all communication with the opposite sex. Silly dating rules."

Obviously - I haven't cut off any communication with anyone from the opposite sex. My friends are all still in my life, and there's no reason that would change.

Gardner wasn't my friend when Trooper and I met; we stopped talking before that ever happened. A fact which he was apparently overlooking.

I replied by saying, "The fact that we aren't friends has nothing to do with my relationship status. It has everything to do with snotty comments like that."

Suddenly, Gardner was being sarcastic, and was only reaching out because he "cares." Just so we're clear - he shows up after more than a month of no communication, immediately makes a snotty comment about me and my choices, then back-tracks when I call him on it. And he wonders why we aren't friends?

As Cute~Ella pointed out, he is totally the herpes of my online dating life.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Less than half

A friend and I were talking the other day about meeting new people, and how important it is (or isn't) to have things in common. He was a little concerned that a woman he met only has one real hobby - and it isn't one that he shares.

I said I didn't see that as an issue. It's not like they need to be tied together at the hip all the time. So, she goes off and does her thing, and he'll do his. If she only has one thing she's really into - she'll probably be open to just about anything when they are spending time together.

He thought about that, and agreed. It's not as if he wants to meet someone with whom he shares everything. Everyone needs time to themselves. If you share every hobby or interest - you'll get sick of each other pretty quickly.

On OK Cupid, one of the profile questions asks how much you want to have in common with a significant other; Everything, More than half, Half, Less than half. My answer is Less than half; but I've seen plenty of people who want to have More than half, or even Everything, in common with their "other."

That seems...boring to me. Half the fun of meeting someone new is learning and experiencing something new. If we already share everything, I won't learn anything - and I can't teach anything, either.

Guess I'm just a less than half kind of gal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Easy out

Remember this guy? From conversations I've seen around twitter, I know that he's been thinking that his kids are the reason he has trouble finding a date.

But I know that he can be difficult, and a little judgmental and...well, honestly, a little pompous at times.

That got me wondering - are the women really turned off by the fact that he's a parent? Or are they just looking for an easy out?

That's the topic of today's Singles Warehouse guest post. Check it out here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Monday

Because I blog about dating, my friends send me dating stories they find online, or from their own lives (or lives of others). I might get a short story, or a picture or an excerpt from a profile.

Sometimes the stories are funny, or ironic or just plain weird.

Then there the stories like this one - just plain horrifying.

Happy Monday, from Cute Ella.

Friday, November 25, 2011

He's a trooper

Things are going fabulous with Trooper. Fabulous. He's smart, funny, kind, caring, sweet, honest, and not afraid to tell and show me how he feels. I couldn't possibly be happier.

So of course - I'm a little afraid to blog about him.

I feel sort of...guilty, as if I shouldn't be sharing wonderful things that include him, when he doesn't know that I share this way. But friends have said I should wait to tell him about this blog.

Oddly enough, though I can never remember when my next dentist appointment is, what I needed to put on the shopping list, or what I had for breakfast - I have instant recall when it comes to key dates. That being the case - I know for a fact that today is exactly one month since my first date with Trooper.

So does that mean it's time to tell? We've had a couple of very personal talks; he's shared things and so have I. It seems to make sense, and I suspect it would actually be an okay conversation. Still, there's a little part of me that's worried.

I bet crazy cat ladies never have these problems.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who's on first?

I pointed out this article from iVillage the other day. I was reading the article a little more closely, and one of the items caught my attention.
She never makes the first move.
The article says though this issue has been "debated to death," the reasoning is that if the woman is always planning dates, she'll never know if the guy is really interested.

I disagree. Based on what, you ask? In a word - Big.

I applied this rational when we were dating, totally letting him plan our dates. Just about every time we saw each other for the first six months, it was because of his initiative. In the end, it still turned out that he was just not that into me. But here he'd been, planning dates for months, and here I was - believing the signs.

That just goes to show that, no matter how careful you are, if you're assuming how someone feels, and attempting to read between the lines, there will always be room for misunderstanding. Though I definitely like the idea of being pursued, at some point, you just have to take things into your own hands.

Even though it feels a little bit like game-playing, I really do try for some balance when it comes to who initiates what, and when. If a guy has suggested a bunch of dates, I will make the effort on the next one. Why?

First, because it shows him I'm interested. That seems only fair. I mean, guys have insecure moments, too, right?

Second - women spend entirely too much time trying to make sure we are the woman he likes. We never concern ourselves with whether or not he's the guy we like. The guy I like is someone with whom I don't have to assume or play games. He can handle me being upfront, and letting him know how I feel.

Lastly, I think all that guess-work and wondering and assuming and "what iffing?" leads to poor communication. I want someone with whom I can be honest, and talk comfortably. Otherwise, our conversations start to sound a little like Abbot & Costello.

And Who wants that?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday cheer

I came across this post the other day about the traits men look for in a girlfriend. The subject of the email that I got read, "Have a boyfriend by the holidays!"

Then I heard a local radio station talking about whether or not online dating sites are busier, and the women more aggressive, once the holidays roll around.

It got me thinking - are women really more interested in finding a steady-date this time of year? Do we cave under the pressure of family, and holiday parties, and the dreaded prospect of being dateless on New Year's Eve?

I think we might - and I confess, it makes me a little sad. That's the subject of this week's Singles Warehouse post - check it out, here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best facebook face

Trooper sent me the friend request on facebook, after our second date. I accepted it, already aware of what my profile looks like. I warned him ahead of time that I am friends with a couple of exes - and learned that so is he, so it's actually fine. 

Just to double check, I also used the feature on my profile page, allowing me to view it as him - to see what he'd see. I double checked my privacy settings, friend lists, etc. I don't post pictures of myself that are embarrassing or compromising, anyway, so that wasn't an issue. As a rule, I don't say anything on the internet I wouldn't want the internet to see - and that includes any new people in my life. 

About 20 minutes after I did all this, I got an email from How about we, with a link to an article called 9 Things to Do When Someone You Like Friends You on Facebook

Honestly - the tips are really what everyone should be doing anyway. I mean, wouldn't you always show off your best self, crush or not? Things like checking the top five photos, and watching what you post on others pages, and carefully choosing which pages to "like" - that's all normal facebook activity. 

Always show off your best facebook face. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Worth the wait

After I went out and invested a bunch of money (and risked personal injury) for Big - which obviously didn't pan out the way I hoped - I promised myself I would never do that for a guy again. I told myself that I would never do anything that I didn't want, just because it was important to any guy.

Never say never. 

I spent Sunday with Trooper. First up? Church. 

I never go to church. When I say never, I mean since the day I was confirmed into the Catholic church, I haven't attended a mass unless someone got married, died or was baptized. I only went through with the confirmation because my father insisted. 

But, it's important to Trooper. Not that I go to church, but going is an important part of his life. I figure if this relationship is going to continue in the direction I'd like, then I'd better be ready to compromise. If I remember correctly, that is a part of a relationship. 

After church we went to lunch - and then back to my house. You'll never guess what we did. Go ahead...just try.

Football. All afternoon.

I don't watch football.

X tried. 28-year-old tried. Heck even Gardner tried to get me to watch a game. With Gardner and 28YO, I'd say maybe it was that I  didn't care enough. With X that certainly wasn't the case; I did marry the guy, so I think I could have given him a Sunday or two over the years. 

But there I was, sitting on my sofa with Trooper asking questions, cheering when it seemed appropriate, and generally trying to get into the game. I said to him, "You should be proud of yourself; you managed to do what no man has done before you - and not for a lack of trying." I was kidding - mostly. Then I said, "I must really like you...." (That wasn't kidding at all.) 

No matter how independent or stubborn or protective you are of your time, if you want a relationship to work, eventually you're going to have to step outside your comfort zone. There's no way around it; everyone has to give a little to get a lot. 

I guess what I'm learning is that some guys really are worth the trouble. And those guys are most definitely worth the wait.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good problem

Simone had a great post earlier this week about fear. She points out that some people are afraid of silence. I couldn't agree more - in fact, I just had that conversation with another friend of mine.

Simone isn't afraid of the silence; she's afraid of losing the silence. My friend and I agreed we both feel the same way. I think that happens when you're single long enough. When you're first alone, the silence can be scary. Some keep giving in, and do anything to fill it up with distractions and noise. Others embrace that time, using it to learn more about themselves.

Things are going well with Trooper. It's way too soon to be worried about giving up personal space or time, but if things continue the way they've been going - it's only a matter of time before it has to be considered.

The truth is, I want a relationship, and all the commitment and (necessary and reasonable) complications that brings. At one time, I think I was built to be in a relationship; but I'm not as sure of that now. Now I wonder if I've become so settled in my single ways, so comfortable in the silence, that I won't be able to open up and let someone else fill that space.

I think what I'd like is to find a relationship with the right balance between silence and distraction. A relationship that helps me keep up my self-improvement journey, but add some company along the way. I'm not sure if I'm completely ready for that - but I will enjoy finding out.

It's not a bad problem to have.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Attitude

I have this nagging voice in the back of my head that says I'm not attractive enough to date. I know, I know, this is a bad way to think about yourself. It's a faint voice; barely audible, really. But it's there. Sometimes, it screams. I'm working on it.

I've been told, though, that the most attractive quality a woman can possess is confidence. That it doesn't matter what color your hair is, or how tall you are, or if your butt is a little too round. If you love yourself, put your best foot forward, and walk like you mean it - you'll be attractive.

I think there's some truth to that. Let's face it, you could be the prettiest blonde with the best body, but if you hide in the corner, you're not really attracting anyone, are you? Besides, attraction is relative; qualities that one guy finds to be a total turn-on might not even register with another guy.

But if you're confident, you'll be out there, open to meeting the person who finds you attractive (and about whom, hopefully, you feel the same). You'll be smiling and happy, and generally prettier because of that.

How About We has a post this week about how to make yourself attractive to anyone. Not surprisingly, attitude is in the top five.

Apparently, the must-have accessory for any dating season? Confidence and a good attitude.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Little bits

Just a few little items I thought worth mentioning - but that really don't deserve their own post:

> Remember the article that told us scary activities can be a great date? I tested that theory not too long ago with Trooper - and it is totally true. The scare factor is a tremendous ice-breaker, conversation is natural because there is so much going on - and there's plenty of opportunity for hand-holding.

> Remember Crush? And remember that his former girlfriend is someone I know? They got married last weekend. Awkward.


> Things are going well with Trooper - well enough, that I'm thinking I will have to tell him about this blog at some point. I've wondered about this before, and the consensus was wait about a month, see how things are going, and then tell. Feel free to weigh in.

Better than a bed and breakfast.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sappy, happy girl

I said to my cousin, "I think I'm in love."

Her response? "Oh, I could have told you that last week. But I figured I'd keep my mouth shut and let you tell me."

Nice.

Apparently, when I told her about my second date with Trooper, and how much I was looking forward to the third date, she could see it "all over my face." She could tell I was getting all sappy and gooey and lovey-dovey over him already.

I just realized it, myself. After our third date - and then a fourth - I noticed a shift. I'm reacting to silly love songs differently. I'm smiling - but not just in an, "Oh, look, she's having a good day," sort of way; more of a, "Oh my goodness, she's annoying!" way.

If I had a notebook, I'd be doodling our names in little hearts.

It's all so silly, and sappy, and I am totally becoming that girl I can't stand, who gets all starry-eyed over a guy.

At some point, I know I'll have to reign it in; but for right now, I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Place and time

Last week, I told you about a "couple" who contacted me via OK Cupid. I'm still not over that, and how a "traditional" dating site seems like the wrong place and time for that sort of overture.

That's the topic for today's Singles Warehouse post - the right place and time for everything.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Bad boys

There's just something about a bad boy. When I was younger, all I wanted was that guy who wasn't quite on the right side of things; who had a little edge; who didn't always walk the straight and narrow. I wanted a guy who commanded respect, and maybe even a little fear, in others - but who would be a teddy bear for me. I wanted the guy who seemed like he was too wild to be tamed - except by our love. *swoon*

I wanted it so much - I married it.

I was lucky; though things ultimately didn't work out as planned, my bad boy never treated me badly. But isn't it funny how so many women girls, who don't know better, want the boy who's bad to treat them well? 

Most aren't as lucky as me. Those guys who can't be tamed, who don't know how to behave, or treat others don't usually make good sons, or employees or students. Most also don't make very good partners. But the idea is just s'darn romantic. How does a girl get over that? 

The idea that you can change a person, that love can conquer all (including personality flaws) is a fairy tale. So the way you get over that? 

Grow up. 

Realize that you should stop looking for the guy you think you want, and then hoping he'll learn how to behave, or treat you. Figure out how you want to be treated; figure out what you need, and what you want - and what you can't put up with.

Then go find a guy who already knows how.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Simple answers

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." Dr. Seuss

So, there's this guy. He's a little unexpected. We met online (OK, that's not unexpected), but in a roundabout way. I was already so upset and jaded by the whole Gardner experience, and frustrated with the pen pals, and just generally not enthusiastic about dating, that I almost didn't meet Trooper.

But our first date was dinner after I ran an errand with my cousin. I complained to her about how first dates are like job interviews, and not really any fun, and I didn't want to go. I was whining; she was't having it. She gave me a pep talk, straightened my coat and sent me on my merry way.

My first date with Trooper wasn't anything like an interview. It was like two friends just having a nice dinner, and a nice conversation. It was relaxed, and comfortable. It was fun.

It made me think about Gardner, and the other guys that I just let go. What was the difference? Why let one in, but not another? Why do some relationships seem to fit so much better than others?

I'm sure there's all kinds of scientific mumbo-jumbo that defines relationships and why they work. You can rely on astrology, or numerology, or personality types or whatever.

But in the end, I realized, the answer that matters is pretty simple. It's all about the butterflies.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Best of the Worst: Polyamorous

Strange inbox messages are par for the course when it comes to online dating. I've accepted that reality, as should anyone who is going to try meeting people online. I've been at this, on and off, for a few years, so not much surprises me anymore.

Still...

I got a message the other day from a guy, my age, local, with a decent picture. His message read, "Liked your profile. Please read ours and if you like it, let us know. If not, have a great day anyway." 

Our profile? Let us know? Wait...what?

Figuring I knew what the deal was, I thought I should at least check it out. Here's what I found:
Ok, so thanks for stopping by and reading this rough draft of me and my wife's profile. We are a married poly couple that has recentley lost our partner of nearly 5 years. So we have a ton of real experince in being a trio. We are looking to get ourselves back out into the dating pool. We tend to favor long term over short, but right now we are just open to whatever comes our way.
We are thinkers, love conversation, having a new adventure, we are nerdy, we love being different. We have income, own our own home, drive, etc. We do have wonderful kids. We are stable and very real. Many poly couples run seperate profiles we don't. We barely have time to run one and my wife hates this part of the process. Also we don't split up, you take us both or take nothing.
Lastly we aren't looking to meet tons of new people and play the field. We want to meet one person we have chemistry with and see where things go. I could write on and on about all we are and aren't but the best way to know is to talk to us directly.
The profile page also listed some of their interests, which I assume are shared. The main profile picture was just the guy, but a picture of the couple was also included.

Setting aside the grammar and spelling, I couldn't get past the WTF factor here. First of all, I asked myself, aren't there dating sites specifically geared towards this type of relationship? (The answer is yes, by the way.)

Secondly, the profile was set up as though it was for a single guy (specific details were for him, him alone was the main photo, and preferences stated they're looking for girls who like guys). Seems a little...deceptive, to me. I suppose this is understandable, since I was on OKCupid (a traditional dating site) and the profiles aren't flexible enough to include details for couples.

But, that sort of brings me back to my first point.

I didn't respond. I took his advice, and had a nice day anyway.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pretty picture

A picture in our mind, a vision, of what life, and love, should look like.

Admit it - you have one. We all do. 

We're conditioned, even as young kids, that love is supposed to look a certain way. In fairy tales, everyone is pretty and perfect; everyone looks, acts and talks the same. 

We're taught that everything should happen in an order, and on a schedule. We're given the perfect formula for that picture-postcard life that our parents had, and for which we should strive. 

But that's not how life works. 

I'm as guilty as anyone. Convinced I knew what I wanted, I never thought twice about shutting something out if it didn't look just right.  

But life's not a curio cabinet, and love isn't a recipe. You can't follow instructions, mix as directed and expect things to always turn out just right. Sometimes, you have to let people in who are too old, or too young, or who live too far away or have the wrong job. You have to take risks, and get uncomfortable, to find what's really right.

After all, some of the best things in life are the worst mistakes. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

One of the best things about Halloween is the scary stories. I tell you mine all the time - so I thought today, I'd share some other dating horrors. They come to us from iVillage - 29 Terrifying (and true!) dating horror stories.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Single horror movie

Boo!

This whole weekend is about Halloween parties and fun. It's one of my favorite holidays, even though it is a little bit of a "couples" day. I will admit, I'm a little jealous of people who always have a date, can go somewhere fun and wear a really cool couples costume. Last year I went out with a several couples, for dinner and some bar-hopping. I seriously considered going as a fifth wheel - but scrapped the idea when I couldn't put it together in time.

The truth is, any holiday - even one that's purely fun - brings couples together, and then puts them out on display, for all us singleton's to observe. It can be a reminder of all the things that you don't have, especially if you're in that state of singlehood where you're looking for your other half.

Don't let it.

Yeah, I know, easier said than done. But single doesn't have to be a horror movie. In fact, let's start right there. Slasher films - the girl having sex at the beginning of the film is almost always the first to get axed. The single girl is smart enough not to go in the basement, or to answer the phone, or whatever. She's often the one who makes it all the way to the end of the movie.

And costumes. If you're single, you can wear whatever you want. You can be a sexy kitten, or a witch - or you can go as Batman if you want. You don't have to match anyone else while you're out.

Speaking of going out - you can go wherever you want. That fun bar with the band? Go ahead. That lame-o party at your ex-boyfriend's brother's house? You'll be able to skip that. Score!

You can buy whatever Halloween candy you want - and all the leftovers are yours. 'Nuff said.

Another advantage to being single on Halloween, is that scaring your date can make him fall in love with you. According to this post over at the How About We dating blog, there is actual science (seriously) that suggests that once we associate heart-pumpin', nervous-sweatin' excitement with someone - that association sticks.

So be careful who you scare this weekend. Happy haunting!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Part of the game

I talk a lot about meeting guys, and the dates I do (and don't) go on. What works - and what doesn't. What keeps me (or them) coming back for more. What's funny is, I rarely talk about the the thing that happens most often.

When I get rejected.

I couldn't even count the number of guys I've "met" online (with whom I've exchanged emails or chats). The number of guys I've met in person is much smaller; and the number with whom I've had more than one date is very easy to count.

Without actually counting, I'd guess that for every guy who writes me back, I've probably sent ten emails - maybe more. Most go unanswered; now and then, I'll get a "thanks, but no thanks" response from that guy who thinks it's "polite." Very few guys will approach me first - most that do would not be a good match for me.

I usually chalk it up to the guys don't think I'm pretty, or because I'm a "curvy girl." The truth is - that could be the reason, but there's no way to know for sure. That kind of rejection can be a huge hit to one's ego - which is why I say your self-esteem should be in tact before you even attempt meeting anyone.

Friends have asked me over and over, how I do this without getting discouraged. When I first started, it really bothered me. A lot. The truth is, it still does sometimes. If I have a bad day, and nothing is going right, the last thing I need is for one more rejection. I cry; I get upset; and I announce that I've giving up.

Then I remember a lesson I learned not that long ago. We don't meet people by accident; everyone in our life is here for a reason. If someone isn't finding his way into my life, that must mean he has nothing to add. My job isn't to understand or to control or to fix; my job is to trust, to hold my head high, and move on.

Dating is supposed to be fun. Rejection is just part of the game.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dating and self-esteem

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

In the last few weeks, several friends have commented to me that dating is good for their self-esteem. That knowing someone wants to be with them is a great ego boost, and they love that.

While I agree there's definitely some truth to that - I disagree with one part. I don't think anyone can get self-esteem from anyone else. In fact, I think dating is one of the biggest challenges your self-esteem will ever face - outside of gym class. It should be in-check before you even start.

That's the topic of today's Singles Warehouse post - read it here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pen pals - Part II

Continued from here....

I was nice about it when I mentioned to each guy. I'd known Guy #1 longer, so I basically just said that I was curious if he'd like to meet, since we'd been exchanging emails for so long. He actually apologized for not offering sooner, and we made plans (more on that later).

I attempted to draw Guy #2 out a little. I asked him a few questions, and then mentioned that I just wanted to avoid the whole pen-pals, endless email rut. I also asked about his first name.

He replied by listing his interests - which, by the way, are also listed on his profile. Then he said he didn't think it was being pen pals if you're getting to know the person. (I actually agree - but as I've pointed out, neither of us was learning anything new...) Then he signed his email with what is obviously a nickname.

A nickname? Really? Dude - if you walk up to a stranger and start a conversation, it's only polite to offer your name first. I've given you my name, the least you could do is offer yours. Stop behaving like I asked for your social security number and your mother's maiden name, for crying out loud.

If you're that paranoid - why do online dating at all? We've all been burned by people we met online, but you can't just stop trusting the process, or the idea. You can' go through life waiting for the next bad thing.

It seems to me the worst choice anyone can make is to try dating - of any kind - when they don't know how to effectively communicate. True, communication is a very personal thing, and what works with one couple won't always work with another. But there are basics, underlying principles at work, and you should understand them before you even attempt to meet people.
  • Know what you want; if you're not clear in your intent, there's no way anyone else will be. 
  • Be courteous and friendly; manners are not something to be ashamed of. 
  • Be creative - no one wants to talk about the same old stuff. Ask questions. 
  • Share - if you ask a question, answer it. No one wants to feel like they're doing all the giving. 

For goodness sake - introduce yourself, already. It's dating. It's supposed to be fun.

Pen pals

I've been exchanging emails with a guy from OK Cupid for two months. Two months, and all we've shared are emails on the site - not even personal email addresses - and first names. Appears to be a nice guy, seems like we have some things in common - but our communication had deteriorated to, "So, what are your plans for the weekend?" and "Oh, I hate Mondays!" Boooorrrreee - ING.

Then I met another guy, just a few weeks ago, on Plenty of Fish. Again - seems nice, we have some stuff in common, etc., etc. But the exchange was headed in the same direction - this guy wasn't even sharing his name.

Now listen - I get it. I'm an email girl. After the sexting incident, I am much more careful about how and when I share my personal contact information. So, I like to start out in the safety of the dating site. I'm all about email/IM/text - I absolutely hate talking on the phone.

The problem with these emails is, they're going nowhere. I'm not learning anything. Two months in, and I really don't know much more about either guy than what his profile tells.

So, what's the point? I know some people view online dating sites as a replacement for actual dating - you know, like, in person. I figure those same people also view facebook as a replacement for family reunions, and twitter as a replacement for a party with friends.

That's not me. I view all of those sites as an added way to interact with, or meet, people - not a replacement for actual relationships. So, I don't want the endless email.

Something came over me not too long ago, and I laid it out there for both guys.

To be continued....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Best of the Worst: Are you smart enough?

It's been a while since we did one of these. This guy viewed my profile the other day, but didn't contact me. Guess I'm not smart enough?
hello ladies! i decided to put a lil ad here because due to my work ethic i seem to have little or no time to meet a woman in my daily travels. i am looking for someone average,smart and caring, age isnt a big factor im pretty open minded to every age, i think i draw the line at 35.i have no kids is id like for the person i meet to meet this criteria. im not rushing to get myself into any headaches so your gonna have to be a very smart person who understands that life isnt perfect and sometimes people love their careers and helping other. if you think you are a good gal and are just looking for some stability drop me a line lets talk and see if your smart enough to converse wit me!
Not including what I can only assume are stylistic choices, I counted 26 grammar or spelling errors, or typos.

So is it that women aren't smart enough - or dumb enough?

Before anyone jumps all up in my business that, "Maybe he was just typing on a smart phone," or, "Those are little things, he could be very intelligent!" - Stop. I know.

My point has to do with glass houses and throwing stones. If you're going to issue a challenge to find someone "smart enough" for you - maybe you should proof-read the challenge first, ya know?

Just a thought.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Playground relationships - Part II

Continued from here...

I should have just let it go. Fine, I'm not self-aware. Fine, all I care about is money, and he doesn't have any. Those were outs, and I should have taken them, put the phone down and allowed myself the Nyquil-induced sleep my mind and body were craving. But my heart didn't like being told I wasn't self-aware.

Then it got worse.

"...you're pining over some guy, remembering the exact weekend the loser broke up with you."

Oh. MY. God.

At this point, I can't even blame the Nyquil, the hour, or my cold. I was just upset angry livid pissed right the hell off. I'd told him in confidence a little about Big, and how it changed the way I look at relationships - and he was using it against me. Not only that, he was belittling all I've done to improve myself since.

Again - I  had a perfect out. That's three - I'm focused on money, I'm not sure what I want, and I'm stuck on someone else. All perfectly good outs that would should have ended the conversation.

Instead I answered a question I'd been avoiding - about why I thought he lacked confidence, maturity or self-awareness (I'd already agreed he does have compassion).

I told him that he's very wishy-washy. That he won't commit to anything, including how he feels. He said, of course he commits - he committed to me, and how much he wanted a relationship with me. But that I had fooled him into thinking I was sincere. Apparently, I really wasn't looking for a relationship.

The thing is - I was sincere. Despite my doubts, I genuinely liked the guy, and wanted to see where it would go. But as soon as I realized it was moving too quickly, and it seemed he was getting more into me than I was him, I thought it should end. I told him this, and he responded, " Ha! What made you think that? Because I made you dinner? LOL."

This seemed like an attempt to back-peddle and say that he really wasn't that into me, and how could I be so stupid to think otherwise? So I pointed out that he had just told me how he cared for and missed me - and now he was changing his mind. No commitment.


He had several responses for that, which included but are not limited to:
  • I care about you. 
  • I don't always offer canned answers. 
  • We could be magic.
  • I know you want a storybook; I can see it in your eyes.
  • Give us a chance.

I didn't understand any of these, so I didn't respond specifically. I said I was sorry for how he felt, but the bottom line is, I know what I'm looking for, and I won't find it with him. If we really were meant to be, well then I guess it would be my loss.

Which is what I should have said in the first place - and ended things with, "No backsies."

Playground relationships

Even though I'd told Gardner that we weren't a good match, he still kept in touch with me. Nothing intrusive, just a text now and then. But, this weekend, he told me he was hoping we could get together, and it occurred to me that maybe I needed to say something. I mean - I knew we weren't going to date again, and he seemed to be hoping that might happen.

I finally asked him why he was keeping in touch. [In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have engaged. I'd been talking to a friend about maybe sending him a goodbye for good type email, but a text arrived before I got to it. It was late, I was sick - I don't always make the best choices under those circumstances.]

He told me that the time we spent not talking got him thinking about how much he misses me and cares for me. So he just wants to let me know that he's thinking about me. And he's sorry he doesn't make 80K a year...

Wait - What?

I asked him if he really felt that any of this has to do with how much he earns. He said, of course it does! Women want security, and he can't provide financial security. His friends, it seems, had all assured him that I was "into him" but, and they hate to say it,but, "it's the money, man."

[Which proves some men should never be allowed to give relationship advice. In fact, some shouldn't even be allowed to dress themselves.]

Okay - I'll admit it - I messed up here. I could have just let it go at that. I mean, there's no denying he doesn't make a lot of money, so if I just went along with the idea that his income mattered - or was even a factor - it should have all been over. But it's not a factor, and I felt insulted. So, I let my pride get in my way. Emotional mistake. Nyquil might be to blame here.

"I am my own security. And if I was really interested in a man who would pay my bills, I'd move home with daddy. There's a name for a woman who dates for money - and I'm not one."

I went on to explain that what I am looking for is confidence, compassion, self-awareness and maturity. All of which, Gardner promptly informed me, he has.

Ya think? [<- My actual response.]

Which prompted him to tell me that he thinks I am not self-aware. Which, loosely translated from thirty-something-single-guy speak to the appropriate eight-year-old-on-a-playground dialect, means, "I know you are, but what am I?"

All-righty then. 

At that moment, I really understood how people can get pushed to the point of being mean, just for the sake of ending a conversation. I'll admit I've pushed more than one person past that point, more than once. I'll also reach right around and give myself a big 'ol pat on the back for not stooping to that level.

Since I wasn't going to stoop, one might think that, being the mature, sophisticated, intelligent woman that I am, I took the high road.

One would be mistaken. Instead, I went with the, "I'm rubber, you're glue..." defense.

To be continued....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dating age calculator

I've tried younger. I've tried older. I'm like the Goldilocks of online dating - I'm trying to get it just right.

Thankfully, this article from How about we... can help me calculate the correct ages, and stop all the guess work.

For the record, according to this formula:

My youngest - 26

My oldest - 60

That would make my youngest 4 years older than my former step-daughter, and my oldest biologically capable of being my parent.

That might need some work. Though, it does exclude the guy almost as old as my dad.

For more talk about how age plays a part in dating, take a look at today's Singles Warehouse post - Age old question.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Something old and new

The tarot cards said I'd find love with someone I already knew. When I wrote that last week, someone on twitter questioned me. He said, if "the one" was someone I already knew, wouldn't I have figured it out?

With me, one can never tell.

But like I said - the cards are never literal. I asked the cards when I'd find love - but love comes in many different forms. The universe sends us the love we need, when we need it.

Before I ever met Big, I knew a guy who was my "first" after my marriage. That's a pretty big deal. When you're with one person long enough, the first person after that relationship almost feels like a first. You don't know what to do, you get wrapped up way too quickly, and a lot of times, you don't handle the heartbreak very well. That was me.

This guy was always in my life - we had mutual friends, and were connected by facebook and the like, but we didn't talk as often anymore. Just wasn't in the cards, I guess. But he was someone I knew, when my cards were read. Now he's back in my life, in a new way.

So what does that mean? I'm not sure. But I do know that when the cards saw a guy who was stable and grounded and knew what he wanted - and that he was someone I already knew - they were totally right.

Maybe sometimes you have to take a step back, before you can take a step forward. The trick is to be careful you don't trip and fall.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Master of disguise

A while back, I told the story about how I went to see a psychic after Big broke up with me. But I don't think I ever told how I also had my tarot cards read.

I actually had three readings (don't judge; my heart was broken). I went to an acquaintance who charges for readings, and then had two separate friends read for me, too. 

I don't know much anything about tarot cards. All three of my readers (? psychics? mediums?) gave me a basic explanation, most of which I've since forgotten. I do know that the cards aren't literal; they're all symbolic, and each card's meaning can change depending on the other cards that appear. 

You start by clearing your mind, and focusing on a question you want the deck to answer, while shuffling the cards. All three times I was told to shuffle as long as I wanted, until I was sure that I'd really thought about the question enough. Then you cut the deck for the reader, who begins revealing cards on the table. 

Now, remember - I was all I'm-heart-broken-I'll-love-Big-forever at this time, so that's where I put all my focus. All I cared about was finding love. 

All three of the readings showed that Big was not, in fact, the guy for me. But all three said that he served an important purpose in my life, and that I was about to hit a turning point, because of him. 

All three also said that I would find love, with someone who was grounded and stable and knows exactly what he wants. All said I'd have to be patient, but that it would happen. Not only that, all three said that man is someone who I already know.  

The first part of the readings, about Big's role in my life, turned out to be 100% right, which makes me wonder - is it possible the other part is true, too? Could a mature, stable, grounded, self-aware guy actually exist? If he does - could he really be someone I've already met? 

 If he does exist - he's apparently a master of disguise.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'll tell you why

So, I met this guy through the Meet Me feature over at Plenty of Fish. He seemed nice - but they all do, at first.

We exchanged a few emails. At first, I was hopeful. He seemed nice, polite, and interested in actually looking for someone to date. But after a few emails, we still hadn't graduated past small-talk. This is a problem in emails, because small-talk only works in an actual conversation - even it's text or IM. Without that constant back and forth, it loses momentum.

The last exchange we had was a week ago, when I mentioned I was missing the Yankees in the first playoff game so I could go watch a stand-up comedy show. He replied with, well maybe you'll hear some good Red Sox jokes. I responded that I just might, since I knew at least one of the comics was a Yankee fan.

That was on a Friday, around 6 pm.

I didn't hear from him again until the a week later. His email said:
Don't know what I said to make you not talk to me anymore, but I wish you luck and your Yankees in the off-season.
Let me tell you.

First of all - I cleaned up his grammar and spelling a little bit. He managed to send me an email consisting of one, very poorly-constructed, sentence that contained at least two typos.

Second - it's just a mean thing to say because my Yankees had been eliminated from the post-season after an embarrassing loss two days earlier.

Third - I didn't stop talking. We were exchanging emails and I was the last to reply. That means, if anyone stopped talking, it was him.

Lastly - of all the emails you could send, this is what you choose? An accusation and complaint? If you wanted to keep talking, why not just send a friendly, "Hey, how've you been?" Or review the conversation, and say, "Hey, sorry I didn't get back to you..."

I hadn't stopped talking to you - until that email.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A thousand words

"Never frown; you never know when someone is falling love with your smile. " Unknown

There are so many things about your profile picture when you're doing online dating. Too many to list, or explain really - but I tried today over at Singles Warehouse. Check it out here.


Meet me

I've discovered a new way to meet more people on Plenty of Fish; it's called the Meet Me feature (go figure, right?). 

Meet Me works by showing you the users photos, location, tag line and "looking for" information, and asking if it's someone you'd be interested in meeting. If you say yes, PoF notifies that user that "So and so wants to meet you!" 

This seems to do two things. One - it inspires users to view a profile they might have otherwise overlooked, and two - it gives a user the confidence they might have lacked to approach someone. PoF also keeps track of users you've said you want to meet, and who have said they want to meet you. 

Pretty cool.

I'll be honest; I got over my fear of approaching people online a while back - mostly. There's still the occasional guy that I don't approach, because one look at his profile tells me he's not interested in the short, chubby brunette. I'm not really afraid of approaching those guys, as much as I'm trying to avoid wasting anyone's time (including my own). 

But, a feature like this does prove that it's not always easy to judge what a person's taste might be. Is it a little superficial? I suppose; to meet or not to meet is based primarily on a person's photo. But isn't that true of any first meeting? You don't approach a person at a party or in a bookstore based on their personality, do you? No, it's almost always dependent (at least in part) on physical attraction. 

You have to start somewhere, right?

Friday, October 7, 2011

What a week

I'm having a rough week. It's one of those weeks where you feel like, if you make it through without throwing yourself (or someone else) down a flight of stairs, it's a win. 

First, as a follow up to this conversation with Gardner, I told him that I wanted a clean break, that we don't communicate well and we just aren't a good fit. He responded by announcing his undying devotion and love, telling me that he "believes in US" and that he will be there if I ever change my mind. 

Then, I found he was on the dating site less than twelve hours later. 

Of course he should move on - we broke up. I'm not upset about that. It just makes me doubt everything he said - and leaves me wondering, why say it, if you don't really mean it? Obviously, cooties are the only explanation. But seriously - can I trust anyone?

While I was still sulking about that, I got the strangest email from a guy who wanted to talk about horror movies and some new airplane. Huh? It was almost like he wasn't speaking English. His profile suggested he was normal, so I stalked investigated vetted a little further. Turns out, there's a reason he seemed awkward making conversation - he doesn't have a lot of experience. Yeah - you guessed it. I was contacted by a 40-year-old virgin.

And just like that, my life became a Steve Carrell movie. 

As if that wasn't enough, the next day I got an email from a guy who actually seemed very nice. I probably would have even responded, except for one, tiny detail. This "guy" is two years younger than my father. 

So how was your week?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is it just me?

After the "concert incident," for which Gardner apologized, we agreed to go on another date. Actually, my giving in had a lot to do with a friend's suggestion that try slowing things down and giving him a chance on a very casual basis. Good advice - if this were a story involving normal people.

So we agreed to a date this weekend. Thing was, I woke on Saturday feeling like absolute crap - sorry, there's just no other way to say it. Recovering from a cold, I really just needed to sleep. So I texted to ask if we could meet a little later, and suggested an alternative plan for our date.

Gardner came back with, "Why don't we do it another time? You need to take care of you."

Now, I didn't mind. In fact, I appreciated that he was being so understanding. I thanked him - and went back to sleep.

Later on, I was feeling better and decided I needed to get out of the house. On my way out, I sent him a message saying I was headed out for dinner, and asked if he'd like to meet me. Nothing. An hour went by - then two. By then I'd (obviously) eaten, and decided on a movie. So, when he texted me back four hours later, I didn't have much to say.

He offered the explanation that he'd left his phone home. Seemed odd to me, though I suppose not everyone would turn around and go home to retrieve their phone (not like I'd ever do that...). But I'll admit - I was a little annoyed.

See, it seemed to me that he probably had other plans come up, and that was why he was so quick to cancel our date. Other plans could be another date, hanging out with his friends, or just working out. It didn't matter. What mattered was the fact that he'd canceled, saying he thought I should "take care of me," when really, he was just looking for an out.

So I called him on it. His response was, "What was I supposed to do? You bagged on me!"

Wait. What? No. You did not just turn this back around on me.

So I reminded him that I hadn't been the one to "bag." I had simply asked him to move the date to later because I wasn't feeling well. He had been the one to cancel altogether - and seemed to have replaced me on his calendar pretty quickly.

I'll spare you the details, but the conversation deteriorated from there.

I know it makes no sense, but I felt like he was trying to turn the whole thing back on me - like he was trying to manipulate the conversation, so that I would take the blame.

I know that game. I'm an only child of divorce - I wrote that game. Guilt and blame are powerful weapons, when used right. Thing is - I'm also a divorcee - which means I've mastered the "It's not my fault, it's yours!" conversation from both ends.

He was totally out of his league.

But seriously - is it just me? Was he guilty, and looking to lay blame elsewhere? Did he want me to feel guilty? Or was I just looking for a fight; for a reason to get angry? What do you think?


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why bother?

My dislike for bad spelling and grammar in a profile is no secret. I can't stand when someone can't take the time to at least check for mistakes. Does everyone make them? Of course. But overall, your profile should reflect your best foot forward - the way you should always present yourself.

Taking it one step further, the latest thing seems to be non-profiles - users who create a dating profile, but don't bother filling it out. What's the point? To stalk view profiles and see who's out there, before you go "live" and really get into things? Maybe. But then why email people? And if you're going to email - why not say something constructive?

Like I said in today's Singles Warehouse post, it's the virtual equivalent of putting on a ski mask and going up to someone in a bar and grunting at them. Just don't do it.