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


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.

"'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.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Nice or creepy?

So, I told Gardner that I didn't think we should see each other anymore. That I wasn't sure enough of the two of us to keep things going, and that I needed some space, and time, to sort things out. I basically told him I wanted a break.

It lasted all of two days.

Prior to that conversation, I'd purchased tickets for a local benefit concert, and the plan was we would attend together. Two days after our conversation, he texted me about an hour before the show to ask if I'd found anyone to take the other ticket.

I told him I hadn't, so I was going solo, and I couldn't really talk since I was on my way. The weather was bad for driving, and there was a ton of traffic. About forty minutes before the start time, I get a message from him that he's leaving his house. I responded, "Please don't. You won't make it in time, and I don't want to wait for you; I want to get seated before it starts."

His response was that he'd been reyally wanting to see the show, so he'd just go and buy a ticket and sit on his own. Right. Thing is, I couldn't exactly tell him he wasn't allowed to attend the concert. It's a public place, and he has ever right to purchase a ticket and sit in his seat.

But I didn't expect him to come find me.

I didn't make a scene at the theater; I moved over, let him sit with me, and enjoyed the music. On the way out, I let him walk me to my car, and headed home - alone. But the next day, I told him that while I realized he was trying to be nice - what he did wasn't cool, wasn't acceptable, and absolutely could not happen again.

I told him besides being uncomfortable - I felt like he imposed. I had my evening all planned out, to be on my own, and enjoy the concert solo. Then out of nowhere - Bam! - I was on a date.

The thing is - I'm not sure if I would have felt that way if I really liked this guy? If I did, wouldn't I feel like, wow - that was really sweet? Or am I so used to being on my own that now, I'm annoyed if anyone gets in the way of "me time?"

What do you think? Was he being nice? Or was that just creepy?