Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In dating, rules don't matter

A while back, I met this guy online. He said he was interested in talking but was going through a really rough time. I couldn't tell if it was just a way to blow me off or if he was serious - but in any case, I gave him some space.

A couple of weeks ago, he came up in a match search (on the same site where we'd first met). So, I emailed him. I was brief and honest:
I came across your profile, and thought I remembered talking to you a while back. If you'd ever like to reconnect, let me know.
(Or something like that.)

He replied and we exchanged contact info. At one point, he asked why I'd decided to contact him again after such a long time. Didn't I feel strange - like maybe the moment had passed?

I thought for a bit, and again, decided to be completely honest.
Because I happened upon your profile and remembered that I liked talking with you. I thought there was a chance you might not have been interested - but hey, you don't know until you ask, right?
He told me he was very glad that I hadn't been afraid to reach out again. Then he smiled.

I know a lot of people would think I was crazy to reach out to him again. I should have just let it go, it wasn't meant to be. I get that - there are times when the moment has passed, and you can't get it back. When trying to recreate something is just a desperate waste of time.

But there are other times when the normal "rules" don't apply. When you can't be worried about risking your pride or saving face. At the end of the day, dating is really just a process of learning how far out on a limb you'll go to find the one time that rules don't matter.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where there's smoke, there's a liar

One of the first things I look for on a dating profile is whether or not the person is a smoker. If he is - I don't even look any further.

Smoking is a deal-breaker for me for a few reasons. One, it's a gross habit; the smell, the cigarette butts all over the place, stains on the upholstery and even the walls - yuck. Second, it's such a waste of money. Not that I'm great with a budget or anything - but if you're going to pour money down a drain, I can think of better ways. Naturally, that's not my issue if a date wastes his money - but it would be in a relationship. I don't date just to date, so if I know off the bat we couldn't be in a relationship, why bother?

But an even bigger deal-breaker than smoking? Lying. So don't say that you don't smoke, and then show up on our date with yellow teeth, wreaking of cigarette smell. Even worse, don't greet me with a hug - and get that smell all over my clothes and in my hair.

Lying makes me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

If you smoke, say so. Most sites let you say "trying to quit" so if that's the case, be honest. Maybe you only smoke when you drink - while I've never understood that, I do know it to be the case for some people. So put "occasionally" on your profile. (Though, I'll tell you, when I see that, I assume it means the person smokes something other than cigarettes; another deal-breaker for me.)

The truth is, you're not the guy for me. Which is okay - because I bet I'm not the lady for you, so it all works out. But you'll never find the person for you if you're not telling who you really are.

What are your deal-breakers?

Friday, June 24, 2011

You say goodbye, I say hello

So, I've run into this problem a couple of times where I found someone on a dating site that I knew in "real life." The problem is, once I view a profile, the site records me as a "visitor" - so that person will know I've viewed his profile. (And yes, I know some sites will allow you to turn that off, but not all will, and that's not the point here anyway, because I have the function turned on.)

So then what?

Do I just pass them by, and pretend like I never saw the profile? Or should I send a message, a friendly hello, and just acknowledge that I was there?

I've always leaned towards saying hello - and it hasn't been a bad thing. I asked one guy out - which he ignored. I find that rude and juvenile, but hey, at least I learned what he was really about, right? And we went right back into our normal, twitter relationship, so no harm, no foul. With another guy, I just had some friendly back and forth, no big deal. And another guy, I actually went out with (once).

I guess I kind of look at the dating sites as one big bar; as we view each other's profiles, we're sort of checking each other out from across the room. If I was at a bar and I saw a guy that I knew, I'd say hello, wouldn't I? Whether I was "interested" or not?

I'd like to think I would. I'd like to think my friends would do the same with me, too.

But I don't want to creep these guys out, or hurt my friendships. If it turns into something, fine, but really all I want to do is say hello; let someone know - hey, we have this in common! Sucks, doesn't it?

So what do you think I should do? What would you do?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Can we talk?

We all have that friend; you know her. She's the one who has something bad to say about every piece of good news you share. You say: I love my new job; She says: I heard that company's going to be announcing layoffs soon. You say: I found a great apartment; She says: In that part of town?

Big used to say, "Unsolicited advice is criticism." I think he's right (and obviously, I'd only admit that if it were absolutely true), and I think these conversations fall into that category. You didn't ask for advice on the job or the apartment; so when she offered what she (likely) intended as helpful advice - it sounded critical.

Should the same apply when it comes to dating? I think maybe it should.

Take my funny weekend-from-hell story. I mentioned the date to a friend who I knew would have some inside info on the guy. I wanted her insight - even though I didn't come right out and ask her. What she told me wasn't flattering - and she apologized. She said she normally wouldn't want to be discouraging, but wanted me to know the truth.

That's a real friend. I appreciated her honesty, and I knew she was only trying to look out for me.

But I've had friends who, in similar situations, were more - discouraging than helpful. I've had friends try to talk me out of a date, or tell me that a guy should be acting a certain way, when in fact, they're really just annoyed at their own relationships.

That's not to say that we shouldn't be honest with our friends. If you think a guy is being a jerk, or that a situation is bad, it takes a lot of courage to tell a friend the truth - but that's the "good friend" thing to do. She might not listen, or she might get upset with you - but, wouldn't you want someone to tell you the truth? Then you owe the same.

I think it's just like anything else; we have to be sure our advice is based on our friend's scenario, and not on our own problems.

What do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Best of the Worst: Why I'm single

The next time someone asks me why I am single, I am going to send them a link to this profile.
I'm newly divorced and plan on enjoying my first summer in over 20 years as a single guy. My wife kicked me out because I had an affair. It wasn't the first time I cheated. I sleep with women because I'm good at it. If you seriously wanted, I could give you references, but that seems kinda creepy.
Then he goes on to describe himself. He's good-looking - at least according to him. There are, oddly enough, no pictures associated with his profile.
What I'm doing with my life
Drinking and having sex. My "divorce coach" prescribed that for my first year being single. Seems pretty fun so far.
I'm really good at
F***ing. I don't get tired very easily.

You should message me if
You like to f***.
I gotta say - all in all, this actually isn't a horrible profile. He's being honest, upfront - and he used proper punctuation and spelling. The no-photo thing is creepy, though. Makes me think he's hiding something, even though he hardly seems modest.

The fact that this profile belongs to the only single guy within 50 miles of me that could spell the word "prescribed" is one of the chief reasons I'm single. There you have it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

One last thing

The last date that I went on during my dating weekend from hell, really wasn't from hell. Well, not totally, anyway. And it is a funny(ish) story.

I was trolling sites and stumbled upon a picture that I recognized. I clicked to get a larger view, and realized that the profile belonged to a local blogger, who, as luck would have it, I had just started reading a couple weeks before.

So I messaged him - largely because I knew that my having viewed his profile would be visable, and I felt like a creeper, otherwise. I didn't really say much, just hi, recognized your photo, like your blog, yadda, yadda, yadda.

He messaged me back, one thing led to another, and he asked me to have brunch with him. He seemed nice enough - so I said yes.

I happened to mention this to another friend of mine, who I figured would know of this guy - and might even know him personally. Turned out, she did - and had heard some less than flattering things about him, particularly when it came to women.

I decided to keep the plans, and see for myself. With my friend's words of caution in mind, I met the new guy for brunch. Turned out, he was nice enough. But - just enough. He had an....attitude. I'll be honest - I didn't feel like it was pointed at women; I felt like it was just his view of the world.

He's got that bitter, I've been wronged, and I know everything air about him, and comes across as gruff and angry - even though he has no reason to be. He's someone with whom I could be friendly - but probably not much more. I got the impression that the feeling was mutual - since I haven't heard from him since.

Oh, but one last thing - I did run into him at a friend's event a week later. Awkward. It turned out to be okay, but I won't lie - I was glad I had a friend there for reinforcements.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's not so easy

During my dating weekend from hell, after I got the "there's just no spark" message from BG, I was...okay. I had been thinking it was coming, and had even been wondering if there was a connection on my end, as well.

My friend said to me, "I know, but that always sucks to hear." I dismissed it then, but thinking back - she's right.

I don't think it matters why we're rejected. Sure, sometimes it's easier. Like, if we don't like the guy - it's always easier if he agrees. Other times, I think it helps to have a decision made for us; if we like two guys, but only one is interested - well, that settles that.

But even in those cases, I think there's some residual, "Why not me?" feelings that we don't always deal with - until it comes up. Which it always does - usually in a bigger way; that's way more dramatic than it should have been; not that I'd know anything about that.

I just think It's never easy to have someone tell you he's not interested. No matter how you slice it, what he's saying is there is something "wrong" with you (whether it's actually wrong, or just not right for him).

Here's the good news (if you want to call it that): Rejection can be helpful, too. I'm not suggesting we study what we did "wrong" and try to change. But it is a chance to see ourselves through the eyes of someone else. A change in perspective is usually where improvement begins - and we can all stand some improvement.

Rejection is also a chance to take stock in our patterns, and make changes if needed. Am I looking for Mr. Right in all the wrong places? Am I shutting guys out when I should be letting them get closer? Do I need to compromise more? Or maybe less?

Those are all questions we don't ask ourselves in a comfortable relationship. Only dating (and sometimes failing miserably) puts those topics front and center.

Rejection is also a chance for us to take a good look, and figure out - honestly - what we want. Do we really want a relationship - or are we just afraid to be alone? Maybe we're looking to avoid making the changes we need to make - and a relationship provides the perfect excuse.

The real truth is - it's not so easy to be rejected. But sometimes, life (and cupid) give us what we need - not necessarily what we want.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Best of the Worst: Fight fire

I have all the respect in the world for fire fighters. They run into buildings when everyone else is running out - and they deserve all the credit and admiration we can give them.

That said....
I am laid-back, caring, sensitive, fun, sarcastic, HONEST, dorky, romantic and just me. I am not very athletic but like playing softball and I do go to the gym. One loved that I have had sense I was 3 is to be a firefighter (volunteer) I sense become one and have done it for over 16 years and love helping people. I enjoy going out and staying in, also very open minded to doing anything with the person I am with it is all about enjoying and learning what makes us both happy. I work one job and have a car. I recently got out of a 5 year relationship do to verbal abuse and among other thing. I have no kids and never been married. I am a non-smoker and no-drug user. I am seeking a woman who is willing to get to know me and like me for whom I am. She must be open minded and be able to share some of my interest and hers, someone who will understand me being a firefighter and support me in doing so. If you have any questions feel free to ask I am very open and willing to share.
This particular site also asks users to describe their perfect first date. Our fearless hero had this to say:
Lets just say I am very discouraged right now, please just be real. 
I only highlighted in red the words that don't make sense. There's so much more in this profile that doesn't work.

Please, please, please - guys (and gals), think of your profile as your chance to give someone the impression you'd want them to have when you say hello for the first time.

Imagine that, when we shake someone's hand for the first time, we transfer everything we want this new person to know about us. Basically, we give them our personal resumé with the touch of a hand. What would you share? 

I would want someone to know that I'm funny, smart, sarcastic, shy until you get to know me, open-minded and liberal about a lot of social issues, and that my family and friends are important to me. I'd want him to know that I have my own opinions and interests, and am eager to share and learn from the people around me.

I would not - on that first pass - want this person to to know all the drama and baggage that I'm carrying from past relationships. I think just about anyone will expect I have baggage (who doesn't?), but if it's on display, I'm sending a message that it's not in check. Not only is that a bad impression, it's an inaccurate one as well.

I'm all for honesty, but there is a time and place - and packaging matters.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Facebook: The dating site? (Part II)

Continued from here....

I got in my car after our date thinking things went pretty well. He hugged, me right? He seemed to like me. Heck, he asked me out.

So you can imagine my surprise when I woke up on Saturday morning to find a facebook message from BG that read (I'll paraphrase):
I really like you....but I just don't feel the spark I think I should feel for dating....I'm sorry I didn't say anything last night, but it is hard for me to say this kind of thing in person. I don't blame you if you want to unfriend me or never speak to me again....
Woah... Now, I had been doubting the connection even before our second date. I suspected he might have felt the same. I did really like him, and I would be lying if I said it didn't sort of suck to have him deliver the "Dear Jane" message.

But, in my book, BG gets big points for being honest. HUGE points, in fact, because it was admittedly difficult for him. He flat out said he liked me but didn't want to lead me on. If you've read any of the earlier posts on this blog, you know that I know a little something about being led on. There's no possible way for someone to gain more respect from me than by being honest, especially when doing so puts them in an uncomfortable situation.

I told BG as much in my reply. I told him that I was glad to have met him, and for the chance to get to know him. I told him that of course I was happy to count him as a friend. I told him that I try very hard not to set expectations when I meet new people; that way, I can make room in my life for the relationship, however it develops.

We've been chatting ever since.

Will we ever hang out again? I don't know. There's no reason not to, if there's something we both want to do. I hope that our friendship is something that will keep growing. Does it suck a little that the only normal guy in all of North America who isn't taken only thinks of me as a friend? Of course.

But I learned that it would suck more if he didn't think of me at all. So I have absolutely no regrets.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Facebook: The dating site?

A while back, I tweeted about using a blog and facebook as a dating site. It used to be I was totally against the idea. Facebook, to me, had long been a protected territory - somewhere to keep your closest family and friends, to be used for nothing more than sharing embarrassing photos and passive-aggressive status updates.

But the times, they are a-changin'.

My (personal) facebook is filled with people from every nook and crany of my existence. Some I've known my whole life, others I've never met (and probably never will meet) in person. There are people I've added as friends yet we've never interacted, and people with whom I talk every day.

I spend most of my life online - so it only made sense when I started using blogs and twitter as a way to meet people. Since facebook has opened up so much for me in the past few months - why not add it to the list?

A while back, I started a little back and forth with another reader on a blog we both frequent. Using what little I had to go on, I tracked my new friend (BG - Blog Guy) down on facebook, and sent him a message and a friend request.

We started some back and forth messaging that would go on all day. There was some serious flirting going on, too. I learned that BG is successful, grounded, respectful towards women, articulate, classy and has a great sense of humor. We met the following week for a date (He even called it a date!) and had a great time - and he gave me a hug when we said good-bye and talked about what we should do "next time."

Good, right?

I thought so. The messaging and flirting continued, and last week, BG took me to dinner at a restaurant neither of us had visited before. We thought it would be fun to try something totally new together - and it was. We laughed and talked for a couple of hours, and then he walked me to my car and gave me another hug.

The next morning, I woke up to a facebook message....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Goes without saying

So, in the middle of realizing that I wouldn't hear from TG again, I did meet a new guy online. We'll call him Demo, in honor of his online user name - and the fact that he demolished my weekend.

In all fairness - Demo seemed like a nice enough guy. We only chatted once online, but he invited me to go see a movie we talked about, so I agreed. A couple of days later, he sent me a message, just saying he enjoyed our chat and was looking forward to the movie. The day of, he sent me a text to confirm, and let me know he'd ordered the tickets.


We met before show time, and decided to get a drink before heading into the theater. [I feel like a jerk for even saying this] I did some mental math. I had a soda, and he had a beer and appetizer. I'm figuring the bill had to be about $12 - and he left a $2 tip. That's reasonable - but not overly so. I guess I was thinking I'd have left more.

In the theater, and I asked him to choose the seats. Here's the thing - I have really bad arthritis in my knees, and my choice in seats is based on how I can best avoid steps. I wouldn't expect someone I just met to know this, and in all honesty, I try not to let my movie-going friends suffer for my genetic defect, anyway. I've learned to handle arthritis flare ups, swelling and general discomfort. But choosing a seat where my purse has to sit on the floor? This is not acceptable.

During the movie, Demo got a phone call. Now listen - I get it. Life happens. He has kids, and therefore I'm sure feels he can't be unreachable, which I respect. But he left the theater not once, not twice - but three times during the movie to take a call. This was after choosing a seat where I was on the aisle - so he climbed over me each time. On the way out, he apologized, saying it was his daughter - who, he said, was "having a fit" because he wasn't home.


So you had an off night. That can happen to anyone. But after having an off night - you don't lean in for a coveted first-date kiss. Ever.

Am I being harsh? Maybe. But here's my thought on first dates: You never, ever know if it might be your first chance to impress the person you hope to be with forever. If your view of dating is that you want to find love and happily-ever-after, then you need to treat every first date like it's the most important date you'll ever have - because you never know when it just might be.

So, over-tip; choose your seats well (guys - your date's purse needs a seat); don't leave the theater for a call unless it's unavoidable - and if that's a possibility, sit on the aisle; don't sit with your arms crossed, as though you'd rather be anywhere but there; don't keep looking at your phone, as though you're late for something more important; don't take a call at the table; and if you've done any (or all) of this - don't presume that a hug or a kiss is okay.

And don't even get me started on how you should dress....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Don't chase, replace

I haven't heard from TG in a week. Around day four, I figured that I would probably not hear from him again, unless I reached out. After some back and forth, I decided against that, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I really don't want to be the chaser at this point. Aside from my ex husband, I've always been the chaser. Even with Big; though he certainly initiated a lot of our relationship, in the end, I was still chasing. I chased what I wanted; some vision I had in my mind of the relationship we had, even if it really wasn't there.

TG always said he was really busy, and I know that it was true. But, it's also true that if you meet someone and you're really, truly interested, you find a way to make room - or at least to let them know that want to, but can't. It's also true that TG carries a phone with him that could probably launch missiles with the right app - so he could certainly send me a text, if he wanted.

After four dates, I'll admit - I kind of felt I deserved some explanation. When it became clear that wasn't going to happen, I realized I could put him on the spot. I could force him to admit he didn't want to see me anymore, and tell me why.

But that felt like chasing, so I decided to leave it alone, and let him fade away.

I suppose some might say that's weak. But, the truth is, I don't see any reason. After four dates, he'd know if he was feeling a connection. If he's not, and I press the issue, he'll have nothing but cruel, nasty things to say to me - and I really don't need to hear any of that.

A bigger reason? I didn't like when someone put me in a situation that forced me to explain how I was feeling. Even though I think four dates is different than one, the truth is, TG and I never really advanced past the point of friendship - so, pressing the issue with him would make me no better than when Sean pressed it with me. I have to treat others the way I want to be treated, right?

But the biggest reason I didn't chase TG? Because if a guy isn't man enough to tell me, straight up, that he doesn't want to see me again - then he isn't someone worth chasing in the first place.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Best of the Worst: Huh?

I was trolling sites again. I came across this profile:
Well I'm a great dad. I have three kids who live with me that are my world.I'm looking for someone who wont cheat. Be there for me as I will. I will give 110%. I'm a hard worker. I love to snuggle. If you wanna no more ask me. LADY'S DON'T BE SHY I LOVE TO CHAT EVEN IF WE BECOME GOOD FRIENDS. All you are scared of seperation thingies. TRUST ME NO GOING BACK HURT VERY BAD.
I'm hoping someone who reads this can interpret for me. Because I've read it about a dozen times and still have no idea what he's saying.

What in the world is a "seperation thingie" - other than misspelled? And If I want to "know" something, I'll ask.

I should probably mention that his profile contained this, and two photos. One is of him (presumably) and looks like it was taken by a person sitting on the ground - he's looking down at the camera, the way I image a T-Rex would look at lunch. The other picture is of his dog - by far the most attractive thing about the whole profile.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just one of those moods

I mentioned on facebook that I've been sending emails like crazy on dating sites. Why? I'm not really sure. I don't feel any urgency to meet a guy. I've still been seeing TG, and another guy (more on that later). It's not as if I have a bunch of extra time to fill in my calendar.

I get in these moods sometimes where I just want to see what will happen. Sometimes, it's because I feel rejected; other times it's because I'm feeling lonely. Sometimes, it's honestly just because I'm bored.

I sent out 21 emails this month. I'm beyond embarrassed to say that I got a response on 6 of them - which is roughly 25%. If I were a salesperson, I'd be rich; if I were a baseball player, I'd be making league minimum (and still rich).

Two were guys who I think were relatively new to online dating, so they felt they had to respond. They were polite, and continued the conversation I started. But after an email or two, they stopped responding. Two guys turned into actual dates - which you can read about here and here.

The last two were guys with whom I had other connections. One I actually went out with a couple of years ago. We went on one date, after which he called to say he was interested - and then proceeded to fall off the planet. I never pursued him, but ran across his profile and said hello. The other is a guy I know from the local blog world. He's older, and seems nice. We made tentative plans for lunch, but I expect it will be more of a friendship than anything else.

Think Fiona ever did online dating?
Sometimes I wonder why I don't get more responses. I know body type is important to a lot of people. I'm not thin, and I do post full-length photos, to avoid wasting anyone's time or misleading anyone. I'm definitely no beauty, though I don't think I'm a one-eyed ogre or anything. (SN: If I am a one-eyed ogre and you people who know me haven't told me - you are soooo off my Christmas list.)

So what gives? Who knows. I like to think it's because most of the guys I approach just aren't right for me. The universe already knows it, and is saving us both some time.

Either that, or I need to find an online dating site where the guys are specifically looking to meet ogres.