Thursday, February 27, 2014

False advertising

I came across this profile the other day, and based on the photo, honestly thought the guy was probably a stripper. Turns out, he's actually in law enforcement. (I'm sharing the photo so you can see what I mean. I cropped out his face to be nice.)

I was a little disappointed. I mean, a stripper could have been a fun blog post. But there's not much exciting, or blog-worthy, about a police officer. Then Baking Suit gave me a great idea for a new angle.

False advertising.

As bad as it is to not post a photo, photos also need to be up to date, clear, and accurate, in order to be useful. My own personal guidelines:

• Recent - Preferably within the last six months. At the very least, photos should have been taken within the last year.

• Clear - Don't resize a 2MP photo taken with your ancient camera. That just proves it's old.

• Not misleading - My best friend is gorgeous. So is my cousin. I have plenty of pictures of us together. If I posted one, plenty of guys would email me, hoping to connect with the tall, gorgeous blonde in the photos. Who the heck is that helping?! It should be easy to tell who you are, since it's your profile.

• Not dark - Similar to the blurry resized photos, a picture is only helpful if I can actually see what you look like.

• Full picture - Ideally, a closeup of your face and a full-length shot. Hey - I'm no bombshell. If I can do it, so can you.

• Smile! - A while back, I saw a profile in which the guy started off by saying he loved to smile. In his photo? No smile. What is that?!

(For the record, the guy in this photo wasn't guilty of anything wrong...he just inspired my thoughts, so I thought I'd share.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hit publish

The other day I was all dressed up, having a good hair and make-up day. That's somewhat rare, so I decided to take some photos to update my dating profiles. I'm one of those people who actually goes to the trouble of updating my profile (pictures and all) at least every six months.

As I hit publish, I got to thinking. It really does take a certain level of guts to put your picture on a profile. You're basically asking people to judge your appearance. Asking them to determine if they think you're worth a closer look. You're inviting criticism and harsh words and rejection.

I've always posted a photo, because I think not posting one is dishonest. But when I hit publish, I can't help but picture guys pointing and laughing.

I don't agree that anyone should put a profile out there without a photo. I think if you're actually available and honestly looking to meet, you should be upfront about everything - including your face.

But I do understand how it can be so scary to just hit publish.

By the way....Engineer's wedding was lovely.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I am positive I want a relationship - I think

I want a relationship. Though I have tried (and sometimes enjoyed) the casual dating thing, it doesn't appeal to me right now. I prefer one-on-one dating with regular communication. I like the idea of dating someone I could just call during the week to have dinner, but also make plans to go to a wedding a month in advance.

So I want a relationship. I think.

The problem is, relationships are more than just plans. Relationships are communication and working through problems. Relationships mean occasionally feeling angry or hurt. They mean sharing and compromising.

I don't want any of that stuff.

The minute a conversation gets heavy - or even too long - I zone out. I'll think about anything else just to avoid giving all of my attention to this person, and this problem.

I don't share too much of myself. I keep waiting for him to share, so I know we're sharing. Then when he does - I'm too tired to share my own stuff.

Or, if I do share, I feel vulnerable. I deflect with humor, which comes across as a lack of caring. Or, when he offers a solution (as guys do), I get irritated and won't listen because "I don't need help."

I was once asked (by a guy) why I won't just give in a little. He said it's such an easy thing, to give another person a little control. You can always take it back in the future if you want.

But I don't want anyone else to have control. I'm happy to give him the illusion of control (do the asking, plan the dates, etc.)

But when it comes right down to it, I want to be in control of me. Always.

But, that's not how a relationship works.

So what the heck do I want? (I'm seriously asking; suggestions are welcome!)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Regular communication

Believe it or not, the post called Actual conversation is a...well...actual conversation I had with this guy, who I thought was gone, but apparently, isn't. Not yet, anyway.

That was really just a snippet of a much longer conversation, which to me, seemed to take days, but in actuality, was more like a couple of hours. I get confused when things get serious and real and all relationship-y.

I won't recount the whole conversation - partly because some of it was really personal and partly because at one point I sort of zoned out and started mentally accessorizing my outfit for Engineer's wedding. I will share a bit more of the "we don't talk enough" part though, because it got me thinking.

One of our biggest obstacles to, you know, actually dating is this disappearing thing he does. We'll be texting one morning, and in what I consider to be the middle of a conversation, he just - Poof! - disappears. I might hear from him again later...or maybe not until the next day...or even for a few days, or even weeks. I may not hear from him again until I reach out to him.

The reality is, the fade out and fade in isn't what bothers me. I don't even need to speak with him every
day. The problem, at least for me, happens somewhere between a couple of days and a couple of weeks.

Somewhere inside that time frame, not only does he disappear, so does my trust. When we do reconnect, in some ways, I feel like we have to start all over.

He thought that was stupid (he may have even used that word). At first I was a little insulted, but after I thought about it for a bit, I started to see his point.

I mean, I have friends that I don't speak with every day. But when we reconnect after a few days or weeks (or longer) it's not like we have to start from square one with our friendship.

The thing is, while a long absence might not end a friendship, it can certainly change one. If I talk to a friend every day, and then suddenly we don't talk for a month, when we reconnect, chances are our friendship will be different.

The big difference, of course, is that those friendships are strong enough to handle the absence. There's such a strong foundation that we're able to pick up right where we left off, no matter how long it's been since we last spoke. Even if our friendship has changed, there's still enough of a foundation for it to withstand the absence.

If a relationship isn't allowed to develop and get strong, it's much less likely to withstand that interruption. That's the problem with this guy - he wants the strength and trust without developing anything. He also wants me to understand his absence, without giving me a chance to get to know him.

That all seems...unrealistic to me. Or is that just another part of a relationship that I fail to understand?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Actual conversation

Him: When I haven't heard from you in a while, I think about contacting you. Then I think, she's probably on a date, so I don't.

Me: But when I am always reaching out to you, I feel like I'm chasing.

Him: You're not. I don't feel chased.

Me: But I have no way of knowing. Has it occurred to you that when I don't hear from you, I might hesitate to reach out because I'm thinking you met someone else?

Him: Well that just means you're insecure.

Me: So it's insecure if I think it, but not when you do?

Him: Yes.

Me: *blank stare*

This is why I have a cat.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day

I'm not saying "Happy Valentine's Day" because my wish doesn't belong to just one Valentine.

I'm saying "Happy Valentines Day" because today is a day to celebrate all Valentines - in their many forms.

Unless you're new, or just don't listen to me (I sorta wouldn't blame you), you realize I am my own Valentine. It's cool. I'm taking myself shopping, and then on a sushi date. I'll be on time, dress nice, and open all the doors for me.

I'm such a great date.

But this post isn't about being your own date. This post is about asking those of you who are your own date to let those who have a date be happy.

You may be tempted to post how Valentines Day is just a "stupid Hallmark holiday," or that flowers are silly or frivolous, or how getting them at work (and/or posting a picture) is just a play for attention. I get it - I mean, you're sorta right.

Are flowers a necessity? No. But they are pretty and fun. Are they overpriced for February 14? Yes. But they make people smile, and feel appreciated and loved - and that's worth a little extra.

Are the posts a little showy? Sure. But let's be honest - all posts are a little showy. No one needs to show off her gifts, just like no one needs to share his opinions.

You may think you sound practical or logical. Or maybe you think you sound like someone who's just too cool for this sort of thing.

But what you really sound like is someone who's jealous. You also sound a little judgy, and like a bit of a party pooper.

So, if your facebook feed is flooded with pictures of roses and candy and jewelry, ignore them or like them - but don't knock them.

I won't be getting any romantic Valentines. I also won't begrudge the enjoyment of anyone who does. I love flowers. I love candy, and little gifts. I remember how wonderful it felt to have someone remember me, and how much I wanted to share that happiness.

I've gotten my fair share - and I hope someday, I'll get more. Until then, I'll be happy for my friends.

(By the way - if this is the future, and you're the guy thinking about buying me gifts- you can't spend too much, and I'm perfectly OK with frivolity. Dark chocolate is my favorite, my ring size is 7, and my shoe size is 6. My favorite color is purple, and I've never met a sparkle I didn't like.)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hard to get

I once had a guy tell me he had purposely backed off, in order to test my interest. I was skeptical - and not just because I don't believe a darn thing that particular guy says.

I know this has been a popular ploy for women. Don't be too available, let him do the chasing, let him make the effort. The thought being that men prefer to pursue, and they want what they can not have.

Obviously, gender roles have shifted everywhere else in life. Have they changed when it comes to dating, too?

Personally, I think this behavior is a bunch of bunk. Over the weekend, I listened to a panel of dating, relationship, and sex experts (and Perez Hilton) review a study done by about relationship trends in 2013.

One thing they mentioned - only 6% of singles believe in waiting three days to call after a first date.

In fact, people (men and women) want to hear from their date right away, if it went well. Some say even something as simple as a quick text that night is fine ("thanks for a great dinner" or "got home safe - thanks").

I suppose that makes sense. Our culture has become all about immediate results. We don't want to wait, we don't want any surprise or suspense. We just want to know. Now.

Even if you don't text that night, I think purposely waiting is silly. If your date on Friday went well, and you're thinking of him on Saturday - why not reach out? To me, holding out to see if he'll text first is a game. You're manipulating the situation to maintain the upper-hand. Which is great - if you're playing chess or planning an invasion.

I personally think relationships should involve more honesty and feelings, and fewer games and strategies.

Maybe I'm the one who's old-fashioned.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Actions louder than words

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I broke down and gave this guy another chance. He asked again, and apologized. He caught me in a moment of weakness, and I agreed to meet him last week - not once, but twice.

I do have to say - he showed up for both dates (though he was painfully late for the second). He was polite, funny, and very sweet.

But I couldn't get into it. I thought perhaps I wasn't getting past what happened last fall; then I wondered if maybe too much time had passed.

The truth is, from the very beginning, this guy has been a question mark. Canceling plans, not calling when he said he would, and stories that didn't always line up.

If the stand-up had been an isolated incident, I think I could have overlooked that one time. But I was seeing a pattern. The only thing consistent about this guy is that he is inconsistent.

So, I told him we needed to talk before going out again. I told him a couple of my concerns - and then I said the bottom line is, I just don't trust him.

He did not argue. He simply said he was sorry he wasn't what I'm looking for and he hopes I find what I want.

He said all the right things. I'll admit, for a moment, I wanted to believe his words. But when I stopped and listened to his actions, they spoke volumes about his feelings - more than anything he ever said.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lessons in loneliness

I am not one to get bored or lonely. I have plenty to do, and actually enjoy being home, alone. Sometimes I'm so busy, I actually look forward to just hanging at home with my book or TV, and my cat.

But lately, I have been feeling anxious and sad and alone. I have noticed the quiet a little more - and not in a good way.

I think I might be feeling loss. I was seeing this guy, and hoping things might get back on track. Then there was another guy who pops in and out...I thought he might pop in again.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize - those connections need to be broken. When I think about how much it bothers me when they pop in and out of my life, I realize I'm allowing them to hurt my feelings. I can't do that anymore.

Of course, they are all currently "popped out" - so I can't say any of this to them. If they contact me again, I will. If they don't, I just have to let the feelings fade.

The result, though, is me spending a lot of time not contacting them, much the way I would resist the urge to contact someone after a painful breakup. I think that may be what's causing the anxiety.

It's clear they never wanted the same kind of relationship with me that I wanted with them. Still - I feel loss. I suppose what I've lost is the hope that either relationship would go anywhere.

I have read that people repeat the same mistakes, until we finally learn the intended lesson. Hopefully, this one is starting to sink in.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Not meant to be

A lot of guys came out of the woodwork in January. Some messaged, others called. A couple just viewed my profile. The majority reappeared during the full moon. I attributed the additional traffic to still-single guys making a January power-play on their resolution to find a girlfriend in 2014.

I don't know if any did. I do know none found one here.

Most of these guys were the usual suspects. Guys who routinely fall in and out of the black hole.

But of all the people who might circle back, this guy was the last I would have expected.

He started by asking how I was doing. I briefly considered just ignoring the text. But a) that really isn't my style, and b) I thought the conversation might offer some good blog fodder.

After a few polite messages back and forth, he asked if we could get together sometime. I (again briefly) thought about setting up a date and just not showing. I quickly dismissed that idea, knowing I'd never go through with it.

I went with honesty instead, and said I would have liked that.... but for the fact that he stood me up. He apologized. I accepted his apology, but told him I'm just not up to trying again, especially after so much time has passed. I added that I had really liked him, and my feelings were really hurt.

I couldn't help myself; I asked why he didn't show that day. He responded that he didn't have the money and didn't want to look like a "low-life."

Let me stop here. Let's set the record straight on one thing, right now. Yes, it sucks to have to cancel plans. Yes, it's embarrassing to admit you have no money. But when it comes to dating, there is nothing - not a single thing - more disrespectful, hurtful, and just plain unnecessary than standing a woman up. Just straight up leave her hanging, waiting at a restaurant. Especially when you suggested the date; you picked the time and place.

I have no idea if this guy is being honest. Assuming he is, it really is too bad. By all counts, we really liked each other, and maybe could have had something nice.

If he had just said he didn't have the money, I would have quickly pivoted and suggested a less expensive date. Or I would have suggested another time. I wouldn't have been upset, and I certainly wouldn't have thought less of him. In fact - I would have had a lot of respect for his honesty.

Instead, he did the most cowardly thing a guy can do. He let immaturity and pride get in the way. Now we'll never know what might have developed between us.

It would be tempting to get upset about the whole thing. To think it's unfair, or that it's just a case of bad timing. To wonder if maybe it can be repaired if we "just try." But I already know there's no such thing as "the one who got away." I know this all means it just wasn't meant to be.

I wonder if he knows the same?