Preparing for the Worst

Thursday, December 31, 2009
I know it should read “Hoping for the Best”, and I am doing that as well, but mostly what I do in what I consider the worst time ever for dating, the first few weeks, is try to prep myself for what inevitably will be a loss of interest in my new potential beau (or his loss of interest in me).

I am certainly giving my new crush the benefit of the doubt, but I’m starting to get a little bit worried that I gave him too much credit off the bat. Usually I don’t believe anything a guy tells me, which I get a lot of flack for, but when you don’t know anything about someone why would you take what they say at face value?

Last week he professed to be direct and interested in me as girlfriend material. If I am to believe him this week then he is sick and very sleepy but very much missing me and wanting to see me. I present the following evidence that something other than that may be happening.

Exhibit A:
He cancelled on our Monday night date only a few hours before the actual game (and only at my prompting) so I wasn’t able to find a replacement for what is a decently expensive seat. He did call on Monday AM to say he was heading to the doctor, and he was very concerned I would bring another date when he said he wasn’t going to make it, but so far he hasn’t even asked me how the game went.

Exhibit B:
He texted me about getting together later this week. When I asked him what he had in mind he suggested we be naked. He added “lol” and when I told him that might certainly be part of the date but wouldn’t be the only thing we planned for he was in agreement. So I asked him again, what did he have in mind? He sent back something that made no sense along with “c p”, which I decoded via the internet later to mean “sleepy”. I called him later that night, but haven’t heard back yet so there are no plans on the table.

Exhibit C:
His voicemail doesn’t have his name on it. I know that maybe there are lots of people who do that, but to me it seems sort of shady and is therefore on the exhibit list.

I meet a lot of guys who talk a good game, who tell me I’m a great catch and how interested they are in me and that they’re not into one-night stands, blah, blah, blah. And then those guys ask me to get naked.

I’m not against being naked, that’s for sure, but there are two categories of men I get involved with and I’m really not able to think longer term with those whose eyes are on the naked prize.

To quote Janice from an old episode of Friends, “So like which of these two guys do you want to be?” As soon as he calls me back we’ll find out.

I Did Not See This Coming

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Late Sunday night I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize that I let go to voice mail. Monday morning I noticed a text message from that same number. It read: Hi I know you don’t know me please call me it’s about a guy you dated that I have been with for the last 2 years. Thank you.

I waited till I got into the office to return the call and after a caveat statement saying this was the weirdest conversation I’d probably ever have I was asked if I had dated a man named Surf Dude.

Uh, hold the phone, please. Surf Dude?! The man who can’t even return a phone call? The man who had sent me hundreds of text messages during football season trying to get me to appear at his place? The man who just offered to cook me dinner and wanted to spend a romantic evening with me? The man I had just decided to give the boot to? Again?!

Over the next twenty minutes or so I was deluged with information, all of which I find fascinating and almost unbelievable. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, except to think that I had (a) never met the real Surf Dude and (b) had hit the blogging motherload.

First and foremost, I was the 5th of out 7 girls to return calls to the gal we’ll call Girlfriend #1. I didn’t think Surf Dude possessed the necessary fortitude it would take to carry on any deception, let alone several, but boy was I mistaken.

Girlfriend #1 seems to be a “real” girlfriend, who knows his family and has spent holidays there and has been dating him (with a few breaks) for the past two years. She happened upon his old phone, and due to clear shadiness on his part decided to investigate.

Based on her conversations, there are like 3 "girlfriends", and I have known him for just over two years, so I’m smack in the middle of the overlap period. He is actively talking to all of us, on and off. Some of the gems about the multiple relationships include:
  • A 19-year old girlfriend (he's 32 or so)
  • A woman who is apparently heartbroken that he's dating a whole harem
  • A women who has lent him a few thousand dollars (yet to be repaid)
  • A women who is “hooked up” with our city and Surf Dude has reaped the benefits of free everything, from hotel rooms to the basketball tickets he was supposed to score for he and I this upcoming weekend!
  • A whole host of naughty photos sent to Surf Dude’s phone
  • Multiple reports of issues in the bedroom (I can't report on that, btw)
Oh and also he’s apparently broke, perhaps due to his potential gambling and drinking problems.

Fortunately, I’m only on the periphery of the deception. After all, we’ve only gone on a handful of dates spread out over a lot of time and I picked up on his flakiness right away. I've never bought him anything more expensive than a beer. Appears I got off easy (well, that or these women REALLY need dating advice).

Girlfriend #1 was gathering information with which to hurl at Surf Dude when she picked him up from the airport Monday. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on that wall! To the end, I’ve already sent the friendly text to see if I can be a “friend” to him… and I'm passing along my blog to her.

The Week in Review | 12.21 - 12.27

Sunday, December 27, 2009
Twice in a row I have a weekly update!

Abandon the Ship!
Even though I was thinking about coaching Surf Dude on good dating practices, I have decided instead to completely throw in the towel. Last week I invited him to join some friends and I at a basketball game (my alumni playing in Chicago) and he was all over it, especially because they were playing one of his favorite NCAA teams. Tickets were sold out, and he said he might have a line on free tickets. He said he needed a day and I haven’t heard from him for the past four. Including no holiday message. The game is next weekend, so we have to get moving. And we will, but he’s no longer on the guest list. Enough is enough.

My New Catch
One of the things my new love interest had in his Match profile was that he’s looking for someone adventurous, spontaneous. And it just so happens he’s a Vikings fan and I have tickets to their game against the Bears tomorrow. So on Christmas Eve, the day after our date, I called him up and invited him to the game (which then required me to bump the individual I had invited before). He said he was in (because I’d be there) but would need to go find some outdoor gear. Look at me! I’m being impulsive! It’s cold here in the Chi… I foresee snuggling in my future…

Merry Christmas to Me!

Saturday, December 26, 2009
Even though I’ve spent the better part of this year making sport of the dating deficiencies in the men I seem to attract I clearly ended up on the “Nice” list. I received an early, awesome Christmas present on Wednesday in the form of my latest first date.

We met on in short order. Wink (his), email (mine followed by his), phone call (mine), date suggestion (his). We met for drinks (his suggestion) at a bar where we could catch the basketball game (my contribution). Simply put we hit it off.

I won’t bore you with the adorableness of a great first date (except to say there was hand holding while walking the streets of the city while it snowed) but I will say this. When you meet someone you have chemistry with, you know right away. I think I had forgotten what that feels like - it’s exciting and nerve-wracking and full of promise. Lesson #1: No one should waste their time trying to manufacture chemistry. Just keep looking till you find it.

The other thing about this one is I think I’ve met someone who will actually be a good personality match for me. For awhile now I've been thinking (read: know) I should date someone who’s more type A than I, someone who says what he thinks and goes after what he wants. This guy is super direct, focused, and kind of intense (in a way that makes him even hotter than he already is).

I will have to seriously step up to the plate to date this man. You see, even though I am perfectly capable of stating my mind in my non-dating life, I get all insecure like in my dating life. I think I seek out relationships with guys who won’t expect me to talk about feelings and such, who aren’t capable of being that strong guy presence. Those relationships don’t work, because I'm holding back, waiting for them to drive things forward and they never will.

That will not be the case with this man, and he deserves someone who is available and honest about what they're feeling. Lesson #2: Put yourself out there. When you do meet someone you click with, don't hold back (especially if it challenges some of your dating insecurities).

So I’m excited, a little nervous, and hopeful. More to come on this one, say early next week after our already scheduled Monday night (football) date?

Dating Imitates Work

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Surf Dude is a project. He’s a project in that I don’t think he knows what he should be doing to push our relationship forward and most of what he does do seems way too advanced for where we actually are.

I say all the time that I don‘t want a dating project, which is ironic since what I do for a living centers around project based work. I work with companies that interact with mine, walking them through a process to get them ready for new or changed aspects of the data that goes back and forth between us. I lay out a time line, the different steps of our testing, applicable dependencies and such. I provide status as to their progress, whether they’re on track to complete by the deadline or whether they’re falling behind. I get a great deal of satisfaction when I am able to bring a business partner up to par and successfully sign-off on their readiness.

Why wouldn’t I want to use some of those skills in my dating relationships? Presumably someone who’s still single (but would prefer not to be) hasn’t gotten it right yet and may need some coaching to sustain a successful, longer term relationship. I get assistance from my friends, why couldn’t I be more vocal with guys I’m involved with to try and coach them?

I’m not going to make a project plan, of course, not going to identify dating milestones and tell him that his status is Yellow bordering on Red. I can let him know what I’m looking for, specifically, in terms of moving our relationship forward though. And I can see whether he is interested and/or able to do that. If not, I can walk away from it knowing I really gave it a decent shot.

Surf Dude may be like that super difficult client I had at the beginning of this past year. They were weeks and weeks behind schedule and yet I was able to whip them into shape and launch them on their desired go-live. It wasn't always easy, but with the right amount of pressure and assistance they were soon on their way.

Maybe Surf Dude just needs a map to my heart. Fortunately for him I'm excellent at graphical representations of projects, too.

The Week in Review: 12.14 - 12.20

Sunday, December 20, 2009
This likely won’t be a regular weekly posting, because (sadly) not all weeks deserve a recap, but this week I have a few things going so here we go.

Two Ships that Text in the Night
Surf Dude and I continue to experience seeming insurmountable scheduling difficulties. After weeks of useless texting he proposed an actual date, but I ended up needing to work right through the dinner he was going to make. Rescheduling during the week is tricky (he normally works till 10/10:30p which is when I’m usually getting ready for bed) and then Thursday he left for California, where he will be for the entire time that I’m off work. He literally comes back the day I go back to work, which means he’ll be right on time to say “no” to getting together on New Years Eve.

No Nibbles
After an initially decent level of interest on the last few weeks have produced no new interest in my online profile. I’ve got 2 ½ months more to make something of it, though, since the subscription auto-renewed instead of canceling when my friend thought it would. The up side is that her credit card was charged since I’m borrowing her original subscription.

A New Fishing Hole
Last night I went to a party thrown by the sister of the roommate of my friend’s boyfriend. I knew only my friend and was hoping to make some new acquaintances. Unfortunately most of the folks there were already in couples, and instead of trying to identify and meet the few single guys I instead made a new girlfriend. The night wasn’t a total loss, besides being able to share a cab she’s new to the Chi and has serious potential to step into the currently vacant role of “single gal pal”.

Oh and of course my friend told her boyfriend he needs to find me a guy. It can’t hurt, clearly I need all the help I can get.

"Top Matches"

Friday, December 18, 2009
I get this daily email from with “top matches selected just for me”. Somehow I don’t think there’s too much going into the pulling of these so-called matches. Snapshots of the profiles include the photo, and the following info.

(1) Age / Location. Age, at least, does not appear to line up to my specified range, which I would think is one of the easiest things to match on. Unfortunately there are a zillion people from Chicago on Match, so that's hardly narrowing it down for me.

(2) % Match. So far I haven’t gotten higher than 86% on the email, a B+ if you're grading on the curve.

(3) Height (in Inches and Centimeters). Sometimes it also adds “Slender” after the height. I think the male appropriate term is actually “Slight”, but the odd thing is that’s the only physical attribute that appears on the email, not “average” or “stocky” or whatever the others are. I don’t like slender so maybe they’re warning me?

(4) Age Range of Women He Seeks. I like how some guys have round numbers, like 25-35 and others are really specific, like 23-31. There are the typical huge age ranges, like 24-42 (for a 35-year old), and then the exclusively younger range, like 24-31 for a 33-year old. Of course all men go WAY younger than their own age.

(5) Previous Relationship Status. The most frequent answer is “He has been in committed relationships but was never married”.

I don’t know how I answered this question on my profile, but if I was being honest I should have been looking for the “I haven’t been in a stable, committed relationship in years, but I regularly get over attached to men I’m not in committed relationships with and now feel I’m ready for said stable, committed relationships” option. Doesn’t this option just mean “Never married”? No one will admit to never being committed so this hardly seems like an accurate assessment of anything.

(6) Faith. This is a pretty basic stat, but how could I be an 86% match with someone who is Jewish when I explicitly excluded it from the list of religions I would match up with? I’m pretty open on most comparables but I’m fundamentally not Jewish and won't be a match for anyone identifying himself as such.

(7) Kid Status. “Someday, He will want children”. I love this one, I think because of the way it’s annotated. It seems wistful.

Focusing on the details of the presentation instead of the content is obviously not the purpose of these emails, but since at this point I’m mostly letting men come to me it hardly seems necessary to do anything but critique them. The emails, that is, not the men. I’ll be saving that for when they send me an email, obviously.

Wonders Never Cease

Monday, December 14, 2009
I have a confession, dear readers. I have not stopped texting Surf Dude despite haven officially given him the blog-boot about a month ago (see Wipeout: Surf Dude). Perhaps most disturbing, I have managed to rack up around $40 of additional cell phone charges this past month due exclusively to texting him. Clearly I have a problem.

Sometimes he starts it, sometimes I do, and we often talk about meeting up (usually one of us is tipsy during this exchange) and then we never do. Last night, though, the craziest thing happened. I invited him to come over to watch Elf, one of my most favorite holiday films. He wanted me to go over to his place. We went around a few times about each other's places via text and then HE CALLED ME AND ASKED ME OUT.

That isn’t even the craziest part. Listen to the date he proposed:
  • First, he picks me up and brings me to his place, where he cooks me dinner
  • Second, we go to his basketball game (he’s very serious about not missing it) and presumably I cheer
  • Third, we head back to his place for a movie, which we fall asleep watching
  • And finally, I stay over and the next morning HE DRIVES ME TO WORK
Woah, I say, that’s a pretty big plan. After I make him repeat it I realize that he wants me to get ready for work at his house and go straight to the office. Surf Dude and I never got anywhere near the stage where I would get ready for work at his house, I've actually never even been AT his house.

After months of not being able to ask me out at all he practically invites me to move in with him. Am I the only one who thinks there’s a progression from strangers to casual dating to serious dating? (the answer to that, by the way, is clearly yes). But I’ve got to give it to him for trying to suggest a normal date and saying Yes doesn't really hurt any.

We settle on the dinner part for sure, with me driving myself so that I can leave (I was given the options of him picking me up directly from work or at my house) anytime during his 12-hour plan that I deem appropriate.

Surf Dude has a terrible record for follow through, so I’ll let you know whether he even remembers to send me his address.

The One That Got Away (part 2 of 2)

Saturday, December 12, 2009
He called the same day he got my number. The first few calls were awkward. We played the name game with old work pals and talked about where we were in our lives (me: content and happy although still unlucky in love, he: going through a lot of changes, most positive, but still very bitter about his divorce). We talked a lot about our past relationship with each other.

We had completely different perceptions about the relationship. He thought I had all these negative conceptions of him when I felt like I knew him better than he knew himself back then (and liked him anyway). I had never told him how miserable I was when we had been together because of work and other relationships; he had thought I was happy. We had both fallen for each other, but neither of us had been honest about their feelings. And now? He felt really guilty, I had no regrets.

The talking got easier, some of the banter came back, and we sort of established a new friendship. But all along there was this undercurrent of a potential romantic reconnection.

We didn’t talk about a new romance, of course, but I at least wondered about one. I wanted to see him, in person, just to see how I felt standing in front of him. I thought I would know right away.

There was a missed opportunity when I was in a nearby city visiting friends. We didn’t talk for awhile after that. And then a second opportunity came up, when I was again going to be in that nearby city. I waited to hear back from him, and when I didn’t I realized I needed to put it all on the line, again.

We had been talking for about six months and I knew how I felt. It was the same as before - I thought we could work. I know we might not, too, we had a lot of the same obstacles. I am a very different person than I was back then, more mature and less afraid to talk about my feelings and needs. There was still something between us, though, and I needed to know whether we were headed that direction or not.

He said not… because of the distance, because of the time a relationship takes, because of what he wants to do with his career right now. I told him he was making a mistake, again, and then I deleted his phone number.

If there’s a moral to this story it’s that you have to put yourself out there or else you‘ll never know. I did that, I did it back then and I did it in October. And he never will. Not back then. Not even now.

Exactly 32 hours and 2 dirty martinis after that call any trace of sadness at love lost was gone. I surprised even myself, I’m normally really sentimental and romantic when it comes to potential loves, but like I said, I’m a different girl. I’m the kind of girl who jumps in with both feet and I won’t be happy with anyone who won’t hold my hand and jump with me.

Back then I thought he was the one I let get away. And now I know I was wrong. In this relationship, I was the fish.

The One That Got Away (part 1 of 2)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about a girl who fell head over heels for a guy. And he fell for her, too, only there were a few complications. They worked together and both traveled, neither was from the same state, so it didn't seem like a relationship would work outside their current situation. The girl wasn’t really in the right place to have a serious relationship and the guy had just gotten out of one. It was difficult, sometimes, but they had an undeniable connection with each other. Then they got hit by a seemingly impossible hurdle - midway through their courtship the guy got back together with his ex-girlfriend, something about the "sure thing" that she was and the riskier option that the girl was. And then the girl changed jobs and they were both working and living in separate states.

The girl thought that would be that, but once she left they still talked all the time. She realized that she really, really cared about him. So she put it all on the line, and told him that she wanted to give a real relationship a try. Two weeks later he proposed to his girlfriend.

The girl was pretty devastated. She felt like she and this guy really had something - because, dear reader, they really did - and that she had ruined it by not addressing her feelings earlier. She felt like he was The One That Got Away.

She also felt the guy was making a terrible mistake. But he got married, and she got over it. She had really, truly moved on, until almost five years later when he ran into an old co-worker of theirs who still had her email and gave it to him.

At first she didn’t want to talk to him at all. She assumed he was only writing because he’d gotten divorced (which he had) and possibly that he wanted to get back together (which he had crazy romantic ideas about). She was worried there would be this flood of sad emotions about what could have been if she opened that door.

Instead she had the same crazy romantic thoughts. Not without a good dose of caution, she was very aware that a lot of time had passed, and that the girl that fell in love with that boy was a great many years wiser and significantly more assertive. Who knew how different the guy might be, plus he was still hurting from his divorce. There was a lot of history, but she couldn’t deny her heart.

And so I gave him my phone number and waited for him to call.

There’s No Such Thing as "Being Friends"

Monday, November 30, 2009
With an ex, that is. People may disagree with me, but unless you were solid friends to begin with, you’re not going to be friends after your romantic relationship ends. Social acquaintances, yes. Facebook friends, sure, if you’re one of those people who likes to collect them. But real, honest to goodness friends? Not a chance*.

I just ran into an ex of mine that I see maybe a few times a year. We broke up years ago, well before he and his wife started dating. We only see each other through friends of friends, but every time we run into each other I have two thoughts:
#1: His wife is not okay with he and I talking. #2: He and I really could be friends, if not for #1.

I don’t have any romantic interest in my ex, and neither does he. The thing is though, if neither of us were married or in serious relationships and we did hang out socially, with drinks, I’m sure we’d end up making out afterwards. That’s more about the fact that we used to make out, though, then actual current interest in a real relationship. That's the underlying current between you and your exes that prevents you from being friends after your romantic relationship is over.

And that's probably what his wife is picking up on, but the thing she probably doesn’t realize is that we should have just been friends to begin with.

He and I had an affection towards each other, yes, a great affection, but I don’t think it ever really had the romantic drive it needed. Well, outside of the “I’m drunk let’s get naked” scene, which, let’s be honest, is more about alcohol and sex drive than anything else. We broke up for a reason, and I don’t think either of us regrets that decision. If anything I wish we’d done it sooner. We weren’t meant to date long term.

It’s awkward, though, on those few occasions that we’re all in the same social scene together, and kind of unfortunate. I really enjoy his company and would enjoy it more often if I didn’t feel like we were flirting under the watchful eye of his spouse. I would also enjoy it more if we didn't actually flirt. It's the default way I interact with him, though.

You can let go of things in your past but that doesn't mean they didn't happen. Your instinct will be to interact with your ex based on your previous relationship with him/her, regardless of your current relationship status. Without an original friend base, all you've got is the dating.

Today's lesson? Stop worrying about being friends with your exes and make sure you're being socially appropriate if there is overlap in your circles - no excessive flirting, no crazy ex behavior. Feel free to avoid the glaring from your ex's wife, too.

* Of course there are those super rare occurrences of exes who are now friends but weren’t before they dated. Your relationship is not one of those occurrences.

I Almost Forgot to Say Thanks!

Thursday, November 26, 2009
As I sit with my wine, stuffed full of holiday deliciousness and watching the hilarity that is Elf, I realize I need to give thanks for my blog. Writing it has done wonders for the way I approach dating and the way I feel about being single and more importantly how I feel about myself.

I am grateful for each and every one of you that read my blog and comment and say such complimentary and supportive things about my writing and what I’m going through.

I am especially thankful that so far no one I’ve dated has discovered it.

I am thankful for the wonderful blogs that I have discovered in the past months as I’ve been writing my own blog - it’s inspiring how you put yourselves out there in raw and funny and embarrassingly honest ways.

I am also thankful that I am spending the weekend with family, and that at their house I have no cell phone or internet service, so I will not be able in any way to send suggestive text messages to Surf Dude (it’s over, I know, I’m just having a hard time letting go of the texting).

So I give thanks. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get another slice of pie.

Haiku Heroics

Thursday, November 19, 2009
Years ago, sort of as a joke, I wrote a haiku about a relationship that had ended.

high school crush fulfilled
snuggly late night rendezvous’

it ended with eggs

It was so amusing for my girlfriends that I have since written haikus about every guy I meet when things don’t work out romantically. Not every guy is warrants a whole post, though, so here are a few other haikus that you might enjoy:

post play-off hook up
crazy ex beating down door

scoring drive reversed

Back when the Bears were in the playoffs I ended up hitting it off with a neighbor of one of my friends. I also ended up drinking approximately 25 cups of beer and half a bottle of champagne. Fast forward to the wee hours when a similarly drunk but substantially more fired up (ex)girlfriend of my hook-up is banging on the door, screaming to be let in because she knows he has some whore in there. Nothing kills the mood as quickly as hoping you aren’t going to have to get into some sort of brawl with a drunk crazy woman who remembered where the spare key was.

rich, drunken sailor
only wanting to make out

shape up or ship out

I am constantly meeting guys who say they want a girlfriend but actually just want a hook-up buddy. With this guy, first I got invited to hang out on the sailboat (read: makeout). Then to watch football at his place (read: makeout). Then more sailing (more makeout). I like making out as much as the next person, but honestly he wasn’t that good. And with nothing else to put in his plus column he simply had to go. He was also a Notre Dame fan, so there’s no love lost there.

It’s All in the Company You Keep

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This past weekend I was at a friend’s out of town wedding. Back last summer I was coordinating with a friend of mine who was also invited, deciding whether we might share rooms or would need our own. She was optimistic she might have a date, but I was actually thinking that bringing a guest might be less fun that going solo.

You see this wedding had all these very fun folks that I knew on my own or through the bride or groom. And I hadn’t seen a lot of those folks in awhile, some of them years. I was thinking I’d be doing a lot of catching up at the weekend events and it might be hard (read: annoying) to keep introducing a stranger. Especially if this stranger wasn’t awesome at playing with others (as so many people just aren’t, unfortunately).

Neither of us ended up bringing dates, and you know what? I didn’t even notice I was one of the very, very few singles at the wedding. And I had a really great time. It’s likely I would have had less fun with some new guy I was dating, even.

A few weeks back I was all melancholy about being left behind by my married and parental friends, and there is truth to those feelings. There’s more to it than that, though. A lot of what I love about my life right now involves the fact that I am single. I can pick up and go out of town to visit family or friends and decide to buy a season of Bears tickets on a whim and meet my pals for drinks whenever I want. I don’t have to check anyone else’s schedule or check-in when plans change on the fly…

I am a part of so many people’s lives, and will continue to be, whether I’m single or whether I’m with a partner and whether they are single or married or pregnant. Not having that partner should never take away from the incredible relationships I already do have.

Whoever he is, whenever I met him, he better bring his A game. He’ll need it to get past the fun loving and generous standards my friend’s have set.

Wipeout: Surf Dude

Sunday, November 15, 2009
Irish southsider
making plans than canceling
too laid back to care

Well, I think we all saw it coming, or at least I should have. All that giving Surf Dude a second chance did was increase my cell phone charges due to an excessive amount of text messages and confirm for me that he’s exactly the person he was two years ago.

Need a recap? Surf Dude was one of those guys you meet and like, really like, but he’s dating challenged, really dating challenged. He has potential, though, so you give him more chances that he deserves, hoping you might be able to kick him into gear. You can’t, of course, and so eventually you give up feeling like you failed. In reality though, you should have walked away right at the beginning.

I experimented with presenting my interest in Surf Dude in more direct and regular ways than I normally do for the past month or so, hoping I’d see different results. There were sparks of improvement… he called and texted regularly, and he even invited me to hang out a few times.

We never did hang, out, though. For reasons that were exactly the same as before.

Past Example: Surf Dude and I have plans to hang out. He is supposed to call later that day but I don’t hear from him for say 2 whole days. When I CALL HIM, thinking that the only possible excuse he could have is that he was in the hospital it turns out he WAS IN THE HOSPITAL. He had a semi-concussion after getting hit in the head with a box helping his friend clean out a garage.

Current Example: Surf Dude and I have plans to hang out. He is supposed to call when he’s leaving his friend’s but then I don’t hear from him for 3 whole days, including a weekend. When I TEXT HIM, to tell him that I’m cutting him off, he responds that his phone had broken and he’s been without it all weekend and just got a new one that day.

All right, so they aren’t exactly the same situations, but I play the same role in both. I get invited to meet up and I get blown off. I do the follow up and then I get a lame, albeit semi-valid excuse.

This past weekend Surf Dude suggests we meet up for a movie on Monday. Monday around 8p he texts me to say he’ll be later than expected because his basketball league is running behind. I finish lounging around my pad, then fall asleep without hearing from him at all.

And we’re done.

False Starts: Marathon Guy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
marathon stranger
promising start, quick decline
sprinters don’t finish

Despite a “this never happens to me” meeting story and a very successful first date with Marathon Guy things have officially ended.

I had my doubts as to my interest level after our second date but I kept at it because we had started off so well. I asked him out twice, for different days and different activities, demonstrating (at least in my mind) clear interest in seeing him. Both invites were declined, because he had other plans, but neither came with a counter offer. After one random “how u doing” text message late on a Friday - the same week I had asked him out twice - I stopped hearing from him completely.

I’m a little surprised that he just disappeared since he had seemed so interested the few weeks prior, but his actions clearly state that he’s not interested. Not that he’s shy, not that he’s busy, they indicate that he’s not interested. Or he's completely clueless about dating.

Do you know why? Because the counter offer is standard dating practice. It’s how you express interest when you aren’t available or don’t want to do what someone suggested initially. Not counter offering is what you do when you don’t want to go out with that person at all.

New relationships won't take off if at least one of the parties is making an effort to express interest in the other. In this case, I was willing to go the distance but I was all alone on the course.

Perhaps I shouldn't have been so quick to dub him "Marathon" guy. Seems like more of a sprinter to me.

Whatever Happened to Wooing?

Sunday, November 8, 2009
Wooing, by definition, involves effort on the part of the interested: 1. To seek the affection of with intent to romance. 2. (a) To seek to achieve; try to gain. (b) To tempt or invite. 3. To entreat, solicit, or importune.
v.intr. To court a woman.

Now, I’m not your average traditional girl, especially when it comes to the gushy stuff. Most everything that falls under traditional notions of “romance” makes me scrunch up my face in disgust but I do like some amount of effort in someone seeking my affection. I should be invited to spend time with someone so I can decide whether he is worthy of my returned affections. I should be tempted to throw caution to the wind, ignoring all my pre-conceived notions of how relationships should be and opening myself up to all the things that could be.

In short, I like some amount of formal courting when I’m getting to know a guy. For example, I think you should go on actual dates, planned in advance. I also think there should be some mystery to the other person, some ramp up in intimacy between an initial meeting and when you see them eating noodles in their underwear over the sink.

Without it, I have a hard time maintaining interest. Which is why I think Marathon Guy and I aren’t going to make it. Take the below text message “conversation” we had last week:

Marathon Guy: Hows ur night?
Me: Okay, just finishing up some work. You?
Marathon Guy: Cleaning, doing laundry and watching the game
Me: Baseball? Didn’t you just do laundry?
Marathon Guy: Like a week ago I did. Ya baseball
Me: That’s a lot of clothes to go through
Marathon Guy: Actually no, hence the frequent washing
Me: Maybe you should buy more
Marathon Guy: I’m in the process

Really? Two dates and we’re discussing his lack of clothing? And that’s all we end up chatting about? Not “what are you up to this weekend” or “maybe we should get together?”

I'm not looking for flowers and candles, but I am looking for someone who is at least interested enough to put in the effort to ask me out. Until then, there are going to be a lot of single nights ahead.

Playing the Game

Friday, October 30, 2009
As a newby blogger I’ve been reading and commenting on other dating blogs in addition to writing my own. One that I’ve been enjoying as it makes me think, instead of just shake my head at ridiculous dating stories, is Sex, Lies and Dating in the City.

I recently commented on a post where SINgleGIRL was investigating the concept of being “in love”. Read the full post and comments here: "In Love" and Other Mysteries.

I added my two cents to the commentary: I've always realized I'd fallen in love too late, after the fact, and often after the relationship was past the point of being salvaged. It was a surprise to me, and then I had the sadness of the relationship ending plus the awareness that I was losing someone I had actually fallen for, too.

I think not being aware of my own feelings had to do with me not being ready for those feelings. Not wanting to be vulnerable. I think I loved those men, but I never quite made it to being "in love".

I guess I'm still waiting for the two to collide. Knowing you love someone WHILE you're involved with them. I'm a work in progress.

She responded with: I think we're all works in progress, emotionally and every other way. The fact that you're aware of that and willing to admit it puts you way ahead of the game.

I agree with her, in that it’s an advantage to be aware of yourself in a way that’s honest and useful. I don’t feel ahead of the game, though.

I’m thirty, thirty-one next week, and for practically two years I’ve been unsuccessfully dating. Most of the guys I meet I just don’t like enough to keep seeing. The guys I do like either aren’t interested in me, or we have issues that seem insurmountable, or I simply run away (emotionally). I’m not in a bad relationship, so that is a plus, but even though I feel like things work out in their own way I feel I must be doing something that is still holding me back.

Don’t get me wrong, being single doesn’t define me and there is plenty in my life that I love. I do want to find someone, though, and it is hard to be single when your social circle is not. I’m down to 1-2 true single friends, and most of my married friends are already into babies. For my group, I’m unbelievably behind.

It’s all relative, of course, if I had completely different friends maybe I’d feel at least like I was hanging with the pack instead of lagging behind like the lame deer. Relative or not, if I’m ahead of the game then there are a lot of single folks who aren’t even going to make it off the bench.

A Long Shot at Love

Sunday, October 25, 2009
So here’s the story on the potential other guy on the scene (that is maybe drawing my attention away from Marathon Guy - who, by the way, mostly sent me lame text messages this weekend but did leave one very sweet voicemail after my football team lost on Saturday)

Exactly two years ago I met a guy we’ll call Surf Dude through a CraigsList post and I really liked him, right off the bat. He was the type of guy I’ve always been attracted to, with a few twists. We started dating but I ended things when it became clear that he wasn’t able to (or wasn't willing to) find time to call me or make plans or worst of all, meet up with me when we actually had plans.

It was really disappointing, I thought he had so much potential and it had been so long since I‘d met someone I really liked… but it was so frustrating being consistently blown off. Regardless for another six months or so after that we sort of tried off and on. He even came to a friend’s wedding with me, but was so withdrawn and off-putting that I cut him off entirely.

Until we started talking again, for one reason or another, and for the past year or so we’ve talked randomly, mostly about sports. I’ve even seen him a few times and sometimes it’s like we’re dating (like when I accidentally joined his family at a festival this summer) and other times not (like when I just sat there at the bar while he bullshitted with the owners and didn't think to introduce me).

When he popped up this last time, I went all in, explaining how I like him, but how it's clear that he either doesn’t like me or doesn’t have the time for me. He of course said I had it all wrong, that he does want to spend time with me and didn't realize I still liked him. I didn’t believe him, but told him to give me a call sometime, that I would love to hang out with him.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up (more than they obnoxiously already are), but I’m not exclusively dating anyone else and it isn‘t like our relationship has anywhere to go but up. Then again, Surf Dude said he’d call me back in 2 minutes… 2 hours ago.

Boy Likes Girl. Girl Feels Blah About Boy.

Friday, October 23, 2009
All right, so after a great first date in which I felt chemistry and really enjoyed spending time with Marathon Guy I had a second date in which I felt way less chemistry and the conversation sort of stalled.

I was impressed with the sushi, though. They had a lot of fancy special rolls and the price was right on. Bonus restaurant review: Kohan, 4 stars.

Enter one of my classic dating scenarios: BOY LIKES GIRL. GIRL FEELS BLAH ABOUT BOY. I run into this a lot... when I finally meet someone who is decidedly interested in me and also capable of pursuing an actual relationship, I typically balk and start pursuing other interests.

We haven’t gotten to the bottom of this particular cooling off, but after a few days of hashing it out with some gal pals and my mom here is where things stand.

Theory #1: I’m losing interest in Marathon Guy because he’s not a challenge. I know he likes me, and I only like people I have to work to win over. My mom says I may have gotten this from her - that she used to find the cutest boy at parties and win him over - then she’d be done with him. I don’t think I do that, but it’s good to know it’s in my genes.

I do like a challenge, in general, but I also think relationships should be straightforward and don’t need to have games. I don’t think I’m trying to get the un-gettable, but there is less excitement if you already know someone is going to call you every day after only knowing them a week.

Theory #2: I’m not as interested in Marathon Guy because of the reappearance of a certain other guy I used to date and still like and wish would get his act together so we could date.

This one is hard to delve into since I haven’t posted anything about that guy on the blog but basically he’s a guy I really liked and think has real potential. I also think he’s a lost cause and that I probably should cut the cord. I’m not sure how to respond to this theory. I do still like that other guy. I don’t think it will go anywhere, though.

Conclusion: There are any number of reasons why our 2nd date was just okay instead of amazing, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Some connections are instant and others develop over time. It's too soon to say whether I'll beat the blahs, but like I said, I'm always up for a challenge.

To Text or Not To Text…

Sunday, October 18, 2009
That is (just one of) the (many, many dating) question(s).

I happen to prefer phone or in-person communication to email and text messaging in early dating. When you’re just getting to know someone, it’s hard enough to gauge their tone in-person, let alone in emails and increasingly cryptic text messages.

I also happen to think email and text are lazier forms of communication. They have their purpose, yes, but reaching out to someone in written format is one-way, and therefore much safer than opening up to a two-way conversation which could take any number of unexpected turns.

As in all dating, it’s different with every person, but I wrote up a few guidelines that are probably going to apply to most daters.

First and foremost, don’t text when you’re drunk. It’s usually obviously if not by the time of the message, then by the spelling and/or content that you’re wasted. More importantly, the content is usually inappropriate given the short time you’ve been dating that person. Don’t do it.

Assuming you’re sober, there are still a few things you shouldn’t communicate via text:
  • Date Cancellations. You’re likely not going to take the time to explain yourself over text, just that you need to cancel. Not taking the time to give a reason makes it seem like you don’t care about the date (whether you do or not).
  • Anything Related to Emotions or your Dating Status. It’s a slippery slope into confusion at best and irritation at worst. If you have something to say that means something, say it in person or on the phone.
It’s not all bad, though. Some great uses of text messages, even in early dating, include:
  • Thoughtful notes that let someone know you‘re thinking of them. Wishing someone good luck on an important meeting, for example, can bring a smile to their face without interrupting their busy work day.
  • Time or location updates when you’re in an environment not conducive to phone conversations, like when you’re on the el heading to meet up or in a sports bar letting him know where you found seats.
Marathon Guy is walking a thin line with text messages. On the good end, he’s sent me cute check-in messages, like not to get scared when I went to see CATS (the commercials were freaking me out). He also sent some slippery slope messages, texting “hope everything is ok” after we talked on Saturday and decided to not to meet up, followed by two “OK” messages when I replied (a) that things were fine, we just changed plans (with smiley face!) and (b) that I was sorry his night was a bust but that he should call me later this week to make new plans.

After the second OK I went ahead and picked up the phone - turns out he was paranoid about something that I think he should blame on liquor and his liquored up friends - but I was able to get us back to a good place pretty quickly.

We’re set to have dinner tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ve seen the end of these out of line texts just yet. Around 1:30a this morning I got a final text about our earlier conversation. At least I know he likes me.

Timing is Everything

Saturday, October 17, 2009
When I started Righting the Courtship I had been on kind of a bender of unsuccessful dating. I was taking something of an unintentional break when I really got motivated to write about my experiences. I wanted the blog to reflect my current dating activities, but I had all these recent stories that I wanted to share as well. So the blog started out with previous dating tales; most of the Failed First Dates and internet dating stories fall into that category.

Form follows function, though, and soon I found myself proactive about dating again. Dating (for me) always involves a twist, so I started writing posts about what was currently going on, like The Crush series and Mr. He-Likes-Me-He-Likes-Me-Not.

This past month got sort of busy on the current dating scene, and I’m actually a little behind with posting. I have a few more posts that will come out that are past situations, and a few that were recent, but then we’ll be in real-time again.

Timeline confusion aside, I hope that all the posts are at the very least entertaining, if not a little insightful into the world of modern day courting.

If you’re ever confused about current versus past, just let me know. Thanks for reading!

Maybe I'm Getting the Hang of This

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
It’s been a rough couple of weeks on the single scene… being ditched for a sports drink, finding out my crush had a girlfriend… I was beginning to think the universe and I were in a fight. And then the craziest thing happened. I met a guy.

It was Sunday and I was out supporting the marathon per my usual: I run over to the 20-mile mark in time to cheer for my fastest runner friend and then I wait for and cheer other friends until my (only slightly less fast) friends come by, at which point I join them on the course and run with them until I reach our local watering hole.

I’ve done this for the past few years but this time while I was waiting for my fast friend to come by this guy started chatting with me. We proceeded to chat for close to an hour, I think, mostly about running related things, but other stuff as well. The conversation was really organic, and about midway through I started thinking maybe I should let this guy know that I was single.

I managed to capitalize on him mentioning seeing someone with a shirt that read “So-and-So, will you be my girlfriend”? Formally asking someone to be your girlfriend led to discussion of asking someone to go steady (favorite of his) led to discussion about crushes (favorite of mine). Enter me saying my crush was no more, and he responding that neither was his.

By the time I spotted my friends we had been formally introduced and I had invited him to join us at the aforementioned watering hole. As I leapt into the stream of runners I made a point of telling him it was great to meet him and that he really should come to the bar later. Then I was off.

I think you know what comes next. Three hours later, after I had run 4 miles with my friends and the other mile and a half at a slower pace, cheered on random runners while waiting for my friends to make it back from the finish and ordered lunch snacks and a beer, Marathon Guy walked into the bar.

He was just passing through, he had plans with his own friends, so he was literally there JUST TO GET MY PHONE NUMBER. We chatted for a few more minutes, exchanged digits, and he left to meet his friends. I got well-deserved high fives from my whole table. It was the single most impressive dating moment of my entire adult life.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think I may have found myself a winner.

Failed First Dates: The Weeble

Saturday, October 10, 2009
ex-baseball player
awesome coldplay concert date
dishonest weeble

I don’t usually get really excited about meeting guys for first dates, more often than not interest I thought I had over the phone is dissipated quickly in person and I find physical attraction impossible to gauge in advance. But this one guy… I really thought I had something. I was thinking if the date went well, I’d probably be headed straight into a relationship.

He picked me up at my place and we drove together to the concert, stopping first at my bank for cash and then at his. As I sat in the car, watching him head over to the ATM, I noticed his lower half was really, really big. As in wide, disproportionately so to his upper half.

At first I was confused. He had given me the impression he was very active - running and biking regularly - and with a previous history of competitive baseball through college. That seemed to be not possible of the man I was with. He was literally too wide to fit comfortably into the concert seats and he sort of waddled when he walked.

I’m not looking for physical perfection, but I am looking for someone with a similar activity level and general physique as me. I’m also looking for someone who is honest, and as the date went on I felt more and more that I’d been deceived.

Nicknaming him the Weeble isn’t nice, of course, but it’s the only way I could think of to describe his shape when trying to explain to my friends how different his appearance was than expected. I probably shouldn’t have started out with my hopes so high, I’m sure it’s the reason I felt so crushed afterwards.

Weebles wobble but they don’t get second dates.

How Long Should You Wait for the Spark?

Monday, October 5, 2009
Every so often you come across someone who doesn’t really seem like he’s your type but you can’t deny there’s a connection of some sort. Take this guy Hobbes, for instance. We met through a CL post and had a really interesting, engaging email conversation that I was really drawn into. We sent multiple emails daily that really felt like we were talking to each other, instead of just sending disjointed collections of information about ourselves.

I was somewhat hesitant to meet him in person, afraid I‘d be let down given how much I was attracted to him online. We did meet, though, walking around the loop mid-day with coffees. It was a different kind of date - I actually took off during work to meet him - and while I was definitely still attracted to him as a person, I can’t say I had that romantic spark.

He pursued me. We continued emailing regularly and met for drinks and dinner. We had a good time, but I still wasn’t sure if I was physically into him. I had a vacation scheduled and at the end of the last date we went on we clearly should have kissed, but by then we almost had this awkward physical barrier between us so we hugged instead.

When I got back from vacation we met up the very next day, and we did kiss. It was good… not amazing but definitely promising. For me there was still a twinge of awkwardness, the physical aspect of our budding relationship just didn’t come naturally.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I certainly enjoyed his company, and we had been on several dates, but I just don’t think I was into him, romantically anyway. It was so depressing! I had finally found someone I wanted to spend time with, but not make out with. This really isn’t something I encounter often.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WAIT FOR THE SPARK? You don’t want to short change yourself and possibly miss out on a great relationship, but you don’t want to lead anyone on either. My married friend says until she kissed her now-husband she didn’t really want to kiss him. So it all boils down to the kissing, then.

I think you should give the kissing two shots, just to be on the safe side. I never got to the last ditch kiss attempt with Hobbes, shortly after our first kiss he announced he was probably moving across the country at the end of the month. It didn’t seem worth it to figure out that I liked him if he was leaving, so we went our separate ways.

When you a find a connection I think you need to give a real chance, even it means some awkward or bad kissing. Besides, what's that saying about finding your handsome prince? Oh right, the frogs.

I Have the Perfect Guy for You…
My High School Buddy’s Wife’s Cousin

Monday, September 28, 2009
I got the nicest email ever, in which a high school buddy laid out why he thinks he has a great guy for me, after complimenting the blog. The thing that’s so nice about it is he actually thought about why this guy would be a good match for me, instead of the usual "you’re both single".

The referral has the usual pros:

  • He is by far the nicest person I have ever met and has a heart of gold
  • I think you guys would have a lot in common
  • He is 34-36 and recently got his Masters
  • He loves running and traveling
And then references to things that I would definitely find attractive:
  • He was a college track star and loves everything outdoors
  • He worked while he made way through his Masters program
  • He "might" be able to match [me] intellectually and has a very witty sense of humor
  • He meets [my] requirement of drinking a good ol' PBR from a mug and throwing darts
He even gets the super secret bonus points! This guy loves soccer. There are three things I personally hate but know my future mate will love. One of them is Soccer.

The only rub is that he’s kind of far away. When I MapQuested where my buddy lives it turns out its 427 miles from Chicago. Yikes.

I was offered a photo, which I declined, I assume someone I know wouldn’t try to set me up with a troll. And I said of course I would meet him. How could I say no? My buddy said "I just caught myself reading your blog and thought of [him] right away".

You know who is the nicest guy ever? My high school buddy. I’m not sure whether I’ll hit it off with his wife’s cousin, but I’m certainly willing to give it a try. Even it means driving to the middle of nowhere to go on a double date.

Crushed: Bus Guy has a Girlfriend

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The most important question you should be asking is how do I know this? Easy, I asked Bus Guy out. That’s right, terrifying though it may seem, just 36 hours after I introduced myself to my crush I went a step further and actually asked him whether he wanted to grab drinks.

Now you should be asking, how did that happen? Well at the suggestion of two different guy pals I was planning to lay it all on the line and ask Bus Guy out the next time I ran into him at the bus stop. And then he was on my bus home, which he almost never is. After a quick touch up on my make-up and pep talk from a friend I went and sat across from him on the bus to strike up conversation. Public transportation banter completed, one stop before his (which is one stop before mine), I just asked him out. He said he had a girlfriend, so that probably wouldn’t be a good idea, but that it was really nice of me to ask. I said, don’t even worry about it, and then he got off the bus.

Finally you ask, how are you feeling now that your crush is no more? Surprisingly, I feel absolutely fine. I don’t feel rejected, I’m really proud of myself for taking the initiative and most importantly I’m excited that I can stop going to the bus stop at such an annoying time.

Like E. said, "Right now it’s all in your head, not in your heart". She’s right, I don’t even know him, and I shouldn’t waste any more time stressing about running into him and trying to strike up conversations.

Even now, a full day after the fact, the only thing that bums me out about it is that I don’t have a crush anymore. Don’t worry, I will soon enough.

The Turning Point: I Met Bus Guy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So the GREAT news is that I met Bus Guy this week, officially. It was on Monday and my brain was having a hard time getting going thanks to a completely overbooked weekend. I’m standing at the stop, where it seems a lot of people are milling around, and notice Bus Guy walking over.

My initial thought is "shit". I’m not really in the mood to put myself out there, I haven’t even had coffee yet, but I’ve been trying to run into him for weeks and I can’t squander my opportunity.

I dawdle, though, and when a set of buses rolls up I’m thinking I’m going to miss my chance entirely. But then I get a break. Bus Guy ends up on my bus! He’s a few people behind me but instead of staying towards the front of the bus like he normally does he walks all the way to the back and sits kitty-korner from me. I seize my second chance moment and introduce myself. He smiles, we shake hands, and he introduces himself back. I was right about his name.

We didn’t do a tremendous amount of chatting, but that’s fine with me. Now that we’ve met I will be able to walk up to him and say things like, "Hey, what’s going on?", and then conversation will ensue, followed by a phone number exchange, dinner, etc. Or so I thought.

Here comes the BAD news. First, I was a little off on "our" bus time. Turns out it’s about 5-7 minutes after I thought it was, which could account for why I kept missing him. The time he’s actually there is a time which causes me to be late to my standing morning meeting and involves up to 30 or so other people standing around waiting and then cramming themselves onto the first bus that arrives. It’s the kind of bus scene I normally avoid.

Second, we don’t stand in the same area of the bus stop. One of us has to walk over to where the other one is to chat. It’s hard to walk over to someone without making eye contact, and that brings me to today’s issue.

We didn’t make eye contact. Catching someone’s glance can be tricky, at least without making it look like you’re staring them down trying to make eye contact (which I obviously try to avoid). This morning we probably wasted 5 whole minutes of potential getting to know each other time while he read a stupid paper and I drank coffee and tried to catch his glance. And then we didn’t even get on the same bus!

I’m a little disappointed, but I’m not going to abandon ship. I will endure the obnoxiousness of "our" bus time until we have a positive interaction. Besides, if I was right about his name I’m probably right about everything else :-)

Meet Me at the Bus Stop

Saturday, September 19, 2009
Being rejected for a sports drink seems to have struck a nerve with readers (I had my first non-friend comment!). One commenter suggested that perhaps Lunge Guy had seen the error of his ways after the fact, and had gone so far as to write about it in the Missed Connections section on CraigsList.

I immediately checked, and I found a posting from a girl who had kissed a German dude in lederhosen. She had gotten farther than I, giving him her number, but there seemed to be a mishap involving his “German hands” and her work phone not accepting text messages. Other than inappropriate sausage references, that was it for German Fest postings.

And then I had a brilliant thought. What if Bus Guy reads the Missed Connection section? I almost never do, but if he has any insight into me like I do into him then maybe he knows I can’t turn away from the madness that is CL personals. I need to put a posting there.

Meet Me at the Bus Stop
South Loop neighbor crush
shared bus stop, random chit-chat
hoping to meet you

I see you at the bus stop, and sometimes around the area, and although we’ve exchanged a few pleasantries we haven’t actually met. A few weeks ago you said Good Morning to me and I should have introduced myself right then.

But I didn't, and I’ve been trying to run into you again so we can properly meet. Unfortunately I haven't seen you so I'm hoping maybe we can cross paths via the Internet. If you see this, please email me... or sit next to me on the bus so we can chat.

Don't Take the Lead
if You Don't Want to be Followed

Monday, September 14, 2009
Last Saturday I had one of those experiences I never get to have myself but am constantly hearing about from other people. I met someone, randomly, and we hit it off.

I was at German Fest with a gal pal and we crossed paths with this guy when I was hopping around near the speakers and the polka band. He basically made fun of me, turning my obvious polka moves into lunges. We chatted briefly and then went our separate ways. He kept popping up, though, culminating in an unbelievably fun (and advanced) polka dancing bonanza. I felt like something was really starting for me.

And then I got dissed. Instead of my getting my phone number he went to the 7Eleven to get Gatorade.

When it happened I was really hurt. I felt like I wasn’t desirable and couldn’t read guy signals and that I should just throw in the towel altogether. I had also drank two and a half large steins of beer. So the next morning I thought about it again and you know what, I’m still kind of hurt.

I put myself out there, more than I normally do, but I was basically following his lead. He was clearly interested and so was I. I even went so far as to suggest that he call me sometime. He says, while holding his phone, that he doesn’t have my number… in fact he doesn’t know my name. So we exchange names and then for whatever reason he just bails.

Maybe this is how guys feel all the time, taking the lead and putting themselves out there, thinking they’re making progress only to get abandoned at last call. Maybe I’ve been that girl and I’ve been insensitive or unaware to their pain all these years.

To my credit, I didn’t try to lead anyone on on purpose. And Lunge Guy, he did do it on purpose, finding me over and over during the fest. I mean, he taught me the words to "Take Me Home, Country Roads". We did a dip during our dancing!

I guess the point of this rant is that no one should be leading anyone else on. If you aren’t available then you shouldn’t be doing things that indicate (a) you are available and (b) you are interested. Don’t see if you’ve still got the moves, don’t walk the thin line between having fun with a stranger and cheating on your actual significant other and don’t invite someone to polka. Dancing is surprisingly personal, it requires really focusing on your dance partner and trusting them.

Fortunately there’s a silver lining to this night, besides the delicious potato salad, and it’s that I’m a pretty good dancer. I think I’m going to make a pretty good girlfriend, too, as soon as I find the right partner.

The Crush

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I have been holding out on you, dear readers, as I have been harboring a serious crush on a guy who lives in my neighborhood. I didn't bring him up earlier because for awhile I hadn't seen him. I was actually getting worried he had moved away but fortunately that is not the case. Bus Guy, as he is affectionately known, has reappeared on the scene and my romantic interest in him remains strong. Here’s the scoop.

The History: Shortly after I moved to my neighborhood I noticed a gentleman at my bus stop. While he seems sort of unfriendly, I can tell that he’s not only nice, but funny once you get to know him. I quickly developed a crush on this man, obviously dubbed “bus guy”. We sometimes exchanged acknowledgment glances but never really met. One time my drunk friend invited him to join us at our table at a local bar. He declined, unfortunately. One time he said hello to me out of nowhere at the grocery store. We chatted briefly. One time he came around the corner with dry cleaning while I was standing chatting with my running friend. I had been talking but then lost my train of thought and then as he walked past there was ridiculous giggling.

What I Know: I know which condo Bus Guy lives in and the usual time he gets on the bus. He gets off a few blocks before me and then walks to his office, which I have narrowed down to a two block area (a mere three or four blocks from my own office!). I’m not stalking him! Sometimes I see him walking while I am on the bus.

What I Think I Know: I think he’s an engineer and that sometimes he travels for work. I think his name is Mark or Matt or Jim or Greg... something fairly regular. I think he’s older than me but younger than 35. I think he might be an only child but he may also be a middle child. I think his parents are from Michigan or Wisconsin. I think if he played a sport in high school it may have been wrestling.

The Latest: Recently Bus Guy appeared again, predictably at our bus stop. Just two Fridays ago, he smiled and said Good Morning to me. I should have just introduced myself then but I was taken by surprise, plus I was running late and had to get on the bus (without him). So now I am hoping to run into him again soon and I am planning to introduce myself. The last week or so I have been thwarted, although I have regularly been at the bus stop at what will now be known as our usual time.

I will not be deterred, though. I can’t wait to tell you all about him. When I meet him, of course.

He Likes Me Not…
I Like Him Not, Too.

Sunday, September 6, 2009
Miami implant
he likes me he likes me not
just not interested

Sometimes you go on a date that doesn’t so much go wrong as much as nothing really goes right. I just went on that date.

First things first, the looks department. He wasn’t a troll, but he was definitely not as cute as his photo, and he was medium attractive at best from what I had seen in the picture. I was hoping he’d be cuter in person. He was also kind of sloppily dressed, loose grey t-shirt, messy hair. I wasn’t fancy but I was put together, I mean, I had lip gloss on.

Onto the (much more important) personal interaction. He wasn’t boring, but he wasn’t particularly engaging while we chatted, either. I thought there were a few opportunities where our conversation could have gotten better - like when he told me about his work, which I found really interesting (and said so), but then he just asked me about my work instead of elaborating about his. And then when I mentioned I had a friend who went to the same college he did and also was in a similar major it didn’t even register with him. We didn’t have to play the name game or anything, but by not even responding to the statement it came off like he wasn’t really listening to me.

Although unrelated to how I felt about my date, I also only felt medium about the actual brunch. The coffee was kind of weird and while my eggs were decent the sweet potato hash browns were not. Bonus restaurant review: Hashbrowns 2 ½ stars.

We parted semi-awkwardly, he said thanks for meeting him and I said thanks for brunch, and then we just stood there. I finally said something like "okay, well be in touch", and headed to the parking garage.

We won't, though, be in touch that is. Seems neither of us was really that interested in each other after all. All's well that ends well.

He Likes Me… Again

Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Remember that guy that sent all the mixed signals, seemingly interested but then disappearing or being vague about making plans? (See He Likes Me… He Likes Me Not?) Well, he’s back! And he seems interested for real this time.

This past weekend I put up a post on CraigsList and he responded, seemingly not aware that he was writing to someone he had chatted with before. I replied back, referencing the aforementioned chatting and that I had gotten the impression he wasn’t that interested. I said I wasn’t sure how to proceed.

He replied back that he did remember me, explaining that his earlier disappearing act was because he was taking a summer class and really busy and claiming that he couldn't really recognize me in the photo I‘d posted on CL and wasn‘t sure I‘d even sent him pictures before. He asked if I’d be interested in getting together and suggested lunch over the weekend.

I can believe that he had a busy schedule over the summer - dating takes a lot of flexibility - but I think the likely scenario is that he was pursuing someone else, whether or not he was taking a night class. I don’t necessarily buy the not recognizing me from my photo, though. I take a lot of pride in posting flattering, but realistic photos of myself when online dating.

I was intrigued, though, and since I happened to be available I accepted his offer. We’ve emailed a few times this week and I have both his home and cell phone numbers so I’m feeling pretty positive we’re going to make it to the first date. Stay tuned readers.

Failed First Dates: Mr. Emotional

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
pizza place owner
needy and emotional
stop smothering me

In one of my last CL posts I met this guy who I decided to take a chance on despite a few mixed signals. On one hand, he seemed like the motivated, confident guy I normally am attracted to. On the other, he was clearly a workaholic and admittedly was in the process of losing 100 pounds. In the plus column, our conversations were good and he was serious about going out on actual dates. Then again, he was way over the top emotionally, sending me text messages in the morning that said “miss u” and “thought about you when I woke up”.

Before we even scheduled our first date he started exhibiting this unbelievably unattractive quality of feeling neglected or accusing me of losing interest since I hadn’t replied to his one line emails within say 4 hours. I tried to explain to him that I don’t ramp up that quickly in relationships; that while I enjoyed talking to him I wasn’t ready to talk to him every day, let alone throughout the day (and PS we hadn't even met each other yet!).

We got as far as scheduling a date for the following Thursday. We had last talked on a Monday night and while I wasn’t particularly excited about the date I woke up on Thursday morning determined to have a good time. I planned to email him when I got into the office - we had already finalized the plans earlier - to confirm and sound excited. I had an email from him sitting in my inbox, from Wednesday night, stating that since he hadn’t heard from me (in approx 48-hrs) that I clearly wasn’t interested and so the date was off.

We exchanged a few emails back and forth, in which I said I was sorry he had come to that decision but was fine with it, and in which he then re-instated the date request and tried to get me to agree to go out with him after he had just canceled on me.

Enough is enough, though, so I had to cut him loose. It’s a shame, too, I love pizza.

The Worst Date Ever: in which I meet an unemployed, pot-smoking dude who brews beer in his parent’s basement

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I was meeting a guy at a bar for brews. Pretty standard, including my practice of making a friend when I entered the bar in case my date turned out to be scary. In this instance I made friends with the bouncer while I scanned the bar looking for my date.

I see my date. Flag #1: The ponytail. I have always had an aversion to guys with long hair, especially hair that is long enough to require hair ties. I would not be able to get past the long, curly hair. How did I miss that in the online picture sharing?!

Dates are supposed to be practice, though, so I walked over to him and pulled up a stool. He was on the corner so I took the seat on the other corner and to my right there was another guy.

Turns out my date knows this guy, who turned out to be an officer in the Chicago Brewing Society. Flag #2: Rather than moving us somewhere where we could be alone to get to know each other, he leaves me in the middle of himself and another beer fanatic. This allows them to then spend the next hour and a half talking about beer.

Don’t get me wrong, some of it was very interesting and I learned a lot about brewing beer (and mead), the Chicago Beer Society and their field trips, going to beer competitions and also the psychotropic affects of sage. Very educational.

I also learned that my date's ex-girlfriend was an IT manager (in response to his asking what I did for a living), that he was unemployed (in response to me asking what he was doing professionally since he had lost his recent brewer job), and that the 50 or so gallons of beer he had brewed in his basement were actually in his parent’s basement, where he lived. Oh he also grew pot at his parent’s house. Flag #3, for living at the p’s, and that’s generous considering the rest of the things I had learned about him.

After awhile I zoned out of the beer conversation and made “help me!” faces to the bouncer as he walked back and forth. I ended the date early, stating the always lame excuse of having an early day and declining his suggestion that we grab food somewhere else. When he reluctantly walked me out of the bar I mouthed to the bouncer that I’d come back and give him the details.

Before unnecessarily walking me to my car my date asked if I wanted to meet his dog, who apparently was in his car. Final flag, although really things were already over. Who brings a dog on an inside date only to leave him in the car? In the winter?

After sneaking back into the bar I shared another few brews and a lot of laughs with my new friend the bouncer. The night wasn’t a waste, after all! I didn’t get the bouncer’s number, but I should have. He was a cool dude.

What to do about the Expensive First Date

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I grew up with men in my life that treated women well. Not to the extent they traditionally follow in the South, just that they extended a general courtesy as the man to the women in their life. I appreciate and am looking for that kind of respect in my other.

I have a hard time, though, letting a man pay for what I consider an expensive first date. I don’t think anyone should have to spend a lot of money to get to know someone and I feel uncomfortable when my date is shelling out the dough to see whether or not we are compatible at the most basic dating level.

Its hard to tell whether the gentleman is using the money to impress you, whether he simply operates on a more expensive scale than you do, whether he’s one of those “the man always pays” dudes, or some combination of the above.

How does a modern, financially stable lady walk the line between traditional gender roles and equal-opportunity dating? For me, its case by case, and sometimes I have a better read than other times.

Try to Deter the Spending in Advance: Fail
I think you should go dutch on expensive first dates if you’re just getting to know someone. I had explained this theory and desire to split the bill before I accepted a sushi date knowing we’d go over my first date limit, but at dinner my date just snatched up the check and pretended we had not had that conversation. I appreciate that he wants to pay for dinner, but I would appreciate even more if he respected that it made me uncomfortable given the cost of our dinner.

Make an Exception to the Rule: Success
Sometimes you make an exception, like when I was invited to go to a concert with someone I had met online but hadn’t yet met in person. I told him I was uncomfortable about just taking the ticket but he pawned off the expense saying he had planned to go with a friend who had bailed at the last minute, and didn’t know anyone who wanted to buy the extra ticket. It sounded sincere, and I agreed to go. The concert was incredible, and he let me buy a few rounds of beer to even things up. Letting me contribute went a long way towards making me feel better about his paying for the ticket.

I know some guys like to go big on the first date or find it offensive when gals insist on contributing financially. I know that I need to set aside some of my personal opinions on the “right” way to date and be open to the many possibilities for successful dating.

I’m working on being less uptight about the money thing, but its taking some time. In the meantime, just ask me to grab beers at a bar with great turkey burgers (and sweet potato fries for extra credit).

Failed First Dates: The Non-Caller

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
romantic sushi
musician who won't use phone
kicked to the doghouse

I think sushi is a great dinner option for a first date; besides meeting a new guy I would be able to eat delicious nigiri sushi and caterpillar rolls. My date was a little mushy for my taste, he didn’t feed me maki from his chopsticks, but he did reach for and hold my hand over the table while staring into my eyes for extended periods of time. We had a good time, though, and I agreed to a second date. We planned to go for a bike ride the following Sunday afternoon.

That Sunday morning, I was puttering around my condo sorting laundry and such, and I hopped on my email. He had sent me one asking for a reschedule or rain check; he needed to fill in for this musical group that afternoon. I promptly replied back that I could do late morning and to give me a call if that worked. I also called him and left a voice mail.

What happened next can only be described as insecurity (on his part) and experimentation (on mine). I replied to his emails, each time requesting he call me directly, but instead of picking up the telephone the Non-Caller sent email after email response, stating that he didn’t want to intrude on my weekend by calling me and that even though I repeatedly asked him to call him that he wasn’t sure I wanted him to, really. It was ridiculous, and culminated in him sending me an e-card the following day to apologize.

Needless to say I sent one final email, expressing that I no longer wanted him to email (or call).

Lessons in Dating: How to Cancel Plans

Thursday, July 16, 2009
Its my personal belief that in early dating one should make themselves available for, well, dating. More available than they might normally be so that they can actually get to know the person they’ve started dating. Single people have lives, though, with careers, family, friends, hobbies, so its understandable that even while making dating a priority on the social calendar some plans may need to be canceled.

There’s nothing wrong with canceling plans, but there is a right way to do it. You want to do two things, ensure the person knows you’re canceling (so you don’t stand them up) and provide an explanation and/or request a reschedule (so they know you’re still interested).

The best way to do this is call them on the telephone. Its direct, your tone will be able to be heard (you’ll want to sound sorry that you had to cancel) and you can leave a voice mail if you miss your date. I would avoid email and text - they’re less direct forms of communication, and its kind of a cop out. If you’re going to bail, buck up and call the person you’re canceling on so you can tell them personally, if not in-person.

The results of not making the personal effort can be disastrous on early relationships. Case in point, I invited a guy I wasn’t sure I was interested in to join myself and another couple out for sushi. The invite was casual and communicated during the work day over email. In my last email I confirmed the time/location and asked to him to call me if he wasn’t able to make it. Then I left work.

When I got home I was intercepted by a work phone call which required logging into my computer. I happened to check my email and I came across one more email he had sent about an hour before we were to have met, saying he wasn’t able to make it.

I was pissed, mostly because if I hadn’t accidentally checked my email I would be standing outside the restaurant, being stood up. But it also felt like he didn’t care enough to get in touch with me personally to cancel, which made me feel like he wasn’t that into me. That it turn made it easy for me to decide I wasn’t that into him after all.

I’m sure he didn’t even think about it, didn’t actually read my email where I asked him to use the phone to cancel and just replied over email, didn’t realize that on his Blackberry he was just as capable of using the phone feature as the email one, didn’t feel like it was a big deal to cancel since there were other people who would be at dinner…

I asked him about it afterwards, when he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t interested in seeing him anymore. I asked him what he would have done if he needed to cancel a client lunch. Would he send an email an hour beforehand? Or would he also call that client to try to speak to him directly? He answered as I expected, he would have done both.

I told him that’s what I had been looking for. Someone who would have showed me the courtesy he showed his clients. Someone who valued my time just as he valued his. I hope he learned his lesson.

Failed First Dates: The Brit

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
a british import
decent teeth, off-colour wit
nothing in common

The Brit was an English journalist in the States starting up a new publication. We met through a CL post and IM’d or talked pretty regularly for a week or two before we officially made a first date.

I had high hopes that we might have a real connection. Our conversation had been fairly easy as well as entertaining. I felt the cultural difference but thought it could be fun, or at the very least would give us plenty to talk about. Besides, my grandmother is British and I’ve always loved a dry wit.

We met for drinks at an English-y pub, but even after a few delicious brews it was clear that we weren’t a match. I felt the physical connection, but couldn’t get past what became a larger and larger communication gap. Everything he meant to be funny came off as confusing and/or rude. He would say something, expecting a laugh, and I would try to figure out what he had meant without feeling offended.

Perhaps more off-putting was his tendency towards sexual innuendo. I’m all for flirtatious speak and a little bit of sexual tension - it’s what usually leads me to believe my interest is romantic and not just platonic - but his came off dirty, rather than suggestive.

Eventually we were reduced to talking about beer and petting the local dog that was hanging out. I try to be a fun date regardless of my interest level but I think the Brit caught on towards the end. True to his Continental manners he walked me to my car and chastely kissed me on my cheek. Cheerio, old chap.

He Likes Me... He Likes Me Not...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I recently stopped being one of those girls that came up with hundreds of reasons why guys didn’t call me. Now I just believe guys who like you, call you. Or email, or text message, etc. I also believe guys who like you ask you out. It seems pretty straightforward so this is obviously where I get into trouble.

Take this guy I recently met online. After a few emails we talk on the phone, but I think I’m talking too much, rambling and being uninteresting. I must do something right, because he suggests we get together sometime and I agree that we should. No actual plans are made, though, and our conversation ends when he abruptly says he’s heading to bed.

My gut says, he’s not interested, suggestion to get together without any invite details (when, where, what) is usually a courtesy phrase, like when you run into someone you used to be friends with and on parting say "we should get together sometime". You both nod, knowing you’ll never call each other.

I’m feeling adventurous, though, so as my weekend is winding down on Sunday I call him to see if he’s free for sushi. I leave a voicemail and don’t hear back until a few days later, but he seems friendly and throws out drinks on Friday. Maybe I had it wrong, he does seem interested.

I’m not available on the Friday, though, so I counter with Wednesday. He’s not available and we exchange a few emails that end with me asking whether he wants to pick a date to grab drinks next week. I hear back nothing for ten days (including two weekends). Not interested.

But then out of nowhere, he sends an email saying he hadn’t heard back from me… did I still want to get together? Interested, albeit inaccurate as I had emailed last.

I reply back promptly that yes, I am interested. What did he have in mind? Two days later he responds asking what I was doing over the weekend and that he was thinking Sat or Sun. Now I’m confused. Not interested?

My trusty guy work friend says he might be trying to avoid all the scheduling issues we’ve been experiencing by being the most flexible dude ever. I think this sounds ridiculous, asking someone out on a date should involve coming up with the details. Nevertheless I reply with what I hope sounds positive, saying that Saturday would work and what should we do?

Two days later, mid-Friday, I still haven’t heard back. Not interested, definitely, and this time, I’m talking about me.

Reeling in the Big Fish

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Once I embraced online dating, there was no stopping me. I tried to be creative with my postings, you know, going outside the run of the mill lists of why I was great and what my favorable personal attributes were. Oh and of course a long list of what a suitable boyfriend should be. I figured that my writing savvy would attract the kind of guy who would find me witty, intelligent and fun.

Some of my posts were more effective than others. The below is a sampling from a few month period:
  • Redhead Special. Get it while its hot. This was early in my online foray and clearly before I understood what words not to use, including ‘redhead’ and ‘hot’. I think it goes without saying what sort of responses this title generated.
  • Sushi Sunday - looking for a dinner date tonight. Super successful, I actually went on several sushi dates from this post.
  • Wednesday Afternoon Haiku Challenge. Referring to a series of failed dates/relationship haikus I had written (which I‘ll post for your enjoyment). Sadly the ones I got back weren’t anything special, and some were kind of weird. None of them were particularly funny, like mine.
  • Date for the Roller Derby. I thought drinking beer while watching tough chicks roller skate around in a semi-violent race would be a great way to get to know someone. Most of the responders really wanted to see derby, but most were also socially awkward (both over email and in person on their screening dates).
  • The Male Hotness Equation. In which I asked responders to rate themselves across ten weighted attributes factor list of characteristics my friends and I had made up way back when in a bar. Unfortunately the ratings were suggestive so I wasn’t actually able to plug the numbers into an equation and all of them wanted their grades. And extra credit, yikes!
  • The “Ideal” Post. I listed 5 things I thought would be ideal for my new boyfriend including his zip code, height, hair color, interest in running and a last name that started with a “K”. Not everyone got the sarcasm.
  • Save me from another hundred pages of 12th century England? I was reading Pillars of the Earth and it was taking FOREVER to finish. Seemed like a good idea, but I got mostly responses I couldn’t comprehend back, citing authors I didn’t know and rhetoric I was unable to respond to.
  • The Pick Up Artist. I was making fun of the VH1 reality show but instead tapped into the world of PUA, previously unknown to me. I even chatted with a guy that knew the host of the show, Mystery. I did learn more than I needed to about the PUA way of life, but none of those guys even wanted to date me.
  • Is it lame that I’m having a Star Wars marathon today? This garnered exactly the kind of responses you’d expect. First, the Star Wars obsessed thinking they had finally found their Leia, and second, a very serious discussion of early versus the recent films: plotline, special effects, etc.
When you’re fishing you need to be where the fish are, but once you’re there its all about the bait. It didn’t really matter what I wrote in the posting, most responses are driven by the photo, and I always included one.

I’d like to think I attracted a somewhat more respectable suitor than your average CL post but then again I’m not your average worm.