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.