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.