A Moment of Weakness

Friday, February 26, 2010
My borrowed Match.com subscription is ending in about a week, and in thinking about whether to renew it I realized how disappointed I am in the lack of interest I’ve received these past 4 or 5 months. In fact, I’ve also been doing very poorly on OK Cupid, especially after turning off IM capability to men under 24. I decided to take full advantage of my last few days on Match.com and sent emails to 5 different guys. Not one responded. Add that to a number of CraigsList emails I had sent out with minimal response and I started the week off feeling very undesirable to the opposite sex.

Now I like to think of myself as an evolved woman, one who doesn’t define herself by the traditional societal standards. One who recognizes there are many areas that contribute to my success as a person. Certainly not someone who bases her self worth on her ability to attract and keep the attention of a desirable man.

Perhaps even more important than being evolved, I normally do well in pulling in interest. I even do well on repeat interest after initial communications and/or first dates. A lot of men find me attractive and they tell me so.

And yet, while watching The Bachelor “Women Tell All” I couldn’t help but feel terrible about myself. I needed validation, so I went back to an old standby, the Craigs List post.

I was not disappointed, and I am not ashamed that I felt markedly better about myself upon receiving not only a respectable amount of responses with decent quality content, but an impressive count of very attractive responders. Although I’ve been emailing a few guys, there are two standouts to keep your eyes on:
  • The Dreamboat. Nicknamed as such for his ridiculously fit physique, the Dreamboat has a history as a competitive swimmer and current triathlon hobby for ongoing fitness, as well as being a dancing aficionado with a love of salsa. Ole!
  • The Gentleman. Nickname refers to exceedingly high display of manners including getting out of the car to open the door for me and putting me back into my coat. Other pluses include being a very sexy and successful black man.
It's a temporary fix, I know. But I'd rather drown my self-worth issues in potential new mates than a pint of ice cream.

Failed First Dates: Go for the Gold!

Friday, February 19, 2010
One of my CL finds last weekend was looking for someone to watch the Olympics with, and in my email to him I mentioned my love of NCAA sports, and how I was hoping an Illini win on Sunday might bump them into the Top 25. I added that even if they didn’t end up ranked, beating Ohio State would be a victory enough for me. It briefly crossed my mind that I could easily be responding to a Buckeye, but I left it in since it‘s a chance for super secret bonus points. Being from Ohio is one of the three things I hate but know my future mate will love.

When I got his response a few hours later it was from an address with his full name. Google yielded nothing but on Facebook his mostly hidden profile did reveal one gem. His alma mater is one Ohio State University. Awesome.

He reveals his state affiliation in his second email to me, reacting surprisingly well to my relatively tame indication of how negatively I feel about Ohio. Seems like there may be some potential with him so we tentatively plan to meet up the next day after my basketball game for Olympic viewing.

The next day the Illini are beaten down by OSU, which although personally very depressing did provide a good backdrop for flirty text message banter. He seemed lacking in a plan - either location or specific Olympic event - so I suggested he join my gal pal and I where we were.

I was going for the gold! Being bold in meeting someone I had barely emailed barely a day later and knew nothing useful about! Inviting him out with friends of mine!

And this guy was going for the gold, too! Only he was winning at getting drunk faster than those of us who had been at the bar for several hours. After speed drinking a few bottle beers he switches to the bigger, and more economical, 20 oz cups that the rest of us are drinking. Maybe an hour into being at the bar, he starts with the Jaeger shots. He does one, by himself mind you, and then another. And then another. And another! And finally, another! Five in all in a little over an hour… a record breaker, I’m sure, for the category of day drinking.

He didn’t seem that drunk when he left (before the rest of us), but it wasn’t the shots that had me disinterested. A high tolerance is a plus. No, he just wasn’t that much of anything great in person. There wasn't much in the physical attraction category and conversation was pretty forced, even with multiple sporting events and my friend being from the same area as he was in his native Ohio.

There’s a reason you’re supposed to screen people you meet online, it’s so you don’t waste your time not liking them in person. It's hard to believe a professional dater like myself could have made such a rookie mistake, but an Olympian wouldn't let a bad fall keep them from the podium and neither will I. Now surely that deserves a medal.

It’s a Small, Small World

Saturday, February 13, 2010
decent CL find
surprise blast from high school past
doesn’t make the grade

Even though I’ve basically sworn off CraigsList as a viable place to meet men, every so often I get the itch to head over there and see what’s there. Today was one such day, and I found a few decent posts to shoot emails to. My eye was caught by one guy who simply suggested we chat on Yahoo. I was game, so I sent him an IM. The chatting started off well, and then at one point I switched from the Yahoo Messenger application to the browser based version because messenger kept crashing.

It was there I noticed his invitation to add me as an online friend, complete with his full name. it looked similar to a name I knew from way back when. I did a quick look up on Facebook and yep, there he was, mutual friends with a bunch of folks I went to high school with.

In all my years of online dating I have never come across someone I knew from another area of life, let alone high school. I shoot him an IM, “Did you grow up around here?” He answers with “Yeah, Town A. You?“ It’s the town next to mine. I respond with “Town B. We totally went to high school together.”

As he starts in with the questions… What year? What was your name again? Didn’t you date what’s his face? I try to think whether I knew anything about him, “him” being the 17 year old version. It isn’t that I went to a large high school, mine was teeny tiny by today’s suburb standards, but we definitely weren’t friends and I had a hard time recalling anything more useful than him being on the baseball team.

We play the name game for awhile and it starts to seem like he’s interested in meeting up in person. I think it’s not a half bad idea, I normally shy away from what always seemed like the incestuous dating scene that a small high school breeds, but I don’t know this guy, not enough to hold being in high school with him against him, anyway. And what a great story it would make!

We transition to a phone conversation, but instead of getting to know each other in the here and now he descends into full blown reminiscing about high school. He’s obsessed with what I thought about him - only he phrases it as curious - but for the life of me I can’t actually remember. He doesn’t seem to accept that I don’t talk to anyone regularly, although it doesn’t seem he does, either. He tells me who he lost his virginity to, who he had crushes on, who is locker was next to…. It was the most painful twenty minutes of my life.

Mercifully he ended the call himself and after several proclamations about how we should get together sometime he hung up. That obviously won’t be happening, though. High school was a fun time but I don’t want to go back there. Neither should he... from what I can gather he wasn't any more sure of himself or socially successful than he is now. Who's too cool for school, now?

"I'll Think About It" Means "No"

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Well, dear readers, who knew what a saga this whole Hobbes thing would turn into? Certainly not me. Despite being dismissed for the love of his life (who he’d been pining for, unrequited) I told him I still thought it would be fun to grab drinks as pals this Friday. My reasons, I assume, are obvious:
  • I want to know whether I feel a romantic attraction to him. This would come in handy in 4-6 months, should he and his lady love no longer be involved, and our email chatting resumes. I could save myself a lot of time (and a plane ticket) if I already knew whether I wanted that chatting to be platonic or romantic.
  • I want him to think he’s made a mistake. Once he sees and interacts with me in person I think he’ll seriously consider why he cast me aside so easily. I am very engaging in person.
What? I’m not going to feel bad about that, besides, I’m the one who was cast aside, remember? I get to act a little bit spurned. I digress. I sent this email Monday, and after two full days he replies back that his week’s been crazy! My email is already 3/4 of the way down his inbox! Then he says he’ll think about it and get back to me.

Um, excuse me? If you have to think about whether you want to spend approximately 90 minutes with me over a beer this Friday, which had been planned for weeks, and which we talked about still doing as friends last week, then you don’t want to. What is there to think about? His reasons for bailing, I assume, are obvious:
  • He is really, truly no longer interested in me. Not romantically, not as email pals, not anything.
  • He’s afraid that seeing me will make him doubt having kicked me to the curb in favor of his new lady love. This one sounds a little self-centered, but potentially valid.
  • His new lady love doesn’t think it’s a good idea, probably because of concerns that #2 would happen. This would be ridiculous. She just told him she liked him SEVEN days ago.
I have half a mind to simply take myself off the table. That would spare me the frustration of waiting for his reasoning as to why we shouldn’t meet, and it would save him the presumable agony of trying to explain himself. I’m sure his response will imply my feelings are being hurt. You know what? They kind of are, but mostly because now I feel jerked around. And, as we just reviewed in the rules, you shouldn’t make someone wait.

I am waiting, though, and I do want to read what he has to say, assuming that he responds at all. As it stands it’s been a full 24-hours since he replied and we’re just over a day from when we would be meeting up.

Time is running out. And so is my patience.

The Secret Rules

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Everyone has their own likes and dislikes of dating, behaviors they expect, behaviors that turn them on or turn them off. They’re secret rules, rules that it would never make sense to tell people but that in a lot of ways drive your early attraction to someone. These are mine*.

(1) The 24-Hour Rule
You need to respond within 24-hours to an invitation to do something. Not doing so implies you’re not interested and unsure how to say “no”, weighing your interest but not giving it much thought, or waiting to see whether something better comes along. If your response is any of the above you can always respond, referencing a potential, possibly made-up conflict and then get back to them a day or two after that with a confirmation. Don’t leave them hanging.

Conversely, you need to give someone at least 24-hours to return your phone call before calling again. If someone hasn’t called you back yet, don’t assume they are ignoring you, they could easily be busy at work, at previously made plans or in a terrible mood. Calling them too frequently implies that you have nothing else going on. Also, it’s stalking.

(2) The 72-Hour Rule

When you are beginning to communicate with someone and/or are in the early stages of dating, you need to be in contact at least once every 72-hours. Not being in contact tells me you’re too busy for a new relationship, not interested enough in the particular person to make time for them, or flat out not that interested. You aren’t going to put your life on hold for someone you just met, but if you like them you should want to be in touch with them at least every few days in some manner (phone, email, in person).

>> Exceptions to the time rules include: time-sensitive invitations, crazy work schedules, legitimately losing your telephone and being on vacation (which you may/may not have mentioned, depending on where you are in the dating process) <<

(3) The Grammar Rule

If you’re taking the time to send me a message, take the time to make it grammatically correct. “You” should always be spelled as such; “u” will get you nowhere. You’re not saving any time without those two additional letters, but you are seriously dropping my general estimation of your intelligence.

(4) The Date Rule

If you want to see me in person, ask me on a date. Date invitations include a suggested date/time and location/activity. Saying “we should get together” is not asking me out on a date. Sure, suggesting we do something may result in less rejection if I say no, but it’s telling me you don’t care enough about seeing me to think of something to do together first. And maybe that you're a coward.

For every good rule there's a great guy that broke it and was given an undisclosed number of chances to redeem himself, but ultimately the rules are there for a reason. Mostly for my sanity, but also for the safety and well-being of those wanting to date me.

* Please note that my rules are for me. You can have whatever rules you like.