Walter, I love you, but sooner or later, you're going to have to face the fact you're a goddamn moron.

Friday, April 30, 2010
Duder’s first response to me, sent at approximately 7pm, asked me when was a good time to call me the following night, so that he could have more time to develop another date idea. We’ve already established how obnoxious I find this behavior. He also basically says he has never been, and will never be a dancer. He suggests that perhaps he is giving himself more credit than he deserves in regards to putting himself outside of his comfort zone. That's right dude. One hundred percent certain.

Duder’s second response sent at approximately 11pm that same night, listed three very good activity date suggestions. Followed by each suggestion was why he didn’t think his suggestion was good.

Suggestion #1: The Driving Range
  • Why I would have accepted: I LOVE the driving range, even more than I love golfing
  • Why he pulled the idea: “that seems extremely ‘guy’ and not at all considerate of your wants”
Chauvinist much? I’m pretty sure that strip clubs are the only “guy” activity I know of.

Suggestion #2: Running
  • Why I wouldn’t have accepted: Duder was new to running and seemed terribly self conscious about it. I definitely run with newbies, but it didn’t seem like something he would enjoy.
  • Why he pulled the idea: Because he wouldn’t have enjoyed it. He said he knows I like it, and would like to cater to me even if it’s at the expense of his pride.
Oooh, martyr for a cause. And the cause is me! Look, if you don’t want to do something, don’t suggest it. With only the 2nd date I’m sure there’s plenty available that we both like to choose from.

Suggestion #3: Kickball
  • Why I would have accepted: I really do want to practice before my kickball league starts
  • Why he pulled the idea: He doesn’t have access to a kickball.
Problem Solving 101: Go fucking buy a kickball. You most certainly have access to stores, suburb boy, and probably access to $12.00.

Shit! Walter, you fuck... you fucked it up! You fucked it up! Her life was in our hands, man!

He again suggested we talk on the phone the next day to discuss. What is there to discuss? What is the matter with him? I can come up with my own reasons to decline your ideas; I don’t need you to torpedo them for me. If you want a girl to spend time with you at least pretend to think she would enjoy doing so.

And what’s with the stream of consciousness? I appreciate that coming up with dates can be hard work; I just wish he would have kept some of his thoughts to himself, or ran them by a pal. I had no idea how to respond in a positive way to his suggestions without tearing him a new one for the crappy presentation.

Obviously I had to wait another full day before responding. I did the only thing I could think of. I took getting together Friday off the table entirely, and suggested we try again from scratch.

Dude, are you fucking this up?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I hate everything about Duder’s response to my email suggestion for our next date. I hate the way he shoots down my awesome dancing suggestion – stating that it’s awesome but that because he’s “frightened, weak, selfish, or just plain difficult” he has to decline. I hate the suggestion he counters with, going to see a free movie that he doesn’t necessarily seem interested in, just happened to receive an email notification for. He also offers to watch The Big Lebowski with me, which technically is still my suggestion since I had already told him I was planning to watch it.

I hate that he concludes by suggesting we discuss over the phone (instead of just calling me), and reminds me (not for the first time) that I should feel free to call him anytime, and that if he’s busy, he just won’t answer. Side note on the calling: During the NCAA tournament I sent him a text instead of calling because basketball was on. In part I didn’t want to disturb his watching of the game, but also I was watching the game and didn’t want to talk on the phone. He clarified several times after that that I should feel free to call him whenever I wanted. As if I needed his permission.

Basically I reject everything about his email. Now I realize that a LOT of guys would turn down the dancing suggestion. It’s not so much that he turned it down as the way he turned it down. It sounded like he was the kind of guy who would never, ever challenge the boundaries of his well defined comfort zone. That personality type is zero attractive to me; being willing to try new things is an absolute deal breaker. And his movie suggestion isn’t the worst idea ever; it’s just lame as a counter to my awesome activity date which I was quite excited about. In the words of a friend’s husband, “Your idea rules. His idea drools.” But I can’t very well write that.

Nothing is fucked here, Dude. Come on, you're being very un-Dude. I wait a full day before responding.

I respond with the nicest possible email I can muster up. It attempts to address my concern that he’s not going to be as adventurous as I would have liked. It says “no thank you” to his counter suggestions, with the reason being that I wanted to have a more interactive date (as this is the only way I think I can decide whether we have a connection or not). I put the ball back in his court and ask what he does for recreation?

Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.

Blond Treehorn Thug: [holding up a bowling ball] What the fuck is this?
The Dude: Obviously you're not a golfer.

Sunday, April 25, 2010
This post is part of The Big Ledateski series. I recommend starting at the beginning.

Duder did not disappoint. Well, it was disappointing that he again used email to express his interest in seeing me again instead of giving me any indication of that interest while I was standing in front of him. But there it was, an email sent moments after he must have gotten home from our dinner date. It was titled “Date Debrief”. This guy wasn’t kidding when he said he wasn’t very good at dating.

The main content of the email was more of a follow up from a conversation we had had on our date. Duder had been lamenting having purchased tickets to a band show that was the same night as the NCAA final. Obviously he would be watching basketball, so he needed to offload the tickets. I had mentioned I had a friend who might be interested. I said that based on not recognizing most of the string of artists Duder listed as his favorites and that list sounding very familiar to a list my friend would have made.

In his email, Duder sent me the name of the band and show location, after stating that he “highly doubted my friend had even heard of them”. Then he launched into why my friend should look into this particular theater for live shows. I’m sure he was trying to be helpful, but he came off like a know it all.

As it turns out, my friend had not only heard of the band, he already had tickets. Here’s a hot tip for dating: give your date the benefit of the doubt. Just because YOU don’t believe she knows what she’s talking about, doesn’t mean she doesn’t. These fucking amateurs…

I digress. The rest of the email was about our dating. After restating he had a nice time he reminded me that he was still free on Thursday night. He then stated that his lack of early dating skills extended in no small part to not being able to come up with what to do. To conclude, he told me to enjoy the rest of the week.

I have another hot tip for dating: Stating you are available but suck at dating isn’t the best way to solicit a date suggestion. And even if you do suck, you still have to make an effort. Use the magic of the internet or your friends to come up with an idea. An interested gal will always counter suggest if she doesn’t like the option you presented her.

Now I was on the fence with Duder but I definitely thought he was a good guy. And it was stupidly clear he just needed someone to take hold of the dating reigns. I threw him a bone and made one last date suggestion. It was pretty awesome, I thought, an activity date involving dancing. A stretch, yes, which I explicitly stated in the email, but I really did think it would be fun if he agreed to go.

How would he react to such a bold challenge? Well, Dude, we just don't know.

They posted the next round for the tournament.
Donny, shut the f- when do we play?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This post is part of The Big Ledateski series. I recommend starting at the beginning.

So I was wrong about Duder. It happens, every now and then. Turns out he was interested and had sent me an email saying as much the exact second he got home according both to him and the time stamp of his email. He wanted to go on an actual date, and suggested a restaurant that had been featured in the blog. He said he wanted to ask in person but hadn’t wanted to put me on the spot. He also offered to come all the way to my place to actually pick me up.

I must say I was surprised to see the email. But I thought it was sweet of him to take my date-hating into consideration, and I couldn’t turn down one of my favorite restaurants. Plus, I hadn’t gathered enough intel on Duder to weigh in on my interest level. So I accepted. The picking me up part I graciously declined.

Here’s how the date breaks down.

The Dinner. Delicious. I had this ragout with squash and apples as an appetizer and it was unbelievable. I also had a glass of wine, almost at Duder’s insistence. You see he doesn’t drink when he is driving, which is very smart, but also very contrary to the life of a city dweller, which of course I am. He didn’t want me to feel restricted, but I kept it to one glass. Next to a non-drinker I’m sure I’d look terribly alcoholic. Or at least I would feel that way.

The Ambiance. Good and bad. When given the option to sit in the room with the live music, Duder chose the music. An apt choice, considering he’s very into all those independent bands I’ve never heard of, but it ended up a little loud for conversation. Plus the jazzy musicians were really interesting to watch, and thus very distracting for me.

The Conversation. Decent. More about our interests - we’re both playing kickball although he is team captain and I am new to the “sport” - and a lot about his quirks. Everyone has quirks, I just have an ability to draw them out of people while holding mine back. We lasted a solid hour and a half before we started to struggle.

The Flirting. Non-existent. He did say I looked nice, but there was definitely no “I’m into you” vibe. To be fair, I wasn’t doing any flirting myself, just trying to feel him out, but I’m also the kind of girl who wants a guy to make the move.

The Exit. Well, it went something like this:
Brandt: Well, enjoy. And perhaps we'll see you again some time, Dude.
The Dude: Yeah, sure, if I'm... in the neighborhood and I, uh... gotta use the john.

Actually it went like this:
Duder: Well, have a great weekend. (it was Monday)
Me: Oh, I'm sure I'll talk to you before then. I'll let you know where I'm watching basketball on Saturday if you end up in the city before your (music) show.
Duder: Well we don't know what we're doing yet...

And then I walked myself to my car, through an alley. No next date planned, and seemingly no interest from Duder in planning one. I guess I'll just have to check my email when I get home.

That Rug Really Tied the Room Together (About The Big Ledateski)

Monday, April 19, 2010
One of the early facts I found out about “Duder” was that he has a serious obsession with the film The Big Lebowski. Having only seen this film once, approximately 10 years ago when it came out on rental, I decided to re-watch this cult classic so as to determine what all the fuss was about. It’s funny. Crude, but funny. And it’s filled with hundreds of memorable quotes.

When starting to blog about Duder, I thought it fitting to use the film not only as the inspiration for his blog name, but as the thematic backdrop to the whole tale.

I find it terribly clever, although substantially more vulgar than my usual language, especially since I have used the quotations without edit. I hope fans of the film will find it clever, too, but of course I realize not everyone has such an intimate relationship with it. You guys will just have to trust me.

The rug really does tie the room together.

You have got to buck up, man. You cannot drag this negative energy in to the tournament!

Saturday, April 17, 2010
This post is part of The Big Ledateski series. I recommend starting at the beginning.

While debating what to do about Duder I review a few more pieces of information at my disposal, mainly an assessment I received from my friend via her law school buddy who had met him at her co-worker’s birthday party that same weekend, and the original email I had received from him via the CraigsList post. Neither is particularly convincing given my current mental state. He has pros – he loves NCAA basketball – and cons – he lives/works in the suburbs. Basically he seems normal.

But the Universe keeps nagging at me, so we all know where this is going. Against my better judgment I send him an email. We cover my reservations – that on the one hand someone who reads my blog has insights into me that they haven’t earned and on the other that some portion of those insights are bound to be totally off-base. He’s a blogger himself, so he seems to understand the concept.

I suggest we meet in person, not a date, mind you, just NCAA tournament basketball as the backdrop to seeing whether there is any real life connection to substantiate the bizarre series of circumstance. He agrees, stating that he finds my ability to schedule this most basic of meetings “refreshing”. I find this a ridiculously depressing commentary on the current state of society.

Fuck the tournament. I must have left too much time between the planning and the actual event, because the closer I get to meeting Duder in person the less I want to go. Everyone around me thinks this will be that “one last first date” but I know it won’t be. I also know thinking like that will only make it more depressing when it turns out to just another mediocre first meeting that goes nowhere.

I dig deep and go through with it, though, vowing to give it an honest to goodness shot. I do a great job of truly being myself and I end up having a perfectly decent time. Duder comes off a little stiff - not sure if it’s nerves or if he just doesn’t get my humor, but he seems decidedly less fun and social than he’s been described. By far my favorite thing about him is that it turns out he knows my very good friend’s husband’s mother. He doesn’t seem to think it’s as remarkable as I do, which is unfortunate. He lets me split the bill, which I appreciate, and both my teams advance in the tournament, which is a plus.

When walking home from the bar I dial up my friend to tell her that I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like me. I don’t have anything specific, just that general feeling that whatever he was hoping I’d be in person I wasn’t. I am proud of myself for marking an effort and relieved I can get back to my dating break.

I guess we can close the file on that one.

that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
No sooner had than the words “I’m on a (dating) break” come out of my mouth when I received an email from a friend and reader of this blog with the subject line: Someone wants to meet you.

Here’s the deal. My friend/reader of this blog also reads a blog about a TV show written by her law school buddy. The TV show blog is also read by the law school buddy’s co-worker and the co-worker’s very good friend. Let’s call the co-worker’s very good friend Duder. Duder finds my friend’s comments interesting and clicks on her name. He sees that she follows another blog, Righting the Courtship. He starts reading and is intrigued by Dater at Large. He wants to meet her – which he passes back to his friend’s co-worker’s law school buddy.

Now I am serious about needing a dating break, dear readers, so serious that I sent emails to the three guys I had just started emailing from a recent CL posting to inform them of this news and apologize for having not realized said break was needed before posting on CraigsList (surprisingly, all of them sent back very sweet emails thanking me for my honesty and hoping my romantic optimism came back soon).

I am also working through several concerns tied to having a dating blog. Mostly that it (a) could be having a negative impact on the success of my dating and (b) creates a world of hurt when discovered by a current subject of its content.

So I tell my friend that instead of categorically saying “no” I’ll think about whether saying “yes” is a good idea or not. While thinking, I happen to check the email account associated with the blog – since I write anonymously I have a separate email that I rarely check – and I have an email with the subject line: As a new follower of your blog.

The email is from Duder, and it’s basically the story I just told you. He very generously states of my blog that “the first screen's worth of posts is all I needed to know I had stumbled upon a great find,” and goes on to say that after reading a few recent posts he decides to start from the beginning. This is where he realizes there is a different author for the first few posts (originally I blogged with my real name, but then I “anonymized” the blog, clearly not that well), and here’s the kicker, he realizes that Dater at Large is the same woman he’s been emailing with from CraigsList.

Got that? My friend’s law school buddy’s co-worker’s friend is the same guy I just rejected on CraigsList. And now he’s reading my blog, about dating, which he found through a 4th removed personal connection to me. And he still wants to meet me.

The Universe needs to give this girl a break. Am I wrong?

Down for the Count

Friday, April 9, 2010
I cried in a bathroom stall at work today. I cried because I was supposed to have a dinner date tonight. Dinner at a very nice, much too expensive for a first date restaurant with a bona fide dreamboat.

These plans were made on Wednesday, when the dinner and location and day were suggested by The Dreamboat, and agreed to by myself. Only we didn’t specify the time. He was heading out of work and said we’d figure it out later in the week. We didn’t, though, and I haven’t heard from him so I assume the date isn’t happening.

I’ve been instructed several times today to send him an email to confirm our plans myself and/or leave the door open for future plans if he had to cancel this plan for some reason. I simply cannot write that email.

I know, because I’ve tried since lunch. Mostly I don’t feel like writing that email. I feel like I’ve been stood up and that even though everything else The Dreamboat has said indicates clear interest that this one action negates all that. Even if he responded with some perfectly logical reason for having not finished planning our date that I feel like I would no longer be interested in meeting him. Not tonight. Not ever.

I know that I’m overreacting. I’m coming off a string of disappointments, so I know that my dating ego is a little more bruised than normal, but I think it’s more than that. I have been trying for awhile now to take men at their word, even when they weave tales of future romance and relationship that cannot be based on anything even remotely substantial at such an early stage of a relationship. I have given the benefit of the doubt, over and over, on the off chance that these men have lost their phones or are not familiar with dating or are intimidated by me or are very busy when they do not come through as promised. And yet even my lowest expectations are consistently not met; any optimism that I bring to meeting new men is dashed as quickly as it is established.

I am, by nature, a hopeful person. I am almost unfailingly optimistic. Recently, though, I find myself disillusioned with this desire I have for myself… that I’ll meet someone and we’ll fall in love… living happily ever after. I believe that it will happen, but with no evidence to suggest that I’m making any progress I wonder whether I shouldn’t throw in the dating towel in its entirety. I no longer exhibit the resilience needed to continue putting myself out there and my heart is taking a serious beating. I can’t help thinking I could eradicate all my feelings of failure by simply giving up.

I still hope that I do end up with someone. And I believe that if it’s meant to be I will. I do not believe, however, that any of the dating I have done in the past few years has made any difference. So for now, I am officially off the market.

No Guest Needed

Sunday, April 4, 2010
This year my wedding season started early, with two weddings in the first quarter. I attended both of these weddings alone as I had no regular interest to drag along. Call me crazy, but I think I’m getting better at attending them solo. In fact, I think I’ve even hit upon some perks of being a single lady at a wedding.

Take the dancing. As a single I don’t have to cajole my date into slow dancing with me. I can count on one hand the number of married friends I have whose husbands willingly dance with them at any type of event, including weddings, and yet I do not have one single girlfriend who does not want her husband to dance with her. At every event. With no date I simply sidestep this time honored tradition.

I get to dance, though, because as a single I’m a prime target for men, young and old, who want to show off their moves. Yes, I had a very awkward time teaching the very drunk co-worker of the groom how to polka, but I also found out that with just a smidgen of encouragement the bride’s step dad was a wonderful dancer.

Who you’re sitting with can be a toss up whether you’re with guest or not so that’s sort of a wash, but in general as a single I can socialize at my own pace. Most weddings I attend are for friends I’ve known for years. I know folks from both the bride and groom’s sides, and I often know family. Not having to ensure my date is involved in engaging conversation means I can engage myself however and with whomever I please.

And then there's the financial aspect... a wedding is an expensive date! As a single my wedding gift represents me, instead of myself and my plus one. It’s cheaper, yes, but it always feels a little odd to give more at a wedding when I've brought a guest (who isn't - and shouldn't be - contributing financially).

Yep, there’s a lot of great reasons to attend a wedding solo, whether you have a steady boyfriend or not. I can still eat two pieces of cake, though, right?