"I had a lot of dates but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows." Andy Warhol

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
For the first time in a long time I find myself not wanting what it is I thought I wanted. It’s a surprising revelation; that after having spent the last year basically dedicated to finding and sustaining a relationship that I no longer want one.

Well that’s not entirely true. I think if I met someone who I wanted to spend time with I would. And if that developed into a relationship I would embrace it. I don’t need it, though. I don’t have that craving for it or that desire to cross it off some life checklist. Most notably I don’t have that nagging feeling that I’d be more if I was part of a pair.

I wouldn’t be, you see. There would be more in my life if I was in a relationship, but there would also be less. Less flexibility in my schedule, less freedom to spend my time however I chose. It all evens out, I think, and there’s room in my life for periods of both. Maybe right now it’s more ‘me’ than ‘we’.

It wasn’t a total waste, either. On the contrary, putting that kind of time and energy into dating made me seriously address some of own insecurities. Writing about it gave me a good dose of humility and perhaps a much needed reality check. I finally think I know enough about myself to be successful in a relationship.

I don’t want to continue spending the time, energy and money on actively pursuing one, though. It’s hard work hunting for a boyfriend! Its summer and I want to enjoy it without the pressure of putting dates on my calendar.

What does my dating future hold? I don’t know, but I’ll be taking the summer off from blogging while I give myself the freedom to figure it out. When something does happen I want to enjoy it, not analyze it.

Don’t worry, dear readers, I’m sure I’ll have stories to share with you in the fall…


Friday, June 25, 2010
I just found this old email chain from a CL post from way back and couldn’t resist sharing it. It’s no wonder I keep going back to my old online hunting ground with quality finds like this dude.

His initial email was pretty wide ranging in content:
  • I enjoy most music even country, is that a crime? I am also bilingual.
  • So I have this handwritten note above my office desk that reads: “This is the month that great things are going to happen.” I ask you, how long is too long to keep it there?
  • I’m reading this book on global warming and slowly starting to realize that my liberal arts graduate degree, progressive policy advocacy, and sunny idealism might not be enough to save the world. I guess I shouldn’t have rolled my eyes through all those biology classes.
I can only assume I found him attractive or was in a giving mood because I responded. His next email indicated he was tired and still had to work out so he had to keep the email short, followed by the below:

So here are a few questions I'd like to know from you so we can discuss and perhaps argue about the issues I pose.
(1) Should corporate punishment be used in schools?
(2) Are the exams necessary? Are they aimed at checking our knowledge or just causing stress?
(3) Should religious education become compulsory at schools?
(4) Can China's planners and politicians do something to increase the area of arable land?
(5) Does China have enough arable land and water to feed its projected population of 1.48 billion in 2025 - even at currently available levels of agricultural technology?

Hope these questions peak your interest. If you can please answer my questions with more than yes or no. I want to know how your thought process work out.

My interest wasn’t peaked, but my “crazy dude” radar was going off pretty loudly. A quick search of my email unfortunately reveals that I didn’t keep whatever response I sent but I’m certain I had no intention of filling out an essay test that early in our communication.

I tell you what, though, in re-reading it after all this time he does sound like he’s got some depth to him, and I can appreciate that. I wonder if he’s still single?

Kingpin Down: The Bowler

Monday, June 21, 2010
nice guy, easy dates
gutter balls in the bedroom
too old for bumpers

Turns out The Bowler got back on Friday, but because I was still working through a fierce case of strep that came out of nowhere (and hate the break up conversation) I was able to push him off until Sunday. I had thought when we talked he would invite me to do something again, at which point I’d be able to drop the ax. Instead I had to bring it up myself, after enduring half an hour of really boring conversation. It was pretty standard.

“I think you’re great and I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with you but…”
He said he gets that a lot. I offered that the dating relationship is tricky, you’re looking for a particular fit and we just didn’t have it.

“I just don’t think there’s a connection, for me.”
He said he thought things had been going really well. I said I was sorry, but it takes me awhile to figure out my interest level, and I knew now that I wasn’t going to develop romantic feelings for him.

“So I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”
He said it wasn’t the outcome he wanted, but it’s my decision and he’s not going to fight me on it.

He actually said something similar when I kicked him out last weekend, after I had commented that he was being very understanding. I’m glad he didn’t throw a fit, but to be honest, I think I kind of wanted him to push back on me a bit. I mean, if he really thought things were going well wouldn’t he have wanted to know why they weren’t? Asked a few questions?

I would have answered them honestly. I don’t need the personal validation of being wanted, but the last time I had put myself out there and gotten rejected I’m pretty sure I demanded reasons. For the record, the last reason I got went something like “you’re a risk, and she’s a sure thing.” Ouch.

Still, I’m a passionate person and I want to be with someone who fights for what they want. In ending things with The Bowler I’ve discovered he isn’t a fighter. And since he wasn’t a lover, either, I know I made the right decision. He'll need to improve his handicap before attempting to play in this league again.

Hey There Summer Boy

Friday, June 18, 2010
Although I had decided things were over with The Bowler last weekend, it took me awhile to let HIM know that because he was out of town, road tripping with friends to help them move. In the meantime I happened upon something sparkly to play with.

It started the way it always starts. Sitting on my couch with my laptop, a glass of sangria in hand and trashy reality TV on in the background, scrolling through the miscellany that is the CL personals section. There wasn’t anything particularly interesting in “LTR” so I hopped over to “Casual Encounters”. Mostly I read through it to figure out what the kids are doing these days, followed by looking terms up on Urban Dictionary, but this time I found a gem: A post from a runner who was home recovering from a big race and looking for someone to chat with.

No details on his intentions, just the invite to chat. He was CUTE. I was bored. I don’t think I’ve ever had success responding to a post, in fact I don’t think I even get responses back to my original emails, but I sent him one anyway. To my delight he responded back.

We transitioned to IM chatting, where I asked him about the Casual Encounter posting. He said he meant to put it in LTR, which led us to the “what are you doing on CL / what are your intentions” type conversation. Let’s say we established that neither of us was looking for a serious relationship, per se, but that we were basically open to a wide variety of options. One of those options being a casual sexy time get together. That night. At my house.

We have the sangria to thank for my initiative, and The Bowler for my most recent frustrations in the bedroom, but full blown throwing caution to the wind? I can only cite a gut feeling that he wasn’t a psycho.

I was not wrong. And I was not disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed the next night, either.

I’ve never pulled off a casual relationship successfully, but this level of commitment sounds about right given all I've put into dating lately (and how little I've gotten back). I think I’m entitled to a little summer fun.

A Tough Break

Sunday, June 13, 2010
There are a lot of things about relationships that make me squirmish, but one of the most uncomfortable is when I feel like the interest level between myself and my other isn’t equal. I first experienced this in high school, when I started dating my aptly named High School Boyfriend.

He had had a crush on me for months, it seemed, but I hadn’t really thought about him romantically until right before we started dating, when it was presented by a friend of his. I liked him well enough, but my interest was new and I had to end something with someone else to start things with him, so I eased into it. For him, though, it was like he’d gotten this gal he’d been pining for, and he went right into relationship mode. I got roses for our one month anniversary and he cooked dinner for our two month. He also bought me a stuffed animal from his spring break, and a sweatshirt from the college I was thinking about going to.

It always felt like my attempts at showing emotion were never enough, and in part that was because he was mushy gushy (and I most certainly was, and still am, not) but mostly I think it was because we didn’t have the same level of affection for each other. When I broke up with him, he seemed devastated, and continued being that way for the rest of the summer. I still think some of his friends hate me for breaking his heart.

It was all for the best, of course, and I would never stay with someone just so I didn’t have to hurt their feelings, I would just prefer if breakups could be mutual. As in both parties see the relationship is clearly not going anywhere, and then part as amiable social acquaintances. What? I can pretend it’s possible.

I know now that things with The Bowler aren’t going to work out. Saturday night I asked him to leave after we watched a movie, citing a headache. I did sort of have one, but I also wanted to stop the awkward attempt at making out so I could order pizza.

I’m just not into him romantically. I gave it plenty of chances, but it’s not there. And I feel I am right back there in high school, hoping not to crush his feelings along with our budding relationship.

I could be misjudging his interest level, but I’m pretty sure he was hoping we would work out. He’s taken down his OK Cupid profile, invited me as a FB friend (reserved only for serious, serious boyfriends) and started texting me status updates (he’s on a road trip of sorts, they just left!). The last time he was over he left beer – saying he was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be the last time he saw me.

He’s going to wish he took it with him when he’s back in town.

Houston, We Have a Problem

Sunday, June 6, 2010
Let’s talk about the sexy time scene, because realistically the difference between a good buddy and a boyfriend is what happens between the sheets. I myself struggle with the appropriate timing for escalating the sexy time activities, but there’s a couple of fundamentals that I don’t think should be messed with.

In early dating, I want to be wanted. I want there to be flirting, complete with suggestive talk and suggestive body contact. I want there to be some restraint, but if I give a guy the green light, he better step on the gas.

The Bowler started out well in this category, but on date #4 things started to fall apart.

First I wasn’t into him. It was a movie date at his place, and almost immediately I was thrown by the early 20’s dude feel of his living room. It wasn’t so much the mismatched furniture, or even what appeared to be a complete set of Cubs’ bobble head dolls. No, I think it was the 50+ shot glasses lined up on the window sill that simply turned me off. Just because you don’t have room for a man cave doesn’t mean you can substitute your living room for your stupid guy stuff.

I knew I would not be entering his bedroom (would there be plaid sheets and a cotton comforter, a la bed-in-a-bag?), and probably not even the bathroom. I never recovered that night, despite his encouraging neck massage and the delicious margarita I had drank. I practically bolted after the movie, flat out shooting his sexy time intentions down.

Sometimes things are just off, though, and I’m not one to throw out a good man because he has bowling pin trophies all over, so I gave myself a pep talk and tried to rebound. And that’s when The Bowler dropped the ball.

He was in attendance at a little get together at my place and after things had winded down, fueled by plenty of tequila, I attempted to again see The Bowler in a romantic light. I couldn’t tell whether he was being respectful or just plain didn’t know what to do, but outside of his relatively uninspired kissing technique he didn’t bring anything to the table.

Ugh, I had not anticipated this. I was hoping bedroom compatibility might be the push my lukewarm feelings needed, but now it seems I may have to do all the initiating and possibly even some skill teaching. That seems like an awful lot of work.

I guess it's always something.

Easy Does It.

Thursday, June 3, 2010
After what can only be described as an unending series of crappy dates, frustrating email chains and downright rude boy behavior, I have to say its remarkable how easily I transitioned into what feels a lot like “regular dating” with The Bowler. I can’t believe I didn’t have more hang ups. Maybe I have been learning something this past year.

I should explain “regular dating”, since my belief system is clearly out of line with mainstream single America. In regular dating, it’s clear to both parties that you’re interested in each other. You talk – via phone, email, text – depends on the relationship, and you hang out in person. The hanging out is usually initiated by one party, and accepted by the other. You agree to do something at a specific date and time. And then you actually get together and do those things. Over time, you figure out whether you’re developing deeper feelings for each other. Oh, and you usually make out. A lot.

I guess that’s what I’ve been doing with The Bowler. Our lunch date led to a movie date, which ended with old school high school making out on my couch. We moved right into milestone date #3, which turned out to be a traditional dinner date. We hit a little snag in the restaurant choosing process – as the Bowler appears to be extremely limited in his cuisine interests (rejecting the entirety of Japanese/Chinese/Thai/Indian dishes), but I let him choose, and then went so far as to let him pick me up… in his car… at my condo. This is practically unheard of in my city dating experience, even more so because the restaurant we were headed to was between us, not on the way.

Seemed okay, though. As did extending an invite to join me at a friend’s birthday party after dinner. Now, to be fair, this wasn’t my core group of friends, and I was pretty sure I would know a maximum of 3 people at the bar including the birthday gal. I needed some backup, but it also seemed like a natural progression. And he did great, moving up a notch in overall attractiveness.

I don't know yet. Whether I like him, that is. I haven’t flipped that all important switch from “I don’t dislike him” to “I like him”. Normally it comes a bit sooner, like immediately, but normally I don’t make it to date #4.

It's taken me a long time to get here, though, so I don't want to get ahead of myself. As it turns out, when you meet someone you think you could really like, you don't actually worry about where it's going.