Give Me a Break.

Sunday, August 28, 2011
I’d been meaning to get a post out to you, dear readers, to qualify what is clearly a blogging break, but my blogging imitates life and I’ve been experiencing an extended period of apathy. Apathy about my work, about my social calendar, and certainly about boys.

It happens to me sometimes, usually after an extended period of giving to others. This year’s been a doozy, complete with out-of-town weddings, multiple babies and long-time friends moving away. It can be unbelievably draining supporting others and now that I’m through the bulk of it I find I simply want to do… nothing.

So I didn’t have the push needed to put the pencil to the paper, so to speak, until this afternoon. I was in somewhat reluctant attendance at what is becoming an annual end of summer festival. This year two worlds collided, and one set of my friends met another set, a meeting that I should have engineered years ago. As it happened, group of friends #1 included The Great Blind Date, and group of friends #2 included N, whose initial reaction upon me pointing out said failed first date was “he’s not cute enough for you”.

Now what girl doesn’t want to hear that’s she’s pretty? Even from the bias of a good friend? Girls who are truly on a break. I appreciated the compliment, but after defending The Great Blind Date’s worthiness (he was smart and funny and interesting), I realized I simply didn’t care that he hadn’t been interested. It wasn’t awkward seeing him and attempting to make small talk, it wasn’t… anything.

So that’s where we’re at. I am on an indefinite break and so is the blog. I hope to be back soon.

Going to the Chapel

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
… where my wonderful cousin who never lost hope that she was going to get married is gonna get married! And not just married, but married to a wonderful man who loves her for the person that she is and brings out the best in her.

Which, quite honestly, is the only scenario in which one should get married. As my mother once said to me, “ anyone can get married”. It takes far less effort to get hitched than it does to find someone you truly want to share the rest of your life with.

That’s what she’s found, and I truly couldn’t be happier for her. Not just because she no longer has to date, which is reward in itself, but because despite making it to her early 30’s without having found her mate, she DID meet him. And they fell in love, and bought a house and a puppy and she’s so happy she says she has to pinch herself sometimes to believe that it’s true.

Of course I will be reprising my usual role of bridesmaid, with the added notch to MOH, which translates much closer to “Maid of Helping with every imaginable detail associated to a wedding that isn’t even yours” than “Maid of Honor”. I am honored, though, having beat out a sister and sister-in-law for the title, and I certainly have the skills for it. I even have almost everything you need for the wedding day emergency kit on hand in my condo.

So please join me in toasting to the health and happiness of the bride and groom, to an above-average selection of vodka at the bar, and that this will be my last run as a bridesmaid (or at least the maid part). Congratulations!

Slow Motion Man

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
smart, nice, architect
moving so slow we have stopped
still can’t build me love

You know that commercial for Jimmy Dean breakfast snacks where the little kid gets slowed waaaay down by the evil Slow Motion clock guy when he's running around in the gym? No? Well check it out here and then get back to reading because that's what appears to have happened with The Architect.

He’s the little kid being slowed down, and I’m the Jimmy Dean sun guy, throwing turkey sausages at him to try to give him the motivation to get going (I have no idea who the clock is in this analogy, I just really get a kick out of this line of commercials).

But despite him confirming he was interested and me clarifying that my interest was contingent on actually spending time with him, it seems we’ve slowed down even more than the initial slow down that prompted me questioning his interest in the first place. And lest you think that I’m rushing things, I’m talking about chatting over email a few times a week, hanging out maybe once a week and capping that hanging out with some old school make out activity, circa the 9th grade (or at least my 9th grade, I was good).

What’s happened instead is that after I reached out a few times, and saw him once, with not so much as a hand on my knee to indicate any physical interest, I have not heard from him at all. In two full weeks.

I am a lot of things dear readers, but delusional is not one of them. I know that I demonstrated clear and continued interest that has not been returned. And that even though there are plenty of reasons why someone might suddenly drop out of play, they all boil down to just one: “I’m not that into you”.

So no matter how awesome the custom wine cellar The Architect could have designed for my future single family home in the city could have been, I’m officially calling this one. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some delicious breakfast snacks to enjoy.

Fireworks.

Thursday, July 21, 2011
I just made an amazing connection on a first date. We were sitting outside on my balcony, enjoying some fireworks and beers on a gorgeous summer night. We had everything in common. He has friends with a house on the same lake my parents do. He’s obsessed with the Midwest beer festival I go to every year (making me awesome, in his words). We talked about cycling, Champbana, water skiing, red wine…

The thing is, it wasn’t my first date, it was my neighbor’s. And I was on a date of my own, so to speak.

I had invited The Architect over as part of my “I’m pretty sure we’re heading down the friends path but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt” outreach program, and in a sangria-induced high my neighbor G and I had decided we should make it a double date so she tacked on the fireworks at the end of her first date she was in the midst of planning.

Things were going pretty well, I thought, given the randomness of the guest list, but then I noticed that he and I were doing most of the talking. When G and I stepped back inside to replenish the beverages I checked in with her to see how the earlier portion of the date had gone. And apologized for monopolizing him during the conversation. We joked about her giving me his number, but I’m pretty sure we just had common interests, not boyfriend-girlfriend chemistry.

As for the actual connection I was trying to develop, I can’t say I made any progress there, although we did find another crazy overlap. The Architect used to be neighbors with one of my current neighbor pals, a fact we realized when we spotted her outside walking the dogs. We all headed into the hallway for a meet and greet before winding down our evening.

I guess there weren’t any real love sparks flying around that night, I received a hug for my efforts and a terribly vague statement about getting together again some time.

And G? She got a hug, too, but I think she’s going to give her guy an actual shot as part of her “maybe I should date someone different than I usually do” plan. I think he’s a good choice, I mean he’s into everything I like so that’s probably more an endorsement for me, but we’re friends so it stands she’d like him too, right?

Back on Track. I Think.

Saturday, July 16, 2011
Well. I can’t say that the break had quite the intended effect. In fact, it was lasting a lot longer than I had anticipated without any indication whatsoever from The Architect that he was interested in seeing me in person again.

It seems the only thing he wants to do is wish me a good morning via one of those pesky one-line emails. Or he shares those details about one’s life that I’d prefer to wait to learn until an actual relationship has commenced, since they in no way add to my desire to see him naked. You know, like that he’s been pounding water to encourage pee breaks at the office since his work load is so high. Or that he has a headache, but he didn’t drink any alcohol the night before, just a lot of iced tea.

I was finding myself losing interest, but I’d really thought the The Architect had some potential, excessive water drinking notwithstanding, so I put my big girl pants on and straight up asked him what was up.

I asked him whether he saw us in the friend zone or the dating zone… and that I’d been feeling the friend vibe from him so I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. He said he was interested in me “more than a friend”, but that he liked to take things slow so they didn’t burn out. I reciprocated the interest, and said that I could appreciate a slower speed, but that I’d need things to at least be moving forward. I defined moving forward as seeing each other on a semi-regular basis. We’re at close to two weeks since our last get together, for those of you keeping track at home.

He appreciated my perspective, agreed with my position. So... great! I had put myself out there and now we were back on track.

Or we would be, anyway, assuming he reaches back out sometime in the semi-near future.

One date, Two date, Three date, Break!

Thursday, July 7, 2011
Drinks… check. Dinner… check. Movie… check. The Architect and I managed to sail through three dates in a little over a week, which isn’t a record for me but is pretty darn close. The frequency was in part due to the ridiculously overbooked, out of town summer schedule I’m working my way through, but honestly I think I liked seeing him.

I was starting to wonder where things were headed, though, since we hadn’t really made any progress on the making out scene. Truth be told, I was a teensy bit worried about it. In admitted double-standard fashion, when someone’s very into me physically I tend to discount his interest, but when someone seems genuinely interested in me sans the physical I suddenly feel… slighted. I mean, didn’t he want to make out with me?

I reviewed the evidence while we were on a work and travel schedule imposed break on any new dates:

Frequent communications… check. There was an almost daily communication initiated by him, usually those one-line, check in type messages (which I hate, but am trying to see as thoughtful). Great conversation… check. Every time we ended up chatting, in phone or in person I was completely engaged in talking to him and we rarely had any of those weird pauses. Attraction… check. At least for me, anyway. Something about this man was definitely desirable to me and I consistently felt like I was leaning in, trying to coax him into making a move (yes, I can make moves myself; I guess I just wanted him to).

Yep, everything a budding relationship needed seemed to be there. Maybe I was jumping the gun just a little, there was plenty of time for The Architect‘s affections to go straight from barely noticeable to downright smothering.

And perhaps the break would help. You know, so he could miss me. And so I could figure out some more effortless adorable outfits. Dating so frequently has been hell on my relatively lazy fashion sense.

First Date High

Thursday, June 30, 2011
You know that crazy high you get when you have a great first date? When your mind swims with visions of you and your clearly-soon-to-be-new-boyfriend going on trips and holding hands while strolling about? When you’re so drunk with the promise this new relationship holds that you tell all your girlfriends about it, gushing about all the reasons you like him?

I feel that way right now, minus the gushing. I simply am not a gusher. I’m sure the crash is coming, but in the meantime, let’s all bask in the glow of that rarity that is the great first date.

It took about a week of emailing with The Architect to get the meet up in person, and it’s a good thing, too, since despite having only been chatting for a relatively short time I was starting to cross over into that dangerous place where I really like a guy on paper (or internet paper, anyway) and start panicking that the in-person interaction simply won’t match up.

It did, though. The Architect was normal cute and above-normal smart. We have lots of things in common. Like he drunk paints and I drunk clean. And we both like the driving range more than the actual golf course. And, very important, we both like PBR.

He seemed laid back, which is probably a good counterpoint for me, but passionate and opinionated at the same time. We were mutually impressed by the other’s careers. He’s grows strawberries on his deck and had the latest scoop on the NFL lock out. He’s a gentleman and I didn’t feel smothered letting him be one.

If anything he was more engaging than I’d found him in our very conversational emails. So much so that I resorted to slapping my hands over my mouth to stop myself from constantly interrupting him. He said it was adorable, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t have if he realized it was also keeping me from leaning over and kissing him right there at the bar.

It was like the longer we sat there the more attractive he became, and not because I had several beers over the course of our 3 hrs plus date, because I also had snacks during that time. There was just something about him.

He’s already suggested that we get together again and I (embarrassingly) can’t wait to see him. I hope he comes through, ‘cause I’m gonna need another hit of this stuff soon.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Google

Friday, June 24, 2011
After receiving an email back from The Architect I decided to Google his screen name, since it looked a lot like his real name. Turns out it was, and there were a few links associated directly to him that returned. Not too many, though, just enough confirm his identity/job and pique my interest a bit more.

First, one of those websites that pulls information from other websites and then pretends you have a profile on their site came back with the small town in Michigan that my very good friend is from. The Architect had mentioned that he was from that state, and I was conveniently having drinks with that gal later that very day. I shot off a quick email to see if she knew him.

Second, the following question asked 6 months ago on one of those “how to get a job” websites: Is there any employers that will accept people with a felony conviction? Ignoring the obvious grammar error, I was momentarily concerned. I wasn’t able to pull back any information about the poster of the question, but a quick check of his LinkedIn profile assured me that six months ago The Architect was gainfully employed. Hopefully that clears that up.

The most intriguing thing that came up was that he appears to be kind of an artist. Off his LinkedIn profile he had a personal website, which linked to a Facebook album, with all these paintings and drawings that he had done. Maybe there was even a sculpture in there. I just glanced through them, though, too much investigation and I’ll appear like a stalker.

Not bad for 15 minutes, eh? I love the Internets.

I Love a Good ‘Stache.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
After last week’s moment of weakness surrounding Summer Boy I realized I had been right. The only way to move past someone – or the lack of someone – is to find someone new. And better. Better for me, anyway. So I bit the bullet and re-instated my old online dating profile. The free one, of course, while I begrudgingly realize that I need the internets to find available men, I am certainly not on board with throwing any more of my hard earned cash at those sites.

Turns out it wasn’t so bad, there were some good finds out on good ‘ole OK Cupid! And some old friends, like the Karaoke King, who viewed my profile shortly after it re-posted. I decided not to return the viewing.

I did, however, send a few (two) emails to particularly good postings in an effort to be an active dater. I almost never send initial communications, despite being a (relatively) good writer, I find that I consistently fall short on the introductory email. Or at least that’s how it seems, since I have a very poor return percentage on initiating contact.

I’m trying to do something different than I have before, though, so I came up with a new strategy and decided to keep the emails short. A sentence or two complimenting something specific I had enjoyed about their profile and then an invitation to chat further should they be interested.

They went out to two gents, who drew me in with these details:
  • The Architect, whose pictures include done of him with an awesome fake mustache. I heart mustaches.
  • The Church Musician, whose profile included that he makes pie. I too, am a successful pie-maker.
So far I’ve received back and email from The Architect as well as some other random whose profile I hadn’t yet viewed. One out of two! That ain’t bad.

You Can Run but You Can't Hide

Thursday, June 16, 2011
From your feelings, that is. You can avoid them for awhile, sure, by distracting yourself with anything you can find – boys, work, boys, running, boys – but eventually they’ll catch up with you and you’ll have to deal with them.

I am a master at avoiding my feelings; sometimes I hide them from myself so cleverly I literally am not aware that I’ve done it. They usually smack me down with excessive force well after the incident that caused them and then I’m stuck wading through them trying to figure out where they came from and why I ignored them in the first place. Ironically I often work through them while running.

I miss Summer Boy. There, I said it. I also said it in a text message I drunkenly drafted while out recently. I didn’t send it, thank god, but only because I’d deleted him out of my contacts after the first text I had sent him (which was a normal, albeit random, Saturday night text).

I have to say I thought I had already dealt with my feelings on this one. In fact, I’d been pretty impressed with how I hadn’t been missing him, how I hadn’t reached out when he left Chicago, how I really hadn’t felt any need to reach out to him since.

So what gives? I can’t tell if I miss him, specifically, or if I just miss having a go-to guy, but I do know that something has to be done about the weird, achy feeling I’ve started having on my insides.

I feel like I should go meet someone new, that as soon as I do I’ll stop feeling sentimental about Summer Boy, but I can’t help but drag my feet.

Because I hate dating. There, I said that, too. I hate it, and I don’t want to do it anymore and I don’t think I should have to. I was optimistic, I was hopeful! I went on many, many dates with all sorts of guys and I have nothing to show for it.

Come to think of it, despite a brief period around the start of the year I don’t think I ever really got back into first dates after I went on break last summer. My break of course, coincided with Summer Boy’s entrée into my life, which was unexpected and fun and easy.

So I guess that explains that. I miss Summer Boy because I hate dating. Therapy session over.

Best of Both Worlds

Sunday, June 12, 2011
In the end I made my decision based purely on my love of German festivals. I had to rearrange my entire day, and hit all my pre-bachelorette events in my bachelorette outfit, but it was worth it for the 90 minutes or so I spent with friends, a large stein of bier (okay, two steins), some sort of tasty German sausage-jerky and a pretzel.

Turns out it I had been thinking about it all wrong. As soon as I thought it about it based on what I wanted to do, I didn’t even care whether The Great Blind Date was there. Or Marathon Guy. Or even The Bowler. If I ran into them I’d run into them (looking fabulous, as it happened).

I didn’t see any of them, though. It was a German Fest miracle!

Of course I’d like to think it wouldn’t have mattered if I had. I’m perfectly capable of being cordial with all manner of exes, but it’s nice when you don’t have to be. When you can just enjoy yourself without feeling like at any moment you might need to duck behind the sausages.

I got to have my bier and drink it too! Cheers to that.

Moment of Truth

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Ugh, already? Before I knew it the first opportunity to not let being rejected by The Great Blind Date get in the way of shared social events has popped up on my calendar. Ironically it’s for the spring version of the festival we originally met at (see many, many posts on German Fest shenanigans).

Normally I’d be attending this particular fest, whether with this crew or another, but I have a conflict in the form of a bachelorette party. And normally I’d be happy to add some pre-drinking to a bachelorette event, but this one starts mid-afternoon so I’d basically be extending my expected drinking window to a full 12 hours.

If my first reservation was all day drinking, then my second was the possibility that The Great Blind Date would be there. Prior to recent events I’m pretty sure I had a tendency to ignore him, likely because I had our friend in my sub-conscious telling me we’d make a great couple, but I couldn’t ignore him now. I’d have to be social, despite the teeny bit of wounded pride I’m still carrying. It’s just a bit… too… soon.

Not that I haven’t found ways to make myself feel better about it. Oh shit. Marathon Guy’s probably going to be there, too. This could have some benefit in that I would already be traipsing around with a replacement, but then I’d probably have to meet his friends, and I definitely don’t want to do that if I’m just going to flake on him (likely). Now it just seems a bit… too…. much.

First awkward run-in first. I scanned the “Awaiting Reply” on the FB invite, and – yay! – The Great Blind Date wasn’t on it. But then I checked the “Attending” and of course he is.

Now if I decide to go I’ll think that he’ll think I’m going because he’ll be there. And if I decide not to go I’ll think everyone will be thinking that it’s because he’ll be there and RSVP’d first (I know this is probably an exaggeration of the amount of thought anyone but me is giving this event. I’m okay with that.)

It’ll have to be a game day decision. Stay tuned, dear readers.

I am Really Going to Miss This

Saturday, June 4, 2011
I think you know what comes next, dear readers. Despite being thwarted by Yahoo the next time I had a few cocktails in me I couldn’t resist finding Marathon Guy’s phone number and sending him a text message. What? Like I was going to let a little thing like deleting every single email stop me?

You can improve technology all you want, but there’s always a paper trail. And by paper I mean online pdf versions of my cell phone bills which fortunately started with my new carrier *just* before I stopped talking to Marathon Guy last fall.

I tell you one thing that I’m going to miss if I ever find myself find myself in a monogamous relationship - randomly text messaging old flames and having it turn into unexpected meet ups. In this case, meet ups that come with shoulder rubs.

You can’t beat it! Especially when he showed up here, after suggesting said rub free all on his own! I had truly texted him about the hot dog stand - which apparently is very loud and all the neighbors are up in arms about it – although I know better than to say I didn't think there was a possible, albeit outside, chance that it might lead to more.

But I let him drive the meet up all on his own. It appears all it takes to invite such suggestions is one well placed text message. Sometimes I love being single.

Did You Know You Can Restore Your
Gmail Contacts?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I didn’t! But learning this makes it even better that I use my Gmail for personal emails – almost never for maybe new boyfriend communications – and my Yahoo for my non-associated-to-me-in-anyway emails. I’d be surprised if Yahoo had a way to recover contacts, not that I’m going to find out for sure, and that is a good thing in the land of dating.

I’m a gal who needs to cut ties in order to move on, and to do that I need to erase all ways to get in touch with my ex-interests. Otherwise I’ll get mopey about being single, have one too many glasses of wine, and then reopen the lines of communication. This will usually result in weeks of wasted back and forth with someone who’s on the ex list for a reason.

Sometimes I’m not mopey and drunk, though, sometimes I believe my intentions are purely innocent (which they’re not, of course, how could they be?). Like just last week I heard on the news that this building that has been fighting to open will be opening as a Maxwell Street (classic Chicago polish place). Apparently the neighborhood is all up in arms and thinks they will be flooded by noise and hoodlums if they start selling hot dogs and Italian sausage sandwiches 24-hours a day. As soon as I saw it I wanted to tell Marathon Guy.

You see last fall when we were attempting to date again we walked past that building, which looked like a big white washed rectangle, and tried to figure out what it was supposed to be. It didn’t look like it would have much room for a kitchen, but I think maybe Marathon Guy thought it could have had a future life as some sort of hot dog stand.

As far as I know he was planning to move out of that neighborhood anyway, but I couldn’t help but want to tell him he’d been right! Not as a way to re-open communication, I swear, just to be able to share the updated information with the only person I could have.

But I couldn’t, because I’d purged him, purged him good. Every email in every folder – even search didn’t return him. He’d never transitioned to my real email, so I had no way to recover him. And that is probably for the best, for a lot of reasons, despite having spent about 15 minutes trying to see if I could still find him. Thanks, Yahoo, for keeping me in line.

Please Stop Saying That.

Saturday, May 28, 2011
So after a breezy response from The Great Blind Date and one other email back from me I never heard back. And I was a bit disappointed, because he seemed to have some potential. Plus this particular disappointment had to be explained in a neutral way to my friend, who had expressed such high hopes for him and me. I felt a bit like I was letting her down, not being someone her friend wanted to date.

I felt a lot worse for me, of course, not being someone this guy wanted to date. And I shared this sentiment with more than one gal pal who were quick to say something like “don’t worry, you’ll meet the right guy” and other upbeat, unqualified nonsense phrases. I want people to stop saying things like that.

They might not actually be true, for one thing, and if anyone knew whether it was true you can bet your ass it isn’t my friend. Or my Magic8ball, for that matter. It doesn’t make me feel better, for another, it actually makes me feel worse. Trying to convince me that it’s just a matter of time before my Mr. Right appears only highlights the fact that he hasn’t, and it's getting harder not to feel like it’s at least partially my fault.

Without throwing myself a pity party, the older I get the more I think that my non-single friends just can’t help me as a single gal. How could they? They’ve already found their Mr. Rights, and what they remember about dating was forever ago. In fact, some of them are starting to get downright nostalgic about it. I know many of them have experienced the emotional roller coaster that dating can be, but not for nearly as long as I have.

I just don’t think they realize how draining it becomes. Oh sure, sometimes it’s fun, but over time it just turns into a huge waste of time and emotion and money and the perfect “I was at work but I’m still cute enough to meet you directly after” outfits. It’s exhausting.

I know they mean well. But to all you happy married folks with single friends, next time they come crying about some dating disaster do them a favor and just acknowledge the obvious. Dating sucks and you don’t envy them. Then you should offer to buy them a drink.

IIIIII’mmm Breezy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011
And so was the email I sent The Great Blind Date. I had a follow up to something we had chatted about on our date and I also said it was really nice seeing him the day before at our friend’s event. It was the only move I felt comfortable making, and I use the word “move” with great exaggeration.

I also used the word “really” with exaggeration, it was just normal nice to see him, but G thought I should add it. We had talked at our friend’s get together, there were maybe some almost moments between us, but he arrived very late and left sort of abruptly so there was no indication that he was planning to see or talk to me after that party.

There’s nothing really misleading about the interaction I’ve been having with The Great Blind Date, there’s just the absence of clear direction. I don’t know him that well, but I have the impression if he was interested, I’d know. And if he’s on the fence it couldn’t hurt to let him know I’d say yes. Enter the breezy email.

I wonder if what I’m feeling is what my ex-suitors felt when they were getting to know me? That I seemed polite and social, but not necessarily into them? Seems likely. When I’m still weighing in on someone I don’t act interested, but I don’t act uninterested either.

It’s not that bad, being on the receiving end of it. Now I just have to wait to see what he does. Easy breezy.

The Great Blind Date

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I’m not sure why I resisted getting to know Blind Date #1 for all these years, because he’s great. We went out for drinks and snacks – I find that sharing food is an excellent first date indication of compatibility (and/or sense of adventure, if the right location is chosen) – and I found him surprisingly engaging.

He’s smart, he’s attractive in that excellent not-too-attractive way, he’s smart, we have plenty of overlapping interests, oh and did I mention he’s smart? I feel the need to reiterate this one part not because this guy’s a crazy intellectual, but because he has opinions and he’s able to articulate and support them with actual details.

I’m interested, somewhat surprisingly, but definitely interested. And this is where it gets tricky.

When I can take or leave someone, I usually drive the conversation and help to make it interesting. This often results in the guy thinking we had a great date, and me thinking, eh, it was okay. But when I’m paying attention, when my interest is piqued, I think I get… nervous. I think I pull back physically, like crossing my arms or not making eye contact or whatever those subconscious body language signals are.

This is no good, for obvious reasons. Besides the fact that he may not think I like him, I’m left with that terribly uneasy feeling of not being able to read whether he likes me. So I start second guessing myself, was I too chatty? Not funny enough? Did he think I was attractive? I think these are probably good signs, that it matters to me what my date thought of me, but they make me super uncomfortable.

At least I'll have another chance with Blind Date #1, who I can’t seem to find a blog-appropriate nickname for despite thinking about it on and off for a few days, because we’re both attending a get together hosted by our mutual friend.

I had been holding off on my official RSVP until I had met up with him, but as we were ending our date he encouraged me to attend. I said I would be there. Hopefully I can get my nerves under control by then.

April Showers Bring May… Blind Dates?

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday night I had a few neighbors over for drinks and dinner, and one of my neighbors asked if she could bring a guy for me. Man, when it rains date referrals from friends it pours! She had apparently just purchased furniture from him although he at one time was an actor and had been on 90210 (the original, I assume) and thought he was funny and good looking and sweet because he was taking his aunt out to dinner so would it be okay if he came later? I said sure, it was already going to one of those get togethers.

The group was pretty sauced by the time he arrived, so I’ll give it to him for being able to fit in easily. He seemed like a good guy, despite asking me at least three times whether I was sure that AT&T had blocked Swype from my phone (I am as of what the internets told me last time I checked) and whether I’d read all the books on my book shelves (I have, except for White House Ghosts). I’m guessing there’s more to him under the surface of his West Coast demeanor… he did specifically ask about a historical work I had on the shelf and recommended one of his favorites. And he brought homemade wine with him, which was half way decent when mixed in with my sangria.

I didn’t really make an effort to get to know him, though, and he left to meet up with other friends about an hour after arriving, so I was surprised when my neighbor asked me what I wanted her to tell him when he asked her about me.

"You think he’s going to ask about me?", I responded, thinking that we’d barely interacted and I hadn’t been very outgoing. "Uh, yeah", she replied, and when I thought about it we had really both seen all we’d needed to in order to know whether we were interested in a second get together.

It was pleasantly efficient, much better than a drawn out actual first date. And with my recent first date under my belt (which I promise I'll be telling you about soon enough!), I could really see the benefit of comparison shopping for boyfriends. You see this guy was okay, but he wasn’t as good at Blind Date #1. This guy was like waterproof shoes that get the job done, but Blind Date #1 had the potential to be that perfect pair of wellies that you find you simply cannot live without. You know, like when it's raining all the time?

He’s a Laywer. Or a Dentist.

Monday, May 9, 2011
One of my character flaws is that I have a hard time focusing. Often this translates to me not listening to people. Not because I’m not a good listener, I have an excellent memory and can almost always read between the lines. No, it’s because I’m simply not paying attention to what someone is saying when they say it. I’m focused elsewhere, like on the sports that are playing behind the person talking.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter, I never see the people I wasn’t listening to again. More often than not it comes back to bite me, like when friends of friends tell me their names but I’m too busy sipping my drink to retain it. Then I start running into those folks over and over again and they remember me and while I can place them, I can’t recall their name to save my life.

This appears to have happened with Blind Date #1. We originally met at German Fest, and while I may have been paying attention on that day I was also drinking large steins of beir. But while I’ve been given the spiel on him over and over by my gal pal, obviously I wasn’t ever listening. Because I think he’s a lawyer. Or a dentist.

As my brother pointed out, these are not at all the same. No, no they’re not. But I also happen to think he works for – or took over – a family business. And both of these professions would lend themselves to that additional partially remembered tidbit.

It doesn’t matter what he does, of course, but it might score me some bonus points for remembering it despite having not spent any real time chatting with him over the past several years.

He’s a lawyer, as it turns out. We are headed out on our first date later this week, as he'll be in the city for court. Unless he’ll be there testifying as an oral health expert, like those 3 out of 4 guys recommending Colgate, in which case he’s a dentist.

I've Already Met My Future Husband!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

(not to be confused with I’ve Just Met Your Future Husband)

Things took a turn for the perplexing today when I decided to take a mental break from an overwhelming workload and ask my Magic 8ball a series of questions.

Question 1: Will I hear back from Blind Date 1?
Asked after close to a two-day lag time in response to my email, which was a response to his first email to me after the FB introduction. Note: I wasn’t really worried. Yet.
Answer 1: No. Ouch, really?

Question 2: Is it because of the email I sent? Meaning, is there something about my email that is making him reluctant to write back? The Magic 8ball and I go way back, he understands what my questions mean even if the words are a bit off. I would have found a negative answer to this pretty discouraging, as I had thought my email was quite good. Open, interested, etc.
Answer 2: Very doubtful. Well that’s good, but maybe Magic 8ball doesn’t have a good read on my Blind Date. It would be pretty shitty for someone to invite you to drinks and then not accept your acceptance of said drinks.

Question 3: Will I ever hear back from my old friend? Asked because I really hadn’t, not since that terrible non-date, and that included a weekend when he was in town but clearly didn’t want to hang out with me.
Answer 3: My sources say no. Oh, bummer.

Question 4: Is it because he’s gotten back together with an ex? Asked because the only explanation I can come up with for his now reluctance to be friends is that he’s pursuing a romantic relationship and feels weird about me.
Answer 4: As I see it Yes.
Man, boys are so dumb. Plus, which ex?!

I feel the need to share this latest insight with N, over gchat. She asks if I’ve ever asked the Magic 8ball whether I’ve already met my future husband. I didn't think I had, probably because it would just make me feel depressed since I wasn't anywhere near making it down the aisle with my spouse-to-be, despite having met him. And probably dated him in some fashion. But I'm not getting any younger, so...

Question 5: Have I already met my future husband?
Answer 5: Without a doubt.


Yikes. Well I guess that justifies having shut down my online dating, since I have no problem running into people I already know despite the size of the Chi. N wonders whether it’s someone I don’t even remember having met?

I don’t need my Magic 8ball to answer this one: Most likely. Now if I could just figure out which one he is...

I Have Blind Date For You

Friday, April 29, 2011
Sunday night I was prepping for beddy-bye when I got a text message from a gal pal that started with “I have blind date for you”. Although the rest of the text read like a message from a friend, something about that first line made me think I was being spammed. “Are you serious?” I replied, trying to draw out whether some random non-native English speaker had gotten a hold of my friend’s cell. She replied in the affirmative, along with some useful adjectives describing her find.

I never get to go on blind dates! Obviously the allure of something I haven’t experienced makes them more appealing then they’ll likely turn out to be, but still. So I thanked her for thinking of me and told her she could introduce us.

After a few back and forth texts she came back with “I have not one, but two dates for you!” and proceeds to give me the scoop on the good friend of hers that she has been suggesting I date for approximately 6 years. It appears we are both single. Can she introduce us, too?

I wasn’t against the idea, but I was a little concerned about two blind date prospects at once. It’s time consuming enough getting to know one person, let along multiple. Plus overlapping time frames results in comparison shopping. Well comparison dating, I mean. It’s unavoidable.

I asked her whether she wanted to do that, pit her longtime fave against some old co-worker, but it was too late. She’d already sent Facebook messages to each of us.

They basically went like: Dater at Large, Blind Date. Blind date, Dater at Large. Discuss.

I wasn’t sure what I thought her internet introduction would be, but I guess I thought it would have more… content. Something to go off of, other than our Facebook profile pictures. Now for the one guy that I’d already met, I knew I’d be able to write something, but for the other guy, the one I didn’t know at all, I have to say I was a little stumped.

Best to let the boys reach out first. They are competing for me, after all.

I've Been Pirated!

Monday, April 25, 2011
That’s right folks, in what I can only assume is a terrible movie adaptation of what I thought was a very decent book, “sexy time” has made its screen debut. The movie is Eat, Pray, Love, and the scene is in the Love portion of the book, when the heroine is visiting the medicine lady to treat her bladder infection.

Paraphrased the lady says, “This is common when you have no sex and then lots of sexy time.” Paraphrased, of course, because I'm not going to rent the movie just to correctly quote my STOLEN phrase! And I don’t have to hear it myself, when I have friends who will bring it to my attention because they know that phrase is mine!

Thieves! I feel like I finally understand Paris Hilton’s frustration. On the one hand it is ridiculous to copyright sayings. On the other, I think I deserve some credit for spreading the use of my phrase such that it made it into a movie script!

At least it was used correctly.

Come About?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Now that you all know the term “non-date”, let’s see if we can use it in a sentence. Last weekend I went on the worst non-date of all time. I was bowling. In the suburbs. In a shopping mall.

You might be asking yourself how this could have happened, how a self-proclaimed-city-snob-who-only-feels-slightly-guilty-about-said-snobbishness ended up in the basement of a mall on a Saturday night, on a non-date no less.

The condensed version is that I was hoping to catch up in person with an old friend of mine. A friend that I never dated, but did hold hands with for a brief period of time in high school. We were friends for years after that, and drifted apart as friends often do. I had been missing this friend’s friendship, which is why I got back in touch, and I had really been enjoying getting to know him again while reminiscing about old times.

During this primarily text messaging catch-up, I did think it was possible I still held something of a torch for this man. I couldn’t be sure whether it was my nostalgia for days past or whether my guard was way down because he’s seen me in all manner of teenage stupidity, but I thought maybe there was something there. But most importantly I was glad to have my friend back, and I hoped that whether we discovered a romantic connection or not that I would get to keep him.

When this friend told me that he was going to be in town and wanted to get together I was excited about seeing him in person. I was nervous, too, texting is certainly not the same as face to face interaction, but I figured it would probably be like old times.

His original suggestion was that just he and I get together, a non-date if you will. Then he expanded to a double non-date, in which he suggested we hang out with married friends of mine (he knows the husband). I thought this was a good option; it might make it more social, less “date”, and would probably be really fun. This is how we got to bowling in the suburbs, despite a tremendous lack of communication and/or interest in planning on his part. Day of he added a friend of his, and by this time his extreme delay in responding to anything and continued expansion of the guest list led me to believe he just wasn’t interested in spending time with me.

Nevertheless I geared up and found that the ridiculousness of the event made me much more positive about the whole thing. I mean, my friend was wearing sequins. It was all for naught, though, because the moment I arrived the casual chatting the group was doing stopped cold and we never really got it back.

It was… a disaster. I can count on two hands the number of words my friend and I spoke to each other. I don’t think he made eye contact with me the entire night. I made some efforts early on but it was so unexpected I had a hard time recovering from the embarrassment of the whole thing.

Or the anger that directly followed the embarrassment. In all the iterations I had run through of how the get together might go, never had I expected to be ignored. While surrounded by friends. After I had driven out to the goddamn suburbs to see him. Turns out you can be just as confused by a non-date as a date-date.

The Non-Date

Thursday, April 14, 2011
I am known for my phrases - I'm a repeat phrase user at best, abuser at worst – and I always get a kick out of other people embracing mine as their own. I usually pull these phrases from movies or TV sometimes but sometimes I create them on my own.

It’s been rumored that I’m responsible for the resurgence of the term "ginormous", and it's subsequent inclusion in Webster’s Dictionary, although I can’t take credit for its inception or my usage of it (stolen from the excellent holiday film, Elf). And while I’m the undisputed originator of “sexy time”, my term for all things involving naked or scantily clad activities, I coined another phrase years and years ago that I suddenly find myself using again.

Non-date (nŏn-dāt)
n. 1. a. An engagement to go out socially with another person, often out of potential, noted by others around you, but not-willing-to-act-on-it romantic interest. b. One's companion on such an outing.
v. non-dat•ed, non-dat•ing, non-dates
v.tr. 1. To go on a non-date or non-dates with.
v.intr. 2. To go on non-dates.

When I was in my early twenties I had a knock-down-drag-out crush on a co-worker. We worked in small quarters on a close knit team of over worked and over intoxicated consultants, and during the course of a year or so it became clear to everyone that whatever was happening between us definitely crossed the professional and platonic lines.

We walked the line, that's for sure, discussing intimate details about each other’s romantic relationships with other people, but then getting into these emotional, drunken conversations after nights out that I couldn’t possibly remember the premise of. I do remember walking home about a mile one night during a snowstorm, in flats, after dramatically exiting a taxi cab he and I were sharing. We let our social circles overlap, and our professional ones, too, deciding to attend our holiday Christmas party together one year.

Everyone already thought we were dating on the not-so-secret-sly (This was obviously their oversight; I am nothing if not an incredible secret keeper. If I had been dating someone on the DL, it would actually have been secret.) so I’m not exactly sure why we fed into it, but it’s when I introduced the term “non-date”.

I used it to explain how we were going to an event together as dates, but not romantic dates. It had all the trappings of a date, you see, we went to the event with another real couple, and he actually picked me up in the cab on the way to the event. And we went to after party events together, and the after-after bar, too, but we weren’t a couple. Despite making the arrangements to attend the event together we also made repeated, loud proclamations that we were not involved like that.

For years I believed if you didn’t use the term, didn’t call something what you didn’t want it to be, that it wasn’t that. Truth be told I still that feel way a bit, I hate qualifying (or promoting) relationships and men to a level I don’t consider them. Words like dating, boyfriend, relationship. I can’t tell you how many times I say “it’s not a date” and “he’s not my boyfriend”.

Words have meaning, but persistent avoidance of them has just as much meaning sometimes. Things are what they are. It doesn’t matter what you call them.

Except of course with my old co-worker. We really were non-dating; we were good friends with ill-timed crushes on each other and too much access to alcohol. Sometimes I miss those days.

Free to a Good Home

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Quite unexpectedly, Summer Boy and I crossed paths again and on a whim decided to go out for drinks. He and I have never gone out for drinks, and we haven’t spoken in months, either, but I simply couldn’t resist when the opportunity presented itself. Besides, he’s leaving the great city of Chicago later this month and deserves a proper send off.

We had an excellent time, next day hangovers notwithstanding. He is as great a guy as I thought he was and I still think we would have made a great couple.

We’re heading our separate ways, though, which means he’s available to a good central Illinois single gal. That’s right; I have the perfect guy for you! I never thought I’d be plugging an ex (although technically we never dated) on my dating blog, but the Universe sometimes has ideas of his own.

He’s quite a catch. He’s a guy’s guy, which in my terms means he knows how to use tools and a grill, and will humor only so much of your girly crap. He’s got a soft side, too, which makes for a nice balance. He’s a gentleman, but not the kind that makes a show of it. He’s athletic, and likes but doesn’t obsess over sports. He snuggles without smothering. He’s attractive, and not just looks wise. I think he’s one of those guys everyone gets along with. He loves his family, and I’m pretty sure wants one of his own. Also, he’s great in the sack.

Well, he is.

There you have it. Should you be interested, please contact me for further details and contact information. Serious inquiries only!

Spring Break

Thursday, March 17, 2011

That's right, dear readers, this gal's earned herself some hard earned time off. Time off from work, time off from assisting in the planning of other people’s weddings and most awesomely, time off from trying to interpret whether a potential interest is or is not actually interested.

Warm weather and the beach are calling, but not before I find the the time to partake in my most favorite of annual rituals, the first Friday of March Madness. I’m not expecting quite the windfall we had last year, but we are spending the entire day in a bar filled with men. Watching and talking about basketball. While drinking beer. Surely something good will come of the day.

And maybe I’ll have time for a little poolside romance between my book reading, family vacation notwithstanding. I have always had a love of the pool make out scene.

In fact, I think my very first one was while on a family vacation. I was a freshman or sophomore, filling out a teal-and-white polka dot bikini in ways I certainly shouldn’t have been allowed to at that age. He was in his early late 20’s, and lived next door to the condos we were in, or did the snorkeling tours or something. He was way too cute for me to keep track of any useful details.

After several days of flirting at the pool, we met there after hours (probably 8pm, I had terribly strict p’s) and ended up in the corner of the pool, deliciously intertwined. It was scandalous, to be sure, but it was my first real kissing scene and it was everything a teen girl could hope for.

After kissing that man I promptly broke up with the high school football player I had been holding hands with back home. Well, technically I ended things after a make out moment that just didn’t stack up to my pool make out. I guess I've always had a bit of flight in me.

Speaking of which, mine's coming up and I've got to get packing. Hopefully I'll come back with more than just a tan. Happy Spring, dear readers!

In the Waiting Line

Thursday, March 10, 2011
The last time I was at my hair salon my colorist, who has never done anything less than magic with my hair and has therefore known me for years, asked me whether I was still seeing the same guy (Summer Boy) as before. I told him we had ended things. Three times, to be exact, with the last one having stuck for close to a month. He asked whether I had any prospects. I said I had been getting to know someone that I thought had potential, but it was really too soon to tell.

He remarked that that was one of the things he loved about me, I always had a backup.

I hadn’t thought about it that way, but it’s true, I usually have someone in the pipeline, in case my current interest doesn’t pan out. I don’t intentionally line up guys, but I do think I hedge some of my disappointments with future prospects. I think everyone does, actually. Isn’t that the meaning of mantras like “you’re better off without him” and “he wasn’t the one for you”? We choose to believe there are other, better men in our futures.

It’s a comforting thought, especially if you believe that you end up with the person you’re meant to. But one could easily argue that keeping a mental waiting line of men prevents one from fully committing to new relationships. Knowing myself as I do, I have a hard time finding fault with this argument.

It may not be something I need to worry about, though, since recently the Universe seems to be clearing me out. The only reaction I had to the brief re-appearances of several old flames via text was to cross them off and delete their numbers. Any hope I had for a Hobbes connection was permanently destroyed when he blew me off and I’ve abandoned my online wanderings, disabling my OKC profile and seriously considering canceling my eHarmony subscription early since I haven’t had any requests for new communication since the Mr. Numbers debacle.

Normally this would freak me out, just one too-soon-to-tell-still-a-big-maybe guy with no backups, but surprisingly I feel just fine. After all, all you do in the waiting line is waste time. Maybe having a safety net was what was holding me back from really taking a risk on love.

I Say a Little Prayer for You

Sunday, March 6, 2011
This weekend I did some much needed cleaning and organization around my place. While going through some old cards and letters I ran across this:

My dearest granddaughter,
This thought came to my mind while eating breakfast – Someday he’ll come along the man I love, and he’ll be big and strong, the man I love, someday. I love you, like I love all my grandchildren, so together we will keep praying that the man you love will come along.

My Grams wrote me this letter a few years ago when she was in her late 80s. Her caretaker told me she actually stopped eating breakfast to pen me this note, so concerned was she for my marital status.

When I was in my late 20s, my Grams suddenly became desperately concerned that I would die alone. She didn’t think this about any of her other seven grandchildren, one of which was several years older than I (and therefore the most likely target for spinsterhood), but she did think it was a very serious condition I was suffering from. Unprompted, she would often console me for my single status, reassuring me that he was still out there while singing old English love ballads.

I think regrets are a colossal waste of time, but if I do find a soul mate one day some part of me will regret that I was never able to introduce him to my Grams. She was fortunate to attend two of her grandchildren’s weddings and see three great-grandbabies born before she passed, but I would have liked to have relieved this one of her well-intentioned, albeit way off base worries.

Grams was a stubborn broad, though, so I take comfort in her likely having had something to do with it. Up there in heaven she can probably pick out the exact English gentleman of her choosing.

Thanks, Grams.

I Am Everyone's Fool.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
That’s me, dear readers. And I am caught up in a vicious cycle. I am guarded because I have been let down before. Then someone challenges me to open up. I struggle with it, but I give in and put myself out there, because although hesitant, I believe that one of the times that I do I won’t be let down. And then I am let down.

Most of the time I brush off the feelings of disappointment, but every now and then I feel like a real fool. Like when I’m giving someone an umpteenth chance to prove me wrong reject me. Like I am feeling right now.

Despite agreeing to meet up with Hobbes, I only believed we would actually meet up for the briefest of moments after we had outlined the plans. I switched back over pretty quickly when I didn’t hear from him for two days around the time he was traveling out here.

The cancellation came in two parts. The night before he bailed on the “maybe” portion, because he could not say no to (free) dinner with family friends. He thought he’d still be able to meet with me after. I asked him if we should just cancel our plans then, or whether he wanted to keep the suspense going?

I wanted to cancel them myself, you see, but if I waited for him to do it so I could write him off forever with a perfectly clear conscience. I wasn’t surprised by the official cancellation, mid-day the day of our plans, but I was pretty blown away that he didn’t mention anything that sounded even remotely like he was sorry that he wouldn’t be seeing me. Or that he felt bad about doing exactly what I had said he would do.

I guess I had thought that after I had made such a big deal of not wanting to be bailed on that Hobbes wouldn’t have made plans if he didn’t think he could keep them. That if he made them anyway and then had to break them, for whatever reason, that he would have done so with an apology. That he would have felt bad. For me. For my feelings.

All Hobbes wanted to know was whether a rain check was possible. I think no. No rain check. No future plans. No emails, no IMs, no texts. No more going out on a limb.

And no thank you to whatever you, dear readers, might think are words of encouragement on this subject. I'll be walking this one off alone.

I Just Met Your Future Husband

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Recently my cousin sent me an email to ask if I was seeing anyone. She also called me, mid-work day, to ask the same question. Now I almost never answer my cell phone at work, but I picked up because this cousin is getting married soon and I am her MOH. This requires me to be available when I might otherwise not be.

She was ecstatic to hear I was still single because she believed she had met my future husband while he was doing some work where she lives. I can only imagine what he thinks about me given the third degree he must have been given by my cousin and the terribly flattering, but limited, description she gave him of me: beautiful, funny, smart and athletic. His highlights include:
  • He is an adorable 28-year old who is both SUPER cute and very nice
  • He seems to be something of an entrepreneur, having previously owned a business and currently working in sales, but is also working towards being a police man
  • He loves to work out and run, having quit smoking several months ago (Cold turkey! With no cheating!)
  • And… most important… he has a full head of hair
This last one is pretty amusing, if only because I can’t recall ever caring about hair. In fact, I think the close cropped/fully shaved/bald situation is pretty attractive. Very Ed Harris. I digress.

Her darling find was going to be out of town for work for a few additional weeks, and my cousin wondered if I wanted to reach out to him, given that he was also a bit shy.

By all accounts he seemed like a decent guy so despite being a little worried about his age, four years isn’t much but he is younger than I am, I said she was free to give him my email, or sure, if she wanted to give me his I’d reach out.

I decided to leave out my concern that her excitement about this find was probably skewed by the fact that she herself was madly in love and planning a wedding. Besides, if we start dating now he could definitely be my plus one at the wedding.

Will You (Hypothetically) Go Out With Me?

Thursday, February 17, 2011
About a week ago I was invited out by Hobbes. Yeah, remember that guy? I’m sure all romantic interest between us is over, but he’s pretty fun to chat with so we still do that every now and then. In one of those conversations I had asked him about whether my spring trip would coincide with ski season, since I would be in Denver visiting friends and wanted to get some skiing in, assuming I could find someone to come along with. He mentioned that he would never turn down skiing, and I said I believed him, but that I also would never make plans with him again, ever.

He seemed to think that was pretty harsh. Let’s see, we had tried to meet up in Denver and in Chicago, at least once – and sometimes twice – a year, over the course of four years, and not once had we been successful. Yep, the Universe had made himself clear: Hobbes and I were not going to interact in person, and there wasn’t anything either of us could do to change that.

Hobbes clearly thought I was overreacting since he went on to hypothetically ask me whether I wanted to meet up when he’s going to be in Chicago for work. I responded fairly negatively, so he suggested I mull it over.

I don’t want to mull it over. I want to not have been presented with this scenario. It’s a Catch 22.

If I say no, the stars will align and he will be in Chicago, and I will be free, and then I will be that girl that’s too afraid to put herself out there to meet up with a guy she still talks to even though she hasn’t seen him in years.

If I say yes, the meeting will fall through. Maybe his trip will get canceled, maybe he’ll have to work late, maybe he’ll be in the burbs and traffic will be so terrible due to 12+ inches of snow it won’t make sense to keep the date (we did, after all, just have a blizzard). Some part of me will get excited about this meeting, even though I don’t think it’s likely we’ll actually get to the meeting part, and then that same part of me will feel bummed about it after. I’ll also feel really stupid, for not knowing better.

I told Hobbes to ask me again closer to this hypothetical visit, but we all know I’m going to make myself available in the end. Hypothetically, anyway.

Be Mine, Valentine

Monday, February 14, 2011
I have never been a subscriber of mushy, gushy displays of affection, including almost everything that goes with Valentine’s Day. When a high school boyfriend once celebrated the holiday with a dozen roses, which he gave to me while driving me home after his school-night basketball game, I didn’t light up with warm and fuzzy feelings. I remember thinking they were totally unnecessary. And that I was an asshole for not getting anything for him.

To this day I remain terribly suspicious of any over the top or greeting card company manufactured demonstration of love, but there are a few gems out there who’s simplicity makes for more of a genuine display of sentiment.

Like Necco sweethearts. I know they taste terrible but how can you go wrong with their cheesy yet classic sayings like “Cutie Pie” and “Sweet Talk”? A well selected candy heart would cut straight through my disenchantment with love.

Or grade school valentines. I loved when we all made a mailbox at our desks out of a decorated shoebox or heart-shaped construction paper stapled together and then passed them out to everyone, even the smelly kids no one liked. Who wouldn’t smile at a little 2” x 3” card with a picture of a Sponge Bob reminding you to “Keep it Spongy”?

I would. And this year I could think of one such smile I’d like to inspire. Not on some guy I’m secretly crushing on, but an old friend who has reminded me of a time when I couldn’t wait to fall in love, when I believed everyone got a happy ending. So I sent him a teeny tiny valentine.

I had to buy a whole box, which by the way still costs $2.99 and came with stickers but not teeny tiny matching envelopes, but it was worth it to tell him I thought he was groovy and to "feel the happy".

I know I do.

Hello, I Love You.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
As I walked home after a semi-awkward parting with Mr. Numbers on Saturday I couldn’t shake the thought that I was being my own roadblock (as I so often am), and that I’d never find love if I didn’t give people more of a chance than 1 ½ dates. But after a rousing spin class on Sunday I had another thought: I like who I like, and I know it right away.

It’s not entirely physical, the instant attraction, but that’s certainly part of it. And I’m not saying that I don’t think attraction builds over time, because it does, but for me, if I don’t instantly feel a pull towards a guy, I probably won’t ever feel one.

I have always been this way. In fact, I can only think of two relationships where I didn’t feel this immediate attraction to the other person. In both, I hadn’t even considered the person a romantic interest; it was suggested to me over and over and over until I simply got worn down enough to agree to pursue it.

They were both years and years ago, high school and early college, and in the first it was the friends of the guy who pressured me into it. That whole relationship I felt like he was more into me than I was into him, which was true, and ultimately the imbalance of it made me cut and run. Well that and the fact that my interest in him didn’t grow over time.

The other guy wore me down himself over what must have been close to a year. We had started out as good friends, but once he got it in his head that I was his future wife he never let up with ideas about our future. He slowly integrated me into every aspect of his life so by the time I finally agreed to give things a go we were practically dating already. I wish I hadn’t given in, since that relationship crashed and burned with such fury that I attribute most of my inability to let other people in to the devastation I felt when he shut me out.

After such remarkable success stories, I’m not sure why I stopped relying on the instant attraction, although I’m guessing it has something to do with the well meaning suggestions from my friends that perhaps I was still single because I was being too picky.

I’m not, though, and I’m not shortchanging these guys (or myself) by cutting them loose after such a short amount of time either. No, I just know what I’m looking for. I’ll know it when I see it.

Rookie

Sunday, February 6, 2011
For my second date with Mr. Numbers I pulled a series of seriously rookie moves. It was embarrassing, especially for a seasoned dater such as myself.

We had plans for dinner, sushi, which I love for early dating because it (a) gives you a chance to share food (but not germs) and (b) is a streamlined dining experience. Plus it can be kind of adventurous, depending on the other’s person experience, or lack thereof, in raw cuisine. It’s always interesting to see someone a little bit out of their comfort zone.

Anyway choosing sushi dinner date wasn’t the issue, no; the rookie mistake was that I had agreed to this date on a Saturday. As in, not a school night. As in, unless you had previously indicated you had plans after dinner you have left yourself wide open for an indefinite date extension of infinite possibilities.

I thought of this useful fact while I was walking to meet Mr. Numbers and seeing that I hadn’t laid any groundwork for later plans I figured I’d just see how I was feeling during dinner. I made my second rookie mistake by expecting that the date extending discussion would happen at the end of dinner, instead of in the middle of eating winter maki. Mr. Numbers had asked me on date #2 during date #1, so it stood to reason he’d do the same thing at dinner.

He invited me to watch a movie at his place after dinner (clarifying there would be no making out pressure). I answered with the honest answer I had available to me at the time: No, thank you. Had I been prepared I could have been clever, suggesting a rain check or feigning exhaustion. But no, I just went with my gut, and my gut said that I was not interested in that man’s couch.

It wasn't as positive as our first date directness had been, but I guess the rub with the direct approach is you get a direct response. No hemming and hawing, just the raw truth.

Well There's Always the Direct Approach

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Patti Stanger, the self-proclaimed Millionaire Matchmaker, counsels her clients that if they are interested in the gal on the first date they should seal the deal for the next one while still on that first date. I only watch the show as a guilty pleasure, but I’m sure it has something to do with being clear and direct in your intentions.

Until this week, I don’t think this has ever happened to me, interested parties usually say things like “we should do this again” or “I’d like to see you again” without any specific dates/times. Until this week, I would have thought I would have felt terribly on the spot if asked, mid-date, for another date. Until this week, I didn’t realize how right she is.

When it happened I was on a first date with Mr. Numbers, grabbing drinks as well as some impromptu dinner. At first glance he wasn’t anything special, an average looking guy with a physique a bit more slight than I’m used to, but he really won me over during the date. He had this fantastically dry wit, causing me to laugh out loud several times well before my third glass of wine. He was clearly very bright and successful, ambitious even but with an obvious work-life balance in place. He respected my feelings about men spending money on women they have just met (I don’t think they should have to), and then he promptly rejected them (which I respected). Also, he thought I was great, and said so.

I had, as it turned out, already decided I would go on a second date with him when he asked me whether I had plans on Saturday, so it didn’t feel like I was on the spot and I didn’t feel pressured to answer. I just felt like he was really interested. And I was interested, so I just said Yes.

It was clear. It was direct. It was awesome.

You Better Work.

Sunday, January 30, 2011
Despite the fun and randomness of OK Cupid I thought I would give a more structured (read: payment required) dating website a try this year. Just for three months. Just to see, if maybe the personality matching might yield better compatibility.

In the first few weeks of membership, I’ve received approximately 6 matches per day, totaling over a hundred to date. Only one of two things is happening. I am either the kind of girl that every single guy is looking for, making me the most compatible person ever, or there are six million guys on eHarmony.

I tend to go with the latter option, and not just because it means there are way more singles in Chicagoland than I had thought. I’m a pretty popular gal, but if I’m a fit for hundreds of men wanting long term relationships then there is something seriously wrong with me or my proclaimed interest in said long term relationship.

I’d rather not dwell on that, and it doesn’t matter, because either way there are simply too many matches to wade through. I’ve decided to take the “respond only” approach. Besides saving me gads of time, I actually think this might set me up for more success.

I WANT TO BE PURSUED. Not because I have a terrible track record when I initiate contact, which I do, by the way, and not because I’m following traditional dating rules. No, I want to be pursued because I think I’m worth it. I want someone who reads my profile to think I'm worth it, too. And then I want to DO something about it.

I’d hardly call initiating the communication process on eHarmony putting in an effort, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction.

Come About?

Thursday, January 27, 2011
Based on the comments I received to Unrecoverable and also the personal follow up from some real life friends, it seems I left out some useful details.

In addition to not having clarified that I met the Drunken Sailor through friends of mine that were not friends of his, rather folks he had met that morning over bloody marys, I also failed to include that our one night only encounter happened awhile ago, like in early November.

I had meant to write about it earlier, but had been holding out hope that I might hear back from him, in which case I could have written a very different blog about the situation (like, say, that having met my future husband I would be retiring this blog so as not to write about him). Then I remembered I had forgotten to write about it at all, so by the time I did I was resigned to not hearing back from him.

Even with this additional information two of my friends thought I should reach back out to him, just one more time, just in case something crazy had happened, like if he’d dropped his phone, in a puddle, and then it broke, and he had never gotten my “I’m interested” voicemail. Or maybe he’d had some other life situation, like a girlfriend he wasn’t quite over with, that made him unavailable to start something new with me at the time. Maybe he couldn’t get in touch with me now, maybe he felt stupid doing so after all this time… you get the idea.

They actually both presented this thought to me independent of each other and one of them with endorsement from her husband. I personally think his actions spoke for themselves, but with nothing left to lose I went ahead and sent him another text message inviting him out to meet me and his new sailboating pals.

He has not responded, and it’s been over a week.

To me, the Drunken Sailor’s behavior makes no sense purely from a manners perspective. Why ask for someone’s full name and number, and then use it only to apologize for one’s previously apologized for behavior? Surely someone that courteous would have the decency to respond to my subsequent text message to let me know he wasn’t interested.

But his silence speaks for him. I think we can officially close the books on this one. All of us.

Look Before You Leap

Monday, January 24, 2011
Before I went on the date with the ND Hater, I looked up the neighborhood pizza joint I had suggested as an option should he want to come to my neighborhood, so I could give him the correct cross street. I clicked onto Yelp, for no particular reason since I’d already been there and knew I liked the place, and happened across a review for a guy I thought was pretty attractive.

The top of his review read that he was a junkie of the place, and when I clicked onto his Yelp profile I noticed he said he slummed around the city neighborhood that I actually lived in. He had written a number of reviews, and while I myself am not the kind of person who (a) provides public reviews or (b) would include a picture along with said reviews, he had reviewed some places I would definitely enjoy. And he seemed local. I totally wanted to email him. But I didn’t, mostly since I couldn’t think of anything relevant to email him about.

And then the craziest thing happened. I got to the pizza joint before the ND Hater, and as I was sitting in the bar overflow area scanning the actual bar to see if two stools were about to open up, I saw him. The Yelp guy! In the bar! I didn’t go over there to confirm, mostly because I assumed my actual date would be walking in at any moment, but clearly this was a sign!

I didn’t want to be a stalker, so I ran my plan to reach out to a full blown stranger by N the next day. As we emailed about the options I forwarded the link to his Yelp profile.

My excitement was all for naught, it seems, because N had the foresight to actually READ some of his reviews, and smack dab in the middle of the one was the statement that “his wife loved the hummus”.

What would I do without her? Not only had I not read through his reviews very carefully, I had missed the reference to his spouse in the one for the joint I had originally looked up. I am a lot of things, dear readers, but a thorough researcher has never been one of them.

Fortunately for me, I wasn't a stalker girl hitting on a married guy, either.

Failed First Dates: Don't be a Hater!

Friday, January 21, 2011
Last night I went on a first date with someone who hates Notre Dame even more than I do. You would think that such a similarity might be a good bonding moment for a new couple, but such was not the case here.

You see I have to admit, dear readers, that while I do have a deep seated dislike of all things Ohio and fans of Notre Dame, I don’t actually hate them. Certainly not to the extent that I would let it keep me from supporting my family or friends. And as I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty sure my future mate will be one of the things I profess to hate. The Universe is like that.

The irony for this guy is that his brother played basketball on a scholarship to Notre Dame and married his Notre Dame cheerleader girlfriend (what did I tell you about The Universe?). He’s having nothing to do with it, going so far as to not go to any games in South Bend to watch his own brother play back when they were both in undergrad. He said he did go to a few away games, sitting with the home team and wearing an “I hate ND” shirt. He’s not planning to let his future nephews call him Uncle since they’re ND spawn. And he says if his future kids even think about going to school there…

He said all of this in a relatively upbeat tone, and it wasn’t the dominant segment of our conversation, but I couldn’t help but notice how unattractive I thought holding such a strong negative opinion of something was. And how ridiculous when it's college loyalty. I like to think I present my "hatred" more as a good natured rivalry, but listening to this guy makes me think twice about the impression I might be giving others.

He said he hoped to hear from me, and he will, but just to let him know I’m not interested in pursuing a relationship. Not because he’s fighting the Irish, but because I was fighting to find any level of attraction to him from the moment he had walked in.

Where Are They Now?

Monday, January 17, 2011
Over the weekend I received a text message from a guy I haven’t spoken to in at least three years. We hadn’t parted on bad terms, we just parted because we weren’t going anywhere and it was time. We had rotated between being friends of friends, actual friends and friend with benefits for years, and then we just… stopped.

He still crosses my mind from time to time, he and a few others I’ve dated and parted with in years past. It’s the ones that I really felt I could have had something with, but timing, career or geography got in the way. I wonder whether they’re still single, what would happen if our paths crossed again, whether things would work out with us now that circumstances might be more favorable. I wonder whether this is normal, thinking about the “might have beens”. I wonder whether it’s just because I’m single, and that if I was in a relationship whether I’d even care what they were up to.

I do this mostly when I end up with extra time on my hands and no boys to play with. The kind of time one would find, say, if she made a resolution to stop wasting time chatting with dead-end guys. The kind of time this gal is finding herself with right about now, since she actually did stop wasting time.

Also apparently the kind of time I had last July, which is when I sent this particular man a text message that he was just now returning. Where are we now? From the handful of messages we exchanged it seems like we’re both pretty much where we were when we stopped talking, at least in terms of geography. It’s unlikely our paths are going to cross paths anytime in the near (or distant) future, although we continue to wish each other the best.

The fact that he replied, months and months later to what was clearly a random one-time text message, makes me wonder whether he doesn’t, on the very few occasions when he has some extra time on his hands, think of me in the same way I sometimes think of him. Maybe I’m not the only one wondering about what might have been.

It could just be wistful thinking, this idea that romance could blossom as it once did should two folks find themselves single and standing in front of each other. Then again, maybe it’s not.

Unrecoverable.

Friday, January 14, 2011
Is there such a thing as an unrecoverable first date? Sure, if the other person finds your behavior SO unacceptable or your personality SO incompatible with yours that they in no way would consider giving you a second chance to make a first impression. I have been on many dates like that. But what if you find your own behavior so unacceptable that you don’t think you deserve a second chance?

Awhile back I met up with some pals who had come across this great guy that they thought I simply must meet. Now most previously suggestions of theirs have been dismissed immediately since they fell into the “he could be my father” category. This new suggestion came with a slew of positive sounding traits, including an appropriate age of 34, so I agreed to put on lip gloss and meet them out.

We’ll call him the Drunken Sailor, but really that’s what they all were. They had been sailing boats back down the Chicago river to be stored for the winter and drinking since 9a so they were all three sheets to the wind when I got there. Drunk or not, this guy was fantastic. He was exactly the kind of guy I could see myself dating. And marrying. And moving to Colorado with.

Because we continued drinking and the Drunken Sailor lived in the burbs it was abundantly clear that he would be staying in the city that night. As his future wife I obviously won the toss up.

On the walk back to my place there was adorable hand holding and kissing. And snuggling, since he’d foolishly left his jacket in his parked car. At my place he was one of the best behaved completely wasted guys I’d ever kept watch over. The following morning I drove him back to his car, gave him my number when he asked for it, and really hoped he would call.

I did hear from him, just once, a few days later. He apologized (again) for his behavior and thanked me for putting up with him. I said he was no trouble, because he wasn’t, and tried unsuccessfully to draw him out into meeting up again with a follow up call to clearly express my interest.

I wish I knew what happened. I mean, it’s possible that his attraction to me was based entirely on his BAC, but it’s also likely that he has no useful memories of the night (please see aforementioned BAC) and thinks worse of himself and what happened than what actually happened. At least that would explain all the apologizing he had done the night before.

I’m simply left to wonder. Whether there was something I could have done differently, if there’s still something I could do to get a do-over or if there are simply some situations that cannot be undone.

Always a Bridesmaid

Sunday, January 9, 2011
Over the holiday I was playing around on OKC and decided to take some tests instead of apply some much needed revisions to my profile. I happen to LOVE tests that analyze personality, mostly because they usually are dead on for me. (Sidenote: I think some people align with quizzes and their horoscopes and numerology and all that, and some people just don’t. I don’t take it too seriously, but every time I do one its spot on for me, so I like to use them in lieu of a professional’s opinion.)

I took the “Online Dating Persona” test and here’s what it said about me:

Appreciated for your kindness and envied for all your experience, you are The Maid of Honor.

Charismatic, affectionate, and terrific in relationships, you are what many guys would call a “perfect catch”—and you probably have many admirers, each wishing to capture your long-term love. You’re careful, extra careful, because the last thing you want is to hurt anyone. Especially some poor boy whose only crime was liking you.


We’ve deduced you’re fully capable of a dirty fling, but you do feel that post-coital attachment after hooking up. So, conscientious person that you are, you do your best to reserve physical affection for those you respect...so you can respect yourself.


Your biggest negative is the byproduct of your careful nature: indecision. You’re just as slow rejecting someone as you are accepting them.


With a few edits, it’s kind of right on. I’m terribly careful, although mostly to protect myself, and I’m terribly indecisive, often sitting on the fence indefinitely hoping the guy will decide things for me. We all know my ability to have a casual relationship without developing feelings only goes so far, and I have developed a bit of an admirer following, albeit a lame-guy one. Even the title’s appropriate; MOH #2 is coming up this summer.

My most compatible match type was “The Gentleman”, my male opposite; who I have to admit is the guy I tend to shy away from. Despite having grown up with men that treat women as I believe they should be treated, men who open doors and let women sit, order dinner and get on the elevator first, for some reason I'm instantly distrustful of a male suitor who displays these traits. I shouldn’t be, though, despite it being easy for a guy to pretend he's chivalrous if I want to end up with a respectful guy I'll have to date someone who at least acts like one.

Since I’ve already got the bridesmaid dress, I guess I should start looking for an escort. Preferably one with a tux.

Falling Off the Wagon

Thursday, January 6, 2011
I meant what I said about my resolution this year to stop wasting my time on lame-o dudes, but I have to admit that I’m already struggling to stick to it.

I did start off strong, earlier this week I did some OKC chatting with a guy who seemed decent in his profile with the exception of that fact that he only had photos with close-lipped smiles just like The Conductor did (which I obviously only realized after I went back and checked). The chatting was pretty lame, like the part about him having been recently been employed by PetSmart (seriously, it is really too much to ask that someone in their mid-30s be stable in their career?) and the part where he “asked me out”. I don’t usually quote word for word, but this one requires it.

so if you want i can give you my number and we can text or something and meet up sometime if you like?

I hesitated only moments before flat out declining.

I felt pretty good about myself, including the next day when The Conductor surprised me with an email vaguely asking about getting together on Friday. I declined citing prior (read: nonexistent) plans since I thought for sure he was one of those lackadaisical guys who doesn’t bother to put in any real effort.

It came as a surprise, then, when he came back to the table with a fully formed date suggestion for a different night.

I was impressed with his persistence, and actually considered whether to accept. As D pointed out, I'm always wishing guys would plan dates. Now here one had! Maybe I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Literally, since we still don't know what the deal is with those missing teeth.

Anyway, I brought it up at lunch table to mixed reviews and then I spent about half an hour looking up the band he wanted to see and listening to their music to see if I liked it. I didn't.

I was still on the fence at the end of the work day, when I relayed the situation for another gal pal. And then it hit me. I was wasting all this time just deciding whether to go on a 2nd date! What was the matter with me?

Obviously I struggle with where the line is, between being too quick to toss a guy you barely know and giving him way too many chances. I want everyone to like me. But I only want guys I want to date to want to date me. That's never going to happen, so I'm going to need some rules if I'm going to keep to my resolution.

Here's the first one: If my response isn't YES!, then it’s No. After all I’m not trying to be the most popular single gal out there; I'm trying to get un-single.

"I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning"

Monday, January 3, 2011
"Smells like, victory." Kilgore

It’s a new year, dear readers, and I’ve got a new attitude to go with it. A friend asked me today whether this year was going to be “my year”, and you know what? I just decided it is. Maybe not the year I find true love, but this year is the year where I finally stop wasting time searching for it.

I’ll still be on the lookout, of course, I’m still hoping to come across it, and I understand that will take time and effort. No, what I’m talking about is not wasting any of my time and effort on anyone who isn’t amazing, who isn’t someone I can’t wait to talk to and spend time with.

That’s right, this year I stop wasting time on all those losers. Like Surf Dude. Remember him? After an entire year of silence he popped back up right before the New Year. A year to the day. He said he missed talking to me and hanging out. I bet he did. You know why? Because I am awesome to talk to and hang out with. And Surf Dude? He’s a lazy, shady douche bag who just wants to send millions of text messages to me. And several other women. At the same time. I can’t believe I wasted all that time thinking things *might* go somewhere with him. I can’t believe he thinks he can waltz back into my life after all this time and resume some semblance of a relationship (friendship or otherwise).

Of course I did try to get the scoop on Surf Dude’s shadiness, see I Did Not See This Coming, but basically he denied that the timelines were all overlapped. Said he’d been dating and breaking up in a cycle. Said he was sorry – not for being sketchy – but for having not reached out in all this time. I told him he didn’t have to answer to me, but several of those lady friends of his felt lied to. And since he wasn’t interested in giving me any gossip, I kicked his sorry ass back to the curb. Where it belongs.

ENOUGH, I say, of men who like me enough to use all their message minutes texting me but not any of their face time. ENOUGH, I say, of men who want me to do all the work in relationships. ENOUGH, I say, to the third and fourth and fifth chances, and to not wanting to be the bad guy and to not holding out for what I deserve.

Enough is Enough. Viva la 2011!