Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Three New Dating Rules (for men)

I'm having an ongoing debate with a guy friend of mine. We discuss our dating woes, and turn to each other to figure out just what the other gender is thinking!

He keeps quoting the movie 'Swingers'

The movie follows an unfortunate fellow as he tries to get over his last girl. He meets another woman and asks his friend when he should call her. The response, "Two days is the industry standard. I think four is kinda money."

I believe this scene as well as some unfortunate books have perpetuated a dating syndrome called, "Contact Idiocy"

Everyone is making grand efforts not to appear too eager. Guys want to 'play it cool'.

Everyone is waiting two days or more to return phone calls, thinking they don't want to look pathetic! It's ridiculous! Just make contact. It's the only way to move forward.

Here's the latest example of what has happened to me:
I meet a guy that I was introduced to on eHarmony. We have dinner. It's nice. I'm actually pleasantly surprised. He's better looking than his photo, he's a gentleman and easy to talk to. After the date, I send an email thanking him for dinner and mentioning a couple things I like about him.

A day later he responds via email that we should go out again. He writes that he'll call me to set a date. A week later, NOTHING! Finally he calls and leaves a message on my cell phone. I listen to the message thinking, "Who's Joe*?" Then it comes back to me.

All my friends advised me to wait two days to return his call. (I don't want to play games -but they are married and I'm not so I figure I'll do as they say)

I leave a message two days later. After two more days, I leave another saying, "We're having a hard time reaching each other. Thought I'd make an effort."

ARGH! So, from first date to making a second date... THREE WEEKS! Wow! Way to woo me!

So here are some tips for men.
1) If you are ACTUALLY interested in a woman - Call her! And call her promptly. (within two days - I'll explain below) Don't worry about playing it cool. I don't know anyone who got the girl by 'playing it cool'.

"Faint heart never won fair lady." words written for Don Quioxte in the 1500s. You don't have to reinvent the wheel.

2) And this is a biggie. When you meet a woman... DON'T say, "I'll call you." Just don't say it. It means nothing to us. We don't believe you anyway.
Don't say it. If you do call, great! That's a nice surpise. We weren't expecting your call to begin with.
I'll make an exception here for a guy who knows that he's smitten and IS ACTUALLY GOING TO CALL HER. If you know - beyond a shadow of a doubt that you want to and WILL call her, go ahead and say so. But now you HAVE to call.
Here's the thing guys. We know that 'I'll call you.' is just what you say to end the conversation. You're feeling awkward and it just falls out of your mouth. Let the awkward silence stand. It's not as awkward as it feels. NEVER say I'll call you.

3) If you want to call a girl to ask her out, act quickly. Don't wait more than a week. The key here is to make an impression on her before your phone call prompts this thought, "Tom? Who's Tom?" "James? James? Do I know a James?"
You see, if we're interested in you we're thinking about you. For a couple days. Then we start thinking about the next guy on the roster. Call us WHILE we're still thinking about you.

Here's an example of how it works:
I remember meeting a guy who was awfully cute but I thought, much younger than I. He asked for my number and said he'd call - so naturally I dismissed him completely.
Within the week, I get a phone call. "Hi. This is Ben." In my head I'm thinking, "Who the Hell is Ben?"
I had only met him 5 days before. He was doing everything right, but I had already washed him out of my head because he said he would call - so I was sure that I would never hear from him.

We did go out and had a lovely time. We're still friends four years later.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Table for One?

I'm very lucky to have a great job for an employer who sends me all over the country with a generous expense account. I enjoy seeking out restaurants unique to the city I'm visiting (No Applebee's and other chains for me!)

The downside to this great fortune is that I often find myself dining alone.

It's rather tedious to while away the time in a restaurant watching other tables receive their food, or overhearing the conversations at nearby tables. In a casual or fast food restaurant I wouldn't hesitate to pull out a book or a newspaper, or even a laptop computer if I had one.

However, in a finer dining establishment, it seems boorish to stick my nose in a book or spread a newspaper on the table. (While it might be a good use of time to catch up with friends or with my mother, I wouldn't think of using my cell phone in such a situation.)

What do you all think? Is it acceptable to entertain oneself by reading in this setting? Or is it perfectly rude?

To add further consternation to the dilemma, I would hate to give the impression to some handsome and delightful single gentleman, that I'd be adverse to striking up a conversation. Or from having any other charming solo diner join me for a meal. (This is rare I know, but I have been fortunate in the past. The prerequisite, hinging on the stranger being delightful!)

Any suggestions for passing the time other than reading and rereading the specials? Or possibly tinkering with the candle on the table?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Oh I'm Sorry, Did YOU Settle?

My friend Nikki read me this advice column over the phone. It's from "Tell Me About It: Carolyn Hax" Sydicated column.
We are both thrilled to have an arsenal of answers to the undying question:

I am a woman in my thirties who has never been married. I have no intention of getting married until I find the right person. I get many questions as to why I am not married, and people often answer their own question with remarks like, "There must be something wrong with you." What is that supposed to mean? Please help me give an appropriate answer so I won't look like a deer in headlights.

Those remarks mean you're talking to an idiot. Nothing more.
There are many appropriate answers here -- honest ones (looking like a deer in headlights); raw ones ("What a terrible question"); exasperated ones ("Because something's wrong with me"); hostile ones ("To help you feel superior"); overcompensating ones ("Just lucky, I guess"); confrontational ones ("Why, am I making you nervous?"); non-ones ("Oh my, look at the time!"); rhetorical ones ("Just how small is your world?"); absurd ones ("I'm allergic to buttercream"); straight ones ("I haven't found the right person"). All are appropriate, none are owed, except maybe an "Excuse me," before you walk away.

Nikki's favorite is the rhetorical: "Just how small is your world?"
My favorite, no surprise is the absurd: "I'm Allergic to Buttercream!" Tee Hee!

It's taken me years but I think I've finally formulated an answer of my own. It came about when a bore of a man, poking into other people's business, turned to my business and said, "What about you? Do you have children?" No. "None? Are you married? Have a boyfriend?" No. I don't even have a cat. "Wow. Nothing?! You must be picky."

Now why does that make me picky? We're talking about the rest of my life! I have a right to picky!

Honestly, it took me until the next day. That's when I finally decided that I should have said, "You seem to have a good marriage. Did you settle?"

That's my answer now. "Did you settle? Why should I?"

My next favorite self-composed answer is: "Some people spend their whole lives searching for their better half. I have realized that I'm already complete."

(Source: Tell Me About It, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 )

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Illusions of Grandeur

You’ll find someone the moment you stop looking.


I’m so sick of people saying that. You can’t not look. You just can’t.
The people who offer this little ‘wives tale’… um, gee. Yeah. They’re wives. It’s not wisdom. It’s Marriage Amnesia.

Somehow, these people think that’s how they met their Mister Wonderful. Oh, yes. Right. She just stopped looking. Lies. Lies. Much like politicians, wives just re-write history.

Case in point:

A dear friend of mine made this statement. I was visiting her and her wonderful husband after their wedding and baby number one. We were lounging in their living room, drinking wine and reconnecting after at least a year apart, talking of course about my trials in dating.

She said, “I know that I found (my husband)when I finally stopped looking.”*

*sound effect: screeching brakes.

Let me fill you in. We were next-door neighbors for about two years. Much of our time was spent trading updates on dates. I was privy to her step-by-step process of finding Mr. Right. I have accurate, real-time recall. She was definitely looking.

So when she suggested that she discovered her charming and doting hubby when she had stopped looking, I balked. I turned my head toward hubby, we exchanged a knowing look, and I challenged the wife.

“My dear,” I said, “That’s not true.” She was surprised, prepared to challenge my assessment right back. I continued. “You just weren’t looking for him.”

She would have none of it. With a pleading look toward her husband she said, "Is that what you think?”
He jumped right on it. “Absolutely! You definitely weren’t looking for me.”

Then we both reminded her, how she was dismayed at his height – Too short, despite the fact that he’s the exact same height as she. His hairline came into question, as well as his laugh. Which is loud, attention-getting and contagious (read: delightful).

She thought she should have a tall, strapping, hairy, plaid flannel wearing, logger of a man. This man didn’t fit the picture in her mind. On more than one occasion, I told her that if she really didn’t want him, just send him across the hall. He’s one of the best guys myself or my friends had ever encountered.

Now, as she remembers it, she wasn’t looking. The fact is, what she found wasn’t what she thought she was looking for.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you stop looking. We’ll all stop looking when we stop breathing. Or when we get married. Whichever comes first.

Now, I do agree with the suggestion to involve yourself in other pursuits. Don't just sit around waiting for a man. Delve into your interests, develop your character, be interesting in the process. Yes, that's preferable and admirable.

But you can be really busy... and still be looking for good man.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ain't No Prince Charming

My niece told me that I really need to get married.

Oh my.

I asked her why she thought so, worrying that she had some outdated, childish fairytale notion.

Imagine my surprise when she replied, "Because I want another uncle."
I laughed and said, "Well that's the best reason I've heard yet. You're going to have to be patient though, because I want to be sure you get the coolest, most fun uncle. After all, this is the only one we get to pick out."

She agreed, pointing out that her existing uncles are sub-par. One of them is very close to her own age, and the other, on her mother's side is a pretty lame fellow who doesn't really spend any time with her and her brother and sister.

"Well then, you must agree that I need to be careful about who I choose. He needs to be fun, and nice and interesting to make up for your other uncles."

Oh. She agrees wholeheartedly. So there you go guys. You're not just wooing me, you have to be good enough for my niece.

No pressure.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Yep - Lost Another One

It seems that society has picked up a damning trend from television dramas and sitcoms. It's the Third Date Rule. A completely preposterous rule which suggests that a couple ought to be having sex by the third date. In real life it factors out to the third or FOURTH - but it's still ridiculous!

You see, in a television drama, or situation comedy, or even a movie... it's not that interesting to watch a romance unfold, for say - months. And typically they have to break up anyway to keep the show interesting. So, rather than make the audience invest in a guest starring character... they just propell the romance and make the characters sleep together early on so that they can break up over something stupid like... He snores. Or what the hell was that with his toes!? Funny funny stuff.

I believe in some warped way, people saw this unfold on TV over the past decade or so, and somehow figured (because there are really stupid people out there) that must be how it is in real life. As a result, there are plenty of hoochie mammas out there - having sex with guys they barely know - on a third date!

This is rationalized with some idea that it's better to figure out if the sex is good before you invest in an actual relationship.

These bozos are poisoning the dating pool!!! Ack! Ack Ack!
Now, here I am... a nice girl... competing with women who are poisoning the dating pool. Yep, some guys expect the mother load before even investing any time to get to sorta know me.

Exhibit 938. The last guy I dated. I liked him. A real nice guy, who on our first date told me how he loves weddings and that when his family asks him when is he ever going to get married... his answer is; "I'm working on it." Cute answer I think. But he's not really working on it. Because if he were working on it, he would invest some time with a girl like me but instead....

Well, we had some lovely dates. As I said, I liked him but I wasn't feeling the Zsa Zsa Zu as they say. But I'm thinking he's a great guy and I ought to see what's there. We had some nice dates, then one really great date. I introduced him to my favorite pizza place, which he loved, and then we played pool for the rest of the evening. I really enjoyed that because it revealed a lot about our personalities through sportsmanship. Is he competitive? Can he stand losing to a girl? He can see how competitive I am... all that good stuff. Very revealing. So seeing a new side to him, I begin to like him a little more. We went home and smooched for a bit... then we smooched a little on his bed. Okay... my mistake but when I stopped him from trying to go further....

Never heard from him again! I left him a voicemail, he replied with a voicemail... then I ended up VMing him again... and that was it. Poof - fell off the stinking Earth! (see another man falls off the planet - below)

Whatever. But let's consider this. Life is not a television drama. What can you really know about someone after three dates to justify sharing your body and the most intimate act that God gave us to share? I can't think of anything.

As one friend pointed out... you don't even know each other's middle name. (Frankly, I still couldn't pronounce his LAST name!)
More to the point, I'm thinking - by date 3 or 4 - you've not even bothered to spend a Saturday afternoon with me. You don't know that strands of my hair shine like gold in the afternoon sun. Do you know what color my eyes are? Do you even know that my laugh becomes a snort if you're REALLY funny?

More MORE to the point... Do you know whether I use birth control or not? Whether or not I have a STD? Whether my insurance plan even covers pregnancy and delivery? Give me a freaking break!

Now, it's not like I'm a prude, or I don't like sex or something crazy like that. It's just that I respect sex. It's important. No matter how many people say it's no big deal.

But, my favorite example is the guy I dated over a year ago... not very good looking but he seemed to think I was fabulous so ... based on his brilliance ... I had to give him a shot. We had fun dates and he was a great kisser.
After four dates he went in for the kill. When I had to brush him off, he was shocked. SHOCKED!
His argument? "Sex on the fourth date is pretty standard." Oh. Well, I've changed my mind then. Moron. Actually my first thought was... "What kind of women are sleeping with you? You're not even hot!" I know, that's mean. But I didn't actually say it!

But it is true that some/many women will give it a shot with a really hot guy - Smoking hot guy - just for the experience. I'm not one of them, but I can understand the appeal. But Dude. This guy wasn't even close to hot... and I want to know who the hell is putting out for him!?!?!?

I wish I could say I never saw him again... but I have run into him and social circles and always feel like I have to go home and boil myself to get the creepy off.

Standards ladies. Can we please enforce some freaking standards?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cheap Seats

I’m cheap.
That’s not to say that I don’t spend wads of money in a sometimes, frivolous fashion. It’s just that when I do spend wads of money, it’s on frivolous fashion! Ha.

Things that I don’t spend money on: overpriced cups of coffee, CDs (music OR investment), manicures, and concerts.

When it comes to concerts, I figure I’d rather spend $40 to $170 dollars on the artists’ CDs so I can listen to them whenever I like, as opposed to dropping money, going to the concert and having nothing to show for it but sore toes because people seem to love to step on my feet. However I don’t actually buy CDs either.

But this week, my friend JK told me he had tickets to the Freddy Jones Band and the BoDeans, playing on St. Patrick’s day night. I have not heard about the Freddy Jones Band, so JK filled me in that they’re awesome and apparently haven’t been on the road in quite some time but he wasn’t going to miss it. JK also knows I love the BoDeans. I mean I LOVE THE BODEANS!!!
I’ve been listening to them since I was 16 and that was a long time ago. Long before they wrote the theme song to Party of Five. Way before that!

But I’m cheap. And I didn’t know if these tickets were comp tickets, or if he and his friend paid for them or won them in a contest. No idea. But I pointed out that I loved the BoDeans and that JK saw them last summer, and I didn’t get to go then either. And, by the way is there a free ticket involved? JK acted all mysterious.

We had lunch the next day, and midway through I told him that I was fully expecting him to reveal to me a ticket to the concert. He acted mysterious again. But I know that if there were no hope of a ticket, he would have said so. So I had my hopes up.

Yes, I could have gone online and bought a dang ticket myself. But remember. I’m cheap.

Then, the next next day, JK calls demanding to know the level, and height and breadth of my love and admiration for him. I was pretty sure there was a ticket for me involved in this exchange. I complied. He's a great guy and a great friend... and not just because he makes BoDeans tickets materialize.

So we go to the concert and JK gets his fix of the Freddy Jones Band from a mere 20 feet away from the stage! It was great. There was a half hour wait between sets, and we were lucky to observe a woman get her panties in a twist because some guy (somebody’s husband apparently) got too close to her. Well, we’re all pressed up against the stage trying to save our spots between sets, so yeah, you’re going to get bumped around.

There’s a lovely thread of tension for the entire half hour reset.

Then, the BoDeans take the stage. Mind you, I have about half of the CDs (okay most of them are cassette tapes) that make up their repertoire. And they start with a song from the first album. Sammy’s voice is freakin’ awesome and I am swept away in a great reverie sparked by this incredible performance.

Meanwhile, bitchy woman in front of us is using up the space that three people would consider themselves fortunate to share. I’m not saying she’s taking up the space, she is a big woman but that’s not the point. She’s hogging the space. More to the point, there’s a whole lot of space in front of her that she’s not using, just making sure nobody else can benefit from it. And in doing so, she keeps moving backward toward JK and me. In fact, she’s so close to JK that it looks like they are ‘together’ and about to get their grind on.

During the next few songs, the crowd shifts a bit, and she had migrated in front of me. Now, she’s a big woman, and she has a head of nasty looking hair and she’s so in MY space that I keep feeling her hair in my arms. Ick. So since I’m clutching my water bottle anyway, I decide to position said bottle horizontally, to create a barrier between Ick girl and myself. I figure when she runs into my bottle she’ll know that she’s invading my space and hopefully that will make an impact.

So she backs into my bottle and turns to look at me and I give a smile and say, “Oh, sorry.” She smiles and seems to accept my apology.
She continues to back into me, and after a while gets pissed that I have constructed a barrier to her free flow. During one of my FAVORITE songs she turns fully around to glare at me. I ignore her and concentrate my focus on this great band on stage. This displeases her even more and she starts telling me to stop touching her.
I look at her and explain that I’m just trying to preserve some of my personal space and she’s backing into my bottle. It’s not me that’s touching her. She doesn’t like that either, but I can’t understand what she’s saying. I told her, “I’m not going to argue with you. Just turn around and keep to yourself.” She rants, raises her voice a little. Well, I’m not the type to back down… especially when I’m right… so my voice raises too.

That’s when she forcefully grabs my water bottle and tears it out of my hands (like that’s really going to upset me) and JK intervenes by physically moving me to his other side and away from the bitch.

At this point, I’m embarrassed because I lost a little of my cool. She lost more, because she had to grab. But I feel like I’ve embarrassed my friend JK.

While all this is going on… the other people from her previous confrontation (and others who witnessed both confrontations) look at me with sympathy and at her with shock and disgust.

Ten minutes later, icky bitch girl is in another fight. This time offended that someone touched her boob. Well lady, if your boobs didn’t stick out a foot and a half, maybe people wouldn’t run into them. Seriously. No one grazed my boobies all night! (Well, besides her!)

If she fully expected not to be bumped, she shouldn’t be taking up so dang much room! And I’m not talking about her size. Everyone would have provided her the buffer zone, but she put all of her available buffer zone in front of her – wasting it!

The best part about this whole scenario, is that some guys started filing in from behind, one by one to make like they were going to pay attention to her. Each one paid attention long enough to establish their new spot, gradually forcing her to the left of the stage and eventually she disappeared all together! Brilliant move!! Stunning! Bravo!

So icky bitch girl ruined about a song and a half for me, then I was back into the BoDeans groove. Man those guys rock! I think it was the best concert of my life (but I’ve established that I don’t go to many.) Still, the best!!!

Totally worth the 35 dollars that I paid back to JK!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh, You're Still Young

I’m caught in a dimension of singlehood between two worlds. One is the world of my parents and the small town - rural area where I grew up. The world where people get married by age 23. If you manage to make it to your 30s unhitched, wild speculation ensues. The other, is the world of my professional life. The world of the big city where no-one expects to be married before 30, and you almost look silly wishing for a relationship.

It is in that second world, when someone recognizes that I’m frustrated at my single status and offers the idea that I have plenty of time. “Oh, you’re still young.”

What is that supposed to mean? Does it mean that as long as I’m not all prune-y, I still have a chance? That as long as I’m not all dried up inside... or filled with cobwebs that I might as well not yearn for love in my life?

Is it supposed to be a consolation? I’m still young – and young is a fine time to be lonely? “Yes dear, your body is still in good shape, butt and breasts are still firm, not many wrinkles… might as well wait until all that’s long gone before you ever have sex again.”

As it stands, men my age don’t even seem to see me. And creeky old men feel obligated to hit on me.

Exhibit A: the church social. Married couples ten years my senior, are eager to lend their match making services. And I’m happy to be their target. Or is it victim?
One couple in particular tells me that they didn’t meet until they were forty, (and they are very happy) so there is plenty of time for me. Great. The Wife starts scrolling through her mental Rolodex. Who does she know who is single, and perhaps a good match for me?

The Husband, on the other hand, thinks of the first single guy in the room and then indicates the guy over there, wearing jeans.

I try to casually glance around the room. All the men are wearing jeans. I notice two reasonably attractive men in my age range. About 10 O’clock? No, Husband next to me tells me I’m off. He directs me to 12 O’clock, where there stands an ‘old’ guy with his paunchy tummy cinched carefully above his belt.

In all these years of being single, I seem to have developed a special talent for encouraging men that I am not interested in. To nip this case in the bud, I turn to the Husband in this scenario and say, “He appears to be a bit older than I picture myself with.”

“Really? Why, how old are you?”

Well, considering that I have been mistaken to be at least four years younger than my age my entire life, I’m even more offended that this Husband is trying to pair me off with Mr. Crusty over there. To emphasize that point I tell him, “I’m 35.”, in a way that implies, “See? Obviously too young for that guy.” I expect Husband to be surprised, and effort some sort of recovery. But he still can’t see his error.

I had to mull that over for a few days and I think I’ve cracked his way of thinking. You see, he’s thinking that the man in question would be attracted to me. I'm fairly young, reasonably attractive and still fit. He’s not thinking about me at all – outside of agreement with the ‘dirty old man factor’.

Of course, in contrast, all his wife can offer is …“Oh, you’re still young.”

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!!!!

Well this was a good one!
Normally, I’m as excited about New Years as I am about Valentine’s Day. In my book, they are both ‘let down’ holidays. Both aimed at couples, and destined to leave a single woman disappointed.
But this New Year’s Eve was the best in a long time.

It certainly didn’t start out that way. I had been dating a guy for 3 months, and we broke up the week before Christmas. That was fine. I was going to do it if he didn’t. The only thing was, he wasn’t even clear about breaking up, but that’s another story.
Even more critical, is that before I went home for Christmas, I had New Years Eve plans as a couple. But as new years approached, I had no plans.

On Friday, I called a few friends and explained my situation. I just didn’t want to sit at home alone. I was more concerned that people would think that I simply didn’t PLAN! At least my excuse led to understanding and M got me invited to a party at a downtown loft. Of course the party turned out to be right next door to ExBF’s friends who have more money than God – a fantastic loft - and were also throwing a party. So I knew I would see ExBF.

When I got to the first party, ExBF’s friend, A was already there, borrowing a few CDs from her neighbor. I took the opportunity to break it to her that we broke up, we talked for a little while and she asked if I was going to join them at midnight to watch the fireworks from their balcony (better view – the whole party was supposed to go over there) I asked if it would be okay, comfort level-wise and she insisted that I join them.

So at about 10:30 my girlfriends and I migrated over for dancing and a better view of the fireworks. There I was, enjoying a penthouse view of the fireworks from their wrap around patio... peering down on the common folk on the street below watching the fireworks from the ground. I’ll admit, I felt a bit superior!

After midnight, I went out on the balcony again to look for ExBF. I wanted to at least wish him a happy new year. The second I was outside he came toward me, from a distance. I stood there, looking fabulous and smiling at him as he approached, and we shared a big hug. He acknowledged that he handled the break-up badly, and that A took it harder than the two of us combined!

I managed to have a fun New Year’s Eve. I got the acknowledgement that I wanted about the breakup. Put a nice little bow on top. And I’m starting the New Year with a fresh slate. Couldn’t ask for more.