Monday, May 25, 2009


While I'm out there trolling the internets (and real life Denver) for dating prospects, I have a little admission to make.
I've been spending time with Mr. Burns.

Something has really changed. You'd think he was spending time with Catherine Zeta Jones, the Queen of England and Angelina Jolie all at once! That to say the man actually delights in me. (like I had wished for before)

Don't get too excited. There is nothing definite yet. So I'm not 100% invested right now. I'm still cautious.
Until he gives me something definative - I just can't be too invested. But, things are in the right position now. He's pursuing me - and I'm the one who needs convincing. That was out of order before.

I am still meeting new men. I have to. But you know, they mostly disappoint.

This weekend, Mr. Burns and I spent all day Sunday together. After I went to Mass by myself, we met for brunch, and we planned to go for nice hike somewhere in beautiful Colorado.
But, by the time we finished breakfast - the entire region was under rain clouds. So we went for day-long drive in the rain, hoping to find a break somewhere.

He showed me some of his favorite places. Poudre Canyon for one. The rugged Mishawaka Amphitheatre on the Poudre River. (who knew? That place is fantastic!) And we found a few rain-free minutes to hike on the beautiful Greyrock trail before we were supposed to meet some of his friends at a blues bar in Lyons - then down to Boulder for a late night meal.

By the end of the day I was so exhausted, I could barely hold my head up on the car ride back to Mr. Burns' place where I had left my car. This is unusual for me... I'm usually a late night girl, so for me to run out of steam before Mr. Burns was highly irregular! I ended up sleeping in his spare room, rather than try to drive home with toothpicks propping my eyelids open.

He had a golf tournament this morning, so he left me a key to let myself out.
As I was collecting my things I was struck with an idea.

Mr. Burns has been talking about starting a tomato plant on his patio for years now. He even has a large pot out there, but hasn't gotten around to planting one. I had teased him that even my dad started a tomato plant this spring and reports budding on. Mr. Burns has some catching up to do!

So as I gathered my shoes, camelback and such, I hatched a covert plan to start his patio garden. I ran out and bought a $3 tomato plant - planted it on his porch - and left this note:

"Thanks for a fun day. I always enjoy time spent with you.
I left a surprise. Here is a hint >>."
I left a tablespoon sized pile of potting soil on the note as a telltale sign of my little gift.

Hours later, I got a voicemail thanking me for the surprise, whatever it was - because he couldn't figure it out. And I thought the hint was so simple that he'd have it found out in no time!
I called him back a few hours later (because that's when I first heard the message) and dropped a few more hints until I heard: "Oh wow! I see it. That is awesome, you are so cool! Thanks so much!"

The man was thrilled over a stupid little tomato plant!
And maybe I shouldn't have done it - if I'm trying be pursued and all - but I love doing things for people, and I adore hatching surprises! It's selfish of me really.
But it was great to hear the delight in his voice.
It's a change.
I did similar things a year ago that were met with no enthusiasm.
We're getting one another again.
This is interesting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Call for Braver Men

I've been on a couple different dating websites for the last couple of months. While I have been - shall we say, approached - by a number of interesting men... I have only met one (yeah, 1) of them.

My subscription on the paid site will be up next week, and one gentleman who has been sending me smileys every week doesn't look like he's going to do anything else. Now, of course I respond to these men - but I still feel like the man should pursue. I mean, I'm on the site - I'm obviously looking to meet someone. I've responded favorably and enthusiastically to their meek inquiries - but they can't step it up from there. Disappointing.

It's the same problem in the real world. These men just don't do anything.
Yet they claim they want to meet someone and hopefully marry.

A few years back, one of my best guy friends was ranting about the marketing of the Edd!e Bau&r catalogue. It was a father's day issue and he noticed that the men portrayed as fathers were his age... and now he was upset that he didn't have a wife and family. After all, it was time!
(Boy do I know that feeling!)

I sympathized with him, but then said, "I've known you for 5 years and I've never known you to even go on a date. How do you expect to get married if you don't even ask women on dates?"

"Well," He began in all seriousness, "I plan to find the right woman first and then I'll ask her out."

I'm pretty sure I threw my arms up in frustration at that point!

More recently, I've quizzed many of my male friends about this phenomenon of them never asking women out. They tell me about their fear of rejection.

I've heard this for years and I have never understood it.
Fear of rejection? What exactly? You're afraid of the word no? Really. Because the word no is painful or something? It's not. Believe me.

Seriously, I cannot identify with the fear of rejection. Maybe because I've been rejected nearly every day of my life. And I'm still standing. No bruises, no blood. What's the big deal?

Early on, it was on the school playground at recess. I was one of the two skinniest, uncoordinated girls in my class - we were always the last two left standing for team selections. I was downright jubilant the days I was picked second last!! Yeah, it stung to be picked last, but I more or less thought it was silly that the others cared so much about winning a 15 minute recess kick-soccer game!!

Then in high school, I was still skinny. Boys weren't interested in a bony, flat-chested girl when they could take Boobie McChesty to Prom instead.

Accustomed to rejection, I chose a career in broadcast journalism - where looks tend to matter more than experience. I was rejected on a weekly basis during the post-graduate application process.
Then, as a reporter making cold calls for same-day television interviews... I heard a lot of no.
Not to mention the daily news meetings where we pitch story ideas each morning just to get shot down.

Rejection? Big fat hairy deal.

The idea of a big strong man being afraid of rejection just doesn't sit well with me. Honestly, if he is that afraid of 'no' - he's probably not man enough. For anyone.

"Faint heart never won fair lady."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Must Love Dogs

Along with speed dating, I traversed the world of online dating just as it was really catching on. After it was deemed less creepy than newspaper personal ads, but just before it was completely mainstream.

One of the first guys I met online was from a Denver suburb. I was trying to avoid men from the suburbs because I figured - if he actually chose the 'burbs before he was even married, we probably didn't hold many of the same interests. He also had a dog - another thing I tend to avoid in dating circles.

Now let me just say, I don't dislike dogs. I dislike dogs in the house. I grew up on a farm and my dad's one rule was, "No animals in the house." It still makes sense to me. Even more so now that I'm allergic to the critters.

But if a man is going to have a dog - a Labrador is the only acceptable breed. And that's what he had so at least, I decided, he was maybe worth meeting.

We met for lunch in a busy, popular part of town. We ordered burgers and drinks and then decided to spend a bit more time together, walking through the shopping district.
When we left the restaurant, he motioned to the parking garage saying, "My dog is in my truck. Do you want to meet him?"
I figured he wanted to check on the dog before we spent more time away, so I said sure. He let the dog out of the bed of the truck and told me the dog's name.


I expected him to check that he had water and move on, but he stood there paying all this attention to the dog - with a body language that said he expected me to do something, but I couldn't imagine what.

I stood there waiting for him to finish up with the dog.

Finally, the dog was back in the truck and we went for a little walk.
Upon our return, he let the dog out of the truck again and fussed over him some more. I began to wonder why he brought his dog into the city and let it sit in the back of his truck while he was on a date.
He continued to fuss with the dog.

Okay. Then he finally offered to walk me to my car, where despite the lack of any sparks he moved in to kiss me full on the lips in broad daylight. Awkward.

I'm all about second chances, so a few weeks later I agreed to another date with him. This time I drove out to the burbs to meet him at some restaurant in a shopping center.
Before we could go in - he had to show me his dog again!

Um. I already saw the dog. Weeks ago, remember?
Sheesh, I thought - does he take the dog everywhere he goes? And why would anyone do that? Why would you lock your dog up in an enclosed flatbed... all the time?

People who can't leave home without their pet concern me. I think they are looking for attention. Or they (not the dog) suffer from separation anxiety. They mistakenly think their dog cares if they are gone! Come on now, three minutes after you leave a dog they completely forget that you exist. When you come home, they're not excited because they remember you - they're just excited that someone who knows how to release the food is there!!

I'll be honest, I don't really know what to do with a dog - rather than tell it to stay down.
So that was the last date with the dog guy.
Not because he had a dog... but because I suspected he didn't know what to do without it.
I suspect he was banking on his dog to win some great lady's heart. Too bad he didn't think he could earn that on his own merit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Perils of Dating

Okay... so due to the single void I'm in I want to go back to sharing my dating stories. That's the single part of Single Solitary Things.


When I first moved to Denver, those organized dating efforts were just picking up steam. You know - Rotating Tables, Speed Dating - and the take-off of dating websites.

I figured since I was in a new city I could partake of these strategies under the guise of 'Just Widening My Social Circle'. After all, I came here knowing no one but my much older cousin.

So I found a speed dating event and had mild success resulting in a few dates.

You know how it goes, they fill a room with equal parts men to women - give them seven minutes together and see if they find out enough to warrant getting to know more. It was fun.

The woman who organized the events started calling me when she was short on women for an event. She would offer me free admission just to balance out the crowd. She was happy to barter the arrangement, saying the men always liked me. Given my reporting background, I was a natural at the quick interviews, engaging, funny - good at making people comfortable - and making them feel good about themselves.

One evening, there we were with our game cards and pencils. Seven minutes with each guy. At about 5 minutes, the organizer would tap a bell for a two minute warning. Upon the final bell you mark your score card, indicating whether you would like to exchange email with this person. If you both say yes, the organizer sends you both an email and maybe you go on a date.

There were usually ten guys to meet. The conversation starts quickly. If you're laughing before the bell - it's a good sign.

Then pick up and move to your next table.
Ah, the next table. At one table, the conversation just couldn't pick up. The man had nothing to say. He was so boring. Despite all my interview experience I was still at a loss to get it going. I was dying a slow death. Then, reprieve. I heard the bell!

As graciously as possible I told him how great it was to meet him and picked up my purse to move to the next table.

Everyone else was still seated.

I thought, "Wow, they must all be having great conversations - they're taking such a long time to get up and move."

A split second later, I realized I had heard the warning bell!
There were two minutes left and I had just ditched this guy! There was no way around it. I couldn't get away fast enough!!!

I had to swallow my pride and sit back down to face this guy for 2 more minutes.

I don't know which of us was more mortified.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Still Searching for My Soft Gooey Center

I grew up in a family that just said what they thought. All the time. I don't ever recall any hurt feelings.
If one of us thought another was being unreasonable we told them so, in no uncertain terms.

If I was on the receiving end (as the youngest, I often was) I only remember thinking, "I guess I'm wrong." or "I won't do that again."

Our feelings were facts. You can't be insulted by facts.

The only time I found it unjust was, as a preteen, frustrated by the great disparity in treatment between myself and my teen aged brother and sister, I would declare - in tears, to my mother, "You treat me like a baby!" and she would point out my tears and say, "You're acting like a baby. When you act like a grown up we'll treat you like one."
In my frustration I couldn't explain the great injustice I felt. That I wasn't offered the opportunity to explain my position. Everything was already decided. And how could I act like a grown up if I was being treated as less?
Primarily, I didn't understand why my brother and sister had more freedom and autonomy than I.
I just wanted to be equal.

My family also operated from a position of universal awareness. Meaning, we were sort of expected to completely understand every situation so that we could evaluate every possible repercussion before a decision was made. Not that this was ever articulated. It just was.
You think in 360 degrees, so that you know how your actions are going to impact someone else.

It's sort of like mind reading.

Mom would only have to say, "There are clothes in the dryer." We knew that meant she wanted us to take them out, fold them and put them away. No need to elaborate. The message was clear.
When we were very small, if she said, "I'm on the phone." (accompanied by an exasperated glare) we knew she wanted us to shut our mouths and go in the other room and play quietly until she was done with her adult conversation. So that is what we did.

I've been out on my own for 20 years now, and I'm still learning that most other people don't operate the same way.

At first I found many, many people to be unusually over-sensitive. I still do.
I was also surprised to find that people didn't do what I expected them to do, based on the brief, blunt statements that I fired at them.

When I moved into my college dorm room freshman year, my roommate and I were chatting while I unpacked my things. She had arrived a few days earlier, her unpacking complete.
As I arranged supplies in my drawers I offered her the use of anything. But as I tucked my sewing scissors away (who knows why I even brought it?) I mentioned that it was for fabric only, "If I catch you cutting paper with it, you'll hear it from me." (that's how my mom and sister taught me to preserve the sewing scissors - and I knew that my new roommate didn't sew, so she probably needed this information.)
She nodded aggressively and rushed out of the room. She told me later that she left the room and burst out laughing at my inappropriate order! She had to get out of the room! (we are very dear friends to this day.)

I had no idea that you didn't talk to your peers that way. That was my first lesson.

In other ways, I just expected people to think as I did. When a co-worker suggested that it maybe wasn't a good idea to leave my purse out on my desk as I worked in other parts of the office - I said, "But why would anyone take something from my purse? It's not theirs." It didn't occur to me that I had some sort of responsibility to eliminate temptation for other people. I would never think of taking someone else's things - so why would anyone else (particularly my co-workers) consider it? It so clearly being the wrong thing to do.

Speaking of right and wrong. In my 20s, I worked as a reporter and news anchor - and before the newscast we all shared a room appointed with a large mirror and large counter to prepare our 'on-air' appearance. Most of us left brushes, hair dryers and cans of hairspray in that room so that we wouldn't have to cart them back and forth. One evening, the sports anchor and I were getting ready at the same time. He reached for my can of Paul M!tchell hairspray and applied it liberally to his already immovable, Brillo pad hair. He didn't even ask!!

"That's mine!" I announced bluntly and probably glared at him.
"I didn't know it was yours." he replied.
Notice there was no sense of apology there?
"Well, did you buy it?"

He was aghast.

It was so obvious to me that you don't use something as luxurious as brand name hairspray if you're not the one who shelled out the cash for it. (This is where I should tell you that small market reporters and anchors only make minimum wage - so I was on a pretty tight budget)
It was obvious to him that whatever was left out in the open was community property.

Hrumphf! I didn't spend fifteen bucks on hairspray for it to be wasted on Brillo pad hair!!

This exchange stayed with me for a while. It took me a couple more weeks to comprehend that - as a guy - he made no distinction between a $15 can of PM and $1.50 can of Suave.

Based on my upbringing, I just thought that everyone knew what I knew.

I've modified this perspective a good deal... but I am still rather blunt. I don't have the patience to coddle people. I have no use for it. I'm still learning that some people require the pleasantries that I view as contrived. I'm learning that this is why some people don't like me, (I'm always shocked!) even as I have countless loyal friends who get me and love me with fierce loyalty. As I do them.

That is what is hard to wrap my head around. If so many wonderful people love me unconditionally - how is it that others don't?

I guess that's okay. There are people out there that other people are crazy about - for whom I don't see the draw. At. all.

But what is really astounding to me is that it has taken me 38 years to understand this.
To understand that there are people who prefer to pussyfoot around, and talk in sticky-sweet voices.

And there are still other people who are much more gruff than myself. They too will soften over time.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Pray pray pray....

Oh no. A Supreme Court Justice is stepping down and now we get to see who Obama appoints.

This can't be good.
At least it's not a conservative judge that he has to replace.

Pray the Rosary without ceasing!