Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Online Dating Etiquette and Persistence

If I start talking to a man online and there is chemistry, I have a rule about never meeting him until we talk on the phone. It lets me hear his voice, and get a feel for his personality. I've found you can tell a lot about a man by his ability to do a "cold call."

I know it's not easy to call someone you've never talked to so I do my best to keep the conversation going. Most of the time the men who have the guts to call can keep a good conversation. Admittedly, my system is not foolproof but I can sense if a man is confident and if there would be chemistry on the date.

I started chatting with a guy online and things were going well. He immediately gave his email and I semi-joked that I don't initiate conversation with men. He laughed and we kept talking. After about a half hour he said he was going to Starbucks to study and that we should meet up. So I told him I'd be more comfortable if we talked on the phone first and we exchanged numbers.

He told me to call him right then so we could meet up later that night. I told him to slow down that I had things to do and if he wanted to call me after he was done studying that was fine, I could talk after 9pm. At that point I had to take my dog outside so I told him I'd be back.

While walking my dog he started texting me trying to convince me to meet him. I told him I couldn't study at starbucks and there would not be a point because we'd want to talk. I thought it was cute that he was being so persistent. When I got back inside he was still online and continued to press me. I told him that I really needed to go and study but that we could talk later that night.

He started telling me to call him now. That we should meet now. That we could study together. All the sudden he went from chat buddy to pressurer extraordinare. I again told him I had to go but to call me after 9pm. HE KEPT PERSISTING. He then made a joke that was semi-inappropriate and followed it up by saying it must've crossed a boundary. I joked back that his persistence was crossing the annoying boundary. At which point he said bye and signed off. I figured that was the end of it.

8:35 I get a text message telling me he wasn't sure how he felt about being called annoying. I texted him back that I had set my limits and that he kept pushing them, and that he couldn't even respect my request to call after 9pm.

There is a fine line between playful persistence and all out pressure. If a woman has boundaries and states them, she should be respected for it or at least respect those boundaries. By pushing them you are saying you don't respect her enough to care and take her wishes into consideration. Unless you're just trying to get laid; even then I don't see pressure as a successful tactic and feigning respect would still get you a lot further.

I'm not sure if anyone is out there reading this, but I'd love some thoughts. Please leave a comment -- even if it's just to call me a bitch. I could use a dose of reality!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Name dropping, annoyances, and questions

I'd like to think I am optimistic and hopeful. In an effort to get out of my dating slump I rejoined match.com. Yes, apparently I am a glutton for punishment! I met some interesting men, but the problem is by the time emails and phone numbers are exchanged, so much time passes that I can't remember why we started talking in the first place.

I was talking to this one guy for a month, let's call him Sam. We emailed a bunch, and sent some instant messages; finally talking on the phone and arranging a date. He was very excited when he realized I would be getting off work in downtown and suggested we meet at this very trendy downtown hotel/condo complex - where he lived. I was amused at the presumption but didn't care enough to change the venue; there was no way in hell I would go up to see his condo.

Long story short, Sam spent the entire date telling me about the building. Who he knew, who he had seen, how many parties he had booked - everything except how much he had paid for his condo. I nursed my drink and watched our waitress who was so attractive I preferred watching her work the room, to listening to my date.

Why do men think its necessary or impressive to list people they know? It's one of my biggest pet peeves. When a man drops a name, he's not telling me how important he is. He is telling me that he thinks he is important because he knows someone. OR that I'm ______ enough to be impressed with his contacts.


I went out with another guy, let's call him Adam - one I met in the real world. Cute, really good on paper, everything seemed great; a real gentleman I thought. He and I got drinks a couple of times when he suggested he come over to pick me up so we could go out. Now I'm pretty weary of men wanting to pick me up. I've learned that it leads to: "the leave behind," or the "let's not go out," or the let me come in after I walk you to the door..." But this guy was cute, and he had never tried to kiss me so I figured maybe he really is trying to be polite.

I got all dressed up since I figured we were going out. To my surprise he shows up with vodka, club soda, and limes. He said he'd been dying to try this brand and figured we could try it before we left. I was somewhat on guard, but still wanted to believe the best in him. (Feel free to comment on my issues of naivete)

He made the drinks and we talked while we worked on them. Trying to figure out where to go and what to do. Neither of us could come up with a place we wanted to go, it was too late to eat and none of our friends were out for once. So the inevitable happened, "we" decided to rent a movie. Yes, yes, I know I was part of the process. But I didn't have any better suggestions, and you must remember this guy had made no move on me yet.

So we picked out a movie that he said I would love, and he bought it. We went back to watch it and things were great. We were drinking and he wasn't trying anything. At one point I got up and he put his arm around me and we cuddled. The movie ended and we started watching a different one, when all of the sudden he says he wants to take a nap. At about two am. I was taken aback, because who takes a nap that late? And did he really expect to nap at my house? I had no clue what to say!

He got off my couch and wandered into my bedroom, pointing out that we could watch tv in bed!!! I stood in the doorway telling him my tv didn't work (which it doesn't but I don't have the physical strength to throw it away.) I'm not sure if he was really drunk or really tired or really thought I would go straight from JUST CUDDLING to sharing my bed with him, but I told him no way.

He went back to my couch and sprawled out while I kinda stood over him with a WTF look. Finally I decided to just watch the movie because it looked like he was dozing off. After a few minutes he apologized "if he was being presumptuous"! I told him I appreciated the apology (what else should I have said?)

He finally got up to go and told me to keep the DVD so I could watch it again. Now I liked this guy. Beside his faux pas he was still very cute, and had a lot of potential. But there was no way I was letting him do a leave behind and then hear from him in two months that I still had his DVD. So I joked that we should watch ti at his apartment next time and made him take it home.

I'm still conflicted on this guy. He still didn't try to kiss me. He has texted me a couple of times but has been weird. I can't tell if he's embarrassed about that night or what. And to be honest I'm not sure if I'm into him anymore. I just wish I knew what he was thinking! Were his intentions pure? Any thoughts?


Yet another date I went on demonstrated my least favorite trait of clinginess. The date wasn't special, and the chemistry wasn't great. The guy was new to town and didn't want it to end, but I was tired and wanted to go home. I was barely back on the road when i got an immediate text that he had wanted to spend more time with me and wished to see me again real soon.

Now I know this is hypocritical but if I was really into the guy that text would make me ecstatic. But I wasn't even really on the fence with him, and that cinched it.

So if any guys are reading this, here is a tip. You lose nothing by waiting to text/call the next day. If a girl isn't that into you and you don't text right away she will wonder why not, so when you do text her the stress you put her through may make her think twice about blowing you off. And if the girl really likes you, again you lose nothing by waiting to contact her. It builds the anticipation and makes your attention more valuable!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Online Dating

I love the internet. You can buy shoes online, catch up on your favorite shows, talk to your friends, and go on the hunt for that perfect soul-mate - all without leaving the comfort of your home. I finally gave in and decided to give online dating a chance. What did I have to lose besides $30?

I have spent a month on a website I will refer to as "connect.com" simply to avoid any impression of free advertising. I talked to a lot of men. Went out with a couple.

I spent an entire day talking to guy number one. Physically he was the exact opposite of what I'm attracted to. (For all you Sex and the City lovers, think of Charlotte's Harry.) We had a great time talking and a good date. The next day his lighthearted attitude completely disappeared and we were somehow getting involved in conversations about religion, children, marriage, and the like.

One of the major warning flags that came up was the issue of going to church. I'm not religious, and I don't see the point of going to a place of worship to feel spiritually fulfilled. He said, "He could not see a future with someone so close-minded that they couldn't even go to church once to see what it's like."

It was fun for a bit but a little creepy. I told him I wasn't really ready for a relationship right now which led to my getting a third-degree about whether I'm dating anyone, and how he is not comfortable with that. I told him it was fine and we don't have to go out. But no he wanted to go out with me, exclusively. Every comment he made was like "if there is any future for us, you can't..." It was getting supremely uncomfortable. I told him to just chill out.

He convinced me to meet him for another drink. For some strange reason, which completely escapes me now, I accepted. I met him and he immediately launched into more "future" comments. And I launched immediately into my "we are in different places" break-up speech, much to the amusement to the two men sitting behind him. He kept trying to argue with me, and finally I said "It's been fun, but I gotta go." And walked out of the restaurant.

He followed me outside and tried to hug me and talk to me, in front of the valet guys who were enjoying my discomfort to no end. By the time my car was brought around I was willing to say anything to leave and actually blurted out the "I'll call you" to escape. I didn't.

I have also met men who have done the classic "bait and switch". Posting pictures that are ten years old - with significantly more hair, or less weight. My favorite was the guy who listed himself as divorced. At our meeting it came up that he was three times divorced!

I've talked to a lot of men who I really meant to meet, but schedules got in the way and then interest waned. I think online dating may be really great for those who are genuinely interested in a relationship. After a month it started feeling like a job, I didn't want to go out with anyone or meet any more guys. And every conversation was feeling identical: "so what do you like to do for fun?" "where do you hang out?" "how do you like your job." My subscription runs out next week and I can't wait for the pressure to go away!

A Good Pick-up

A few months ago I experienced one of the cockiest pick-up attempts that completely worked.

I was standing at an elevator bank in the building I work at. In front of me were a bunch of people, one of which was a very tall guy. Built like Captain America, blond hair, blue eyes, and a chiseled jaw line that just begged to be traced. He was the last one into the packed elevator and I decided to wait for the next one to avoid the claustrophobia. He saw me back away and joked that I was small enough to fit, and held the elevator for me.

I got in and hit the button for the top floor. Captain America with his superb powers of observation took notice and asked if I would be the one meeting with him. I looked up surprised and said no. He laughed and started trying to guess where I work (still on a very crowded elevator where everyone was trying to pretend not to listen.) As he got off on the floor below mine, I finally told him I worked on the third floor - and the doors closed.

I went to the top floor to sign in, and I had to pass this group of men standing around the foyer. I didn't think much of it, we usually had people coming and going all the time. I signed in, my name, time, and my place of work. Then went back to the office where I work.

A few hours later the door to the office opens and there is Captain America grinning at me and laughing at my phone conversation. It turned out the guys in the foyer were his friends and had told him where I signed in, he used that information to track me down.

We went out for about two months. He was much older but very attractive. In the end we had communication issues, he would say we should make plans and not follow through. Or text me, and take ages to reply to my replies. I finally just gave up and moved on.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stealing First Kisses

So I haven't written in a while, in the hopes of becoming more optimistic and wizened. I've gone out on multiple dates and I've found a new phenomenon that irritates me. This has happened on almost every date I have gone out on: first dates, second dates, lunch dates, coffee dates... And men think it is perfectly acceptable.

I'm talking about that ever important first kiss. Used to be, there was a dilemma of whether you even kissed a man on the first date. If you did it would be some good-night kiss as he dropped you off or walked you to your door. There would be an awkward pause, but you would make eye contact and then KISS!

I went out on a lunch date with this guy, it wasn't even a "date" since we both had an hour break during the workday. But we wanted to meet and see if there was potential for a date. I had to pick him up since he commuted to work by train. We went and grabbed some food, I was driving him back to his office and I stopped at a red light. He leaned over and tried to kiss me right there, in my car at a red light - a sneak attack! I actually had to put my hand up to stop him!
I've had other men lean across dinner tables, car seats, and other various mid-sentence scenarios where the moment was not even vaguely romantic but they went in for the surprise attack. I'm not even going to go into drunken attempts at bars, because those are really not fair to consider - but it does happen!

Gentlemen, if you are at all interested in a woman - even if its for a one-night-stand, do yourselves a favor, make the kiss romantic. If the moment feels right, go for it... but try not to do it in the middle of a restaurant, in the middle of a sentence, etc. Wait until your eyes connect and the world seems to slow down, and then lean towards her. Watch the movie Hitch and do 90% you and let her come 10%. Then you aren't rushing the kiss, the moment feels right for both people, and she is not forced to use self defense measures!

As Will Smith said, this may be her "last first kiss."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Who pays?

Whenever I am on a date, I am very conscious of the "who pays" issue. I don't automatically assume the guy will pay and I almost always offer to split the bill. I have been told that practice could come across as a lack of interest in the man, and I think that is only true when the girl insists on paying her half.

I was out having drinks with a guy, at a place I had suggested. We each had two, and the bill came. We both reached for it and I said, "no let me get it, I suggested this place." He was ever polite telling me that it was his treat but he really appreciates the offer, and that I could get the bill next time. I said ok, and that I would hold him to it.

So we went out again, first to a movie where he pre-paid for the tickets. Then we wanted to get something for dinner because he said he was hungry and I hadn't eaten. We drove to a place that would let us have several choices, but it turned out only one was open so we went there. We agreed on an appetizer, and sampled some wines. He then decided we should order a bottle of wine, even though we hadn't finished the samples.

Our appetizer came and he was barely eating or drinking. We each had about a glass of wine from the bottle and the restaurant started closing for the night, and the waitress put the check in the middle of the table. I was mildly annoyed because we hadn't even finished our appetizer and she didn't ask if she could get anything else. We kept talking for a while and the check was driving me nuts, since I'd offered to pay last time I reached for it and put it next to me on the chair. My date complimented me on the smoothness of the move and I reached to pay for it. I was kinda shocked at the price of the wine he had chosen and wondered if he had intended to let me pay in the first place. But I paid for it like a good girl, figuring there was three-quarters of the bottle left to take him and enjoy later.

The waitress re-corked the wine and brought it back in a paper bag so it was easy to transport, and put it on the table. At this point my date reached for the bottle and put it next to him on the chair. I was a little pertrubed at the possessiveness of the gesture, but thought well what the hell maybe he is just doing it so its not in the way of eye contact... or he just wants to make sure we don't forget it on our way to the car. Since we were going to my car I figured I'd see what happens.

After we had left the restaurant he had told me he had been feeling sick all evening and hadn't felt like eating or drinking! So why did he order the whole bottle? I had suggested getting by the glass!

Cut to, I'm dropping him off at his car. He is thanking me for dinner and telling me he'll call me. He steps out of the car grabbing the wine (that he was holding between his legs for the entire ride). So I called out with a note of laughter, "Oh! are you keeping the wine?"

He seemed flustered and dropped the wine like it was on fire. And I'm not sure if he thought I was drunk because I'm small and don't look like I can hold my drinks, but I can't imagine why he would do that on second date! I would give him the benefit of the doubt, but he had been so possessive of that wine from the moment it was re-corked!

Now don't get me wrong, I had planned on offering him the bottle out of politeness. But when I saw how possessive he was, I started thinking: he really wants the bottle!! And I think its important to let the person who bought dinner take charge of the leftovers (whether they are taken home...) When I'm out with a guy, I don't ask for a "to-go" cup for a drink, or a dessert; and I surely don't expect to be the one taking leftovers home... or the wine bottle.

It's quite the dilemma, the polite part of me wants to offer to pay; especially if I'm not interested in the man. I know guys have this problem all the time and they are expected to pay. I admit, I am more than mildly disappointed in any many that "lets" me pay for anything over $20 (coffee, a couple of drinks, ice cream -- that kind of thing is acceptable) but not dinner, or a substantial tab!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Is it all about sex?

A few months ago I went out with a gentleman on a blind date. We went to a wine bar and seemed to hit it off fairly well. He wasn't really what I consider my type and the chemistry wasn't superb, but he was cute and seemed like someone I could go out with more than once. Definitely someone I wanted to give a fair chance.

We spent a couple of hours drinking wine outside, when it started to get a little chilly. He suggested we go to a nearby Australian themed restaurant. I was surprised at the choice, and even though I was certain it was closed that late I figured maybe he knew what he was talking about.

After following him to the restaurant and parking our cars, we walked to the door and sure enough it was closed. He then suggested that we go to his hotel room - conveniently located in the same parking lot - I kid you not. (He claimed to have just moved to town). I thought he was joking or just testing the boundaries and laughed it off telling him not to push it and went home without thinking much more about it.

He called me a couple of times and each time wound up rubbing me the wrong way. Once he called at 9am on Friday to ask me out for that night. When I told him I had other plans he started giving me the third degree, trying to find out where I was going and with whom. Each time he called he wanted to meet on short notice, and I genuinely had other plans that he would quiz me about. Then he would start pouting and sulking and trying to put me on the defensive.

Well last night he actually started instant messaging me. Telling me that I am tough to talk to, but he wanted to be honest with me. He told me he knew I was attracted to him (!) and that he was attracted to me, and that all the dates he'd been the girls have had no problem going to his hotel room...

I was so repulsed I gave him the "we're in different stages of our lives" speech, which he tried to argue against! And he followed his argument by asking me to go watch a movie at his house.

Is every gesture by men calculated to get women alone and into bed? Maybe I've been out of the loop for a while, but I thought men were supposed to at least play the gentleman on the first date. I know men always want sex (or food), I'm not that naive, but when did it become acceptable to say "all my other dates put out?"