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 "" 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?"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Silver Lining

After writing several somewhat negative posts critiquing men, I thought I'd share some of the sweeter and more creative things men have done to get my attention.

I had a date picking me up for our third date, we had gone out on several casual dates but this was our first dinner date. I came downstairs to greet him since my apartment requires several security checkpoints. He was carrying a bouquet of wildflowers and tulips and explained that the tulips were for my bedroom and the wildflowers were for the living area - so I could think of him wherever I was. It was really cute, and pretty original!

Another date came over with a bouquet of roses and several DVDs that he thought I would enjoy watching. I won't criticize the fact that he showed up thirty minutes early and insisted on watching them, but I will focus on the fact that after we went to dinner he said he had another surprise for me. He had remembered my favorite drink combination and had brought along a bottle of the liquor and mixer. It was a very clever way of getting back to my place! Although I would recommend playing it a little cooler and suggesting going to some scenic locale to enjoy the drinks! Don't rush the night!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Proper Date

There are many ways to execute a wonderful and romantic date, and some of the best dates I've been on have been simple and spontaneous. A day at Six Flags, playing darts, or even something as simple as going to the bookstore together. I'm by no means a traditional "dinner and a movie" kind of girl, especially when it's for a first date.

I think if you go to watch a movie on the first few dates, someone is afraid of not being able to make conversation. The point of going out is to talk and see if there is anything in common, not to sit in a dark room for two and a half hours without communication. Don't get me wrong, after a few dates it can be very fun to sit in said darkened theater... but not right away!

I had a man recently invite me to his house to cook me dinner, I felt comfortable enough to accept even though it was our second date and looked forward to the experience. Two days before the date he started hinting at enjoying our "dessert" before dinner. It was cute the first time he mentioned it, but he kept referencing it to the point of killing any potential mood his romantic environment created. I got there already not in the mood for any cuddling, especially since I had to drive an hour to get there on a weeknight; you can imagine my dismay to see he really hadn't started cooking (even though he had me call when I was thirty minutes away) and really believed that we would start fooling around the moment we walked through the door.

I've also had several men want to take me to meet their friends by the third date, if not on the third date. Now that confuses me. If I accept a date to get to know you better, and we haven't defined the relationship (DTR) it just seems a little too premature to meet friends. It's like bringing someone home to meet your parents (post high school) there is serious consideration involved in who goes and when! Sure it's acceptable if it's an unavoidable social function, or the kind of party that a date goes unnoticed. But functions like house parties, double dates, and other such things should be reserved for dates you've had a chance to know!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Phone Etiquette

Call me old fashioned but I believe it is the man's job to call. This goes back to my previous post but I will not chase after a man, I believe a woman's job is to send signals of interest and receptiveness and allow the man to do the rest of the legwork. I'm not saying I'll never go after a guy, but generally I won't.

I believe that when you are casually dating the intial conversations should be limited to thirty minutes a day, maybe an hour every other day (at most). But no, I won't sit with a timer! A text message is nice, but only if it's non-conversational in nature ("Hope you have a nice day," "You're hot," etc.)

Phone calls are like mind-foreplay to set the energy for the date. Sure, talking all day and night with your crush is great for instant gratification. But if you want it to go somewhere, you have to build anticipation. Think of the dates which you were looking forward to, weren't you nervous? The nerves are part of the chemistry, by getting too comfortable too quickly you skip that entire stage. All the sudden the first, second, or third date doesn't feel like a "real date" anymore, but just like any other phone call except face-to-face.

Cell phone... friend or foe?

I have a problem. I have a hard time turning men down and setting limits. If I get in a conversation with a man, and there is any kind of even remote spark I tend to give him my number and agree to meet for coffee or something. You may think that it sounds normal, why not give a number if there is a spark?

The real issue begins sometime shortly after the first date (and in some cases even before the first date is over, but that's another blog entirely!). It doesn't matter if the date was spectacular or lukewarm, there is generally the issue of the follow-up phone call. I've had men call me immediatley after we part ways, and those who wait a few days. It usually depends on the spark and the man to determine appropriateness and whether the guy is seen as clingy, classy, hard to get, or other.

I have a basic rule of not calling men unless I'm returning a phone call that I missed, or that I told him I have to call back. I refuse to be the clingy girl who calls and needs constant reassurance. It may be seen as cold and standoffish but I believe its the man's job to call as old fashioned as it may sound.

I have recently run across a crop of men that seem to believe it is absolutely necessary to be in communication at all points of the day. Don't get me wrong, it can be fun to get a text message in the middle of the day to know that a man is thinking of you. But I'm talking about sending a text in the morning, spending an hour on the phone at lunch, calling again on the drive home, and then wanting to talk at night. In the alternative I've also experienced the guy who calls three times within a few hours just to confirm that we were in deed still meeting, and that I would not back out of the date.

I've actually had a date who called me two days after our first date which is acceptable in my opinion, but I missed his call. He left me a five minute voicemail telling me how much fun he had, how he hoped to see me the next weekend, telling me which days he was available, and remembering that I said I was really busy with projects that weekend. I was surprised at the length of the voicemail and didn't have a chance to call back and tell him that we would have to find another time when I found another five minute voicemail on my cell. This time trying to convince me to come out that Friday even though I had a family function. I was put off by having two such long messages in such a short time span, and since it was late I decided to sent him a short text apologizing for missing his calls, saying I was really busy that weekend, and the only chance I could see him was Sunday for a quick lunch.

Now don't get me wrong, I had no intention of blowing him off. He seemed like a nice enough guy and I thought we could have fun hanging out, but his behavior started sending red flags to my brain. My unease was confirmed quickly the next day, I had my phone turned off and by the time I turned it on I had several texts and voicemails asking me to meet him Friday or Saturday. Even for an hour. Even for a coffee. To just take a break from working. Even for an hour. (You get the point). I started to get annoyed, I told this guy I had something going on that was work related and he wasn't respecting it and pushing my boundaries. I called him and left him a voicemail telling him I couldn't do anything that weekend after all, hoping that a cooling off period would let him calm down, and letting him know that I would call him as soon as my work lightened up next week.

He kept calling, finally leaving me a voicemail telling me that he doesn't understand what happened how can I be so busy and that I should still meet him. But that he understands if I believe work comes first and he would "stop harrassing me" and that he would wait for me to call to make the next move. I was relieved and thought that I would leave it that way, and try to call next week. Well he kept calling, this time without leaving voicemail. Two weeks later I was at a mutual friends party and I saw him calling so I figured he was there and watching me so I answered the phone but couldn't hear anything. He wound up leaving me a voicemail that night accusing me of having a boyfriend and playing with him to boost my ego. Telling me that he was a nice guy and that I ran so cold so quickly after saying I'd had a great time with him. THEN, and here is my favorite part, he starts bitching me out for the actions of my friend who apparently slept with him (without my knowing) while she had a boyfriend.

This experience really taught me to watch who I give my number to and to trust my instincts more. But I still wonder, since when is it ok for a man to leave back-to-back voicemails? And to keep calling, even if he's not getting called back? Did I overreact? Should I have confronted him?

I think the purpose of a phone is to make plans, you don't need to talk five times a day. The anticipation of seeing each other and bursting to talk to each other is half the fun of the new relationship. If you talk all day long it takes the edge off the date butterflies, and while it may seem like a good idea - the butterflies are the point!


A single girlliving in the big city though not the same one that started the big show. I've had my "Mr. Big" relationship and I'm trying to develop more healthy dating habits. Most of my friends are in relationships so in order to protect anonymity I'm trying to separate my friendships and my dating life. I still want a forum to vent, to question, and most importantly get feedback. I'm flying by the seat of my pants as I explore the dating world and I want to hear from others who are doing the same.