Monday, January 31, 2011

A few words on disappointment...

At one time or another, we all find ourselves disappointed.  Didn't ace the test, didn't get the job, didn't win that race, didn't get the girl.  They've done studies on perceived happiness and it turns out that getting what we want doesn't really make us happy in the long run.  One year out, a lottery winner and a paraplegic are equally happy with their lives. The problem is, what do we do in the meantime?  Or perhaps more importantly, how can we avoid disappointment in the first place?

There are a million resources out there on improving oneself, how to get the guy/girl, and how to make the relationship work once you're in it.  They'll tell you to be open and honest, they'll tell you to be vulnerable and sincere.  There are tips, tricks, rules, and guidelines but the truth is, even if you manage to put your best foot forward, it can still get stepped on.  How can two people appear so great on paper and end up so wrong for each other in real life?  I've seen it again and again...  A couple of my friends, so happy, planning their future together, for some reason everything just came together at the perfect time, then boom!  One leaves unexpectedly, reducing the other to a cynical, heartbroken mess.  Clearly something was missing, but what?  Or even from my own past...  He had the education, the ambition, the job, the looks, and even all of the right words, and yet something still wasn't right.  

When you look back on a failed relationship, hindsight is always 20/20.  You see every wrong turn, every bad decision.  How do we get that perfect vision ahead of time instead of in the rear view mirror when it's already too late??  How do you know when to give someone a chance and when to cut them loose?  There is no expertise in what I'm about to share, only my own experiences and opinions, so do with it what you will...

Thinking back on all of the "Mr. Wrong"s, or more importantly the "Mr. Almost Right"s (a more dangerous breed methinks) and then comparing that to the few blissful couples I know, I've noticed one pattern.  IF IT'S RIGHT, IT'S EASY, at least initially.  No relationship is perfect or without work, of course, but if you're already working or wondering or wavering at week 3 or date 5, listen to those alarm bells!  Maybe he's secretive, maybe he's unaffectionate (in public or otherwise), maybe it's just a feeling in your gut, but either way, something isn't right.  Sometimes you find that you're "talking yourself into" the relationship/person, or trying to explain/reason away why things aren't going smoothly.  What does this all mean?

There are some who believe that our GI region is a "second brain" of sorts, due to the huge number of synapses and dense neural network that exist there.  These people will tell you that this is why we get that "feeling in the pit of my stomach" or that "gut reaction".  Whether they are right or wrong there is something to be said for listening to and trusting yourself.  Is this what people mean when they say "you'll just know"?  Or when they talk about "soulmates" or "the one"?

I suppose in the end all we have are our own experiences and opinions, not any real proof, but I've come to realize that for me personally, the deadliest pattern that I keep repeating is not really listening to myself.  "It's ok that he flirts with other girls, nothing is going to come of it."  "His temper isn't THAT bad, I have a temper too."  "Maybe he's just nervous?"  "He's just really busy right now."  "He just needs more time to open up."  BULLSHIT.  Is it really as simple as "he's just not that into you"?  Looks like it, and it looks like we can feel it coming, even if we don't see it until it's behind us.

Let's make a deal right now.  Let's start listening to ourselves, really listening, so we can save ourselves some of that painful disappointment in the aftermath of "Mr. Almost Right".  Let's quit making excuses to stick around because we're sick of the dating game and just don't want to be alone anymore.  Let's realize and remember that we deserve to be loved and to be in love with no forcing, bargaining, or qualifying required.  Let's practice giving the same compassion to ourselves that we freely and easily give to our friends every day.  Let's call a spade a spade, and stop wasting time on "potential" or "what could be" and look at what IS.

A few honest questions I can keep in mind in the process:
1. How do I feel when I'm with him?
2. Does the best version of me surface when he's around?
3. Am I a priority?
4. Do I bring out the best in him?
5. Can I be myself?
6. DOES IT (us/the relationship/etc.) FEEL EFFORTLESS?

Thanks for reading my ramblings...  Please please please comment away!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

To IM or NOT to IM...?

A little note for all of the clueless fellas out there in internet datingland...

When deciding whether or not to email/IM me (or any girl for that matter) and/or what you're going to say, you might choose to ponder the following:

1. Read my profile!  I don't expect you to read all of the stupid little details about what my favorite bands are or the sixth thing I can't live without, but a general glance at the type of person I'm looking for couldn't hurt.  If you're a 40 year-old hippy with a kid who's in an "open relationship" let's use the old noggin and move on to the next profile, shall we?

2. Look at my pictures.  This is going to sound harsh but hear me out...  Let's say (on a scale of 1-10) that I'm a 7.  If you're a 2 or 3... Keep. It. Movin!  I'M not emailing 10's so let's stay in touch with reality, mmmkay?

3. If you've made it past #1 and #2, keep those thinking caps on!  Opening with a line like: "You are just all legs, aren't you?" is akin to honking/yelling out your window at me when I'm walking down the street and will engender a similar response...  I'll let you figure that one out fucko.  You don't have to think of something super witty or brilliant, just a "Hey I liked your profile" or "Wow, you like [insert band/TV show/movie here]?  Me too!" will do just fine.

4. Please please PLEASE read this next one veeeeery carefully.  Save any talk about sex until the appropriate time.  This does not mean over IM, email, or on the first date (you know who you are!).  I don't want to hear about your fetishes, how your penis is so big that you can't find a girl that can "handle" you, or about how great you think we'll be in bed together.  Keep it clean boys!  A little romance/chivalry goes a long way.

5. This last one may not apply to every girl, so think of is as a slightly softer guideline, although it's true for me...  Take a look at our details.  Now, if I'm 5'11" and you're 5'5", or if I have a Ph.D. and you have your A.A. degree, or let's say you love kids and I hate them.  All of these scenarios speak to a basic compatibility.  You're not looking to slum it and neither am I, so let's just not waste each other's time.

That pretty much sums it up.  I would love to get a guy's perspective on the opposite side of the fence... if there are any men out there that would like to contribute, holla at your girl!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


From July through September, I dated a guy who I was set up with by friends.  In what I have now recognized as one of my less optimal dating patterns, we jumped into a relationship before I really knew him.  Before I knew things like: he likes to take pictures of random (and not so random) girls boobs and asses and then put them all over his facebook, he's not healthy in any sense of the word (super stressed, horrible diet, poor fitness routine, even some sex issues), he likes to flirt overtly with friends that are girls on his facebook, and the kicker... he doesn't want to put any effort into a relationship at all!

Food for thought for all of you fabulous single girls out there:  If you've met a wonderful guy, there's no harm in taking a little extra time to MAKE SURE he's great, not just better than the awful guys you've met up to this point, before jumping into an exclusive relationship.  Also, while I'm all for sleeping with a guy whenever you're ready and it feels right to you... please don't be pressured by the "three date rule".  If I guy is worth having, he'll wait for you until you're sure.  He's got two good hands, afterall ;-)

With that said, I'll resume recounting of some crazy first dates starting from October, 2010. I cancelled my Plenty Of Fish profile due to all the weirdos, so from here on out it will only be guys from OKCupid until further notice.

The Cop

The Cop was another 2-date wonder.  We met on POF and had a series of nice emails and a couple of phone conversations.  Our first date was at Luka's in Oakland and it was surprisingly good!  He was on-time, good looking, chivalrous (even brushed the crumbs off my seat for me!), and we had good conversation.  Here I was thinking my bad streak was over... not so fast Princess!  Red flag #1: One night sometime between date #1 and #2 I had a question for him and since it was getting a little late I emailed instead of calling to make sure I didn't wake him up.  "You up?"  I said.  I didn't get an email back, but what I did get was a frantic phone call at 5am wondering if I was ok.  Uhhh, yah.  I'm ok... other than now being pissed at you for waking me up!  Who calls at 5am???

Anyway, we decided to go to One Market in San Francisco for our second date.  We had definitely had a decent time and I keep hearing that your second date never lives up to your first, so I was keeping an open mind.  There were a few red flags...  While I realize that police officers carry their guns with them at all times and are trained to do so, there's a difference between having that knowledge, and having it staring you in the face for your entire date.  Put a coat on or something for christsakes!  Red flag #2: Maybe he was nervous but dude would NOT STOP talking about himself :-(  Maybe ask me one question... just ONE for the love!  Red flag #3: I noticed that he was the kind of guy who is more interested in watching others' reactions to us (he's black, I'm white) than being in the moment together...  "Oh, that guy just gave me a look" OR "Those girls were pissed to see us together".  A little sad that in this day and age (and especially in the bay area) that some people still have hang-ups about interracial couples (especially when it's one of the couple members!).  

With all of that said, I was still willing to give the guy a chance to redeem himself so I sent him an email the next day thanking him again for dinner, saying that I'd had a nice time, and hoping that he made it home safe.  He responded that he didn't "know what we're doing" and that he didn't want to be another one of my "dating statistics".  I've got three words for you... PUMP.  YOUR.  BRAKES.  Seriously, does anyone really know "what we're doing here" after two dates?  Um... don't think you can find that guy.  Anyway, I emailed him back saying that I didn't think that I could give him the commitment that he was looking for as quickly as he wanted it.  *Sigh*  I thought all the guys here were commitment-phobic, NOT the other way around :-(

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dot not Feather

My next date seemed promising.  We chatted well over IM and he seemed to be a creative date-planner.  Now, after the recent epic fails that you've read about in my previous posts, I was a little gun-shy about going on a full-on first date with this next guy.  He suggested a picnic for our date and seemed opposed to the idea of just getting coffee or a drink on our first meeting so we decided to grab coffee and then drive somewhere for the picnic afterwards.  I asked him if there was anything I could bring for the picnic and he said that he had it all covered.  

DNF picked me up from my house (again, NOT a good idea, but we all live and learn) in his car (read: penis extension) and one of the first things out of his mouth was how he thought I would look better with long hair.  Wow.  Thanks for the unsolicited advice!  This is going to be a loooooong day.  Sigh.

So, I took us to south park where I assumed we could get a coffee somewhere and then talk a little.  For some reason I totally spaced that it was Memorial Day and nothing would be open.  Oops!  We decided to just stay in south park and have our little picnic there.  To my dismay, this is what my date though a "picnic" entailed:
-1 box of crackers.
-1 package of pre-sliced cheese from Safeway.
-4 bottles of wine.

Hmmm... let's take a step back and see what kind of message we are sending, boys!  There's  no way this can get any worse, right?  Wrong!  It turns out, DNF has decided that antagonizing+rudeness=flirting.  He repetitively attacks me with "Oh, you're getting me confused with all of these other guys you're dating" every time I ask him a question or don't have his entire profile committed to memory.  He then moves on to "Oh, you're not listening" when I ask him a question about what university he went to.  At one point I had to put my foot down and say "Look, I don't need this, I can just walk home from here" for him to smarten up and stop being such a freak.  We made it through one bottle of wine and I'm wonder "how does he think this is going well at all???" when he tries to open the second bottle.

I get him to drive me home and the SOB has the nerve to ask if he can kiss me when he gets to my place.  All I could do was give him and incredulous look and get out of the car.  Would it be too much to ask for a date that is not completely socially retarded?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The 40 Year Old Virgin

This was one of those times when the red flags were stacking up but you decided to ignore them and the "nice girl" inside got the upper hand...

I met The 40 Year Old Virgin on plenty of fish.  For those of you who haven't visited this shit-box they call a website, picture the internet equivalent of monkeys throwing feces at a fence, the worst part of which, is the photo quality.  Now, I'd like to think I'm pretty open minded when it comes to physical attraction (I don't really have a type) but with this particular website, you often don't know what you're going to get.

The Virgin and I emailed a few times and then moved to talking on the phone.  While his restaurant choices for our upcoming date included Red Lobster and The Elephant Bar, I tried not to judge.  When he called me soon after hanging up from a call a few days before our first date, I was disappointed to learn that the reason for the call-back was to make sure it didn't "freak me out" when he had told me that he wanted to "settle down soon" in our previous conversation.  Now, I didn't really remember that he had said that but NOW I'm freaked out.  Against my better judgement I went ahead with the date.

We met at a semi-trendy Mexican-ish restaurant in Oakland.  To my dismay, he looked his age (38 and the top of my range) and clearly does not exercise as much as advertised.  We sit down and start talking (and by we, I mean HE starts talking).  I hear all about his mind-numbing job, his house in Hayward and how much is house payments are, and how he's such a great guy because he helps out his family financiall.  By helping out I mean that he allows his sister to be his MAID to make some extra money.  Amongst the scintillating conversation, we manage to order food, which is difficult because "there's not enough meat" on the menu.  Um, why did you agree to meet me here then?  I imagine that working on a computer all day, you may have discovered little things like Google or Yelp?  FML.  Anyway, so in between hearing Mr. Wonderful alternate between talking about himself and how expensive the food is "for what you get" at the restaurant, he tells me how he often flakes on his dates but when he was just about to flake on ME, he looked back over my profile pictures and said to himself, "dude are you crazy??".  Lucky me.

Thankfully the check finally comes and he picks it up but I notice that he had totally stiffed the waitress on the tip.  Seriously big spender with your awesome job and minuscule house payments?  Way to round out a perfect evening.  I avoided the awkward walk to the car by saying that I was going to use the washroom after we had reached the front door of the restaurant, at which time I went back and gave the waitress some more cash.

If there's one thing that I learned from this guy it is to trust my gut.  It's called women's intuition for a reason!  If there are alarm bells ringing in your head girls, listen to them, trust me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Easy to please

This post is for all of you single gentlemen.  I had a revelation tonight over some pasta and a glass of wine with a good friend.  For all of the time you spend telling us (or telling your friends) that we're high maintenance or crazy, we're actually pretty easy to please!  If you've just started dating a girl, just follow these three rules and you should be pretty much golden:

1. Ask me some questions.
2. Pick up the check.
3. Call me tomorrow.

This should ensure a fairly seamless evening with most sane women.  Good luck out there!