I took a brief journey on Sunday, and tuned into TED Radio Hour on NPR. Who happened to be featured but my girl Amy Webb!? I chose to take it as a sign blessing my online dating journey. Take a listen here to February 13th’s How We Love.
I went on two dates in one day.
Did I just type that?
Did it really happen?
Me, the girl on a <embarrassing number redacted> month dry-spell, went on two dates in one day. I almost can’t believe it. I’ve never been a serial dater. I’m no femme fatale.
Number one: We’ll call him “Uno” for a few reasons. First, he was … the first… date of the day. (One, Uno, First, first; sigh) Second, as I’ll explain, he’s first in my heart.
Number two: We’ll call him “Two” for the obvious reason, and a less obvious one; he’s a little shitty.
Uno has been on my radar for a while. I first met in him August, at a community event. I was introduced to him because his buddy was dating my buddy. They told me ahead of time, “he’s a little nerdy.” I said, “that’s just my type!” And when I saw him, I knew! From then on out, I dressed especially nice for events when I may run into him. I checked into him through mutual friends, and confessed my crush. I facebook stalked him. I turned into a middle-schooler. In November, I passed my phone number to him through the buddy, but the answer I got was he had someone he was interested in already. I was bummed. I had to face the humiliation of telling all the people I confessed to that I was passed over.
Well, as we know, I joined match.com. Somehow it got back to Uno that I was out there dating! And Uno decided to do something about it! In the rush of a few days, me, Uno, buddy and buddy were all going to meet for a drink! Now it’s serious. Get-a-babysitter-shave-your-legs serious. Truth be told, I told my buddy that Uno was more of a “bikini wax” candidate rather than a “shave” candidate.
I googled the place we were going, and it had its own parking lot. That posed a problem in itself. This is all trivial stuff, but exceedingly important to me, as I wanted to make the best impression I could. Parking lot meant I should get my car washed and try to make it appear that I don’t purposefully fill my back seat with McDonald’s bags. The parking lot added an additional problem… my driver’s side door is broken. I have to roll my window down and let myself out. So I needed to get there early, but just in case, I called my buddy to fill her in so she could come gallantly open my car door.
All that turned into a non-issue as I parked on the street, and was the first there. I felt at ease and was ready to make the best impression. He arrived and the date was wonderful. He was charming, but didn’t brag. He was funny, but self-effacing. As we walked out together, he placed his hand on the small of my back, and my knees went weak. I floated away with heart-shaped eyeballs, and wanted to cancel the later date with Number Two. I was ready to start my pinterest board for the wedding with Uno, and to plan our ski vacation.
I did go on the second date. I had to eat, after all. At first glance, Number Two would have done much better if he wasn’t following Uno. As time passed, though, more of what he said and more of his behavior became problematic.
Number Two is very well-read. He reads several hours a day, and is a published author and poet. He was able to go toe-to-toe with me on many of my favorites, and many movie quotes, but the first bad sign was that he “couldn’t make it through” LOTR or Harry Potter, but HAD read Twilight AND 50 Shades! Number Two is a loud-talker. I don’t normally have a problem with that, but we were in a quiet restaurant, and he proudly pronounced his 50 Shades reading.
I asked him if his books were works of pure fiction, or were more biographical. I had, of course, googled his books, and knew their subject matter. They are about a man who falls in love with a woman while they are both confined in a mental institution. He said they were close to the truth. ok. He then went on and on about Hunter S. Thompson, and how ‘no-one’ does drug and alcohol abuse right like Hunter S. Thompson. ok.
His stories, though, were interesting. He had hiked Nepal and was able to summit peaks on 2 continents in his adventures. He had been in real estate in NYC, lived in the Hamptons, and was able to make me laugh. I was enjoying myself and ordered dessert. That’s when it happened. He ate from my dessert, without invitation. And not just once with a clean spoon- he double dipped his dirty spoon in my bread pudding.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was ready to go. I tried wrapping up the conversation. The restaurant was closing down. I brought that to his attention. The valet brought his keys to him, as he was leaving for the night. I kept waiting and waiting for him to pay the check. All I could think of was Amy Webb getting stuck with the $1300 check on her date. It was going to be me! How much was his wine!? WHY did I order the duck?! I can’t afford this dinner!
I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally said, “I’m sorry. I must go.” He stood up and walked towards the door. This was the moment. The moment I was going to get stuck with the check. I stood at the table with the bill. I was pulling out my credit card.
The waitress, the dear, dear waitress stopped him at the door and asked him so politely, “Would you like me to run your card for you, sir?” She saved me. He stammered an excuse- he thought the folio was his napkin.
Outside he asked for a hug and for a second date. Since I already knew I wasn’t going to go on another date with him, I submitted to the hug.
Follow up conversations were brief. He asked me to go see some Elvis impersonators, and I let him know I think we would better off as friends. He handled it well, so well that I haven’t heard from him, and that suits me fine.
What hasn’t suited me fine is waiting on Uno. In the week after the date I waited by the phone for his call. And waited. And waited. I continued my facebook
I didn’t hear from him.
I reached out to him, and apologized for my delay. I asked him for a second date. He kindly turned me down, and explained that he had someone else he was interested in.
Who is this woman, and what does she have that I don’t have? Machine gun jubblies? Was her name Allota Fagina? I felt a spark! We had a connection! I expanded my research and gathered the details on this fem-bot. Turns out she’s a tall, blonde, snow-skiing, ivy-league educated PhD. Well, then. If I’m going to be chosen over, at least it’s on those qualifications.
I wrote a kind response to Uno, and let him know it was all “fine.”
In the meantime, I’m still dating up a storm from match.com. Being desired elsewhere worked once, maybe it’ll work again!
I have been at it for a little over a month on Match.com. Napoleon Dynamite is a great movie to explain my experience so far with online dating. Every day I visit the site, see my matches and decide to whom I am going to respond.
It’s a bit of a repetitive cycle, but I feel I’m #winning.
One of the obstacles I knew I would have is clothing. I’m not a wealthy person, but I try to do what I can within my budget to look trendy and cute. I solved this problem by resolving to wear the same outfit on each first date; a wrap tunic, leather look leggings and suede booties. I feel like I respect my modesty by being covered, but still look alluring.
That worked out really well UNTIL I had two dates in one day (luckeee!) AND the second date was dinner at a super-fancy restaurant (sweet!). I tried to use gold bracelets to make me look official, but that didn’t dress up the casual outfit enough. I planned to bring my next set of clothes and make a quick change at a nearby Panera into a cocktail dress. I’ll update you on both of those dates in another post. The outfit, though, continues to work, and I will keep using it on first dates.
The other half of the clothing issue is what the men are wearing. I’ve been on two blind dates in the past, before using match.com. One of the two of them dressed appropriately. Match.com does not have that success rate with clothing. Just looking at the profiles and pictures makes me want to sing Beyonce’s Upgrade U song to them. I know Lafawnduh helped Kip out with his wardrobe, but I really don’t want to put the effort into cleaning a closet out of all it’s Affliction shirts and camouflage.
On these first dates, I am learning a lot of skills:
The guys have a lesson to learn, though:
Each guy I have gone on a date with has asked me for a second date. YESSSSSSS! I haven’t gone on any second dates, though. These first dates have been good practice for me, but there were definitely “red flags” on each of the dates (save one) that discouraged me from following through. I decided to break the dates and I stayed in last weekend.
Even though I voluntarily made the choice to stay in, it was still a bit of a let down. I spent my time working out and going out for healthy meals with my friends, but I was a little sad that I used my kid-free time in that manner, when I have so little time to date. I spent some time reflecting on my dating choices, what’s working, who I responded to, who I’ve blocked, and what I would like to change in my process.
I think my problem is the first impression from my profile and photos isn’t attracting the people I’m interested in. I still need to convey that I’m fun, and somehow appear more attractive in my photos, while not only attracting bar flys. Maybe I can get a bike and take it off some sweet jumps.
Second, I think I should spend more time chatting/emailing with guys before I go on a date with them. On two of the dates, it didn’t take me long to figure out that the most we were going to be is friends. I should definitely follow Kip’s lead and chat more.
I’ve come to these conclusions, but don’t know how to transition my ideas into reality. And beyond that, I don’t know how to take that flippin’ sweet profile and have it generate the man of my dream. I guess until I have those ideas, there’s nothing left for me to do but DANCE!
In the Silmarillion, in chapter 17 , we learn more about how Elves first met Men. On a Sunday in January 2015, I first met a blind date from match.com for coffee. We shall call him Mountain Man.
Mountain Man appeared to pass most of my MH/CS, ( Must Haves and Can’t Stands for those new to the blog) and was distinctly different than the rest of the emails I received in that he emailed me before I added a picture. I found this refreshing and I was interested in meeting a person of such character. We had common goals of reducing consumption, avoiding Wal-Mart, and saving the Earth. We each had one kid, and he prized a good mother as the most-admirable trait he was looking for.
Although I was 100% honest about each thing I said, I feel like I presented my “idealized self” on this date. I am going to do more research and thinking upon dating stages and when to break in real-world realness like baggage, potential deal-breakers and daily struggles.
Like the Ash Mountains bordering Mordor, there were peaks of problems in our conversation. He brought some realness to the conversation, and the date felt a bit like an interview. He still seems a bit bitter about the ex-wife. The Mount Doom of the conversation was that he was on a mission to find someone with whom he could retire to the mountains with, and live off the grid in a cabin. He was really interesting, and had wonderful stories to relate about camping under the stars 39 nights (not counting the ones in his backyard!) last year. I don’t camp. I don’t even glamp . I’m not opposed to trying it, it’s just that some physical issues I have prevent it from being really viable.
I knew fairly quickly that this was not going to be a love match, but was pleased when he asked me out again. I agreed. We decided that we would meet again a week away, another Sunday date. To be honest, I knew before even the first date that we would not be a love match, but I was eager to practice my dating skills, which had been gathering dust in my spinster closet.
We texted a bit during the week. He even asked me about a hypothetical weekend get-away. I felt he really liked me, so I was willing to roll with it.
Sunday came and went. No word from him.
11:45 pm Sunday night he text me, “I’m an ass.”
There was no way I was responding to him that late at night. I was awake, as I am a night owl, but dude barely knew me! And I shall not be thy booty call, Mountain Man. I responded to him the next day and let him know that I had no hard feelings about it, that I didn’t think I was the mountain trekker of his dreams, but I wished him luck in finding her. He didn’t really take that lying down…. Cue compliments.
We chatted a bit over the next few days, and I thought he got the point. Until I got a friend request on facebook.
I didn’t answer that. Bit weird. Then two days later I got a random, middle of the night text from him, “What is your Birth Date?”
On to the next. I can’t let the muggles get me down.
‘A darkness lies behind us,’ Bëor said; ‘and we have turned our backs upon it, and we do not desire to return thither even in thought. Westwards our hearts have been turned, and we believe that there we shall find Light.’- Chapter 17, The Silmarillion
I wrote in my last post about my Must Haves in a relationship. These are based off of the book Date or Soulmate? by Neil Clark Warren. Similarly, I am going to share the things I Can’t Stand in a relationship, aka “deal breakers.”
As in the last post, I will include the book’s definition of what each of these terms mean. I had trouble coming up with 10 deal-breakers.
1) MY #1 wasn’t in the book. Hunting. I can’t stand to have a partner that hunts. I’ve mentioned before that I’m from the Deep South. Finding a man who doesn’t hunt is a challenge. Luckily hunters, in general, don’t bother to camouflage themselves in general society. At least not here. They certainly don’t try to hide it on match.com. They brag about it, and post their latest “enter number here” point buck.
2) Vanity- I can’t stand someone who is overly interested in his or her physical appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I want a guy that does care how he looks, but not one that thinks he must look better than me. Tom Cruise- types, stay away!
3) Lying- I can’t stand someone who lies to anyone- especially to me.
4) Cynical- I can’t stand someone who generally sees the world from a cynical perspective.
5) Angry- I can’t stand someone who can’t manage his or her anger, who yells or bottles it up inside.
6) Fiscally Irresponsible- I can’t stand someone who is incapable of managing his or her money.
7) Racist- I can’t stand someone who believes that any particular ethnic group to which he or she belongs is superior to the rest of humanity.
8) Cheap- I can’t stand someone who is so tight-fisted as to be impractical.
9) Dependent- I can’t stand someone who bases his or her happiness on me.
10) Political- I can’t stand to date someone whose political goals are the opposite of mine.
I almost wish I had more than 10 Can’t Stands so that I could use more Jim Carrey images and gifs. He’s so funny and expressive. And I also wish the guys without these qualities and WITH the Must Haves would find me and scream, “I LIKE YOU A LOT!”
I enrolled one of my hiking buddies to help me take some staged pictures. Because it was 25 degrees (f) and, in my opinion, entirely too cold to hike, I dressed the part of a hiker and paired my smile with a red scarf.
We then dashed to my house and staged a Christmas photo.
I was really thrilled when 30 seconds or so after my photos were associated with my profile, I already had an email. Although I was prepared to follow Amy’s directions for 24-48 hour delay in email response, I couldn’t help but open the email to read it. Color me disappointed. All the email said was, “Want some meatloaf????”
I was so disgusted. And it didn’t end there. In the past few days, I received emails from over 20 men, and less than 5 actually appeared to have read my profile and attempted to have a legitimate email conversation. The others fancied themselves as:
Even the five I received weren’t from men that fit my must-haves and cant-stands requirements. My wise friend Barb advised me to utilize a few of those unattractive candidates to practice my email banter. She was right! I started up, and glanced over the gentlemen’s profiles and tried to follow recommendations I’ve read online. I carefully complimented, referenced a mutual interest, responded upon what they wrote and asked a leading question.
I’m happy to say the correspondence has continued with these guys, and one asked me for a date! I’m not free for another week, so I have a long time to read about “How to Appear Like You Are Normal.” This could take a while.
So Christmas happened, and I told my family I am going to online date. They are quite surprised. One of the questions that came up was, “How are YOU going to POSSIBLY find someone online?!”
Even though the question seems a little insulting, it didn’t bother me because that’s exactly how I felt before I saw the Ted Talk with Amy Webb.
I was able to use her talks’ talking points to explain to my family that online dating is exactly what I need to find an unattached, 40-50 years old, liberal, Christian, non-hunting, Frodo-phile in the middle of the Deep South. When I told them that Amy had a theoretical pool of 35 possibly eligible men in Philadelphia, an area 3x larger than my metro area, they were able to do the math.
I realize I am starting to sound like an Amy Webb fangirl. It’s probably because I AM an Amy Webb fangirl. Unlike many “tips” and “tricks” I’ve seen advertised as online dating hacks, Amy advocates being your best self online, with no tomfoolery or ballyhoo. She isn’t suggesting makeup shading or seductive language to lure a fellow with sex. She suggests to simply present your best self, get objective feedback, and target your audience.
When I went on youtube to show my mother the original Ted Talk, a few television appearances popped up on the menu. Today I watched a small snippet of an episode of The View and an ABC interview Amy was giving for her book. Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match
I took away a few more tips, and decided to watch a few more videos. And then, in the next video, Amy referenced Mary Poppins. Total fangirl moment. My inner 14 year old squee-d. I just told my mother over dinner that I was going to describe myself with these words: Practically Perfect in Every Way.
That is a cheeky joke, but I have been putting some thought into my profile. I really do want to be able to weed out people with whom I don’t think I will be compatible with long-term, but I am frightened that I may polarize potential dating material by advertising my very firm “must-haves” and “can’t-stands.” It is in these moments that I begin to feel hopeless again about the candidates for me in my geographic area.
Another question my parents had for me was when I was starting. I remember seeing commercials last year after the new year with sales. So, I’m thinking for money’s sake, that I will look for New Year’s sales or maybe a groupon deal.
Regardless of when I will “go live,” it’s another step forward today. Run Shadowfax, show us the meaning of haste.