Archive for July, 2012

Creating Boys, but Craving Men

Let me preface this post with an apology for its length and ‘wax-ocity’ (yes…that is now a word.  When one waxes on about something… the noun form).  As I cull through online profiles or interact with men at (fill-in-the-blank: bars, church, social events, work, etc.), I’m more and more aware that I have conflicting desires.  And it’s just about time I admitted that and searched for the truth underneath it all.  After all, if I don’t know what I want – how can I get it?

I’ve had these ideas swimming in my head for months,…maybe even years now, but have never really been able to put my finger on the real problem.  Until now.  Yes – you read that correctly – I’ve figured it all out.  The answers to one of life’s greatest dilemmas – boys vs. men.   In the last few days, I had a eureka moment where I finally figured out WHY it is that we have such an abundance of boys around…and so few men!?!  I should be paid for this stuff…no, seriously… these are pearls, folks.  So – grab a pen and paper, pull up your chair and let’s get down to bidness.

A phrase you’ll hear women say all the time, is:  “I’m tired of boys.  I want a man.”
And, while I think that’s ultimately true… I’d like to contend that we (women), actually ACT otherwise, and in doing so, not only do we confuse the boys/men of the world, but we actually help create and continue a viscious cycle of making boys.  Hang with me.  This is gonna get good.

Let’s start with the basics.  What is it that sets the men apart from the boys?  And no, I’m not going to subject you to cutesy poems or posters or those things that end up all over Facebook about “boys do this, but a man does that….blah blah…”  I’m also not going to insult your intelligence by defining it simply as a maturity issue.  There are varying levels of maturity for boys and men, …this goes beyond that.  Hello – we are ALL maturing all the time… No, I’m going to tell you, from a woman’s perspective, what it is that I see/want/think when it comes to this distinction – deeper than issues of maturity or chivalry or the games we play.

And let me ALSO clarify that wanting a true man, doesn’t mean that we (I’m assuming other women feel the same way I do… I guess that’s a bit presumptuous, but – hey – that’s what the comments section of this blog is for) don’t want the fun, silly stuff that you may THINK I associate with being a boy.  Being a boy has everything to do with self-absorbtion and nothing to do with fun.  Being a man doesn’t mean being a reserved, measured and boring guy!  Quite the contrary!  A man, in his self-awareness, has the freedom to truly be:
– spontaneous
– silly/goofy
– witty
– romantic/impulsive
– passionate
– flirtatious/playful
A man is these things for their own sakes – because they are exciting or fun on their own, not as tools to feed a hole of unawareness or woundedness.

Let’s establish what, then, I DO mean when I am talking about men and boys.  Then, I’ll admit where I think women perpetuate the very thing we SAY we don’t want.  So – men (and boys?) – hang in there… this isn’t a man-bashing post at all.  Trust me on this.  🙂

First – let’s start with the boys.  They’re adorable, after all:

Signs you’re dealing with a BOY:

– Emotionally insecure.  (This comes across as either immaturity or an opposite defensive move – meanness, distancing, game-playing, gas-lighting, stone-walling, etc.)
– Gives in to (believes and acts on) cover emotions rather than knowing himself and digging deep within to discover/learn what it is he truly needs/desires.
– Thinks that his happiness and his comfort are things he deserves…that you owe him.
– Relies on ego stroking and self-indulgence as his source of strength and life – even to the point of manipulating a woman to get the praise he “deserves” (needs).
– Views conversation and romantic engagement as an opportunity for his own selfish gain.  (don’t get me wrong…the effort a boy will put into his end-game (usually sex, but maybe even just self-praise) is usually pretty stinkin’ fun to be on the receiving end of.  Boys use romance, flirting, connection and sensuality to get self-gratification or sex, while a man views sex as a response to a shared love and passion…but I’m getting ahead of myself).
– Is ultimately about the TAKING.  And never about the sacrificing.
– Is lazy.  Doesn’t “show up” to the relationship, except for the ‘fun’ parts (you know…receiving the love of an amazing woman and all…)
– Doesn’t know himself well enough to recognize his internal woundedness, and instead tries to control or dominate a woman to compensate for the mess inside him.  He disguises his own fears by masquerading as strong or unfeeling.

Next…. let’s talk about men.  Rewrrr….  Lawsa mercy I do get excited just thinkin’ about ’em…is anyone else in here warm?…. (fans herself wildly as if she has the vapers…)
Signs you’re dealing with a MAN:

– Self-aware.  Takes time to reflect on himself and identify the root of his masculinity (I dare say this has something to do with his place in the created order), and thusly – his true needs and desires.
– Isn’t afraid to recognize and tap into the deep well of emotion he has at his core.
– Realizes his role in helping a woman feel secure.  Not in a co-dependent way, but in a caring place – out of his own strength.  Quick caveat on this. ..

I’m a firm believer in men and women being equal in signifiance, but obviously different in makeup and strengths.  And, I’ll just say it – I think there IS a sense in which women are the “weaker sex.”  Oh, settle.  I’m not saying we’re less intelligent or capable.  Think of us like a highly expensive and delicate vase.  It has great worth, but it’s easly broken.  It needs to be cared for and valued.  And yes – sometimes dealt with more gently than a table saw.   That’s all.  And a man will CARE for his “vase,” while a boy won’t recognize it’s worth and will deal harshly with it…breaking it into a thousand pieces.  Ouch.
Ok.  Caveat over.

– Is thoughtful.  Not in a Hallmark-y, “awww…isn’t he SO sweet??” way.  Not in a “he sent me roses on Valentine’s Day” kinda way.  (Gag… c’mon…roses?  Not particularly imaginative…which goes right to my point).  No – I mean – actually THINKS.  Has thoughts.  Spends time thinking.  And then acts from a place of thoughtfulness.  Pair this with him knowing about YOU?  And you’ve got a reservoir of romantic potential.  RRRrrrr…..
– Puts the needs of the people he loves in a place of significance/importance.  This means he feels good about making others happy/secure.
– Helps.  This is part of that effort I alluded to earlier.  A boy tries to get out of work, while a man wants to help you hook up your wireless router, install a towel bar and actually anchor it into the drywall, check the oil in your car even though – yes, you know how to do it, but it’s hot and he loves serving you this way, wash the dishes after a big party, kill bugs, etc.  And let me just beat you to the punch – I know women can do these things.  And we do!  But it is just so nice to know that a man WANTS to help us.  It’s an outward expression of care and really – love.
– Owns his woundedness.  Has the capacity and desire to look at his past hurts and identify them.  This means that he won’t be projecting the pain of those onto you in the relationship, but rather asking for your help to walk ALONGSIDE him as he works toward healing.  THIS is what distinguishes a codependent relationship from an interdependent one.

 Another side note.  I do a lot of these…side notes.  I guess I just have THAT much good stuff to say… it’s a heavy burden, really, but… I think I wear it with humility.
This idea of knowing your woundedness and letting the other person in the relationship come alongside you to work through it rather than putting it on that person – is something that many women are good at.  But, it’s misunderstood as its own weakness.  This is not weakness.  It’s internal strength.  I have a friend who was recently put off by a woman’s online profile because she was open about an area in which she’s tender and needs a little extra patience.  I think he was scared that she would somehow be needy …when in fact I applaud her connection with her ‘stuff,’ such that, when something comes up in that arena, she’ll know it’s triggering emotion of her own and NOT of the guy she’s with… do you realize how freeing this is?  This is the opposite of needy/clingy.  Knowing your sources/triggers of pain and your connection to past hurts is strength that can make a new relationship SING with health!

– Knows what he wants and pursues it.  Especially when it comes to a woman.  He knows what qualities he desires and when he sees them, he actively chases after them.  This means he’ll use all the tools at his manly disposal to woo you.  His charm, his kindness, and yes – his sexuality – but in the RIGHT way.  Once again – it IS very warm in here…right?  Right??
– Is responsible.  Now, wait – before you go falling asleep on me here, I don’t mean this in a “makes his bed in the morning” kinda way.  Nor do I mean it in a “makes enough money to run a home” kinda way.  NO – I’m referring to something much more intrinsic.  A man takes responsibility for what belongs to him – including the things/people he has chosen to pull into his life.  Example: If a man chooses to be with you – to commit to you – then he also takes seriously his participation in that relationship.  He takes ownership of your well-being along with his own (and yes, women – we have to do this too, to be set apart from the girls).  When he makes a mistake, even if it’s completely unintentional, he owns it.  Ok….do you feel it?  Can you sense it coming?  Time for another aside.  You know, I’m not gonna lie…this feels so right…

Let’s talk for a moment about apologies.  One of my biggest pet-peeves is a lame-sauce apology.  This would be the boy-caliber kind.  He’s gotten “caught” doing or saying something insensitive, hurtful, thoughtless, etc. and out of obligation, says something stupid like, “I’m sorry you’re upset.”  NO!  Oy….

A real apology – the kind that may just get you some make-up sex (ears perked up everywhere…) takes responsibility for the misfire, claims it honestly and shows genuine remorse.  It may look something like this:  (face is soft and accessible – makes eye contact) “I can see now how I hurt you. When I said ______________, it made you feel ________________ because _____________, and I hate to have been the cause of you hurting.  I am really sorry.”  THIS is the kind of apology that softens our hearts.  It means swallowing pride, but more at its core, it means recognizing the error and taking responsibility for the part you played in messing up.  And c’mon – everyone messes up!  So this time it’ll be your turn, the next time it’ll be her turn.  But, to be clear, it won’t ever be MY turn.  I rarely, if ever, make mistakes.

– Is authentic.  This might seem obvious.  But, oh-ho-ho… you’d be surprised.  Authenticity requires vulnerability.  And that’s a hard thing for a guy to show.  Being your true self exposes you to misunderstanding at best and cruelty at worst.  But, oh… when you find that safe space that a woman who truly loves you can offer?  You’re in the sweet spot.  And when both people are being actively authentic, the passion and satisfaction that comes from that… well, it’s other-worldly.

Ultimately, a man is all the fun of a boy (or what we THINK of as boyish) plus the selflessness that comes with knowing yourself and desiring to SHARE love, not just receive love.

I really am sorry that this is going on SO long.  And probably most of the readers have given up, but…if you’re still with me… here comes the woman bashing part.  (If make-up sex didn’t get you, maybe this will?)

I propose…(I feel like I need some kind of drum roll, or roving spotlight or at the very least, a dramatic hush to fall over the crowd)…
I propose  that women perpetuate the boyishness that we ultimately hate.
We say with our lips, and believe in our deep-down spots that we want a man.  But we ACT (out of loneliness, desperation, fear) like we want a boy.  And – WE PURSUE BOYS.

We are, by nature, compassionate, mothering, nurturing – and we’re drawn to wounded/insecure boys.  Maybe at some level we feel like their reliance on us is love?  Maybe we think it’s the only ‘hook’ we can use to keep them faithful to us?  Maybe we truly think we can heal them and they’ll love us all the more for it?  But for whichever or all of those reasons and more – we pick the outwardly charming, but inwardly selfish guy.  We pick him, we jump right into his immaturity and self-absorbtion and then 6 months later we cry to our best friends and ask why he doesn’t care or doesn’t try or is distant or mean.  Why?  WHY does he treat me so badly?
Because he’s unable to give outside of himself. Because he’s a boy. All his attention is inward.  He’s a boy.  Every sweet and romantic thing he did in the “illusion” phase was for his own glory and once he was called upon to give and sacrifice and show up… it turned out …..you guessed it… he was a boy.

Here are some examples of how women keep men acting like boys.  How we play the game to our own detriment.

1.  Instead of saying how we really feel – and maybe making it more acceptable for him to also say how HE feels, we play the game and clam up.  Call it flirty or coy… but it’s IN-authentic.

2.  We give a boy what he wants – in bed.  (I use the term “we” loosely here.  And yes…pun intended).  By giving in and having sex with a guy before WE are ready, we send a message that you can just have that – without any relational work.  So – after several of those encounters, boys know that it’s simply a numbers game – troll for sex long enough and you’ll find a willing taker.

3.  Similarly, we do the same thing with our affection.  We may not give sex away easily, but we’re quick to give our hearts to someone who hasn’t demonstrated they’ll show it care.  A handsome face, a sparkling wit, and we’re ready to expose our soft underbelly.   And if he was a man – he’d recognize the intimate move and match it or at the very least – step carefully around it.  But a boy will either take advantage or run for the hills thinking we’re ‘crazy’ or ‘moving too quickly’ (which…perhaps we are!)

4.  We reward the wrong things.  Remember that conditioning I talked about in an earlier post?  Give a rat a treat for doing something and he’ll do it again?  Women give men ‘treats’ (this can be anything from a come-hither look, to a favor, to a sweet touch, to our entire bodies) for simply offering up the basic human kindnesses that should just be a given.  In fact, we even reward BAD behavior (self-indulgent talking, selfishness, even rudeness) too… and we’re surprised when it continues.

I could go on and on, but I’ve already written a small thesis, so – I’m gonna try to land the plane.

From the time men are young (and it’s actually OK for them to be boys), our culture (including us women) contributes to a certain emasculation (we think it’s nurturing, caring, mothering, showing compassion, etc.) …that doesn’t stop in adulthood.  Then, when they continue to act like boys when they should have miraculously become a man, we resent their relational dependency that we so once loved.  We want a man, but we created a boy.

One last side note:

It may be for this reason that so many women swoon over the poorly written tribute to false-masculinity that is the “50 Shades” series.  We mistake aggressive and domineering behavior for being a man…we confuse sadism with strength… and we so crave a man that we’ll take the other end of the boy pendulum (with one end being wimpy-ness and the other being misdirected aggression) instead of seeking an entirely different pendulum.  Mark these words – Christian Grey doesn’t love anyone but himself.  He is a boy in a handsome man’s body.

What’s the solution?  I’m still workin’ on that.  But, here’s what I know for ME.  I’m watching more closely than ever for those red flags of boy-hood.  And when I see them – even if they’re paired with a devilishly handsome body and well-spoken demeanor, I’m going to keep my emotional distance until I can see the depth, vulnerability and self-awareness that constitute what I’m REALLY looking for.  I’m also not going to contribute to the boy-making anymore.  I’m not going to play games …I’m just going to be myself.

And if it sends a guy running… well, chances are – he’s a boy running away.  And that works out rather well – because it leaves the space in front of me open for a man.

Drama, Drama, Red Pajama

Quick disclaimer – this post took a major turn for the smooshy… so – it’s not as funny as some others, but I promise the next one will be full of spit-your-drink-out horrifyingly comical photos and online misfires.
End qualifier.

So, another thing men put on their profiles ALL THE TIME – is that they don’t want drama.
“Drama free,” they say.  Or, “I’m not looking for drama.”

Yes you are.  And yes you do.

I don’t think they’re saying what they really mean.  (Huge surprise there, am I right?)

I think what they MEAN is that they either:
a. don’t want to be stalked by a crazy woman, or
b. don’t want to deal with a woman who demands too much emotional energy from them.
(The first is legit, the second is lazy).
And seeing as I’m not crazy or lazy – or Patrick Swayze (sorry… but I couldn’t resist the rhyme…it’s my inner rapper… she is ALWAYS causing problems), I think I make the cut.

I maintain that everyone wants drama.  The good kind.  Hello…that’s why we put ourselves in the way of love, isn’t it?  We want sparks and fireworks and butterflies and ultimately – real love.  BIG love.  At least I do.

I suppose there are men out there who would be ok with a sort of mediocre companionship.  You know – someone to watch ‘your shows’ with and take turns with any of various household chores.  But, I’d venture that MOST of us want something more.  Most of us want to find someone who takes our breath away, makes us happy to begin another day because we’ll get to talk with/spend time with/smooch/snuggle with them.  Someone who – (hold on… I’m resisting quoting Jerry Maguire… ok…I think I’ve fended it off… for now) – desires you… WANTS you.  Maybe even needs you.  (no…chill.   – not in a codependent kind of way.  In that healthy – you bring out the best version of me – kind of way.  In that – ‘you’re good peeps’ kinda way.  And who doesn’t need that?)  Someone with whom you can be intimate.  And vulnerable.  Known and loved.

All of the best moments of my life have been full of drama.  Think about it!?  First kisses, best kisses, marriages, great sex, babies, getting amazing news, promotions, watching an amazing story unfold or maybe even just something as simple as getting ‘that look’ from someone… all drama.  Think about music.  We love it because it EVOKES something in us.. it wakes up a dramatic piece inside us that we long to feel.  The best moments are full of drama.

But, then, so are the worst.

So – I suppose this is why love is such an enormous risk… because if you REALLY put yourself in the way of drama…er…love, then you risk having your heart crushed.  And no one wants that drama.
But I dare say that those of us who have had our hearts torn into pieces the most severely…the most deeply – have also loved the hardest, and I for one – have not given up hope that there is still drama out there.   The good kind.

I guess what I’m saying is – I want the drama.  I don’t want so-so.  I don’t want to settle.  I want passion and fire.  And yes, I am well aware that after that first season of initial infatuation, that the fire dies down into the steady glowing embers of faithfulness and friendship.  But I love that too.  And I think that there is a certain dramatic poetry to that kind of relationship as well.  Knowing you’ve found someone who loves you enough to choose only you – that’s pretty dramatic.  Knowing you are understood, accepted and loved – that’s high drama.  And I love it.

So, if you’re with me, raise a glass to love and fireworks and butterflies in your tummy.  Bring the drama.  DEFNITELY don’t save it for your mama…

I’m just sayin’.

You’re NOT Perfect Just the Way You Are

I’d like to become a professional dating consultant.  No, not a matchmaker.  YOU find the girl, I’ll help you keep her.  Sort of like Hitch, but …white, and with more estrogen.

The thing is – I’ve been on enough bad dates or heard about them or have even witnessed them from a table over, that I feel the world is ready for me to make it better, one clueless guy at a time.  Think of it like a makeover, but more for your personality.  Hey, I’m not here to sugarcoat.  I’m like the SuperNanny of courtship.

My services would include, but not be limited to the following:

– helping you reassess your strategy in connecting with women.  If there are more people like me out there compelling the men of the world to make contact with women the way we dream of, then maybe we really WILL start seeing more of those RomCom encounters we want – preferably without the com.  For instance – if there’s a girl at a coffeeshop with no wedding ring and she looks over at you and makes eye contact, even if just for a second, that’s your invitation to go talk to her.  That’s it.  Simple, huh?

– Recording your date and, in my post-date consultation, doing a cooperative video analysis.  There will be a whiteboard, X’s and arrows, and …if you pay for the deluxe package, even an inspiring pep talk.

– For those in need of intensive help, I will even come along on your dates.  I’ll sit one table over (hey, I’m that girl anyway), eavesdrop, and use our own pre-coordinated complex taxonomy of visual cues and hand signals to help you navigate the tricky waters of women.

– In cases of extreme emergencies, I will step INTO the date and rescue the woman.  This may or may not involve me asking you to just go, but it will certainly include profuse apologizing, topic-changing and basically an entire structural reorg.  (That’s corporate talk for starting from scratch).

But, if you’re not ready to sign up yet, let me whet your appetite with some teasers of truth.  These are pearls, so – my publicist would kill me for just giving them away for free… but, what can I say?  I’m feeling generous today.

Things girls do NOT like:

– licking your lips or doing weird things with your tongue.  Gross.  Do you want to date me or eat me?  Please don’t answer.

– Talking about yourself the entire time.  And here’s the thing – this is true even IF you’re an interesting guy.  But, let’s be honest – most of the culprits of this crime are not.  Interesting.  So we’re left to our own internal devices to make the time pass.  My personal fantasy involves me scooping my eyes out with a melon-baller.
* In related news, if you hear yourself use the phrase, “to make a long story short,” the ship has already sailed.  Abort.  Abort!

– Too much cologne.  This is not an irreparable issue, but it’s not gonna help your game either.  Even if it smells good.  A little goes a long way.  When in doubt, err on the side of the woman not being able to smell the cologne at all than to smell too much.  A good rule of thumb should be – we should only be able to catch a whiff of it if we get very close (e.g. hugging, kissing, whispering in your ear, etc.)

– Speaking ill of others.  We don’t want to hear you talk about what a *&%# your ex-wife is, we don’t want to hear about the guy in your office that you can’t stand, and we don’t want you to bash another people group – unless it’s a group – of people – who are mean…then I guess you’d have a double negative on your hands, wouldn’t you?  I went on a date with a guy who said, “gay people are so GROSS.”  Yikes!  Just like that?  An entire population of people – summed up with such ignorance… good grief.  Such a turn-off.

– Chastising your date.  I had a guy tell me once – on a second date – that I really should relax my “rules” of not sleeping with a guy on the first couple of dates.  Oh really?  You think I should relax that rule, huh?  What a shocker!  And, no.
But, to be clear – now that you went all parental tone on me and let me know I’M the one who’s off for not wanting to sleep with someone I don’t love, I’m SO much MORE attracted to you!  (read the sarcasm)

– Checking other women out.  I am embarrassed for us as a society, that this still has to be spelled out.
Look, I know men are visual.  But, are they also completely unable of exercising self-discipline?  If you had any idea how it made your date feel to see you eyeing a pretty woman who walks by, I wonder if you’d think twice before the next time.

– Being late.  Check it: this is the first and simplest way you can show a woman you care about her – respect her time.  If you’re late, it tells her that you think she’s important enough for you to try.

– Laughing at everything we say – but not because it’s funny.  Because you’re trying to impress us.  I’ve had guys laugh even when I’m not saying something funny.  Now, granted, I’m hilarious.  So, it’s hard sometimes to tell when the wit stops and the “regular” stuff starts, but still.  When you’re doing that nervous giggling after every sentence I say, it makes me think you don’t have a backbone.

Things girls DO like:

– Winking.  Not in that cheesy “what would it take to put you in this car today?” kinda way, but a sweet or flirty wink… will send our hearts racing.

– Sensual touch.  Touching the arm or the knee while you’re laughing or talking, shows us that you like us and steps up the confidence a little so we can continue to feel free to be ourselves.  I mean, this is simple conditioning.  If the rat pushes the lever, it gets a fruit loop…and it’s gonna push the lever again.  Yes – in this scenario, women are rats.  In hindsight, I might have chosen a better metaphor, but here we are.

– Eye contact.  Again – not the creepy kind where too much of the whites of your eyes are showing and your chin is jutted out like a crazed psycho.  No – just maintaining enough that we know you’re interested.  Now, if you wanna take it to the next level (when the moment is right), brush our hair away from our face while looking at us…and we’ll be yours for life.

– Dressing well.  A double-breasted suit isn’t necessary, but just make it look like you care.  A shirt half tucked in, half out or a tee-shirt with bleach stains all over it don’t send the message that you’re particularly excited about meeting me.  A clean gig line is halfway to love, baby.

– Pay.  I know, I know…it’s archaic.  But, I’m sorry, it’s sexy.  This won’t apply to your entire courtship, obviously.  But that first date – if the guy pays, it sends a message about his character.  Now, listen, single women aren’t just trying to get free drinks/dinners, as much as whiny embittered guys would like you to believe.  Do you really think that we think it’s WORTH a free drink to put up with someone we have zero interest in?  No.  If we’re there, we WANT to be there.  You paying just shows that you think we’re WORTH buying a meal/drink/pony.  (just seeing if you’re paying attention).

– Fresh breath.  When a guy leans in to talk to me and I can smell minty deliciousness, he gets major points.

– Interest in our lives.  Ask questions!  (One of my services is providing lists of appropriate questions, based on prior level of contact, number of dates, etc.).  And for those of you advanced enough – ask questions within the questions (this is SO Inception-y).  In other words, if you ask her what church she goes to and she answers, don’t just move on – ask her why?  What is it about that church (fill in here – job, hobby, music, etc.) that she enjoys?  And with each answer, dig into the conversation more, until you feel like you’re really getting to KNOW her.   People yearn to be KNOWN.  This is one of the greatest gifts you can give.  Much better than buying an expensive dinner.

[Sidebar – as I sit and write this at a coffeeshop in Houston’s Heights, there are two people right across from me who met for coffee for the first time.  She’s talking, and he’s leaning in with a look of interest on his face, making eye contact and asking follow-up questions.  Beautiful.  I feel like a National Geo explorer who just discovered some amazing new bird…]

You could basically boil most of this down into this simple rule…and it’s pretty complex, so – concentrate…


That’s it.  Effort.  Women love a man who gives THOUGHT to us.
Effort is as the root of romance <– not gonna lie, this is good stuff here…

So, if you’re interested in my services, let me know and we’ll see what sort of package suits your particular situation best.  And I am certainly NOT doing this to add another pool of single men into my sphere of contact.  Nope.  That would be selfish and opportunistic…

Ubiquity is Everywhere…

Look.  You are no different from anyone else when it comes to the basics of what you want in a partner.  Obviously everyone is unique and has certain idiosyncrasies that set them apart in what makes them choose one over another.  But, the basics…the standard fare – is always the same.  I mean, c’mon – no one says “I’m looking for a lazy, ugly, cheating, raging, cheap man who will give me no attention or affection.”  (But if you know this girl, give her a “bless your heart” hug as soon as possible.)

So, since we’ve established that we all want the normal baseline of decent human character, can we stop TALKING about it?  I am so sick of reading profile after profile that say the same stinkin’ thing.  They all want a woman who is sweet, but also speaks her mind; who is pretty with or without makeup; who enjoys her work, but isn’t consumed by it; on and on…. something, something…blah blah…I’m alseep.

Can we start an uprising?  A revolutionary new way of approaching this?  Hows about this:  don’t say dumb stuff that’s obvious.  Say something that sets you apart.  I’m telling you – the profiles that grab my attention and make me want to send the guy a message, are those that have a flash of wit or an interesting musing or even just a silly story.  In an effort to jump start this grassroots campaign for uniqueness, I’m offering up my services – that is, I’m going to tell you how to not screw it up.

First off…guys, why do so many of your profiles say that you want an HONEST woman?  Well, duh.  Do we have to SAY that?  All you’re doing is letting everyone know that you were cheated on.  Which is sad, but it’s not particularly relevant for searching for a woman online… I mean, let’s just think this through to the end – if I’m NOT an honest woman, then obviously I’m not going to tell you I’m dishonest…that would be honest…which I’m not.  So, I can CLEARLY not choose the wine in front of you!  (If you don’t get that reference, you should have your funny gland checked… no, seriously…I’m a little concerned…)

Next, a helpful list for quick reference when writing the “about me” section:

Things EVERYone loves, so you don’t need to verbalize it:

–       Long walks on the beach.  The beach is beautiful, day or night.  Walking hand in hand with someone you love is delightful.  Who wouldn’t like to put these two things together?

–       Have fun.  ….OOOOooh.  Ok. Gotcha.

–       Staying in and watching a movie, cuddling on the couch.  Men always list this right after they’ve used that whole line about wanting a woman who can put on her heels and go out on the town, AND be able to just throw her hair up in a ponytail and relax at home.  I think they must think that we need to hear them admit to being homebodies?  Everyone likes vegging out on the sofa.  Everyone likes having someone around to snuggle with.  Again…put these together and you have a universally acceptable partner activity.

–       Laugh.  Really?  You have to say this?  You have to specify that you enjoy that thing your body naturally does…when you’re experiencing enjoyment?  Is there such a thing as a person that doesn’t like to laugh?  I mean, barring all those people with cripplingly painful laughter muscle diseases… obvi.  But, are there women out there who hate it when they laugh?  Try picturing someone laughing and hating it at the same time…kinda funny, right?  Kinda makes you want to laugh, right?  I hate that.

–       Love.   So, wait… you love love?  AND you’re on an online dating site?  That is so. weird.

–       To enjoy life to the fullest.  This one really chaps my hide.  Why do they have to be so extreme?  I mean… I like to enjoy life as much as the next guy, but…. ‘to the fullest?’  I don’t know that I’m ready for that kind of commitment…

–       Simple Pleasures.  While I prefer to have to toil tirelessly for a small amount of happiness, I suppose I can get on board with some pleasure that comes easy… it’s asking a lot, but I’ll try to power through.

And, let me just admit that I’m guilty of this too.  I guess I feel like if I DON’T list the globally understood basic  decencies I want in a person, that I’ll be that lucky girl who ends up with some soul-less sociopath, rocking in a corner somewhere, muttering to myself, “I should’ve specified that I wanted a nice, honest guy….what have I done?”

But, perhaps ….just perhaps… one day, I’ll be bold enough to take my quasi-generic checklist down and put something like this up in its stead:

“Sassy, sometimes controlling, but always fun grammar nazi seeks a man who:

– prefers real Christmas trees over fakes ones.  I mean…eww.
– will kill spiders and all manner of bug or icky-like creatures that come into my path.
– will play the radio game with me, and never stoop to letting me win.
– won’t tease me about my spray butter problem, unless it’s that adorable flirty teasing thing.
– won’t judge me for watching trash TV…and maybe will even watch a few shows with me.
– is handsome enough that I can’t resist him, but not SO perfect that I feel insecure around him.  I don’t need abs of steel… abs of a good firm back-sleeper-pillow will do just fine.
– won’t roll his eyes at my habit of turning every phrase into a song.
– will let me convince him to abandon white flour.  It’s the wave of the food future, dude.  Just surrender now.
– will let me have 5/6ths of the bed and keep the ceiling fan off.
– will watch chick-flicks with me without rolling his eyes and saying words like “formulaic”
– doesn’t consider a matinee and dinner at Chili’s a “romantic evening”
– will offer to rub my shoulders without me having to ask, from time to time
– can cook.  Or at least will join me in a culinary adventure where I cook and he’s my hunky sous chef.  Oh my….
– drinks wine.
– owns clothes other than graphic tees
– will throw a party with me… bonus points for hosting or going to a costume party where he actually dresses up.
– loves Jesus…and actually GETS that we need him.”  (whoa…heavy…)

So – there you have it.  Men of Houston, form a line and let’s do this thing.  I’m accepting 7’s and higher tonight.

Let the GAMES begin.

I’d like to chime in on  (as in – critique, judge and assert my superiority over) some of the most common phrases I read in men’s online profiles.   These catch my eye because a. I don’t think they’re honest, and b. they’re just no FUN!  Sheesh…

The first in this series is one I see all the time – as in, probably 50% of the online profiles that come across my inbox.  And it brings up all kinds of questions and philosophies of dating:

No games.”  Or

I’m not into playing games.”

Really?  I’ll bet you are.  I’ll bet you play them more than women do…

Now, let’s just assume they’re not talking about board games (e.g. Settlers of Catan, Scrabble), social family games (e.g. Taboo, Guesstures), or card games.  (Though, …ahem….find me a guy who can sit at a coffeehouse and play endless rounds of crossword game, SET, or some other two-player nerdy game, and I am IN.  So in.)

And I KNOW they’re not talking about video games… I think the percentage of men who don’t play video games is so small that it’s not even considered part of the normal bell curve anymore…. Sigh…

No, they mean the “games” of dating.  Ah…here we go.
(cracks knuckles as if to say, “let’s get down to BIDness up in this plizzace!”)
We all know this stuff, we all play along to some degree, and yet – people are always saying that they don’t like it or do it.
I call BS.
This MAY be one of the most infuriating parts of dating – knowing when to “play” and when to just be yourself.  It’s an intricate dance, I’m here to tell you.  You have to know your audience (the guy in question), know yourself, and be making split-second decisions with each sentence that comes out of your mouth, each flirty smile or glance, each text you do or don’t send, each crossing or uncrossing of your legs or fiddling with your napkin or eating while looking sexy (pshyah…. as if.), each moment of time you let pass between any of various forms of communication…all the time.  It’s exhausting!

EVERYONE DOES THIS.  Guys are not exempt.

I talked at length about this with my last boyfriend.  He was surprised (I think possibly a bit uncomfortably at the very beginning when he didn’t know how to read it), but then ENJOYED the fact that I’m the kind of girl who just – says what she means.  As in – really.  Here’s a tiny example:  If I have JUST gotten off the phone with someone and all I can do is grin and think how much I like him, I’m not going to follow the rules of conduct about death-by-over-communication, I’m going to send him a text, saying, “I can’t stop thinking about you…” (or something along those lines).

What that MEANS is:

–          I’m not going to be overwhelmed when a guy speaks HIS mind and is honest/authentic about his thoughts feelings…this is freeing!  (It also rarely happens…. cue the sad trombone…)

–          But, I’m also going to lose lots of potential suitors who get weirded out by my approach.

I should tell you – I’m known to tip my hand.  (And yes, I see the redundancy of me telling you that I tip my hand… I’ve essentially tipped my hand that I’m tipping my hand…lotta tipping going on… but the sign at my salon says “tipping makes you pretty,” so…I’m just gonna go with it.)  Yes, I will SAY when I like someone – which freaks people out.
What?  Since when?  If someone who had just spent time with me told me s/he really liked me – I would love it!
Why are we supposed to pretend like we don’t…. is that somehow going to manipulate the other person into pursuing you more, I suppose?  Oy…I can’t keep up!

I heard a quote in a sad movie the other night, as this girl watched her best friend steal the love of her life away, “It never occured to me that Ruth would like him…she was always so mean to him.  I guess perhaps I should have been mean to him too.”  Man!  Break my heart, why don’t you?  Is this how to get guys?  Be sufficiently wenchy?

I think guys are taught (at SOME level) to trick girls into liking them.  Either by being distant and unapproachable, or never tipping their hand about their level of excitement/attraction.  This keeps all the power on their side, with the woman questioning where she stands.  Is this not a game?  Sounds gamey to me…

Here are some of the “games” that are put upon the single/dating community:

–          How and when to give out your number.  Too soon is slutty/needy, too late is prudeish/boring/hard-to-get.

–          Giving and receiving compliments (I’m going to do another post on this where I go more into depth on my hypothesis about why men complimenting women is a dying art).  But – how to give out a compliment to a man is a whole KINDA song-and-dance…
be sure to make it sound organic, don’t be TOO flattering – it’ll seem desperate, don’t be TOO coy – it’ll seem fake, don’t pick something that will come off sounding overly sexual, but also don’t choose something that he won’t take any real pride in (nice socks…that sort of thing).  I’ve gotta go have a bit of a lie down, just THINKING about it.

–          How long to wait after meeting someone, to call or text.  One of the sweetest things I ever heard in this regard, was from my best friend.  She’d just gone out on a blind date, and as she was driving home (so…only moments after), she received a text saying, “I know it’s against ‘the rules’ to text so soon, but I couldn’t help it.  I had a great time and can’t wait to see you again.”  C’mon…that’s just honey right there…

But, even in just the last week, I had two first dates – one, where, at the end, the guy said, in a seemingly genuinely excited way, “I’ll definitely be calling you soon!”…and haven’t heard from him yet; and another who was also excited about getting together again, but has only texted/called….zero invitation or allusion to meeting up again.   I was talking with a friend this morning who said – “I think a week is a normal turn-around time.”  For rizzle?  A WEEK?  If I’m excited about someone, I’m hardly going to be able to make it back to my HOUSE without wanting to figure out when we can see each other again… if you can go a whole week, …doesn’t seem like you’re really that excited?

–          What KIND of meeting/date to set up – Coffee?  Wine?  Daytime?  Evening?  Don’t pick a place too romantic, or it’ll make you look skeezy, don’t pick a place too pricey or he’ll think you’re a gold-digger, but if you pick something too casual, it may send the vibe that you’re cheap or don’t expend effort, don’t pick a place too loud where you can’t hear each other, but don’t pick someplace so quiet that there are those uncomfortably disconcerting cricket chirps between sentences,…..   dizzying, I tell you!

–          What to wear.  This is SO a ‘game.’  Wear something that shows off your…assets, but not too much.  Don’t look like you’re trying too hard (even though, of course, you are), but don’t underdress and look like a scrub.  Heels?  What if he’s short?  (Doesn’t matter what the online profile says…they lie)

–          How long to text before meeting…because some guys will text indefinitely.  I’ve literally texted, “So.  Are we gonna meet up or what?”  I mean, let’s DO this thing, men!  Cowboy up!

–          And then, there’s HOW to text before meeting…  You have to ride that delicate balance of flirty and winsome, without seeming anxious.  You can’t go into too much personal detail or it sounds like you’re husband-shopping (which…c’mon…ULTIMATELY …you are…right?).  Don’t be too distant, though, or he’ll think you’re inaccessible.

Does anyone else feel a nap coming on?

This is some tricksy stuff.  And…the saddest part about it is…. if only you could skip ahead to the part where he KNOWS you – the part where you can be your true self – comfy pjs, undone hair and a movie with an embarrassing number of Disney Channel tween actors in it – the part where you can be goofy – the part where he knows the HEART of who you are, and how amazing you are, and how much real love (not fakey-fake-fakerson 1st date enamorement (yup – made that up)) you have to offer him….. if you could see ahead to that future, you’d probably find that you’re happier than any game-playing makes you.

I guess what I’m saying is….  “I’m just a girl.  Standing in front of a boy.  Asking him if he wants to watch the Leighton Meester box office hit, ‘Monte Carlo’.”

I May Have Found “The One…”

….Or I may NOT have…

My friend Kevin asked me this morning, “What ROCK are you looking under to FIND these people?  I feel like if I were on the dating scene, I’d have a huge leg up, if only because I shave and bathe regularly!”  Yeah…the bar is THAT low.  So low that regular hygiene puts you on the map.  Awesome.

Well – here’s another installment of what my friend Glenda calls, the “Winners Circle.”  Sit back, relax, tell your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend that you love him/her (which you will even more after these), and enjoy.

Let’s start with something red hot and sizzling, shall we?

I don’t know what’s more awesome – the ambiguously celtic unreadable tattoo (what is that – Meccam? Mettam?  I googled both of these words to see if they might be famous boxers or something…. nope.),
or the fact that this guy thought his greatest selling point was the backside of him where you can’t see his face at all?

Oh, …what?  Obviously fake flames licking up all around him?  I hadn’t even noticed.


Maybe shooting all those blanks is what’s causing him to to self-imploid?  Sounds dangerous…  but I’m still so darn TEMPTED… after all, he IS prity good lookin’….


There is a serious “dark knight” moment happening here.  What’s not to love about this shot?  Let’s review.  First, he didn’t take this himself – not unless he set up a tripod (now, THAT would be commitment to caped crusader awesomeness).  No, some friend agreed to snap a shot of him opening up his shirt for all the world to see his amazing abs and super cool man necklace….oh and his wire hangers, empty Coke bottle and bad lighting.


He’s not just down to earth.  Oh, no…  He is downTOWN to earth, baby!


“You know what would really make the ladies go crazy?  Me…RIIIiiiight before a shave.”
Is this to prove that he does, in fact, shave?  Or is he trying to appeal to some kind of Santa Claus fantasy?  What in the world would possess someone to apply shaving cream, and then snap a photo, and then – to use that as your main profile picture??  This one has me truly baffled.


This next one is a series of Match.com ’emails’ between me and a guy who couldn’t take the hint…

Read the room, buddy.  Read the room.


This is the same guy – both from one profile.  I feel so bad for this guy because he apparently has some sort of medical condition where his fingers are unfortunately ATTACHED to his lips!  What kind of life is that, I ask you?  I feel a charity 5K coming on…
Poor Papi…


Where?  Jeans?  (turns head in a dramatic panic back and forth looking) – Where??

He doesn’t want to have games played.  Anywhere.  In the world.  That’s kinda selfish, dude…

But the best part is – he WANTS a great conversion!  This is perfect.  Because I’ve been boning up on my conversion skills (you know…all the handsome men out there who don’t love Jesus (yet…)… I can just convert them!  That should be simple, right?).  This guy can be my first attempt.  (fingertips resting together….maniacally laughing…).  Let the proselytizing begin.


Whoa….dude….TOTALLY gnarly bro….

Perhaps the shining moment in this photographic “experience” (read: Stoner extravaganza ..a la 2001 A Space Odyssey) is the fact that there was SO much thought put into the photo, and yet…. and yet.  He couldn’t put down his beer and what appears to be an old shoelace…?  Maybe he got stoned BEFORE the shot?


Here’s what I take from this one:   He wants ME to be a superhero (single mom by day, sexy fighter of crime by the veil of night), and he may not want to steal my respect, but I can be sure he wants to either steal my essence like a vampire, or at least steal my drink when I go to use the airplane restroom.



His NAME is “Mr. Charisma” (albeit misspelled)…now look at the picture.  Really?


Wow… THANK YOU, Mr. 56 in Illinois, who believes in God AND Jesus.  I really needed that…
Nothing like damning with faint praise to make a girl feel pretty.

There are so many more, but life calls… so here you are for now.

Lookin’ for Nub….

A few people have criticized me for being in the world of online dating… saying that it’s a lost cause/dead end.  And a few thoughts go through my mind.  First – do you think that’s all I’m doing in my search for love?  C’mon…  But, secondly – why is the online dating scene such a dead end, when it’s at LEAST one step up from bar hopping?  I mean, at least with online sites, I’m able to filter potential partners with some of my desired traits, right?

So…where do you GO to look for love?  This is one of THE questions for us on the single scene.  And if you ask around, you’ll get LOTS of opinions.  Almost all of those from married or ‘taken’ friends.   The same ones who apparently have NO single friends left to set you up with…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I guess when choosing your “pool,” you have to consider your end-game goal.  So, for instance, I know I want a guy who has a real faith in God, so… where would be the logical place to meet him?  That’s right –

–          Church.  This is what EVERYONE tells me.  “Go to church.  You’ll meet a good man there.”  (you should’ve read that in a grandmotherly, yet slightly condescending tone).
But this is easier said than done!

Look – I already GO to church every week.  It’s important, no – central to me – to be part of a faith community.  And, no, I do not go to church to hunt for men.  But, I do welcome the opportunity to find a great guy in this venue.  The problem is…how?  I mean..what’s the protocol here?  Am I supposed to hand out my number during the greeting time?  Can we set up a margarita bar in the lobby?   Perhaps we can have a mid-week dinner, Bible Study and speed dating event?  (and I am SO not kidding.  I would go to this…let the record so reflect).

So, if church isn’t panning out, what are my other other options?

–          Set-ups by mutual friends who know you well?  Awesome idea.  For me… this has happened ONCE.  Yup.  I’m one of the friendliest people I know, and yet – none of my friends know of anyone to match me up with.  I don’t know if this is because they just don’t interface with single men my age?  Or if they know how neurotically picky I am and don’t dare unleash me on anyone they care about?  Either way… the magic isn’t happening…

–          The bar scene.  Everyone refers to this as if it’s an actual place.  I should open a bar and call it “The Bar Scene.”  Or maybe it’s more of a philosophical archetype?… I digress…  People are constantly saying they don’t want to meet the “kind of people” you meet at bars.  Really?  I mean… if I’M a quality single woman and I go to bars… then, doesn’t it stand to reason that I may have a male counterpart out there who does also?  Perhaps I should clarify the kind of ‘bars’ I’m talking about… I think people must picture me walking into some saloon-esque dive in the seediest part of town where the only people there are the unbathed guys who’ve been drinking since 10:00am, some rogue gang members and meth-heads, and me – slamming my entitled fist on the bar while demanding, “gimme the hard stuff!  Line ‘em up and keep ‘em comin’!”…  Unless you call a wine flight in Upper Kirby the ‘seedy’ part of town, that’s not my thing.  No, I’m talking about wine bars or Happy Hour at the tons of fun restaurants Houston offers up, or the dance club/bars where I salsa or 2-step.  Why is it so doubtful that there could be any good guys here?

And yet… I haven’t found any.

–          Happenstance meetings.  This is the way it works in romantic comedies, right?  Two people shopping in the produce section… a chance tumbling of a red pepper, he hands it to her, she blushes…. Cut to: video montage of their love story set to a Taylor Swift song.  This sounds lovely.  But, guess what… even at Club Kroger (which is the name I’ve affectionately assigned to the Kroger in the Heights – because it is always teeming with handsome single men), this never happens.  I have even taken the first step and started up light conversation with men.  Last week I had to hunt forever to find ripe avocados, so when I saw a cute preppy guy (who, I could just TELL loved Jesus…) looking in vain for a ripe one, I said, “uh oh, I think I got all the good ones…sorry.  But, hey, guacamole calls…”  He smiled, shrugged, and then went on his merry way.  Sigh…

I am always ready for my cinematically promised run-in… wherever I go.  And, I’m not shy.  I will give my card to someone if we strike up a conversation… but I can’t do this alone…the men have to participate!

–          Speed Dating or Singles “Events.”  Ok, again… RomComs have done us WrongCom.  You remember that scene in Hitch at the end where the two women are speed dating?  There’s a plethora of handsome, well-dressed, well-spoken men there – a veritable smorgasbord of dating opportunity.  Wanna know what that looks like in the real world?  I’ll tell you.

Last weekend, I dragged one of my single girlfriends to a speed dating mixer event (admittedly I bought my ticket through Living Social… no way I’m shelling out $35 for what could possibly be an hour of disaster or disappointment).

We got there (it was held at a nice tapas restaurant in MidTown) and filled out the paperwork, got a drink and soon were off and running.  All the women sat at numbered tables in a line and the men sat across from us, each with our papers to write notes, indicate which ones we liked, etc. (I’ve scanned mine for your vicarious entertainment).  Each man stayed for 5 minutes and then they’d switch and move to the next woman.

I will tell you this – I was on fire.  I was witty, friendly, charismatic without being intimidating… I flashed my winning smile at the bevvy of lame jokes I heard.  I answered the boring questions with grace.  I even listened with rapt attention as one guy went into an unfortunate level of detail about his recent toe surgery.  “I mean…it was really gross.  They had to go back in because the infection was so deep….”  (I’ll spare you the rest).  But, really?  He had FIVE. MINUTES.  Five minutes!!  And he spent at least 2.25 on the toe surgery…yum.

The problem was that the majority of the men there didn’t speak English as their first language (I’m putting this mildly…you can ask my friend…).  A few were even new to the country.  Everyone was friendly, but I felt like I was giving immigration interviews, not searching for the perfect romantic partner.

But…there was one guy.  Let’s put it this way: a divinely appointed sunbeam might as well have shined on him as all the women in the room heard the angelic chorus, “Aaaaah…”  He was handsome, intelligent, funny, well-traveled, had a good job and was a great conversationalist.  He was also the object of attention from every woman there.  When he came to my “station,” we exchanged witty banter, we laughed, connected, …it was dreamy (of COURSE I’m exaggerating a little bit…it’s more amusing that way).  Afterwards, he sat across from my friend and I and we talked some more, he asked for my card, …things were going great.  Until I dropped two bombs on him.  I can’t be sure which one was the final blow – that made the light in his eyes snuff out – the fact that I have kids, or the fact that I’m “religious.”  I think he visibly rolled his eyes when I mentioned that one…   You know that moment when you can hear the record scratching followed by a disillusioned “womp womp womp…?”  Yeah….
So, he quickly changed his strategy and struck up conversation with the pretty girl at the table next to us, practically stretching his body in front of us to get her attention.  We took the cue and left.

The lady in charge told us that we’d hear from anyone who marked on their sheets that they were interested.  You know how many I heard from?  Zero.

And that brings me back to online dating.

Is it really so crazy that I’d look for a man in a place that’s full of men – where they’ve already given me more information than I can get at ANY of the above spots?  Before I ever interact with a guy, I already know if he can use proper punctuation, what he deems significant enough to put in his profile, his age, what part of town he lives in, his spiritual preferences, and how he looks.  Seems like a decent starting point to me…?

Camping, Crossfit and Creatures…Oh My

I love the way the men on dating sites so easily list their ‘demands.’  And, as you may have suspected, when I say “love,” I mean that I find it insanely annoying…

It’s one thing to list the things you enjoy…in hopes that the girl you find may like some of them.  It’s even ok to list a few deal-breakers.  I mean, heck…we all have ‘em.  But why do men expect that the girl they want to find, is going to love all the things they do?  I mean… I don’t expect to find a guy that wants to Zumba with me, and then sip veggie smoothies from Jamba Juice whilst watching Gossip Girl, and then hunker down in bed playing Words-With-Friends.  (But, …to be clear…if I FOUND that guy… and he was straight….I’d lock that junk DOWN).

Women don’t do this.  We definitely have our expectations of the kind of person we want… but our “list of demands” has to do more with character and relational style than hobbies or interests.  I, for one, am not holding my breath that I’m going to find a guy who wants to go shopping at Sephora with me – spritz all the new scents, try the latest lipgloss colors, and search for the perfect blush brush.  That’s what I have my best friend for.   And there are certainly activities that I love, and would love to find a guy who wanted to enjoy them with me, but……I don’t make them dealbreakers.  I would love to find a guy who will throw me around the dance floor… but this isn’t a condition of dating or loving someone!  And I’ve come to terms with the fact that – that may be something I just do with girlfriends – and I’m ok with that!

Not the men I’ve run across on the online scene…

I’m considering just starting my profile with this disclaimer…I really think it’ll bring the men running:

“I don’t like camping, sports, hunting, video games or dogs.  I have zero problem with my significant other liking/doing/having these things – and I may even join in from time to time if he is gracious about it.  But, don’t make it a condition of dating me… cause you’ll be missing out.  😉

I really think that starting out on such a positive note will be well-received.  After all, all the men say they want an honest woman, right?

Here are some of the annoying or even tacky expectations I’ve run across:

1.  “I love to camp, and my girl needs to love it to.” (aside: if there are quotes, then, yes, I’m literally quoting a profile.  But then, I would’ve used the correct “too,” so maybe you already knew that) – a lot of women like being with a man who loves to camp, but we don’t particularly enjoy sleeping on the ground and having to hike to use the potty…

I would bet that, of all the girls who actually DO enjoy camping, if you were to take cute boys out of the mix, 90% of them would be out.

I like Jim Gaffigan’s take on camping –


And it’s not that I’m a total princess.  I mean – I sweat!  Hello, I Zumba, I go out salsa dancing and 2-stepping.  I can get dirty… I’ll dig in the sand, or wade through seaweedy water at the beach with my kiddos.  But when it comes to sleeping – I want my bed.  And my climate control.  And my flushable, clean, doesn’t-smell-like-toxic-waste toilet that’s a mere 8 steps away…  is that so wrong?  (OK, …in all fairness… I suppose I AM a princess…. moving on…)

2.  Sports lovers who want their potential partner to love them as much as they do.
Men – these girls are out there.  There are 4 of ‘em.

Otherwise, we’re at varying degrees on the continuum from
“enjoy sports from time to time but don’t want to have to suffer through daily games during any given season”
“endure it only because we love you.”
For my part… I’m on the “endure” end… so that alone apparently makes me an ill-fitting candidate for a lot of men…

I also don’t want to watch ESPN as they talk ABOUT the game we just watched (read: that I was already forced to endure…).  You know how LONG these things are to begin with?  In the time it takes something-something-team to play all the innings, quarters or what-have-you, I could’ve had a massage, facial, man-pedi, had lunch with a friend, done my taxes and brewed my own beer.

Now – I WILL gladly snuggle up with someone as he watches the game – but don’t expect me to participate in any fashion.  I’m not gonna scream at that ‘awesome play!’ or jump up and down yelling at the TV, “C’mon, ref!  Are you blind??”   And if you turn to me and say, “Oh my GOSH, did you SEE that?”  I’ll want so badly to know what you’re talking about because I care about you, but the truth is, I was probably staring off into the space just to the left of the TV contemplating what shoes would go with those new earrings I just found at the cutest little shop…. The best scenario you can hope for would be me sitting next to you, on my laptop with the earbuds in, plowing through a season of Drop Dead Diva or something equally ‘other’ from sports.  Can we make that work?  I propose that we can.

–       “Must love dogs.  Non-negotiable.”  (Again…direct quote)

You know how many men have something akin to this phrase in their profile?  Do I get to say the same thing about my animal of choice?  “Chinchilla lovers only.  I’m very firm on this.”

I mean… it’s not like just because I’m not a dog person, I’m gonna slowly poison theirs.
Well…I mean… not unless it’s a yapper.
Or a licker.
Or smells gross.
Or jumps up and puts holes in my clothes….
Ok, now that I think about it…. It would be SO simple to just leave the back door open… No, no… that would be wrong.

Oh, settle… I’m joking.  I am neutral on dogs.  I don’t love them.  I don’t hate them.  My ex had a sweet (wild, but sweet) dog who was kind enough to keep my feet warm in the winter when I’d be watching movies in his let’s-make-the-inside-feel-as-cold-as-the-outside-winter-air house.  I even fed his dog for him from time to time (okay, I think it was twice), or let him out, or went on walks with him (again…this was just to be with the cute boy, but still…that counts, …right?).  I guess I just don’t want to be in charge of a dog.  If I can be part of the guy’s life and co-exist with the animals…isn’t that enough?  Do I HAVE to be friends with them?  Doesn’t seem fair to make this a condition for love.

3.  Gym Rats who expect their partner to work out as much as they do.  I LOVE working out, but I don’t want to feel like the affections of a man are resting on how many times I made it to the gym in a given week.  Also – I do not want to do P90X or Crossfit…for whatever that’s worth.  Every time I hear a guy proselytize about those, I feel like I’m getting the Amway or Pampered Chef speech.  “I’d love to tell you about some exciting opportunities in the fitness world!”  Oy…

Side note on this one…   There are a large number of men who specify that they want a woman who is skinny or fit…and go to great lengths to make it clear that they aren’t interested in imperfect bodies.  You know…if that’s what you want… fine!  But, saying it makes you sound douchey and shallow.  All you have to do is look at the pictures and you’ll know if she’s a match for you.  That’s why we HAVE profile pictures!  So you can choose to communicate with the people YOU find attractive!

I actually read one profile where the guy wrote, “Looks are really important to me.  If you even think you might be overweight, you probably are …so don’t contact me.”  Keep it classy, Match.com…

Another guy made plans with me.  Full-on plans – with times, location, and everything.  We were flirting/texting back and forth for a while the day of our planned meeting, and then he texted,

“Are you fit?”

Red flag.

This guy had already presumably seen my photos on my profile and I have several H2T pics on there (head to toe – full length) – specifically so that these guys can see what they’d be getting into – no false advertising here.  I’ve come to terms with my situation.  I’ve had two kids, I love food… I’m a curvy woman.  But I also work out hard several times a week, and go dancing.  I’m in pretty good shape…under these curves…  So – how was I supposed to answer this?  The very fact that he texted it was discouraging – because it was information…
information about his priorities (or the fact that he’d just skimmed my profile and not even looked at the photos?).

I texted back, “Well, I’ve had two kiddos, but I also workout 3-4 times a week, so I’m in decent shape.  Here’s a photo from a week ago” and I attached a very recent picture of me.

He texted back something along the lines of that being acceptable…blah blah… the end gist of it is this:
…he never showed.

Yup.  A real gentleman.

(And then guys are genuinely surprised when women are self-conscious about our looks/shapes….)

I haven’t even covered hunting or video-games….but for the sake of your time – I’ll save those for another juncture.

So…to summarize…

If you’re looking for a partner who loves to camp, hunt, do P90X with you every day, loves sports and who will take care of your dogs…you’re barking up the wrong tree.  (see what I did there?)  In fact, you may just want to date your best guy friend…in which case, we have a whole other sorta roadblock on our hands…ahem…

But, if you’re looking for someone who has an equal number of interests of her own that she won’t require you to adopt, but is fun, smart and sassy…. I think I know of JUST the girl.

The leave behind… and not the good kind

So… I’ve decided I should invent some dating “helpers.”  And I’d like to share these ideas with you.  They’re patent-pending, of course, but if you get in a pickle, feel free to print them out and use them – just give me the credit when it goes over smashingly…which it undoubtedly will.

The first is a simple form (you can carry a couple copies in your purse at all times…just in case) for those times when you’re on a date, and you know it’s going nowhere.  You know the ones… you’re five minutes in and you realize you’ve slated over an hour of your precious time for a dud.  (Now, before you go getting all mad at me for calling this fictitious character a “dud,” keep in mind that one woman’s trash is another’s treasure.  I’m not saying he’s a “dud” for everyone, but – for you and what you’re looking for…he doesn’t make the cut.  OK – disclaimer over).

You may have even bought a new outfit, maybe just new shoes, just for the occasion.  At the very least, you took the time to carefully select your ensemble, get your hair just right, do your makeup “date quality” (that is – you actually use the eye-shadow ‘base’ that you never put on for work and you bust out the sparkly eye-liner…Juuuuuust in case…), shave your legs, squeeze yourself into at least one pair of spanx, all the while listening to whatever your personal choice of pump-you-up music is (mine, depending on my mood, includes such artists as:  Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, Girl Talk, Ingrid Michaelson or some sexy Bossa Nova…but I digress…) – you’re all set to go… heart racing just a little quicker on the drive there – because… “what if?”

But then you get there and ….you might as well hear the record scratch… he is (to put it mercifully) – underwhelming.

I’m not even talking about looks (though… isn’t it fun when he looks NOTHING like his profile photos?  That’s always a tricky minefield to navigate in conversation…”Oh, I didn’t recognize you there…you!… you look so…different from your picture!”  (you’re sporting a smile that you’re hoping conveys the message:  “in a good way!  Boy, you sure are handsome.  So much more than that picture of you on your profile where you were 100 pounds lighter with all your hair and teeth…”)).

No, I’m talking about him being one of “those guys.”  What guys you might ask?  (And let’s be honest – if you’re a single woman on the dating scene…you don’t have to ask…you know exactly who I’m talking about).  By way of example, my girlfriend Nancy just told me about a date she had recently….join me as I recreate the scene.  She was excited because he was a handsome European man who seemed intelligent, had a job he loved and was genuinely interested in her.  But every time he would ask her a question (e.g., “What did you do today?”) and she would give her answer (e.g., “I worked… we had a huge conference call…etc., etc.”), he would begin this uber-condescending slow clapping with his head cocked ever so slightly and a smug teasing (not in a good way) look on his face.  Slow clap?  The slow clap.  Are you serious?  Unless some handsome preppy college guys are standing one-by-one and chanting “Oh Captain, My Captain,” this does NOT work.  And he did it multiple times!  The first time, she laughed it off because she could tell he thought he was being funny.  But after it continued through the night, she was just frustrated (probably had her feelings hurt a little – like he was mocking her answers), and knew the date was going nowhere.

So – for all the “Slow Clap” men out there – those who “seem” like a good idea, but end up being a colossal disappointment in the first few minutes of the date – I propose what I like to call – an Early Dismissal Program (EDP).

Because – why should we have to endure the rest of the time we COULD be home cracking a bottle of wine, slipping into our PJs and watching episodes of So You Think You Can Dance, appeasing a man we have zero interest in?  I mean… my kid-free time is so precious little, that I have to think about this economically….and to spend any more time with Mr. Slow Clap (yes…that has now become an archetype.  (Holla, Jung fans!))…. well, it’s just bad biz.

So – here’s what I suggest:  excuse yourself from the table to use the restroom, go to said restroom and pull out one of my handy pre-made forms from your purse, check the reason for the EDP , and give it to a server to hand to him after you’ve snuck out the door to your car.

Date over leave behind form (pdf for easy printing)

(Obviously you’ll change the name at the bottom of the form.  And you can even print them in index card size for ease of carrying… make this your own.)

Now…feel free to modify this form to fit your specific needs or pet peeves.  And also don’t hesitate to direct his attention to the backside where you can choose to leave additional comments or suggestions.  After all – this is a growth edge for him – make it count.

Never say I didn’t offer my helpful dating services, friends.