Category Archives: Sarah’s Dating Life

You Get What You Pay For…?

I know y’all love to hear the tales of my failed dates, and as many of you have been letting me know – it’s been too long since I posted one.  So …here we go.  I think I’ve waited the requisite amount of time that (I hope) he won’t be reading this…, fingers crossed.

I met this guy (let’s call him Adam) online and we chatted a bit before deciding to meet up for a drink.gingerman - outside 2

My first mistake was this (and it’s taken me a while to figure this out):
I was his first date after his divorce.
Big no-no.
(Ironically, as I write this, I must admit I haven’t followed my own new rule and have gone out with two other recently divorced guys and each time it’s proved the rule… sigh.)  Anyway…

I realize that SOMEONE has to be the first date… but why ME?

My first date after my divorce ended up being with the man I fell deeply in love with… so, I guess I never really gave this issue much thought…, until being on the other side of things.
The dark side.

This is, I’m sure, not the case for everyone, but for several of the men I’ve been out with – if it’s their first foray back into the world of dating, and especially if they were in a LONG relationship/marriage, they’ve lost their dating “touch.”  And I basically have to hold their hand and guide them through the terrifying stormy waters of first-date-land.  I’m basically the e-harmony of the human realm.
Awww….I can hear you all now, “that’s so mean!  It sounds sweet to me that they’re innocent and don’t know how dating has changed… don’t BLAME them!”  And, I don’t.  Blame them, that is.  I just don’t want to be the guinea pig that has to endure a bad, boring, or awkward date because they’re getting back on the horse.

But back to the date.

Adam lives in Pearland (ugh….might as well be Siberia…(for those of you not in Houston, Pearland is a suburb.  So, yes, I’m exaggerating.  I’m an inner-loop snob.  It’s protocol.  It’s in the ILS handbook.))

Since he doesn’t live in the city AND he’s recently divorced, he didn’t have any ideas/suggestions as to where we should meet up.  (This is an example of losing the touch.  Women want a man who will at least show enough leadership to suggest a meeting place….Or, at the very least, master the fine art of “Yelp.”)

Gingerman - outsideSo, fine – I put out a few options.  One was a wine bar, one was a coffee shop, one was a beer house… and he chose beer.  Great!  We went to the Gingerman (it’s a super chill spot with about eleventyhundredteen beer choices.  Seriously…it’s a lot.)

I got there a few minutes early.  He got there late.  (strike 1)

While I was waiting, I ordered a beer and paid for it/closed the tab.  I like to do this on dates sometimes, so that the guy knows I’m not just trying to milk him for his cash-o-la.
When he finally arrived (he had a hard time finding the place… apparently he’s as adept with Google Maps as he is with the Yelp), he went to order a drink and asked me what I was drinking.  I told him, adding that I liked it but didn’t love it, and …
he proceeded to order the same beer.  Out of 14-bajillion beers, he just copied mine.

beer menu
Fine…perhaps he was nervous, so his imagination wasn’t at full speed.

We sat down on a bench in their back patio and started chatting.  Some about me, some about him.  Ok, mostly about him.  Ok, ALL about him.
At one point, I went to the restroom and texted a friend of mine that I was bored out of my mind having to keep up with his incessant self-agrandizing.  My friend wrote back, “oh…give him a chance.  He’s probably just nervous.”
Fine.
FINE!!

gingerman - back patio

So, I went back out and suggested we get a bite to eat and another beer.  We went in to the counter and I ordered the blah-blah-blah with brie (does the rest matter?  It had brie.)  He looked over the menu and decided he’d have the same sandwich.  Then, I perused the beer menu and ordered another (as in – not the same kind I had the first time) pint.  He ordered the same one as I did.

If you’re not keeping score, that’s THREE items for which he just copied my order.  I mean – I’m a good orderer, but c’mon…
(strike 2)

Then the bartender told us the total and asked how we wanted to pay.  Ugh…. I hate these moments.  On the one hand, I want to hand over my card to show that I’m perfectly fine paying and I’m not assuming the guy will.  On the other hand, I think there’s something really sweet about a guy taking care of the bill, so I want to hesitate.  But I don’t want to hesitate so long that it looks like I’m EXPECTING him to pay.  Gah… in this achingly long 5 seconds, this is all going through my mind, whilst I glance quickly at him to see if he’s reaching for HIS wallet.  Which he’s not.
So, I give her my card.  She asked if I wanted to close out or keep it open and I told her to keep it open.

As we’re walking back to our table, he says, “Why’d you do that?”  I say, “Do what?”  He says, “Pay!  I’m supposed to do that!”  I’m thinking…Right!  Well…why DIDN’T you?  I gave you an excruciatingly long 5 seconds?!?… but what I SAID was, “Well, the tab’s still open, so – we can figure that out when we leave!”  That’s a nice way of saying – if you want to pay, you can.  Later.

We sit down to more one-sided conversation (thank goodness there was brie…), and then he told me that his ex-wife reads my blog!  What???  (Ex-wife…if you still read this and you know I’m writing about your ex-husband… we should chat – hit me up).  What are the odds?  I don’t know this woman.  So, in my mind, I’m excited because a stranger is reading!  That’s fantastic!  But, I don’t think HE thinks so.  Anyway – that’s not really an integral part of the story…

He orders one more beer – on my tab.  ijs…

After an hour and a half, I decide I’ve used up enough of my time on a date that I know is going nowhere, so I politely ease into goodbye time, at which point the bartender sees us collecting our stuff and asks us both, “Do you want to close it out on the card we have already?

Ok, Adam… this is your chance.  This is the moment you were….WE’VE all been…waiting for…   So I waited… not 5, not 6, not 7, but TEN looooooooong seconds before answering her.  He said nothing, y’all.  Nada.  Just stood there and watched as I closed out the tab and paid $40 for our date.  He even had 1 more beer than I did… isn’t that bad form?  I’d never order 3 glasses of wine if my date only had one or two… but whatevs.  I pay… I tip… and I gallop towards the door.  He walks me outside and we realize we’re parked in opposite directions.  Did he ask to walk me to my car?  No.
(strike 3)

What he DID ask was far worse.  He made two horrifyingly awkward comments:

1.  Him:  “So… what are we gonna do?
Me:  “about what?”  (I can’t decide if this is about the not walking me to my car, the failed conversation, or the money thing…there really are so many options)
Him:  “the money!  You didn’t need to pay!”   (didn’t I?  I mean…SOMEONE did!)
Me:  so annoyed… “well, she was asking for a card and you didn’t give her yours, so I just took care of it…
Him:  “Well, how can I pay you back?
Me:  “I have a paypal account…write this down”   KIDDING!  (I wish I’d said that…)  what I really said:  “Um…well, I’m not sure, Adam.”  I mean…what was I supposed to do?  Walk with him to an ATM?  They guy didn’t even offer to walk to my car, let alone a banking kiosk.
(strike 4)

2.  Him:  “Can I take you out on a second date?
[note… I don’t think people should ask this question on a first date.  It’s one thing to imply that you’d LIKE a second date, but to point-blank ask the other person out on said second date…puts them on the spot.
Plus…read the room, dude!  This date was an act of social mercy…why would you think I’d want another?]
Me:   bumbling and looking nervous, I’m sure… “Um…. can I process things a little and let you know?”  Gah!  What kind of answer is THAT?  I might’as well have just said, “Nope.  You’re boring and cheap.”  He knew right away what ‘processing’ was code for…   poor guy.
(strike 5)

Whelp, …5 strikes and you’re out.  That’s how the saying goes, right?

 

In the end, I was out 1 1/2 hours, and $40.

But at least I have the tale to tell – for all of you… including his ex-wife.

Lucky me.

Making a Donkey out of U-M-E

The other night I was playing the radio game with some friends.  (If you’ve never played the radio game, you should remedy that posthaste.  It’s great car-trip fun.)
Anyway – on one song, my friend named the artist before I did, and in his excitement, put up his hand for a high-five (for his amazing musical catch).
Without even thinking about it, I slapped his hand in reciprocal excitement…only to then think, “wait…why am I celebrating his win?  He’s my opponentHe’s the enemy!”
So, why did I high-five him?

assume 7
Simply because he put his hand up!

And it’s human nature to respond.
I’m basically just a sheep, blindly following non-verbal commands…even if it means praising my adversary.

And while that’s fine for me and a buddy playing the radio game, its more insidious counterpart in the dating world…isn’t so fine.
But it happens ALL the time.

 

assume 3

Men and women both do this – me make assumptive gestures – in words and actions – and on a date, it’s hard not to return the metaphorical hi-five.

Picture this… you’re 5 minutes into a date and the girl makes a comment about how you’re going to just LOVE her parents….
Um…what?

Or, before you’ve even finished your first drink, the guy is planning your next date.
Come again?

 

This is an issue I keep encountering in my own dating life… men who assume.  (And we all know what happens when you assume…)

Everyone jokes that women all do this – practically plan out your wedding before you’ve closed out date one.  But, I’ve experienced it recently, comin’ from the menfolk too.  It’s not just us girls.

These are the guys who, by their references and actions, presume all manner of things…about a level of mutual attraction that isn’t necessarily there.

There are two main forms this unrequited “we have a real future together” attitude comes in:  verbal and physical.

Verbal

This includes, but is not limited to…

making plans to do things or visit places together, inlcuding international travel
     “Oh, you haven’t seen the new Mummy exhibit at the Science museum?  We’ll HAVE to go…”
     “Well – you’re going to LOVE the margaritas in Cabo… you’ll see…”

speaking about meeting family and attending family functions
     “That’s totally something my mom would say!  She’s gonna love you.”
     “You haven’t experienced St. Patrick’s Day ’til you’ve spent it with my crazy family.  You’ll see.”

talking about what kind of house you want to live in, how many kids you could have together (or how to blend your existing kiddos), who would move to the others’ place, etc.

assume 6I was on a date recently with a sweet guy.  We were hardly 15 minutes into our date… as in – the food hadn’t even been ordered yet – and he was pulling up photos of RV’s we could use for future camping trips.
(Now, a caveat – most men, when they hear that I don’t like to camp, always want to win me over… so, this isn’t THAT strange, but when he continued on later in the evening, showing me more spacious and convenient road-living options… it was too much.
Really – ANY talk of RV’s is too much.)

 

 

Physical

These are tricky in first-date land.  Because everyone comes in with a different set of rules and limits on what they will/won’t do on a first date.  Will you hold hands?  Snuggle?  Hug?  Kiss?
These are already sticky wickets for 2 people who LIKE each other…but what about a date you’re just ‘enduring?’assume 4

Assumptive posturing in the physical arena may look like:

Putting your arm around my shoulder

– Opening up your hand to you, as if to say, “hold this”

– Leaning in eagerly, and oh-so-expectantly for a kiss.

These (and more) are all things that it’s hard to NOT reciprocate, without feeling like a 1st-class jerkface.

Say you’re watching a show/concert/movie and a guy puts his hand, open/face-up on your knee… …what would you do OTHER than hold it?  Give him an akward low-five?
Put a Werther’s in it and give him a friend-zone-worthy smile?
Cross your legs at that exact moment, as if you didn’t even notice his hand there, and watch his arm fall off with a thud?
Shoot him that “not gonna happen, buddy” stare?  (Seems harsh!?)

assume 5This happened to me recently on a date… I wasn’t feeling the spark at all… but the guy sweetly put his hand out… and what did I do?  I took it!  And we held hands for easily 10 min!  And all the while I was conflicted about the mixed messages I was probably sending.  Argh…

Same for the arm around the shoulder!?  Wriggling out of that isn’t exactly a subtle communication.  Sigh…

Now… the more egregious faux-pas are easy to sidestep.
If I’m dancing with a guy and he presumes to grab my hiney, I’ll take his hand RIGHT off.  That’s culturally acceptable… and often expected.

But, refusing to hold a hand…just seems mean!?
And yet…I really don’t want to hold the hand of someone I’m not feelin’ chemistry with.  Am I locked in, simply by rules of courtesy?

What’s a girl (or guy!) to do?

I need some super suave, stealthy tricks to evade these unwanted gestures.
Not unlike the “hug & roll.”
Open to suggestions here, friends.

assume 2

The moral of the story is this…

When you’re on a first date –
READ THE ROOM!!
Use the clues your date is giving you to know if you can pull off the hand-holding or even a little goodnight snogging.  Watch for things like eye contact, light touching, sitting close, etc. to know.

If she’s making frequent trips to the bathroom…with her phone, or looking off into space, or checking the time, or scooting away… it’s not the time for a smooch OR showing her the latest motorhome models.
It sleeps 6!  That means we CAN have those 4 kids!”
smh…

 

Ask Sarah – Soulmate vs. CatLady

photo 2I’ve received two letters through the “Ask Sarah” tab/form that were so similar, I decided to combine them into one post.

The first one is the latter half of the letter I addressed a couple weeks ago in Ask Sarah – Damaged Goods.
He asked the question:
I guess the crux of my point is this: Is the idea of finding your true soulmate too hard, in this instant age of Facebook, Twitter, eHarmony, and all the others?

The next letter came from a woman:
How do you endure such crappy dates and dissapointments and not give up on dating all together?
Every time I’m reminded again how dissapointing my choices are, I run away. I suspend my online accounts and vow to become an old cat lady.
How do you endure the dismal dates and continue forward with optimism?


I love how the automatic corollary to finding the love of your life is always to “become an old cat lady.”  Really?  That’s the exclusive alternative?  That’s the spectrum?  Love on one end, running a feline menagerie on the other?
(Ever notice how Cat “Woman” is sexy and powerful, but Cat “Lady” is old and pathetic?  I digress.)

The questions above seem to be not only- why keep believing in the efficacy of online dating,… but how to stay optimistic at ALL.

But, really, I think the issue is less about optimism and more about HOPE.

Ok – full disclosure… I’ve typed and retyped this post several times now.  And in the spirit of authenticity, I should tell you – I’m really struggling with answering this question!

It’s not because I can’t think of a “cool” way to say it…it’s because, until now, I don’t think I’ve given much thought to the question of – how DO I keep up hope?  And is it the same as being optimistic?  Or… is it something more?
Is it just my cheery personality?  Am I just wired to be hopeful?  Or maybe it’s something else…

Part of me wants to say:

The difference between optimism and hope is this–  Optimism says, “It’s all gonna end up fine, no matter how the evidence suggests otherwise.  The reality of this world is that there’s a lot of suffering.

But, hope – unlike just thinking that the glass always half-full – hope has an ace in the hole.  Hope has the (and yes…this is going to sound uber cheesy, but just hang with me for a few minutes)… Hope has the power of the human heart.  Oh gag… wow…even knowing where I’m going with this, that sounds way too blindly inspirational to stomach.

So, ok — it has to be something other than simply the “power of the human heart.”  Because, while in moments of national tragedy, when I see people behave with unbelievable kindness and sacrifice… I also know that a day or two later, those same people are privy to the same crankiness and despair that plagues us all.  The same human spirit that prevails over heartache, also yells at their children days later, or tells a lie to save face, or…any other transgression that misses the mark of true goodness.  Goodness exists – but right along with our heart’s natural tendency toward selfishness and rebellion.

No…hope can’t JUST be a product of the strength of the human heart…

So then another part of me wants to say:

I have hope because I believe God has someone for me.  And surely he wouldn’t have created me with such big love in my heart only to let it stagnate with only a handful of cats to be the final recipients of my affection.  Right?

But that argument breaks down really quickly …after all, he allowed me to be divorced, and that sucked pretty hard.  And there are lots of lonely people out there – people HE created – who don’t ever find the love story they so desire.  And then you get into the whole problem of evil …God doesn’t save millions of people from starvation and illness … how could I believe that I have some kind of relationship insurance just because he loves me?

No…there’s something more to hope.  (Plus, I really don’t want to get into a theological debate in today’s post).

 


 

I dare say we are CREATED to be hopeful people.  That doesn’t mean that it always works out the way we want.  But, maybe HAVING hope IS the good thing.  Getting what you want is just icing on the cake.  Maybe the very virtue of being hopeful keeps us alive… I mean really alive.

And maybe all we’re ‘supposed’ to do – is ‘keep the faith’…that is, make  choices for love, rather than out of fear?

Ultimately my answer may not satisfy some, but here it is:

photo 1

I have hope because I HAVE to have hope.

For me… there really is no other option.  Those Friday nights where I’m sitting alone on my couch and I feel those lonely thoughts creep in… the “I sure would like to have someone special here to snuggle up with me” thoughts…
should I just resign myself to that?  Is that the answer?
If it comes down to surrendering to a life of loneliness or holding out hope that there’s someone out there for me… someone that can push past the insanely picky parameters I’ve set…then I have to choose hope every time.

So – yes – it’s a tautology…but that’s the best I can come up with – for ME, that is.  I am a hopeful romantic.  Hopeful because…I choose to be.  I have to be.  I’m not ready to succumb to a life of cats JUST yet.  (Don’t get me wrong…I like cats… I just like the idea of a handsome man a bit more…)

 

And that brings us back to – can it be found online?  And…what about all the bad dates?

Well – I don’t know if online is the answer…I just know it provides a filter that you can’t find anywhere else.
I’m still open to other things…
like friends setting me up.  Ahem…
*clears throat*
FRIENDS SETTING ME UP!  hint…hint…
…as well as just meeting someone organically – at a bar, at church, at the DMV…. ha!  Kidding…just seeing if you’re paying attention.  Do NOT go out with anyone you meet at the DMV…..lawsa mercy…

So – let’s just say that the online option is just that – AN option…that’s all.  It’s one of many avenues to potentially finding the one.

And as for the bad dates…well….THIS is why I blog.  It’s a great outlet to vent my frustration and once I verbally vomit my misfortune all over all of YOU…. I can move on to being the hopeFUL romantic I naturally am.  And hey – for every few bad dates, there’s a good one.  May not be THE one… but good nonetheless.

I guess, in the end – bad dates, abysmal online profiles and photos, and all other manner of dating discouragement – are not enough to dissuade me from the necessary hope I have.

And here’s hoping it continues long enough for me to find a couch-snuggler of my own.

 

 

Just call me 8.333

No, really – CALL ME!

 

Alright, alright…

As a follow up to my earlier post on beauty/attractiveness, I thought I’d share the results of my experiment… (if you didn’t read that post…check it out here.)

While I was waiting to hear if I made the cut or not, I got several e-mails telling me various men around the world were “checking out my profile.”  Cool!
I clicked on them out of curiosity, and sure enough….VERY handsome.
I mean….the stuff of magazines.
Well-groomed, muscular and fit, heart-melting smiles full of perfectly aligned white teeth…the kind of teeth that say, “I never lie and I’ll rub your feet while we watch cheesy TV…”
…what?  Don’t teeth ever speak to you?

But their profile essays… were hilariously less than gripping.
They’d say things like… “I like to do things.”    Thanks, boo…that really fills in the gaps for me.

So, I’d already decided that if I made it in – I’d have a good laugh, possibly brag about if for the next few years and then move on.  Ok…no “possibly”…I’d definitely brag about that.

But I knew I wouldn’t really DO anything with it.  I don’t want to meet a man on a site like that… a site entirely focused on the external.  As much as I love decorating the outside (accessories, scarfs, fun makeup, cute shoes…all great fun), it’s so fleeting.  And at the end of the day, I’ll gladly cuddle up on the couch with a 6.9 who’s intelligent, funny and thoughtful – long before I’d hitch my wagon to a vapid 9.

I’d also decided that if I DIDN’T make it… I would be ok with that – because only 20% of people do.  So – I should be content with hanging with the other 4 outta 5… right??  RIGHT?
And hey – the REST of the world-wide-web thinks me an 8.333…and that ain’t bad…?

But what happened was…. well – two things.  Two responses to my beauty or lack thereof.  And oh, what a difference the second one made.

First…. rejection.

Yup… I, along with 80% of all those who try …did NOT make it into BeautifulPeople.com.  Alas….’tis true.

beautiful - pt. 2 - rejection

Their rejection e-mail let me down gently, but still.  Ouch.

 

But that same day… I got another piece of ‘mail’
…from my six-year-old daughter – completely unbidden.

This was on the inside of her birthday card to me:

beautiful - pt. 2   1

I love everything about this.

I love that she had no idea that I was gunning to get into the beauty pageant of online dating.
I love that she got the order right….first the character – THEN the beauty.

And I love that she KNOWS me…and thinks I’m beautiful.

The website doesn’t know me.  The men who “checked” me out can only see one thing – my face.  My daughter can see everything.  Kids can even see beyond pretense and fake smiles.  They sense it all.  They know when I’m flying at half-mast and when I’m frustrated…when I’m sad… when I need a hug.  My 6-year old knows the real Sarah…and she thinks I’m beautiful.  And – even to my own surprise – that’s enough for me.

So, I guess beauty really IS in the eye of the beholder…and that brings me a great deal of comfort.  I WANT the man I’m with to think I’m the most gorgeous woman in the world….because of who I am.  I want my sassy energy and irreverent sense of humor and huge heart to win me his adoration…not my winning smile (though I’m hoping that’ll help…).

Don’t hear me say that looks don’t count.  I mean, heck…this all started because I’ve found myself being vain in this regard.  The only reason my friend even asked me what I thought my number was, was because I told him I am quick (too quick?) to turn men down because I don’t find them attractive.

Looks matter…they just don’t matter MOST.

In the end… as much as it’s become trite to say so… beauty really isn’t just what’s on the outside.  Sure, I’m gonna keep wearing sparkly lip gloss and picking out cute outfits and looking my best on the exterior.  But, the things I value most in a man are qualities like – intelligence, sense of humor, thoughtfulness, etc.  …I want him to be handsome, of course, but that finds itself much lower on the list.  And if that’s true for who I date… I suppose it has to be true for whoever dates me.  You’ll be getting an imperfect body… but a pretty sweet deal on the rest.

So – the members of BeautifulPeople.com can have each other.  I don’t want ’em.
I want people who see me the way my daughter does.

 

Pointy numbers and mafia parties

As I write this… I’m no longer 36.  *a single tear streams down her resigned, still face*

Ah…36 – such a lovely number.
So round.
So voluptuous.
So “mid-thirties.”

Now I’m a pokey, harsh, unwelcoming 37.
37…such an ugly number.  A number not divisible by any other… alone.  Old.
And definitely sliding dangerously close into the “late thirties.”  Sigh…

But, I’m happy.  Is it because I woke up to a bunch of Facebook “Happy Birthdays?”  Yes.  Ok, but not JUST that.  (Oh, but let’s be honest… you don’t WANT those to matter because, after all, they’re just people who saw your name pop up in their newsfeed and threw out a simple two word phrase… perhaps even out of obligation or to avoid guilt.  But,try as you might, you can’t help feelin’ the love when you scroll through the list of people who’ve taken the time – even if just a moment – to acknowledge you… feels good.)

No, I’m happy because – despite the world being full of disappointment (i.e. the bulk of my experience in online dating), I somehow have hope.  I’m not going to use this post to explain how or why I still do – I’m saving that for a longer write-up.

But, what I do know is – the world of online dating, though it has brought it’s fair share of smh moments and fist pumps, has also brought some of the most amazing people into my life.

Tomorrow night I’m hosting a party – (and yes – if you live in the Houston area, you are WELCOME to come!) – and at least 60% of the people coming out to celebrate my birthday with me, are friends with me because of online dating.  They’re either men I’ve met and befriended, after we realized we weren’t romantically matched, or women I’ve met at social functions sponsored by Match.com and others, or friends OF those friends who I wouldn’t otherwise know.

In the last year, these friends and I have done all of this and more together:

– mafia/20’s gangster themed birthday party
– karaoke
– luau with a whole pig
– game nights
– family dinners
– pub trivia
– dancing …SO much dancing!
– foodie exploration
– toga pub crawl
– housewarming parties
– Houston beer fest
– crawfish boil
– trampoline dodgeball
– family Christmas party
– speed-dating event
– beach days
– trip to Austin
– comedy shows
– concerts
– nerf gun war

The ‘ol interwebs may not have brought me the love of my life …yet.
But it HAS brought me some of the dearest friendships I’ve ever known.   These are people who love me, love my kids, and have filled in as my second family.  And I’m so thankful!

So today, on a day that merits some reflection and gratitude… I’m happy to report that I’m happy.
That… though I think 37 may be the ugliest number of them all (c’mon…it really is…right?),
I am a woman blessed with the sweetest community.

Happy Birthday to me.

6’s and up, please

A friend of mine and I were hanging out the other night
and he point-blank asked me what I thought my number was.

My NUMBER.

 

*Record scratches*

Wha??

Ok – let me clarify for those who don’t instantly know what I’m talking about.

Regardless of how shallow and tacky it is – we all size each other up based on different qualifications and characteristics.  ONE of those is looks.  It just is.  We can regurgitate all day long the cliched idea of beauty being on the inside… but at the end of the day – you DO care what someone looks like.

Now, different people care different amounts.
Some people have a high tolerance for homeliness if the personality is winning enough.
Others have a harder time seeing past the proverbial warts to the heart of gold underneath.  We’re all somewhere on the scale.
But we ALL have a number cutoff.

So, it goes like this – the scale is from 1-10, with 1 being ugly and 10 being gorgeous.  It’s obviously subjective… so, while I may say Jason Bateman is a 10, you might call him an 8.    …..Oh, who are we kidding… no one thinks he’s an 8.  That’s just crazy talk.
But you get the gist…

Anyway…back to my story –
in that moment of decision… I was at a loss as to what to say!  Which is really saying something.   Or….not.

I mean… if we’re factoring in personality… I think the number’s pretty high.

But, looks alone?  Well…. I’m much more curvy than I’d like, but I have a decent smile… my skin isn’t perfect, but I have pretty hair,…
all kinds of thoughts are running through my mind at this moment while my friend is awaiting my answer.

If I’d been having this conversation with my best friend (a girl) or my mom… I could’ve given a higher number and they’d reply, “that’s right – you’re great!”  In fact, if I’d given anything but a 9 or 10, I can hear either of them chiding me, “Sarah Stone!  Stop that!  You’re amazing!!”

But this is a guy.  A red-blooded, straight, normal guy… he’s not going to come back with, “awww sweetie, no!  You’re WAY higher than a….[fill-in-the-number].”
But time was slowly dripping along and I had to answer.

So I went with nice solid “7.”
I’d say I’m a….. 7…?”    He didn’t flinch or wince…so that must’ve been close!?  Or he’s just really nice.

But it got me thinking.  What number AM I?  How do guys see me?  And… is it REALLY all about looks?
Even in a brief one-minute conversation, someone can tell enough about your personality to sway that number a bit, right?
And surely enough of my personality comes across in my online profile to bring my ‘number’ up a bit… right?

And… if I AM a seven… does that give me the right to only date 7’s and higher?  Maybe I don’t get to be as picky as I have been.  SO many questions!

 

So I went to the ultimate authority on all things….
the source of all true wisdom in this world.  …
The internet.

Internet, internet – on the wall
Who’s the ‘better than average’est of them all?
….tell me …am I pretty?

beautiful people 4I completed a series of quizzes to rate me on a scale of 1-10.  I figured the most reliable method would be to average at least 3 scores – like a credit report.  One test came back reporting I was “smokin’ hot”…and though I appreciated the ego boost…it didn’t much help in the numbers game.

But the next three gave me cold hard data.  You know….scientifically collected and bias free.    Ahem…

(And …side note – these quizzes are written TERRIBLY.  They’re chock full of grammatical and spelling errors… presumably all written by drop-dead gorgeous, but dumb-as-nails people.)

pretty 1

pretty 2

pretty 3

8 “very”s…. that’s a lot…right?

So…. there you have it.  The interwebs say I’m a nice clean “8.333…..”
Not shabby!  That’s 1.333 higher than I’d given myself.

But I wasn’t satisfied.  These were pedestrian quizzes, probably created by lonely teenagers during their homework period.  What real proof is that?  I needed more.

So, next I filled out the OKCupid “Attractiveness Quiz.”  I figured they had lots of data on me anyway – my photos and stats, numbers of views/messages from guys, etc.
And here’s what they had to tell me…

beautiful people 5

AAaaaaahhhh….mediocre.  Every woman’s dream.

I may have to put that on my profile.
“Hey fellas….you wanna get with someone who’s just so-so? I’m your girl.”

Awesome.  (Ego takes a nosedive at least 1.333 points…)

Ok, ok… to be honest, this didn’t really rock me that much… since many of the questions were judging me on things that I value, but the world does not.  Some of the questions had to do with sexual promiscuity, etc.  I answered pretty conservatively, so that clearly makes me less whoreish attractive.

Next, I took an attractivity (is that even a word?) poll… and got these results:

beautiful people 6

This tells me what I already thought to be true about myself –
– Nice,
– Poor, and
– Not too hard to look at.
Yup – that’s me.

But it STILL… wasn’t satisfying.  I mean… all of this “data” is based on my word.  They say, “tell us what you look like,” and I TRY to be as objective as possible.  I don’t claim to be skinny.  I know what’s what.  I claim it.  But apparently in not having any piercings and being average height – already puts me in the top half and claiming to have a winning smile takes me ALL the way to mediocre.

So – where could I go to have someone REALLY tell me how I stack up on that oh-so-important scale of physical beauty alone?

beautiful people 1

Apparently really attractive lions can make it in too…

BeautifulPeople.com.

That’s right.  It’s a thing.
It’s a dating and social/business networking site that only allows attractive people to be members.
And according to wikipedia, only 20% of applicants make it in.  Awesome sauce.

beautiful people 3

Cuddly?  Haha…love it.

I filled out all the demographic information.  Next…


beautiful people 2The photo.

I used one from the last year – that shows the whole body – in the hopes of providing FULL disclosure.

Ok, fine, I MIGHT have been wearing spanx in that photo, but come on… tell me that lion wasn’t sportin’ a little shapewear too…


beautiful people 7

Now I wait.

For 48 hours.

To let the world of beautiful people judge and rate me… and ultimately decide if I make the cut.

I feel like I’m back in high school just HOPING there’ll be a spot for me at the cool table.  (In case you’re wondering… there never was.)


bp profile 1Full disclosure – this is my profile on the site…

bp profile 2

So…….. will I be pretty enough for the shallow world’s approval?  And what will those results TELL me?

If I make the ‘team,’ does that mean I can be MORE picky?

If I don’t… does that mean I’ll change my personal assessment of myself?

Well, obviously not.  It’s not going to change what I know to be true about myself.  But, it will be an interesting foray into the world of vanity.  A social experiment, if you will.

So – DRUMROLL…….

Did I make it in?

You’ll have to wait another day to find out!  Stay tuned for part II………

Jerk is the New Black

Am I the only one who thought the whole “insult a woman to lure her in” tactic was dead?
SO 2004… amirite?

Well – it seems the trend hasn’t died, much despite its idiotic presuppositions.
And how do I know?
Well…. let me start at the beginning.

 

I had a date.

Errrrrr?….*record scratches*

Yes,…I suppose you could say that the dry spell was broken, but… I’m not sure that’s such a good thing in light of how this went down.  Here’s the scoop.

Jerk 2

I met Craig online.  He liked my profile and I thought his was decent.  I wasn’t sure I’d be physically attracted to him, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons on that front, so we started texting.

By text, he was definitely funny – got my jokes quickly, came right back with his own clever wit, quoted Gin & Juice as well as Calvin… so – ….yeah.

We met for a drink one night before I headed off to an event with a group of friends.

He was sweet!  Perhaps a touch nervous, but… who isn’t?  We chatted about pub trivia, church, online dating, music, the Heights, etc.
He didn’t ask me too much about myself… but he seemed like a nice guy nonetheless.

But – I just wasn’t feelin’ it.  He was cool – nice, funny, chill,…. someone who could hang with my friends and roll with their irreverent jokes and throw in a few of his own.
But not someone I wanted to build a romance with.
Maybe it was lack of physical attraction, maybe there was a depth of character I was looking for that wasn’t there, …I’m not sure.

We hung out once more in a friendly capacity…mostly just me making SURE there wasn’t a spark… and alas…none.

I figured my lack of romantic zeal was obvious, but just to be sure he knew what page I was on, I texted him that while he’s welcome to come hang with my friends any time (we’d established that we frequent some of the same local watering holes already),  I didn’t think we were a good match romantically.  He seemed jolted and asked if we could talk sometime.  So, the next night he called me to hash out the terms.

He was quite frustrated with me for “dissing him” <– his words, not mine…do people still say ‘diss?’  He went into this whole monologue about how he “usually acts like an a#*hole to women – because that’s what they like,” but that he’d seen something in me that was a different caliber and thought he’d try showing his softer side.  And apparently that’s the last time he’ll do THAT because it clearly didn’t work – and I don’t know the “real him” (I suppose that means the real him is a jerk?)  We had that conversation a few times over, each time with me saying, “well, Craig, I’m really sorry you’re upset… I just didn’t think we had the spark I’m looking for,” and him going right back into his annoyance that I didn’t respond to him the way women usually do and that I didn’t really see the whole version of him which is usually more distant and rude.  Um….WT…?

I don’t know what he thought the result of this talk would be… that I would respond to him being a sore loser by giving it another try?  Who wants THAT?

He also allowed as how any man would be a FOOL to stay friends with me after being “dissed” (he really likes that word).  He said, and I quote, “what kind of a*#hole would want to keep hanging out with you after it didn’t work out?” …..uuuuummm…first of all…that offer got taken off the table once you started being a baby about all of this… and secondly – to answer your question…..most of my guy friends!?  I’d say 65% of the male friends in my life are guys who I met through online dating, and while there wasn’t a romantic spark, we realized we really liked each other as friends.  They’re now some of the closest friendships I have!  (In fact, some of them are reading this right now!)

jerk 1

So, after at least 10 minutes of him awkwardly going on about me not seeing the real him that’s usually much more rude… (no matter how many times I type that out, it still sounds so bizarre…), I finally made my conversational overtures that hint to the end of our talk… and he softened for a moment and said, “wait….there is one thing I want to thank you for.”
Aha!
Here it is… he’s coming to his senses and wants to end this on a sweet note.
I’m listening, Craig.

I want to thank you for broadening my horizons.”  (awww….sure thing, boo)
I mean…I’ve never dated anyone nearly as OLD as you.”   (aaaaannd….there it is.)

Well, I gotta give him props for changing up his strategy.
The bulk of the conversation was just crude grumbling…but this was a not-so-cleverly disguised, passive-aggressive insult.
MOST of the women he dates are apparently spring chickens, but he went out on a limb to date the old lady with one foot in the grave.
How magnanimous.

 


 

Postlogue:

As much as I want to blame this guy, or even the moronic book he probably bought on the bargain self-help shelf, the problem is likely more systemic.  Our society encourages the backhanded compliments and a pursuit of superficiality over depth.  In an interview with Rosalind Wiseman, author of  Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, a book about teenage boys and the way we neglect their desire/need for good solid emotionally strong relationships, she says,

Great young men want to have rich emotional lives, but everywhere they turn, people are forcing them to live the stereotype of being a sexist, not-caring, emotionally disengaged, superficial guy. It’s amazing because we turn around and get angry with them when they go over the line, without acknowledging what we do as adults that stifles and silences and shuts boys up from being emotionally engaged people.”

I’m not saying Craig is off the hook because our culture “made him this way” – he makes his own choices and is responsible for finding and maintaining the kind of relationship he wants.  But, we do all play small parts in the bigger picture of how men attract and treat women, by the way we treat our boys/teenagers/men.

So, inasmuch as I have a piece of the responsibility in the way I raise my own son, I plan on helping him grown into a strong masculinity while valuing and cultivating authentic and emotionally-rich relationships with women (once he’s 37, of course…).


A friend and reader suggested I link to an earlier blog post that addresses the differences between men and boys… and how we (women) SAY we want a man, but we ACT in ways that encourage them to stay boys…  read it here.

Lonely Waffles

They say that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti – meaning that men compartmentalize their thoughts/emotions whereas women let everything get entangled together.

But I’ve been thinking lately that the older you get – if you are single – whether you’re a man or a woman – the more we all get waffley.  Our lives are more compartmentalized by virtue of our age and experiences.

Being single at 40 is an entirely different beast than being single at 20.  When you’re 20, you’re just getting READY to start your life – to start a family, grow a career, figure out where you stand in the world… do I want a family?  Am I a ‘pet’ person?  What do I like to read?  Eat?  Listen to?  Will I be a scrapbooker or a salsa dancer or a candle-stick-maker?  When you’re 40, it’s likely (dare I say ‘probable?’) that you’ve figured some stuff out.  You might even HAVE a family (thinking of folks who have kids from previous relationships), you probably have a job, you likely have hobbies and interests that you’ve cultivated over the years, you’ve gone in and out of being a vegetarian or a hipster or whatever ‘thing’ you wanted to explore – and you’re just more ‘set’ in your life and in what you believe about the world, people, and the universe.

What’s my point in this?  Well – if we have more of the puzzle pieces of our lives figured out.. I maintain that we look for partners in a different way.

We no longer (necessarily) need someone to START a family with or to be our cheerleaders as we define ourselves in the working world, or experiment with different hobbies/activities.  No… now we just need someone to come ALONGSIDE us in our existing lives.  And that looks different.

We have friends, hobbies, routines, favorite shows, activities, clubs, etc.

Now we’re looking for someone to fit into our world, not help co-create it.

And this matters….why?  Well… I think that this opens us up (at least for me, I’ve found this to be a danger)… to lowering our standards.

Instead of searching for someone who will be the BEST partner for all facets of our lives, we tend to look for someone who will make one or a few of our ‘categories’ a little better.  Someone who’ll make a great ‘add-on’ to our social life, let’s say.  Or someone who’s a great sounding board for our job life.  Someone to go listen to jazz with, someone to eat out with, someone to simply provide adult conversation, watch shows with or go dancing with.  But there’s a tendency to settle for someone who only ‘fits’ in SOME of our life and not all.  Because…well – it’s better than nothin’.  Better than doing everything alone.

I’ve been in a surreal place recently where I feel like one of the only single people left in my age bracket who is still waiting for her ‘person’ – the whole enchilada.  Someone who won’t just be icing on the cake of my social life, but who will be my lover and friend through my WHOLE life.  That means – my church life, my life as a mom, my veg on the couch days as well as my get dolled up for 2-stepping nights.  Someone who – as my online profile says – will throw me around the dance floor and kiss me passionately on Saturday night and then hold my hand in church on Sunday morning.

I want it all.  So do most 20-year old singles I know.  But creeping up in the late 30’s/40’s… so many people seem to just want SOMEthing.

Because we’re lonely.

And SOMEthing is infinitely better than no ONE.

Someone we can insert into part of our lives… who may not truly know us to our core and GET us in our most vulnerable places, but who makes us feel attractive and is fun to have around… is far better than being alone for one more pitiful weekend.

So, I’m writing today’s post as an encouragement and a reminder to myself mostly – but also to anyone else out there who has started to rationalize dating people for the sake of soothing PART of your/our loneliness… rather than holding out for the one who will be the BEST partner/teammate/lover/friend/soulmate in EVERY part of our lives.

Being waffle-ish is ok.  Having our lives compartmentalized and more figured out than the fresh-out-of-college folks – is great!  But I say we hold out to find syrup that reaches every little square.  Doesn’t that sound more tasty to you?

Let’s Not Get Greedy, Now

Yesterday I overheard two girls talking in line at a cafe, and one said, in a cavalier tone, “I mean… JUST because I’m engaged, doesn’t mean I HAVE to marry him!”

Um………..it doesn’t?

I posted this on Facebook and got quite the response from men and women – which inspired this post.

It occurs to me that this attitude of committing to something without really committing to it – is becoming a dating/relationship epidemic.  People are saying yes to anything from a second date to marriage proposals – out of fear that maybe there won’t be anything better… so they hedge their bets by holding on to something that isn’t perfect for them.

Greedy - dressIt’s like when you’re shopping at Ross and you buy up any dress you think MIGHT actually look nice on you in the flattering light of your own home… knowing full-well you’ll likely return some or all of them in the coming week.  So, why buy them at all?  You buy them so that you can have the OPTION of owning them, and so that no other woman can scoop them up.

And I do this too – you try it on and you don’t LOVE it, but you think you might GROW to love it, with the right level of Spanx scaffolding and distracting accessories…you could make it work?… so, you don’t want to give up the possibility of ownership… even though your gut tells you it’s way too hoochie-mama, or see-through, or tight or unflattering in some way.  You hold on to less-than-perfect

Are we doing this in the dating world?  Holding onto a girlfriend or boyfriend longer than we ought to… just because they’re the ‘best so far?’  Do we keep our claim on someone so that no one else can have him/her even if we know deep down that s/he’s not the one?  Or do we think if we put the right proverbial spanx on our guy/girl that they might turn INTO the one we really want?  We’ll just keep accessorizing around the problem – that we’re NOT a good fit?

This is terrible!

And it’s also why I’m a fan of the quick elimination system.

I contend – and stick with me for a minute – that dating should be greedy… in order to NOT be greedy. Hold on, before you check out… check this out:

greedy - quoteI was having lunch with someone the other day who was hesitant to get back into dating because she doesn’t have time to go on multiple dates with people who she doesn’t like…. WHAT?  I asked her WHY she would go on any more than one short date with someone if he wasn’t showing potential for being ‘the one?’  She responded with this popular sentiment that there’s some sort of expectation to go on several dates with people because it’s …good manners?  Pbshhh…. Nuh uh!  I call poppycock.

I say you only spend your time hanging out with someone who you WANT to be spending your time with.  Be greedy.  Don’t accept second dates out of obligation or some kind of weird cultural expectation.  In this way, it’s OK to be selfish.  When being picky is being greedy – I say being greedy is ok.

It’s OK to want the whole package.  (Not perfection… there’s a big difference between realistic expectations and fantasies…that’s probably enough fuel for a whole other post, but for now – know that when I say the “whole package” – I mean someone that meets the parameters you’ve set in your mind/heart for who is a great match for YOU).
It’s OK to be picky and wait for it.

Be greedy on the front end, so that you don’t end up greedily holding onto something that isn’t meant to be yours.  Be greedy, to not be greedy.  See what I mean?

And in the meantime, it’s OK to let the men or women around you grab up the dresses that made you look fat while you wait for the one that fits you like a glove.

I can only hope that my perfect dress (I imagine it’s ruched for maximizing my curves, while having a big, passionate heart) is out there on some rack, waiting for me to try it on… and not being held hostage in some other woman’s closet while she holds onto something that isn’t right for her, out of fear that there won’t be something better.

 

Uggghhhhhh…….

It seems there’s a rain cloud  thunder cloud  post nuclear mushroom cloud hovering over my love life.  It’s been a while since something exciting or hopeful crossed my love-seeking path…
Hey – it happens.

And, while it’s disappointing, I can roll with it, because I know it’s just for a season (hopefully a short season…  more of a Florida summer afternoon rain shower than a Sri Lankan monsoon….here’s hoping?).

But, it’s a little nerve-wracking when my friends are being messaged by charming, hunky, God-fearin’, 2-steppin’, witty-as-anything men while I get comments like (and I’m not even joking…see below), “let me sniff it.”

*dry heaves.
gross - sniffI really wish I didn’t know what he was referring to.  But, sadly… I get this kind of thing quite a bit.

And all it does is make me throw up a little in my mouth.  Thanks, McNasty.

Is this what’s left?

Is this IT??  I ask you!!?!

* pumps fist dramatically into the stormy onslaught.


So, in a temporary moment of self-pity, today’s post will focus on the crass, self-absorbed, brain-numbingly boring or idiotic messages I receive… because, hey – misery loves company.

Sigh…


 

ugh - my arrogance is choking his advanced degrees

A little explanation on this one.  This is from Zoosk and on that site, you can set it up to have an automatic response if someone only winks at you.  Mine is set up to say something silly, like, “what?  Just a wink?  C’mon… blah blah blah…”

This guy apparently didn’t find it cute and adorable as I’d intended, and wrote this pompous message.

a.  I like how he says he read my profile and then later says he “guesses” I have a “masters in something”… um – yeah.  It says so RIGHT on my profile, buddy.  Apparently HIS 2 masters and doctorate didn’t help him read mine for full comprehension.

b.  If my “arrogance is choking him,” why did he message me?  JUST to lecture me or show his academic superiority?

Sigh ….. again….

 


ugh - yuHello Michael  I’m fine.

But YU may need to buy a vowel.


ugh - gamer fantasy

Submitted by my friend and blog reader, Jenny

Wow.  What’s the OPPOSITE of turned-on?  That’s what I am.  Not only does this let me know you’re WAY more into gaming than I’d ever want to be with… but… there are sex scenes in video games?  Oh good grief.  I already have to compete against the world of pornography and strip clubs and the real-life women who throw their sexuality around like it’s Halloween candy.  But now, I have to contend with some high def anime ‘woman?’ (presumably perfectly proportioned… I mean, I’m guessing the makers of these games aren’t making Sarah-esque curvy but sassy sex robots).

I had to Google “Triss Merigold.”  Let me say this – if you’re feeling down and want to read something hilarious – Google “Triss Merigold.”  She’s a sorceress who heals others but is allergic to magic.  Here’s a pic:

They actually captured my likeness quite well.

They actually captured my likeness quite well.
[Illustration by David Puertas]

<— Well, this is embarrassing.  I almost wore this exact same outfit today.


ugh - not interesting.pngText you if I find WHAT interesting?

There’s nothing HERE? !

There’s no photo, no description of who you are (other than that you like the beach and stars…which…. let’s be honest…who doesn’t?).


 

ugh - dullboyWait a minute… you didn’t SAY “DullBoy” was out there.  The search is OVER!

All work and no play – sign me up.


ugh - self entitled quiz This is the quiz this guy put on his profile to help women see if they’d be a good fit for his ideal match.  Apparently his ideal match is a lot like his housekeeper/cook.

Oh boy… and I mean BOY.

He is a BOY.

Lookin’ for a mama.

 

This is so self-indulgent and juvenile.

Where are the men who will ask what delicious meal THEY can cook?  Are there any left who CAN cook?


 

ugh - mistakes galoreHow many families does this guy want to HAVE?


ugh - food productWell – FINALLY!

A profile photo that tells me everything I need to know.

Well… except for EVERYthing.

Heck – I don’t even know WHAT this IS!?  I can only assume it’s some sort of food-like product. But what?  And more importantly,… WHY??


ugh - lots o problemsListen, “moves,”
I don’t think this is gonna work out.

I think there were more mistakes than coherent phrases in this message.  Sorry, boo.


ugh - boringOh, another stem-winder!

This guy doesn’t really like….ANYthing, does he?

I can’t imagine a more lifeless and generic “About Me” section.


ugh - Big Black...Guh-ross.

Dude… is there NO nuance left in this world?

NONE??


ugh - JerkI guess I should applaud the fact that he owns his jerkitude.  But, GEEeeeez.

I kept reading this thinking he would type, “Oh, just kidding!” but he never did.  This is REALLY his profile.  And if he’s going for some kind of twisted humor, I suppose I’m just not his target audience.  I don’t know what woman is.  It’s not even particularly clever – just mean.

Also, it’s not “that just sounded hilariousness,” smarty-pants.

Sigh….ugh……….

 


ugh - grumpy loves sexI love this one.  He wants a woman who will “always look good to him” and who “loves sex” and the only photo he could deign to include looks like he’s bored out of his mind.

Sexy… mmmm…


ugh - hump dayI see whatcha did there, glasses.

Very clever.

If clever means the sort of humor I used to hear in middle school.


gross - hit itAnd last, but certainly not least…

Mr. Class himself.

This guy is a treasure, I’m here to tell you.

There isn’t anything more woo-worthy than having a guy say this to you.

Swoon…


 

So – all of you out there who are going on lots of dates with great guys…

Throw a little of that mojo this way.  Because I’m drowning in bad grammar, snore-fests and jerks.

Help a sista out.