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.
My first mistake was this (and it’s taken me a while to figure this out):
I was his first date after his divorce.
(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.”)
So, 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.
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.”
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 opponent? He’s the enemy!”
So, why did I high-five him?
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.
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….
Or, before you’ve even finished your first drink, the guy is planning your next date.
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.
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.
I 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.)
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?’
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!?)
This 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.
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!”
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:
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…
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.
No, really – CALL ME!
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.
Yup… I, along with 80% of all those who try …did NOT make it into BeautifulPeople.com. Alas….’tis true.
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:
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.
As I write this… I’m no longer 36. *a single tear streams down her resigned, still face*
Ah…36 – such a lovely number.
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
– 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
– 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.
A friend of mine and I were hanging out the other night
and he point-blank asked me what I thought my number was.
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. …
Internet, internet – on the wall
Who’s the ‘better than average’est of them all?
….tell me …am I pretty?
I 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.)
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…
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
Next, I took an attractivity (is that even a word?) poll… and got these results:
This tells me what I already thought to be true about myself –
– 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?
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.
Cuddly? Haha…love it.
I filled out all the demographic information. Next…
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…
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.)
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………
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.
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.
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!)
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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!”
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.
It’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:
I 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.
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.”
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.
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….
But YU may need to buy a vowel.
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:<— Well, this is embarrassing. I almost wore this exact same outfit today.
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?).
All work and no play – sign me up.
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?
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??
I think there were more mistakes than coherent phrases in this message. Sorry, boo.
This guy doesn’t really like….ANYthing, does he?
I can’t imagine a more lifeless and generic “About Me” section.
Dude… is there NO nuance left in this world?
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.
If clever means the sort of humor I used to hear in middle school.
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.
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.
When I see a handsome guy who MAY be remotely close to me in age, the very first thing I do is look down at his wedding ring finger to see if he’s married. If I see a ring, well – he’s dead to me.
What? Too harsh? I mean, I’m sure he’s a lovely fellow and his wife is lucky to have a hunka-burnin’-love by her side, but I don’t need to waste any more time in attraction/curiosity when he’s clearly not on the market.
But, what about ALL those men without rings? They’re not all available. Some are engaged, some have serious girlfriends, some are alone but emotionally inept. How’s a girl to know?
I mean – if I stand in line behind someone at Starbucks who, for all intents and purposes, seems available… it takes every ounce of bravery in me, mustered in a span of mere seconds while we wait for my nonfat chai latte, to strike up conversation. It’s not easy! And frankly, I don’t want to waste all that effort only to find out that he’s dating some supermodel who bakes homemade crumpets for orphans or something…
I think we need a system. A taxonomy of availability and statistical information. I’ve suggested something similar to this before – using a multi-colored ring system to denote relationship status. You can read about it here. But now I want more than that. I want all the details in one easy-to-read location. A user-friendly interface for dating. I suggest wristbands.
Hey – if you can wear them for various causes and Lance Armstrong, you can wear them to find the love of your life, amirite?
This idea came to me recently when I had to have one of those hospital bands put on me (you know – way less cool than the wristband the nightclub gives you, but chock full of personal information for anyone to read should you suddenly lose your ability to speak or slip into a coma?).
I say we add a splash of color, bedazzle these puppies, slap some pertinent demographics on ’em and start the singles-finder revolution.
Who’s with me?
Each band could list your age, your availability status, and any major dealbreakers.
How awesome would that be? No more guessing if someone is ‘on the scene,’ as it were. No more calling up all your courage only to find out that the cute barista “isn’t ready for a relationship.”
Plus – the dealbreaker line gives you an automatic IN. A natural topic for starting up conversation. Heck, order yours to say, “Ask me about our BOGO event”…I don’t care!
The bands can come in multiple colors and styles, so you can pair them appropriately with your various ensembles. Obvi.
Perhaps we can even take a page from the Swatch watches of the late 80’s and have interchangeable pieces that can snap in based on your mood for that day.
There can also be varying degrees of enthusisam for wherever each person is in the journey – something like:
- SINGLE/OPTION PENDING
- MARRIED/JERKFACE for NOT WEARING A RING
and countless others. (you pay extra for custom design, but hey – it’s an investment).
It’s not enough to simply NOT be wearing a wedding ring anymore. There are just too many non-married options to wade through…and who has the time? Or the emotional energy?
I need details people! DETAILS!!!
Now…off to build a prototype.
Some of you may remember my first foray into speed dating last summer…which, aside from the entertaining story it provided and a friend I made in the process, was a colossal failure. When you endure a 5-min. long detailed description of a man’s recent toe surgery, you pretty much know you’re not walkin’ away with a life love… or a man who can walk correctly at all, really.
But this week, I participated in Match.com’s version and it was considerably more successful. Sit back and let me tell you the tale.
Let me begin by saying that I DIG the idea of speed dating. I think anyone on the dating scene can agree that in 5 minutes, you know if your date is someone you want to spend the rest of your date with or if you’d rather be home watching Storage Wars. So, the premise is simple and reasonable – 5 minute dates with several men, and if you liked what you saw, you could contact them (or they, you) for a real date.
The event was held at the charming Prohibition-themed “Eighteenth Cocktail Bar” near Rice Village, and Match.com had supplied SEVENTEEN dates! Not shabby.
I was greeted by an enthusiastic woman who gave me the run-down of the night and passed me on to another fun, charismatic personality (I would later covet her job) who signed me in. There was about a half an hour of mingle time where people could get drinks, food and chat. That’s the only part I would’ve done differently had they asked ME to run the show… not everyone is comfortable making conversation ex nihilo. I think an icebreaker type of cheesy game would’ve helped the non-extroverts of the group ease into the night.
I was fine because I ooze conversation, but even for me, it was a stretch – so I can only imagine how the less “Sarah-ish” folks fared.
So, I got my perfectly crafted mojito and sidled up to a few folks to start chatting. The girls were great and the guys seemed …well… normal! I didn’t see anyone right from the beginning who caught my eye on looks alone, but the personalities were enjoyable for sure.
Finally, the woman in charge (did I mention I want her job?) got everyone’s attention and gave us a run-through of how it would work, including directing everyone’s attention to things like table numbers, list/notes for the night, and suggested icebreaker questions/conversation starters for those people who can’t think of how to move conversation along for the ENTIRE five minutes… hmmm… She was great, though. Her introduction helped bring a shared humanity and recognition of a collective nervousness to the event that evened things out a bit.
We got started and I sat at table 12 (I’d like call it “the best table” from here forward…) to await all my 5-min. suitors.
And they trickled in, one by one, shaking my hand, introducing themselves to me and asking questions to get to know me. I will say this – most of these guys were quite lovely – they have good jobs, they were intelligent, capable of making conversation and asking me about myself and they were (mostly) appropriately complimentary.
There were exceptions, of course… a couple of the guys talked WAY too much about themselves, filling the entire 5 minutes with talking about the details of their jobs and how important they are, and never asking me anything about myself. But, hey – that’s life… better to happen on a 5-min date than a 45-min one (or worse!)
Some guys were simply drinking too much. When a guy sits down and he’s obviously drunk…well, let’s just say – you’re grateful for the 5 minute limit.
(related note…any blurry photos were taken by people who couldn’t master the button pushing because of inebriation. Let me apologize in advance for them).
One gentleman was especially smarmy. He started out great…asking me a unique ice-breaker question, “What were you doing on New Year’s Eve?”
I answered him, telling him I was at a party with a singles group I coordinate,
and he went on to ask what the IDEAL New Year’s Eve night would look like for me…
“Um….. thank you? …man I’ve known for 42 seconds…?”
So, that was fun.
About halfway through the evening, the MC announced a short break and, as I’m sure you can imagine, the ladies’ restroom was abuzz with debriefing. It was like a sociological study in there – listening to all of us exchanging stories and anecdotes and talking in general about the world of dating…fascinating stuff. If Match.com wants the REAL scoop on what people were thinking of the event, all they’d need to do is plant a mole in the Women’s restroom and listen.
I honestly could’ve ended the evening there – conversing and laughing with the other women – but duty called and I returned to my post.
At the beginning of the night, I’d tried to make contact with all the people in “charge” of the event, including a manager of the restaurant and the bartenders helping us out. I guess I made an impression because right smack dab in the middle of one of my 5-min-dates, the bartender came over to me and brought two shots of some delicious melon drink – one for him (the bartender! Not my date!) and me.
It cracked me up – and I didn’t quite know how to navigate the situation except to diffuse the awkwardness with humor, so I thanked him and told my ‘date’ that he was probably making up for snatching my not-yet-finished mojito from the table while I’d been in the bathroom. Still… it was hilarious and flattering to be interrupted during the shortest possible date, by a man offering me a free drink.
SO… there were several men who helped vindicate my enduring faith in online dating – that is,…they’re great guys who will make someone very happy I’ll bet. But none for me.
Although…there was ONE guy there who was quite fascinating to talk with… friendly, handsome, engaging, witty… sound familiar? Yup – it was Raul! (For those of you who haven’t been reading the blog long, Raul is a close friend I made via online dating. We simultaneously and mutually agreed that we weren’t a romantic match, but we’ve had a fantastic friendship ever since.)
He was there! What are the odds? (OK, maybe he heard me talking about it and decided to go WAAaaay outside of his comfort zone and come check it out. He’s guest posted a couple of times on here, and… he’s going to post TOMORROW about HIS perspective from the night!
At the end, I snapped some photos with folks who agreed to let me splatter their faces all over the interwebs, said my goodbyes and went on my merry way.
In retrospect, there’s really only one thing I would’ve done differently. I think a classy move all around, would be to put a tip jar on my table. You know – I’d pad it with a couple of ones and let the cash roll in. I mean… as each guy left his 5-minute date, I could give it a subtle tap-tap with my fingernail, as if to say, “I’m not saying a sizeable tip would increase your chances of another date……but…..”
Hey – money talks. Let’s make it rain, boys.
What…?? I might be sassy and confident, but this single mama’s gotta make a living!
As Daniel Tosh says, I’m a baller on a budget.
The next day, I got a few messages from guys who were there…but not many. I suspect that Raul got considerably more… we’ll have to wait and see. But, I hypothesize that my lack of enthusiasm over any one guy was obvious…I’m known to be pretty transparent. I don’t think I was at ALL rude or unkind. I had FUN with these guys. But, I also think they walked away thinking, “that was fun. But, I don’t think she likes me enough for a date.”
All told, I consider the event a success. I didn’t go in thinking I’d probably find love, so I wasn’t disappointed… but I WAS encouraged by a room full of well-adjusted (mostly) folks looking for the same thing I am… that connection with that one person… and they haven’t given up hope. THEY are all still searching like I am – still believing that it’s out there to be found. And that’s nice to see.
Well… I’m here to testify to the fact there are still some left. At least here in Houston, there are.
I know I write a LOT about the meanies, the jerks, the not-so-smarts and clueless men swirling around in the cyber-sea of love, but the truth is that there are also some amazing single men (and women!) still out there to discover and subsequently lock down.
In today’s post, I’m going to highlight one great profile and one great date…as exemplars of hope. 🙂
I run across great profiles all the time. Just this last week, I got a well-crafted message from a guy and when I read his profile, I knew I had to share it with all of you – as, at the very least, contrast to all the junk I put up on here.
Here’s what I received… (keep in mind that some of this is funnier to ME because he made joking references to my profile, specifically):
Points for reading enough to be able to reference items from my profile, and for being subtley witty (that third sentence about weeding out the “players” is a sarcastic allusion to the bevvy of girls’ profiles that say that …it’s the equivalent of guys’ “I’m easy-going and laid back).
So, I went to his profile. And it was awesome! From the silly byline to the well-written body, it was a pleasantly normal and charming read. So, naturally, I messaged him back to ask if I could showcase it here. He was gracious and eager to say yes! Here it is:
Now, whether or not you agree with his politics, you have to admit that the prose is refreshing.
And he’s not the only one out there who can still put the proverbial pen to paper and express himself this way…he’s one example of a subset of good guys still on the dating scene….lest you lose hope.
Now… on to a date I had recently.
(Isn’t this fun?)
I met a guy a couple of weeks ago… we’ll call him “David.”
We met through mutual friends and I think there was pretty immediate interest, so we exchanged numbers. The next day, we texted/flirted and he laid down the gauntlet – Miniature golf – loser buys drinks.
I dig the playful element here. But, to sweeten matters even more… the next day I awoke to an email that said…. well, I’ll just show you.
How cute is THAT? And how totally perfect for me? There’s a roguish but sweet feel to this exchange that I loved.
So – what were my house rules? I engaged several friends in brainstorming…I had three goals in mind:
1. Be creative enough that he’d appreciate my mind.
2. Include something that COULD lead to flirty touch, but wouldn’t necessarily if the chemistry wasn’t there.
1. Any time the ball goes outside the designated path, the player must perform the Macarena (I ended up doing this more than he did, sadly)
2. For the FIRST stroke of each hole, the non-playing person would cover the player’s eyes.
3. For every point HE went beyond par for a given hole, we’d take one point OFF of my score. (Ensuring my win…and no drink-buying…)
David picked me up EXACTLY on time (swoon…..) and we weren’t even 2 minutes into the drive before we were laughing, talking and enjoying each others’ company. He told me HIS house rules:
1. Any time either player went beyond 5 strokes, s/he had to yell at the TOP of his/her lungs: “I’m the worst golfer EVER!!!”
2. At the end of the game, we’d add both our scores together and if it was an even number, I had to cook him dinner…and if it was an odd number, he had to cook ME dinner. I had to clarify…”you mean…tonight?” He said – “no! I’m already planning on having another date.” (double swoon…)
3. After hitting a hole in one (if that should happen…which it never did), the first shot of the next hole must be hit with your non-dominant hand.
We arrived at the place and started playing – and it was silliness right from the beginning. We had a blast. This guy is – with some unique differences – a male version of me… forthright, funny, loud, friendly, flirtatious… so how could I not have an amazing time? I was on a date with a handsome version of one of my most favorite people! 🙂
Thanks to my third house rule, I won the game by a landslide, so I dodged the bullet of buying drinks. But, I wonder… would he have made me buy them? Part of me thinks he may have ‘let me off the hook’ because he’s got this strong gentlemanly streak in him – opening doors, being thoughtfully gracious in the way he converses, etc. – that a piece of me thinks he may have footed the bill either way… I guess I’ll never know! Why? Because my ingenious plan was flawlessly crafted in my favor. (Mwah ha ha)
Afterwards, he took to me the charmingly dive-y newly re-opened “Moon Tower Inn” – an outdoor-only highly irreverently marketed craft beer and gourmet hot dog spot. It was perfect.
We (David) bought a round of beer and 2 hot dogs (mine was a delicious lamb sausage with oregano, cilantro…and all on a sinfully white-flour pretzel bun), and we sat on a picnic table and just talked and talked and talked…. and, ok – fine…there may have been some smooching. I mean – c’mon… winning putt-putt AND drinking fancy beer with a cute boy… how could I not?
For fun, we pulled up our OKCupid accounts on our phones and compared profiles – which was actually quite entertaining AND enlightening. Since we hadn’t initially met online, we hadn’t seen each others’ bios/photos yet, so it was another great conversation starter (or…for two talkative people… “conversation ‘continuer’?”)
I saw toward the end of his, that he admitted to loving board games…and I think I audibly gasped in excitement… “NO one still likes nerdy board games! But I LOVE them. That’s too cool!” To which, he replied, (and no. …this wasn’t code for all manner of naughtiness…), “I think we should go back to your place, crack open a bottle of wine and play games.”
And that is precisely what we did.
We played, we laughed, we talked, I kicked his hiney at “SET” (but, to be fair,…he’d never played before and he actually picked it up really quickly. And watching him get excited about learning it was SO attractive), and we just had the nicest time. A bit more smooching and a lot more conversation… and finally we had to give in to fatigue and say goodnight.
It was a fantastic night. It was all the things I love most – an early start (so…lots of time for fun), playful and silly, good conversation, yummy food/drink and connecting with someone of a caliber I haven’t encountered in a while. Oh…and did I mention he loves Jesus? Yeah….
My point in telling you all this is to assure you that – amidst all the horror stories you hear of online dating or dating in later “seasons” of life… there are still funny, intelligent, thoughtful guys out there – single guys – who haven’t yet been snatched up. So… don’t lose hope. They’re out there!
And from time to time, I’ll remind you so.
Kind of like Bed Bath and Beyond, but way sexier…
So here we are at the end of the 12 Dates series AND at the end of the year, so I thought I’d take a moment to look back on both.
First, the numbers:
17 years age range
10 good dates
4 dating sites
1 lost skirt
I’ve done improv comedy,
walked the zoo at night,
worked my way through a scavenger hunt,
go kart raced,
What a ride!!
The 12 Dates of Christmas series was an interesting (and exhausting!) study in human interaction.
I’ll take some great (and not so great) memories with me, as well as a few lessons about myself and the dating game. Here are some of my observations:
1. There are a LOT of boys out there. But, there are still some men. This gives me hope.
Most of the guys I went out with were men of character… men that will be amazing partners. How nice is it to know that they’re out there?
2. Profiles can be deceiving – both for good and bad.
A couple of these guys, I may not have said yes to SOLELY based on their profiles, but because of the series, I agreed…and I’m glad I did – they were more handsome and charming in reality than their profiles let on. I realize I’m a huge spelling/grammar nazi, so I often dismiss men who may just not be the best at representing themselves in writing, but are still very intelligent/talented/creative.
3. I can broaden my physical parameters a bit. I’ve had these ‘rules’ in my mind about age, height, race, hair…
I didn’t want to date anyone younger than 30 or older than 42, shorter than me in heels, a different race (read the post on that before assuming I’m a horrible person), or bald/balding. And yet, I went out with ALL of those during this series, and had a fantastic time!
The youngest and oldest dates were two of the most fun.
I discovered a black man that kisses the way I like,
had a blast with men who were my height or shorter,
thoroughly enjoyed 3 men who were bald or balding
and basically all-around had to eat my own words.
I’ve gotten a lot of judgement for having too many first dates, very few second dates and being too picky.
But, the more I’m in this game and learning about myself and the people I spend time with, the more confident I am that I CAN hold out for what I really want. Not perfection… but perfect for me.
I’m going to keep being picky.
I’m going to keep eliminating quickly – being decisive and honest, so that no one gets unnecessarily hurt.
I’m going to continue expecting the best. Because, not only am I worth finding an amazing man, but I have a big, passionate and authentic love to GIVE.
So, there you have it.
The last year has run the gamut for me. Almost exactly a year ago, I had my heart broken so badly – I didn’t think I’d survive.
And, in some ways I’m NOT the same…that experience is still with me…it shaped me… but I’m good. REALLY good. And after the initial pain subsided, and I ventured back into the world of dating, I gained SO much! What exactly did I gain from all this, you ask?
- I’ve learned more about myself, my expectations and desires in a relationship. The things I used to think were at the top of the list aren’t, and other things have become priorities.
- I’ve grown more comfortable on dates, so that – as I walk into a bar/wine bar/restaurant/coffee shop, I’m not nervous or anxious… I just have an excitement and anticipation about what THIS date will bring. I’m not worried that I’ll run out of things to say or that I’ll make a fool of myself… because I’ve learned now that I probably WILL and it’s ok! I’m at ease in my own skin.
- I’ve made some AMAZING friends. A year ago, there was no Tyler, Brian G., Alan, Doug, Derek, Jenny, Denise, Jason, James or Brian K. in my life. ALL of these people have been added into my circle of friends because of online dating/blogging, …and I couldn’t be more grateful.
So, when we’re laughing (or wincing) at all the horrible messages, terrible texts and unthinkably awful profiles, remember that there is a huge GOOD side to this world. I’m glad I’m in it. Of course I hope that my search for love doesn’t last too much longer… but while it continues, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy the ride.
See you in 2013! And see you on my website – launching TOMORROW!
12 Hearts A-Racing,
11 Hats A-Rockin’,
10 Rauls A-Mystery-ing
9 Friends A-Tempting,
8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.
Before you read that title and go thinking I’ve lost my mind and broken all my rules and am falling madly in love with someone who doesn’t believe what I do… settle… the racing is in reference to Go Karts… mostly.
So, we left off with plans for date two with the Matthew McConaughey sound-a-like, and knowing that the “what do you believe” convo was on the table. No pressure, right?
(let me interject here… that I didn’t think I’d be using this as #12, so I didn’t take pictures. Ugh! But, I’ll put in a couple of us from other hang-outs so you see how totes adorbs he is…)
Brian was SUCH a gentleman. He showed up at my house with a blazer and the ever-ready cowboy hat… and a bouquet of flowers.
A bouquet of FLOWERS.
Now, I’m gonna venture out and say (and I don’t think I’m revising history here…) that no man has EVER showed up on my doorstep before taking me out on a date …with flowers in hand. And they were pretty too – Christmasy.
While I was putting them in a vase, he asked how I’d feel about going Go-Kart racing. (He had told me earlier that we’d be doing something “active” for the first part of the date – and that I’d have full-veto power about that part, and then could come back to my place so I could change for the rest of the date… I LOVE that he thought it all out.) I quickly responded, “Sure!”
Only later, as we were walking into the racing place did I realize I was REALLY nervous!
First of all, Brian used to race. Like – really race. As in – if you type his full name into Google, the world “Racing” automatically fills in. Yeah.
Oh…I google people. More on that in a later blog post…
Secondly, I’ve never done this before! And it’s PRACTICALLY his first impression of me. Minus a quick round of drinks on our mini first date…
And lastly, I’m relatively certain I’m gonna suck. I mean – I like to drive quickly (and it’s gotten me into my fair share of speeding tickets), but I’m also conservative and not a huge risk-taker, so driving some car I don’t know at super fast speeds around a track I don’t know, all while wearing a helmet which I’m not used to, and having to pay attention to this entire series of signs and flags I was just briefed on by a junior in high school…. Can you feel your pulse racing? <—racing…. see what I did there?
So, we were sitting in our cars waiting for our turn and I was SO anxious…I KNEW Brian would win. I knew I would lose. My only prayer was that I didn’t screw up so badly they’d have to stop the race and come pull me out of the crumpled guardrail I’d just demolished with my terrible turning radius…
And as I was sitting there in the car, my heartrate quickly speeding up to match the pace of the cars zooming past us, I started calming myself down by saying (to myself…don’t worry, I didn’t talk out loud like a crazy person), “Sarah – you write a blog about dating,….you ask men out all the time… you are always telling other women to be bolder and initiate the first move with men of interest… and you can’t drive a toy car? Pull it TOGETHER woman! What’s the worst that could happen? (don’t interrupt my self-talk with ideas of public humiliation in front of an experienced and dashing race car driver… this is MY pep talk, darnnit!)
And with my newfound sense of confidence, we began the race.
What a high! I was right about finishing last, but I didn’t ever have to stop the race and publicly embarrass myself because of some idiotic mistake, so that’s something.
It was a lot of fun. And yes… Brian was in first place. And yes… I was in last place. But, that was expected. And him winning, was pretty rock star.
We drove back to my place where I quickly changed, refluffed my hair from having some sort of cat burglar mask smooshed onto it (a head sock for the helmet… Brian called it some fancy name that sounded like Baklava, but I dunno…), and when I walked back down the stairs, he caught his breath and told me I looked great. Does this man have any flaws?? (oh yeah…there’s that whole “might not be a big fan of Jesus thing…”)
He had made dinner reservations at Benjy’s (which, as I’ve mentioned, is one of my favorite spots in Houston. Brian didn’t know that… he just chose well. Much like his choice in company). 😉
We had the nicest meal. He was completely on board to split two entrees so we could each experience two meals (not a lot of people agree to that… I’m not sure why?!). We flirted with our waiter (who MAY have been high…), we laughed and talked and every time I got up to go use the restroom, he would stand. And every time I returned to get into my seat, he stood. I have never had a date do that. And, while it sounds old-fashioned as I sit here and type about it, when I was THERE, it made me feel like royalty.
Finally the time came for the faith talk. It was a natural segue… you know – me pounding my fist on the table and saying, “Alright, let’s DO this thing!!” No, it really was pretty organic and honest and he did a good job of talking about his family, how he was raised, and what he’s come to decide/believe. He was gracious and winsome and we even even joked throughout the conversation. But, as delightful as it was… it was also discouraging (for me) because he really is agnostic. I guess I’d hoped that he’d say something like, “Well, I put “agnostic” on my profile because (fill in the blank here…
‘I’ve become so frustrated with the flaws of organized religion’ (I can work with that…)
‘I was so hurt in my church after my divorce’ (I can work with that too)
‘I didn’t like the other options because they weren’t an accurate representation of my true beliefs, which are just to follow Christ’ (who COULDN’T work with that?)”
But, he truly is agnostic. SOOOoooooo…… I knew I would enjoy the rest of the date because he is a FANTASTIC guy. But, my heart sank because I also knew – I can never marry this man…which means it would be stupid to let myself fall in love with him… which means it would also be foolish to continue dating him. I don’t ever think I’ve been so disappointed to anticipate the friend zone.
But, I was right about enjoying the rest of the night.
Brian knew I love to play, so he suggested heading over to an English pub that has darts, and after that, on to a pool hall.
At the pub, he totally schooled me in darts. And not like Taylor, who came up from behind because I was so horrible at the bullseye. No – Brian’s aim was unparalleled and the scores weren’t even CLOSE. On the second game, he worked through the numbers in proper order and let me play slops and I still lost miserably. Haha! Oh well, all hope was not lost because it was in that dimly lit darts hallway where he kissed me.
OK – I know what you’re thinking… why would you kiss him if you know you’re going to have to just be friends? Oh… I wish it was that simple, y’all. He’s SO handsome and kind and smart and funny and…the list just goes on and on…did I mention charming? Sigh… I don’t think I stood a chance at resisting his smooches. And I’m glad I didn’t, because he was an AMAZING kisser. Tender, respectful while also being passionate… perfect.
I don’t feel bad about the kiss – in part because I’d already laid out for him what I want/need in a romantic partner (faith-wise), so he had to have known exactly what I did… that this date would probably be our last, barring future friend-only ones. So, it’s not like he was thinking we were smooth sailing into lovey-dovey land and I was being the Cruella de-Ville of relationships.
We headed over to the pool hall and played a couple of games – I actually WON the second one – yay! And we kissed a little here and there between shots.. .it was really nice.
He drove me home, walked me to my door and we kissed some more. Hey – I’ve already given you my rationale… if you don’t like it…skip ahead to the non-smooching portion of the post. 😉
I don’t regret anything. We were both honest and had a great time.
A couple days later, we decided to meet up to see a movie. I knew I needed to have ‘the talk’ and tell him I don’t see how we could work out, given the huge gap in beliefs… and I did it that night. He knew it was coming and, while he was disappointed (oh…I do hate that part… so much…), he also understood where I was coming from and respected my choice.
I’m not done with Brian, though. He’s WAY too much of a catch to let go of. (Did I just accidentally make a fishing metaphor? Wow…I am SO sporty).
We’ve already hung out again since having ‘the talk’ and it was REALLY nice. We walked around CityCentre one night after playing darts/pool/shuffleboard nearby, and he asked a couple clarifying questions about the faith/religion thing and I got a chance to elucidate my thoughts on it all…which was good.
I also invited him to join my singles group that I’ve mentioned before and he came out with us last night for karaoke and 2-stepping! Of COURSE my friends loved him… because he’s great.
I envision a great friendship here. There will definitely be that low hum of sadness/disappointment for a while as I mourn the potential of something that would’ve been amazing…yet incomplete for me. But, I’m willing to be reminded of that and deal with it, if it means getting to have Brian as one of my friends. He’s worth it.
And now we’ve come to the end of the 12 dates… aaaaahhhh……….. I’m going to go have a bath.
But, stay tuned for a review of the series as well as some pontification over the last year of dating, blogging and the pursuit of love.
In 2 days, I will be moving over to my new website and I would LOVE you to join me there!
I’ll post to both places for January and then it’ll be exclusively the new site.
So – come on over as we take the party to my new digs.
And a special thanks to my sweet friend Tyler, for helping build the website and patiently walking me through learning how to use it, getting the fonts I wanted on there and in general, just being awesome.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
11 Hats A-Rockin’,
10 Rauls A-Mystery-ing
9 Friends A-Tempting,
8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.
Alright…I’m gonna cheat just a little here. I’m going to use Brian as my number 11 AND my number 12 (and I’ll use the 12th post to review all the dates!)…because we had THAT much fun together, and have been out a few times now.
(Now, before you go getting all excited… wait to hear the “catch”… sigh…)
First of all, I just texted Brian (real name) to ask him if he had any requests for his psuedonym, to which he replied, “how about Ali Benizir Kamal?”…. what a NUT! This guy is so silly…and adorable… and… well – I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.
I met Brian on Zoosk. He messaged me first and we got a little banter going… (to the left)
Somehow, in all the flurry of discussion, and me doing my cursory check of his profile to see what he looked like, if all the you’res had apostrophes, and make sure there weren’t any “alot”s, I jumped in, and missed an important piece of information. A piece I ALWAYS check, but for some reason…didn’t. We’ll get back to that later…
So, Brian and I met up at Sullivan’s near the Galleria.
We had the BEST bartender who made all sorts of suggestions and conversation about food and wine and scotch, and even took our picture for us. Brian was easy to talk to from the beginning – very real, down-to-earth, funny, and all with the smooth voice of Matthew McConaughey. No lie. If I close my eyes, it sounds just like him. MMMmmmm…
At one point, I dropped my earring as he bent down to get it for me (sweet), I remarked about how I have a problem with losing earrings. He replied, “well, at least this time you didn’t dance it off.” And I knew that he’d been keeping up with my blog (where I’d mentioned that in one of the recent posts). I said so and he replied, “Well, it wouldn’t be good sense to go on a date without doing my RESEARCH, now would it?” So cute.
So we chatted. We talked about our children, our jobs, the dating scene… and it was really nice. Brian has this twinkle in his eyes when he’s listening to you – the kind where I kept finding myself pausing mid-sentence, distracted by this light in his eyes and face. For me, there was definitely a spark.
Oh… at one point, he even told me that I had a bit of spinach in my teeth. Now that’s a good guy right there. I mean – sure, it was a moment of embarrassment – but how much MORE embarrassed would I have been to discover later that it had been there the whole time? Points, Brian.
We only had about an hour and a half because I was meeting up with a friend to go to a concert. Toward the end of our time, I made a comment about really looking forward to this concert and Brian, very tenderly, put his hand on my knee and said, “Oh man.. it’s too bad you’re really looking forward to it… that means there’s no chance of convincing you to skip it.”
(enter stomach butterflies here… handsome man in a cowboy hat and blazer, with his hand on my knee, letting me know he obviously likes me enough to want to spend more time with me… sigh…)
He took care of the bill, despite my offer to split it (such a gentleman), and stood up to hug me as I left. No kiss. And, though part of me was disappointed, another part respected the fact that, (as he texted me the next day), “an hour of time together didn’t seem like enough to make a kiss ok.” Indeed, Brian. Indeed.
So,… I knew I wanted to hang out with him again. But… here comes the catch.
I went back to Brian’s profile page, to check it out again (not sure exactly why), and there it was – jumping out at me as if to say, “Stupid GIRL! How could you have MISSED this??”
Yup – Brian’s agnostic.
He’s SO great! But, as you all know – the faith thing is a big deal for me. Many other potential suitors have fallen by the wayside for this reason, and I’m sure many more will. But, man… it never stops being so disappointing.
In my optimism, I decided to ask him about it, in the middle of our making plans to hang out again… thinking maybe he’ll say, “Oh, yeah – I put that on my profile, but really I love Jesus.” You know… cause THAT happens all the time…
Here’s a bit of our text conversation on the matter…
I felt like I’d spent so little time with Brian on our first date, and I could tell he’s a person of thoughtfulness and depth, so – at the very least – I should hear him out and see what it is he really believes… and go from there. So we made plans to go out on date #2 (or #12 for this series’ purposes)… and…
You’ll have to read #12 to hear about it.
Oh yes. Yes I did.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
10 Rauls A-Mystery-ing
9 Friends A-Tempting,
8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.
I told you that I’d feature different SORTS of dates in this series, and this was, as Raul kept calling it, a “Mystery Non-Date Date.”
For those of you just joining us, Raul is a friend of mine (who’s name is nothing remotely close to Raul, but chose that Nom de Guerre as a condition of me writing about him) who inspired a post about breaking things off, and later guest posted with advice on what to wear on a date.
Raul and I have become good friends, and we hang out quite often now. So, when he said he wanted to take me out on a “mystery non-date date,” I knew I wanted to use that as one of my 12 – in part, to show how this whole online dating thing has a sweet secondary advantage while you wait for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect (for you) to come along… it’s a great vehicle for meeting/making new friends. In fact, in just a couple of hours, I’ll be hosting a Christmas party for over 20 people, most of which I’ve become great friends with through online dating and the ripple effect/connections that’s afforded me! So, if you’re feeling discouraged about not yet having found your prince/princess – at least you can enjoy the happy byproduct of the search…new friendships.
So, Raul didn’t want to tell me what we’d be doing or where we’d be going. He just told me what HE would be wearing.
Then, a day or so before the non-date-date, he texted me to talk about dinner options – and he remembered me telling him the story of having gone out on a date with a guy I really liked, who honestly did leave his wallet at home (we’d worked all this out before the date, so it wasn’t some trick – he was a good guy) and I offered to pay for the date… which meant that when the time came to choose the spot to eat, I had this newfound sense of total freedom in deciding..because I was paying! This is something guys don’t often consider, but as a woman, if we think there’s even the slightest chance that the man will offer to pay, then we have to be careful about the restaurants we choose… don’t choose something so expensive it makes you come across as greedy or a gold-digger, but also don’t go so cheap that it’s a place you won’t enjoy…
Anyway, Raul remembered me telling him that and so he told me to choose a restaurant that I would choose if I knew I’D be paying (even though I wouldn’t be. Raul is a very generous and traditional man when it comes to taking care of the bill).
I just thought this was so sweet – mostly because it proved that he had been listening when I mentioned that story and he’d tucked it away. That sort of thoughtfulness and attention to another person, is something Raul has in spades.
So, I threw out a few options, and we settled on Haven, the new culinary darling of the Houston scene (Raul’s words).
Traffic en route to the restaurant was crazy – Christmas season in Houston, I suppose. So, we got there late and Raul was a little stressed about the time because we had SOMETHING to get to at 7:30. But, the long ride to the restaurant also afforded us time to talk…and we had a great conversation about family traditions, holidays, …we even got into our parents’/grandparents’ love stories – which was a lot of fun.
Dinner at Haven was so yummy and our server was a total hoot – taking our picture, bantering about food and our evening schedule, and even at the end, running out to grab the car to give us an edge, timewise.
Then, we drove like a bat out of Hades through downtown Houston to the Alley Theater, to see a delightfully funny and even briefly poignant show, “The SantaLand Diaries.” This is a one-man show (a hilarious one man, I might add) about a man taking a job as one of Santa’s elves at Macy’s in NY. It’s based on the work by David Sedaris, so you know it was hilarious.
The reason why this was such a good choice, is that Raul chose something which matched my personality/interests perfectly – it’s Christmasy (and I am a total sucker for all things Christmas… I’m that girl who actually LIKES hearing “Jingle Bell Rock” playing over the mall speakers… because it means we’re in the Christmas season!!), AND it’s comedy (and I absolutely LOVE comedy… stand-up, improv, you name it).
We squeaked in JUST in time before they closed the doors and then proceeded to laugh our tooshies off for the duration of the show.
When it was done, as we were climbing into Raul’s car, he remarked on what a beautiful night it was and asked if I’d like to take a walk. I, of course, agreed and he said he’d drive us to someplace suitable. As we were driving, I kept thinking, “why doesn’t he just pull over here? Or here? Downtown is beautiful!?”
After a few minutes of driving, I finally asked, “Where are you going?” He laughed and said, “I was wondering when you were gonna ask! I thought we’d go check out the lights at the zoo.”
Now, for those of you who live in H-town, you already know this, but the Houston zoo puts up a million lights each year at Christmastime – “Zoo Lights” – and you can buy tickets to walk through the zoo at night while looking at the different themes and listening to the music they have playing… it’s quite beautiful. So, that’s what we did!
So, we walked around, talking, laughing and enjoying the beauty of the lights. It was really nice. I highly recommend this as part of a date in the winter, as it affords you space to talk, as well as something to look at or “do.”
Most of the animals were tucked back into their sleeping nooks, but we DID get to see the giraffes up close and personal, and we probably stood there for 10 minutes, just watching them, imagining what they were thinking, naming them (I wonder if between the two of us, we could remember all the names we gave them… I seem to remember Janet, Larry, Leslie, Barkley, Farkley and Markely (the triplets), …and there were more. Fantastic creatures.
We finally left when the zoo closed down for the night and headed home.
The night was lovely – as I KNEW it would be – because I’ve come to know Raul pretty well and he’s always fun to spend time with.
But, not only do we enjoy each others’ company, he is an expert listener – always tucking away stories and thoughts I’ve said or told him about, that come up weeks later in conversation or – in this case – a date. He knew how much I love Christmas and Christmas lights… and he chose the course of the date based on knowing me. And it was perfect.
So, let this be a lesson – my testamonial, if you will – that the online dating thing has its privileges and perks, even if you haven’t yet found your great love story. I would never have met or befriended Raul if it weren’t for being online, …and what a loss that would’ve been, because he’s one of my best friends now.
So – if you’re wary about getting your profile out there – think of Janet and the triplets, think of lights and one-man shows, think of car-rides with great conversation – and go for it. Maybe you’ll find a Raul too.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
9 Friends A-Tempting,
8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.
I feel I should tell you that this AND the next date are platonic.
Thud. <—the sounds of thousands of readers dropping their smartphones/ipads/etc. out of indignant disappointment.
But hold on… just because the dates weren’t filled with smooches and declarations of future love, doesn’t mean they weren’t fantastic.
Let’s start with Andrew (oooooooohhh….using his real name and EVERYthing. Scandal. Well…as much scandal as is possible when the person tells you it’s ok…).
Remember WAY back on date #3 (Taco Bob… bowling…frozen yogurt…ringing any bells?), when I posted a coupon for Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in the Heights? Well…. when I wrote to the corporate office to ask them if they’d consider providing a coupon for me to post on my blog, I got THIS reply:
To which I responded… “How old are you? Can I see a picture?” Ok, so maybe I said it a little more diplomatically than that, but c’mon – I knew nothing about this guy, except that he co-owns a Frozen Yogurt shop. Hmmm… now that I think about it – that’s really all I need to know.
He promptly replied with some number where there was a 3 in the front, and a photo of a very handsome man. I was in.
We started making plans, and in our back and forth e-mails, I could tell he was an intelligent guy, and witty. So, of course, he crushed my growing anticipation by clarifying that this was just a friend date, because he is dating someone else and wanting to be honorable in pursuing her. Y’all, he used the word pursuing – no lie. Sigh…
So – here I am with a date set up with a guy who’s handsome, runs a business (not to mention, one that could keep me knee deep in mint FroYo), is funny, smart, aaaaaaaaaaaaand……….unavailable. Awesome.
But, I figured, how can I pass it up? I know we’ll enjoy each others’ company – I could tell that much from the back and forth e-mails. And I DID say I was going to have all sorts of dates showcased in this series, so… yeah.
We decided a daytime walk/bite-to-eat in the Heights was in order (and since I knew there was no chance of a mug-down session, I didn’t need to cleverly suggest somewhere that we could nestle into a smoochy nook). I had to change our plans a couple of times because of kiddo’s schedules and he was quite gracious about it, playfully teasing me about being “back burnered.”
We met for lunch at Liberty Kitchen, an Oyster bar in the Heights, and it was smooth sailing almost from the first hello.
Now – THIS is the kind of date that I don’t think anyone really wants to read about… because it was just …nice! Bad dates are entertaining, but a guy who’s polite, kind, funny, intelligent and handsome, while a fantastic lunch partner, doesn’t exactly make for stem-winding reading.
But, I promised you honest accounts of my 12 dates, so – splash some water on your face and let’s do this.
Andrew was great. Too great, actually. I’ll explain in a minute. He was friendly – quick with a smile and a laugh, did a great job of keeping that balance of talking about himself and asking me questions about me, had a great sense of humor, and was all around pleasant company. And so handsome. And did I mention that he’s a Christian (some of you may remember that’s a thing for me… to find someone who lines up with me in what we believe)? Yeah – when I
cyber-stalked…er… did some preliminary research on him before we met (which, of course, I NEVER usually do……ahem…), I saw some things on his FB page that made me think he MIGHT be, but at lunch I got to ask him about his church, and was pleasantly surprised to find a guy who not only believes what I do, but can articulate the motivation behind choosing his church…which speaks to his character and level of engagement with his faith.
So – really – the only thing wrong with this guy, that I can tell… is that he’s someone else’s guy.
Honestly, this date was funny for me because it left me with two opposing emotional reactions.
On the one hand, I felt this sense of sadness that I finally found a great guy – the kind of guy I could totally fall for… and he’s taken. AAaaargh!!! Frustrating.
On the other hand, I felt a renewed sense of encouragement that I CAN be picky and hold out for the kind of man I want – because there ARE still some out there. I haven’t had that feeling in a while… I mean – I’ve met some AMAZING men in this journey, but only once in a while do I encounter someone who really meets that ‘can’t put your finger on it’ “THING” I’m looking for. And, while Andrew may not be the one for me, he represents the fact that the pool isn’t completely dry. And, the very thing that was most discouraging (his being already committed to another woman) is also a piece of what makes him so attractive (that commitment to that other woman… shows his character and his heart).
So… the search continues.
Sigh with me, will you?
But, the date wasn’t completely in vain… I think I may have convinced him to bring the mint Frozen Yogurt back. I mean, c’mon… who even eats Taro? It’s just a food-snob’s coconut. But, I digress.
Andrew- good guy.
Menchie’s- the place to go for a sweet treat.
Sarah’s love life – soldiering on.
A note about this series…
Just because today is Christmas doesn’t mean I’m tapping out at 9. I’ve completed my 12 dates – but I just didn’t have the time to GO on all of those dates AND write them up, while living a (relatively) normal life with jobs and children and the holidays demanding my time! So… stay tuned. They’ll be posted before Epiphany <–(that’s for the church-calendar nerds out there).
And while I’m adding postscripts – let me also remind you that in mere days, “AndAllThatSass” will be moving to my very own website!! Keep reading for more information…
On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
8 Cradles A-Robbing
7 Smoke’s A-Blowing
6 Skirts A-Dropping
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent, and
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Welcome to my cougar date.
Sigh… Sadly, I’m not even kidding.
I’ve been jokingly called a cougar, because I seem to be attracted to men SLIGHTLY younger than myself, but I never go out with any that are significantly younger – on principle. But, this series is supposed to feature all different KINDS of dates, so…. I decided to take a young man (a very young man) up on his offer to go out.
I met Taylor (I’m calling him Taylor because he has one of those adorable last-name-for-a-first-name names, and “Taylor” just SOUNDS young) when he played upright bass in a jazz ensemble with my best friend one night at her gig. He was filling in for her usual guy and we met. He was very flirty and charming. We only exchanged numbers because a group of us were going to head out after that to go salsa dancing and he said he might like to join us. In the end, there was an issue with texts going through and he never got the information about the salsa spot… but the next day, he asked me out for brunch. I was flattered, but had other plans (AND he’s so YOUNG!) – “how young IS he, Sarah?”… well – let’s just say there’s a 2 in the front and leave it at that, shall we? Old enough to drink, young enough to not be marriage material – that we didn’t meet up.
But he read my blog and enjoyed it and we kept in touch with the occasional text here and there.
So, when he texted me one day to check in, I asked if he’d be up for being my
baby child boy-toy slightly-younger-than-I-am date for my 12 Dates series. He was, (as I suspected he WOULD be) a great sport about it – even asking for clarification about his role. So cute.
We agreed to meet up at an English pub in the village, and I asked if we could grab something to eat from the restaurant next door and bring it back over (since the bar didn’t have much in the way of food and mama was hungry!). So, headed over to Benjy’s and while we waited for the pizza, we dove straight into what turned out to be a surprisingly lovely evening.
Taylor made me giggle right off the bat when he instituted a policy whereby, if he raised his hand while saying something, that information was inadmissable to the blog. “Off the record,” if you will. Awesome. Of course he didn’t ever end up raising his hand throughout the night, but it started us out in a light-hearted way, which is always good.
We brought the pizza back into the pub and ordered a couple of beers. I asked if Taylor wanted to sit at the bar so he could watch the game (there was an important Texans game on…why do I always end up on dates when there’s football to compete with?), but he made this anti-football girl’s heart flutter when he said, “no, I’m not here to watch football!” (swoon…) and we retreated to the side room with the fireplace/bookshelves/sofas – very English parlor-esque.
So we sat and talked… and talked… and talked…
Who knew a young thing like Taylor had so many interesting opinions and ideas? They must be teaching that kinda stuff earlier these days…
We talked about music, about children (he wasn’t at all freaked out about me having kiddos…which surprised me), about dating, jobs, and on and on. He was so easy to talk to, and (as you can see in the photos), adorable to look at. And, despite his age, he was so conversationally adept – keeping a balanced cadence of his own thoughts as well as asking me about myself and my world. Color me impressed.
After a while, I mentioned the fact that they had pool and darts in another room and Taylor was totally game – for a game. This is my kinda guy – ready to spring into playful action at a moment’s notice.
So, we played a very flirty but competitive game of darts. To be fair, I totally had him on the ropes all the way through – knocking out my 17s, 18, and such, but got SO stymied by that blasted bullseye, that I gave him ample time to come up from behind and ….(though it pains me to say it) …win.
But he was a great sport, and didn’t do that annoying thing some guys do where they try to correct your stance or act so superior about their form that it feels less like a game and more like a darts clinic. No, Taylor was an absolute blast.
As a side note – and the only purpose of this paragraph is for me to brag – there was a small group of British friends playing pool next to us and we started some friendly banter with them. I, of course, had to sport my English accent, and after a while, I overhead the woman tell the guys, “my gosh, her accent is better than mine!” SUCCESS!!! My crowning moment… I can die happy now.
Ok – toot-my-own-horn rant over.
We then went onto the patio for a few minutes and enjoyed the gorgeous crisp weather. We talked some more, evening opening up about some more serious topics (past flames, family, etc.), and then he kissed me.
Oh boy…did he kiss me. The man can smooch.
It wasn’t anything crass or over-the-top, but it was perfectly sensual and passionate. MMmmmm…. this guy is danger.
We retreated back into the parlor/library room where we talked, laughed, joked some more. I stole his hat and allowed as how I thought I looked WAY cuter in it than he did…
Taylor was free with the compliments too… even saying at one point (I MAY have committed this to memory right after he said it…), “You’re amazing. I mean – you’re beautiful… But your personality is awesome!”
You speak the truth, young lad.
Finally, we needed to go, and he asked if he could take me somewhere else for one more drink. I acquiesced… (who wouldn’t?) and started to follow him out of the parking lot, when I realized I’d left my phone and my scarf inside the pub. So, we turned around and I headed in to get them, only to find that a gang of drunk 30-something men on the patio had found said scarf, and one of them was wearing it. Great. Gross. Ugh…I can already tell I’m going to have to engage in some kind of drunken negotiations to get it back. So – I turned on my charming and cheerful persona, thanked them for finding it and asked politely for the scarf back. The guy wearing it thought he was being funny, but he was just being a jerk about it and not giving it back to me, saying – “this doesn’t smell like you…I don’t think it’s really yours!” (yes… you’ve deduced correctly… he sniffed me. SNIFFED ME, people…)
After my best protestations, they would NOT give me the stinkin’ scarf (drunk guys can be such fashion-hogs), so I gave up. I thought when they saw me walking away, they’d cave, but no – they’d fully committed to the jerk role and were playing the part beautifully.
When Taylor saw me returning to my car scarfless, he hopped out with a puzzled look on his face. I explained the situation and he marched right into the bar and politely, but firmly told them to return my scarf to me. They played the same boorish game with him, but he was having nothing to do with it. He reached up and grabbed one end of the scarf and used a perfect balance of a “don’t mess with me” tone and playful banter with these idiots as he pulled the scarf off the guy with the same finesse as a magician pulling bandanas from a pocket. In less than 2 minutes, the scarf was ours again and we were heading out.
I have to admit… it’s PRETTY sexy when a guy will stand up for you – even if it IS about something as insignificant as an accessory. (Though…it was a VERY cute accessory – black ruffles and all).
He tried to take us to “The Big Easy,” a sweet blues spot that often has live music… but it was closed, so we headed over to Hans’ Bier Haus where we had some Christmas-y brew and sat by the jukebox just chatting some more. At one point he even quoted Lord Byron. BYRON, friends…
This was a great date. I mean – truly. It was such a refreshing surprise to find such depth AND playfulness in a guy so young. Some of the stuff we talked about would have been socially paralyzing for many men much older, but Taylor was comfortable and winsome.
He kissed me again outside the Bier Haus before returning to his car. Yum. …and sigh…
So… the cougar date ended exactly how you wish it won’t … with me wanting to spend more time with someone who’s really not appropriate for me to date.
I figured that after the fun of the night wore off, when he woke up the next day, unaltered by alcohol or my captivating smile, he would think of our date with fondness, but then move on. I didn’t expect any texts or follow-up conversation.
But… I was wrong.
He texted me to ask when this would post, and after I told him (and asked if he was nervous about the write-up!), he texted, “Well, regardless of the ‘grade’ I receive…I plan on pursuing you again 🙂 ”
So – that brings us to now. We haven’t hung out again because I’ve been so busy with holiday stuff and little ones. But, not for lack of his trying – he’s texted a couple times asking if I was available to go out.
What shall I do? I guess I should also throw out there, that it’s not just the age thing which has me perplexed… I think he and I are probably in different place on the issue of faith. (You know… that whole sticky wicket of me loving God and wanting to find a guy who does too?). Now, I’m not CERTAIN of this… it’s just what I picked up from our brief foray into that topic. Maybe another date would clear it up? But then, when you combine that with him being a neophyte (in more ways than one?)… I’m not so sure… Then again, he’s sweet, smart, funny, thoughtful, fun to be around and an amazing kisser.
So, I’ll do what any self-respecting not-bold-enough-to-make-her-own-decisions dater would do…
I’m opening it up to readers’ suggestions… do I go out with him again, but make it clear that we just need to be friends? How young IS too young? I want to hear your thoughts.
The best comment (as judged by my entirely subjective mood, with extra consideration to those that make me laugh…) will receive a free “AndAllThatSass” notepad.
I know… I know… the excitement is almost unbearable.
Let the advising begin.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
SCA-VEN-GER HUUUUNK………(hoping you all heard that in your head with the dramatically prolonged vibrato-esque voice that I intended)
Four Snowboarding Yanks,
Three Taco Bobs,
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.
Warning…the level of forethought and creativity that went into the following date is so high that you may explode from jealousy.
Ok – with that qualifier out of the way, and heading into treacherous amounts of awesomeness at your own risk, let me tell you about Brian (he gave me permission to use his real name). I met him originally on Match.com, and then again on OKCupid. But, let’s not waste time with all that when we have “Quazy Quests” to discuss…
First of all, this date with Brian is our SECOND date…which I’m lucky he even agreed to since I was (and this will shock anyone who knows me) – late to our first.
To my credit, (and to someone else’s misfortune), there was an accident on 59 that had me sitting on the highway for almost 1/2 hour, but still… I can’t STAND being late
and Brian was amazingly gracious about it.
We met at The Hay Merchant (a craft food and beer spot in Montrose) and chatted over a couple of beers. Easy first date. We established that we each love the improv shows at ComedySportz…in fact, he participates on one of their improv teams when he’s not crunching numbers (my condescending generalization of his role as a Statistician in Houston’s Med Center) at his dayjob. So… when he asked me on our second date, rather than call or text to line up dinner, he sent an Evite…an EVITE, people! (A-Dorable) with all the information I’d need to prepare for our ComedySportz Improv inspired Scavenger Hunt date. Check out said invitaion here.
(Quick caveat – when I asked him if I could write up our date as part of this series, he said that was fine on the condition that he ALSO would write it up from HIS perspective and post it to his blog. See below to read it from the guy’s point of view.)
Brian showed up RIGHT on time and handed me the first clue – boom. Right in.
As you can see – I had to decipher each clue along the way which would let me know WHERE we were going next. In this case,
(and this MAY be the only one I figured out without getting a little hint),
we were headed to
…that’s right — Party City.
And, as the longer scrolled paper said, we might need to pick up some ‘accents’ for our ensembles there.
Along the drive to PC and throughout the night, we pulled slips of paper from a hat (literally…see pic to the right, of said hat) with silly or first-date get-to-know-you questions on them and took turns answering. This was a great way to make conversation and keep those first date lulls in conversation to a minimum. Plus, being with a guy who does improv comedy meant that I would hear things like:
“The other day I went dumpster diving and I found……….
Bahahahaha! So silly. There was definitely a lot of laughing on this date.
We arrived at Party City and started looking for someone to ask our question. I asked a man what country he’d like to travel to, and he replied with “Hawaii.” (allow enough dead silence to give homage to the not-so-brilliance of this reponse.)
SOOOoooo…. “Hawaii” was our “other country”… great.
We also trolled through the store looking for some accoutrements to add to our “look.” I decided Brian needed a white feather boa and I got a pair of fabulously glamorous sunglasses. And you KNOW what they say about a person who wears their sunglasses at night? They can see the light that’s right before their eyes. But, I digress, …on behalf of my 80’s-child friends out there…
Anyway, while we were checking out, a Party City employee handed me the next clue.
Now…if you’re doing the math, you’ve realized that Brian had to have gone to ALL these places earlier in the day to deliver the clues…
…this is the kind of dedication and time/thoughtfulness that is RARE in a date…
and it did NOT fail to impress.
Also – he had a whole ‘back up’ folder in his car with copies of each clue in case someone along the way messed it up.
Once we were there, we were to pick out a bottle of wine from the country we’d gotten in the last location… you know… Hawaii (raising one eyebrow in geographic superiority…). While there aren’t a lot of Hawaiin wines at Spec’s, we were able to pick out a lovely Californian Zinfandel and while doing so, a Spec’s employee walked up to us and handed me the next clue – which led to “Sophia” (a BYOB restaurant tucked into Montrose.).
So, after getting the wine, we headed there.
I should take this opportunity to tell you about another thread of this improv-inspired date…
The “Pavlovian Response” game.
Brian had alluded to this in the Evite, but also texted me to let me know that his friend would be contacting me to assign me MY role in this game. Here’s how it works. Each of us had the task of responding to a certain stimulus/cue/behavior with our own behavior and throughout the night, we’d be trying to figure out what the other’s was. By way of example, I’ll tell you mine.
Brian’s friend e-mailed me and told me that every time Brian took a drink or talked about/mentioned drinking, I was to twirl my hair… and get more and more obvious/crazy with it as the night went on. She even sent a video with an example (you know… in case I didn’t know HOW to twirl hair…)
While we were at Sophia’s, as I was talking at one point, Brian just leaned back and “bock!”ed like a chicken.
What?? I realized this was his Pavlovian Response (well…it was either the game or a rare form of farm Turrets), but I didn’t know what had triggered it.
But, oh… I would dedicate myself to figuring it out.
About 20 minutes later, as I was talking again, he clucked again (poor guy… he’d let his friends pick his P.R. out…hee hee). This time, I just repeated everything about what I’d just done… shifting in my seat, picking up my fork…nothin’. So, I repeated my last sentence word-for-word until he did it again, right after the word “blog.”
Eureka!! I’d struck comedic gold. Keep in mind, he didn’t know mine yet, so I had all the power, folks. All I had to do was say the word “blog” [bock!] and any reference to the blog [bock!], whether a great blog [bock!] like my blog [bock bock!!] or another mediocre blog [bock!], and Brian would cluck like a chicken. Power, baby… and I used it. Anyone we interacted with for the rest of the night got to hear poor Brian doing his best barnyard impressions… awesome.
Eventually, later in the meal, he did pick up on mine, but since mine wasn’t nearly as embarrassing, I was fine with that. Did I mention that I now have a bald spot?
Small price to pay to be able to write about all this in the blog [bock!!].
Our server had given me the next clue before dinner started. I couldn’t figure it out right away… I even enlisted the help of our new friends one table over (how could they not inquire about our date when there were feather boas and chicken noises involved?). I eventually (with Brian’s help) pieced it together that we were going to an improv show at Third Coast Comedy*. Awesome. I LOVE comedy. And, how more perfect can you get than ending the night of improv-based scavenger-hunting, than with an improv show?
So, we arrived at the theater just after they’d started the show, and we weren’t even there 5 minutes before we were both volunteering to participate. Brian went up on stage first, and I followed. I got to help out with two sketches and I LOVED it. (The second time I was on stage, Brian took some photos, but… no one had taught him how to zoom with an iPhone, so they’re far off/blurry… but you get the idea).
I had SUCH a blast here.
Love being on stage.
Is it too late to consider a career change?
At the end of the show, one of the improv guys pulled me aside and handed me the final clue.
Now, remember, each clue tells me where we’re headed next. So, you’ll probably chuckle when you see that the last clue said only:
“You’ll be sleeping here tonight.”
Brian said he’d hoped that by the end of the night, I’d know him well enough to know that he was just kidding with any implications. And I did. It cracked me up.
But, as we climbed into his truck, I said, “well… you know… I can sleep in a LOT of different places. I mean… I could sleep at a FrozenYogurt shop. I could sleep at a wine bar…” – my point being that if he was on the same page, I’d love to keep the date going. So, we decided to head to the Boom Boom Room (a charming wine bar a few blocks from my house).
We nestled into a banquette with our hat of questions and some sangria and just chatted for another hour.
Finally, we left, after asking a stranger to snap these photos —–>
and he drove me home.
As he walked me to my door, he handed me the last piece of the scavenger hunt…
A scroll with a reference to misteltoe inside. I took the bait and we had a nice goodnight kiss. Nothing crazy or long, just a sweet kiss to end the night.
He drove off and I was left to process the most amazing date!
I honestly can’t think of another date I’ve been on that required SO much work on the front end from the guy. Not only did it impress me that he would go to such lengths, but it also made me feel like he thought I was worth doing so… makes a girl feel cared about and significant when a man is that thoughtful.
Admittedly, with regard to that ever-pressing “will there be a next date?” question, I was on the fence. Brian, for all his thoughtfulness and preparation, is a HARD man to read. I couldn’t tell if he was feeling a “spark” or not…which makes me wonder if I was… He’s definitely likeable, but I couldn’t get a good read on how much he was liking me…or not! But, his actions speak louder than his nonverbals (nonverbals are so annoyingly un-loud that way) and he asked me out again. I’m intriged for sure, and I can tell he’s a good guy.
Two observations about his personality and intentions:
1. I noticed throughout the night that whenever I would be talking, he was REALLY tracking with me – as in, not only eye contact, but seeming to genuinely listen and care about what I was saying. This goes a long way toward a woman feeling appreciated.
2. I accidentally left my sweater in his truck. We tried a couple times to coordinate me picking it up, but – due to my crazy schedule – it just wasn’t happening. I was fine to just wait until we met up again, but the other night… I returned home from dinner with a friend, to find a paper bag on my doorstep with my name on a card attached. Inside were my sweater and the infamous white feather boa.
He had driven all the way to my house to deliver it to me, knowing I wasn’t there (we’d talked earlier that night and he knew I had plans). THIS is the kind of gesture that lets me know, even if I didn’t sense it on the date, that he’s sincerely interested in me.
So…we’re doing lunch this week.
And we shall see….!?
In honor of our date foray into Improv-land, “Third Coast Improv Theater” has generously offered a 2-for-1 Date Night special for anyone who mentions my name/blog [bock!]. They’re not doing any more shows in 2012, but you can check out their website for date night (or guys’ night, girls’ night…whatevs) in 2013.
(that is… if we even MAKE it to 2013… fingers crossed, am I right Mayans?
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Four Snowboarding Yanks,
Three Taco Bobs,
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.
I found Allen on OKCupid and thought his profile was cute. Sparse, but cute. I messaged him first and he was quick to respond. We were hardly three or four quick messages into things when I decided to spring the 12Dates idea on him. I figured I’d appeal to his adventurous spirit which was apparent in his profile where he talked about how much he LOVED to snowboard.
So – we met at Benjy’s (the lounge) in the Village, and chatted over drinks and pizza. And when I say “drinks,” I mean ‘lemonade,’ in Allen’s case. He’s not a big drinker and never has even one drink if he’s going to be driving. I admit, I kinda like a big sporty guy who doesn’t guzzle down the liquor. Oh, did I not mention he’s QUITE easy on the eyes? The photos don’t do him justice… broad shoulders and a warm smile. Boom.
Allen wasn’t big on taking pictures. I only guilted him into it twice and each time, when the server/hostess went to snap ’em, he made a dorky face. (Which, admittedly, is both infuriating and adorable). So – here’s Allen in all his soberly goofy splendor:
Now… he had texted earlier to say that he was in a ballcap and shorts and wouldn’t have time to change and still make it at the time we’d decided on — because he was helping his mother move. Um…yeah – that’s not a problem, A. A man who TEXTS to check in about his fashion AND is concerned about punctuality AND helps his mama out… is JUUuuust fine in my book. Besides, I knew we’d be cool at Benjy’s…usually the upstairs lounge is half-full of folks in scrubs anyway at that time.
But, the ballcap did present a different sort of problem.
A Sarah’s foot-in-mouth sorta problem.
SOOOooooo…..you know how I’m really not into sports? Like…at all? Well – I kinda, sorta, just a teensy bit ….insulted poor Allen.
You see that NY on his hat? I realize that 99 out of 100 of my readers know what that stands for. But I (being that one-hundredth person) got it wrong. But, rather than saying I didn’t know who it was, when the subject of his hat came up (don’t remember how), I said, with a foolish sense of bravado,…”Oh! You’re a fan of the Mets?”
(insert collective groans and rising levels of disappointment here…)
He laughed indignantly and allowed as how that was sheer heresy! He said it would be like if when I told him I did my undergrad work at FSU, he had said, “Hey! Go Gators!” (Ack…patooey….ick…) He continued giving “It would be like”s for the next few minutes while totally giving me a hard time….which I guess I deserved. It was very amusing.
I TRIED crawling out of the hole by saying that I grew up in the city where the Mets did their spring training and so, my mind automatically goes to that team when I hear New York (which, incidentally, is where he’s from… which makes all this so much worse!). I also tried undoing my damage by pointing out that BOTH teams have a nested Y in an N as their logo…. that they’re not THAT much different. (This also made it worse…I got a lesson in “navy” vs. “blue”…)
So – I’ll let you guys decide JUST how egregious my error was:
I mean… if you squint your eyes JUUuuuuust right. As in – closed.
Fine…they’re not the same at all.
Allen was right.
Hey – like I said – I never claimed to be an expert in ANYTHING sporty.
Anyway, I digress.
The evening was quick, but nice. He walked me out to my car and said goodbye. No kiss. Which is a shame because I would’ve gladly kissed back…(like I said – the pictures don’t do him justice…he’s all sorts of hunky yumminess).
Afterwards, there was some flirty texting which tapered off after an hour or so.
But the next day…and the day after… and the days after THAT…nothing.
What’s UP with guys?
I mean – if I’m not interested, I’ll usually at least let the guy know…
So – several days later, I texted him…
And I’m going to post the next SEVERAL texts that passed between us so you can see the progression.
Now…I was conflicted about whether to post this — for fear of being pegged as “mean”… but in the end, I promised you all an honest account of my dates, and this is where things landed, so – in the spirit of full disclosure…
here you go.
When I saw the texts about not being ready… I was disappointed, but at least admired his candor.
And then, three days later, he apparently woke up feeling saucy and threw out the offer.
Now – the “I’m not ready” bit would’ve been honorable, if it hadn’t been his way of setting the stage for what he really wanted. What Taco Bob had that Allen didn’t… is the commitment to his “not being ready” stance. He (Taco Bob, a.k.a. Jason) took down his dating profile and assured me that we were just going to be friends (and stuck to that), while Allen keeps his profile active and asks me for a sex-only relationship. Hmmm…
KIiiiiiinda makes me think he was just using the date to lay the groundwork for a FWB (Friends with Benefits) situation from the very beginning.
And, though I’d like to say that this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often, I’d be remiss to.
Because it happens quite a bit.
And, while it’s flattering in the sense that it means he at least found me attractive and desires me that way, it’s not what I’m looking for, ultimately. I want the whole thing – someone who’s ready (when he finds the right one) to be all in.
So – thanks for the fun date, Allen… but I’m movin’ on.
(Maybe to a Mets fan??)
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
3 Taco Bobs
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad
Meet Taco Bob. A guy who greets you at the front door with your favorite beer in hand.
Yup. What a great way to start a date! But, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me set the stage.
This is Jason. Yes – Jason is his actual name…he’s letting me use it because we are just friends (and still are, even after going out…whew!).
Jason first contacted me on OKCupid with a sweet message about enjoying my profile. I can’t link to his because he disabled it a few weeks ago.
We chatted online a bit and then talked on the phone and he was SO sweet. He has an ever-so-slight southern accent and he told me that he liked the way my hair falls to frame my pretty face.
Swoon…. are you serious?
A southern accent complimenting your hair and pretty face?
I was in.
We continued texting and playing Words-With-Friends, but he never seemed to jump at the idea of hanging out. Then he disappeared. After a few days of no contact, I texted him to check in. He wrote back a very gracious and thoughtful text saying that he’d been doing some thinking and soul-searching and had realized he’s really not ready to date after all. I told him I was disappointed, but glad that he’d figured that out before investing in some woman and ending up hurting her (been there).
So, we kept in touch as friends and when the 12 Dates of Christmas idea rolled around, I asked if he would be my “Friend Date,” to which he graciously obliged.
We met at Dave & Busters to go bowling and when I arrived, he was waiting at the door with a Blue Moon in hand for me. What?? Totes adorbs.
We went up to bowl, and despite this being a friend date, he insisted on paying. Southern accent AND a gentleman? Are you SURE you’re not ready to date? Ok, ok…
When we were getting the game set up, I suggested that we pick out crazy names instead of using our own, and he was all for it. Within 5 seconds, he said, “I’ll be Taco Bob.” *Love*
SO – Taco Bob and Sassy Dragon hit the lanes.
Bowling was a blast. We got to tease each other for bad throws, discuss our technique (which mostly meant laughing at the fact that I apparently start my stance/walk with my hip poked out to the side… What?
That’s not how the pro’s do it?),
and generally just have fun.
Here and there we took little breaks to chat, but mostly we just giggled and played.
I hate to BRAAAAaaaag, but……..
(I actually don’t hate to brag at all…I rather enjoy it)…
I totally kicked his tail.
Hey – if this had been a real date, maybe I woulda gone easier on him
(nope…I would’ve played my best no matter what, who are we kidding).
I’m just sayin’…
After a couple games, we headed downstairs to get a bite to eat. All this time I thought that Dave & Busters just had a bunch of nasty fried food, but they have a real menu with healthy options on there! Who would’ve guessed?
We talked quite a bit about our jobs, our lives… and it was nice. We joked and laughed and he was an absolute delight.
(I should say, for the record, that he did NOT like having his picture taken, so the very fact that there are ANY to post – is a testament to his sportsmanship.)
When we finished up at D&B, the night was young, so we decided to go get some Frozen Yogurt in the Heights.
Oh – did I mention he lives WAAAAAaaay out in Blahbety-Blah, TX? Yeah… it’s quite the drive to Blahbety-Blah, so the fact that he was willing to drive further INTO the city for FroYo with me…was sweet. Especially given that it was a friends-only date.
A note on the friends-only thing. He asked me a few days later if there were any negative parts to our date and I told him no. But one thing we did do, that I would NOT care to do so much on a ‘real’ first date, is talk in depth about our exes. Y’all know by now that I’m not one to follow the rules of “don’t talk about’s” on dates and I’m an open book. But, on the other hand, if I don’t know someone well, I’m certainly not going to go into the nitty-gritty of who-done-who-wrong either. One of the nice things about this being friendly and not romantic, is that we were more free to talk about those things. And since his divorce is still relatively fresh, he had some stuff to talk about and I think (I hope, at least), that I offered a good listening ear and some encouragement about life post-divorce. So – what would’ve been a slight turn-off on a real date was one of the nice parts of having a friend-date. If that makes sense.
So – I introduced Jason to the world of Menchie’s — Smileage card and all. We sat in the little parlor room and decorated the blackboard.
We talked about music and friends and all sorts of stuff.
Like I said… delightful.
I’m sure we’ll hang out again. I invited him to join my singles crew that next night, but he was working (I would tell you what he does, but it’s one of those jobs that (according to him) when people hear, they assume and attribute negative qualities (like all those lawyer jokes, I suppose), so I’ll leave that a secret).
Two quick notes before signing off of Date #3’s report:
– I love that Jason was self-aware and honest enough to know that he’s not ready and say so. I think there are a LOT of guys out there who confuse loneliness for readiness and it ends up hurting the women who fall in love with them. So – props to you, Taco Bob.
– This making friends thing is one of the unexpected gifts of my foray into online dating. SO many of my current friends (the guy friends) are men I never would’ve known if it hadn’t been for the online dating scene. So – even when dates don’t work out for the romantic/long-term, there’s still an option of adding a friend to your life… and what could be better than that?
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Houston’s Heights, has generously offered a coupon for free FroYo! So – go have a sweet date with whatever extras you want mixed in (see what I did there?)! Thank you, Menchie’s!
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
a Two-Stepping Gent
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad
For this date, I broke two of my rules – no bald guys and no guys that aren’t taller than I am.
Yes, yes… go ahead and roll your eyes at my blatant vanity…But hey – the heart wants what it wants.
But I’m so glad I did. This guy was a TON of fun. And so sweet. We’ll call him J.D.
I also met J.D. on PlentyOfFish. His profile, if you’re interested. His first message to me said that his daughter was looking over his shoulder and said, “Oh, daddy – send HER a message. She looks pretty and fun.” (This girl is very wise).
My cynical side said, “he probably uses this line all the time… the ‘ol kid-hook,” but my trusting side thought it was SO sweet. So, I bit. And we exchanged a few messages over a couple of weeks before I finally asked him if he’d want to participate in the 12 Days series and go out sometime. He was great about it and had an immediate suggestion of meeting at Big Texas Dance Hall and Saloon* to teach me to 2-step. What could be MORE fun??
So, that’s exactly what we did.
From the very beginning, he was easy to talk to, friendly, warm and sincere.
He also did something that is a dying art in this postmodern world of dating…he complimented me. A lot.
Not in that sickeningly sweet over-the-top way, but in a genuine way where you really believed HE believed what he was saying. All night long I heard about my beautiful “million-dollar” smile and how “fun” I was and he even said twice that I was pretty.
Side note for the guys: This is a long-forgotten word that makes women swoon. Take note.
There’s something about the word “pretty” that captures not only a woman’s beauty, but also a sense of femininity and sincerity. I haven’t been told I was pretty in a long time and it made my heart melt a little.
Upon meeting him, he introduced a couple of friends that he’s know for forever that came along. He explained a few minutes later that they’d been especially interested in seeing him get back on the dating scene, so when he announced that he had a date, they asked to join him and he had to make an in-the-moment decision. He said, based on what he knew about me, that he figured I wouldn’t mind. And, mostly I didn’t. Having them there definitely added some flavor to the date – they were fun and silly and I could tell they were happy seeing him have a nice time. It would’ve been different if we’d met for dinner, but getting together to dance at a place like this is different. We could sorta weave in and out of spending time with them and on our own. It worked out.
Let me say THIS about JD…
the boy can DANCE.
Man – it was SO fun. I teased him for doing too much fancy stuff before getting us into a rhythm of the basics, but I think I held my own and was a pretty decent partner, considering I’m not nearly the pro he is.
And he was so gracious when I would mess up or step on his poor toes.
He was also a great sport about getting out there for the cheesy songs (Justin Timberlake, the Cupid Shuffle, etc.) – doing crazy moves on the dance floor and generally just having a great time.
After an hour or so of chatting and dancing, we passed by the pool tables en route to the restrooms and I asked if he was any good. He took the cue (see what I did there?) and aked me to play. ALWAYS a fun date activity.
I should note here that I am not any good at billiards. Ping pong, yes. Pool – no. But, who cares? It’s fun and even if (when) I get trounced, it’s an enjoyable way to spend time with someone. You get to throw out a little trash talk, talk about your options on the table and of course, see if you can catch him checking out your backside when you crouch down for a shot. 😉
So – after the game of pool, we went and sat on one of the couches and talked for a while – about relationships, dating, etc. It was easy and interesting. Something came up about texting a girl the day after a date and I made some comment about it being important to me to hear from a guy – especially if there’s a kiss the night before – to which he deftly responded, “well… will there be?” Well played, JD. I looked up and gave him my best coy “I don’t know!” and he pulled my chin in for the sweetest kiss. Refreshingly, he didn’t jam his tongue into my mouth or start attacking my body with his hands…he just kept it sweet and light and perfect for a first date. And then he complimented me on my smooching. What better way to end a kiss?
We danced some more after that and I told him I needed to head out. (After all, it WAS a school night). For our last dance, he had shown me this 1-2-3, 1-2-3 pattern earlier in the night (my friend Tyler says it’s a polka…that doesn’t sound very “cool,” so…I don’t know…), and a song came on that we could do that dance to, …only it was insanely fast! He asked if I was up to it and, despite the fact that I knew I wasn’t, I replied with an enthusiastic “sure!”
I’m telling you… I’ve never had SO much fun on the dance floor as that dance. It felt like a ride at a theme park. He was so strong in his leading and we twirled around so much – I’m convinced that at least once my feet actually both came off the floor. We were out of breath by the end and I think we must’ve circled the dance floor 15 times in one song. SO. MUCH. FUN.
Sign me up for that – ANYtime.
He walked me out to my car and gave me another sweet kiss before I left. Again – nothing over the top or aggressive – just right.
The next morning, I got this text:
Not bad, JD. Not bad at all.
As to the question of a second date… I’m not sure.
Unlike Niko (from Date #1), JD did ask me out to dinner – even offered to drive to my neck of the woods and go to “my favorite place” which was so thoughtful.
While I had SUCH a fun time with him dancing and playing, I’m not sure we’re a great match.
I think our worlds are pretty different, and I’m just not sure I felt the spark I’d like to with someone. These things aren’t always easy to explain in words — and certainly, I’m not going to go into the specifics with hundreds of strangers on my blog.
But, suffice it to say that I was impressed with him and I had a great time. He made my night, and he’s definitely going to make some woman very happy.
*Big Texas Saloon & Dance Hall has graciously offered the coupon below to get in for FREE on a Saturday night! What?? That’s amazing! Who wants to go 2-stepping?
A huge thank you to them for such a great time on Date #2, the friendliest bartender ever and many more nights of boot scootin’ fun to come.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Announcing, (the first annual?):
12 Dates of Christmas: A Dating
Experiment Adventure Series
Many of you have asked to hear more from my own dating life, and in an attempt to show the good parts of online dating and not just display the horror show that is 95% of online profiles, I thought I’d do a series showcasing the REAL story of dating—my kinda dating (single mom, on the online scene, etc.)
So – in this upcoming Advent season–a season of longing and hope (how appropriate, right??),
I’m going to go on 12 dates and chronicle each one. Here are the terms/parameters:
- Each guy will KNOW that I’m going to be blogging about the date.
- I’ll include picture(s) from the date as well as a link to each of their online profiles (if they are online)
- Each post-date write-up will include: who is he? how did we meet? what did I wear/what did we do? how was it? and…that ever pressing question… will there be another date?
I’d like to TRY to get a large sample of types of dates – including:
- just drinks (easy first date)
- dinner/longer date
- a second date
- dates with men I normally might not say ‘yes’ to initially
(stay tuned for a quasi-hot-topic post on dating outside your ethnicity…)
- a blind date (set-up)…. Still don’t have this one set…anyone want to suggest a friend?
- a friends-only date (to show that the online dating world can be a great place to make friends,
as well as search for love)
- …..any other ideas?
So far, I have a few interesting ones lined up and I’m ready to write!
The plan is to tell the REAL story – good, bad and everything in-between.
It will be an honest account.
So…you’ll hear my thoughts on everything from first impressions to how his breath smells to what we ate/drank, and even if there was a goodnight smooch.
This means that some of the posts may be less-than-thrilling, because most of these guys are GOOD guys. I’m not going to intentionally waste my time on someone who’s an obvious jerk JUST for your entertainment. I don’t love you all THAT much.
But, hopefully it will give you an honest glimpse into the reality of dating in phase two of your life.
Interspersed throughout these 12 posts, I will continue to publish winner’s circle posts and others…not to worry.
Before I begin… do any of you have any suggestions on this? Details to include? Types of men/dates to choose? I’m open…so let the comments roll on in.
Also…I don’t yet HAVE 12 dates on the calendar…so – if any of you have any hunky, Jesus-lovin’, witty and smart bachelors just lyin’ around… don’t hold out on a blogger. Show a sister some set-up love.