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#7 – Seven Smoke’s A-Blowin’

On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

7 Smoke’s A-Blowin’
6 Skirts A-Dropping
Sca-ven-ger Huuuuunk…..
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent,
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.

Well… this MAY have been the worst date I’ve been on …to date.

I met Kevin on Match.com and thought his profile was funny.

We started texting a WHILE ago (like…months ago), and then he sort of drifted off. He kept asking me out by text for just a few hours later, and with kids, I just don’t usually have that kind of flexibility. So, I kept telling him that I couldn’t, but that if he’d give me some warning, I’d love to meet!

We reconnected a few weeks ago and I told him about the 12 Dates series I was doing on here and asked if he’d be up for it. He agreed, and we decided to meet for a drink that night (again…last minute).

He wanted to go somewhere dog-friendly because he’d been in court all day and his dog had been abandoned long enough. That was fine with me. I’ve never had someone bring their pet on a date, but hey! – new experiences are good, right?

We met at Little Woodrows in Midtown. When I arrived…I texted that I was walking in, hoping he’d watch for me or come to meet me (I suppose they can’t ALL be Taco Bobs…. greeting you at the door with your favorite brew…). I walked around looking for the guy in the photos on his profile, but was having difficulty. Finally I just looked for a guy with a dog and found him.

At the risk of sounding mean, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t think he looked like he portrayed himself in his profile:

Um...is it just me??

So… while I’m still having this internal dialogue with myself about expectations and gestalt shifts, I’m simultaneously trying to make good first date conversation – asking him about his work, his dog, etc.
…and all the while, his eyes are glued to the TV screen where the Texans are playing.
As in… not looking at me… just sort of half-grunting, half-answering or sitting in silence while watching the game.
When he did give a longer answer, he did so while continuing to hold his gaze at the TV screen, so as to make me feel like he could just be talking to WHOEVER was in the vicinity.
Keep it classy, Kevin.

Now, let me pause to address what I KNOW some of you are thinking (especially the Texas residents) –
“Well, that was a big game! (Against the Patriots) I can see why he was distracted!”

But, here’s the thing… HE agreed to go out – AND be under the microscope, knowing I’d be writing about the date, AND he chose the place (a place with TVs showing the game)… so any inattention to our conversation… or to me at ALL – was on him. I feel pretty strongly about this. If you’re going to be the architect of the date, that carries with it the responsibility of being mentally dialed in to said date.
I have no problem dating someone who loves football, but since I DON’T, I at least expect that he’ll plan accordingly so that there’s not a competition.

I tried to order this fantastic pumpkin beer I’d had there before, but they had taken it off the menu and I needed a minute to think of what I DID want. And he seemed annoyed.

Then, he proceeded to pull a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and light one up.

Uuuuuuummm….. wha?

I am pretty hard-core in my opinion of smoking… no love lost for those who do, but I don’t want to date a smoker. Like – at all.

So, I said, in what I thought was the least judgmental tone I’m capable of, “Oh! You’re – uh …you’re profile didn’t say you were a smoker!?”
His response: “Yeah. I kinda lied about that. But I only smoke when I drink. And Match doesn’t have that category.” (Sans eye-contact, of course, because… the Texans are on, after all…)

Now – I know lots of people in this camp – they don’t smoke other than when they’re drinking. So, I get it. It’s common.
But, guess what? That still COUNTS as “SMOKING!” And since you DO drink, that means (by virture of the law of association?) that you DO in fact, smoke. And, I do in fact, not like it.

So we have a couple of problems here:

kevin - smoking options on match.com1. While Match.com, unlike some of the other dating sites, doesn’t have a box to check that says “Smokes? Only when drinking,” they DO have a box called “occasionally.”
That’s you, Kevin.
THAT’S the box ya shoulda checked. I suppose people who only smoke when they drink, don’t consider themselves “occasional smokers,” but I can’t think of a better term FOR it.
You smoke.
On occasion.
Occasionally.

Yeah…that’s you.

2. Since when are we totes cool with people lying on their profiles? I mean, hello – I know it happens all the time, but isn’t there still some universal notion that it’s not right or good? Putting up photos from when you looked differently or saying that you don’t smoke when you do, or….a myriad other ways people can “fake out” the system – just doesn’t make any sense to me, if you know that the end-game will have you – on a date – with someone who chose you based on your exaggerated profile!?
Not to mention that, last time I checked, lying was bad.
As in – wrong. Immoral. Not friendly.
DEFINITELY on Santa’s naughty list.

So, here I was, with a date who was, both literally and metaphorically, blowing smoke. …while giving me clipped answers so as not to disturb his concentration on the football game, and certainly not asking me ANY questions about myself.

I looked around and asked if he knew if they had a pool table or darts at this location, to which he responded, “Meh…I don’t wanna get into all that...”

Finally (when there was a commercial), he suggested we go inside where it was a little warmer (this was QUITE a chilly night).
By this point, I’m just wishing I had the guts to actually use one of my “Early Dismissal Forms“… or, at the very least, just say, “Look… I think we can both agree that this isn’t exactly a match made in heaven. So, I’m just gonna go.”

But, what sounds SO easy now, as I type this from the comfort of my couch, is socially terrifying when you’re in the moment. Even though I have virtually nothing invested in this man, I still don’t want to hurt his feelings. Plus… it’s just not culturally acceptable to walk out of a date, unless the person does something REALLY egregious. Right?
Besides… I knew my readers were waiting with bated breath to hear about #7, and… how could I disappoint?

So, I forced myself to endure another 20 minutes or so with him where, I’ll admit that the conversation got a LITTLE bit better (mostly because he didn’t have a clear line of sight to the game now), but having set the bar so very low at the outset of the date, I was easily wowed with communication gems such as:

– him saying that he doesn’t like to read “middle-brow literature, like the Kite Runner.” Uuuum…. one of my favorite books…thanks a lot. He said that his ex-girlfriend had called him an intellectual snob because of that opinion. Hey, cowboy… you shoulda listened to her.
I asked him what would qualify for “high brow,” first joking, “OOoooh, totally. I only read the classics, like 50 Shades of Gray.” He gave me a pity chuckle and I followed with, “but what are we talking about, then — Ana Karenina? Or does it have to be Constitutional Law?” (thinking I’m being adorable by making reference to the “literature” of his profession.) He allowed as to how the classics COULD be classified as ‘high brow,’ but then listed off some of HIS favorite authors, none of whom I’d heard of, let alone read.

– (this thread started by HIM) the way people misrepresent themselves in their online profiles.
Seriously!?! We’re having this conversation? Am I being tested? Is Ashton Kutcher about to jump out from behind the bar?
This is SO inception. Talking ABOUT people misrepresenting themselves, when you actually ARE one of those people!?

Finally, I was close enough to the time I’d told him I had to jet (to meet a friend), that I said my goodbye.
We made out in the parking lot for while, and then…
KIDDING! I’m just seeing if you were paying attention. Good job.

NO – no kiss. Ick.
Not only was he condescending, inattentive and deceptive… he had smoker’s breath! Blech.

I gave him the obligatory smile and hug and left.

Scene.

#6 – Skirts A-Dropping

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Six Skirts A-Dropping,
Sca-ven-ger Hunk…
Four Snowboarding Yanks
Three Taco Bobs
Two-Stepping Gent,
and a
Partridge in a Greek Salad

Let me just leap RIGHT into the inappropriate and scandalous discussion.

I don’t normally date black guys.

[Audience gasps in horror and disgust]

Ok – before you go freaking out, let me explain.  And let me also say that there are PLENTY of people out there who, while they have tons of friends of different races, only prefer to date within their own.  I’m not the only one, but maybe I’m one of the few who will own it.

I HAVE dated black men.  Wonderful men who had big hearts, were kind and thoughtful… but just weren’t for me.  Partly it’s that there isn’t the same level of attraction for me (let the record show that I WILL make an exception for Taye Diggs), but mostly… and here comes the controversy… I don’t like the way they kiss.

There.
I said it.
Black men kiss differently and I’m not a fan.

Some of you are sitting there with your brows furrowed, thinking, “girrrrl….you cray.”  But, I’m telling you.  It’s a thing.

At first, I just thought it was a personal difference between me and the guy I was seeing, but as I smooched more of the brothers, I realized there was a style, across the board, that I didn’t like.  I’ve talked with some of my black friends (girls, gay and straight guys) and they agree with me.

If you still think I’m weird – Oprah did a show on JUST this subject!

The point of going into this is to set the backdrop for date #6……..which was with a deliciously handsome black man.
I made an exception because he’s such a solid guy – sweet, smart, loves God and thinks I’m great (that’s a pretty good quality in any dating candidate, I have to admit).

Mike, as we’ll call him, is a friend of my little brother’s and a stand-up guy.  We flirt every time we see each other and we went out for a quick lunch date last spring.  Did I mention he lives in Florida?  Oh.  Yeah.  He lives in Florida.  Sigh…

So, when I was in Florida for a friend’s wedding, and Mike asked me to go out, (this would be, officially, date #2 for us), I said, “yes.  Aaaaand….. do you read my blog?”  😉

I asked him about the 12 Dates of Christmas idea, and he was in.

He agreed to meet up with me in Orlando, Florida where our adventure began at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, an artsy Tapas restaurant with tons of energy and the ocasional Flamenco dancer whirling past you while you sip your Dragonfruit Mojito.

Cafe TuTu - Sarah's collage

Since I didn’t know what the night would entail (Mike had a “plan”), I wore a sparkly mini-skirt with a black top, tights, tall boots and a pink sweater.

We met at the restaurant, each having driven two hours for this date.  That’s commitment.

Immediately, we were in the zone, chatting and laughing.  We talked about all kinds of things from families to church to the way different races are funny about subcultures within their race (he’s felt ostracized by southern black people for having a “white” voice (he’s from New York and to me, sounds like he has NO accent)) to the fact that I haven’t been a huge fan of the way black men smooch…oh yes, I told him.
Conversation was easy.
I kept catching Mike just looking at me while I talked and really paying attention to my thoughts on a given subject.
And, throughout the night, he would tell me, “you’re fantastic.” 🙂

Mike - 1

Mike is easy to talk with and I totally enjoyed our time together.  We were so embroiled in conversation that two hours (and at least 4 “Happy Birthdays” (which are a whole-restaurant event)) passed at the restaurant before we figured it was time to go.

Like I always do, I offered to split the bill, but Mike insisted on taking care of it (and y’all know how much I like when a guy does that).  And we were off.  We left my car at Cafe Tu Tu Tango and Mike drove us to our next destination.

A Salsa dancing club!

Mike - salsa clubNow… I should point out two things:

1.  Mike doesn’t salsa.  He’d been once before, but doesn’t know how, though he was totally game for learning (and afterwards TOTALLY had the itch… was even talking about taking lessons).  So, the fact that he brought me here was especially brave, since it’s not like he thought he was gonna whip me around the dance floor.

2.  He chose this spot because he remembered that I love salsa dancing.  What??  I don’t even REMEMBER telling him that!?  But, he paid attention and chose it ….for me.  SO sweet.

We started out just watching the existing dancers do their art on the dance floor, and sipped our drinks.  I told Mike we should start with the Bachata, because it’s an easy one to learn and be able to do without much practice.  Anyone who can count to four and poke out their hip has a fighting chance at this one.  So, when a Bachata began, we ventured onto the dance floor.

Let me say this – Mike was a great study – not only a quick learner, but such a fun attitude about it all.  Soon we were salsa-ing and merengue-ing, and he had learned to keep the top part of his body still while letting his hips carry most of the movement (a tricky piece of salsa dancing for a lot of guys who want to just bounce around).

Mike - at the club

We took turns dancing and standing on the sidelines watching.  Mike made me promise that I’d include “sweater guy” in my blog post.  There was a handsome, but odd sort of fellow there with a thick cable-knit sweater with leather elbow patches.  And the longer we were there (and sweating like barnyard creatures), the more enigmatic “sweater guy” was.  This was not a chilly night, by any stretch, and people were shedding clothes faster than Taylor Swift can come up with a new way to say “life’s not fair.”  But not sweater guy… he would go out on the dance floor and dance (awkwardly), never thinking to remove it.  At one point, Mike just turned to me and said, with this shocked and indignant tone, “Dude!  Sweater guy!  It’s FLORIDA!”  I don’t know why we were so amused by him, but he became a character in our night… we’d check in on him, track his luck with the ladies, and imagine what the rationale was for willingly dancing in the middle of a hot salsa club in eskimo-wear.

But, while sweater guy refused to shed clothing, my ensemble apparently had other ideas… malfunctioning ideas.

Mike and I had just finished a rousing couple of salsa songs… by this time, he’d learned the basic steps and we’ve even thrown in a couple of spins.

And as we’re walking off the dance floor, I feel it.
That awful moment where your body is aware that something horrifically mortifying is happening, but you’re noticing it just one milisecond too late to keep it from happening… and, as if in slow motion, I felt the sensation of my skirt…sliding down my legs into a humiliating pool of sparkly fabric on the ground around my ankles.  A puddle of shame…

Yup – my skirt fell off.  FELL. OFF.

Technically, I suppose I danced it off.  All that hip action in the salsa/merengue was too much for my skirt, so it just abandoned ship.
Now, I’ve danced off an earring or two (at least 12, actually…it’s a problem) in my day, but I’ve never lost an item of clothing… not one that separates my unmentionables from the cold outside world.  Until this night.

And the worst part isn’t even the skirt falling down, but that shameful motion of having to pull it back up in public — like I’d just finished up in the bathroom or something.  It was unebelievably embarrassing.

And here I was on a date!

But, Mike was a total gentleman.  He laughed with me and convinced me it was no big deal (riiiiiggghhhht….), and then, for the rest of the night, as we danced, he kept a finger or two near the small of my back, holding my skirt tight.  Ha ha!  I kept checking to be sure it wasn’t making another slow descent into shameville, and he’d say in this sweetly reassuring voice, “I’ve got ya!”

Toward the end of our dancing time, another string of Bachata songs came on, and by now, Mike was practically a pro at this one.
So, as we were dancing closely (my skirt firmly held in place), he kissed me.
Now…there are two things to be impressed by in this moment.
1 – a man who had JUST learned this dance was able (for a moment) to multi-task and remember the steps to continue dancing and smooching at the same time.  That takes skill, friends.
2 – he MAY just have broken the ‘I don’t like the way black men kiss’ stereotype I held.
Yep… it was a mighty fine kiss, I’m here to report.
SO fine, in fact, that when we finally left the club and were waiting outside for the valet to bring his car around, we smooched some more.  And it was nice.  Really nice.
So nice, that the poor valet had to park the car at the curb and wait a minute for us to return to the land of the non-smoochers.

Mike drove me back to my car and we said goodbye.

What a night!  Skirts dropping, salsa dancing, opinion-changing kisses, flamenco dancers, AND sweater guy.  Not shabby.

Mike said that if he lived in Houston, he’d “put a clamp down” (is that the phrase?  I keep getting it wrong…)… but basically – that he’d pursue dates #3+ with me.

I’d like to think it was my sparkling wit and amazing dance-teaching abilities that impressed him, and not seeing me skirt-less…
But either way, a fun night was had by all.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Cafe Tu Tu Tango is offering my readers a 10% discount!
So, for any central Florida readers,
go get your Tapas on
and think of me when the lower-than-usual bill comes.  🙂

Cafe TuTu - coupon

#1 – A Partridge in a Greek Salad

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

A partridge in a Greek salad.

Well, here we are – date #1 for the “12 Dates of Christmas” series.
(If you need to review the rules & terms, you can click here.)

Let me set the scene.

I met Niko on PlentyOfFish.  You can see his profile here.  I messaged HIM first because his profile made me giggle.
Niko (I took the liberty of replacing his very Greek name with an equally Greek one) has the humor thing in spades.  And y’all KNOW that’s my jam.

We texted a bit and, while I got the slight impression he may be a little bit flakey or a player or maybe not really looking for love, but just fun… I thought it couldn’t hurt to grab a drink and get to know him.  Plus, he was such a good sport about being written about!

So, I donned a black skirt, tights and tall boots with a purple sweater, which Niko would later refer to as my ‘eggplant look,’ and met up with the Greek comedian.  (Ok, ok…he’s in real estate).

Sorry for the blur… but I think our winning smiles make up for it?

The plan was to meet for Happy Hour at Hughes Hangar (a speak easy type bar/patio), but when we arrived they were closed (which made my hour less-than-happy…), so we moved the party over to Beaver’s* (a funky little restaurant/Gastropub in lower Heights), where we made flirty banter with our server Nathan (see pic below) and each other.

niko 4

Our silly server, Nathan

Niko is a FUNNY guy.  He had me laughing from the first moment.

Admittedly, I did find it tricky to get him talking about anything because he was throwing out one-liners, but how could I be too upset when I kept laughing?

I asked him about his story —where he was from, what he does, what his interests are, what brought him to Houston, etc. and we spent the next couple of hours weaving in and out of hearing him tell me all about his life.  (Interspersed with copious amounts of joking, of course).

At one point, when he told me he spoke French, I (of course) made him prove it, and it got us into a conversation about languages.  Apparently he speaks them all.  I made a silly comment about my dream of marrying a man who spoke Tagalog, and he then launched into a series of Tagalog phrases.  WHAT?  C’mon…

If you don’t believe me…I made him endure the camera… check it out:

 A Partridge in a Greek Salad

All in all, the date was nice.  But it was also one-sided.  While Niko is a very flirtatious and affectionate guy, he didn’t seem all that interested in learning about me.  He was definitely interested in my physical appearance, making comments about my “succulent lips” (wasn’t sure if he wanted to smooch them or braise them in a red wine reduction…), and taking full advantage of the photo op to scoot nice and close and put his arm around me (which I have ZERO problem with…I’m just painting the picture here).   But he never asked me ONE question about myself or remarked on ANYthing about me that didn’t have to do with the physical.   I let a couple of natural lulls in conversation sit for a moment, thinking he would “bite,” but he never did.

He made several self-referential comments about his hair or his dimple and such… and it almost seemed like he was “selling” himself…which is funny since he’s handsome enough to let the “product” sell itself!  He has an amazing smile and playful, expressive eyes.  So – there wasn’t any need to draw attention to the cute parts of him – my eyes and thoughts were already there.

About ¾ of the way through the date (it had a pre-determined end time because I was heading out to meet a friend for dinner afterwards), I playfully teased him about it, and he admitted we’d been Niko-heavy in conversation, but didn’t make an effort to rectify it.  Puzzling.

One other slightly off-putting element of the date was his propensity for crass or over-the-line humor.  This is a tricky wicket in dating because not only is everyone’s style of comedic engaging different, there are different levels of “naughty humor” that you can use as you get to know someone better and s/he feels more comfortable around you.  But, when you make a sexual reference/joke early on before you really know each other, it can be awkward or make you think (as I did) that he’s overly focused on sexual things and not particularly interested in being sweet or winsome.  It’s a delicate balance.

In the end, the date was fun.  I laughed a TON and would gladly hang out with Niko again…but I’m not sure I see a romantic relationship in our future.

As for the question of a second date, I’d decided that I was a “probably no, but not 100% sure,” and that I’d wait to see what HE did next to determine if I’d go another date.  I got one silly text from him the next morning (stay tuned to hear my thoughts on morning-after texting…I’m a fan), and I responded.  Then, nothing.  NOTHING!

I’m guessing he probably picked up on MY vibe which wasn’t as singularly focused as his…

So… if, by the time this goes to post, I still haven’t heard anything, I’ll assume he’s not interested in date #2 either.

Either way…he was a great sport, a lot of fun, and I’d love to hang out with him and let him make me laugh anytime – especially since he can apparently do so in Tagalog and 39 other languages.  C’est bon!

Niko 3______________________________________________________________________________________

* For those of you who haven’t tasted the delish food and amazing drinks at Beavers, (and for those of you who have and love it), if you mention my blog anytime in December, you’ll get a free appetizer!  (with a purchase of two entrees).  So – go have a date there yourself and maybe you’ll have even better luck getting a call-back than I did.  In any case your palette will thank you.

Thanks, Beavers!

beavers date

Getting a Facelift

Dear Readers,

I want to take the opportunity with today’s post, to respond to some criticism my blog and I have come under in the last few weeks.  A recent conversation led to more conversations and finally, with the (my) realization that there IS, in fact, real merit to some of the complaints.   And I, as much as I hate to admit it, have some repair work to do.

Admittedly, for this approval-hungry ENFJ (Meyer’s Briggs Inventory) and high “I” (DISC Inventory) and “Sanguine (Dolphin)” (Personality Profile Inventory) girl, …receiving criticism, regardless of how truthful it may be, is quite jarring.  …Even painful.  So… I’ve given a lot of thought to the reproach I received, to my reaction to the negative feedback and ultimately, to my goals for this blog and my “voice” as I report on the world of dating.

Here are the comments/criticisms I’ve heard, with my reactions to each.

  1. “The blog is too mean. “

This one came as a shock.  Here I thought that the snarky edge in my written “voice” was just part of my blog ‘character’ that I use to convey my thoughts.  But, as I’ve been reflecting on this idea, I’ve had to admit that I HAVE taken a slight turn toward the harsh – more edge than I want to have.  I DO want to have a sassy spunk.  I DO want to have a sarcastic bite to my tone.  But, I don’t want to be downright hurtful or mean.  One friend said that the snark was so thick, that people couldn’t see my heart.  And, while this isn’t exactly an inspirational, feel-good blog, I do want it to be known that I HAVE a heart!

And so – to that end, I’m making a commitment to dial back the snarkiness ever so slightly, so that I can bring the blog back to a place of sarcastic, but not hateful humor.

2.  You hate men.”

Ok, this one cracks me up.  I hate men?  I’m SEARCHING for a man!  The whole POINT of being online and going on these dates is to find a man for myself.  I think men are great.  Hellooooo…I want one of my very own!  I don’t hate them.  I DO hate the difficulties of navigating the differences between the sexes, the way they behave and communicate,…but that’s also part of the fun – delving into the puzzle and learning how to be in relationship with people of the opposite sex.   I am certainly far from being a man-hater. I’m more like a man-hunter.  And along the way, I’m having a lot of fun befriending other men.

     3.    “You’re not explicit enough about your Christian faith.”

This one is on purpose.  I want the blog – and my life – to be accessible to as many different people and different belief systems as possible.  And I want the fact that I put my faith in Christ, to come across in the ‘between the lines’ of my life, not in me being preachy in my writing.  In the course of writing this blog and going out with men from dating sites, etc., I’ve met some AMAZING people who span the spiritual continuum from atheists to (as my atheist friend calls them), “hard core Christians.”  And I SO value the friendships of the people who believe differently than I do, that I don’t want anything in the way of that.  That’s NOT to say that I am ashamed of my beliefs or have watered them down to be friends with people who aren’t where I am.  I still go to church.  I still pray.  I’m still a theology nerd.  I still struggle with my own spiritual journey and understanding what it really means to be a follower of Christ in this broken world.

But, the blog isn’t a place where I need to plant my spiritual flag.  And that’s not how I operate.  I try to live my life authentically and in doing so, hope that the light of Christ in me will shine – without me having to SAY it.

I actually have a post in my drafts folder right now, discussing the difficult aspect in dating, of HOW to see if you line up with someone on this front… so, stay tuned.  The post is not, in any way, written to persuade,…but only to bring to light how hard it is to bring UP this topic on first or second dates… trust me…it’s not exactly a sexy talking point.

    4.    “You do too many ‘XYZ’ kind of posts and not enough ‘ABC’ ones”
             Or “Who is your target audience ANYway?”

Let me begin by saying that I want to accomplish ALL of the following:

–       General comedic entertainment

–       Dating/Relationship Advice

–       Creating solidarity with fellow women AND men in the dating trenches

–       Storytelling about my own and others’ experiences in the dating world

–       Discussion about men, women and relationships

–       (once my website is launched) – Dating Services (help with profile writing, links to photographers, etc., and even an “Ask Sarah” column…more on all this later)

Unfortunately… I can’t seem to please everyone all the time.  But I CAN admit that I sometimes get on ‘kicks’ where I neglect one facet of the blog.  I’d like to have posts about my personal dating life, online dating in general, relationships and of course, continue the “winner’s circle” editions with the (literally) ridiculous photos.  But, I am going to try to diversify more, as well as include more of the GOOD stories from my dating life.

To be honest, the majority of my dates are quite lovely.  And I plan to talk about those more, while hopefully keeping my sassy ‘flavor.’

In fact… in the advent season, I’m going to be writing a mini-series:  “The 12 Dates of Christmas” in which I’ll go on 12 dates between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where the men know ahead of time that I’ll be blogging about the dates afterwards – good, bad and everything in the middle.  In fact, one guy has already agreed, but on the condition that he write his OWN interpretation of the date and have me link to HIS blog!  It’s gonna be fun.  Again – stay tuned.

Basically – consider this a face-lift.  Everything you love about the blog – the snarky frivolity and sassy take on dating – will remain.  I’m just going to take some of the biting edge out of my “voice.”  Be patient with me, as finding this balance sometimes seems nearly impossible.  And thank you to those of you who’ve stuck with me.

Lastly – if you know someone who’s read the blog and was offended, or if you’ve felt that way – I encourage you to hang in there and see if it doesn’t soften a bit and nestle right back into your reading/entertainment sweet spot.

I Hate to be the Wearer of Bad News…

You all remember Raul?  If not…by way of refresher, he’s a guy I dated – it didn’t work out, and I wrote a blog post about our “break-up.”  You can check it out here.

Well, Raul and I have remained friends and it’s a great friendship!  I asked him for advice, the other day, on what to wear for a date this weekend, and he sent me a mini tome on the matter.  So, naturally – I thought I’d post it.

I figured, the women can read it to get some insight into what guys think about how they prepare for and look on dates, and guys can read it to see if it’s an accurate representation.   I’d love some commentary below… I mean…do you other guys REALLY agree that you want a girl to come out “UN-spanxed??”  Can it BE?  I’m a doubting, spanx-wearing Thomas…
Convert me.

Enjoy!


I have no idea if what I’m saying is worthwhile or representative of most guys – it’s just my sole opinion, but I’ll generalize as if I’m speaking on behalf of the entire US male population.

OK, here’s the bottom line:  99% of the time, we couldn’t care less what you wear.  Really, it doesn’t matter.  Whether you’re wearing a miniskirt or a canvas sack, we probably think it would look best on our bedroom floor.  There you go.  Plus, we won’t remember it the next day, anyhow, unless the impression was a really bad one.  How do you avoid a bad choice?  Follow these guidelines:

  1. Wear something appropriate.  This is the number one – and probably the only – consideration.  Fortunately, it is also the easiest.  We certainly don’t expect you to obsess over what you wear to meet us; using your normal judgment in what’s appropriate should be simple enough.  After all, we’ll hardly give a moment’s notice to what you’re wearing unless it’s totally, wildly inappropriate.  If we ask you out to a honky-tonk dive bar, don’t show up in a ball gown.  If we ask you out to a nice French restaurant, don’t show up in sweatpants.  This isn’t rocket science.  But it IS probably the only time we’ll make a judgment about YOU based on your clothing.  If you show up in blue jeans and a t-shirt for the symphony, we’re embarrassed.  We make certain assumptions about your background/upbringing/education, and will give serious thought before inviting you to something nice again.This also includes activity-appropriate clothing if the date involves a fair amount of movement (dancing, bowling, batting cage, shark wrestling, etc.), wear something that allows you to do that activity comfortably – if you knew what the date involved, we don’t want to hear you say “I can’t because my skirt is too tight / dress is too long.”
  2. Wear something you are comfortable in.  This means two things:  First, don’t wear something that will cause you to complain (I’m cold, I’m hot, this scratches, my feet hurt, this purse is heavy – please hold it, etc.).  In fact, once you are dressed, look at yourself in the mirror and repeat a few times, “I will not complain on this date.”  Good, now you’re ready to go.  (OK, I’m exaggerating….a little.Second, “comfortable” means wear something you are confident in.  If you are visibly self-conscious, that’s a distraction.  If you are constantly tugging down your skirt, pulling up your strapless top, talking about the fact that other people are staring at you, etc., that’s a distraction that makes you look nervous or self-absorbed.And yes, I’ve had the occasional date that seemed derailed by what the girl wore and how it made her feel (inappropriate to the venue, uncomfortable for the planned activity, inappropriate for the weather, and yes, someone who complained about her feet hurting every five minutes (so why did she wear those shoes?).  I just think that the early dates should be as distraction-free as possible, because you want to focus on each other.  But I could always be wrong.
  3. Don’t show up all spanxed out.  This is false advertising.  I know, girls don’t want to hear that, but it’s true.  We want to see you for you, not the tucked-in, trussed-up, ratcheted-down, corseted, lifted, sculpted, Wonder Bra-ed version of you that does not, in fact, exist in real life.  That doesn’t mean thrown on some shapeless, frumpy, moo-moo as an alternative…it just means that whatever you choose should be an honest reflection of who you are.  If you want to be appreciated for who you are (and who doesn’t?), then don’t be afraid to show up that way.  We understand that no one is perfect, and we don’t expect perfection (lest you expect it of us!).
  4. Don’t wear your “dating uniform.”  To quote Sarah, —  “TRY.  That’s it.  Effort.  [Men] love a [woman] who gives THOUGHT to us.  Effort is at the root of romance.”  We don’t want to feel like we’re just date #572…where you put on your “1st date” go-to outfit, pick up your lunch pail, and go to work.
  5. Calibrate the “revealing” aspect of your outfit to where you want the date to go.  If you’re not sure yet, err on the side of demure.  I did not say err on the side of the masculine (for most women, pantsuits are as difficult to pull off successfully as very short haircuts), just go a little more conservative if you don’t want him to focus exclusively on “those” thoughts (remember, he’s a guy, those thoughts will be there even if you show up in a burqa).  If you don’t want to be complaining to your girlfriend that he never made eye contact above your neckline, then don’t where something that makes him spend the entire dinner hoping for something to slip out.  I’ve had girls show up for dinner at a restaurant in VERY revealing clothing, and I almost think that’s a test – if I glance down, I lose.But if you do think you want the date to go there, then anything that leans towards descriptions like “short”, “tight”, “low cut”, or “see-though” (or my favorite – all of the above) is probably a good thing, as long as it manages to remain at least somewhat classy/tasteful, and does not cause others around you to think “who let that trollop in here?”  If meeting his parents for the first time, avoid anything with two or more of the aforementioned adjectives – remember, one is fine, two or more, and you’re “that tart that Raul brought over for dinner”.  Not good.

Well, them’s the rules.


Aside from doling out advice for the women of online dating, Raul enjoys traveling, cooking, fly fishing, scuba diving, reading and, in general, getting krunk.
He currently works as a steel drum virtuoso in an internationally-recognized Calypso band.”

Bad Boys… Whatcha gonna do?

I’m very sad to report that, as much as I wish it weren’t true, it turns out girls really do like the bad boys.
Well, not all girls, but more than I’d like to believe.
And not the John Travolta a la Grease sorta bad boy… but…well – let me elaborate.

After much discussion with my guy friends, it really does seem that this trend exists:   Women are perversely drawn to a man who makes himself unavailable, insulting or just generally jerk-ish.  You know all those self-help books and conferences that teach men to win women by using underhanded compliment/insults? Or using her own insecurities against her conversationally to give them the upper hand of emotional power?  Well, I suppose, as much as I hate it, that they’ve tapped into some nugget of truth.  And it pains me to say so.

One of my guy friends has been making this assertion for a while, but I kept telling him, “that’s just a small slice of the female population.  It’s not a universal truth.”  But, the more he shows me text strings from girls he’s dating, the more I’m resignedly convinced.  Sigh with me, will you?

Here’s the setup (and yes – this is a true story.  One of many I’ve heard in the last couple weeks).  Two people go on a date and have a great time.  She tells him she really likes him and wants to hang out again.  In the next couple of days, he asks her out for a Friday night (she told him she was “free ALL weekend”).  Suddenly she’s all booked up for the weekend…and the apathetic text saying so comes in 5-6 hours after his initial question.  So, he graciously sends a text back saying, “No worries.  I’m guessing maybe you’re not that interested after all.  Best of luck.” Five minutes later, miraculously her schedule has opened right up, and she’s asking him, “what are you up to tonight?” and trying to make plans.  She wasn’t available when he was pursuing her, but as soon as he withdrew his affections, she wanted him back.

But, I still wasn’t convinced that this was the epidemic I now believe it to be.

Then I hung out with several guys who are currently on the dating scene, and we got to talking about this topic and they ALL had MULTIPLE stories just like this one!  Crazy…
Here I thought it was just the occasional woman (you know the one – self-esteem problems, daddy issues, uses men to validate her own worth) who played the game this way, but as my friends were talking, story after story was coming out of the woodwork to suggest this is a broader trend than I’d hoped.

As soon as a guy makes himself seemingly unavailable, the woman is compelled to change her tune and want him more.  And men who seem distant or mysteriously unobtainable, are that much more desired.  Conversely, when  a guy is honest and tells a woman how much he likes her, he risks (in the words of another one of my friends) “being thought of as wimpy or a doormat.  And then she loses interest.”  Is this really what we’ve become?

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, when the better part of the Western world was consumed with whether Bella would choose a werewolf with impulsivity issues or a bloodthirsty vampire…

But the naively romantic and optimistic inner Sarah wanted to believe that we were evolved enough to say how we really feel and own our thoughts and intentions genuinely.

And really, the biggest problem with women acting this way – is how it affects ME.
Because, after all – …it IS all about me.
When they behave this way, they solidify in mens’ minds that this is the way to play the game, and then they play it with women like ME, who just want an honest, genuine relationship!

By golly, the more I write, the angrier I get!

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk (I use the term “we” AWFULLY loosely, as I’ll be the only one pontificating…) about WHY women do this, and what we can do about it…for me.
I mean…for women everywhere.

She has the NEED… the Need for Speed

You know the moral of that old classic fable, Tortoise and the Hare – “Quick and dirty wins the race?”

Wait, what…. that’s not it?  Really?  I coulda sworn that was it.

Well – anyhoo – speed may not win every time, but I haven’t yet given up on the concept of speed dating.
Sure, it didn’t really work out so well for me on the first go around…
(if you don’t remember or are just joining us – you can read all about it here.)
But, I still think the idea has merit.

I mean… I can tell in the first few minutes with a guy if further studies are needed or if I’d rather be at home knee-deep  in my spanx-free, yoga pants sportin’, popcorn-filled trash-TV night.  So, a whole evening of 5 minute tests …er…I mean, assessments?  Sounds about right.  Time is precious, baby.

And, to that end, I’ll be dragging my friend Jenny to another s.d. event in the coming weeks, which I’m SURE will not disappoint.  After all… the worse it is, the more entertaining reading material it will provide.  You really can’t go wrong.

But until that day, I thought I’d share a post my friend Lincee Ray* wrote on the subject.

She blogs about everything from world travels to the single life to the ever-pressing Bachelor recaps that keep her bajillion readers enraptured in reality-TV bliss.

And she shares an integral and life-giving character trait with me-  un-filtered snarkiness.  How can you resist NOW?
Read it here!

———————————–

* When people ask Lincee Ray what she does for a living, she tells them that she sings the praises of oilfield rigs and subsea trees for a living. The majority of her job consists of writing nine company newsletters, which can take her to exotic destinations like Williston, North Dakota.  She has been recapping The Bachelor franchise for 10 years on her personal blog, www.iHateGreenBeans.com.  As a child, she taught herself to say the ABCs backwards.  It kills at parties.  She doesn’t eat meat off the bone.  She’s both an approval and Dr Pepper addict. She’s a little too enthusiastic about her DVR, iPod, Ryan Gosling and teeny bopper shows on the CW.  You can also follow her on Twitter at @Lincee.

Sheep’s Head Wednesdays

I met with another blogger the other day (I’d tell you who, but she’s much funnier than I am and I can’t have all 14 of my readers jumping ship YET…)
who gave me some advice on ways to improve my blog. 

One of which, is to introduce a system of categories for postings – where you publish a certain KIND of post on certain pre-determined days…

You know, like…

Mondays – Date Review
Tuesdays – Relationship Ranting
Wednesdays – Winner’s Circle
Thursdays – Baked Potato Night
Fridays – Dealer’s Choice

You get the idea.

Now, this assumes that I’m publishing every day…. bahahahaha!!!!  That’s cute.  

No, but seriously – adorable.

As soon as I start getting paid obscene amounts of money for my oft-enemy-making commentary, I’ll be posting daily…hourly, even.  Heck… I’d keep a steady feed of entertainment flowing into your inboxes, if it would take me to celebrity status.   But, until then, I don’t QUIIIIiiiite have the luxury of time to write for the blog EVERY day.  …yet.

But, still – I’m intrigued by the idea.  So – I’d love you to weigh in.

(Oh… I should add that she said people like to “click things” and to add some polls/surveys. 
So, count it as a public service… consider it practice for the presidential election… whatevs –  click away and be happy that you get a vote.   (….ish))

[polldaddy survey=”A0FEE9FA486A16D7″ type=”button” title=”Take Our Survey!” style=”inline” text_color=”000000″]

Gimme a minute…

Friends, Houstonians, Readers, lend me your patience.

As some of you know, my laptop was stolen last week.  On my birthday.  Yup.  And with it, went a half-finished book, my long list of blog post ideas and an entire folder of profile pictures, screenshots, messages, etc. for months and months of ‘Winner’s Circle’ posts.

Sigh with me, will you?

I watched the video feed of the jerk-store who took it.  Unfortunately, it turns out, real life security camera software doesn’t work the same way as it does on CSI.  When you zoom in on a pixelated license number, there is no button that will “clean it up.”  Trust me – I tried banging the keyboard in a determined and hacker-like fashion, whilst spouting phrases like, “if I can just access the mainframe,” and “I’ll use the network’s back door to gain entry to the network drive flux capacitor…” (and other totally cool stuff like that)… and still – no luck.

So – McStealy now has all my treasured thoughts and musings on the world of online dating.  If you see a book on the shelves in the coming months where the first half is brilliant, pulitzer prize caliber writing and the second half sounds like it was written by E.L. James’ pet bunny, you’ll know what happened.  (Then again… it’s quite likely that the pet bunny could churn out something easily 50shades better than its owner…but I digress).

Anyway… there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that I have a great new computer.  Huzzah!!  Turns out your birthday is a fantastic day to be robbed.  Especially if you break into heaving sobs with the woman from your bank who’s helping sort out your renter’s insurance.

Pamela, from USAA, was so sweet to listen to me list all the strange and sundry items I keep in my computer bag, including, but not limited to: perfume, curling iron, folders of music, various teas & stevia packets, workout headphones, a small ferret and, of course, the computer with all the necessary cables/cords.  (OK, fine… one of those isn’t true… who would keep a curling iron in their computer bag?  Pshyah….).

The bad news is that I’ve lost a wealth of information… including all sorts of bloggable material.  So, bear with me as I rebuild my lost empire of depressing online photos and messages, as well as my bank of subject ideas.

To that end… if any of you have any topics (related to dating, online dating, relationships, etc.) that you’d like to hear my snarky take on – please feel free to comment away!!

And don’t go anywhere while I’m taking a brief pause to reload my new baby with all the programs, documents and photos I’ll need to get back on track.

Oh, and lastly – should you see a bald, black man driving a silver Toyota Tundra and giggling as if he’s read the sassy thoughts of this single mama… you know what to do.