Saturday, October 31, 2009

Miracles Happen: Junior Mints, Kiss

I went on a date with L. He asked me out again. We went on a second date. There was a kiss. There was kissing. I like him. He likes me. He makes this clear. He sends me emails, texts, and there are phone calls. I've met with him in real time. Can this be possible? Can this actually be happening?

My faith is renewed. I no longer have the urge to strangle the creators of match. After all the negative blogs, here's some sugar. L. and I met for coffee. He moved here from the East Coast a year or so ago to go back to school. We're the same age; this is his second career. He's very intelligent and cute and during our first date I enjoyed his company, however after all the previous dates and this being "one of the last ones" I simply showed up and didn't care all that much. Of course there were special hair products, but besides that, no crazy effort. I do remember telling him that some of my best decisions have been made while I was drunk, but that's another story...

On the second date we met for dinner at the Bye & Bye, though vegan, the atmosphere is perfect for dating: proper lighting and low key, not too crowded. Immediately when I saw him I thought very handsome. Often I can't remember what a guy looks like exactly, especially if I might like him. Also, I felt a bit self-conscious, which had happened on zero earlier dates. After dinner we went to see District 9, a very light, romantic comedy about aliens who clearly resemble huge shrimp that is a metaphor for apartheid. (I highly recommend it. I was engrossed.) While on line for tickets at the Kennedy School I began discussing Junior Mints and the lack their of. From my angle I could only see Sour Patch type candy and Red Vines. These will do in a pickle but not my favorite treat. I really wanted a Junior Mint and I wanted it bad.

Then guess what? L. said he saw Junior Mints! He found them for me. He has great peripheral vision! My hero! We were flirting. Flirting on a date. This is huge. And did I mention he hooked me up with junior mints? After the movie he suggested a drink, which meant two drinks for me which = tipsy. I said yes. We had our drinks and then our goodbye with hand touching and kissing in the parking lot. But I don't like to kiss and tell too much. Except....there was kissing and I'm telling. I'm telling anyone who will listen! Kissing!

Anyway. Since then he has purchased tickets for our next date. He has given thought to what we talked about and what we both might like. Miracles! He has called me the day after our date. He has said he had a good time. L. even offered to watch my dog, A. in two weeks because I'll be away for the night. I think he may not be human. (Of course I declined, at least at this stage.)

This is an incredible situation: a man who might just want to make my life better instead of more complicated. Who wants to impress me and please me and who doesn't seem to need me to take care of him? And he's cute, has ambition, and is thoughtful on top of that?

Juxtapose this with an email from M. date 2 (the one who arrived with $10, no n-working debit card, a cold sore,and a big chip on his shoulder?). He wrote to thank me for our dates and to say he just didn't feel chemistry. That we were different people. On the one hand this is a polite gesture, but on the other, I couldn't imagine why he thought I might want to go out again. I wanted to write back regarding his dating manners, but I couldn't summon the energy to care that much. Instead I wrote him a short note:

Hey M., thanks for the message. I was feeling much the same way and I feel like that's the purpose of dating - to get to know people. Actually, I did start dating someone from match who I like a lot.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Make Me Want It

Beware: the following is a terrifically romantic exchange, it goes something like this, at the end of a date:

"I'd kiss you but I've got this thing on my lip," says M.
"Okay," I said, inserting a fake giggle, producing one hug. "I hadn't noticed it."
"I wish I could rip it off," M. says.

I hate to be a bee-otch but a simple hug would have sufficed. Isn't some editing of oneself required on a date? One shouldn't just be one's self entirely. I'm not going to lift my leg and rip a good fart. So please don't mention your cold sore. Thank you. Signed, Miss Manners. After all, I have a lot going on in my life, cold sores aside, that I am not going to share, especially not on Date #2. To refresh memories (yours and mine) this is physical humor guy, the one where bugs committed suicide in our drinks on date #1?

I may need to change his name to Argumentative Guy. One thing in the world I abhor and despise is when someone is of average intelligence and enjoys arguing. Thank you but no. Allow me to backtrack. We went to Nicholas's, the scene of my being stood up (same guy, furnace issue?). We wait for a table and sit down.

"Do you have cash?" he asks.

I immediately say no, even though I do. I'm barely making a living and I'll be damned if I'm paying for a dinner, especially after he basically stood me up once. Earlier in the evening M. explained that he had his bags, and some credit cards stolen while in Costa Rica and couldn't remember his new pin number while here, in order to use his ATM card and had $10 cash on him. I know, I know.

So let's recap: 1) stood me up on Date #2, said he texted, I never got it. 2) plans date #2 at a place that doesn't accept credit cards, has only ten dollars, and a useless debit card, 3) hasn't thoroughly acknowledged the stand up.

Let's not put ourselves through too much pain. I was very kind about the cash situation and suggested we go to a restaurant that would take cards. We go to Slow Bar. I have amazing "autumn slow burger" with fried squash. Yum! We discuss the unemployment situation in the country and in Oregon in particular, he nay says the whole thing because he's gotten 2 calls from headhunters. I explain that I've applied for about 25 counseling jobs and I have many private clients who have lost their jobs. This whole unemployment thing isn't in our heads. M. continues to argue but it is obvious that he thinks we are bluffing or being overly dramatic about the problem. I consider mentioning that in good economic times Oregon has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country but I decide to forget it, he'll only argue otherwise.

The problem is that arguments that are based only on feelings aren't really arguments. They are ideas or preferences or the way we'd truly like things to be...and yet they aren't. My assumption is that M. is defensive about Oregon because he loves Oregon. But we can love Oregon and accept Oregon's flaws. In other words, there ain't jobs here, buddy! Pick up a newspaper!

Which leads me to my point: where is the romance? This is a date, isn't it? We aren't friends here. Don't tell me about your cold sore. Don't show up for a date without cash. Don't argue with me about the unemployment rate, which is a number not an idea or a feeling. Show up. Be fucking romantic. Be a man. Make me want it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mushrooms vs Men

Today I went to the Farmer's Market up at PSU with K. and bought $10 worth of chanterelle mushroooms. The rain finally came down, pouring on our hoodies but we continued to explore the market and buy bagels, mine with cream cheese, pesto and oily pumpkin. I loved it! Better than any date ever! K. was great company, visiting from Eugene and not scared off by rain. Afterwards we got coffees and sat under an awning, discussing futures.

Alright, you pulled it out of me. Good god. Fine! I do happen to have one date tomorrow. I hesitate to use the D word (date, not that aforementioned wus) because it is a 10am coffee, really a meet & greet. So far I've been so enjoying my time off from dating: cooking my mushrooms, drinking my wine, long hikes with A., reading books about Positivty (!), and spending time with friends, that I surprise even myself with this development.

But, there are exceptions to every rule. Date with L. tomorrow. L. is a med student here from the East Coast who already acknowledges the lack of curse words used in Portland. Shall I greet him with a "Fuck yeah" or fix him up with The Curser? He seems nice via email and if the date is horrendous I brought some knitting to distract/amuse myself.

This is just a mini-check in to say:

1) Enjoying my dating hiatus
2) Yes, going on one, final date
3) Put together a printer today, because I rule
4) Still no word from D. but I can't spend my life caring
5) There is no five

Except...mushrooms sometimes are better than men. Sorry. It's true.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Phantom D.

D. re-surfaces. He was in Yemen. Of course, he was. And we exchange a couple of emails and texts, the usual. I suggest a phone call and he responds immediately and tells me he loves me. Well, not precisely, he writes, "I would love a call. Or even 3-D." Close enough. I don't know what 3-D means (Skype? in person?), though it sounds potentially dirty. Sign me up. We've been corresponding through modern technology for a full month now: it's time to take a step forward. Or is it?

After D.'s acceptance of a call and lack of an actual call, I wrote to him that a good time for a phone date would be last Tuesday night at 6pm or later my time since I have other plans the rest of the week, my social calendar is rather full. I've got knitting and Gossip Girl and Ugly Betty and $3 movies and happy hour and work. Bet you can't imagine what happens.

6pm rolls around, I pour myself a nice Syrah and pop in some Gossip Girl, plop on the couch. Life is good. Fast forward to 8pm, I'm waking myself with my own soft snores and wiping drool from my own cheek. How did this happen? I've been stood up cyberly now as well and was too exhausted to be terribly upset. One clue: D. did refer to himself as a wimp in his last email, however I thought that was in reference to the weather. Apparently not.

I know what you're saying: I should call him. I hear you. I agree, technically. But in the end I'm still a woman and I feel strongly I would like to be pursued. Nearly all women agree with me on this in private, though they may state otherwise to friends in public. It is a secret little acknowledged: men say they want to be asked on dates but it never works out. They seem to enjoy a bit of longing and desire from afar. It's true: you know it.

So D. is off the radar. During a space clearing at my office in NW yesterday, my gracious friend R. lit a bowl of alcohol and salts, which created a bowl of fire that captivated me. What if my whole office went up in flames? I swear I wouldn't care. I just can't react to much these days. I'm broke, I've been stood up on two dates recently, I'm 34, I'm tired. And while it's nice to not get upset, I have to wonder if I have become a robot. R. also told me a couple of stories about men who do this: email and text and phone calls but can't do an actual date. Is there a DSM diagnosis for this?

This would be the time I hear from M. M. and I dated off and on for four years, lived together and moved to Portland together. Out history, to put it mildly, is tumultuous. We hadn't spoken in six months and then out of the blue my phone rings with his name. His name. A person who loved me. A person who cared about me. A person who showed up on actual, live dates.

Can exes smell vulnerability? Can they sense it like a bear smells food hitched up in trees in the woods and is willing to scratch out the eyes of small children to eat lunch?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Zero Dates a Week

I can't take it anymore. The dates, the dating, the bars, the restaurants, coffeeshops, the phone calls, the emails, the texts, the texts about the phone calls, the emails about the texts. My head is spinning and A. is looking at me through her fluffy, white, bangs that partially cover her black eyes, like "What the fuck? Pet me." It's too much. Too much people contact. The plans! The plans! Will we meet for dinner or will it be brunch? Just a drink or a drink and a snack? A walk? Well, that means he's unemployed.

Granted, this has a little something to do with D., that rapscallion. It's this: he's fallen off the face of the universe. My universe, that is. After a month (stop rolling your eyes) of emails and texts, he is oddly quiet. We did exchange a simple text on Tuesday, two full days ago. But here is the kicker: he sent me a mass email. Yes, a mass email! He may as well have sent a big picture of a middle finger. A mass email to some fund-raising event in NYC, a wonderful charity event that will be this month. As if! Why I should be included on such a list, when I obviously cannot attend, is beyond me. Yet, my curiosity is piqued.

I smell something fishy. It's a bit too reminiscent of rejection and that is something no woman likes. D. could be married. D. could be busy. Or D. simply lost interest. After all, friends have not so subtly asked, why isn't he calling you? The fact that I even care really bothers me. I see this as a sign: time to take a break. A strike from men!

But hold up: that doesn't mean the blog has to stop. Should I be asked on dates in real-time or should anything else of interest (like real life) pop up, I'll still write. But it's safe to say that the experiment of two dates a week would turn any woman into a bit of a bitch.

Now, time to finish my coffee with hazelnut coffeemate. See you in the real world...sort of.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Date Like You're in Your 20s

This seems a bit nit picky to some, but I think manners are important. After all, they show the world a first impression of who you are and what rules you live by. Hypothetically, would you lick your fingers (while eating) on a date? My vote is no. Does that make me a snob? With friends or family I might lick my fingers and alone, sure, I'll lick a plate of organic maple syrup. But that's different.

Last night I met up with T. who is almost 30, has a way cooler haircut than mine, LA button down, cuffs uncuffed, like a boy band but solo. I was late of course but just by 10 minutes. That is normal in NYC but apparently rude here. I have some manners of my own that could use some fixing, I suppose. I don't "plan" to be late. It just seems to happen every single time & I see I'm becoming burnt out on this process & may be avoiding.

T. is not the most insightful man I've ever met (when his last girlfriend decided not to move in with him at the last minute that meant, "Shit, I need a roommate"). But who cares? He's in his twenties. He's cute with cute hair and more of a cute look than actual personality that makes someone really cute. Before the date I had a mini-epiphany: why am I being so serious about this dating process? Why don't I just date like I did in my 20s? If I found a guy cute and fun, we went out and began dating. Now, in my 30s I have to actually enjoy his company (a real drag to find), consider him future mate material (who could ever live up to my standards?), and make sure he has a good job (or just a job). What if I ditched that whole concept?

Here's the thing: I could never marry T. from last night, but there could potentially be kissing. I think this may be how men approach dating in general, no? Like if they could see having sex with you, they'll move on to Date 2. It's a theory, but my problem is that I'm not terribly excited about the prospect. This leads me to believe it may be time for a dating break.

Last but not least, the sad news with D. He returned from Panama and leaves for Geneva this Saturday. While I still heart him, of course, I fear his interest has waned and/or he's busy preparing for his trip abroad. I've only gotten one brief text since his return and that was after my message. Perhaps this is a good thing in the end, though it hardly feels good. It feels horrible. I really liked him...or his writing style. We had fun together, or I mean swapping emails and texts.

A great friend, T., pointed out the obvious, which being in the situation I did not see: why is that level of intimacy so appealing to me? I should probably want to talk on the phone or meet in person and ask for it. And though I did, I was pretty much fine with being pen pals too, in many regards. Perhaps as much as I say I want a relationship, there is a significant part of me that does not. At all. How better to get some emotional needs met via writing with D., but not be completely vulnerable by being in the same room? The implied distance creates safety. But there is a part of me that would love to jet off on an adventure. The fact that I have no money, may not like D. in person, and am adverse to risk, shouldn't hold me back. Or should it?

When I half joked to my own mother that perhaps I'll fly off to Geneva to visit D., she responded, "Now that might seem a little desperate, J."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stood Up at 34

Yes, hard to believe but I have been stood up. I should be indignant. I should be upset. I should at least care. But clearly I don't. I felt a touch surprised, regretful that I'd missed happy hour drinks with a friend, P., but ultimately happy to go back home to the comfort of my little, warm house on a cold night and my dog's kisses and cuddles. This was supposed to be Date #2 with the physical humor guy (the one who I got drinks with while bugs swarmed us and ate our skin, remember?). I don't blame anyone for not keeping the guys straight, since I'm the one going out on these dates and can barely do so myself.

We were supposed to meet at Nicholas's for dinner. I arrive promptly, which is pretty rare for me. Inside the restaurant is full of couples and packs of friends. I consider grabbing a table but decide against it. I go inside for a minute and feel thrust upon other people; there's no real foyer or waiting room or bar, all of which I don't care about except when feeling vulnerable and wanting to hide/wait in a dark corner, drink my drink, and live my god damn life. But I digress.

The short version is that my date's furnace blew out, he was headed out of the country the next, and day, and thought he had texted me a cancellation but texted the wrong person. I, being a Capricorn and steadfast myself, simply believed him. After all, why would a man ask a woman on a second date simply to stand her up? True, the circumstances might warrant some suspicion but I didn't go there. My friends and acquaintance, however, felt different - quite different. SOme bullshit detectors even went off in the process. "Sounds like crap," said one friend.

It may be, but since I had D. in NYC, nobody could touch me. So to speak. I already had someone to chit chat with, send funny texts, flirt via email. Who needs an actual, physical date? Until I started talkign with some friends.

You haven't met D. yet?
You HAVE to talk to him on the phone.
Can't put your life on hold just for him.
Who is this guy?
Texts and emails are one thing, but there could be zero chemistry in person.

While all these concerns are true, I was happy with my crumbs. I was happy flirting and teasing and writing and playing with D. I was happy in my cocoon with the web spun just around our two little selves, our brains connected via words, stories, modern technology.

Why burst my bubble, friends? I know, because you love and care about me and hate to see me disappointed. And D. could certainly disappoint: he has yet to actually call (I know I don't call him either) and he has failed to acknowledge my pleas for a visit. He may in fact be an obese Filipino woman living in Iowa. But damn! She's fucking awesome.