Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy News for My Final Post

I don't know if anyone will ever see this post, but… Björn and I are engaged! We're going to have a civil ceremony in September and follow that next summer with a wedding and reception with our friends and family.

Online dating has many negatives, but so many positives too. If it weren't for the dating site (it was OkCupid, by the way), I never would have met Björn and I'd likely still be wandering around San Francisco lonely and single.

I hope you've enjoyed this blog, and I wish you all the best.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Guest Blog - Part 2

As I posted yesterday, I'm offering you a glimpse into someone else's online dating experiences by sharing with you a guest blog by my friend Anna. Yesterday she introduced us to Jorday, Jay, Geeky Mountain Man, Hungover Guy, Male Action Hero #1, and Justin. Today we'll pick up with Desperate Guy:

[Part 2]

Then, there was Desperate Guy. I’m not such a fan of doing a whole lot of texting before I meet a person in real life – unless the emails have been so good that I want to keep the conversation going. Desperate Guy did a lot of texting. And he used the letter U instead of the word “you.” For the right person, I let this slide. As a future middle school humanities teacher who wants to drill this bad habit out of her students, this is one of my biggest text message pet peeves. My students are going to hear SO many “U is a letter. Y-O-U is a word” rants from me.

Anyway. Desperate Guy seemed kinda promising at first, other than the texting. He’s got a graduate degree, loves Seattle, and is from Wisconsin. Seemed like a nice enough guy. We made plans to meet at a dive bar for a drink. The Packers-Falcons game was on, and I was rooting for the Packers, since my Seahawks had just beaten the New Orleans Saints the day before. And had the stars aligned, a Packers win could have led to the 7-9 Seahawks hosting the NFC championship game. Did I mention that I’m one of the biggest female football fans in the world? I have a bad habit of swearing at the screen when I’m watching sports. One of my best friends, Dave, told my ex, Jay “you’ve never seen Anna during football season. You’re in for some fun.” I think the extent of my fandom scared Jay, actually.

Desperate Guy didn’t seem to mind that I kept getting distracted by the game. We were trying to have a conversation, and then I’d jump up, yelling “INTERCEPTION! INTERCEPTION!” He was nice, and sweet. Really chatty though. I had a hard time getting a word in edgewise sometimes.

And a word for the men who are reading this. It is not sexy to grab your belly on the first date. You do not want to draw attention to the few extra pounds of beer that have gravitated towards your gut. Desperate Guy grabbed his gut and shook it at one point during the conversation. Not sexy.

For a guy from Wisconsin, he was the slowest beer drinker ever. Seriously. My good friends know that I’m a really slow beer drinker, so for me to call someone a slow beer drinker means something. I’d been fighting a sinus infection off all week. After several hours of beer, food, and conversation, I was starting to feel a little gross. My head was pounding, and I knew I needed to go back to my couch. But Desperate Guy still had three quarters of a beer left. I knew there was no way I was going to last another 90 minutes.

“I’m sorry. I’m having a good time, but I’m starting to get an awful sinus headache, and I think I need to go home now,” I said, standing. He gave me a hug. I went home and laid down on my couch.

The next day, I was out for sushi with a friend. I felt bad about leaving so abruptly, so I sent Desperate Guy a message letting him know I was feeling better and apologizing for leaving. I expected that he’d text me back to see about getting together later in the week. I did have a good time, and at this point he hadn’t received his nickname.

Now, readers, what would you expect the guy to do at this point? Because I was expecting him to text me back saying “glad you’re feeling better. Let’s talk later in the week about getting together.” I wasn’t expecting a phone call. I let it go straight to voicemail. His message explained that he had an unexpected day off the very next day, and wanted to get together again.

I started hyperventilating. My fight or flight response kicked in. Too soon! Too soon! Danger Will Robinson Danger! I called my wonderful pastor, who gave me some wise advice –

"Maybe you should approach online dating this way -- you're going to fail. And it's okay. You wouldn't be feeling overwhelmed and wanting to run away if it's the right person. That wouldn't be your reaction. Something doesn't feel right about this, and you're learning to listen to that."

Good advice. I’ve actually written a whole blog post about it on my blog, The Spontaneous Gardener. You can find it here (

After Desperate Guy came Pete, who I also won’t write much about, since we’ve decided to be friends too. Another nice guy. Similar interests – mountains and Balkans. Just no spark for me though.

Last came High School Guy. So, those of you who online date can probably relate to this. When I see someone I know on an online dating website, I get a bit embarrassed. It’s like “oh no – I didn’t want YOU knowing I was doing this!” Try not recognizing the other person, and then discovering on the date that you went to the same 400 person high school.

That’s even more embarrassing, right?

And that’s exactly what happened. High School Guy looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t really place him. We had a lot of similar interests – hiking, soccer, traveling, and, well, more soccer. I’m a sporty gal, I guess. So, ten minutes into the date (we were watching a soccer game, naturally), we start to have the “where did you grow up” and “where did you go to high school” conversation. As soon as the word “Lakeside” escaped my lips, he gave me a really funny look.

Him -- “Wait…when did you graduate?”

Me -- “2000”

Him – “I was the class of ’98.”

Me – “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

He got real quiet. As soon as he said his name, I knew exactly who he was. Things got awkward for a good, oh, ten minutes. I mean, you could actually hear crickets in the background. It was that quiet and awkward. But we kept watching the game. I did what my friend Jen, a sports broadcaster, advises women to do for networking. I started talkin’ sporty. I started talking about the World Cup, about the Sounders, and about baseball. I shared crazy travel stories. I told him about the time I got to interview Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus over the phone. We both relaxed, and had a good time.

But when I wrote him to say “hey, I had fun. Let’s go watch soccer again sometime,” I got a very honest response. He didn’t feel anything romantic, but thought that hanging out as friends sounded good. Nothing since.

He’s just not that into me. And that, readers, is one of the most liberating phrases for an online dater. It’s an easy way for me to tie up my disappointed feelings into a little box and throw them all over my shoulder. He’s just not that into me.

Because the right guy WILL be that into me. And I’ll know it. It’s true what they say. When things click, all those stupid “rules” we’ve been taught about playing hard to get and waiting three days before contacting another person – they all go out the window.

And last night, I met Lucky Number Seven. I’m still smiling this morning.

More later.

[End post]

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Guest Blog from Anna

Hi. I know that it's been a while, but things with Björn continue to go swimmingly and thus there have been no online dates about which to report. However, I have a number of friends who are using various online dating services, and I've occasionally offered to let them guest blog. My friend Anna, a graduate student in Seattle, has finally taken me up on the offer, so I present to you, in two parts (it's quite long) her first post.

[Part 1]

The Good, The Bad, and The Desperate

I didn’t expect to be single right now. Almost exactly a year ago, the guy I thought I was going to marry, Jordan, broke up with me. So suddenly that I didn’t see it coming. It took a lot of tears before I started enjoying my unexpected singlehood.

And then I met Jay on a hike. We dated for four months. It was like a fast-moving romantic hurricane that ended when we realized – on Thanksgiving Day – that maybe we weren’t as compatible as we had thought. For example, I want children. I’m 29, and my biological clock is most definitely ticking. Jay can’t stand kids. But it’s easy to overlook things like that when your partner is, um, taking you to Hawaii.

Since early December, I’ve been on six first dates. Seven, if you count last night’s – but that one deserves its own blog post. Some have been good. A couple have been really bad. And one, in particular, made me want to go hide in a corner because the guy was so desperate.

Before I get into all that, there’s a little more that all of Katie’s readers should know. I’m a Seattle native who still lives in her hometown. I love Seattle – especially on beautiful, crisp, clear mornings such as this one. The mountains are a short drive away, and I’ve spent so much of my life surrounded by water that it feels strange when I’m not. Most of the time, I love my fair city. It’s full of bookstores, characters, seafood, concerts, parks, and yes, coffee. Because of the tech industry, Seattle also happens to be home to my “type” – the Geeky Mountain Man. Go hang out in Ballard on a weekend and you’ll spot plenty of ‘em. Yet all those rumors about the Seattle freeze? They’re true. People don’t really talk to each other here. You could be standing next to a tall, cute, 30-something bearded Geeky Mountain Man on the bus, chatting away about hiking gear and REI, and never get his number. Let alone learn his name. If you want to “meet people in real life” to date, good luck. Seattleites don’t talk to strangers.

This is why online dating is so big here.

Back to the six first dates. Since early December, I’ve gone out with Hungover Guy, NW Male Action Hero #1, Justin, Desperate Guy, Pete, and High School Guy. I’ll take these in order.

Hungover Guy, a lawyer, met me at a coffee shop near Green Lake. One of the first things I noticed about him is that he looked like crap. There was no way he was the 32 he claimed on his profile. He looked more like 42. I bought a chai, and suggested that we walk around the lake, as it was a pretty day. One of the first things he says to me is “I’m so hungover.”

Yeah. Did I mention it was 1 PM on a Sunday?

As we were walking around the lake, I tried to start a good conversation. Yet he kept coming back to the fact that he’d gotten really wasted the night before. He told me that all Seattle natives were assholes, and that my Irish family must like getting really drunk all the time. Had we not had half of a lake to walk around, I probably would have gotten up and left. But I’d committed to walking around Green Lake with this jerk. There wasn’t even a handshake at the end of this date. It was that bad.

NW Male Action Hero #1 was better. I just didn’t really feel any spark. He took me to Tamarind Tree, a super tasty Vietnamese place in the International District. The food was good, and I enjoyed our conversation about climbing mountains and good places to snowshoe. No spark, though. We just weren’t that into each other. Moving on.

Justin I won’t say much about, as we’ve decided to be friends. Good guy. Super busy. Not the right person for me. Very hopeful he finds someone as sweet as he is.

Then, there was Desperate Guy...

[End of Part 1]

I'll post the rest of her entry tomorrow. Check back to read the adventures with Desperate Guy, Pete, and High School Guy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We're Both Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians—Let's Date!

On a conventional dating site (they've been around long enough to use the word conventional, don't you think?), the title statement could easily be made. However, if one is truly committed to dating someone of a certain type (Jewish, vegetarian, eco-friendly, book-loving, etc.), there are now countless dating sites devoted to matching people who fit specific criteria. I know plenty of people who have used J-Date, a site for matching Jewish singles, but I don't think I know anyone who has tried (bibliophiles), (Mac/Apple-lovers), or (I thought that was Craigslist…).

Today's New York Times includes a fairly long article about these new dating sites, including the ones mentioned above. Read the full article here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Iran Says No to V-Day

Despite the holiday being more than a month away, the AP felt it important to report today that the government of Iran is cracking down on the symbols of Valentine's Day. And, because I don't have anything new from my own life to report, I thought I'd go ahead and post this:

The annual homage to romance on Feb. 14 has become popular in recent years in Iran and other places in the Middle East.

But Iran's semiofficial ILNA news agency reports Sunday that a state directive now bans any cards, gifts, teddy bears or other tokens of the day — which tradition says is named after an early Christian martyr.

The backlash in the Islamic Republic is part of a drive against the spread of Western culture.

Other Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia also have sought to stamp out Valentine's Day. But it's celebrated widely in nearby places such as Dubai.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In a Relationship

As most of you know or have guessed by now, Björn and I are now in a relationship. I've changed my status on the dating site (and Facebook) after a brief discussion with him—that began with the release of Julian Assange's dating profile and lovesick e-mails, if you can believe it. (Björn is mildly obsessed with the whole Wikileaks thing, especially since it, like he, has close ties to Iceland.)

Sadly for me, he returned to Iceland on Sunday where he'll stay for two weeks. Happily for you, I'll be filling his absence by posting a bunch of online dating stories I've found in the media recently.

Today we'll start things off with a story about a Seattle woman who is trying to find love through Facebook, as written by my wonderful aunt. (Have you ever tried to meet someone through FB?)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving Update

Oops—it's been a week. Sorry about that. I was getting so good at posting regularly. Thanksgiving and then a nasty cold happened.

Anyway, my third date with Björn went quite well. We did indeed repeat my first date with Henry (Indian food and classical music), this time with Henry being on stage. There was no awkwardness between the three of us—though I didn't tell Björn that Henry was my ex-boyfriend, just a friend—and a fun evening was had by all.

It was raining when Björn and I left, but we had to walk to the bus. On the way to the bus we examined the neighborhood's murals—and had our first kiss. From there, the plan to take the bus was abandoned and we ended the night at my place.

We hung out again the following night, but then it was Thanksgiving break. He had Wednesday-Sunday off and no interest in an American Thanksgiving, so he booked a last-minute trip to Vegas, while I headed to my parents' house. He was very clear about how much he missed me while he was gone, even passing up Zumanity at my urging/request (if you don't know what it is or why I wouldn't want him to go there alone, watch this), and was very eager to see me upon his return on Sunday.

Now, I like him. However, I'm pretty sure I don't like him on the same level as he likes me. For example, when we were talking about how we have both had many changes in our lives in the last year, his list included moving from Iceland to two other international cities before moving here last spring—and meeting me. Oh, and when I said that this year had been a big year for me, in that I went with having slept with no one at the beginning of 2009 to one at the beginning of 2010 to, well, a few more than that this year, he said, "and I hope only one next year."

I've never been in this position before. I've always been the one that cared about the other person more deeply (obsessively?) so to have the tables turned on me is unexpected and confusing, to say the least. We've got two and a half weeks left before Björn goes to Iceland for two weeks at the holidays, so we'll see where they take us.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

String-less Fun

The trailer for the upcoming movie No Strings Attached shows nothing relating to online dating per se; however it does address the idea of casual sex, which some online daters seem more fond of than others. I've had a couple of encounters in the last year that fall near that category, but I've realized that I'm just not cut out for that type of relationship (or lack there of, as the case may be). Is anybody? It just seems so emotionally complicated. What do you think?

Monday, November 22, 2010

In case you haven't seen this yet, here's a funny video about dating in the internet age. (Oh, and in case you're wondering, Björn is incredibly Google-able.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Might Have Been Wrong

After little contact throughout the week, I heard from Björn again on Thursday. It was a very short message, simply asking how my week was going. I could have written back with an equally short response, but I decided to be spontaneous and ask if he had any plans that night. I figured if we didn't go out then, I might not be free until after Thanksgiving week, and that didn't really seem fair.

Well, he was free, so we went to dinner where we sat and talked for over two hours. He's definitely growing on me, because after dinner, I wasn't ready to say goodbye just yet. We ended up spending an hour wandering through the MoMA and another hour watching the ice skaters at Union Square before I finally realized that it was past 10 and I had to get up early the next morning. I waited with him until his bus came, at which point he kissed me on the cheek and went on his way.

That's when the butterflies started to flit around and I realized that not only would I like to go out with him again, but I didn't want to wait over a week to do so. Therefore, we'll be going on a near repeat of my first date with Henry—to hear Henry sing. (H and I have stayed friends, seeing each other at least every couple of months.) Don't worry, I asked H first if it would be OK to bring someone, and he was only encouraging.

I will, of course, let you know what happens; however, it might be a few days. I've got a couple of articles about online dating that will post in the meantime.