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.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Puns—Everybody Loves Them, Right?

While browsing profiles the other day, I came across one that used more puns and wordplay than I've ever encountered—and that's saying something. Check out the following sections of his profile:

About Me:
Yes-indeed I am a colorful person! Life's a big, hue-ge thing full of shades-of-gray, but I choose to cast the most vibrant light on it that I can. Maybe you can already guess at the tint of my lenses by the tone of my voice ;)

My full profile runs the whole gamut but suffice it to say that there are a few things to be sure of - a PAL is nice but a pal-ette is really where it's at.

What's that? The temperature's cooling as you stick out your tongue-sten? Why not just HID that away and say hallo-gen! I bet if I keep this up, you'll make me walk the Planck :O

You Should Send Me a Message If:
You laugh at jokes like "Comic Sans walks into a bar. The bartender says; we don't serve your type here." You might then follow-up with "but then Comic' got bold and stayed." To which I'd retort "Comic' got away with that for a while, but the bartender soon got tired of his face, and kicked him out - an act that only served to underline what might have become a grave situation."

Or you find great delight in hearing that "A proton and a neutron walked into a bar, where they ordered drinks. When the neutron went to pay, the bartender said; for you, no charge."

If you didn't laugh (since that would only act as encouragement,) you can at least tolerate that sort of behavior and give a hint when the pun-ch line was crossed. Words can be serious, but I say that they're just more for play.

Now, I have to admit that I rather like that Comic Sans joke; however, I could have done without all of the other jokes, puns, etc. It's just too much. What do you think? Would you message him?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Could Be You

Well, yes, it could, but it won't. Is there anyone out there who would be excited by this? (Note: I blurred it a bit and made it grayscale to somewhat obscure his identity.)

Oh, but it gets better. This [insert your favorite derogatory male name here] thinks he can win us over with this profile pic:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Message From the Prince of Persia

Well, not quite, but he is from Tehran. He sent me this message last night, exactly as it appears below. I can't even begin to say how much I wish he lived here so we could be together forever…

hello [my username],
It will be pitty if we just visit a profile and not drop a line..
please let me to taste happiness by your friendship.
My dear sweet angel ,I feel you in heart and it made me warm and alive..
here is my email: [removed for privacy]
I wait to hear from you.life is short,let don't lose the opportunity.
yours for ever

[first name here]

"from Ralf Waldo Emerson:The only way to have a friend is to be a one"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Don't Know What To Say About This

I just received a message from a guy who lives in SF, is near to my age, but couldn't be further from my tastes—I don't think. Since I've decided not to post people's real usernames anymore (I got in a spot of trouble for that last spring), let's just say his name was something like RavenousHOTbear and his profile picture is of a black bear.

The message read:

I really want to get to know you. Being a Bear, It isnt easy you know!!!!!GGRRRRRRRRRR

So I looked him up and found the first sentences of his profile. I've pasted them below with the first two adjectives replaced so as to protect his identity (though why I really feel the need to protect this guy's identity is beyond me).

Grrrrrr... I'm a [Ravenousss], [Hotttttt] Bearrr. Uhh, yeah. So I live in a cave but I totally am looking for that Perfect Honeeeyyy. I'm not into DUDES who don't shave. I am talking to you there Beg Burly BOB. Anywhoo.....

All I can conclude is that this guy is a total weirdo. At least he made me laugh…

Monday, November 15, 2010


I guess this is meant to be flattering, but I'll let you decide:

Subject Line: Wowwwwwwwwwww!!!
Message: Look at youuuuuuuu…
Do you have any idea how could there be so much beauty and sexiness in one person?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Late Night IMs - Part 456

I recently received this gem of an IM. Without any initial pleasantries, he went with:

where do pencil skirts, crisp hardbacks, leather pumps and an alarm clock rank among yer favourite things?

I almost responded, because it was a lot more interesting than "hi" or "i like yur smile", but he's 22 and lives in the UK.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nice Guy, But My Children Will Not Speak Icelandic

Or so I thought, as I was walking home last night. We had a good time yesterday, Björn and I. We kept up a steady conversation for over four hours, on the way to the museum, at the museum, and over dinner—but I didn't feel any sparks or butterflies. Then, less than half an hour after I got home, I received a text from him saying how much he'd enjoyed the evening and hoped we could go out again.

The thing is, I don't dislike him, I just don't know if there's anything there worth pursuing. Yet the thought of saying no makes me feel really bad, so I think I'll give him another chance. That said, I also plan to send out a few messages to a few other guys on the site and see where those take me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Late Night IMs - When Will I Learn?

Silly, silly me. After getting home late last night, I logged in to the dating site to reply to a message (read more about that below). As I was doing so, I received IMs from a variety of guys. Surprise, surprise, none were worth responding to. Here are some of the choice messages I received:

Guy (whose profile picture is just of his abs):
   - Hello
   - How are you ding?
Me: closed the chat window

Guy #2 (whose username is a very non-sexy Disney Movie title):
   -Sadly you're not looking for casual sex. :(
Me: closed the chat window

Guy #3 (whose profile pic is him with a half naked male doll (or maybe it's an avatar?) posing next to him):
   -hi whats up, hows your night goin
Me: waited a moment to see if he'd correct the spelling of "going" but the realized he wouldn't (given he'd also forgotten an apostrophe and a question mark). Closed the chat window.

I sincerely doubt I would have responded to any of these anyway, but I was more interested in writing a message to Björn. Yes, Björn, not Bill, Bob, or Buster. You see, this gent is Icelandic, so I figured I should give him a genuine Icelandic name as his alias. Anyways, he messaged me over the weekend, right after I'd reactivated my account and I decided to write back. Now, seven or eight messages later, we're gearing up for a date tomorrow. I don't know that anything will come of it, but who knows?

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Back

Whether it was seeing some of my friends in great relationships, the changing of the seasons, or the need for more lunacy in my life, something drove me to re-enable my profile on the dating site. I promise to write more soon, but I just wanted to post a heads-up: this blog is back.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Disabled My Account

After not having logged into the dating site for almost four months, I finally did today. I had received an e-mail that said somebody had been looking at my profile. I've received several such messages in the last few months, along with some telling me that guys had rated me highly and one that I had been (based on my profile photo) deemed "more attractive than average." I guess I was really bored, but it was time to check in. Yet when I did, I felt absolutely no inclination to look at profiles, read messages, or anything. On the off chance I want to resume online dating, I left my profile intact but I have made it so no one can see it until I choose to log in again.

Au revoir, dating site.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nearing the End

As I mentioned last time, I've run out of energy for online dating. It takes a lot to maintain my profile and wade through the multitudes on the site and, now that I have a job again, I don't really have as much time to do that. It's not that I don't have time to date or be in a relationship (like some people we know, *cough* Travis, *cough* Paul…), but I'd rather spend my free time out and about doing things and potentially meeting people than sitting at home in front of my computer for hours on the dating site.

Travis and I continue to e-mail. We went out last weekend for lunch and ultimately spent less than an hour together. I suggested trying to get together for dinner during the week, but he says that he's "not sure about weeknights, as I've really started to value just getting those few hours each night to sit around and decompress." While I totally understand the need to decompress, it's just one more sign that he clearly does not have the time for a relationship right now.

And then there's Paul, the Miata. I like him a lot. We hung out again on Friday, just as friends, and had a really nice time. There are so many things to like about him, but there are just enough things that I dislike that I know a relationship with him would never work, even if he was ready for one. All in all, I'm happy to have a great new friend. I need more of those.

This is my 197th post. I might try to stretch the blog out to 200, but there probably won't be much after that. If there's anything you think I should write about before I go on hiatus, please let me know. I'd love your suggestions!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Intelligence and Maturity

This week has taught me a valuable lesson: a person can be amazingly knowledgeable and intelligent without being all that mature. I'm sure some of you will disagree with me about my definition of mature, but I feel mine is pretty standard.

Here's the thing: Travis is very, very smart. Without telling you exactly who he is, I can say that he is a five-time national champion in his field, one that requires a lot of knowledge about a lot of different things. Those of you who know me, know that I like smart people and that I want a partner who (at least) matches me in intelligence. However, you also know that I'm someone who values the more 'cultured' aspects of life—fine art and music, excellent food, smart humor—and have little interest in low-brow, often mass-market entertainment. Call me a snob, I probably am, but that's just me. Travis definitely beats me in smarts, but it's these other qualities that don't match up. I feel like most of the things he does in his free time are about the same as those done by boys half his age.

Then there's another kind of maturity: maturity in relationships. I get the feeling that Travis hasn't dated much, much less been in many—if any—relationships. That's fine in theory, I certainly don't have that much experience, but with him it shows. There are few good things about this, namely his great frequency of communication, but I'm not sure I want to be the one to train him on the others. And yet, I'm not ready to tell him off just yet. If he decides we shouldn't see each other again, then I'll probably be OK with that; however, if he does want to see me again, then I'll be happy to see him.

Also, as much as it bothers me to admit this, I'm kind of done with the dating site for a while. Having been off it for about a month while I've been messaging and seeing Travis, I don't really have any great desire to get back on it at the moment. I've gone on dates with seven different people in three months and I'm kind of exhausted with the whole thing. The part that bothers me is that I do want to find someone, to be with someone, but perhaps I should just try what so many have before me and let things happen naturally.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Conveniently Close

As some of you know, I sing with a chorus. It's a fabulous group and we put a ton of work in each week to ensure that our performances are musical, moving, and fun. Rehearsal, however, leaves me exhausted—two and a half hours of intense concentration and singing will do that to a person—and the last thing I want to do upon leaving is begin my hour-long trek home on the bus.

How convenient then that Travis lives five blocks away from our rehearsal hall. As soon as I realized he lived that close, I immediately began dreaming about being able to go to his place and spend the night there. Using my desire to bring him some homemade brownies as an excuse, I asked if I could go over after his rehearsal. I was a bit afraid he'd refuse—I mean, we've only been on one date—but he said yes! Knowing that I'd be able to go to Travis', made the last hour of rehearsal so much easier.

Ultimately, Travis and I are responsible adults, which is my way of saying that I only stayed an hour and then headed back out. He has a lengthy commute every morning and had an early meeting this morning to boot; we both knew that if I stayed, our chance of getting much sleep was pretty small. Plus, he lives in a studio apartment with no couch. I told him that if he had a couch, I could just stay there; he told me that having me in his apartment at all would ensure that he didn't get any sleep. Well then. So we cuddled and kissed, but managed to separate long enough to get me out the door. A few minutes after I left, he texted me and told me that seeing me out was really hard to do. I wrote back to remind him that he'll get to see me again soon enough and that he could sleep in as long as he wants on Saturday—he's coming over to my place on Friday night, ostensibly for a cooking lesson and Scrabble, though I'm sure that won't be all…

Monday, March 22, 2010

Three Weeks of Preamble = Excellent First Date

This is going to be a bit of a tease, since I don't have time to write much, but:

- Theo's disappeared. I never heard from him after our second date. Also, I think he blocked my e-mail.
- Paul's still around, but we haven't seen much of each other and, because he's been in finals mode at school for the last few weeks, we haven't chatted much either.
- Jesse? Who knows what happened to him. Then again, I don't care.
- Travis. He messaged me and we messaged, IMed, and texted for a few weeks before we finally went out on Friday. Fantastic. I can't wait to see him again. I'll write more, as soon as we've worked out the second date.

Since Travis came along, I've pretty much been off of the dating site. It's been at least a week since I logged in. I continue to receive messages, but I've not responded to any of them. I rather like this situation.

Oh, and for those of you who liked my car metaphors, I have no idea what Travis is and that's just fine for now.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dating to Learn

When I started this blog, I was learning to date. Two years later, I know how to date. I know what makes a good first date and what doesn't, what to wear (I have a signature green hat that has become my "I'll be the one in the green hat" identifier), what to talk about and what to leave for future dates (if there are any), and how to get out of a date I'm not enjoying.

Now, instead of learning how to date, I'm paying more attention to what my dates have to teach me. Of all the guys I've met in person and the many more I've only encountered online, I've learned all sorts of things. One of the main things I've learned is how to appreciate something even if I don't enjoy it myself. Sandy, for example, explained to me why he enjoys riding motorcycles. I have no interest in motorcycles, but, thanks to him, I can see why they appeal to so many people. Carl and Paul have discussed their fondness for video games, Carl for developing them, Paul for playing them. Just because I don't understand the appeal of trying to become a Level 65 mage doesn't mean others can't have a great time doing so. Dan tried his hardest to get me to like roller coasters. Sorry, Dan, they're not for me. I'm simply not an adrenaline junkie. However, I can appreciate how much goes into making a good roller coaster and why so many people enjoy them.

Others have introduced me to things I might, or might not, have found on my own. Aiden pointed me to the beautiful soundtrack of "Atonement." Theo introduced me to Bruckner. Henry taught me the game Flux—how had I never played it before?—and retaught me gin rummy; I proceeded to beg him to play both games with me for months after. And even though Gavin couldn't for the life of him give me any reason to enjoy his stories about military training, he did take me to a great neighborhood restaurant.

A full, updated blog post will be up soon, but it's been a long week what with starting my new job(!) and I just haven't had the energy to write. What have your dates taught you?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On a Lighter Note

After days of angsty, advice-seeking posts, I thought it was time for something funny. I found this humor article ("Coffee Date's Hidden Thoughts—Revealed!") by Mark Miller on the Huffington Post today and found it to be wonderfully accurate. I've gone on a number of dates like the one in the piece, though, fortunately, my rejects (including all of the ones I've rejected on the dating site before even contacting or meeting them) could only fill the stands at a high school gym and not a baseball stadium.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You Are Amazing

I started off the weekend as confused as I could possibly be, but, thanks to all of your comments, I finished it much more sound of mind. If you haven't read the comments on my last two posts, I encourage you to do so. I received lots of great advice and perspectives and was able to really think through the odd situation in which I've found myself. So here's what I've determined:
  • Theo is the one I would like to keep seeing in earnest. He has come across as a bit shy, so, after waiting three days since our date last week, I decided to message him last night. I have no problem with taking it slow with him, though I do hope that our next date doesn't involve a frantic run to catch the last train (like the first two did).
  • Paul is a cool guy, but a bit of a player. Should things not work out with Theo, he'd be around if I wanted him to be.
  • Jesse is the wild card. He asked me out at the last minute tonight, but I'm home sick with a cold. I asked him if we might be able to hang out later this week. He seems interesting, so I don't want to write him off, but I'm treading very slowly with him. 
Even though I've sorted this out for now, I'm sure I'll have a lot more to consider in the weeks ahead. Please continue to comment and share advice/experiences. It means the world to me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Car Metaphors

I started to write this as a response to Lanafactrix's comment on my last post, but I decided to make a new post out of it. 

Lanafactrix has identified with my rational brain completely. Paul probably is bad news, but I'm not quite ready to let go of him yet.

The thing is, I think I like Theo a lot. L suggested that if he doesn't light my fire, that perhaps I ought to be with someone who does. However, it's not that Theo doesn't light my fire, rather that we are moving at a very different speed than I have with Paul.

I don't know how to drive, but if I did, Peter would be a red Miata and Theo would be a silver Volvo. The Miata is prone to being pulled over by cops, but is exhilarating to drive; the Volvo, on the other hand, is top quality, down to earth, and safe.

Ultimately, I know I want the Volvo, but I'm not quite done with my test drive of the Miata.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm Completely and Utterly Confused

So I made the mistake of going out with Paul on Thursday and then Theo on Friday. Knowing that I'd be seeing Theo on Friday for a second date, I told Paul that Thursday was going to be a strictly friends outing for us. I had to specify this because Paul has recently told me that, while he is not ready to be in a committed relationship, he's very much attracted to me and isn't sure he can be "just friends." When I met up with him for a casual dinner, I was feeling really excited about my upcoming date with Theo. I was sure that I'd have no problem behaving like I do with any of my other friends.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Paul tried to play it cool during dinner, but by the time we went across the street for ice cream, he was rapidly losing his ability to be just friendly. There was much flirtation and flattery and it got to me. My rational brain was fighting a serious uphill battle against my emotional brain; his rational brain was nearly decimated.

And still, the night was young, so we went over to a bar to sit and talk some more. By this point we were holding hands across the table. He wouldn't let go, but I didn't want him to. Therein lies the confusion. Even though I'd only been on one, completely G-rated date with Theo, at this point, I really want things to work out with him. Were I to do anything with Paul at this point, I worry that it would come back to bite me later if things with Theo continue to go well.

To make matters even more confusing, the second date with Theo went really well, but it was just as slow as the first. We seem to like each other and enjoy each other's company, we share many of the same likes and dislikes, and we always have plenty to talk about. That last point has, oddly enough, been the only real problem on our dates as we've found ourselves rushing to get him on the last train home at the end of the evening and never have time for a decent goodbye.

On paper, Theo wins against Paul hands down. He's older, more mature, witty and funny in the same way I am, passionate about classical music, a good dresser (I never did tell him last night how handsome he looked in his suit), doesn't drink or smoke, etc. However, I can't ignore the fact that there's incredibly intense physical attraction between me and Paul. My rational self picks Theo. My emotional self picks Paul. Which one will win in the end? I don't know, but I sure would like to find out soon.

P.S. In my last post I mentioned that I'd messaged with Jesse while waiting for an e-mail from Theo. I'd not heard anything from him since, so I assumed that I wouldn't. Only I did. I'm incredibly flattered to have the attention of these guys, but it makes everything so freaking complicated. If Daria's Quinn Morgendorfer (top left) and Gilmore Girls' Rory Gilmore (above right) morphed into one person, it might very well be me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Online Dating Etiquette

Edit: Since writing this, I've received a short but sweet message back from Theo. All is well. We're talking about getting together again this weekend. Plus, while I was waiting to hear from him I had a nice exchange of messages with a guy I'll call Jesse. Depending on how things work out with Theo, I may end up meeting up with Jesse. So the below now really is just a lot of frustration I needed to get out of my system.

Disclaimer: this post is a bit of a rant, though it's also an update and an ask for advice.

When looking for a date in the real world, one must have tough skin. A lot of energy is put into scoping out, approaching, and attempting to speak to potential dates. It's hard enough to approach, let alone speak, to someone new, so there are plenty of people who are only seen from afar and remembered as "what ifs?." In the real world, if one is fortunate enough to elicit a phone number from another, it's up to the receiver of that number to call it and the giver to answer (or even give a real number in the first place).

Online, it's different. Everyone is just as approachable as everyone else. There are no groups of friends to push you toward someone, the person being approached can't see you coming and hide before you get to them (well, not usually), and his/her friends can't intervene. If you do choose to message someone, it's understood that if he/she is not interested, there's no need to reply.

However, what remains the same with real-world and online dating is that if you actually go on a date with someone, the rules during and after that date are the same. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if a date ends with "This was really fun and we should do it again," there's going to be an assumption that there might be a second date.

Such is the situation I find myself in with Theo (and the one I had with Aiden). I sent that second date message and am now waiting for a response. Perhaps I'm more polite than the average person, but if I receive a second date message from someone I've decided I don't want to see again, I at least have the courtesy to write him back. Is this too much to ask?

The one difference between the real world and online, is that in the real world, if you go on a date with a guy you met at the bar and you don't hear from a him again, you have no idea what he's up to. In the online world, you can see what he's up to, if he's been online, if he's been updating his profile.

Then again, one can also see that 21 year-old guys with usernames like kickaxecode want you to IM with them. That just adds insult to injury.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Second Date vs. Nth Date

As I mentioned in the comments on a recent post, I've reached the point of wanting to settle down. For good. Therefore, the stakes have changed for my dates. If I'm asked out and I accept, it's usually because the guy seems nice enough, though I usually don't have a lot of hope of him making it to a second date. However, if I ask a guy out, there's a huge difference—I want him to make it to the nth date, not just the second.

Such is the case with Theo. I had an excellent time with him Saturday night and I'd really like to see him again. Unless if I completely misread him as we said hasty goodbyes as I got off the train, he's interested too. I sent him a short message this morning, so now the wait begins.

In other news, I read this somewhat offensive column on Huffington Post today. Now, I have to start by saying that the author is a senior in college and a guy, so his perspective is likely to be different than mine anyway. Still, I can't say that I'd consider doing any of the things he mentions in his column. Would you?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Theo: Henry v.2?

I've got another date tomorrow—guy number 18 for those of you playing along at home—with a guy I'll call Theo. I first came across his profile last October after the breakup with Henry, but, given that he'd just joined the site, I thought I'd wait a little while before messaging him. Then, as is my wont, I decided he was too good to message. (I know I've written about this before, but for the life of me I can't find the post.) However, as I was searching through my matches last weekend, I saw that he hadn't been messaged in over a week. I figured this might improve my chances of hearing back from him, so I got up the nerve to write.

To keep this short(er), we're going out tomorrow. So here's my worry: he's oddly similar to Henry. They share these things (among many others, I'm sure):
- Theo is German, Henry studied abroad in Austria and speaks German
- Theo is a "retired musicologist," Henry went to grad school for music
- Theo is in grad school for computer stuff, Henry did that in undergrad

To cap that off, our first date is going to be pretty much what my first date was with Henry: dinner at an ethnic restaurant and a free concert at a cafe. Who knows though? Henry and I dated for over seven months. Perhaps Theo will at least make it to date two.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Tyrany of Soft Expectations

The title of this post comes from a comment on my last post left by the lovely Lanafactrix. In case you didn't see her comment, she said:

I think, as far as men our age go, they're suffering partly from the tyranny of soft expectations. American culture tells them that they shouldn't want a steady girlfriend or a wife or, God forbid, children. Young men in serious relationships are ridiculed constantly by their peers, whereas young women are congratulated by theirs.

Her comment reminded me of an article I read in the New York Times a few weeks ago ("On College Campuses, a Shortage of Men"). While not about online dating, the article pointed out how men, particularly when they are in the minority of a population, "have all the power to control the intensity of sexual and romantic relationships."

What I find particularly interesting about all of this is that the gender split on my dating site seems to favor women. From what I can tell, there are significantly more men on the site than there are women. I did a sample search using my standard criteria (straight, 25-32, within 25 miles of me, single, no smoking) for men and then women. There were over 1000 men, but only 840 women who fit that search. Sure, this is not the most scientific data, but I'd wager it's pretty accurate. Add to this the societal pressure for men to send the first message and women can really be picky.

But then, perhaps this is all one vicious downward spiral: More men than women, women can pick and choose from the messages sent by men, but then fewer men want long-term relationships, etc. My head is starting to spin… What do you think?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Short-term vs. Long-term Dating

I've been thinking about this a lot recently due to the whole Paul situation. When I wrote last week, I said that Paul and I had agreed we were going to be friends due to his inability to commit to a relationship at present. I also thought we were going to see each other this past weekend. It turns out that a) he's too busy to hang out on most weekends and b) he just doesn't want to be in a committed relationship at all at this point in his life. We IMed tonight and, in our honest conversation, he said that he's going to stay on the dating site despite his unwillingness to commit to anyone. His profile says he's looking for short-term as well as long-term dating (clearly that last one doesn't match up with reality).

In the more than two years I've been on the dating site, I've never really been able to determine what's meant by "short-term" dating. Now that I've finally had to think about it, I guess it's whatever is between one-night stands and long-term relationships. I guess I've wanted to "settle down" for a while now—I've always craved stability—so I can't remember a time when I wanted to casually date anyone. I am realizing though, what with Paul and, of course, Henry, that there aren't a lot of guys out there that are ready at this point in their lives (mid- to late-twenties) to settle down. Why is this?

If you have any insight into the short-term/long-term situation, please share.

Middle of February

This is an awkward time for most single folks, but slightly more awkward for me: if Henry and I hadn't broken up, today would have been our first anniversary. I battled bouts of general loneliness all last week, but then with the approach of Valentine's Day and the non-anniversary, I was particularly out of sorts.

Enter Jake. I found his profile Friday night, looked at it, determined I should message him, left the window open, and then turned away from my computer screen to watch the Olympics. When I looked back at the screen a little while later, I found a message from him. I messaged him back and after a few more messages over the next 24 hours, he decided to ask if I might be free on Sunday. He acknowledged that it was VD and that we didn't have to go out that day if it would be weird, but I had nothing better to do, so I said yes.

I'm not going to go into the details of the date—we took a long walk through many neighborhoods of the city he'd not been to before—because ultimately, it wasn't that exciting. We managed to keep a conversation going throughout the three or so hours, but by the end of that time we were really out of things to say. However, it was nice to get out yesterday, meet someone new, (eat some ice cream), and not be at home moping about how everyone seems to have a Valentine except me—which, of course, I realize is not true, but it sometimes feels that way.

On a related note, did anyone see the commercials for Walgreens' Valentine's Day gift help? I can't find a video of it online, but Walgreens still has the promotional website up. Check it out here. It's a bit ridiculous, no?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finding Mr. Right

With Valentine's Day only a few days away, the media is throwing countless dating stories at us. This year the hot topic is social media and dating—they had to find a new angle for a new year, but they all chose the same one…

Rachel Greenwald, author of Find a Husband After 35: Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School, has a new book out called Have Him at Hello: Confessions From 1,000 Guys About What Makes Them Fall in Love… or Never Call Back. She blogged about it today on the Huffington Post, focusing on four ways to find men in the digital age. In the post titled "Valentine's Day Book: Where Can I Find Mr. Right?" she says women too often ask "where" rather than "how." Her suggestions for how:
  1. Using Facebook - Scroll through your friends' friends and ask for an introduction
  2. Tweeting - Tweet details of a casual meeting, i.e., happy hour, and ask your friends/followers to bring friends
  3. Meetup.com - Search for local singles groups
  4. Teaching your own man-class - Teach a class on a topic about which men are often clueless, i.e., cooking; men will flock to the class, and hopefully some will ask you out after
Of these, I've done one of the four. After Henry and I split, I joined Meetup.com and joined a number of groups, including some targeted at singles. I've yet to go to any group designed for singles; however, I did meet Alex through a Meetup.com group. 

I have thought about asking my friends on Facebook to set me up on a blind date, but I've never looked at their friends to find a date.

I—and most of my friends—refuse to use Twitter (at least for my personal life). Therefore, I won't be using Twitter as she suggests.

Finally, teaching a man-class? I don't think so. I'm way too introverted.

Have you, dear readers, ever used any of these techniques to find a date? Please let me know.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Bachelor

I should preface this post by saying that I've never watched "The Bachelor" or any of the other such programs that have tarnished the airwaves over the last decade.

The other day I came across a Newsweek article entitled "A Black President Before a Black 'Bachelor'?" It was the TV critic's review of the current season of ABC's "The Bachelor" and the critic, Joshua Alston, chose to focus on the glaring fact that the "bachelor" has been white in each of the show's 14 seasons. (Side note: 14 seasons? I had no idea, but that just seems like 13 too many.) Mr. Alston writes about how he realized it would be silly to call the producers to ask about this because he knows that Americans overwhelmingly marry within their own race. He goes on to say,

White people are the majority in this country and, therefore, the best audience to target from a ratings standpoint, and there's risk in alienating viewers who may have less enlightened views on interracial couples. Could they cast a black man? Sure. Would it be smart to? Probably not. The Bachelor is one of many pop-culture artifacts that highlight the uncomfortable gap between the way we'd like to think of racial integration and the way it actually is. Just as people of different races don't often date each other or worship together, we also don't read many of the same books, or like many of the same movies, or adore many of the same celebrities. Certainly not as much as we'd like to believe.

Read the article and, if you've not already read them, my two previous posts about race (here and here). Then, let me know what you think. I'm curious to know if you think that the online dating world reflects the larger, nationwide trends written about in the Newsweek piece or if it is more liberal or conservative.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Smart Women

  1. Some smart women put themselves in a no-win bind when it comes to finding an intellectual match.
  2. Smart women bring their inner CEO to the date.
  3. Smart women don't make love a top priority.
  4. Smart women mistake a person for real fulfillment.
  5. Smart women overthink it.
  6. Smart women underplay their feminine charms.
  7. Smart women are waiting for love to show up versus showing up as love.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

From One to Three

The second date with Paul was really fun and we both had a really good time. However, Paul made it clear—and I much prefer this to being strung along—that he's not ready for a relationship at the moment. (This, of course, begs the question (as *Ily actually asked me the other day) of why he's even on a dating site in the first place; however, I'm willing to overlook that for the time being). Paul's finishing college this year—finally—and he's also got a stressful job running the campus newspaper, so I can understand him not wanting to start a relationship now. Looking back on my own college experience, I can't imagine having a new relationship start up my senior year. The poor guy wouldn't have gotten much of my time, and what he did would have involved a very stressed-out me.

That all said, Paul and I have agreed that we are far too compatible to let each other go. We're going to go out again this week and see what happens from there. I'm not exactly sure we stand on the friend/friendlier continuum, but I'm surprisingly OK with that. What I do know is that I haven't stopped looking at other guys on the dating site.

In other news, I've been saving a bunch of articles to share and debate with you all. I've got them all set up and they'll post one a day over the week. Please share your thoughts. I love reading your comments!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

From Three to One

It seems like ages ago that I wrote I was going to go on three dates in one week with three different guys, though it was really only ten days ago. I realized that though a couple of you have heard from me in person about the dates, most of you are probably wondering what happened.

Tom, as I said before, turned out to be a great guy—just not the one for me. In an ideal world, I'd become friends with him; however, we met on a dating site, not a friend site, so I doubt either of us will actually pursue that. (Though if I'm ever desperate to play Scrabble, he's the one I'll call.)

I really liked Aiden. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to feel the same. We had a fine time on our date, and it ended with a “We didn’t get to discuss ____, we’ll have to do that next time” from him, so I just assumed I’d hear from himagain. Nope. I wrote him a day later to say I’d had a nice time and ask if he might be interested in another date, but I’ve not received as much as a smoke signal.

As I was still waiting to hear back from Aiden when Friday afternoon rolled around—and it was ugly and rainy out (like it had been for a few weeks)—I was quite unenthusiastic about my date with Paul that night. I thought about canceling, but he IMed me a couple of hours before to tell me how excited he was and I didn’t have the heart to cancel.

We had planned to meet at a local museum that does afterhours events on Friday nights. At 6. I got there with plenty of time to spare, so I went in for a bit to warm up before going back outside (no rain, fortunately) to wait for him a few minutes before 6. By 6:15, I was cold, grumpy, and done with my magazine. I finally texted him, figuring he was trying to find parking, only to get a reply that he was really sorry but was still a number of blocks away due to bad traffic. Fast forward another 20 minutes and a few more texts and he finally shows up. I really wanted to be mad at him, but he was so endearingly apologetic that I forgave him right away.

All in all, we had a pretty good time wandering the galleries and chatting. We left to get dinner and had another good chat before he had to leave for a late-night comedy show with a friend. I had thought I’d be relieved when it came time to go home, but I wasn’t—I wanted to see him again.

And I will. Saturday night. Of the 16 guys I’ve dated from the dating site, only four (including Paul) have made it to a second date. Will he be the third to make it to a third date?

Finally, I want to thank all of you for reading this blog, especially those of you that I’ve never met. I don’t know how you found me, but it’s pretty cool knowing that this blog has moved beyond my immediate circle of friends.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Race and Online Dating

Since I received so many comments on my post "Online Dating Experiment," I thought I'd write a new post responding to them all, rather than replying to the comments.

First, in the spirit of full-disclosure, I've now dated 16 guys from the dating site and all but one—who was Asian—were white. Given that whites are quickly becoming a minority in my area, this is, perhaps, a bit strange.

Second, from what I remember—as a reminder, it's been over two years now—I've received messages from a few Asian guys, a few Indian guys, and one or two black guys. However, as is true for all of the messages from white guys, I only respond if I'm interested.

Third, as Kia discovered in her experiment, relying heavily on pictures can be a bad thing. While the dating site that I'm on doesn't require users to post pictures, it is possible to choose to only be shown profiles of the people who have. I've made this choice because, as I've mentioned in previous posts, profiles without pictures could belong to absolutely anyone. (Of course people can post fake pictures or fake profile information—and they do—but it's harder to post a whole bunch of fake pictures.) Unfortunately, by choosing this option, it's all to easy to eliminate people from a search based solely on appearance. I've eliminated people with 90+% matches a number of times simply because I don't find them attractive. Am I a bad person for this? Probably to some degree.

All that said, don't people do this in real life too? As Ily pointed out in her comment about the movie "Medicine for Melancholy," people choose to hang out at places that have "their kind of people"—people with whom they expect to get along—and by doing that, they often end up ignoring large portions of the population.

Fourth, as Carolyn wrote, dating sites encourage people to list their race. Mine has a number of boxes one can check, but one doesn't have to specify one's race. I would wager that the vast majority do, based on what I've seen, but some don't. It's definitely possible to search profiles based on race, but then the people who don't select a race (or two or three) obviously don't show up in those searches.

I hope that you will all continue to comment on this topic and share your own experiences (if you feel comfortable doing so).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As Heard on NPR

After having gotten up entirely too early to deal with a very wet, leaky apartment, I crawled back in bed to listen to Morning Edition. The first story I heard, "Modern Marriages," was about a new study by the Pew Research Center about marriages in 2007 versus those in 1970. Among the study's findings were:
  • More women have college degrees than men (for the first time ever among those 44 or younger)
  • "From 1970 to 2007, husbands whose wives earned more than they did jumped from 4 percent to 22 percent"
  • 87% of women now say that it is more important to marry a man who can communicate well, be intimate, and share the burden of housework than to marry a man who makes more money than they do
A follow up story noted that another finding of the study was that, "Today, among U.S.-born 30- to 44-year-olds, the more educated you are, the more likely you are to be married."

I found this all very interesting, especially in light of the fact that I'm going out tonight with someone, Aiden, who seems to be doing just fine financially. The dating site has a spot to put your income range on your profile, but a lot of people don't fill it in. I don't choose to date or dismiss people on the dating site because of their income or even their profession, but I'm sure there are plenty who do. Readers, has financial status/stability ever been a turn on/off for you?

Online Dating Experiment

A friend and reader of this blog sent me a link to an online dating experiment conducted by a girl in DC. Her blog's called "Hi. My Name is Kia." Rather than spoil it for you, I'm going to encourage you to check it out here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A First For Me

This week I will do what I've never done before: go on three dates with three different guys. I'm not quite sure how this happened, but I'll enjoy the popularity while I have it.

I've already mentioned Aiden, the one who seems really great but lives a fair distance from me. We've plans to go out tomorrow night. Then there's Tom, who IMed me on Friday night while I was waiting to hear from Aiden. I was bored and he seemed nice enough, so we started chatting. After three hours—yeah, I know that's a long time—we had decided to go out the next day. We had lunch and went for a hike out on the coast and had a pretty good time. I liked him well enough, but I think he'd be a much better friend for me than a boyfriend. More on that another time.

I finally got an e-mail from Aiden saying that he'd call last night, only I missed his call. When I called him back, I had to leave a message. While I waited for him to call me again, I logged on to the dating site and looked at one new profile. That guy, Paul, looked at mine and IMed. Two hours go by and we're set to go out on Friday. Meanwhile, Aiden hasn't called.

The thing is that of the three, Aiden is definitely the one in whom I'm most interested. He's smart, charming, funny, and into world affairs (something Henry was not). Oh, and he's pretty good-looking to boot. The distance is the biggest obstacle, and I guess the one that makes me feel OK about going out with these other guys.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cougars and Cubs

This is pretty much unrelated to my normal line of blogging, but I've mentioned "cougars" once before so I thought I'd share this story I came across today on the Huffington Post: "Carnival Cruises Bans 'Cougars,' 'Cubs' From Future Trips."

Basically Carnival wants to keep its family friendly image, so it has turned down the request of a singles travel club to have a second "cougar-themed" cruise. What do you think? Should Carnival have done this? Do you want me (and everyone else) to refrain from mentioning "cougars" ever again?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Do you mind if I take this call? It'll be quick!

Thankfully, I haven't been in need of a friend's phone call to get me out of a date (at least not recently), but I'm sure that I will at some point. The problem is that I don't have a number of the things that one usually uses as excuses in this kind of situation (siblings, pets, car). So, dear readers, what kind of excuse do you think I could use if I ever needed one? Please comment!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Two Teetotalers Walk Into a Bar…

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a date this week. Jeremy (an alias of course) e-mailed me a few weeks ago about a part of my profile he found particularly interesting: "I don't drink—I simply don't like the taste of alcohol (or much of anything that is fermented, for that matter)." He said he felt the same way about alcohol and wondered how I handled telling this to people as he finds he has a hard time explaining it. I said that I tell people and if they don't like it or try to convince me that they can find an alcohol I'll like, they're not worth keeping around. After exchanging a few more e-mails, I proposed going on a bar crawl during which we'd challenge bartenders to create us their best non-alcoholic concoctions. He accepted.

Given that we exchanged no messages for the week between his acceptance of my plan and the date, I felt fairly certain this was not going to be the match of my dreams. It wasn't. Jeremy is a nice guy, don't get me wrong, and we were able to sustain conversation for a few hours, but I feel fairly certain that neither of us will be contacting each other again anytime soon. As has been the case with the last few guys I've gone out with, our match percentage was at the bottom of my threshold and I wouldn't have contacted him had he not done so first.

I've been e-mailing with another guy, let's call him Aiden, who seems like a much better prospect—if it weren't for the fact he lives an inconvenient distance from me. Not far, just far enough. That said, he seems fairly willing to come into the city, so I'm not too worried about the distance for now. More about him soon.

Also, I'll be asking for advice from you, my dear readers, in the next few posts. So start thinking about dating etiquette and stay tuned.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Most dating sites give stats about how well one person will get along with another. In my case, I can also see how unlike someone the dating site thinks I am. On any given day, the people who choose to look at my profile are 80-95% like me and 5-20% unlike me, according to the site. Today, however, my profile was viewed by someone who is supposedly 20% like me and 76% unlike me. I can't even begin to fathom what would make someone could be that different. I looked at his profile, which is quite thin on information, and found that he's in the military and Christian (but not too into it) but nothing that would make me think, "Wow, we'd never get along."

On a related note: two years on the site has made me look at my friends and family with the question of "what would our match percentage be?" For those of you who have used dating sites—and those of you who haven't—has this thought ever crossed your mind?

Lastly, I've got a date lined up for Thursday. Stay tuned for more details.