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.