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 (http://spontaneousgardener.blogspot.com/2011/01/freedom-to-fail-or-marcus-aurelius-was.html)

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.