(We don't know where we'll end up ... but we're all starting at single.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

As the Clock Ticks, The Worm Turns

One of the inevitable tensions of online dating is the traditional push-pull of gender dynamics. As so many of us already know, straight women traditionally are the gatekeepers of dating.  Straight men pursue; women get pursued.  Only the highest-status men get to choose between a wide variety of women suitors.  In general, men aren't constantly fending off approaches from  women looking to hook up with them.

Some of these tendencies are equally evident in online dating.  Women that aren't hideous get tons of messages.  Men generally don't get a lot of messages by comparison.  Women who are average-looking or above get so many messages that their inboxes can't support them.  Even if they wanted to give every guy a chance by reading his profile and looking at his personality, they can't.  There are just too many suitors and not enough time.

The somewhat ironic effect of all that attention is that it leads some women to treat men online the same way they complain that men treat them.  For instance, I've received some very generic opening messages from women online.  One-word introductions.  Or one sentence.  Or a brief snippet that doesn't indicate any knowledge of my profile whatsoever.

It's a bit of an extension of what men and women experience offline.  The offline stereotype  is that most women work on their attractiveness (usually in the physical sense), live fulfilling lives (hopefully), and wait for 'the right guy' to come along.  By contrast, men work on their careers, accomplishments, and hobbies in the hopes of eventually possessing the cachet to go forth and woo 'the right woman'. Both generalizations are kludgy, overly simplistic, and leave massive gaps in the full story.

This post will fill one of those gaps.

There's a famous saying: "Youth is wasted on the young."  It's a saying that is way, way older than any of us.  And there's a very good reason that women past a certain age repeat this saying a lot more than men do.  For men, age usually brings career advancement, stability, and (hopefully) maturity. As men get more experienced, many make the transition from walking, talking id/libido monsters to becoming somewhat more sophisticated creatures that know how to please women.  These are all qualities that many women tend to find more attractive in men as they get older.  I've found that my own stock has not fallen with age; if anything, it has risen.

By contrast, age usually cripples a woman's appeal to men.  Men tend to be much more focused on looks than women are.  More specifically, men have been programmed by evolution and socialization to find youthful looks beautiful. Most damaging of all, despite pop-culture portrayals to the contrary, most men looking for long-term female partners want one who will bear children.  Since pregnancy becomes riskier to both the mother and baby as a woman approaches 40, many single women who indulged in the selectivity that traditional male/female sex dynamics afforded them suddenly discover their desirability begins to plummet once they hit their mid-30s compared to men their age.  Unfortunately, there's no way to reverse the decline in appeal that age burdens women with: at the end of the day, most people -- including most men -- are either breeders or programmed to think like breeders.

Lest readers accuse me of exaggeration, data bears this out.  Here's a choice quote from that link: "I made these calculations in the chart below, and we can see that women have more pursuers than men until age 26, but thereafter a man can expect many more potential dates than a woman of the same age. At the graph's outer edge, at age 48, men are nearly twice as sought-after as women."  

My oldest female friends have experienced this shift firsthand, both online and offline. They'll meet a guy who seems interested, but who backs away once their age is revealed. Relatives will suggest they initially lie about their age so as not to scare off potenital suitors. This is very real.

Thus, each gender faces shifting obstacles during the (straight) pursuit of an intimate relationship. For the most part, men have to pursue women to earn their affections. But as women age into their 30s, this dynamic falls apart: the most desirable men in their age group have growing long-term options, even as women's decent options steadily - and irreversibly - dwindle.  As the clock ticks, the worm turns.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The RN: Sorting out the Details

So, after the craziness of the last weekend in Sep I only went on two more dates in the first half of October. I was training for a Half Marathon, so I was a bit busier than normal. I also decided the boycott of OKC would last for all of October, so I'm almost ready to entertain logging back in. Besides as I mentioned at the end of the last blog I mentioned that there were 4 guys I was kind of interested in.

The first guy is Date #3 now known as Connecticut (or CT). We had a really good first date, that lasted longer than expected in a really good way. We have been texting and talking on phone (which I hate to do) since that weekend. Why haven't I seen him again? Our first date was on his last day in town before his work assignment was over and he had to go to home to Connecticut. I'm actually going to visit him in CT in Nov. Yes, our date went that well.

On the Thursday before the Half, I did manage to go a second date with Date #6, henceforth known as Baseball Guy (or BG) since our first date was a baseball game. I wasn't really sure about this guy after the first date, but I thought I'd give him a second chance. He took me to an out-of-the-way restaurant just because it was Gluten Free (yes, I generally eat gluten free, no allergies, just for my health). We had a nice dinner, but I still wasn't really sure how a I felt about him. Then I gave him a third chance the weekend after the Half. We went to the movies and then he made me dinner. Which he had to modify because of my food allergies. I had to give him props for remembering that I was allergic to some foods and then asking me about what he could put in the dinner. So even though he chose a girlie movie (yes, my friends had to talk me into being okay with seeing "Pitch Perfect"), he did make a really good a dinner and the evening progressed ... well, really well.

The third guy is Date #5 aka Late Guy. On the Tuesday after the Half we went on a third date; dinner near my place at a bar that I suggested. What I didn't know was that it was trivia night there. So we sort played along, but it was super complicated and we weren't doing that well so we didn't turn in our answer cards at all. I'm kind of on the fence about this guy. He's really nice and I have a great time when we see each other, but there's no real spark. He hasn't even tried to kiss me yet, but I have such fun and I love our conversations. I guess I'll just have to see how this one plays out. I don't want to lead him on unnecessarily, but I am still having fun seeing him.

The fourth guy was Mr. Fascinating now forever known as Fish Face. This date went about the same as the first one, the conversation was good and the food was, well, a little interesting, but still eatable. It didn't really start to go downhill until the drive back. Then somehow we got talking about superheros, which was fine with me until he started asking which ones I thought were hotter from the summer movies. Um, that got awkward really fast.

Then, after that conversation was finally over, he walked me to my door and asked to use the restroom. Which seemed a little odd since he'd already gone 3 times during dinner, but maybe something was going on with him. Anyway, then he asked for a tour, which I didn't want to give because my roommates were in bed and I didn't want to be loud and I kind of just wanted him to leave. Then the conversation got even more awkward when he wanted me to hit him in the hand. Which I really didn't want to do; seriously who wants to actually, really hit their date? Not me. Then it got even weirder and more uncomfortable when he said I must really know how to hit and that he had previously been "beaten up by a girl". At this point my only thought was, "Oh, dear god, this means drama. Get out! Get out now!" And if all of that wasn't enough this, of all the times, is when he decides to move in for a kiss. I swear he had a crazy fish face that looked some thing like this:

I really don't know how my entire face didn't get wet. It wasn't a terrible kiss, but by that time I really didn't want to be kissing him. I did my best to get him out the door as soon as possible after that. Thankfully he only sent one more text after that date and it didn't get anymore awkward. So he is officially off the list.

So, as of now, I have plans to see all three guys still on the list in the next 2 weeks. And I've been off OKC long enough that logging in again actually seems like it could be fun. Maybe I should let The Window Shopper and The Peach go through and screen all the guys messaging me so I don't end up on another date like that one. On the other hand, I do have three guys that I'm still talking to that I really like. At least one of which I was warned not to message back by both of them.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

TWS, Day 1

Surprise twist! This morning I woke up with this song stuck in my head:

"She put a bag on my head -- still counts!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The RN: 5 Days x 6 Dates

Some how, over the course of 5 days at the end of September I managed to go on 6 dates. I've decided that I'm never doing that again. It was really stressful and not worth it. I had 5 first dates and one second date, in the retrospect of a couple weeks, I guess three of them went pretty well. If you had asked me right after, I would have said one went really well and two were okay. The other three were pretty much disasters.

Date #1: On a Thursday night, I met a guy at a place not far from my place (for the first time) and we had a pleasant conversation, but there was like a negative connection. He acted way older than what his profile said he was and was clearly looking for something that my "I swear I'm a twenty-something, drunken-ass-hole" ways were not going to be compatible with at all. For reference see rejection letter one.

Date #2: On a Friday afternoon, we met near my hair salon (so sue me, had I already made the hair appointment 8 weeks prior) and we didn't really have a plan. We walked around looking at buildings since he used to be interested in architecture (yes, I agree very Ted Mosby), still it was kind of fun. We talked for a few hours, but nothing really came of it and he was a smoker so ickiness level was super high. We haven't spoken since then and I'm totally okay with that.

Date #3: On a Friday evening, after going home and changing into evening date clothes (yes, evening gets nicer clothes). We met near his "place" since there was a restaurant he wanted to try, so why not? I'd been out in that area before, so we met for dinner at a place neither of us ever been. And it turned out pretty awesome. We got drinks while we waited for a table and he didn't even blink when ordered one of the house special drinks, an Earl Grey Julep, which was awesome. I think I need to start trying more bourbon drinks. Then we had dinner, which was interesting to order because it was a cross between tapas and family style, made all the more interesting by him being pseudo-vegetarian and me having vegetable allergies. After dinner we were having such a good time that we went to another place for more drinks and dessert. And then I may have forgotten to go home that night, possibly making me a little late on Saturday afternoon ;)

Date #4: On a Saturday afternoon, I met Late Guy (yep, The Window Shopper, has rubbed off on me too) for a second date and a movie. He somehow got squeezed in between two other plans this time as well. The first being a manicure and pedicure (don't laugh it's probably the most girlie thing I do, plus, you know, having to keep oneself in dating shape) and previous plans to see Lewis Black with a bunch of friends. Regardless of being fit in, the date went well and I got to see The Expendables 2. So, no complaints.

Date #5: On a Sunday afternoon, I met a guy (you only get a nickname if you last past date 1, maybe date 2) for some supposedly good Mexican food. Anyone who has spent any time out West knows that DC sucks for good, authentic Mexican food. This guy had spent several years in San Deigo, so had the proper appreciation for hole-in-the-wall Mexican and was on a quest to find some around DC. We did alright, but it still wasn't quite what we were hoping for, neither the food nor the company, leading to rejection letter two.

Date #6: On a Monday evening, we met for a double date with one of his girl friends (note the space) for a Nationals -v- Phillies game. I wasn't sure about meeting up with his friend and her boyfriend, but it was just one game and a guy from OkC, so if it went poorly I could always bail. The first issue was in our messages he said "Go Nats!", and I've only ever attended Nats games with Phillies fans  so all my normal games clothes say "Phillies". But I managed to find a nerdy (trust me this was the kind of date for nerdy) t-shirts that was close to Nats blue and some jeans. The date turned out alright and he kissed me when he dropped me off at my house.

After that weekend, I officially decided to boycott logging into OkC. If you are keeping track (I won't blame you if you aren't) at this point in the dating saga I have had dates with 4 guys that I kind of like and they are all contacting me through other means. So I haven't logged in since the end of this weekend. (The last time I logged in was to copy the text for the LSS blog.) The first three weeks of October will have to wait for another blog.

TWS Catching Up, Month 10

I saw each guy – MH and RH – one more time before I never saw them again. It was a week in the books for me: I had three dates that week. This was a month ago. One was Wednesday with a random guy that went well enough but I think we were both fine it didn’t go anywhere. Or maybe it was the fact that he kissed me at the end of the date when I literally ran away into a cab. (To be fair, I was drunk and forgot it was Wednesday and cabs are not at all hard to find at 1am on Wednesdays in downtown DC. Whoops.) Oh well, he had this weird way of reminding me of my brother-in-law anyway. And worked from home, had all married friends and I’m fairly certain only went out with girls for something to do…and nookie.

Friday, I ditched RH to go to a free concert in Baltimore with a friend of mine. Instead, I offered him Saturday. After an 11 mile training run, I was just about to hop in the shower to get ready when he texted that his friend fell and he had to take her to the hospital. He’s a clumsy person. That was fine with me; I went to The Nurse’s house party. He later called to apologize for cancelling, which I said was fine, but what wasn’t fine was having hung up on my earlier. His frustration with his stuff is not mine, nor do I intend for it to affect me. And I fucking hate being hung up on. After he went to hang up again, I called him out on it and he quickly apologized after I offered my brief explaination of why that was unacceptable. Lesson of Note: Men respond well when you speak to them like children in a soft, subtle voice. So I quickly masterminded a plan and told him that we could go out tomorrow afternoon to Frisbee golf and maybe that would make him feel better.
Here’s the thing: I just really wanted to Frisbee golf. It really had very little to do with his day gone wrong. And I had already made plans to play that afternoon with MH.
So I texted MH and started to talk about the next day’s plans, slyly suggesting that we meet that evening so that he could watch his football team play at 1 and frolfing wouldn’t interfere. He agreed and in 20 minutes I seemed like the hero to both guys.
I just got way too good at this.
However, that Sunday was the last time I saw either boy. MH decided I was “fucking with him” because he waffled about inviting himself to sleep over my house and going home. Eventually I suggested – after he again said, “I’m just going to stay” – that he just go home and would thank me tomorrow. He got flustered and I didn’t much care, but gave him a kiss (or 2 – remember: “I like kissing la la la) upon departure to which he responded “Are you just fucking with me”. So, I didn’t hear from him again and wasn’t particularly interested so he gave himself the boot and I’m totally okay with that. I didn’t hear from him again until last night – exactly one month later – when my phone decided to call him because it somehow went to a voicemail he left me on that night. I hung up quickly, but it had connected and he texted me. Awkward.
RH just got busy. And I got busy. And there were a few incoming texts from him over the weeks saying he wanted a “reunion”, but nothing has come to fruition. So for now, that’s dead in the water; which I’m also totally okay with, however leaving me sexless still.
Otherwise the Universe has been cockblocking me. The last full moon offered me 3.5 men to take home with me. I choose one. One that had shared my bed back in February; one a stranger; and one the roommate of some jerk I'd stopped dating last year. The Bed Share was looking mighty fine: I picked him. He paid for the cab to my place and making out in front of my house, decided then to come clean that he has a girlfriend. And so, I remain temporary celebate. Damn Universe: It's up to something. 
So, currently there’s a new guy. The OkC algorithm says we're a 96% match: My highest yet. We texted for weeks before going out last week. I tried to convince him to bring me waffles when I woke up hungover on my birthday from festivities the night before, 10 days before we met. I now call him Waffle Guy (WG), even though he brought me homemade ice cream on our first date; I got to pick the flavor, because I had ankle injury (and still ran) and we are in agreement that ice cream makes everything better. It was like an edible trophy…from a stranger. He dropped about $200 on dinner. That check sat there for a while, but there was no way I was going anywhere near it. We saw each other again four days later last Saturday - for about 14 hours. I think have been in contact every day. He has his shit together. He treats his mother well. But he has four chiuauas. FOUR. And they are assholes. And they don’t like me. I’m not sure I could get over that enough to re-enter the loop’o’sex – we are now entering month 10 - but I suppose time will tell.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The DLS: Traveling Ghosts

Given some recent events and the Halloween season, I feel it's appropriate time to air this one.  Dirty Little Secret #4: We all have a past: ghosts & their subsequent baggage that haunt us. One of my favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother aka HIMYM, did a wonderful job a few seasons back of addressing how sometimes we're blind to the baggage we still carry. In fact, this very episode brought My Ex back to me one time, showing the power of HIMYM's silly but relatable message.

I tend to be pretty aware of my ghosts - I've had to travel a rough but ultimately rewarding emotional landscape through the years - but even I get surprised on occasion by the little bigger than you think things that linger long after their time. Over the last two years especially, stemming from second real break-up with My Ex, I've really worked to put a lot of my ghosts to bed.  But in that relationship, a new one popped up: the Specter of Silence (SS). Silence can be healing and helpful, but it can also be used as a manipulative weapon.  I experienced a lot of the latter.

A few weeks ago, I accidentally questioned VS's intentions in a roundabout way.  To be fair, I am a direct (to a fault) person and it can get me into hot water. I was shocked when I realized how much of that question came from my past and apologized/explained. VS put me face-to-face with a new one: Selectively Silent Specter (SSS).  At first I panicked - I felt slammed back into my past with ferocious intensity - but after some time and some good advice from friends, something changed. I let go of that crippling fear induced by the SSS and in doing so, VS and I actually began talking again.

I'm not saying I've completely banished my fear of silence as a weapon, but I realized I have power and a choice.  I can spend time being angry/fearful about what's wrong or I can accept and appreciate what's right. After all, men have past ghosts, too...

~The DLS

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The RN: Not enough Time by a Half

Seeing as it's been a while since anyone has posted, I thought I'd give you all a quick non-dating related update. Several of us, about half, recently ran in a Half Marathon. So half of us have been busy training for a Half and haven't had a lot of extra time. Either for dating or for blogging.

The Dirty Little Secret1:58:21
The Peach12:11:34
The Window Shopper22:25:37
The Slow Dancer32:33:11
The Nurse3:09:28
And if that wasn't enough, The Playboy and The Dirty Little Secret are relaying in another Half which The Window Shopper and I are running in next month. Hopefully, I can get my time under 3 hours before the next one. Yep, we are all pretty much crazy.

And some of us are crazier than normal. Here's a list of preexisting injuries that some people ran through:
  1. The Peach ran with her foot broken in two places from the Tuesday before.
  2. The Window Shopper ran with a sprained ankle from the weekend before.
  3. The Slow Dancer ran with Runner's Knee in both knees.
And yet some how they all finished before I did. At least I'm only half crazy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Once More Unto the Breach

I've been going on a crapload of dates lately. At one point, I went out with 5 different women over an 8-day period.  I don't recommend dating at that clip unless you enjoy spending 50-75 bucks a pop, over and over again, without knowing if it will lead to anything significant. My new rule is if there's no discernible physical and psychological progress after five dates (or if the progress is not mutual), I'm moving on.

(TDLS and I have discussed this, but I still disagree with her: Some women claim that the amount of money they spend on hair and makeup is worth getting taken out all the time.  Unless they are getting their weaves tightened for $800 to $1200 every month, I refuse to believe that.  And gym memberships don't count: you think guys don't have those?  Everyone should (in theory) care about their own personal fitness beyond making themselves attractive to potential or current mates.  But this is a subject for a later post.)

Anyway, most of the first dates were solid.  All but one of them resulted in multiple dates.  One of them was an offline date with someone I'd been seeing for a while that obviously wasn't going anywhere.  Since I started, all but one has fallen by the wayside. Now I'm in that interesting phase where I wonder whether or not I should continue to pursue new first dates, or just roll with the one remaining woman (who I really am fond of so far).  

I err on the side of soldiering forward and meeting new people.  Yeah, I know -- when it comes down to it, dating multiple people multiple times is a pain in the ass.  You have to remember which stories you told to which people, and who does what for a living.  If you're already a busy person (and I am), it's a lot to juggle, a lot to remember, and (potentially) a lot to spend.  But I still recommend doing it for one reason: it makes rejection much easier to swallow.  When one person tells you they aren't interested, it's a lot easier to take when you've got another date lined up in a couple of days.  When one person you've gone out with seems to be a poor fit, it's much less disappointing when another second date is on the horizon.  Many women don't realize that guys hate rejection, even though most of us are far more accustomed to romantic rejection than they are.  

I joined this blog to share interesting stories, but I also wanted motivation to get off my butt and start refocusing on dating.  Not because I've been a total slacker in that department, but I could feel myself getting complacent over the past few months by settling for sporadic passive dating. Online dating isn't amazing, but it's certainly better than not dating at all.  And knowing that my blogmates are in it with me makes it a lot easier. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Slow Dancer: Still alive and kicking!

I was bored and wandered over to the steps of the Lincoln memorial by the newly reopened reflecting pool, on this brisk Sunday night and was feeling rather... well... reflective. I figured that I would catch everybody up on what I've been up to for the past month. So... true to my name, I've been taking my sweet olde time getting the ball rolling on this project. A lot of it was apprehension and fear.... though a lot of it was laziness. Trying to answer questions such as describe yourself or six things you can't live without may seem like simple concepts, but in reality can be paralyzing. There's really nothing that you can't live without. You adapt and survive. What a ridiculous concept! Also, how do I condense my life into a few small lines? The prompt really should have a spot where you can link an autobiography, complete with references and footnotes.
This is a snapshot by which somebody will judge you... and trust me everybody judges. I judge pictures, height and other aspects before I even get to the questions. You see the notifications that people may be a good match and have checked your profile out... but very few messages. I of course wasn't going to run into this blindly and had enlisted a longtime friend from high-school. Though after the window shopper got a hold of it, she offered me a few points (ok maybe more than just a few...) of constructive criticism.
With a new profile, and new found confidence I had started sending a few messages here and there, but I quickly realized that a lot of the people just didn't have that much in common with me. I don't think I'm that weird and tend to get along with most people... maybe I'm just being picky and sabotaging. Eh, who knows?
I also had issues trying to figure out how to strike up a conversation. Believe it or not, I'm not the sauve debonair type you all have imagined. Do you introduce yourself... or dive right in with a barrage of questions? I know the answer lies somewhere in between, but I'm not sure where yet. What if you completely fuck up your chances and come off as a creeper or just the dreaded friend? All issues with which everybody struggles. Why doesn't this whole thing come with an instruction manual?
I took a little bit of a break just to reevaluate where things are going, and what I want to do. I gonna go with another profile overhaul, third time's the charm right? I'm gonna definitely try to message more people, even if they don't fit my exacting requirements. Hey people always surprise you! Hopefully I'll be able to tell you of hilarious adventures and great times, but you'll just have to wait and find out.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Oh honey no!: "I haven't had sex in over three years."

...I wonder why.

This guy was on my visitors list and in my intial reaction I said "Why are you not wearing any clothes?" aloud to myself. Just what the fuck? The last picture got cut off during screen capture but the caption is "My toilet :)". I sincerely hope this man is on a copious amount of drugs.

There are no words. Just...no.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The RN: Little Sister Syndrome

We all hear guys talking about the dreaded "friend zone" and I must admit I have a friend zone and there a quite a few guys in it. This is about the other side of the friend zone or what I like to call Little Sister Syndrome (LSS). LSS will sound familiar to anyone who has been placed in the friend zone. Sorry to all the guys in my friend zone who don't want to be there, it happens.

Little Sister Syndrome is the condition where you are completely asexualized by a guy, who then tends to be slightly (or more than slightly) overprotective of you. You know, because you're like his little sister. Since, I have been in a relationship for the better part of the last 15 years this hasn't really been a problem. However, not the best thing to run into on a dating site. Which has officially started happening. 

So what does LSS sound like on a dating site? Kind of like this:
I had a really nice time the other night and it was really nice to meet you, but I don't quite think we're a good match for each other. Good luck to you and I hope you can reach a good decision on continuing with school. 
Or maybe like this:
It was fun getting to meet you last night, and we may even have discovered not-so-bad Mexican food in DC. Sometimes I wonder which is harder, finding true love or good Mexican. :) You're obviously an intelligent and interesting woman, and I enjoyed swapping old-car stories with you. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that certain connection I'm looking for. I appreciate you taking the time to get together, and I wish you all the best with your new position and with your schooling, whatever you decide.  
The more I think about it, the less it bothers me. But I have to say I wasn't expecting it from guys on a dating site. Also, I appear to talk about going to school when I run out of other things to talk about. Glad I have had dates where school hasn't come up at all.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The DLS: Putting the Ass in Classless

Without much preface, Dirty Little Secret#3: I do NOT like assholes. Sure, maybe this doesn't seem like a legitimate secret, one could argue "who does?", and I would point to anyone associated with the Jersey Shore, where douche and asshole lines blur without excuse.  I have dated plenty of douches in my day, but not straight up assholes. Thanks to OKC, I recently had an up-close and personal (ok, still online...) encounter with one of the Grade A variety. 

After a LOOONNG but successful day herding cats at work I received the below:
Ok, so clearly this guy is embittered and rightly single at the ripe old age of 39. Just ignore him, right? Well, I might have agreed until The Nurse received this roughly a day later and shared it with The Window Shopper and me via group text:

"OMG!!! This is the guy who wrote me crap!" Now the old me would have completely eviscerated this chump with no compassion or remorse, but I've been growing the past few years, so I instead wrote this pointed gem:
Oh, and in case you're curious, I DID report him because, let's be honest, he deserves to be exposed for what he is: an asshole.

~The DLS

Monday, September 24, 2012

The RN: "Fascinating." - Mr. Spock

Last week I went on three first dates, two from OKC and one I met at friend's birthday party. Let me just say that week two of first dates was far better than week one. I'm not sure we've gotten to sparks yet, but at least I enjoyed spending time with these guys.

So, first one was Tuesday. I was triple booked after work and had to squeeze the date in between a chiropractic appointment and pool with a friend who moved to PA. Both of which were planned well in advance of the date. We had a great conversation, and I couldn't believe he'd actually heard of some of the bad SciFi movies I mentioned (seriously more people need to know about this movie and this movie or I'll start to think my dad was lying about movies). 

We had actually started planning this date forever ago, first he was out of town and then I was out of town. We clearly had picked a day, but we apparently never really locked down a time (yes, I went back through the messages). I had said when I could be there, but neither of us actually committed to being there at specific time. I got there at the time I suggested and sent him a text that I went inside and got a table (it was raining and I didn't want to be outside). About 30 minutes later I ordered food, even though it looked like I was being stood up; I was hungry.

Right after I ordered he texted me back saying he didn't know we had time, which he was technically right about. He said he'd be right there. Yep, another place more convenient to him than me, but at least this one was also pretty close to where I was anyway. When he got there, about 15 min later, he apologized and explained that it took him 30 minutes to see the text because his phone had been on silent. Fortunately for him the conversation was pretty awesome. Even though I didn't want to give the other late guy a chance at all, this guy was pretty cool so I was willing to let it go. He's trying to get a second and I'm probably going to let myself get talked into it.

First date number two of the week was on Thursday. I wasn't really super optimistic about this date. His profile and interactions were a lot more like the first two guys. Fortunately he totally surprised me and it was also a great evening. I don't really remember what all we talked about, but it was all nerdy. He seems to be a little obsessed with brains kind of like Zombies are, but somehow in a not totally creepy way.

The most memorable part of the evening was when I got the best compliment. In our interactions online he frequently referred to me as interesting. At one point in the evening he said, "I take it back, you aren't interesting. You are fascinating." What a lovely compliment and not one of your standard lines. Of course when I heard it, this is what immediately went through my head. Yep, I'm that kind of nerd ... sorry back now. Somehow I distracted by Star Trek videos.

Friday, I went on a first date with a guy I met at a friend's birthday party. It was a really nice date and the food was excellent. We talked about all kinds of things from why he claims you don't need a car in DC to why bartenders want to put bitters in a perfectly nice rum punch.

This round of dates has restored some of my faith in my ability to date. If these dates had gone as badly as the first round I might have to question the point of dating.

Oh Honey, No: "Recently, recently single. A little shell-shocked."

Welcome to your first installment of "Oh honey, no".

Today's inspiration was so sadly inspiring that he started this idea in just a moment. And I have more to come from the past couple of months, but this one, indeed, takes the cake. This guy "chose" me (meaning he rated me highly) and, out of curiosity, I viewed his page. And oh honeyyyy no. Just no.

May I please repeat, dearest men now in their late 20s/30s: NO WOMAN (worth having) WANTS TO BE YOUR MOTHER.

Honey, no. I hope for the sake of your balls, you learn to find them again - first figuring out how to pull yourself up off the ground. We've all been there; we don't want to be there with you. Go offline, love: Your self-respect is somewhere there.

Monday, September 17, 2012

TWS Week 4: The First Four - Part II

(continued from Part I, to ease readability)
RH date two was dinner. Without the veil of illness, I began to see he was much surer of himself than I had previously thought. I can’t decide if this is a good thing, or just cockiness – with a pinch of insecurity he attempts to hide. He is also extremely willing to talk about past relationships, which again I can’t decide if that’s a good thing, or a bright red flag. Then again, both of these were the failing of the last guy I dated, so maybe the point goes to RH. I asked him why he deleted his profile and gave me a long-winded answer I could barely follow - something about wasting time and money on dates that go nowhere. Strange timing, sir. But on the topic of long-windedness, his answers always took a while, which I warned meant I’d space out, so could he keep them succinct. He made fun of this – I think due to underlying insecurity – for a while until I said “Stop that, you’re getting on my nerves”. Guys, don’t badger a lady (especially one that is trying to help you out). Also, during the date he asked if he would get to kiss me again that night: Guys, DO NOT DO THIS either. Mk. It's awkward and uncomfortable: Instead, go all Nike on the ladies if you feel a vibe and Just Do It. Regardless, after dinner and more drinks, he walked me to my car and I let him kiss me - slightly more impassioned than I was feeling, which led me too believe he may be slightly aggressive when it comes to that stuff. (I got home he texted to thank me for coming out and that next time he wouldn’t “abuse” me – in reference to the badgering. Good idea, dude.)
As a caveat, I should probably explain that I really like kissing. I think during first dates – and perhaps subsequent second dates – a kiss makes a guy go “SCORE! I’m in.” when I’m just there going la la la. I like kissing… (similar to how I feel about spooning/sharing my bed).
Which brings us to the second second date: Dinner with MH. He decided we'd go somewhere in my neighborhood. I have no idea why he wanted to go around there: Convenience for me? Parking? He leaves work before me? He figured we'd go back to my house for the no pants dance? I’m not sure, but we had dinner down the road from my house. I had to request he pick me up instead of meeting at the restaurant. GUYS! Offer to pick a lady up. She can decline, but fucking offer. Even if you don’t have a car – offer to meet her at her house and go together…eh-hem Housewife. I know it’s online dating, but your tongue’s been in my mouth; you can come to my house.
But I digress, we went to dinner, during which time, I began to see him differently: More comfortable; less feminine. (Or maybe I was just ovulating last time and extra sensitive to effeminate gestures and Madonna praises.) After dinner – of which all dinners in dating appear to automatically include cocktails, which I like – he had to pee. We could not, for the life of us, find the bathrooms in that place even after asking staff for help – although we did find “Hipster Fight Club” (as he put it) a.k.a. 20-somethings playing ping pong in the back. I told him to give up and pee in a bush. And then I decided that's sort of rude and said he could just use my bathroom. So we headed to my house. If this was his plan all along, he is a fucking evil genius. And I should have fucked him eight times on my front porch out of sheer respect for such a masterminded plan.
Because once in my house, he broke is iPhone with a Praying Mantis. As in, he went to poke at the thing with his phone and when the bug touched him, he panicked and flung his phone on laminate. Point: Effeminate. After he failed to make it turn back on, I started to feel guilt – since I was the one curious about the Mantis – and told him I would fix it if he gave it to me. Men don’t like to be called assholes; they also don’t like to be told a woman can fix something they, themselves, cannot. I took it anyway, went upstairs and put it on my docking station. After a bit, he got bored (I assume) and came upstairs as I continued to troubleshoot. I got it working, but slightly embarrassed by the state of my room – and him checking it out – I started to pick up a bit (clothes were strewn about since I’d been busy/sick/on travel). Eventually he turned to my DVD collection and after about 10 minutes in my room, asked if we could watch Aladdin. So we did. I love a good cuddle. And then he ended up sleeping there. Did I mention I love a good cuddle?
There was spooning and kissing. And after telling him to go to sleep, and essentially giving him the ol’ blue balls shove off (okay, he likely didn’t have blue balls, but I like this term I just created), he said, “Okay. I’m patient.”
“That’s good,” I replied, wondering if he thought Aladdin would actually lead to sex – and on a second date. (Barking up the wrong easy-tree there, guy.)
Regardless of timing, that patience may come in handy, because, as it turns out, I think I’ve come to realize that these men are being vetted: Once I decided to go on dates, I wondered what I was doing since my interest in a relationship right now is minuscule to rolling over and playing dead. But, perhaps I’m looking for someone to scratch that Loop itch until Monogamist Mary pops on over to my crib again. So now I wonder, is it either of them? And do I need to tell these "relationship" "matches" that I'm Short-Term Sally at the moment? Furthermore, is it a horrible idea to date just mostly for sexy time - and spooning? I’ve been there with a crush and that's the Crashed and Burner; are pseudo-strangers are a safer bet?

And if I go through with scratching the itch, it leads to even more questions because you (well, I) can’t sleep with more than one person at a time so: 1. How do you decide? and, 2. How do you tell the other perfectly suitable person to shove off?

Friday, September 14, 2012

The DLS: Secrets, Secrets...

I have to admit, I quite like the idea of revealing "secrets" as my posts. We'll have to see as I continue how feasible (hello, engineer here, people) it is. 

As I admitted in my introduction, I'm inconsistent with, well, a lot of things, but in this case posts, thus, why it's been three weeks (whoops!). So bear with me if this is overly long. Dirty Little Secret #2: I believe in chances, often giving too many. Just ask me about My Ex - interestingly enough, he came back to me three weeks ago spouting some craziness to get...well :cough cough: ahem - but if you want to see me stay smiling vs. developing a perplexed/annoyed look, don't. Let the dead horse just stay unkicked, but broken, bloodied and...still dead.

Four weekends ago, a lot of the gang on here and I went on a trip to Dewey Beach, DE, full of typical DB goodness: sun & fun, orange/grapefruit crushes, Grotto Pizza, swasteyfaced time, and random people. Particular emphasis on  random people for me this time.

After a last-minute bar change decision, we went to go meet up with another close friend who had not come with us. This bit of randomness was enough to change my chances :wink, wink: for the night.  Upon getting to the bar, my red-headed bestie immediately got picked off for a free drink (yay!) and I went to find our group only to get nailed in the arm/boob by some guy who offered to buy me an apology drink (bigger yay!). This guy was not the winner for the night, though, next thing I know I'm getting passed off to another good-looking guy, a DE native, we'll call him: Viener (sic) Schnitzel a.k.a. VS to appease The Window Shopper.

Fast forward past lots of talking and a VERY interesting dance floor experience, VS wanted me to come back to his condo and tried to bribe me with waffles. Yeaaahhh no, our hotel was RIGHT. THERE. So I brought him back (nookie-free, as I'm a lady), I NEVER do this, thus Chance #1.

He gets my number in the morning and actually texts almost immediately. I had fully expected to close the hotel room door and never say a word after, so after a recovery brunch TWS, my red-headed bestie and I went to meet up with VS and his friend: Chance #2. By the end of the day, I didn't want to leave, I was probably already a little twitterpated then.

VS texts me for two weeks straight until we have a minor tiff over a not-funny joke - oh boy, don't get me started on textual relationship difficulties. We talked it over but things had shifted, making me unhappy/uneasy. After a draining weekend with my family back home, I had had enough of feeling like I did with the Dreaded Ex. I said "this isn't going to work...," I need more. The next day I realized I'm probably taking out some of my familial frustrations on him and apologize: Chance #3.

Days pass and he keeps blowing off texting, calling and planning to visit, like he'd offered multiple times. RED FLAGS EVERYWHERE(!) I finally get fed up and said the invitation was going to be rescinded in 24 hours. VS leaves me hanging until the next morning when he drops his TIGTW bomb: it's the distance. My jaw and stomach drop to the floor and I respond, quite articulately at that, he says he wants to talk that night. Another call I had no idea if I would receive: he texted AND called. How should respond? My first thought was "eff off for messing with me," but he opens with this heart-felt story and it changes my track. We trade off discussing wants/needs/concerns, I basically say "I can't promise you a 'real' relationship (read: easy/in-the-same-city)...but I can promise to try." I tell him to sleep on it and take as much time as he needs to process: Chance #4. The next day he asked for my address...

Two days post-talk he shocked me by thanking me for "reigniting a spark" with my refreshingly, atypical female response. It's nearly impossible not to like someone who likes you for your personality enough to say so and reminds you that he's thinking of you even when he can't be there.

Maybe online dating isn't my thing, then again, maybe I should get back to it to hedge my bets - hint: I lose A LOT. Maybe, I finally got a chance...

~The DLS

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The RN: Two First Dates

I went on my first two first-dates this week. I can't say that I was impressed by either date. I told The Peach a few weeks ago that I wasn't any good at dating. She assured me that I was full of crap, but I'm not sure. After talking about my dates with The Window Shopper, she said she wasn't sure how I ended up going on two dates and neither of them had any real spark.

The first first-date I went on was on Wednesday. He was actually really nice, but there was definitely no spark. I don't think I'm super picky, but his teeth didn't touch each other on the top row. I just kept wondering all night "Why does he still have baby teeth?". I couldn't get past the teeth; they were a little distracting.

We a had a nice dinner and then walked to get ice cream afterwards. I felt a lot of the conversation was forced and the topics seemed odd. He's a photographer and I'm an engineer; maybe we just don't talk about the same things. I'm still not sure how we got on the topic of exes on a first date; that seems like the last thing we should have been talking about. Needless to say, I was not really comfortable with the conversation, but I wasn't sure how to change the topic without being awkward. Oddly, somehow I think that was still the better date - at least he paid for dinner.

The second-first date was on Friday. I'd been advised I shouldn't be going on first dates on Fridays, but with only being home for four days between trips, there weren't a lot of options. First, it was near his place, so I had to rush to get there after work. Second, I had to drive on 66 and then, since I HATE driving in the city, I had to take the Metro. Third, I somehow still beat him to the restaurant. And, to top it all off, he expressed surprise that I showed up on time. Really? Just because I'm a girl, I'm supposed to be late? I must have missed the memo (eye rolling). Then he wasn't sure if we should eat dinner or not. Um, it's 6:30pm and I've just rushed from work to meet you. Yes, I would like some food; it's dinner time.

The place we went was packed, which didn't really bother me ... until he said, "I've never seen it this busy before." Wait, have you not been here on Friday night before? You picked the place. It's Friday and we're near a college: Of course it's busy! At least the conversation was far less forced. We talked about nerd stuff most of the night and he understood what I was talking about. Then, near the end of the evening, when the check came, I offered to help pay - my mom taught me that it was polite to always offer - and he took me up on it. It's not like I care that much about the cost (dinner and dessert was only $26 with tip - yeah, it was that nice of a place), but if you ask me out shouldn't you pay? The Window Shopper said I shouldn't have even offered, but I usually do since that's what my mom taught me.

Not that it has been that long, but neither of them have messaged or texted since. I'm pretty much okay with that. With the awkwardness and the no spark, I'm not interested in really seeing either of them again. 

Maybe I am bad at this whole dating thing.

Friday, September 7, 2012

TWS Week 4: The First Four - Part I

Four weeks; four dates.

I know I wrote a while back stating that I was going to get to telling you about my first date…and then I didn’t. So now you get my first four. Or rather, my two first and two second dates. I’m fairly certain I can barely juggle one guy, but here are two: Both vying for my affections, and by affections, I mean sex. I’m pretty sure that’s how that works. Granted, I’ve been out of the sexy loop for a little while, but I believe that's still how it works.
I suppose I should take a moment to explain my absence from the Loop’o’Sex. First and foremost, I am picky – and I have to be comfortable with someone before I can sleep with them (one night stands need not apply…anymore). Secondly, STDs scare the crap out of me (not literally…that would be gross). Thirdly, babies should not have babies (…and I’m 28 going on 20 for a little while longer). After The Ex, I started seeing sleeping with this guy and we did that for a while; so after that crashed and burned last year, I put myself on one year of self-imposed sex-sabbatical, which lasted 362 days. Why not the full 365, you ask: A couple of months after I met the last guy I dated, my loins were burning holes in all of my underwear and it was just getting too panty-expensive to go without on those last three days. That was in January: That’s the last time I got laid. By choice, of course; I’ve had many-a-man sleep in my bed since then - one of which is called Pierre, because he peed in my garbage can. I later learned he was a lawyer, turned lobbyist on the Hill and I briefly entertained the idea of going out with him more than just the second time AFTER the pee incident, until he acted like an asshole, I told him so, and, as it turns out, men don’t like to be called assholes. This is the crop I have to choose from? I’d rather be Chaste Charlie. (Or Vestal Vicky.)
Alright. So that’s where we are on the sexy-time front. And then we added online dating to the mix. Since I never planned to actually go out with any of the guys from OkC, I set up my account and answered my 200+ questions with the honesty and mindset of my typical dating style: Dating for a life partner. At heart, I’m a serial monogamist; right now, I feel anything but. So now I’m getting matched up with guys that probably want more than "anything but a serious relationship" and my mom thinks I’m going to “break someone’s heart”, but I don’t want to re-answer the questions and get a bunch of skanky dudes with STDs and huge egos thinking they can come in my bed…and then in me. (See: Explanation for absence from Loop’o’Sex.) Plus, it's never a completely closed off idea, the universe will have you know.

So, here I am going out with two guys with fairly high “match” percentages. Read: Not just in it for the booty, I assume. Or are all guys just in it for the booty? 

Anyway, back to the dates. The first date was the Housewife, or RH, for short. I nickname everyone. Deal with it.
The first date was cute: We met outside my metro and then went to a book store that’s also a bar/restaurant and shared apps and had cocktails – hot toddies for me since I went full-on half dead with illness the rest of the week.  He asked me lots of questions about myself and, generally, I like to talk about myself, so I found this most pleasing. I also began to wonder if he was actually interested, strictly interviewing, or just really good at first dates. Afterwards, he said “I’m going to take you on a walk”. So we walked a few blocks then sat down on the stairs of some German Bank building to watch a YouTube clip he had told me about over drinks, and then chatted more. On the steps he touched me – a lot. In the most random of ways: An arm here, a shoulder there; hair…every dating book ever says: Interested. Not too long after sitting down, I realized I needed to leave to catch my train. He held my hand as we walked to the metro and got on topic of my cultural foods and stated which restaurant he would take me too next time. “Okay,” I said. Before I walked to my side of the platform we said goodbyes, ending with a kiss. A good one: Brief, honest, nice. We would continue to chat/text almost daily and eventually squeeze date two into my schedule – nearly two weeks after the first one.  
My second first date was with Mini-Horse, or MH, for short. We met up at a bar/restaurant. There was barely anyone else there and the music was weird. Very 80s. At one point Madonna came on and he expressed his love for her. I questioned his sexuality aloud. He took it in stride, but he came off very feminine to me that night and a little bored; he talked about his job a lot. In stark contrast to RH, didn’t ask many questions about me. I began assuming he wasn’t interested, but then after that place, he wanted to go to another place around the block (that we had talked about). Maybe I was wrong…and maybe he’s not gay, I thought. We went; we laughed. I hadn’t eaten dinner, since it wasn’t specified and I didn’t want to be the only one eating, so by night’s end, I was a little toasted; as was he. He offered to have a cab take me (out of his way) to my house before he took it to his. Pleasant surprise: Points for MH. He asked me if he should walk me to my door, to which I lushly exclaimed “OF COURSE!”, and there we shared a drunken, yet pleasant, kiss. He texted me when he got home and asked if the following day was too soon to see me again. (Don’t worry, after the vodka wore off, he rescinded it by saying he had to work late the next day.) I don’t think I need a dating book to hear the scream: Interested.

Okay. So good. I'm good at vetting people online. I'm good at interviews first dates. Solid. Point: Window Shopper.

EDIT: I made this into a two-parter after getting some guff about the length. Please click here to continue.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Introducing: The Playstation

Well, hello there. I'm "The Playstation." Apparently, I'm every guy's dream. There's a twist though: I'm kind of your typical nerd to babe story.

I never really dated in high school, nor did I care to. I didn't like any of the guys in my class and I wasn’t all that confident in myself either. Granted, there were only about sixty guys to choose from and while all of them were expectantly very immature, I was wise beyond my years. My longest relationship back then was three dull months with the drum major of the marching band, (in which I was the token female tuba player). He was three years older than me - pretty scandalous back then. He broke up with me (via a note handed to me by a friend) because I seemed "uninterested." Thinking back I'm surprised it took him that long to realize. I never really did like him. I thought that having a boyfriend would pay off - maybe make me a little more 'normal' as everybody in high school is striving to be -  but the novelty quickly faded. He wasn't interesting enough. Could there ever be anyone that was interesting enough? And the tone of my dating history is set...

Fast forward about four years. College started and, of course, my thoughts about dating were: "There are so many people here! And they're all probably really, really intriguing/eccentric/not completely boring/etc.!" So, I ended up dating a hippie for a bit. Interesting indeed... Luckily, a day after we had broken up I met another guy. The first guy I would ever be truly in love with. He was happy with life, hilarious, sociable, intrigued by everything, adventurous, and fun. Bad news was that he went to a different college. A different college that was about two hours away by car. Eight hours by bus (which I endured one too many times). Nevertheless, we were loopy for each other and we both agreed to make things work. They did for nearly two years, but we eventually fell apart. At some point the romance had stopped and we had started to become best friends rather than significant others.

So, now, for the first time in my college career, I am single. What on Earth do I do?! Fortunately, I figured that out pretty fast: Locate good looking male. Drink. Flirt. Drink. Dance. Flirt. Drink. Flirt. Drink. Exchange numbers. Hang out. Flirt. Drink. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand (potentially) sex.


Yeah. You heardme. I like sex. A lot. There. That's that and that's it. There is absolutely nothing more to it, just like it says in the description of my OKC test result. I'm more like a guy than most girls when it comes to this...which I think is kind of strange, honestly, but I suppose it's a part of what makes me awesome. Or so says OKC. Now, don't get me wrong, I AM a hopeless romantic too. I want to get married and have babies and live in cottage in the English countryside. So it is kind of hard to differentiate between a quality guy and, well, just another opportunity. And I do think about it. I think about it really hard before coming to a conclusion. However, the reality of the situation is that I am in college and (most) of the guys I meet are in college too: All the good looking, worthwhile guys are taken and everyone else is just looking for a hookup. If he isn't and he's genuinely interested in me, that’s awesome. But I haven't met a guy like that yet. (I blame my curves, red hair, charming smile, cute giggle, winning personality...and my strong sense of self.)

I have had a few guys in my life since my ex. Some of them I met online, others I did not. The ages range from nineteen to twenty-eight and the time I spent with each of them (and only them) from a few weeks to a few months. So, I'm not a serial seducer. I do attach to men. Just not that easily. I have to find them intriguing. They have to be willing to show me their eccentric side. (At this time I’d like to make an announcement: Robert Downey, Jr. is my dream guy because he is such a weirdo. Moving on…) I am very easily bored by people, life, etc. It's probably a diagnosable psychiatric problem. Whatever the case, I've taken to this online gig just to have another venue for dating opps.

Sigh. So, no, it's not a confidence problem. I'm incredibly happy with myself. It's not daddy issues either. I love my dadders! He's a great dude. And no, I'm not trying to make up for all of my nerdy years in high school. If I had been into any of the guys I went to school with, believe me, I would have done something about it. Plus…I’m still a big ‘ol nerd.

But what do I have to explain myself to you for? ;)

Stories to come.

Playstation, OUT.


Ladies: Do you wonder why you get so many crappy messages?

 As one of the few veterans of our 'book club', I figure I'm the person best-equipped to provide a response to this question for all the (hetero) ladies who ask it. And as a hetero Gentleman, I can explain how online dating plays out from a man's POV.

First off, take heart: I can assure you there are far more normal, interesting, and attractive dudes out there than you might think. So why aren't you hearing from more of the good ones?  The answer is simple: because when we write to you, we rarely get any response at all.  There are two major reasons for this.

It's not entirely your fault, ladies.  There's a built-in lack of incentive for you to even be in a position to respond to our messages. This is particularly true when a dating site is free.

Free dating sites sound great in theory. Open up your pool of eligible singles, all at only a cost of your time!  But there's a hidden cost (no matter what articles the free sites have cooked up to argue otherwise): free sites provide little motivation for people to put in real effort to keep their profiles current.

(Sidebar: that article I linked to above is no longer available on Okcupid's site.  It was removed after Match.com bought Okcupid...probably because it didn't make much sense for Match to allow a subsidiary to argue that people should never pay for online dating.)

Think about it: if you're not paying, how much sleep will you lose if your profile isn't accurate?  I know the answer to this question already, because I'm among the guilty.  Since joining Okcupid a few years ago, I've been in 3 relationships ranging from 8 months to over a year in length.  Only once did I bother to change my status to 'seeing someone'. During the other relationships, I simply stopped logging into the site. When I used a paid site, I didn't let this happen.

The biggest problem with pay sites back in the day was they would leave inactive accounts up to boost their numbers. I have no idea whether or not this remains a major issue. But I do know women with abandoned OKC profiles who are living with long-term boyfriends. One of these women appeared in my Quiver.

In any case, there's a far more fundamental issue at play. As Okcupid has indicated, men who send out initial messages to female matches  only get responses about 30% of the time. (Race plays a role in response rates as well, but that's a subject for another post.) By contrast, women are inundated with messages (generally speaking).  Using both xperience and informal polling as a guide, 30% is too optimistic: for every 10 contacts a guy initiates, he's lucky if he gets even one message back.  He's even luckier if he can convert her response into a date.

This leads many men to choose quantity over quality when initiating contact. Naturally, this leads to poorer messages, which leads men to get even fewer responses. Okcupid called this the 'desperation feedback loop.'  To top it off, many women treat initial messages like resumes: every aspect of both your profile and your message might be used to eliminate you from consideration, including spelling and grammar.  Which makes sense in a vacuum where men are only writing to one woman at a time...but why would they be? Hence those short and/or generic initial messages so many women find frustrating.

So ladies, put yourselves in our shoes: If you were an enterprising, non-desperate man possessing both a life and a developed sense of dignity, how many times would you play this game when so many aspects of it work against you? How often would you put in the time and effort to write a thoughtful, clever opener when you consistently end up without a response either way?

Faced with this stark reality, some men employ my alternate strategy. I can't control the average response rate I get, but I *can* control how I present myself.  So I put a lot of effort into making my profile interesting and engaging. Then I wait for women to make the first online move.  I've found that when women initiate contact with me, it leads to a date about 50% of the time (assuming I want it to). This shouldn't be surprising: if a woman manages to wade through the typical flood of male online attention to send me a message, she's probably interested in meeting me in person. In fact, it's possible that NONE of my OKC dates have resulted from me initiating contact.

My M.O. probably results in far fewer dates for me than the men who send out lots of messages to lots of women get.  But it also means I'm wasting far less time communicating wth uninterested and/or unavailable women. (I don't write back to every woman who initiates contact; I apply my standards just like everyone else does.  I've found many women are just as guilty of the crappy opening message as many men seem to be.)

Men of quality do indeed await you on the interwebs.  They are smart enough not to degrade their efforts (or degrade you) by making this a pure numbers game. They can't invest massive amounts of time and energy into dozens of witty, clever, and ultimately unanswered messages.  But to find us, you might have to turn the traditional model of straight male/straight female relations on its head. If you see a guy you like, express interest by sending him a message or rating him highly.  You may learn that he's been waiting to hear from someone just like you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The RN: Posing a Picture

Here's the thing, when I first put up my profile (even though I wasn't sure if I was going to actually take this online dating seriously) the first thing I did was post pictures. Why? For two reasons, 1) a picture is worth a thousand words, and 2) everything else was an essay and I hate essays (worst way to get me fill out a form: put "I'm an empty essay, fill me out" as the default text).

So, why when you are trying to sell yourself ... as date-able, get your mind out of the gutter, would you leave off the picture? Regardless, how can anyone think that looks don't matter? I know the guys are judging me on my looks. It's cool; if you don't think I'm cute, then I don't want to date you anyway :)

First things first: pictures! I raided my Facebook profile and found some recent pictures that I liked and I was off and running. I really like my FB profile picture, so I used it again as my OKC profile picture. Yeah, I'm double dipping, I don't care. Then I found another three pictures I liked from the last few months with my friends and me. Yep, I shamelessly used my friends faces in my pictures, the pictures are already on FB so it's not like I'm posting pictures they don't know exist. Plus, my friends are a big part of my life. That's who I am, why would try to hide that on my profile? Or try to "protect" them by blurring or blocking out their faces? That's just craziness. And it ruins the pictures.

About week later The Boy Next Door suggested that I add a picture of me more dressed up. So, I added a fourth picture; it also happens to be the only picture on my profile where I am wearing make-up (ssshhh, don't tell The Window Shopper). But, this is the real me. I go all kinds of places without makeup, that's who I am and I'm not trying to hide it.

Sum up: I put actual thought into the pictures I put up on my profile.

That being said, I must admit that pictures are the third thing I look at when deciding if I will message a guy. Yeah, I know everybody keeps telling me to look at the pictures first, but that's not how I roll. So, how do you get me to talk you? Here is my current process:

  1. The first thing I look at is your message to me; I admit that I only talk to you if you message me (remember how I'm not taking this seriously? Good :) So, first you must message me. Your message should be 1) funny, 2) intriguing, or 3) at least indicate that you have read my profile. I don't think I'm being too picky here. If you have any interest in me as a person, you should read my profile. End of story!
  2. I read your profile. Yes, the whole thing, even when it takes me five tries because it's so long and boring (not kidding, I've seen more interesting engineering specifications). The first thing I do is skim your info box: are you looking for the same things as me? For me this revolves mostly around if you want kids or are looking for only long-term dating - I am not ready for that, sorry we aren't compatible. This step also usually involves skimming through your personality and questions to see if there are any other deal breakers (deal breakers include: you believing birth control is morally wrong, and you thinking it's disgusting for LGBTQ couples to adopt children). Again, sorry we aren't compatible.
  3. Then I look at your pictures. Ah, finally we reach the point that started this whole blog. Let's dig into the pictures then. Your pictures, yes plural, should exist. Some tips on your pictures:
    • If you are wearing a hat in all your pictures, I assume that you are bald. That might not be fair, but it is what happens (the The Window Shopper has mentioned this repeatedly).
    • The Superman Pose, you are not The Man of Steel don't stand like him. I want to see the real you; I am showing you the real me.
    • The Man in Mirror, please you must have at least one friend who can take a picture for you. I guarantee this isn't how it works.
    • This is what I want to see, you and your friends doing whatever you usually do. Even it's ridiculous, in fact ridiculous is better.

Contributions: The Playstation

Today I have an announcement. Today we are adding a ginger-haired gem to our coterie. She is relative and fellow "intimating" female of The Window Shopper (hi there.).

This tall beauty will be adding a new dimension to the blog in that she is 1. Still in college and 2. Out northwest in Minneapolis. Her input should should give us a little more perspective on online dating outside of the District (and inside of college).

Without further adue, allow me to introduce you to our first contributor:

The Playstation: (Female, 21, Pre-med student - experienced online dater)

Easy to turn on. Hard to beat. You are The Playstation.  
You’re a nice girl, and you have lots of sex. It’s therefore highly likely that you’re attractive, and you’re certainly outgoing & friendly. Plus, this healthy physical attitude of yours indicates deeper emotional well-being and stability. Unheard of. When guys dare to dream, they dream of you.

You don’t get attached too easily, and, to wit, you’re not necessarily looking for something long-term right now. That’s a bigger asset than you know. Though, physically speaking, you’re open to anything, you’re keeping your emotional side well-protected. This means there won’t be a lot of wreckage to clean up whenever you decide to settle down.

In the meantime, the men you share yourself with actually respect you. Like them, you enjoy sex for its own sake and don’t need any other validation for pleasure than pleasure itself. Hopefully, you have the good sense to blow off anyone who thinks less of you for that. Usually, this is the part of the description where we offer some life-correcting advice, but honestly, we can’t think of anything about you we’d change. Keep on fucking, partner.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Introducing: The Playboy

Hello world. I'm a brother, guncle, GBF, bestie, and most recently have been dubbed "The Playboy". I must say "The Playboy" seems kind of fitting given that I'm the only gay male of the group. I don't know if I would consider myself a playboy these days, but if you knew me 10-12 year ago, I was definitely living the life of a twenty-something gay playboy.

Now for some back story...I was born on the west coast (too young to remember). I spent my adolescent and young adult years in South Carolina with a few stops in North Carolina and Georgia during my pre-pubescent years. I spent my pre-high school years as the "teacher's pet" and the "cool white boy nerd" that everybody liked. I was fortunate to not be that nerd that everyone picked on. I had an afro and spectacles which I ditched the first chance I got freshman year. Freshman year was also the year that I gained resounding popularity through sports, ROTC, and numerous other student organizations. Insert long list of pre-baccalaureate accomplishments. 

A lot of people ask me when I first knew I was gay. If you must know his name was Dean and we had gone to school together since 5th grade. It wasn't until high school that I began to realize that there were certain "feelings" there, although, I did not know what the were at the time. He was a football player and ironically enough, I was a cheerleader. Every girl wanted to date him and every guy wanted to be him. One summer day during cheerleading practice, he ran into our practice session - shirt off and dripping with sweat. Even though I spent all four years of high school dating girls, breaking hearts, stealing girls from their boyfriends, etc.; that will always be the moment I knew I was gay.

College was a time of exploration, experimentation, random hookups, and the occasional threesome. During my freshman year I struggled with my identity. Online chat was a great way to connect with others like myself and "test the waters". I came out to my family and friends during my Sophomore year and the rest is history. I joined the local LGBT group on campus to meet friends and my social life took off. I also became a Resident Advisor in hopes that I would make a difference by mentoring others like myself who aspired to do great things academically.

Coming out was not as hard as most people think it to be given that I grew up in the south. I kind of lucked out in the family department. They are my biggest supporters and encourage me to be the best me I can be. My mother and sister of course replied, "Duh...it's about time." I always felt comfortable introducing my boyfriends to the family. I know for most of you that's a huge step, but for me it's more of formality. My family is an integral part of my life and I need to know that potential husbands can charm their socks off!

Dating in a large,transient city like DC is intimidating. Add in the fact that I'm a gay male and it's like hormone overload. Everyone wants to have fun and not be tied down. Don't get me wrong, I like to act on my urges. However, there comes a point when it all gets old. I've slept with people not knowing their name. I've danced and drank until my heart's content. I went to Southern Decadence in New Orleans, twice. For those of you who don't know, Southern Decadence is basically a gay Mardi Gras combined with every white party, red party, or any other circuit party you can think of. It's 3 days of alcohol, dancing, casual sex, and debauchery. I threw in some touristy things as well! Nowadays it's all about connecting with people and hopefully meeting someone that is worthy of spending and sharing my life with.

My last few relationships took a devastating toll on my life. In the last 4 years, I've attempted suicide 3 times with the latest attempt landing me in the hospital and subsequently the psychiatric ward. Like a lot of you, I suffer from a lack of self-esteem. For me, hearing the words, "you did nothing wrong," is gut-wrenching. I couldn't see how someone could say that I did nothing wrong and leave you without an explanation. I've spent every month since then successfully focusing on my career, education, friendships, family, happiness, developing plans for my future, and learning how to take things as they come. I'm finally in a that place where when I meet the ideal partner will seamlessly fit into my life and I, his.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Weird Thing Happened

Okay guys, so a weird thing happened.

Yesterday date one, henceforth known as RH, sent me a text. Later in the day I texted him back and he called me - using some excuse as to why, yet keeping it brief. I believe within the exchange he called me "babe" and definitely within the exchange set up another date. Okay, fine.

But here's the weird part. I signed onto OkC today and found that he had looked at my profile again mid-afternoon yesterday. I only know this because his name was listed in my "recent visitors", but not his face. Why not his face? Because apparently he deleted his profile. What. the. fuck.

Now I am over-analyzing that OkC has served its purpose for him as bait and here I am a helpless hapless fish out of water (man, that line would be so much better if we used Plenty of Fish). And having only discovered this deletion after I agreed to see him again next week, I am afraid I'm going to end up disappeared. I don't want to disappear.

So it begs the question: How common is it for someone you meet to hide or deactivate their account after meeting you? Just coincidence? Should I be afraid? Or am I oh-so-clearly over-reacting? (Cause that's weird, right?)

Guys. Guys! LISTEN. If you can't find me after next week, you know who took me. Please come find me.

xoxo, The Window Shopper