He Shoots, She Scores!

It only seems prudent to have some sort of measure or checklist to be filled out at the end of a first date to let the guy know how he fared. 
Obviously, I’d bring a carbon copy set – the white copy is for him to keep, the yellow copy is mine and the pink goes to HR. 

This would save so much time and hassle going forward from the date. 
Think about it. 
If it’s a bust, you’ll give him all the pertinent information he needs, to know why a love connection wasn’t made, and maybe even some areas for improvement on his next date (with someone else…SO someone else).  Plus, you save yourself that awkward post-date, next day text where you let him down ambiguously, so as to spare his feelings, but then it inevitably ends with him asking, “but WHY??”

If it’s a great date, he’ll walk away with more specific knowledge about which things MADE it so good – thus reinforcing that behavior for the future. 
Yes… in this scenario, he’s eerily similar to my college Psych lab rat, Wilhelmina… she pushed the lever, she got a fruit loop.  Guess who kept pushing the lever??  Rewrrr…

So – as you may have guessed, I’ve designed a construct whereby you can take a few moments at the end of the date to fill it out and then go over the results with your date.  (This is all assuming you haven’t already had to jump ship, using the Early Dismissal form).  If you feel especially altruistic, you could combine this with a brief Q & A session. 
Ideally, I would have one of my nerdy tech-savvy friends design an app for your smartphone where you could check boxes, write notes, have the sums totaled, maybe even provide the results in graphic or pie chart format and then send a copy of the report straight to his phone or e-mail.  It’s like “the Square,” but for dating.

Additionally, every woman would have the ability to customize her own form because, as we know – we’re all different and have different priorities or non-negotiables that would affect the end results.  But, for my part, mine would look something like this: 

The back of the form has an area for comments/notes to elaborate on any of noteworthy points of interest.

If he scores 25 points or higher, he gets a second date. 
Pretty simple. 
And he can’t complain about not getting another chance…hey, look – it’s just a numbers game.

This idea was born out of too many so-so dates.  I’m beginning to think that perhaps the worst parts of dating have more to do with mediocrity than anything else.  Think about it.  If you go on a fantastic date – even if you don’t end up having a great love story with that person, you’ve had a genuinely fun time.  You enjoyed yourself.  If you go on a horrific date, it’s either laughable, bloggable (for some of us… who have the audacity to use online forums as an outlet for our own bad-date catharsis), or at the very least – fuel for stories to share with girlfriends and – well, …posterity. 

But, it’s the middle-of-the-road that’s the worst.  The date isn’t great.  It isn’t terrible.  It just…well, it just is.  

You know the one. 
It’s sucking your time…one painfully boring moment at a time. 
It’s numbing your mind…one excruciatingly self-centered story at a time. 
It’s lulling your charismatic sensibility into a coma of vapidity…one drip…drip…drip of monotonous conversation at a time. 
It’s draining your comedic joie-de-vive…one ‘obviously-over-his-head’ blank stare after I threw out the Michael Jordan of jokes, at a time. 
It’s invalidating your self-respect…one self-aggrandizing and obnoxiously juvenile penile reference at a time.
I’m settin’ up a cheery picture here, aren’t I? 

This guy isn’t mean or smelly or stupid, he just doesn’t wow you… like… at all.  That’s when the checklist can come in handy.  It’s hard and fast, and unarguable (yes…I’m considering my own opinions on the date to be conclusive truth.  I’m a woman, after all) reasoning to explain the date’s highlights or deficiences.  It’s irrefutable evidence as to its success or abysmal descent into fail-ville. 

Now, for those times when I don’t have the energy to go through the scoring system, I think I’m just going to play a simple game in my head while I’m on a date.  It’ll go something like this.
Would I rather. 
Would I rather stay here and see how this plays out because right now I’m so bored that I’m making a mental list of which celebrities I think could pull off an iced-out grill, 
or…  OR… would I rather be at home in my pajamas with my popcorn and shows? 
If Tim Gunn and 12 sassy fashion designers battling their way to NY’s Bryant Park beat out “let me describe why Hedge funds are an essential portfolio component to ensure private wealth grows and philanthropy is maintained,” then – chances are… we’re gonna fasttrack the checklist process and give you a direct pass to “move on.”  Sorry, guy.  Them’s the breaks.

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Theeeeese are the champions, my frie-iends…

Let’s just jump right in…

after all, I know you guys just wanna get to the goodies..

Submitted by my friend, Lori

Yup.  FULLY nude, friends.  The whole enchilada.  (Mercifully he cropped just shy of the enchilada…)

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Submitted by my friend, Kim

I feel like I’m at a live performance of the Wiggles.

Toot toot, chugga chugga, big red Fai-ai-ai-ail.

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This is less of a profile picture and more of an involuntary manslaughter trial exhibit.

One makeout session with this guy, and next thing you know, it’s:
“Yes, your honor, my client’s daughter was killed softly …with his chin… rubbed out her whole life …with his beard …killing her softly… with his chin…”

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I DO so enjoy conversating.
I also like to reversate my car out of the driveway before I traversate my little universate.
Let’s just dispersate with good English.  I’m aversated.  Let’s diversate things to better immersate ourselves in modern culture.

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I’m not sure what the selling point was of this shot.  Is it to see up his nose?  Is it to feel like I’m right there IN his armpit?
Is it to get used to seeing him sleeping because if we date, that’ll be his usual M.O.?  Kudos to him for playing the set-the-bar-nice-and-achievably-low card.
I guess a sleeping baby is cute… and SO relevant to online dating.

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I somehow hear this in a British accent – like it’s a qualifier – you’re bloody beautiful!  Jolly well, I dare say you’re slimy gorgeous!

Now, if I were a slug (a British slug)… that would be SUCH a turn on.   RRRRRRrrrr…

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I’m pretty sure that’s a pair of tanning booth ‘sunglasses’ dangling from one hand.
And the strap of an old-school camera camera (as opposed to a phone) in the other.
So, this guy PLANNED this shot.  He brought his Kodak “Star” with him to the tanning salon and at the perfect time (when he hadn’t yet disposed of his eye protection),
he snapped this headless masterpiece.  Artistic brilliance, I say.

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I have often THOUGHT that my beauty was so great – it was that of many women combined.  Weren’t no harm taken, sir.

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This picture just REALLY bugs me.  I guess I haven’t yet cotton to his tale…
I mean – to have this as your only profile shot?  It’s not bunny at all.  It’s just sad.
When I see a profile picture, I wanna get to really gnaw someone – but this picture hare? … well this guy just didn’t carrot all!  What a total lop.

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Wait… most important question – port or starboard?  ‘Cause that’s gonna make all the difference, ESPECIALLY because of your tall.

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Look at my pretty blue phone!  See!! SEE!??  I have a phone!  Right HERE!!

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A’ight… let’s just tackle these one at a time, shall we?

Rapping houses, eh?  I don’t know which is worse – that you don’t know how to spell and so you ended up sounding like you perform rap about people’s homes, or that you feel your greatest achievement/characteristic is your skill at vandalism.

Next.  You cultivate in the Spring?  What exactly do you cultivate?  Ornamental Perennial Grasses?  Relationships?  Creativity?  Atmospheres of tolerance?

I love how he snuck in this macabre line about not waking him up unexpectedly.  What’s gonna happen?  Shall I consider this my only warning?

Lastly, you really canNOT be too serial about your health.  I’ve always said that.  You have to just keep taking your health and taking your health and taking your health and…

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For the man who just never has access to a bathroom mirror… a dirty car window is an excellent alternative.  The odd reflections and slight fish-eye effect, coupled with the phone and hat blocking most of your face, really put the art in sartorial.

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For those of you who couldn’t sleuth out his subtle metaphor – this guy basically wants all the womenfolk who read his profile to know the following things:
Black people are trying to overtake white people,
Latinos don’t give a flip
and black people need to just get over the pain of centuries of slavery.
Oh, and also – black people taste delicious…?

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I’ve promised to keep my readers up on all the hottest trends, so I couldn’t let this go by without mention.
The weird beard.  It’s a feared beard.
Long gone are the days where strange facial hair designs meant a lost bet…
now you and your razor can have some serious fun reeling in the ladies.  What woman doesn’t wanna get with a guy who has lightning streaks shaved into his face?  It’s all the fashion fun of having a temporary tattoo – only out of HAIR!  For your FACE!  I know I can’t think of anything more grown-up and sophisticated.

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Listen, “tongs69,”  (wha??  Just thinking of tongs and 69 is making me feel very uncomfortable…), you’re barking up the wrong tree if you’re only looking for an oilrig supervisor to date.  I’m glad you come equipped with your very own camera phone (so rare these days), but then…I should’ve known – after all, you’re catholic.

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You remember those Dateline or 20/20 specials where they’d protect some innocent victim telling their traumatic story, by using shadow to make them unidentifiable?
Yeah… I half expect to hear that creepy voice-changer talking next.
Well played, TexanGuy409 – I now not only have no idea what you look like, but I’m pretty sure dating you will involve assuming an alias and moving to Melba, Idaho.

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You’re real easy to get alone with?  Oh honey, that’s every man.  Tell me something I DON’T already kno.
Tell you what…and I’ll tell you HARD… I’m happy to leave you a mess… are we talking about a ‘HOT mess?’ or can we stick with the classic trail of honey and feathers?

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Everything about this shot screams, “I WILL kill you in your sleep.”  It’s not so much the pirate doo-rag or the full-sleeve tattoo or the furrowed angry eyes… but really, the subtle tell is that clenched fist.  Like he’s saving up all his pent-up rage for whichever lucky lady takes him up on his offer to “hang out at his place.”

On that note, I’m off to a Match.com mixer event in MidTown.  So…there’s a chance my next blog post may be real live shots of these guys in the flesh!
Stay tuned… and stay in school.

All this Aggravation ain’t Satisfactioning Me

Singles get a lot of unsolicited advice.  We’re like the pregnant women of relationship statuses.  You might as well come rub my belly and decry the virtues of the latest parenting/sleeping/feeding system like it’s gospel truth.  (Let me be clear – I’m speaking in metaphor.  Do not, for ANY reason, come rub my belly.  That would be indescribably awkward.)

By being unmarried or not in a dating relationship, I guess I must be communicating to the world that I need them to weigh in on WHY I’m single and HOW to go about living my life in light of my pitiful partner-less situation. So, for your further voyeuristic enjoyment, I’m going to share some of the most common suggestions I hear concerning my un-romantically-tethered state and why I think they’re stupid – and in some cases, even theologically incorrect.

1.     You need to be ok being single first, if you’re ever going to be happy with someone. 

Really?  Do you mean that I have to be happy with my singleness, or just generically content with my life?  I am happy with my life!
But I also know that something’s missing.  And I think a lot of people don’t think it’s ok to say so.

I think most people who say this really do believe that the first step toward a fulfilling life is not only coming to terms with (accepting) your singleness, but being just dandy with it.
I disagree.
And if my non-believing friends will oblige me for a moment, I’ll even make a doctrinal case for this.

I believe that I was created to love.  I think God designed all humans to yearn for and exist in relationship.  We’re built that way.  It is a good thing to want to be one with another… I dare say it’s even a microcosm/foretaste of worship/communion with God.  And yet…  We live in a broken, screwed up world that doesn’t work the way it should…and so many people don’t have the opportunity to be in a romantic relationship.  But, I think (and there are certainly exceptions) that’s a result of brokenness, not something we should be happy about.  (Theology rant over)

There’s a nuanced difference between being generally unhappy, and knowing that there’s a missing piece to my ultimate happiness.  I’m a happy person – I think those around me would agree.  But I am also searching for something that I think… rather, I know will bring me more complete pleasure.

Should a homeless person have to just learn to be content without having shelter?
Should a terminally sick person exult in their physical fragility?
I’m not wallowing in some kind of depressing resignation, but I will be the first to say that I know I’m at my best when I have the opportunity to love and be loved by someone.

So, no – I don’t need to go journal the hours away on how I’m “good enough, smart enough and pretty enough withOUT a man.”
I don’t need your cheesy inspirational posters on my worth and identity as a single woman.
I don’t need you to condescendingly put your hands on my shoulders, tilt your head, eyes dripping with self-righteousness and pity, and tell me I’m perfect just the way I am.  Gag.
I’m good.  And I’ll be even better with a hunky guy at my side.

2.     You need to know yourself if anyone’s ever going to find you attractive/love you.

Done.  Next?

Look, I’m in my 30s.  I have a background in, and fascination with relationships and counseling – to the tune of a Masters degree and, as it turns out – a blog.  I was married for almost a decade.  I am (almost to a fault sometimes) a self-aware and self-reflective person.  I know myself!  I know my flaws and my struggles.  I know my strengths.  I know my areas of woundedness and I know my personal preferences and limits with potential partners.  You can rest assured that my not having found “the one” is, by no means, a product of me not knowing me.  I’ve got this.

I think what people mean when they say this, is that, if you’re single THIS late in the game, you must NOT know who you are or what you want.
Isn’t it possible that there are still a few of us out there who are single AND emotionally intelligent?  Geez!  My singleness is not proof of me being personally unaware.

3.     You shouldn’t be so picky.

Oh, this is one of my favorites.  If “favorites” means I hate it almost as much as I hate “I could care less.”  *Shudder*

DON’T be picky, you say?
Really?
So… just settle?
Nice.  I think, the very fact that I AM still single is evidence that I would rather have no one than have the wrong one.

You wouldn’t tell a 20-year old single girl not to be too picky.  You’d tell her to take her time; to be circumspect and find someone who was everything she wanted.  So, why don’t I get the same luxury?  Am I that far into pathetic-land that I should start aiming for 5’s and 6’s now?  I’m assuming there’s a direct correlation between age and caliber of attainable men.  Is there some kind of a graph I can refer to, to know just how low in the pool I need to grab from?  Once I turn 40, I suppose I should just be satisfied with a guy who throws me a “hey babe!” between Coors Light belches…
Man – I’ve got a LOT of work to do between now and October (my birthday…another year older shaves off another level of quality character I’m allowed to search for and expect in a partner, it seems)

Additionally – I think the general populous must think that single people are only looking for perfect partners.  Come on.  I’m an intelligent woman.  I know that there is no such thing.  But there IS someone who will be a perfect fit for me, and I’m holding out for that guy.  Well… at LEAST ’til October.

4.     Read XYZ book. 

Ok, I acknowledge that there are always new things to glean from good books, but I have had at least a dozen recommendations for self-help dating articles or books.  And those that I’ve read have all said the SAME things… know who you are, know how/where to look, don’t be a goober on your first date(s), and be ok with imperfection.  Wow.  I think I just wrote a best-seller.

(p.s.  Stay tuned for a post where I react to some of the tenets of “Become Your Own Matchmaker.”)

5.     Take a break from dating.  When people stop looking for things is when they inevitably find them.

Really?  Is that how it works?  Have you personally crunched the numbers on that?
I know that we hear stories all the time about people who, after they stop actively searching/trying for something, have it fall right in their laps.
But I’d contend that for each of those inspiring sagas, there are at least 100 cases where people found what they were looking for… by looking for it!!

The implication here is that I am obsessed with finding the perfect guy.  Rest easy, friends.  I don’t have an unhealthy fixation with dating.  I enjoy it!  I like searching for love.  I believe I still have a great love story ahead of me and I’m going to pursue that to the best of my abilities – not settling, not being desperate or bitter in the meantime – just actively and optimistically exploring.

There are so many others – but who has the time to respond to all of them?:  “Date lots of men,” “Go on longer dates,” “Go on shorter dates,” “Only go on lunch/coffee dates,” “Look for men at church,” “Don’t look for men online,” “Use XYZ site,” “Take up XYZ hobby to meet guys,” “Grow out your bangs,”… on and on the advice continues.  It’s exhausting…

If all the same people who were proffering up these nuggets of wisdom on singleness would put that energy toward thinking of a friend/acquaintance/co-worker to set me up with – I’d be a lot more appreciative.  A little less talk, a lot more action, friends.

Mile High Dating Club?

An airplane flight contains within it all the worst parts of dating/relationships without ANY of the perks.

In the last couple of days, I’ve been in the following situations – and no, these weren’t dates.  With the luck I’ve been having lately, I can see how they’d sound awfully similar, but…no.  Had they been, at the very least I could’ve escaped with my Early Dismissal Program.  But as it was, I was stuck – enduring all the most disadvantageous pieces of monogamy with none of the sweet reward.

I sat next to one gentleman who apparently didn’t “believe” in deodorant and kept insisting on reaching up and over me to adjust his air vent.  And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, his breath smelled like a series of dry heaves, viciously invading my olfactory space.  Yummy.

Then, there was the guy who “needed something from his pocket,” and as he fished around in a pair of pants inexplicably squeezed onto his portly shape, his fingers uncomfortably caressed and harassed my hip and thigh.  Nice.

On the next flight was a girl who played her music annoyingly loudly, but her angry facial expressions, front neck tattoo and multiple facial piercings made me nervous to confront her about it.  And I ended my aviation adventure with the man next to me snoring in my ear.  Now, I’m not up on the etiquette in this situation, but if we were in a relationship, you can bet your sweet bippy I’d be (lovingly, of course) elbowing him in the ribs to roll over and hush.

When you fly, you’re forced into close quarters with all kinds of miserable humanity, and without so much as a possibility of a snuggle or a kiss.  I’ve sat closer, smelled more Axe cologne and Walgreens hair gel, felt more skin-to-skin contact and heard more heavy breathing in my latest flying mates than I have in all of my most recent dates.  So…why not parlay this inevitably awkward situation into an opportunity?  Here’s what I’d like to see happen:

Speed Dating flights.

Yup.  If I have to suffer the travails of proximity to these lower life forms, then I say we turn it on its head and make it work FOR me.  And other singles.  But, mostly me.

It’s a perfect set-up.  You already have the environment to cultivate relationship building and getting to know each other.  All that would need to happen is someone to come in and organize the existing chaos.  I’m happy to be that girl.  So, be sure your seat backs are in their upright position and any pessimism is stowed away…  Here’s how it’ll work:

You’d pay a small extra fee to be put on a Speed Dating Flight.  Of course, flights would be segregated by ages – 20-somethings, 30-somethings and so on.  We’ll use planes with the two seats on either side of the aisle layout and put the women in the window seats.  Men will sit on the aisle and every 5 minutes, your friendly airline host will come over the loud speaker and instruct the men to move.  Every man will move back ONE row and sit in the seat behind where he just was.  And the two guys in the back will come to the front row.

This is everything you want in speed dating AND air travel.  Think about it:

  1. No crying babies or annoying preteens.
  2. No having to guess if that cute guy you’ve been tracking stalking ’noticing’ since gate E5 is, in fact, on the market or not.  So WHAT if he got a whole wheat bagel and a yogurt/fruit parfait at “Taste of Atlanta,” he’s sporting a dreamy MacPro in a weathered leather satchel, and you definitely heard hand-washing after he used the restroom…he COULD still be taken.
  3. There’s already a bartender/server coming around bringing you drinks and snacks.  It may not be wine flights from Crü, but a CranApple/Diet Sprite combo, served in a tiny cup filled mostly with ice, can really help take the edge off.
  4. You get to devote time to dating that doesn’t take away from your life.  You’re multi-tasking with a necessary domestic trip, so you have nothing to lose.  If none of the guys work out, you’ve at least passed the time in an entertaining way, en route to PowerPoint presentations and stale Chai lattes.
  5. You already have a seat-back tray table to use for jotting down notes.
  6. You have built in conversational material as you ask each other about where you’re flying and why.  If that runs stale in the first minute, you’ve got in-flight Sudoku puzzles and SkyMall to peruse together.  You can even feel free to use the Crossword at the back of the airline magazine to determine his intelligence level.  “No, I’m sorry ‘Tate,’ but 3-down’s four-letter “therefore” is not “Eggo.”  Thanks for stopping by.
  7. If you ARE seated next to a loser, don’t despair!  He’s moving in less than 5 minutes!

Ultimately, we’re just killing two birds with one mechanical bird.  You’ve got to fly to Newark for business ANYWAY… so why not rack up a few dates and digits as you soar to your destination?

And you know the airlines would have a heyday with this idea.  Maybe they’ll even offer incentive programs where, for every name/number you request, you earn valuable frequent flyer reward points!  I’m just spitballing here, but this idea has got some teeth.  I can hear the flight attendants now…(and please – for the love of all that is literarily snarky – please read the following in a subtle, yet noticeably nasal and personally detached internal voice):

“Ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome aboard flight 5683, with service to engaging banter, and continued service to true love.  Be certain you have stowed all sensitive topics under the seat in front of you.  Heavier conversations about exes and lists of dealbreakers should be placed in the overhead bin, and please do not delve into them as emotions may shift in flight.  All narcissistic, self-absorbed discussion should now be turned off as it may interfere with your partner’s internal relational navigation systems.

If you are seated in a speed-dating seat, you must be able to demonstrate a modicum of cleverness and charm, without causing harm to yourself or others.  Men acting like teenage boys may not sit in a dating seat.  If you are seated in a dating seat and do not meet these requirements, please notify a flight attendant at this time.

Cellular phones and other approved electronic devices may only be used to settle playful bets or show photos of your adorable dog/cat/child/ferret/prize-winning okra.  Smoking is not allowed on any flight or in any situation where you think you MAY give/receive a smooch.

To fasten your image in your current partner’s mind, place the most witty banter firmly into her memory, using interesting stories and clever jokes/entendres.  To release, simply use crude boy humor.  For your safety, we require that you not use words like “booyah” or “boobies.” Federal regulations require you to never discuss body part sizes or try out  cheesy come-on lines.

We appreciate your business.  We know you have options for your airline dating needs, so we thank you for choosing Affection Airlines.”

Operation Date – Fail.

Let me tell you about a recent date.
Or, as it should more aptly be called – an epic disappointment.

Let me set the scene.

This is a guy who came out swingin’.
He’s VERY funny.

And y’all know – that’s my jam.

It’s probably THE most attractive quality in a guy (to me), so this guy – (let’s call him “Brian”), was “in” right from the get-go.
Let me give you an example of his sense of humor.

We’d been chatting online for a while, and I’d given him my number.
Then, this popped up on my phone one day out of the blue:

Things continued like this for a while – witty banter and all that.  Swoon…  Right?

Then, the other day, he texted to see if I wanted to hang out.  He said his buddy had a table at a nightclub for his birthday and he wanted me to join them.  We texted back and forth a bit about details… I was hesitant, because the whole nightclub thing isn’t really my scene – even though I LOVE to dance and shake what my momma gave me…
Anyway, finally he called and we talked and he convinced me to come.  He was so sweet!  He said it was gonna mostly be guys and (I’d thought I might be hanging with a girlfriend that night…wasn’t sure yet) I was welcome to bring my friend(s) with me.

So – I went outside my comfort zone and said yes.  Eeek!
No grabbing a drink first to get to know him a little better before going to a noisy club.
Nope – just right into the “ntz-ntz-ntz” of Houston’s nightlife with a cute boy as my lure.

It was then that I discovered, I have no idea what one wears to a club!  I mean, I go salsa dancing and country dancing all the time, but that’s different.  I knew this crowd would be young and skinny and hip (so hip, in fact, that they would probably die before using the word “hip”) and I wanted to fit in without coming across like I was trying too hard.  Knowing what I know now, I went the wrong direction.  Hindsight is 36/24/36.

But, …I was naive.  So – I wore skinny jeans, heels, a black sleeveless top and a smoky eye.  (See picture below)  If you’re wondering why I’m telling you all this, it’s for two reasons.  One – I want to set the stage for you – that I was OUTSIDE my comfort zone, but trying my darndest to be daring and bold and embrace the spontaneity – all for the sake of that great search for love.  Two – since I write a blog about dating and I talk as if I know a thing or two, I figure it’s only fair to admit that I’m no different from anyone else – I have no clue what I’m doing!  And I have insecurities and areas of ignorance just like everyone else!!  Put me in a jazzy cafe with wine and cheese and I can charm the socks off of you with my stimulating and clever conversation, but meet me at 11:00 at a thumping nightclub packed with perfect-bodied 26-year olds, and I’m a little thrown…

Ok – so – here’s me breaking it down with a girlfriend I forced to come with me…

I think we’re adorable.

And – we DID have fun.  I danced my TAIL off for hours.  But…that’s not the point of the story.  Let’s get back to Brian.

Brian was late.  In his defense, he called me to tell me – and again, was very sweet and charming.  He wanted to make sure we didn’t get there before him and then wonder where they were.  Thoughtful, right?  He gave me the name to use to get in (OH SO Sex-in-the-City) and my girlfriends and I decided to go ahead and get our dance on while we waited.

We arrived, paid the ridiculous fee to park in some crappy gravel lot across from the club, trounced through the grit with our heels and finally arrived at the velvet-roped entrance, only to discover that we were sorely underdressed.  So, naturally – my level of nervousness plummeted another floor down.  Greeting us at the door were men in sport coats and the most perfectly (and medically) sculpted woman in the shortest, reddest, tightest dress I’ve ever laid my judgmental eyes on.  And they were just the beginning.  The inside of this place was filled with the most beautiful people you’ve ever seen.  It was like People magazine exploded into a room pulsing with sound and light.  Jaw-droppingly gorgeous, well-dressed men and exquisitely manufactured women in the sparkliest dresses.

I’m pretty sure I was the only female in the room with only her God-given parts,
sans botox/extensions/implants/tucks/plastys and the like.  But they all sure were glorious to look upon.  The people I encounter when I go salsa dancing or 2-stepping are real people, out to have fun dancing.  THESE people were like living mannequins and models parading their goods to sell to the highest bidder.

So – 11:00 turned into 11:30….turned into almost midnight before Brian arrived.  And when he finally texted me that he was there, I assumed he’d come find me on the dance floor and greet me, show me to their table, etc.  But no.  I had to go hunt him down (always an ego boost), and when I found him (or rather, we sorta bumped into each other and then hugged),
he looked NOTHING like his profile photos OR the pictures he had JUST THAT DAY sent me on my phone.
He was considerably …um… more plentiful?… than his pictures had led me to believe.
So I had to put on a “yay! So happy to finally meet you!” face over-top of my more authentic “good glory, this guy’s a total fraud” thought crawler.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking – “isn’t that awfully hypocritical of you, Sarah?  You’re imperfect and curvy.  How can you expect a guy to be a chiseled demi-god when you’re so far from that yourself?”  Well – maybe you weren’t thinking those exact words, but still – I hear your inner interrogation…I hear you and I raise you my answer.
Here’s the difference:  I market myself AS I AM.
I put photos up that are recent and I include full-body shots to show the men on those sites what they’d be getting themselves into…
What they see is a true representation of how I look – flaws and all.

THIS guy was deceptive.  He purposely duped me – and it left me feeling annoyed – almost angry – at the bait and switch.  And the saddest part is (well – the saddest part up until  THIS point in the story) – if he had shown me pictures of himself as he is right now – I still would’ve gone out with him.  I still find him attractive!  It’s his witty personality that grabbed me in the first place, and he’s got a great smile.  So WHAT if he’s got a little cushioning – birds of a feather, right?  But – he lied.  It’s the false advertising that makes me so indignant.

Still… I was already there, I’d already ventured into the unknown and underdressed, so I wanted to spend some time with him…
you know… to preach the gospel of kale and other superfoods…
(oh, settle – I’m just teasing).
I wanted to either grab a drink or dance or sit and chat, but he was looking for a buddy and told me he’d come find me in a minute.  So – I went back to the dance floor to get my shake on.

45 minutes later…
(yes – you read that correctly)

FORTY-FIVE friggin’ minutes later… I was getting peeved that I hadn’t seen any sign of him.  I thought maybe because the place was so packed, he couldn’t find me.  (I know, I know… I’m so naive…)  So, I (once again), went looking for him.  When I found him, he was being trailed by some 20-something smoking hot girl who’s body could only have been crafted by a team of specialists.  There do not exist, in nature, breasts like those on a frame that skinny.  I’m relatively certain she had some of her less-essential organs removed to get the full barbie ‘look’ she was sporting under her Oscar de la Renta knock-off.
WHAT?  Who IS this girl?  I stopped him and said, in my best “I’m just flirty and cool and zen and not at ALL annoyed that you’re ignoring me even though YOU asked ME to come tonight” voice, “Hey you!  Come dance with me!”  He muttered something about “in a minute…” while the eye candy behind him snickered and literally rolled her eyes.  Again… WHAT?  Who IS this girl?  Is she some kind of club groupie?  Is she part of some harem that I’ll eventually be asked to join (after multiple surgeries to completely alter my form)?

So – I went back to the dance floor.  Again.
I danced for another 45 minutes and decided to leave.  I texted him, “Gettin’ ready to leave…”

I heard nothing back.

Ever.

EVER!!

As in – not then.  Not later that night.  Not the next morning or at all the next day.  Not all weekend… nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.
Like I was never even there.
Like he’d never even asked me – multiple times.
Like we’d never texted AND talked multiple times.

WTH??

So – this is my life now.  I try to be edgy and enter into unfamiliar territory, for the sake of the cause… and I get too-many-burgers-jerk-store-special.

You’d think, at the very least, he’d validate my parking…

Sigh…

I’ll now be accepting suggestions for a well-composed, pithy yet snarky text to send to this guy in the coming week.  Something that says, “you’re a jerk,” and “you missed out,” and “what happened?” and “no, seriously – what happened?” all in a neat little package with a “Bazinga” finish.  Shouldn’t be too hard, right?  After culling through the hundreds of entries I’m sure to receive, I’ll be awarding two prizes (I can’t say what the prizes are (because I haven’t thought of something creative enough yet)) – one for the best quip to ACTUALLY send, and one for the the zinger that makes me laugh the most.

Happy writing.

Plenty of fish, you say??

Let’s just dive right into the pond, shall we?

No need to hold your breath or put on scuba gear.

It is most assuredly – dry.

What, exactly, is the POINT of this photo?
To prove that he has a belly button?
To show me that he’s missing one arm and a head?
To show off his nifty Americana-esque bathroom decor?
Or to blind me?
In any event, mission accomplished.

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I suppose it’s a fair expectation for a Texas girl to be packing heat…

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Hey!  DadNabbit, give me BACK my pickled egg!
I done TOLD you not to mess with Big Daddy when I’m in my loungin’ chair, woman!

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Admittedly, I’m almost paralyzed with joke fodder here.  Which problem to focus on?  And I don’t want to choose my words unwisely.  After all, there are words behind that words.  Wait, what?  You know what?  Maybe I just need to keep thinkin before taking any action.  That’s probably best.  I don’t want to be jodged.  I think that’s like being punked…

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I promise you, this is UNdoctored by me.  THIS is his profile pic.
This.
Pixelated and cropped so that all I can make out is some wall sconce and his right eye behind sunglasses.  Well, I THINK they’re sunglasses.  That may be an eye-patch… aaarrrgh.
I’m baffled by this choice.  Did a child take this photo and then post it?  No, a child would’ve had better sense.  A pet monkey perhaps.  I don’t know why he’s letting his pet monkey manage his online profile, though.  I guess maybe the monkey is more than just his friend.  He’s his prime mate.
(What?  A girl can’t monkey around with a pun every now and then?  Sheesh…)

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After I spat my drink out reading this one, I was left with a few wonderings of my own…
come to me baby, make my expectancy end“… is that what the kids are calling these days?  Seems awfully cumbersome.
And what in heaven’s name does it mean, that “respect for the real thing is not important?”  I mean…what IS the real thing?  It sounds awfully important – I feel like I’m missing out not knowing?  Are we talking about Coke?
But none of this really matters anyway because he’s don’t member this site.

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This guy made sure to give his viewers a side shot to see his impeccable shaving job.  Only problem is – he missed a spot.  He left a line of hair.  Poor guy…he probably has no idea.

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Submitted by my friend, Kim

Am I the only one who got caught up on the word succulent?  Yeah…pretty sure he was talking about a rotisserie chicken there…guys online are ALWAYS talking about chicken.
I love the way that this girl’s profile “sort of fit” into his “long awaiting future desire.”  That’s just poetry in motion, folks.

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This is a screenshot.
No, LITERALLY.
Follow me on this:  He took a self-photo with his phone, then uploaded it and then took a picture of THAT on his computer screen and used THAT shot as his profile pic.  Whew…
It’s got that whole “Inception” picture-within-a-picture thing goin’ on.

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Let Makes Love.  Now THAT’S a nice Wordings.

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Alright, I’m gonna walk up these steps and when you can get my backside clearly in the shot, take it.  THIS is the look I wanna use to attract the ladiessss.  Don’t worry – I’ll use the sepia effect to make it romantic.  Rrrr…

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I’ve been saying all along that I just want to find a guy who wants to now me.  To REALLY now me.
THIS.  This is what I’ve been whiting for my whole life.

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You know… I love an overly-muscled black & white fountain statue shot as much as the next gal.
But, it’s that left hand that gets me.  It looks like he’s either just snapped his teeny tiny underwear, or like he’s holding a fist-full of what I can only assume are gummy bears.  And for what?  To feed to the…the… um…(shifts uncomfortably)… fountain fish?

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In his defense, it DID ask him to name his favorite hot spots.  And that DOES sound like it could get hot…

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“Yeah, listen buddy.  I can’t really talk now.  I’m at Express for Men and I’ve got a sweet profile photo shoot goin’, ok?  What’s that?  Have the guy take my photo WHILE I’m on the phone?  To let women know that I’m really not gonna ever be THAT into them?  Like I’m the kind of guy who can’t even put the phone down to get a decent shot, so I’ll certainly never be a considerate partner?  Honestly, I’m just sad I didn’t think of it myself first.  That is so money.  Ok.  Let me give a look like I couldn’t care less about my future relationship.  Ok – got it.  Perfect.  Thanks, dude.  Yeah…I’ll grab you some Ed Hardy cologne.  Alright.  Peace out, braw.”

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Sam, I don’t think you underSTOOD my autoreply.
Furthermore – I’m glad you love your jog.  But I don’t.  I actually hate running, so I just don’t think we’re gonna be a good fit.
Best of luck.
Oh, and …can you tell me what chemical manufacturer it is you inspect for?  I just want to be sure to remove any and all of those products from my home.  What?  No reason…

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Alright, mothers – you may want to shield your children’s eyes from our last …um… selection.

That is one SASSY undead.
He really has taken ‘zombie chic’ to a whole new level.  Notice how the macabre look in the eyes is in artistic juxtaposition to the hot pink duck tape.  If this isn’t a fashion forward step for the apocalyptic reanimated corpse in us all,
then I don’t know WHAT is.
Oh, and – thanks for the nightmares, buddy.
(No, but seriously – call me.)

Until next time…

Search for the Perfect Mannequin

Have you noticed how, when you’re IN a relationship, there seems to be a steady parade of eligible and interested single people nipping at your heels – a veritable school of piranhas surrounding you in your sea of commitment.  And then, the moment you become single again, you find yourself in a dried up pond where the only fish still flapping with life are the bottom feeders or those creepy all tooth and lights and no soul kind?  Where did the swarms of eager bachelors go?  Now that you’re free to explore your deep-sea options, the proverbial well is dry.  What gives?

My friend (and inspiration for this post) Glenda suggests it has something to do with the “On Display” effect.  Similar to the Butterfly effect, but not nearly so deterministic… actually it’s not the same at all.

  When the people around you can see you as you are in a relationship, they see the whole put-together package.  They see “relationship you.”  And they like what they see.  They see the way you dote on your man (or girl, as the sitch calls for).  They see the way you listen, care for him, make him laugh, do sweet things for him, nurse him when he’s sick, throw parties for him on special occasions, bring out the best in each of you and generally make him happy.  They also see that light of love in you that only shines when you’re “on display.”  And they want that.

She likened it to the way we like to buy an outfit as it’s displayed on a store mannequin.  You know how this goes – you walk past the window and see that they already have the pencil skirt and Bohemian-chic top impeccably paired with a whimsical summer scarf and the perfect chunky, but not too chunky accessories.  “That’s the ‘look’ I want!” you think to yourself, and lazily go buy all the components.  Same goes for partner hunting – you see someone in their relationship ‘element’ being all perfectly Bohemian-chic and you want ‘em.  You want THAT version.  But the reality is that in the real world, you don’t get to pick out the mannequin’s ensemble.  You have to put together your own. 

In some sense, if it weren’t for the fact that there is a necessary grieving and healing process we have to endure after a break-up (such a bummer that we can’t just skip that step…*exasperated sigh…), we could get back on the market while the “on display” energy is still fresh.  You know – word hasn’t spread yet that you’re pathetic and alone and the world of available men/women still sees you as “store window ready.”  Wouldn’t that be nice?  You could bag an even better shopper while you still have the vestiges of relationship success clinging to your pencil skirt.  But, alas, when we try to do that, we unfortunately bypass an essential step in our own journey…blah blah…something …something…personal growth.

 I’m gonna be perfectly honest here – I make a cracking good girlfriend.  You can ask my ex-boyfriends and they’d tell you.  In fact, I’m contemplating a new dating system wherein I have my current crush contacted by former lovers to hear their personal testimonials of my relationship excellence.  I mean, you wouldn’t hire a new employee without getting sufficient positive references, am I right?  The same goes here.  In fact, I dare say it would INCREASE my chances with someone I have my eye on – because my past boyfriends can speak to how I am when I’m off the market, and ‘on display.’ 

You all know this is true.  When you’re on those first few dates with someone new, no matter how much you try to be your true authentic self, no matter HOW you slice it, you’re in full-on illusion mode.  You’re trying to present the best version of yourself, which – while admirable – often gets in the way of that person seeing the version of you he would know if he were 6-months in.  You can’t be as soft or as vulnerable or as trusting on date #2 as you can on date #100.  You also can’t feel that same ease you’ll feel later on, which gets in the way of being yourself.  It’s a vicious loop.  Perhaps this is why we so often involve alcohol – it “lets” us be more of our real selves… In Vino Veritas, and all that.  Be charming!  Be adorable!  Be attractive!  Be yourself?  Yes!  But, not all the way…?  This is where those past boyfriend endorsements can really come in handy. 

Wouldn’t it be awesome if an hour into a date with a guy you really think you could have an amazing connection with, you could have some kind of mid-date commercial?  The record audibly scratches, your date is paused and in walks your ex with some “exciting news about the girl you’re with!”  I’m fine funding these commercial interruptions with blatant product placement – whatever it takes to get the guy, I say.  They can tell the new prospect – “dude, she’s a catch.  Really.  She’ll take care of you when you’re sick, she makes a mean Southwest soup, she’s an amazing mom, she sings in the shower when she thinks you’re not in the house, for all her bluster about being a sleep princess – she really does want someone to cuddle with while she falls asleep, she makes real sacrifices for the people she loves, she’ll keep you laughing, she works hard at the relationship, she gives creative and thoughtful gifts, she’s loyal, she’ll fight for you, and she’s a dang good kisser.”  Now, back to your regular programming.

That’s really the only way to convey your ‘on-display’ gestalt to the next generation of love candidates. 

But until I get my ghosts of boyfriends past commercial series into syndication, I guess I’ll have to rely on finding a guy who is creative enough to walk right past the ready-to-wear mannequin and go pick out his own outfit.  Hopefully it won’t involve a pencil skirt.