Friday, July 30, 2010

Bad Date Share-a-thon

So, I'm starting to realize that my bitterness indicator light has been on for a while now. The speedometer of my social life went from zero to sixty so fast that I didn't notice any of the warning signs on the dashboard. The bitterness light looks pretty dark and is glowing in full force. I should probably have been paying attention to this, at least for your sake.  So, I'd like to formally apologize to you, my faithful Singleton and Married readers, if I seemed as though you could have handed me a million dollars and I would have found some kind of fault with it over the last few days.

So, to cheer me up, I'd like to ask you all to tell me some of your dating nightmares!  I know that sounds counterproductive, but surely I can't be the only one lost in this world of inappropriate behavior and lack of commitment.  Did you have the worst bad date ever?  Did someone say something to you from across a restaurant table that you never thought you'd hear uttered from anyone's mouth, let alone a potential mate?  Did a date have too much to drink and do something so awful you share it at every party you've attended since?  Do tell...  Pep  me up with your pitiful dating debacles.  Feel free to remain anonymous.  ;)

Update:  As fate would have it, after I officially booted him off the team last night, Mr. Nick@Nite texted me asking if I'd like to go to a baseball game.  I didn't take it seriously since this is his second time mentioning such an outing, but changed my tune when he said an actual date on the calendar.  Unfortunately, I'm previously booked for both of the days he suggested (which were two weeks from now, mind you, what were we going to do between now and then?!), but maybe this will be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back.  We can kill this feable attempt at communication quickly and painlessly by letting it just drift off into the sunset.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Batter Up!

*Disclaimer: Although this post may seem pretty ominous and negative (or you could say bitter, but we'll talk about that tomorrow), I want to reiterate the "with me" part.  I, by no means, suggest that the following are criteria used by women as an entire species.  Just little old (dateless at the moment!) me.   Since I have before listed the qualifications to date me, I thought it would only be right to also list things that are never going to work if you are interested in spending five minutes with me in the romantic sense...you know, in the interest of being fair and balanced.

Top Three Ways Not to Get a Date With Me:

    1. You will not get a date with me if you stalker call me.
      Let's say that days ago I gave Mr. Military my phone number in an attempt to get him to communicate with me in something other than two word responses to my questions, but never heard from him.  All of a sudden, I start getting strange text messages from some unknown Yahoo services.  Of course, being the cynic that I am, I don't respond to unknown texts or phone numbers.  Then yesterday, I got a phone call from the same landline phone number that belonged to some name I had never heard of (oh yes, I white-page reverse searched that joker!), so I didn't respond.  On my drive home, several times while I was on the phone with someone else, this unknown number called me again.  Four times.  In twenty minutes.  On the third attempt, the individual left a voicemail, but then called again within two minutes.  Later, I checked to see who would be on the wrong end of my restraining order to learn that it was, in fact, Mr. Military.  "Uh, just seeing if you wanted to talk," he said in a strange tone that sounded as though he was trying to increase the manliness of his voice.  Strike one.
    2. You will not get a date with me if you can't hold a conversation that does not involve sexual undertone/overtones.Oh...Mr. Italian.  Mr. Italian and your smooth talking ways with your crazy cute face.  I was a bit smitten for your seductive style at the onset.  It had been a while since a man of your physical attractiveness had "spoken" (the quotation marks indicate sarcasm, I should technically say "texted") to me like that, so I was easily convinced that you would receive high marks in the date-able category.  However, I've come to believe that dating is not at all what you're interested in, and since I'm not after what you are, we probably shouldn't waste each other's time.  As the ink dries on the papers ending your first nuptials, you're looking for some fun, single time, while I'm looking to leave Singledom behind in my dust.  Strike two.
    3. You will not get a date with me if you cannot keep me engaged in a conversation.If you have to send me "Are you still there?" text messages, it's not because I'm being rude.  It is usually because I can't think of a reply to "I had a good day, thanks" for what feels like the 345th time in the last week.  I consider myself to be a highly effective communicator and am usually not at a loss for words (clearly), so if you are able to stump me into silence, that is a talent that I'm not interested in learning more about or continuing to be a part of.  Mr. Nick@Nite, despite coming out of the gate strong with strange unusual  new interests, you didn't hold onto me.  I lost hold somewhere back in the discussion of genealogy, or history, or comic books, or something and never jumped back on board.  And unfortunately, stating "I can't wait to meet you" six times in two weeks, however nice to hear the first time, isn't very convincing when it isn't followed with a date, time and location.  Strike three.
They're out. 


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chronic Dating Fatigue

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: (n) pathology/
-a common disorder of the wrist and hand characterized by pain, tingling, and muscular weakness, caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist area and often associated with trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, or edema of pregnancy.
On Sunday, I thought "Hmm...man, I must have slept on my hand wrong or something because it really hurts."  Yesterday morning, my poor little right hand decided to kick that pain up a notch to get my attention.  I thought "I wonder if this is what carpal tunnel feels like."  The above definition has confirmed my theory.  Although, fear not, it is not associated with rheumatoid arthritis or anything to do with pregnancy.This, my friends, is what happens when texting gets out of control.

Between Mr. Italian, Mr. Nick@Nite, Mr. Morals and Mr. Military, it's a wonder I've found time to do anything other than text.  And by "anything other" I mean menial things like brushing my teeth.  From about 10:00 am to 11:00 pm every day for weeks, it has been non-stop and I have come to loathe the sweet, melodic chime on my phone that indicates a new message has arrived.  I've even started to wonder if it is, in fact, some strange karmic payback for my previous insistence on jumping from texts to real-life.  Although, the jumping to real life isn't happening.

So, I've taken a personal vow to myself.  No texting today.  Although, I know what you're thinking, "Uh, aren't you typing right now?"  For some reason, the typing isn't bothering me.  It's the holding of the phone and the typing on the teeny tiny Blackberry keyboard that is making my wrist, hand and arm light on fire.  Ever had carpal tunnel?  I know I'm not nearly as bad as some people have it, where braces and painkillers are involved on a regular basis (dear God, if it gets that bad, someone just take my phone away.  I'll communicate via carrier pigeon).  It's this strange, painful awareness of the muscles in your hand and wrist that constantly enlightens you to just how many things you rely on your thumb throughout the day.  I feel like those robot hands that you have to push the button so that the thumb moves in the right direction to grab the glass of water because one wrong move and it's lightning bolts up the forearm. 

I wonder if I could possibly be the first victim of a new disorder.  I'm thinking I've developed "Chronic Dating Fatigue."  Symptoms of Chronic Dating Fatigue, or CDF, include, but are not limited to, carpal tunnel pain and hyperventilation upon the receipt of text messages, lack of the ability and/or care to respond to messages like "Wat up, baby?" and "How are you today?" (or in my more specific case, "I want you to buy me a tattoo"), a feeling of angst towards several members of the opposite sex for apparently no reason other than their gender, purchasing a closet full of endless date-worthy clothing options with no actual dates, and a general sense of bitterness, with having had the thought of throwing in the towel or "How bad would life really be if I never met anyone?" at least more than once a week.  Patients can suffer from symptoms anywhere from one week to the rest of their entire lives, in which case they will die a long, slow, painful, lonely death. The cure for CDF?  We all know what it is.  It's the whole point and hopefully last, joyful blog entry ever to this "Diary of a Mad, Single Woman."

I think the discovery of my new ailment may actually have inspired some pretty radical behavior on my part.  I've almost decided that I'm wiping the slate clean.  After months of paying for male attention (that sounds bad, let me try again), dates, affection, trying to find a boyfriend the ability to email men I haven't met in person before in hopes of starting a friendship, I've gotten nothing but frustration and a couple of bad dinner meetings.  I'm seriously contemplating cutting them all loose.  If they contact me (obviously, this will be through text, who am I kidding?) and want to meet me, great, but no more of this "I'd like to meet you someday in the distant future when I've sent you every tiny detail of my entire life in text and made Sprint reconsider their Unlimited Everything Plan idea."

Here is my possible new mandate:  If I met you via any online dating service and we are currently communicating as of today, I am done playing the game with you.  Ask me out or move on. 

Since none of them read this blog (to my knowledge!), this is kind of futile.  But, it gives me a visual of my new mantra.  And it's gotten the thought train rolling that maybe I need to spend more time focused on meeting people in the real world.  It can't possibly be worse than this.  A friend of mine forwarded me an article about a unique new dating service that combines the ease of online dating (ease, my foot) and the face-to-face aspect of meeting in the real world.  You establish a profile on their website that is viewable by anyone in the whole world.  Then the company sends you these nifty little business cards, surely black with bright scandalous pink embellishments, with a URL to your profile and some flirty message like "I'm totally cooler than your date" or "I'm flirting with you."  You leave the card with the man or woman in your scope wherever you happen to be in the real world, eliminating that awkward walk-up introduction or even more dreaded pick-up line.  Apparently, it's catching on like wildfire.  I'll do some research and keep you posted...

Oh, and online dating guys, if you are reading this, thank you for making my hand and wrist burn for three days, guys.  That's one way of keeping you on my mind!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Juggling Act

With very little stimulating repartee to share with you today (due entirely to the fact that I have texted so much in the last 72 hours that my hand is literally sore.  Carpal tunnel due to texting.  It's a real thing, people, and it hurts), I feel compelled to share with you another, eh, side effect? of online dating that I never saw coming:  The Juggling Act.

As we've learned together, online dating is like the ocean, it hits you in waves.  Sometimes it's low tide and only a few fish wash up on the sand, most of which are flopping around just barely surviving.  Other times, it's high tide, with whole waves full of catches just waiting for you to scoop them up.  I ended my Match.com career during high tide and my texting hand is paying the price for it.

Right now, I have four men in pretty consistent Text Limbo Land.  The last remaining one that you are already relatively familar with is Mr. Italian.  He's here...he's nice...he's cute.  But, eh.  It's dying in the water.  We've exhausted almost every topic possible in Text Limbo Land and have quickly settled into the "Hey, what are you doing?" daily opening line.  Honestly, when you don't know a person, it's really hard to say anything other than "Nothing, what are you doing?"  I've tried dilligently to move into actual phone conversations, but as karma would have it, he ain't havin' it.  I will give him the credit he deserves for initiating a potential meet this week, but I felt surely I would never hear from him again after I squashed his idea of meeting at his house.  This girl has watched enough Lifetime movies to know that is a recipe for disaster.  I can hear my mother in my head now:  "Melanie...you're not putting yourself into vulnerable situations with this online dating thing, are you?" to which I quickly respond that I am well aware of the risks and taking every step necessary to protect myself.  Getting dolled up and using my date night perfume (don't lie, you have one too) to walk through a Front Door of Potential Doom is not "taking every step necessary to protect myself."  Surprisingly, he simply suggested that we reschedule for a weekend that he does not have his daughter.  Another obstacle I'm not sure I'm ready to factor into this whole new world of dating, but whatever.  Beggers can't be choosers.

I did introduce you to Mr. Nick@Nite and he is still alive and kickin'.  Well, he's alive, I don't know about kickin'.  We have also run the gamet of all topics of conversation sent in 160 characters or less per statement and hit text messaging bottom.  We haven't moved past the "Hope you had a good day" text in three days.  I like him, he seems nice enough and definitely has a wider (and more...um, interesting?) array of interests than any of the others out there right now, but he's not engaging.  I know, I've said all this before and you all have responded.  Yes, I'm happy to move past texting and realize that some people aren't good at it, but this car has stalled out.  He's the one stopping us from advancing to that next very eye-opening level of communication.  There are only so many times we can talk about my family genealogy and infamous relative.  I've got to take that off of there...

You have yet to meet Mr. Morals or Mr. Military, well, honestly because there's not much to say.  Surprisingly, according to their profile pictures (and we all know what lessons I've learned from those!) they look eerily similar, but communicate quite oppositely.  As you'd expect Mr. Military (named for the presence of fatigues in three of his five profile picture outfit choices) is direct and to the point.  But, of course, weird.  A Plentyoffish.com pick-up, he has been showering me with compliments from the second our interactions began, but embellished his emails with little more.  He did however ask me what I had gotten him for his birthday.  After I scoured his profile looking to see if Plentyoffish.com posted birthdays and I'd just missed it (nope, not there), I told him that I wasn't aware, Happy Birthday and I'd buy him a beer whenever we met.  Oh, wait, that wasn't a clever way of getting him to commit to something, we had actually mentioned "meeting," but in some far off, distant time.  Urgh.  After he told me he didn't drink on the first date (I mean, it was a suggestion.  Relax.  It was one beer. I'm not going to make you do anything you don't want to do, and I'd imagine someone with a military background could quickly subdue any rowdiness on my part.)(Can I date a guy who's not interested in a free beer?!), he said that he'd like me to buy him a tattoo.  "Can I pick of what?," I stupidly ask, trying to add some light-hearted flirtation to this overly dry conversation.  "I want Japanese artwork," he replies.  I have visions of one of those (usually white) people who go into a tattoo parlor mildly intoxicated and request this overly spiritual, artistic Japanese symbol only to later learn it means "I have a pig snout" or something else highly comical to anyone of Japanese heritage.

Then we have sweet Mr. Morals.  He openly proclaims his fierce allegiance to his mother (I'm not making fun, I promise, this is a major selling point if he hasn't crossed the same line of allegiance that say, Norman Bates did) and how much he loves his nieces and nephews, another nice quality for someone like me with a monumentally loud biological clock.  I'll give him his credit too, he has been able to keep me relatively entertained even with the mundane day-to-day topics.  But, no mention of a meeting...yet.

What's wrong with all this, you ask?  I'll be happy to enlighten you.  My brain is not big enough to keep track of what I've said to whom.  I constantly feel as though I'm repeating myself because the only mental image I have of any of these gentlemen are their tiny thumbnail profile pictures or the "unknown" icon on my phone.  None of them have really outshined the other (besides the aforementioned "skills" of Mr. Italian, which I will further address tomorrow).  If you had asked Melanie From a Year Ago if she would have ever thought she'd be complaining about having TOO many men vying for her attention, she would laughed until she was blue in the face, caught her breath and started laughing again.  I know this is a relatively easy problem to have, but how do I solve it? Inevitably someone is going to fall through the cracks, but is it fair for someone to fall victim to my overzealous "winking" on Match.com?  I'm not sure how much longer I can maintain this juggling act and with my track record, instead of dropping one ball and keep on truckin', I'm sure to drop them all in one fell swoop.  Luckily, Mr. Mardi Gras saw a way out of this debacle and recently told me that his silence was due to a recent transfer to Savannah.  Another party town where his loud shirts will fit in perfectly.  Good luck, Mr. Mardi Gras, bon voyage to you and your cruise wear.

Come back tomorrow...I'm thinking the dropping might not be a bad idea.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Losing The Game of Life

Right now I feel like I'm in a foreign country and don't know the language.  I have no idea what I'm doing and seem to either continue to do things horribly wrong or exceptionally right, depending on how you look at the situation.  I need a tour guide, or at the very least, a map.  Whoever said dating is fun either never did it or married the first person they dated, because I have yet to discover the fun in all this silliness.

So, I have been envisioning this whole process like I'm in the middle of The Game of Life.  You remember, the one where you have the little car and drive from life stage to life stage, making decisions that impact your options later.  I actually hated the game as a kid, so I wonder if this was major foreshadowing on God's part.  I remember learning early that adding children to your little car seriously depleted your expendible income...funny how well that relates to real life!  In my game though, instead of life stages, I'm moving through types of men.  If you look back over the course of the last few months, I've been trudging along at a pretty good speed, but it seems that I get hit with the same type of guy all at the same time.

I started out with my little car and my lonely little pink peg in the driver's seat.  I revved up my engine, threw it in high gear and headed out of the starting gate.  First stop, Boring Town.  Snooze.  I spent weeks in Boring Town, meeting boring men with boring lives and even more boring conversation.  They were so boring, in fact, that they actually made up details to seem more interesting and even presented photos of themselves that weren't themselves...just in an attempt to fool me into thinking they weren't citizens of Boring Town.  I high tailed it on out of there pretty quickly.

Next on my path was Non-commit-ville.  Non-commit-ville was full of gentlemen who were happy to correspond in any form but in-person and were usually pretty good at it.  They'd send me beautiful, well-written emails or texts, but wouldn't make any attempts to coordinate any kind of face-to-face interaction and when almost literally forced into the situation by me, sucked it up, dealt with it for the hour or so that it lasted and then ran as quickly as possible back to their safe little computer nook.  When I took the screaming and kicking bull by the horns and made ill-fated attempts to get them to man up, they simply slid away into the shadows of cyberspace, never to be heard from again.  Non-commit-ville was a destination on my trip that I didn't see coming, but seems to really circumvent most of Singledom.  I keep stumbling back into Non-commit-ville every now and then, so either their residents are getting out and escaping into other towns or I keep ending up back where I started.  Got to get a better map.

After I floored it and left nothing but rubber in Non-commit-ville, I ended up in Skanktown.  Skanktown is exclusively inhabited by men who live by the Laws of Inappropriateness.  Most of its residents are in the rebound phase and looking for "a girl who likes to have fun."  But, the problem is, Skanktown residents don't carry an ID.  You don't realize that they are from Skanktown until they hit you with some insight they picked up from the Laws of Inappropriateness.  When you ask them if they're from Skanktown, they insist that they aren't, they're just really attracted to you and you brought this inappropriate behavior out in them or they reiterate to you how upfront they were with their desire to "just have some fun."  "Fun" being the appropriate word for inappropriateness.  I'm too old for Skanktown.  I'm pretty sure the age limit is 25.  They should have it posted like a speed limit sign as you enter the city limits.  I'm stuck here though.  For some reason, I can't turn my innocent little car in any direction but right in the middle of town.  Granted, I've steered myself into the center of town a few times, even stuck around for a few days to see if I fit in.  Being new to the area with that "I'm completely lost" look plastered on my face, I wish the men of Skanktown had at least shown me around a bit before they tried to take over the driver's seat of my car, but that might just be a cultural thing. So, I've rolled up my windows and locked the doors, sitting here watching all the filth build up on the outside of my car.  Maybe it will rain soon.

Somewhere on the horizon, I can see the destination I'd like to get to.  Might not be my final stop on the trip, but it would be a nice change of scenery.  I'd like to make my way to Normal Guy City.  Normal Guy City is made up of a lot of Average Joes.  I like Average Joes, I've decided.  Guys who are into sports but will at least know how to fake it when I want them to get excited about something like a painting class I took.  Normal Guys don't have to carry an ID because you'd never have to ask for it, but will happily tell you where they hail from.  Normal Guys want to know you as a person, but will still pepper in some comfortable and appropriate flirtation when the moment is right.  They want to engage you in conversation that wouldn't have 90% of it bleeped out on primetime television.  Normal Guys are just as fun at a baseball game as they are dressed up at a candlelight dinner and make you feel as comfortable as if you've known them your whole life.  They send you flowers or texts to say hello, but never in a creepy, stalker kind of way.  They are perfect in their normalcy.  I can't wait to get there...I just have no idea how long the highway is out of Skanktown and how many exits there are until Normal Guy City.  I'm pretty sure that the exit out of Skanktown probably has some bridge with a slimy little troll that won't let you pass unless you can prove that you aren't a native. But, once I get to Normal Guy City, I intend to stay.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Alone vs. Lonely

So, another weekend pulls into the station, ready and waiting for excited passengers to jump aboard and kick off the two-day long celebration, only to meet me standing alone at the platform.  Dateless for yet another weekend, I'm kind of looking forward to a couple of days of me-time...could you hear that?  The sarcasm in my voice.  I heard it plain as day.  Actually the statement bordered more on a lie than sarcasm.  That could be why you missed it.

If you haven't gathered yet, I'm a pretty social chickadee, thriving off interactions with people (hence my gluttonous beseeching for comments! Where have they all gone?!) and loving every minute of socializing in whatever form I can get.  It's a pretty good thing that I have unlimited everything on my phone because if faced with more than a few hours of alone time, I will commence to blow up at least ten of my friends with "Whatcha doing?" texts.  It's not that I need to be around people; I just thoroughly enjoy it. 

As I've been working through this dating process (and "working" is the correct term here, people, it is not a leisure activity...yet.  Unless you count the text messaging from the other evening....stop!  I can't keep doing that!), a lot of my friends have told me that I have to like myself before I can expect anyone else to like me.  I get this, I really do.  If I hate myself and am constantly negative about who I am, it's not a very convincing argument for someone considering spending time with me.  If I can't be happy sitting in a room with myself for more than 5 minutes, it's unlikely that anyone else is going to want to do the same.  I'm down with this particular psycho-babble.  But, just because I'm fine being alone with myself doesn't mean I necessarily want to do it all the time.

And I'm by no means a lonely person, let me clarify that.  You know, there are those people in the world (I like to call them "The Eeyores") who just enjoy being lonely.  They feed off of their own loneliness, taking pleasure in sharing their misery with everyone around them and ripping to shreds any bit of enjoyment anyone else takes part in without them.  Ask them to join you and they come up with some far-fetched reason why they can't.  Because to join you would ruin their act.  That's not me.  I'm surrounded by people 99.9% of my life.  Enjoyable, entertaining, loving people.  It's that tenth of a percent that gets to me.

Although, the more I ponder this (i.e. search for ways to turn it into a positive...now I'm whistling "Don't Worry, Be Happy"), I can get a lot of things done in this down time.  I can read (lonely), clean my seemingly ever-filthy bathroom (lonely), treat myself to a mani/pedi (although fabulous and surrounded by pamper-ready people, still lonely), paint the blank canvas in my art supply box that has been crying out for color for weeks (lonely) or catch up on my DVR (lonely! Remember Mr. Saturday?  Not sliding down that slippery slope...).  I live in one of the busiest and most action-packed cities in the country, I can't come up with anything better than that!  Or wait!  I think I found a bright side.  A blank calendar of two, whole complete days and an evening gives me open availability for male suitors interested in meeting me face-to-face...hmmm...  Does that break the "don't seem like you have nothing to do when a guy calls and asks you out last minute" rule?  Are there any asterisks on this rule?  I know I said I hate asterisks before, but what if I said "Oh, my plans got cancelled, sure I'm free!"?  Hmmm...


During our more appropriate text dialogue, I told Mr. Italian that I was disappointed that the Braves weren't in town this weekend because I'd been hoping to get to a game soon.  As he usually does, he perfectly segwayed into "Well, since the Braves aren't in town on Sunday, what do you have planned for that afternoon?"  After deciding that a Sunday ask-out was perfectly acceptable on a Wednesday, I completely expected an invitation to follow my "Nothing planned yet" response, especially after the conversation seemed to be so perfectly designed for one.  Have I heard from him since?  Nope.  Well, unless you count his email of "Hi!" on Plentyoffish.com, ironic since we met on Match.com.  Seems we're both utilizing as many online dating resources as possible, all at the same time!  Maybe if/when we meet, he'll be ugly or smell like bleu cheese or something comparably disgusting and I'll be able to restrain my behavior to a level bordering on classy.  Urgh.  He's going to be cute and funny and witty and wonderful, and I'm probably going to behave like an inmate who just got paroled.

"One can't complain. I have my friends. Someone spoke to me only yesterday."

-Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hi, My Name is Hypocrite

(Picks head up from desk in desperation and shame). Urgh, I'm such a little hypocrite.  No, "little" is flattering.  "Little" implies that I'm only moderately guilty. I'm such a big hypocrite.  I walk around with my morals and values, guidelines and scruples and then throw them all out the window when I get some fancy words from a handsome face.  Well, fancy words sent via text from fingers that belong to someone with a handsome face.

As I've complained about said before, I have a few gentlemen floating around in cyberspace communicating with me in some way, shape or form, mostly via text.  Oh, sidenote, I got a really good one this morning on Plentyoffish.  Although not the least bit attractive in my opinion and probably bordering on unattractive to most people, this young man gave me an actual grocery list of qualifications just to communicate with him and didn't even so much as start off with a greeting or salutation.  But, the funny part is, I've gotten this same grocery list, word for word, from him on three prior occasions on different dating sites over, eh, the last three years.  In order to even contact him, according to his stipulations, I'd have to live in one of five predetermined cities all within reasonable driving distance from his 3-bedroom condo that his father purchased for him (supposed to be impressive???) or be willing to travel to him, like ALL the same things he does, including cards and board games (thrilling), and be willing to only text him at the phone number that he (brace for the weirdness) spelled out in word-form.  That one was too good not to share; I apologize for the interruption.

So, remember that completely inappropriate email that I got from Mr. Too Many Words?  The one where he shared entirely too much information about his (clears throat) social life?  Yeah...remember how upset I got, so appalled that I considered cutting off all communication with him totally?  That girl was strong-willed and stood by her ladylike morals.  This girl you're talking to today...not so much.

Since I decided to end my two-months of self-imposed dating theatrics, I contacted the guys that are still out there hanging around and gave them my phone number for texting/calling (I'm learning!  I added calling! See "The Male Perspective").  Within a matter of hours, Mr. Italian graced my phone with a "Hello!" text message.  We started casually conversing, talking about things we liked to do in our off-time, how much we had to work, blah blah blah.  Somehow we started talking about drinking, which led to a rather amusing conversation about parties, past and present, which inevitably led to my downfall.

For a few minutes, we just skated around inappropriate, doing elaborate figure-eights and letting the tips of our skates cross the line and then yanked them back.  But, at some point, Mr. Italian pushed me right in the middle of the thin ice of inappropriateness and I fell right in, laughing and giggling like a little schoolgirl.  And by inappropriate, I mean suggestive.  And by suggestive, I mean I'm at least keeping my blog at a PG-13 level.  I can't say the same for the text messages.

What's the problem here, you ask?  The problem here is that I feel hypocritical.  Why was it okay for Mr. Italian to do it, so okay that I was a willing and eager participant in response?  Flip back a few days to the Mr. Too Many Words version of this conversation and I was on fire with insult and offense.  Not only was I a willing and eager participant in this conversation, I was disappointed when the follow-up last night was completely Disney-like in its innocence.  I enjoyed the attention, felt attractive and liked the challenge of putting my writing skills to a very different kind of use.  But, I probably spit in the face of all those "values" I so haughtily touted a mere few days ago. 

Here's the conservative in me:  I worry that coming across so openly limitless at the onset will change the prospective male's opinion of me.  Most people would say "Woo-hoo!  He's going to like you now!" or a good old "Atta girl," but that's not the reason I want him to like me. Just because I can engage him in some suggestive wordplay doesn't mean that I'm long-term material.   But, either in spite of or because of my lack of ladylike behavior, he contacted me the next day, and kept a respectable and gentlemanly distance conversation-wise.  Maybe he thinks we crossed the line too fast as well, considering we've never laid eyes on each other. 

Don't get me wrong, it was fun.  I'm considering loosening up the reigns a bit and enjoying this new version of myself that obviously was reaching the boiling point the night before last.  The whole point of this dating marathon was to learn new things, meet new people and explore all kinds of exciting possibilities and freedom.  So, why the internal guilt?  Because it goes against everything my mother told me a good girl does, that's why!  But, yeah....it was fun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Because I'm a Slacker" or "Guest Post #2"

So instead of using my lunch break today to write and fill you in on some super scandalous scenarios that took place within the last twenty-four hours, I spent that time chatting and catching up with some friends, which is a rarity in the middle of the lunch rush in downtown Atlanta. Because of this, I won't have time to devote my full attention to your lust for my words, so I'll introduce you to another wordsmith that I'm sure you'll enjoy. Stay tuned tomorrow for is sure to be some conversation-starter, comment-inspiring hoopla.

"Am I in the Twilight Zone?"
by Wonderful
Denver, Colorado

Hi, I’m Wonderful, a Singleton who hasn’t kissed a boy in 6 months.

As a fellow Singleton, we often daydream about the ideal guy. You know, the perfect gentleman. Well, ladies, I have to tell you that we might not always want what we think we want.

Case in point: This past weekend. Now I’ve been in my lets-just-focus-on-me phase all year, and so far I like it. Strangely enough, I’ve had to attend weddings, and hear about friend’s engagements, but I’ve honestly been happy for them and not the least bit jealous.

This weekend while my bffs were out of town visiting their significant others (ok, maybe I’m jealous because they left me behind) I got invited to attend a free concert at Red Rocks, which is a pretty awesome place in Colorado. I knew that the girl I was going with, Maria, had said her friend Teresa and her brothers were coming along.

Maria and I carpooled to Teresa’s apartment. We knocked on the door and were warmly greeted by three guys. Introductions were made, and then we all carpooled to the concert. I sat in the car with Teresa’s brothers Tall Guy and Ben. I say Tall Guy because he was really tall and I’ve forgotten his name. All I remember is that he’s turning 21 in two weeks.

Ben on the other hand, caught my attention. He’s getting his masters degree, was well-groomed, and was even Catholic. Of course I started imagining that he might be great dating material. The only problem I had with him was that his jeans were too tight, but I figured that would be a quick fix.

We’re stuck in traffic, sitting around in the car, when I finally figured out who was playing at the concert—the Colorado Symphony. I was pretty excited, because I know tickets to their shows can be really expensive.

It was after my comment about seeing the symphony that Ben and Tall Guy started talking in depth about classical music. Yes, you read that right—boys were talking about classic music. Not Top 40 songs, but like old dead guys who wrote famous songs.

This was when it hit me: I’ve got to be in the twilight zone. Like, who are these guys? Not only did they hold intelligent conversation, they also insisted on opening and closing the doors for Maria and I. Um, I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been out with a guy who has done that. I realize that not all the ladies out there want that—which I totally understand because I was like that in the past. I wanted to be miss modern woman who can do it all by herself. But honestly, it was so nice to be treated with such respect.

The other Twilight Zone moment I had was after the concert, when we all went to Old C’s aka Old Chicago for some late night snacks. During dinner, the conversation at the table actually revolved around church. At one point Tall Guy actually admitted he watches EWTN, a very Catholic-y tv station, and it was at that moment that I became really lost in the zone. I mean, I’ve never watched that channel on purpose unless I was feeling guilty about not going to Mass. But to have him actually admit he watched that station, and that he actually remembered what the priest said—well, that was an out of body experience.

Based off this weekend, I can say now that there are good guys out there. But I have to admit, I’m still confused. I’m not sure I want the good guy who watches the EWTN channel—that might be too much for me. Although, finding a guy who will actually go to church with me and open doors for me would be a good start.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The New Girl Round 2

After some much labored contemplation for about two minutes yesterday, I'm almost positive that I will be ending my monthly membership with Match.com this weekend.  After two months of paying $1.16 per day to be able to freely contact other electronic-dating-minded individuals, I've learned a lot, both about myself and what's out there.  I figure I've gotten my money's worth out of it, with three dinner dates paid for by my Match dates (that sounds horrible, doesn't it? Go ahead, you can say it), but I really feel disappointed in my investment.  Too bad I didn't do the money back guarantee, but I would have had to commit to six months of this silliness and I probably would have been sticking pencils into my eye sockets by that point.

Maybe two months isn't long enough to give Match it's fair shot, but I'm tired and bored.  When you cancel your membership, the wise internet programmers ask you why you are leaving their online meat market.  Although I don't think there is an option for "All my matches were boring," I wonder if I can write it in.  The next question to ponder is how I wrap things up with the gentlemen that I'm currently (and seemingly unceasingly) corresponding with via email.  Do I email them to let them know that I'm skipping town with outside-of-Match.com contact information?  I'm thinking that several of them aren't going to make any moves on their own, so my disappearance probably won't cause them to lose any sleep.  But, I'd hate to miss the chance of meeting someone just because I'm cheap, I mean bored with Match.

On a friend's suggestion (who had another friend meet someone relatively decent), I checked out Plentyoffish.com yesterday.  They credit themselves as the largest online dating website in the world (wait, I thought Match said that too?) and are completely free.  There aren't even any catches like Zoosk, this is absolutely, 100% free of charge. I set up the quick profile which, amazingly, allowed me to stipulate who I wanted to hear from.  For example, you aren't allowed to contact me on Plentyoffish.com if you have ever contacted someone who is interested in one-night-stands.  Apparently, you can be on there looking for that and openly admit it, but keep on moving if that's your primary goal.  This little tidbit should have been a red flag for me, but you all know how oblivious I tend to be to such giant notifications of impending doom.

So far, I've been a "member" of Plentyoffish.com for less than 24 hours and have received emails from five different men.  New Girl in Town Syndrome?  Probably.  I'm flattered though; all five of them said the word "beautiful," one even asked me if I was beating the men away with a stick.  I almost spit my coffee across the desk.  Complimented as I was, I figured this was another way of getting me to write back to his message, but couldn't muster up an appropriately coy response.  When I took the ladylike (and honestly, truthful) route of telling him that in fact, I was not beating the men off with a stick (or really even getting anything more than emails, but that would sound bitter), he immediately continued to shower me with flattery and ask if he could come over this weekend to cook me a meal.  Because cooking with me would be his "dream come true."  Another one practically had his key in the ignition of his vehicle over 150 miles away, sitting on go, waiting for me to throw myself at him in email form.  I'm pretty sure I could have gotten him to drive from the neighboring state in which he lives last night without saying more than about five words.

So, the paradox of my dating life is this:  the men are either coming on too strong, almost suggesting that they wed and bed me within the first 24 hours of contact (and electronic contact at that) or they are afraid of the spoken word and hide quietly behind their computer monitors.  At this point, I'm seriously thinking that anyone who has met a significant other from an online source and made it past the first date/one night stand has either amazing, divine-intervention type luck or just doesn't have a problem with poor communication or lack of interest. 

I thought I'd made some progress with a new Match, who I'll introduce you to as Mr. Nick@Nite. A huge fan of all things late 80's, Mr. Nick@Nite enjoys catching reruns of old television shows, you know the good ones that they used to show on Nickelodeon after "Doug" and "Rugrats" got over.  I think this is a pretty interesting characteristic and definitely beats the "I'm a laid back kind of guy and like just about everything" approach.  At least this guy is willing to share something that makes him a real person with a real personality and real interests!  We've been emailing for about two weeks now, but it hasn't been what I'd call rapid fire.  He's also a big Braves fan (red flag? Maybe, with my track record!) and as the topic continued to build, he finally made reference to us going to a game.  Success!...or so I thought.  Not wanting to seem overly zealous, I asked him if there was a particular team that he'd like to see the Braves play coming up in their schedule, hoping he'd pick a day and we could meet.  He said "Anyone but the Mets" and continued to chat...without committing.  Urgh!  What am I doing wrong here?  I tried the "going in for the kill" style of being the aggressor, asking them out, picking the location/time/day/etc.  That didn't work.  Now, I'm trying the more subtle approach of waiting to be asked and all I get are more emails.  What, pray tell, am I doing wrong?

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,
I'm having a hard time right now.  I don't know for sure if I need your help or really what I need from you, but I think we should talk.

See, for some time now, you've been the editor of my life.  Not in a bad way, but just as your job description dictates, you've changed the original story.  Through a lot of it, I've needed you, oftentimes reminding me to fill in the gaps with fluffy, fun scenarios that I would have considered to be a waste of time, or reeling me back in when I went off on unnecessary tangents.  You have been very good at teaching me when a little bit of drama keeps the story interesting and adversely when I let that drama get a little bit overboard, which we all know is a tendency of mine.  You have been amazingly helpful. Although some of these things have improved the manuscript with the deletion or insertion of just little bits here and there, some things are missing from the way my life story was intended.  My original version contained long, eloquent sonnets filled with romance, love and passion, only to have been replaced by drawn-out passages of nothingness, anticipation, and hopefulness.  Years have been spent idly standing by waiting for the plot line to finally unfold, one I'd spent countless hours imagining and envisioning, proofing and revising.  It's only been recently that I realized this plot line had taken quite a different turn somewhere along the way, not because of me, but because of how it'd been edited.  Looking back, I'm not quite sure which chapter it was, but somewhere in the history of this adventure, something changed, setting the path of the rest of the book opposite to my intention.  It seems that the editor became the writer, the words became yours instead of mine and the action was based around your desires and intentions for the end result.  My nice "tied up with a bow" ending seemed ever more distant, and quickly became impossible, considering the new route of the main characters.  As the author, I lost my voice and my story became the victim, but not before it had become our story, only then to evolve into your story.

I need to find my voice again.  I need to steer my saga back towards its original path.  But, I'm having a hard time finding and keeping the balance.  I need the editor; I want the editor; I'm attached to the editor.  But, I can't let you take my story and make it something that it should never have been.  I can't just hand it to you, with all the work, time and effort that's been put into it, and let you change and manipulate it into something almost unrecognizable.  I need you to compliment the story, not control it.  Maybe I need you to be less of an editor and more of a co-author...no, a contributing author.  Maybe I could write the story, but cite you in my bibliography as providing elements that helped me make the tale great.  I'll give you credit, just don't outshine me.  I don't want people to be confused anymore when they read it, wondering if I wrote it or if the editor really should have taken that by-line.

I love having you as a main character in my memoir and to change that would completely ruin the character I've become and will become.  But, I don't think you can be the main character anymore and have anything other than a never-ending, mundane, repetitious anecdote.  When my life story is all said and done, I want people to read it, turn the last page and exhale, having held their breath in excitement and anticipation of the next chapter, the next paragraph, the next sentence!  That won't happen if all the adventures that could be are edited out before the first reader gets to enjoy them.  So be there for me, but don't hold me back.  Let me write the novel that's inside of me with as many words and adventures as I can imagine.

Love,

Friday, July 16, 2010

"The Hang On Girl" or "Why I Hate Asterisks"

It's been a few days since I've updated you on the latest comings and goings of these (clears throat) "men" floating in and out of my life, so I thought I'd devote today's post to something a little less dramatic and just fill in the gaps.  I'm sure you've probably thought that I went back into my usual drought but there are some signs of life for my social calendar.  Now, I don't know that these signs of life are going to be sustaining or simply just blips on the monitor, but I haven't flat-lined yet.  Okay, let's see...

Mr. Too Many Words continues his odd, non-committal conversation of (ha!) words, but I'm pretty sure I've become The Hang On Girl.  The Hang On status is something that both men and women can easily become the victim of, both on and offline, but I think it's especially prevalent in the world of online dating.  If you are someone's Hang On Girl/Guy, you're the one that they're semi-interested in, but not really excited about, who they keep hanging on to, just in case things with the potential match they are excited about falls through.  I read an article about this from eHarmony.  Apparently, it's pretty much an American epidemic.  People, regardless of age, demographic or relationship status, will take this approach with significant others, family, friends, everybody, never committing to plans just in case something better comes along.  How many times have you done it unconsciously?  I know I'm a culprit. 

Friend:  "Hey, Melanie, you want to go to dinner and a movie on Friday night?"
Me:  (Oh gosh...I was thinking Random Other Friend might want to go do something...urgh, what now? What if Random Other Friend wants to go do something a bit more fun than dinner and a movie?  Oh good grief)  "Uh, well, maybe.  I don't know what's going on Friday yet."
Friend:  "Oh, well, just let me know."

Don't lie.  You've done it too.  We all have.  We don't have anything against the friend that's asking, we just think we're keeping our options open to get the most entertainment out of our free time as possible.  And we don't want to flat out say "no" to the friend that's asking.  What if Random Other Friend doesn't want to go do anything on Friday night?  We can't possibly (gasp!) not have plans for a Friday night!!  That would make us some kind of inferior, anti-social, friendless freak!  But, what we're really doing here is setting ourselves up to eventually stop getting requests like these from good friends who want to spend time with us.  We become the wishy-washy friend who never finalizes plans or who calls at the last minute to say "Yeah, sure, now that everybody else has been scratched off the list, I'm happy to hang out with you."  We make our friends who want to spend time with us feel inferior and inevitably lose those friends.  And, according to eHarmony, we're also missing out on opportunities to meet new people in the new social situations that friends can invite us to, new people such as new matches.  This is where I am with Mr. Too Many Words, I know it.  He won't cut me loose, but he won't commit to anything.  It's probably Karma's ironic revenge.

After telling him that he'd have to call me or ask me out to find out about the infamous relative in my genealogy, Mr. Too Many Words wrote back asking me where I'd like to meet.  I told him that I like a man who makes decisions, so he should tell me.  He replied with "Hooters."  Moving on...

Mr. Mardi Gras has literally fallen off the face of the earth.  He told me he was in Disney World all last week and that we'd touch base when he returned, but also sent me a new photo of himself and requested a new one of me.  I sent one where I looked especially fabulous (but still realistic...you know where I stand on photo deception!), tan, great hair day, fantastic new dress.  Is is possible that Mr. Mardi Gras didn't appreciate my fabulousness?

What happened to Mr. Baggage, you ask?...Radio silence.  Pretty sure this will be my final mention of him.  R.I.P. Mr. Baggage.  Had you talked about something other than your ex-fiance or committed to something more than text messages, we might have had a good time.  Another reinforcement that I should be weary of redheaded men.  I usually find myself attracted to them, and it usually ends disastrously.  In this case, I'll take the fizzle-out version and learn my lesson.

Remember Mr. Italian?  I know, I almost forgot about him, too.  And by forgot, I mean wrote him off.  He came out of the gate like an online dating professional, as if he was getting paid on commission for email responses, and I would have happily encouraged whoever was paying him to include a bonus for creativity.  His emails were perfect, including and highlighting points in my profile, asking just the right amount of questions, being slightly flirtatious and leaving enough to the imagination to inspire a response from me.  Which I complied with willingly.  We spent about a week going back and forth and maintained a pretty incredible level of entertaining each other.  Then....nothing.  He left for what he told me was a week-long vacation that created an almost two-week long dead zone.  Happily, yesterday I heard from him.  He'd been to Cancun and (by his own admission) was still recovering from the hangover.  My kind of guy.  But, why do they all come with an asterisk?  Mr. Italian is a few years younger than me but has already experienced way more than I would have wanted to at such a young age:  marriage, offspring and now separation. 

The "s" word. Separation is a certain murkiness that I'm not sure I want to try to wade through.  I'm a girl that likes things to be clear cut.  Divorced?  Fine...at least there are court-approved, lawyer-reviewed documents terminating any legal ties and hopefully any emotional ones.  But, a separation...that has a LOT of potential risk factors.  Throw a young child in the mix and it's basically a ticking time bomb for drama.  What happens to me if, let's say, Mr. Italian and I hit it off over a bowl of linguini, and then his wife wants to try to work it out for the sake of their young child?  Commendable and possible.  What happens if we're finishing off a bottle of chianti one night and she comes banging on the door, accusing him of infidelity, and I end up testifying in court that it was just a couple of glasses while we exchanged our favorite lines from "The Godfather" trilogy?  Uncomfortable and possible.  All things to consider.

I'm a big fan of knowing what you're getting yourself into and considering extremes.  If I date someone at this point in my life, it's to find out if that person is my potential husband/father of my future children.  If I know going in that the likelihood of them fulfilling that role is slim, then why bother?  But, this guy is really cute...and witty, which instantly improves his Cuteness Factor.  Urgh.  I just want an asterisk-free guy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Guest Post - "Self Sufficient & Stubborn"

Thanks for the great response to my first request for guest posts on "Lost in Singledom!" I'm still overwhelmed that so many of you read these rants and raves of mine, let alone comment and now compose your own versions to help me realize that I'm not alone! Since every submission for a guest post I got was wonderful in it's own way (you are all great writers, I have such competition!), I've decided to periodically use each one. Sheerly based on who got to my inbox when, below is the first. Keep 'em coming, Singletons! Know other great writers who might be inspired to share? You can forward any post or the entire blog on the toolbar below via email, Facebook or Twitter. Social Singletons are Happy Singletons!



"Self Sufficient & Stubborn"
by Fully Loaded
Dalton, Georgia

"I don’t need you, let’s get that straight right now…so you are going to have to do something that makes me want to keep you around or else we don’t stand a chance. You see I’ve lived 30 years without you, I’m fully prepared to carry on in this fashion!”

Needless to say, he didn’t call back! Note to self: don’t come off so strong right out the gate. This seems to be the problem I’m up against. I’m a strong minded, stubborn, and confident female who takes pride in being totally self-sufficient. If I want to hike, I pack my heat and head into the woods. If I want to kayak, I haul my boat to the river myself. I have yet to find a man who can let me be me in this regard. I don’t need to be coddled. I don’t need you to pump my gas in the dead of winter, and I certainly don’t need you to open a door for me. I will soon have a master’s degree. I believe I can do these things quite well! Just today, while pumping gas at a gas station, a guy walks up to my car and asks if he can pump my gas. He proceeds to tell me that where he comes from when a guy sees a pretty girl pumping gas he offers to pump it for her. I proceeded to tell him that where I come from pretty girls may or may not be carrying a pistol and that I thought I could manage. These things come out like second nature. Sometimes I feel like I go through life with this fighting mentality towards guys, though there is a soft spot in my heart somewhere. How might one harvest this soft spot? I once told a guy, who offered to open the door for me: “Look, I get that you’re trying to be a gentleman by opening the door and all, but I really just want to know the jerk you’ll become in 3 months. I want to see what I’m getting myself into…I might actually like the jerk more, but this nice, chivalrous guy is freaking me out” He also never called back.

So here I sit, constantly fighting all of the natural laws of dating, yet still hoping to find the man of my dreams. I don’t necessarily have to be the dominate one in the relationship, in fact it’s quite possible that I may actually have a weakness or two (highly unlikely, J), but I need my freedom and I need someone to understand my stubbornness and roll with it.

Does this man exist?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

World's Shortest Relationship

Have you seen that ad on television with the young guy about to board a train, who peers into the one stopped in front of him and locks eyes with a young woman?  Obviously he's not intended to be on the same train with her, but as they look at each other, their whole lives race across the screen but in reverse: their son is the 59th President of the United States, they're bringing him to school as a child, she's pregnant, they're getting married, their first kiss, all leading back to this one moment in time.  Had this young man not had the 4G mobile access to at&t, he couldn't have changed his train ticket to in turn change his destiny, providing him with the only opportunity to meet the girl who would bring about all that we'd just witnessed.  Well...I'm pretty sure I had one of those moments yesterday.

I was flying back from a work-related conference in Minneapolis (hence my lack of posting, I humbly apologize for my 5-day silence).  It was a pretty uneventful trip on the whole, (as a Georgian, I must mention that it was 68 degrees in Minneapolis mid-afternoon on Monday...in July...in the middle of downtown.  And yes, that's Fahrenheit, folks.) but I learned a lot and got a much needed visual break from my home-to-work/ work-to-home broken record.  As I settled into the flight home, the pilot announced that we'd been delayed yet again due to the day's monstrous storms hammering the Metro Atlanta area.  More than willing to sacrifice a few hours of my time circling the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains instead of white-knuckling it through Mother Nature's fury, I decided that I wouldn't physically be able to make it to Hartsfield without a potty break.  As much as I despise public bathrooms with airplane facilities being second on my list only to those in parks I got in line with the rest of the bladder weary travelers.  I hadn't been paying much attention and quickly became the line leader.  A few seconds later, the door opened, and as romantic as it sounds, out stepped my perfect man. 

Okay, okay, so I didn't know him.  But, based on looks, he was perfect.  He was literally everything I like.  If I could describe my ideal looking guy to a police sketch artist, they'd pick this guy up in about 10 minutes.  As soon as he stepped out from behind that incredibly sexy, tiny, folding door into the even tinier aisle, we locked eyes, and...I don't know, something weird happened.  It was as if we were both thinking the same thing at the same moment:  "Why hadn't fate sat us together?"  I probably looked very odd, staring at him and thinking why I had been given the overly complaining, menopausal mother and her alcohol-crazed fifteen year old son (he ordered a Miller Lite from the flight attendant, for Lord's sake) to spend these four hours with when I could have easily been sitting next this guy, potentially plotting out our whimiscal, miraculously happy life together.

It could very well have been my over-romanticized brain after spending hours pouring over Elizabeth Gilbert's travels (although celibate) through Italy in "Eat, Pray, Love," and her love affair with all things Italian, including the men.  But, I really think we shared a moment there, a moment of potential, and although that moment literally was only seconds, I felt as if, had I had the chance to know this man, we would have really liked each other.

Upon arrival in Atlanta, those of us not rushing to connecting flights to other destinations were asked to hold back in our seats and let those frantic passengers disembark ahead of us.  I sprawled out a bit, relaxing for the first time in hours, even staying a bit longer than necessary, figuring that late is still late and I'd rather sit and watch others unnecessarily scurry to leave than stand in line.  As we Atlanta-bound travelers finally started making our way to the door, I collected my things and looked up to catch the gaze of my favorite fellow flier once again.  He was looking at me intently this time, almost as if he was trying to remember if we knew each other.  I did that girly thing, honestly without intention, where I looked at him, looked away quickly, then looked back and grinned.  He grinned back, but kept moving in the line.  Without saying one word.

As I deboarded, leaving behind the plane and my fantasies, I thought that, if given the chance once inside the airport, I would most definitely say hello to this guy who most definitely was not wearing a wedding band.  (I know that it's amazing that I was able to notice that particular characteristic in such a short period of acquaintance, but I'm a professional, people.)  He seemed to be traveling alone and wearing business meeting type clothing, but they were disheveled, probably revealing that his work was done and he was heading home.  Maybe Atlanta was his final destination...?  Maybe he's out there in this city of Singletons pondering how to find the girl on Delta Flight 1620 from Minneapolis to Atlanta.  I'm here...possibly right down the road, wishing fate had dealt us different cards or I'd been brave enough to just say one little word that starts every great story of two people:  "Hello."

Sidenote:  Once my phone had rebooted from it's four-hour airline enforced respite, I noticed an email from Mr. Too Many Words.  He said, in his oh-so-eloquent way, "So, you want to meet me?  Where?"  This guy makes me tired already, and I haven't even laid eyes on him.  He did include that his delay in response was due to the fact that he was in Disney World for the week.  Oddly enough, Mr. Mardi Gras also just returned from the same exotic and adult location.  Hmmm...strange pattern/coincidence?

P.S. Watch tomorrow for the first ever Lost in Singledom Guest Post!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Male Perspective

As you are all well aware by now, I strive daily to encourage you with my ramblings to provide me with your wisdom and insights.  Whether a Singleton or a Married, I wouldn't hesitate to bet that most of you have more experience in the dating pool than I do.  You're probably all doing backflips off the high dive while I'm still trying to stay upright with my swimmies.  Every now and then I get hit in the face with a wave from your impressive theatrics, but I choke a bit, gasp for air and survive the experience.  But, I digress. 

As I seek your advice, I value it for many different reasons.  The married/engaged/long-term relationship female perspective gives wonderful insights as to how to be successful in this common pursuit, providing tidbits of wisdom from someone who has been down this path before.  The single female viewpoint is amazing because it shows me that 1). I'm not alone and 2). Other people have had scarily similar experiences and 3). There are people out there willing to scream out in fear or rage with me when I hit the downward portion of this roller coaster ride.  But, a vantage point of extreme value to me and also to the other opinions listed is that of the male.  And honestly, no other details are necessary.  I don't care if you're married, single, dating, or not dating (if you're living in your parents' basement with 27 cats that eat out of your hand, I will surely listen, but will probably take your advice with a grain of salt).  The male opinion on man/woman relationships is hard to come by and the basic rule of supply and demand makes it a thing of value.  So, when it becomes available, I grab it, run to the checkout counter and hope that no one else noticed that I got the only one on the shelf, giggling to myself.

Last night, I had a wonderful conversation with a very dear friend, who happens to be of the male version.  We've known each other for years, went to college together and have been through some pretty silly things, from long-term unrequited love to quickie rebound relationships, coaching each other along the way.  He asked me how my "Diary of a Mad, Single Woman"  was going (referring to my blog) and after I told him that his title would be used in an upcoming posting, I started updating him on all the male shenanigans I've been dealing with, including Mr. Too Many Words' recent "communication."  After he asked me if any of these gentlemen were aware of my blog and/or who they were in the grand scheme of things, I got pretty extensively involved in telling him the story of Mr. Dalton.  About halfway through, I was interrupted with "Whoa, whoa, whoa...you're telling me that you don't talk to these guys on the phone?"  I stood on my soapbox of sticking to text messaging to avoid awkward lulls in conversation upon first meeting, but it didn't hold water.

He shared with me that the only way to make this online dating thing work is to transition from email, to text or instant message, to phone call, to meeting.  That, however awkward or wonderful a phone call may be, it is the primary tool for weeding out the crazies.  He was dumbfounded that this was not my process and promised me that, had I spoken on the phone with any of the previous duds, I wouldn't have wasted my time (although I did get a free meal out of each one, but that argument probably wouldn't float well with a male dinner-purchaser).  He continued that the phone call lets you know whether or not this person is compatible beyond words on a monitor and that you can find out things about their family or interests that might be dealbreakers, completely eliminating the need for a meeting in the first place.  Also, he reiterated others' opinions that men are not good with the written word, they are much better speaking than typing.  I tried to argue that they should then be up for meeting in person, but was quickly reminded of his "Natural Order for Online Dating."  While he was explaining this order, I flashed back to my other male perspective of choice, Dr. Phil.  One of his most famous lines is "How's that workin' for ya?," basically the Texas version of "If you keep doing what you've always done, you're going to keep getting what you've always gotten."

Maybe I need to change my approach.  I know it's hard to fathom that I could possibly not know the best way for people to communicate with each other, but maybe I have been wrong in jumping from electronic conversations to in-person meetings.  Is it possible that I am more comfortable meeting in person than I am on the telephone therefore putting myself in complete opposition to the rest of the dating world?  My "method" thus far has not even been moderately close to successful.  I have had one text message communication following a date in the last month.  The others, although I surely haven't been crying into my pillow every night, literally disappeared.  Maybe I shouldn't put so much pressure on myself to put on a "show" on the phone and try to just let what happens happen naturally, not being intimidated by the potential that we don't hit it off like a couple of old buddies within seconds.  But, I worry that, with the type of non-initiative-taking men I've met so far, they would literally sit on the phone waiting for me to entertain them, I'd run out of my usual comical banter within minutes and have to come up with an excuse to get off the phone, never to answer their call again.  Again, the Type A, over-analyzing doesn't take long to brew right up to the surface.

As usual...I'll keep you posted.

P.S. Thank you, C.  I heart you and your bluntness.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Relationship Recession

Scores of analysts...hours of reviewing, scanning, studying...what went wrong?!  Let's look back over the last few decades, can you spot where everything started falling apart?  We could always go back and blame the last person in charge...hmm.   Does this look like a "w" or "v" shaped dip in prosperity?  WHEN will it bounce back?  What will life be like after it does finally bounce back?  Is this the end of life as we know it?

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not referring to the economy.  I'm making reference to a growing trend that may only have become apparent during my recent self-imposed hurtling onto the dating merry-go-round and may very well have been present for generations.  What trend, you ask?  I'm learning that there are a lot of people out there who consider themselves to be on the dating market who are not relationship-material.  People who are going through the motions until what they want is basically handed to them, all tied up in a nice little bow.  Sound familiar?  I think this pattern of entitlement and this attitude of "everybody wants me, now I just have to pick who I want" has created a lot of un-date-able people, at least past the first couple of dinner dates.  That "It's All About Me" mindset doesn't lend itself well to the relationship-building, life-sharing, compromising-for-happiness world that is Coupledom.

Point in case:  As you'll recall, I emailed Mr. Too Many Words, Mr. Baggage and Mr. Mardi Gras all within minutes of each other a few days ago.  I briefly shared that I was interested in them, but, without setting up plans to meet in the near future, I felt that we were doing each other a disservice.  We're paying for an online dating service, for goodness sake, to meet people, not to text the heck out of people.  I kept it polite and told them that if they weren't interested in meeting, I wished them each luck in their search.

Mr. Mardi Gras replied almost immediately...via text.  He sent me a new picture of himself, requested a new one of me (okay...?) and she said he'd love to meet, of course.  He didn't say when or where, just that he'd love to.  Step in the right direction, I guess.  Mr. Baggage has fallen off the face of the earth.  One of the nice perks of Match.com is that you can see who has viewed your profile recently.  Mr. Baggage was at the top of the list yesterday.  Maybe he was checking out what he was giving up by not responding to me.  Or maybe he was putting the nail in the coffin, convincing himself of some strange reason why I wasn't worth one evening of face-to-face contact.  His loss!  Mr. Too Many Words was also high on the list of those perusing my profile, but his response was a bit delayed.  This morning, I received a communication from him.  I thought "Oh, good...he's interested."  Never one to disappointment with his astronomical ability to communicate, Mr. Too Many Words had indeed directly responded to my ultimatum email with this:

"So, who is the infamous person you're related to?"

Don't worry!  You're not lost!  In my profile on Match, they suggest that you include a conversation starter about one of your interests.  I included that I am fascinated with genealogy and recently discovered that I'm related (distantly...very distantly, keep that in mind) to one of the most infamous people of the 20th century.  Go ahead, open a new tab and go to Google.  Type in "Lizzie Borden."  When you find out who she is, you'll understand why I think this is a brilliantly creative way to figure out who has a sense of humor that is on par with my own!

Back to the matter at hand, this was his response.  No mention of meeting and no direct correlation to what I sent him, which he clearly received the message by having responded.  Is he obtuse?  Can he possibly be this bad at communicating?  If you were to look back over his messages, you would definitely get a "Roxanne/Cyrano de Bergerac" type feeling.  Some messages are long, eloquent and almost  poetic, while others (see above) are downright innane and useless.  I wonder if he has an understudy who steps in for him when things get rocky and redirects the ship with well-crafted emails.

Honestly...what now?

P.S.  Thanks to D.G. for helping inspire the title of today's post!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What to Expect When You're...Single

Over the last month or so, I've been shocked by the popularity of my blog and quite frankly blown away by the fact that (brace for it)...I am not alone!  I'm literally surrounded by Singletons, all sharing the same gripes, the same dreams, the same frustrations and the same successes(however moderate...we are still single).  But, I've been fascinated by the responses.  Some of my fellow citizens of Singledom are quite content with their status, happy to share all the positives of living the Single Life, while their counterparts lament, bemoan, cry out, and other verbs of misery.  While pondering these parallel opinions, I came up with a short list of the pros and cons of being single.

The Upsides to Being a Singleton:

1).  You can do whatever you want.
Don't sell this one short...think about it.  Being single allows you the flexibility to literally do whatever it is you want, whenever you want to do it.  Want to spend the entire day in your favorite pajamas, watch SoapNetwork and eat string cheese?  Do it!  There's no one there to make you feel guilty for not spending "quality" time with them or not keeping them entertained.

2).  You never have to share the remote. 
Or the DVR, for that matter.

3).  You can walk around your abode in whatever state you feel comfortable.
Again, highly valuable.  I bet most Marrieds would love to revisit the days of getting by wearing the holiest, ugliest, most faded thing in their drawer without a care of what anyone else thinks.  Ask around.

4). You don't have to remember anniversaries.
Or spend the money you've been saving for that Coach purse (What do men save up for? chainsaws? toolbelts? Could be why I'm single...) you've been eyeballing for months on a gift that will probably end up in the back of the closet anyway.

5).  The bed is all yours.
You don't have to worry about waking up with someone's elbow/stinky armpit/knee/cold nose/cold feet sticking into you.

6).  You can look...AND touch.
My favorite.


Things That Aren't So Great About Being Single:

1).  There's nobody there to remember things for you.
Spouses/significant others are handy at keeping tabs on things for you, I guess.  But, that also includes remembering things like the time you almost ran Grandma Neighbor off the road while cooing over the bunny rabbit hopping through the yard.

2).  Single Person = Single Income
Hmm...no way around this one.  Unless you're loaded.  Then, who cares. 

3). The other side of the bed is cold.
Eh, get an electric blanket.

4).  The constant "So, are you dating someone?," "Are you married yet?," "What's wrong with you if you're not dating at your age?" barrage at most social functions.
Gives you great comedic opportunities.  I'm thinking my next response to this line of questioning will be something along the lines of "Well, we've got a date picked out, but it depends on how his parole hearing goes."

5).  The dread biological clock.
I don't think you gentlemen can even fathom what I'm talking about.  Hold on...what did you say? No, a little louder. I can't hear you over the ticking and the tocking.  But, then please refer to Upside #1...

6).  Things are more expensive for Singletons.
Honestly, they are.  Look at health insurance and tax deductions, just for starters.  Plus, there isn't a stand-by "I've got this" when you go to restaurants, sporting events, etc. 

Whew!  The list of Upsides was rapid fire.  This Singleton had no problem coming up with some perks of my position.  Amazingly, I had to really think about the downsides.  Not that I wouldn't love to be one half of a couple, but I hope I'm not too comfortable in my Singleton status that I don't adjust well to Coupledom.

Got more items for the list?  What's your favorite or least favorite part about being a one-man/woman show? 

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