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.