Monday, December 5, 2011

Kicking and Screaming to the Altar: Women Taking the Dating Initiative into Their Own Hands

Editor's Note:  While struggling to find new material in my ho-hum life lately, I've been fortunate enough to receive real requests from real writers who want to guest post on this electronic diary of mine!

Below is a contribution from Eric Leech, a regular contributor to  We've talked about this issue before, you know, the one where women feel like the dating tables have turned.  But, Eric's perspective offers new insight and explanation.  Enjoy, Singletons and Marrieds.  My favorite line:  "a change in her disposition of not wanting to wait around anymore."

By Eric J. Leech

One hot issue that has been discussed time and again is the shift from men being the aggressors on dating websites (and equivalent), to women taking on the brunt of the work to get things off the ground. While this may often seem to be the case, I have a differing viewpoint. I don't think that it is the men who are becoming less willing to take the initiative, but rather a ramp up of women's confidence, making them less likely to wait around for him.

The Sensitive Man
I would like to take some of the heat off the guys, by saying that most research shows men are still the dominant force when it comes to taking the initial risk of asking a woman on a first date. According to one university study (Mills, Janiszewska, & Zabala, 2011), 83 percent of men are actively asking women out, compared to only six percent of women. In addition, another study (Fisher, Coontz, Garcia, Bingham University) found that men are becoming more interested in committed relationships, compared to those of earlier generations. If anything, men are becoming more invested.

Today's man is more likely to believe in love at first site (54 percent, compared to her 44). He knows if he wants children (24 percent to her 15), and according to studies, feels more guilt after cheating than his female counterparts. Women are no longer dependent on men for financial support. This can be seen in the 90 percent of women, who offer to pay for a first date, even though they prefer the guy to do the asking. The sensitive guy should be open to letting a woman hold the reins, but he can't allow himself to become so sensitive, he's afraid to take the initial risk.

Women are taking more dominant positions in the world. However, one problem that the female rights movement has brought, is a group of men expecting women to take over as the official aggressors of the dating game. These men make up about 16 percent of the population. Considering that only six percent of women are following suit with this expectation, 10 percent of these guys are sitting by their phone, waiting for a moment that may never come. Women are just not ready to give up their positions as ladies in waiting, but why?

While the majority of women prefer not to ask a man on a date, most don't ask their employers for better positions in their company, either. Considering, aggressive women are often labeled as 'pushy,' women have adapted themselves to take what they're given, rather than ask for what they want. Research suggests that when a woman has the confidence to ask, without being stereotyped, she will ask for a promotion. She will also take a more active role in the dating process (MacGregor & Cavallo, 2011).

Women should embrace their frustration with men not making the first move, and realize this is not so much an increase in his laziness, but rather a change in her disposition of not wanting to wait around anymore. One theory of why women continue to face inequality in the world, is because they are afraid to ask. She is waiting for others to tell her what she is worth (salary, caliber of guy, etc.), rather than taking the initiative to answer that question herself. What you have to keep in mind, is that you have about a 50/50 chance a guy will accept your invitation, which is some pretty good odds.

Your other alternative is to wait for the guy to come to you. However, studies suggest only around 33 percent of guys who approach you, will be even remotely interesting. Another technique women use is flirting at guys who interest them. The problem with this, is most guys are horrible at taking a hint. In fact, he may need as many as 20 flirtatious suggestions (smile, locked eyes, etc.) before he'll get the confidence to approach you. With that much work on your part, you might as well just take the moment into your own hands.

The next time you find yourself hesitating to approach a guy, ask yourself if you are really that opposed to taking the initiative, or if you are allowing society's expectations to get in the way of what you want!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Annual Christmas Newsletter - The Single Version

So, hot off the rejection rollercoaster, I'm totally into being single and living it up, relationship-less-style.

That's lie.  But, I am freshly bitter with the wind knocked out of my sails and feeling very 'blah' when it comes to men, in general (which might stink for the guy who wants to meet me next week).  I think I'm owed that, though, for at least a month or two.  And quite frankly, I'm at my most creative and inspired when I'm oozing with negativity.  So, in reality, it's your gain.

A few weeks ago (long before the reality of my impending, continued Singledom status was revealed), three rather comical coworkers of mine started complaining about the annual family newsletters that people send at Christmas, full of clip art, youngsters doing... well, youngster things, and updates of phenomenal accomplishments since the previous newsletter.  Quite honestly, I think this is a feeble attempt at keeping in touch that eliminates the endless, monotonous phone calls to distant relations through the year, because the sender either realizes how dull this information truly is or they simply don't care about what anyone else's family has been up to and the newsletter provides an easy one-sided approach.  They were griping about putting them together and including things like "Oh, Child X got suspended from school again, but this time there were no emergency room visits involved" when other friends shared things like scholarships, athletic awards and Nobel Peace Prizes.

As a Singleton, I've never had the "pleasure" of putting together an annual newsletter about anything.  I send a Christmas card, but generally just sign my name or add something like "I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas season."  You know, because I don't have a family of my own, just a ridiculously loud biological clock that won't shut the hell up and ovaries that are on the brink of packing up and moving to greener pastures.  But, I digress...

Of course, this realization of yet something else I was missing out on combined with my everyday bitterness (imagine how great this moment would have been had it been paired with today's monumental bitterness... epic)  inspired in me a potential great work of art.  Something that will live on long after me and my bitterness have bitten the dust.  Something that generations will look upon with delight and awe.

I will write a Singleton's Annual Christmas Newsletter.

Brilliant.  I will compose the greatest newsletter of all time... highlighting things like "Through 2011, I spent my Friday nights drinking too much, talking a big game, in poorly lit bars in not-so-respectable parts of town;" or "I didn't lose any money in the stock market or a 401k because I don't have one!;" or "Housing market sucks? Who cares?! I rent!," adorned with photos of me sprawled out asleep in my bed with a clock behind me with something wonderful like "11:35" behind my slumbering head or dressed less than modestly, standing entirely too close to men I've only known for minutes while having a drink ordered for me at some local drinking establishment.  All things that would inspire waves of green envy from those who write "traditional" family newsletters.

But, I need to make sure it's jam-packed with goodies of Singledom, so I need your help.  With Halloween mere days away, Christmas is literally around the corner. What else could I include in my run-down of 2011, the Single Girl's version?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Disappointed Diva

So, I did it again, Singletons and Marrieds.  I chased my heart and got burned.  And now I need your help.

I owe you an explanation.  My lack of quality posts (or even crappy posts for that matter), especially over the last six months, is due completely to the fact that I thought I was finally doing things right in the real world.  I've now spent most of my thirtieth year on this planet doing the detailed and dangerous dance between being candid and risky, reserved and patient, honest and considerate, and hopeful and trusting.  And none of it worked.  I thought maybe, just maybe, I had finally gotten it down pat.  I was forthright with my feelings and spent a long time hopeful that the lack of a rejection from someone I thought would be considerate enough to give it without delay meant my actions were worthwhile and potentially encouraged.  I did everything I thought I needed to do to naturally move into something fantastic... and ended up with quite the reverse of that.  I tried diligently to prove that I was willing to at least try.  But, he was not.  And that is that.

Mostly, I'm disappointed in myself.  I should have seen it coming.  Inside Petty Melanie hopes that I'm his "one that got away." Time will tell, I guess.  But, sitting here today, the only part of that statement that is reality is "away."  So, moving on is not an option, it's a must.  I've spent too much of my life watching days, weeks, months, years fly by pining away for someone who didn't give me a second thought.  So, the lesson I'm learning from this disappointment is that, although I did much better this time of not assuming that someone knew how I felt about them and being candid with my emotions and expectations in my own defense, I have to stop being the pursuer.  I've said it countless times, but I have to stick to it.  I spent six months doing most of the work sustaining our friendship/low-grade-courtship and that should have been a giant red flag.  I'm going to write this next statement on my mirror and repeat it to myself daily:

If someone isn't willing to do whatever it takes to spend time with me in whatever form he can get it, he is not worth it.  Not worth my time, my tears, my talents, my joy or my glowing personality.

Because I think I'm pretty awesome.  I'd want to spend time with me all the time.  Well, most of the time.  I'm not perfect around the clock.  You should see me when I first wake up... whew.  Hot, aggravated, moody mess.  Moving on...

So, my hopefully still interested readers, I'm back on the market.  In hot and heavy pursuit of The One.  I'm done with Time Wasters, Space Fillers, Dinner Buyers, Stand-by Dates, and Male Friends Who I Really Want to Date  (dear God, I have had plenty of that, thank you).  I have two months and ten days until my 31st birthday and have no yet succeeded in my New Year's Resolution.  And I'm getting sexier by the day (his even-bigger loss...  read more about my journey to sexiness on my new blog, "Breaking Up with the Couch.").  I need your help.  A coworker jokingly suggested that I try matchmaking at a local company here in Atlanta.  Anyone ever tried one of those?  I must confess, I immediately mentally jump to "The Millionaire Matchmaker" and it makes me feel nauseous.  I loath that woman.  But the ladies on this sight at least know the correct way to apply eyeshadow, which is a major component of successful dating, in my opinion.  Check them out here.   Or... brace for it.  I've been seriously considering rejoining (gasp) eHarmony.

Urgh.  I know.  But, it's their damn commercials!  The cute, scruffy looking guy, hands in his pockets, nervously rocking from foot to foot... so excited about his upcoming date, bashing the other dating sites for having to sift through thousands of profiles to find someone who has probably received thousands of emails that day.  I know...  I've been there.  The whole thing sucks.  But, I need to bounce back.  I need to take a page out of my own book and throw, no, hurdle myself back out there.  I've got so much to offer and want to share all the wonders of the world with someone who is still excited about that concept and not bitterly sitting in a coffee shop by themselves in front of a laptop (like I am right now).

So, do I jump back in to online dating, give the matchmaking thing a shot or hope that one of you know an amazing, eligible bachelor in the Atlanta area (or elsewhere) that doesn't think OTP is long distance (blatant Atlanta reference... "outside the perimeter" is often considered "no man's land.")?  I'm bound and determined to go on that real date before my birthday.  Help.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em

One thing I've come to realize that happens as a result of a self-imposed, almost year-long online dating (again, who am I kidding? Dating, in general, is a better way of phrasing that, but I'd like to keep at least a semblance of dignity.) hiatus is a lot of free time for reflection.  Not having to juggle jokers with bad screennames and worse profiles who desire nothing more than to take up permanent residence in Text Land leaves one with plenty of spare moments for pondering and evaluation.  And believe me...  I've been thinking.  Writing, not so much.  But, thinking, yes.  Danger zone.

So, as my ever-faithful readers (if you are still there considering the ridiculous gaps between posts and even more inexcusable lapses in my own original material...fingers crossed anyone is actually reading this), you get the extreme pleasure of being the beneficiaries of said ponderings and considerations and helping me unravel the unending streams of consciousness that seem to only complicate my already over-analytical thought processes. 

During my year of nothing year of loneliness hiatus since last October, I've tried dilligently to focus on meeting people in what I refer to as "the real world."  Online dating, regardless of how successful your endeavors may be, just seems so... well, not real world... to me at least.  "The Real World" consists of those standard meeting opportunities, like bars (blah), coffee shops (only happens in the movies), being introduced to each other by a mutual friend (potentially dangerous) or playing 'damsel in distress' at a hardware store (I have yet to attempt this one, but I'll keep you posted.).  Judge me if you will, but I still think that most people would prefer to meet their significant other in one of these more traditional ways.  Online dating is great (did I really just say that?!), and I know it works on ocassion (except for yours truly, the world-reknowned Serial First Dater), but it's still my Plan B.  At this point. 

So, this desire to focus on men in "the real world" got me thinking about my approach and style when it comes to interacting and building relationships with the male species.  I think we've talked about this before, but I'll explain for the newbies.  Throughout my entire adolescent and adult life, the men that I've been most attracted to have started out as my friends.  And eventually, their charm, wit, and all around fabulousness caught the attention of my heart (and/or my eyes... and... I'll leave it at that.) and I was smitten.  Years ago (like, we were 12), a friend with whom I am still extremely close and who maintains this sentiment to this day, told me that she was sure I would end up marrying someone who was my best friend first.  And I knew instantly that she was probably right.  I feel like I have to have that foundation of friendship first.  I don't want to build a relationship on physical attraction and then try to create an emotional bond and connectivity after the fact.  And I'm not sure that I want our first date to technically also be the first time I ever lay eyes on the guy either.  At 30, I don't want to jump into a dating situation without knowing some non-dating background on the person first.  What if I find out he buries kittens up to their necks in his backyard for giggles on Saturday afternoons after we've been dating for months?  Or something as dreadful as (dear God) he's not a Braves fan??! (Gasp in terror.)  Time wasters, people.  And this girl and her biological clock cannot withstand time wasters. 

The problem here is that most of the men who have become the object of my affection following months or even years of friendship don't seem to have such an easy time turning the Friendship Boat around to head upstream toward Coupledom.  More often than I'd like to share, I get the "I don't want to ruin our friendship" line.  Here's my question to you, Singletons and Marrieds:  When is the potential for a fantastic relationship worth the risk of losing the friendship?

Granted, just because I think we'd make a wonderful couple and have stunningly beautiful babies doesn't mean that he (hypothetical man) necessarily agrees with me, and I realize that the "ruin our friendship" line could be total bull crap and really translate as "I'm not interested in dating you, but don't want to hurt your feelings."  Lame.  I'm grown. I can handle it.  Interesting men are like a good pair of shoes.  Potentially hard to find, sad to see go when they're worn out and appreciate them for their beauty and the great times we shared together, but the shoe store is right down the street and probably having a sale.  I'll get over it when I find another pair of black patent leather heels that make my calves look awesome.  But, I digress. 

Is it possible for both people to simultaneously think that the friendship is worth risking for the potential of an amazing relationship or does it require one person convincing the other to give it a shot?  And, if you're good enough friends to begin with and things go south relationship-wise, shouldn't that make for a softer crash landing?  Maybe I'm naive and inexperienced.  So, you tell me.  What would it take for you to risk a friendship for a romantic relationship?  What components would have to be present for you to say "I see your friendship and raise you one potential fairytale romance"?  Because to me, if I think you're wonderful, it's worth putting all my chips in.  I can't think of anything that would stop me from grabbing the chance and playing my hand.  I know it's a gamble, but having the opportunity to fall in love with my best friend is one I'm willing to take. 

Anxiously awaiting your commentary...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Somebody to Love

Whole-heartedly admitting that I have been anything but prolific with new and original material lately, I tried to draw inspiration from music tonight and stumbled across one of my most favorite songs of all time.  Surprisingly, it's completely appropriate!  Enjoy the classic sounds of Freddie Mercury and "Queen" as I muster up some creativity.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Post: "Becoming 'That Girl'"

As the guest posts roll on this week, enjoy another installment from guest blogger, Alouette.  She shares a glimpse into the darker side of relationships and proves that bad things can happen to good people.  Any of us who have dipped our toes into the swamp of online dating can testify that there is a breed of people out there that you want to steer clear of.  Recognizing them and staying away or knowing when they no longer deserve your attention and affection is key.  Enjoy, Singletons and Marrieds. 

A day late and a dollar short, I was given a pamphlet titled "ARE YOU BEING ABUSED?" I read the section called "How do you know when you are in a potentially abusive relationship?" Bear in mind that "more than one or two marks signals for danger." From a list of twenty-two, I realize that fifteen apply to my marriage. I won't bore you with all of them but would like to share a few:

1) I've given up activities I enjoy because my partner doesn't like for me to do these things.

2) No matter what I do, my partner is never satisfied.

3) I used to love to eat _______, but my partner doesn't like them, so I don't eat them anymore. (in my head I insert spaghetti)

From the next section, "Common Traits of Batterers", nine of eleven applied to my ex-husband. For example:

1) Feels that the opposite sex is inferior. (His basis for this was Ephesians.)

2) Has sudden and unpredictable behavior changes.

3) Is jealous.

4) Tries to control every aspect of the victim's life.

5) Tries to isolate partner from family and friends (for those wondering where I was all those years, here ya go)

Reading through "Types of Abuse," I learn that there are four: physical, sexual, emotional/psychological and economic. I had fallen prey to all four. I suffered mostly from the emo/psycho which "involves systematically destroying another person's self esteem by...playing mind games, intimidation, threats [and] extreme controlling behavior." My favorite being the definition of mind games which "is also called 'crazy making,' because after a while, the other person begins to doubt [his or] her sanity." And this, ladies and gentleman, is where I find myself today and also the reason Mr. Perfect and I did not work out.

I think to myself, "When did I become THAT girl?!" as I finish reading through the eleven page handout. This wasn't the first time I'd asked myself this question. I saw all the red flags and believe myself to be a fairly intelligent woman (especially compared to the general population) but stuck around anyway. Even before we were married; within the first few months of our relationship really. Only one sentence in the pages seemed to explain it: I am an overly trusting person that just happened to be emotionally vulnerable at the time of our first chance encounter.

I am an optimist and a strong willed, independent woman. Vulnerable or not, I guess I thought I could "fix" him and "help" him after taking trips down his memory lane. I still see the glass half full and independent as ever, but now lay broken and shattered like an antique mirror. Now is the time to pick up the pieces, fit them together, seal the cracks and let it sit to be sure it is solid enough to hang on the wall and put back on display. *I hope I can be reunited with Mr. Perfect when this finally happens.*

I share this story perhaps as a warning to the searching Singletons or the militant Marrieds. Hell, maybe it's so I don't have to bother with a shrink. Whatever the reason, I speak not only to the ladies but to the gentlemen as well. You don't have to put up with it either. Take heed, take note, be thankful that this has never been you or GET THE HELL OUT if it is!!

~ Alouette

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Post - "Wanted: Glue Gun"

Guest-Post-A-Rama rolls on!  Today, enjoy this snippet out of the shenanigan-filled life of my longtime friend, Marie, who quite frankly, has enough personal material to give me a run for my blogging money (hint hint). 

If my previous blogs haven’t made it obvious by my outspokenness or my colorful entertainment I seem to experience on a daily basis, I am without a doubt Irish and German. As you can imagine, my absolute favorite holiday is St. Patty’s Day. That’s right- I’m talking all in green head to toe, green beads, shamrock face tattoos, singing, people dressed in outrageous attire- well, if you could imagine, it looks like a touch of Vegas. For the past four years, I have been honored and very amused to be able to attend the festivitie in the gorgeous city of Savannah. Passing into the City Market, we decided to eat at a well-established restaurant. As we waited for our food, there was a guy who was right by the wait stand- and before you ask-no, he did not work there nor had he ever worked there. So what was he doing drinking a beer at the hostess stand? He was hitting on literally every woman that walked by...and he wasn’t even creative! A girl walked by and he said, “ARG!!,” like he was a pirate! And let me clarify for the record, he was no Johnny Depp. When the girl proceeded to pay him no attention, he yelled after her, “Really? You’re not even going to respond to that?” The sad part is that he was serious. I watched him, time after time, hitting on these women with the same line and I wondered, 'Does that ever work for him?' I couldn’t imagine a girl giving him the time of day with such a ridiculous line!
Wow- I can remember hearing all the old and lame lines. You know, "I lost my number can I have yours?", Or "Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?" Yes, Singletons you know what I’m referring to. Yet, even then you would just either laugh or shake your head and sometimes the guy was cute enough to get a laugh from you even though he knew how cheesy it sounded. However, now guys are saying “Arg!” to get a girl’s attention?!  What ever happened to meeting a girl and actually starting a real conversation or even saying something to make her smile, or a sweet gesture? Now it doesn’t seem as if the guys are even trying. I don’t know if I was more surprised (though I’m to the point where I don’t think I can be surprised by what people will do or say) or felt sorry for this guy. On one hand, I thought he was idiotic for trying to even get a girl’s attention that way; on the other hand I thought that this guy was just looking for fun, but was making himself look like a fool in the process. I shake my head at guys like this, but a guy friend of mine made a point of posting on his Facebook page that for every girl that has a broken heart, there’s a guy with a glue gun…Well, where is that guy for these girls? I have plenty of fabulous, ambitious, intelligent, gorgeous, and amazing friends who have had there heart broken time and time again…Where are these guys with that glue gun or have they just not meet them yet? People always say it’s about timing, well what if you are in the same place, but at two different times and you never meet the guy with the glue gun? Is your heart forever broken if you don’t find the guy? What if the guy you meet just comes with a stapler or tape or some other temporary solution? Maybe the guy with the glue gun is only part of the mending, maybe that guy has a small part in it, but your friends play the biggest role.

Please, Singletons, if you have never been to Savannah don’t let me discourage you.  It’s always full of fabulous times, great people, and beautiful scenery. However, if you happen to run into the “Arg!” guy, or girl for that matter, turn the other direction and you may be surprised to find the Glue Gun Guy sitting down at a table smiling at you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest Post - "Online Dating 101"

The Week o' Guest Posts continues, Singletons and Marrieds!  Enjoy this guest post from fellow blogger, Tazia, who has had her fair share of online dating shenanigans. 

Let's face it! Everybody you meet knows somebody you know or knows somebody's friend/brother/cousin/etc. So I have only dated co workers, friends' brothers and friends' friends until I started this online dating thing. STILL I meet people or have dated people with mutual "friends." I think it's because I live in the biggest small town in the world. The Internet is can be who you wanna be and have the courage to say what you wanna say, however it's also the same for everyone else. You never know what you're getting in to, but the best case scenario is you could meet an amazing friend! I have, but I also met some real creeps.

Here are a few things I've learned...
1. Don't be in such a hurry. If it's meant to happen, it will happen. But, the longer that you e-mail or text, the better foundation your friendship has. The people that want to meet right away end up being freakin crazy most of the time or on some revenge for a fight. Know that you're worth waiting for.

2. Don't be the "nice" guy or girl. Not that people don't want the nice one, it's just the people that say they are so nice end up without any attention, probably because they don't usually see their imperfections! They are always saying that nobody wants them or "nice guys finish last." How about being happy the way you are and if something happens, it does! Which leads to my next point....

3. DONT BE SO DESPERATE!!!! There are some people that like their spouse to be clingy and needy, but it's rare, so good luck! Just today I had a guy offer to fly me to Boston to meet him if there were sparks on the phone. Don't be planning our freakin wedding before we meet and come on now, I have a life outside of my boyfriend and would like him to have one also.

4. Spell check was invented for a reason. Use it!!!!!

5. Don't try to sell your children. Children are very important, yes, and you need to say that you have children, but it's not a sales gig. I love lots of kids, but I want to get to know you.

6. Pictures....Why  have all these group pictures where you have to figure out who the person is? I'm pretty sure all your friends don't want to be up on this dating site and, if they do, they can make their own profile. Not only that, but if your friend is cuter, we may want your friend instead. PS: I don't wanna see your boy parts before I see your face...leave a little something for later. PLEASE!!

7. Don't talk about your ex wife/husband or ex girlfriend/boyfriend on there, especially when it's just a big rant about them. I don't want to hear all about your ex before I even have a conversation with you.

8. Don't just send a message that says "hey" or "hi" or "you're hot." It's unlikely that I'm gonna respond to that. At least make it a full sentence.

9. Don't talk down about yourself. If you hate your job, or yourself, or your car, or being single, talking down about it is not gonna attract a partner. If you don't like it, change it or stop complaining.

10. DO NOT put your checklist up there! First off, it makes it easier for a desperate guy/girl to convert themselves into what you want if he/she is like that. Secondly, you could miss out on a great guy/girl because he/she doesn't meet your requirements. We never really know what we want until we find it!!

11. Now this one is a catch 22!!! Guys say they want an independent girl that can take care of herself and isn't needy, but they also say they want to feel needed. Make up your minds, guys....

12. Be honest about what you want! Don't say you want a relationship if you do;  don't say you do if you don't! There is someone else out there that wants what you want, and if you get someone that doesn't want the same thing, it could turn out messy. Just sayin...

13. "Baby" and "Sweetie" right no!

The single life isn't so bad. Meeting new people and sharing new experiences, good or bad, are adventures and memories to hold on to.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Guest Post - "Newly Lost"

Today, Singletons and Marrieds, enjoy a guest post from a friend of mine who is dealing with some pretty difficult relationship issues.  At some point, we all sit back and evaluate where we are, where we have been and where we want to go from here.  Guest poster, Alouette is at that point.  Any advice or wisdom?  

(I had such a great response to my request for guest posts...  keep them coming.  Expect several guest posts over the next week or so while I try to breathe life back into my social life.)

After spending my "prime" dating years in what turned out to be a horrible marriage and finally finding my true soulmate too soon thereafter, I realize that maybe it's best to be single right now.

I mean, from 21-29 I basically wasted my life planning for things that never came to fruition. It was only after meeting my special someone did I realize that I'm more effed in the head than I wanted to admit. Suffering from mental, emotional, physical, sexual and every other kind of abuse you can imagine, not ever really dealing with it and then jumping head first into something "perfect" is definitely NOT a good idea. Mr. Perfect and I both knew it at the time, but we decided that we were mature and grown up enough to work through it. Obviously not. On my end anyway. Hopefully Mr. Perfect and I will still be able to be together someday, but today is not the day.

Now in my daily reflections, I realize that I don't think I have ever been truly single. Unless you count my ugly duckling days, but I don't think anyone really counts that.

I find myself in a new chapter of my life. Completely starting from scratch. I'm five months away from turning 31, and I feel worse off than I did at 18. The world was my oyster; now I just feel like the broken oyster shells in the parking lot of Rhinehart's. As a naive 18 year old, I always imagined my 30's as being settled down with a family of my own, a great job, nice house, car, etc. Looks like life version 3.0 is gonna be more of a challenge than I ever could have imagined.

~ Alouette

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Write a Guest Post... Please!!!

So, after some careful thought and review, I feel as though I need to apologize to you.  Yesterday's post was ridiculously bitter and bordered on downright negative.  (Me?! Negative?? Never...) Mentally, I wasn't in a good place to really assess anything and after more than a year of this silly blogging thing, I should have known better than to try to force a post.

This eye-opening moment proved to me that we need a healthy dose of guest blogging.  The lines of communication are open, Singletons and Marrieds!  Feeling inspired?  Put words on paper and send them my way.  Don't worry about grammar, format or any of those other things you paid $350 a credit hour to learn in English 101.  Just run off at the mouth and hit the "send" button.  I'll take care of all those formalities (seriously, I edit and proof things at work for joke).  Got a success story or a gripe you want to share with us all?  Bring it.

Feeling the urge to get those fingers typing but don't really know what to write about?  Here's some ideas that I've been toying with that I'm happy to share to get another voice on this electronic diary in order to spare you another evening of my ho-hum, dismal ranting.

  • Crazy things people say in their online dating profiles.  For example, today I got a message from a gentleman who started his with: "this is my 2nd time on this site and after this it will not happen again. "  As if he's creating some sense of urgency on my part.  Like it's his infomercial. Better not miss out on this deal... (stopping now before I start oozing bitterness again!)
  • How everything women are taught when it comes to dating and relationships is contradictory.  We should be confident, yet demure.  We should strive to break gender stereotypes and prejudices in the workplace, but hold fast to traditional roles at home.  We should be self-sufficient, but let the man think he's taking care of us.  The list goes on and on...
  • Okay, sorry, guys.  I know that these issues aren't your fault.  They're probably a result of hundreds of years of women's desire for Victorian-era romance paired with women's lib.  Here's one for you guys:  What drives you the craziest about women?  I don't mean what turns you on, crazy.  I mean, what elements of the female dating mentality makes you want to bash your head into a wall?  We all want to know.  We're waiting...patiently.  If you say "blogging," I won't post it.  Kidding... kind of.
  • At what point does the potential of a relationship with someone outweigh the risk of losing the friendship you have with them?
  • If you've successfully navigated your way out of Singledom, what are some things you wish you'd done differently or that you'd relaxed about?  Better yet, what do you see Singletons around you do that you just wish you could politely tell them to stop doing or something you could offer as a tidbit of advice?
There you go! You have absolutely no excuse.  Feel free to get creative too...write about anything that catches your attention even beyond the above.  Now open a new email or Microsoft Word, start typing feverishly and shoot that thing my way!  Email your guest post to  Let me know if you want to stay anonymous, and I'm happy to accommodate.  Can't wait to hear somebody else's voice in my head for a change... wait...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dating Deja Vu

Riddle me this... what is the memory span of an online dater?  Apparently, it's rather short. 

Okay, at this point, you could probably call me a seasoned online dater.  "Old, bitter and crotchety" might also come to mind, but I'm trying desperately to remain positive and for some reason, those words carried a negative connotation.  I've been online dating for the last (dear God) six years, on-again-off-again and would say that I've seen it all if I didn't know beyond a shadow of a doubt that some freak would come out of the woodwork and prove me wrong.  My screenname and various versions of my headshot have been out there on the interwebs for years now, and I am well aware of the millions of people also taking a stab at finding love (or a reasonable facsimile) via electronic communication.  But, I seem to be caught lately in some strange online dating broken record...

Three times in the last three weeks I have received introductory messages from three different men that I had prolonged electronic communication with this time last year.  Three.  Two of them were even sent through the same online dating website from which they sent the original message, which should have popped up and alerted them that they'd previously messaged me.  And the other one is Mr. Nick@Nite. 

Usually, a girl would be flattered by such repeated interest.  A year later and he's still interested in talking to me?!  Wow.  My response?  Not impressed.  First, I'll both introduce you to Mr. Disney World and let you just as quickly say goodbye to him.  Then we'll get to Mr. Nick@Nite... again.  And then Mr. Doesn't Get the Hint, who you've also previously met.  Mr. Disney World sent me a message through PlentyofFish months ago.  I was in an online dating (ha... and real world dating) slump and even though I was not at all interested based on his photos and description, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he had to offer.  I replied to his (first) introductory message with my usual courtesies; thanking him for his interest and his note and asking those nauseating "What do you do for a living?" and "How do you like to fill your free time?" conversation-starting questions.  He replied literally within seconds with a soliloquoy of how grateful he was that I replied and went on and on and on and on about how he never got anyone to reply to his messages and how much he'd like to take me out to say thank you.  (clears throat) Red flag.  Apparently still having some doubt to dole out, I wrote back.  I thanked him for asking me out and clearly stated that I'd like to chat a bit more before (if ever... didn't say that, but totally thought it) we met in person.  Again, within seconds, Mr. Disney World replied with an ever more exaggerated monologue of how blown away he was that I'd written him back and how ready he was to meet  I scanned his profile again in a desperate attempt to find some redeeming quality and stumbled upon no less than ten different photos of him in various locations in Disney World.  I know what you're thinking... Disney World is fun!  They have the Rainforest Cafe and Pleasure Island!  I know... but these pictures were not at Pleasure Island.  They were inside Minnie Mouse's house.  Her pink house.  And not one or two of them... about 90% of them.  And they weren't with a group of guys or with his nieces and nephews.  They were alone and he was playing with stuff...seriously.  Every single one of his photos was from Disney World.  And, at the risk of sounding materialistic, vain and cold, I'm going to share with you the real kicker.  In every photo, he was pouring with sweat and had food in his teeth... grinning like a cheshire cat (blatant and intentional Disney reference).I know that not every man interested in me is going to be GQ magazine quality, but everyone can choose the most flattering photos of themselves to post on their online profile.  Why would someone choose shots that included such unflattering and unattractive elements?!

Once I scolded myself intently for not having more closely examined his photos before replying to his introduction message, I decided that it might be time to let Mr. Disney World down softly.  Always gun-shy at the rejection, I beat around the bush for a couple more communications and then eventually told him that I didn't think we'd make a good match, although I was flattered by his interest.  And never heard from him again.  Until last week.  Currently sitting in my PlentyofFish inbox is a completely new introduction email from Mr. Disney World, as if we have never spoken before.  I'd cut him some slack if my profile wasn't exactly the same as it was those few months ago, even with the same profile picture.  Apparently he was so impressed with me that I completely wiped his memory clean, creating a sort of online dating amnesia experience.  Urgh.

Moving on.  Remember a couple of weeks ago when I told you that I was in another deja vu-like moment with a previous Man of Singledom?  Exactly one year ago, Mr. Nick@Nite found himself in the circle of men that would not stop texting me and would not move on to the next level of normal human interaction.  As a member of this group, he drifted off into the sunset after my proclaimation of being sick of never being able to get off of the texting carousel.  Although he actually asked me out twice, he never followed through with an actual calendar date for said ask-out and thankfully drifted out to sea as I recovered from carpal tunnel.  Literally... I had pain shooting up my arm for weeks.  Feel free to take a few minutes to read up on Mr. Nick@Nite's history by clicking his name on the right column.  I'll wait.  Caught up in real life pursuits, I quite honestly forgot about Mr. Nick@Nite's second introductory email, until I received an inbox message on Facebook from someone looking eerily similar.  Then I recognized his first name.  Of course, I didn't recognize his last name because we'd never exchanged them, so how did he find me?  His note simply said that he thinks I'm pretty and wants to talk to me.  I'm seriously considering writing back and asking if he means talk, as in speaking words or talk, as in texting me into a second bout of carpal tunnel.   Not again, Mr. Nick@Nite.  Not again.

And just today, I received a request to communicate from Mr. Doesn't Get the Hint.  This much older gentlemen has messaged me no less than six different times.  We've talked about this guy before (click here), he's formerly known as Mr. Monthly Visitor.  I've politely told him I'm not interested on several occasions (I'm thinking at least three times), no matter how many different screen names he uses or how many times he tells me the laundry list of foods he likes that I must also like, movies he likes that I must also like or the ridiculously strict Christian practices that I, as his future wife, must not only agree with but be more than willing to include in my day-to-day life.  Urgh!

Am I stuck in some strange broken record of online dating communication?!  Quite frankly, one of my coworkers told me today that once she decided to take an actual dating hiatus, she soon after met her future husband.   We did the whole "that's how it always happens" chit-chat, but I wonder if that twist of ironic fate actually works if you do it intentionally in hopes of instigating such a "coincidence."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pink Feather Boas and Other Dating Paraphernalia

So, a few months ago, two friends of mine came to visit me from out of town to attend a local baseball game with me.  We'd been planning it for months (and leave it to me to wait until the absolute last second to purchase my ticket, so late in fact that they'd technically sold out and I had to call in a favor, but that's another story of my procrastination) and were very excited about the fact that the event included a "Girls Night Out" theme at the ballpark.  Upon arrival, we were given a special baseball cap (complete with a pink logo), a free drink before the game (which we missed due to our lack of timeliness), special seats in a fabulous section of the stadium and, to top it all off, a pink feather boa. 

Not ones to miss an opportunity to adorn ourselves in femininity, we threw those suckers on despite the raging heat (who knew feathers created an instant layer of thermos-like insulation?!) and parked ourselves right in the middle of a sea of fellow feathered fans.  But, much to our surprise and enjoyment, the trip to our seats was brimming with male attention...  I kid you not, we got whistled at, grinned at, winked at, asked what the deal was with the boas and then complimented on them, and altogether checked out from every possible angle.  Granted, one "gentleman" at the beer stand did insinuate that I was inappropriately dressed for a baseball game, to which I quickly responded that I must be a bigger fan than him because they'd been talking about this event on Facebook for weeks. But, I digress.  Ninety-nine point nine percent of the interactions with men that evening where positive and bordering on flirtatious, to say the least.  So much so that my two fabulous friends and I declared the pink feather boa the answer to all of our dating questions and quandaries.

So, I haven't had too many opportunities to wear a pink feather boa since the baseball game, so I can't vouch for it's validity or credibility outside of a testosterone-infused sporting event just yet, but in the time since "Girls Night Out," I have paid more attention to other attention-getters and noticed an even more surprising trend.  Case #2 in point:  My dear friend from New York came to visit a few weeks ago, and she'd long wanted to go to one of those awesome painting instruction classes where you can drink wine.  My personal favorite is Sips N Strokes in various locations throughout the southeast (advertising plug that I won't ever see a dime for, but I know you'll love it if you go, so it's worth it).  So, we picked a painting and headed out. 

About halfway through the class, we needed to take a break in order for a layer of paint to dry, so the instructor enlightened us to the fact that the bar at the end of the shopping center would give Sips N Strokes patrons a discount if they came in wearing their painting apron.  Uh... duh.  We went to said bar.  In we strutted with our fellow painters, decked out in our multi-colored aprons and smocks, paint covering almost every exposed inch of us.  Although the place was pretty packed, we immediately garnered the attention of most of the other patrons.  My friend and I stood off to the side and chatted, but a gentleman at a table behind us got her attention.  He leaned back from his chair and politely asked what the deal was with the aprons.  And he was cute and didn't at all stink of creepy, so of course, we responded.  As my friend was explaining the painting class, I looked beyond our new friend and noticed an entire table the length of that particular wing of the restaurant, lined on both sides with very attractive men.  Ring scan commenced... and not a single ping.  I attempted to keep my delight under wraps as the gentleman explained the coincidence that the entire table was employees of Behr paint and were there for a meeting.  We chatted for a few more minutes and then we got the signal that our paintings were dry and we had to return to our regular scheduled festivities.

The moral of this story?  When wearing something slightly out of place, men cannot resist the urge to call attention to it or most of the time, ask you outright why you're wearing it.  Calling attention to yourself in a totally G-rated fashion is not only fun, but it could potentially be a beneficial conversation-starter.  Now don't get me wrong... I don't intend to start gallivanting around in costume, but I will pay a bit more attention to strategically planned accessories while on the market. 

P.S. Stay tuned for an update regarding a former "Man of Singledom" who has somehow managed to find me on multiple free dating sites in the last month (why don't I take those profiles down?!) and also scarily on Facebook. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

So, although I don't really have any scandalous updates for you pertaining to my social life or other elements that might contribute to the changing of my Facebook relationship status, I do have something I'd like to discuss with you.  I know it's been a long time, and I've been a terrible blogger over the last few months.  But, quite honestly, you haven't missed much.  I've been out, yes... I've had a good time, yes, very much so... I've had some shenanigans and adventures, yes... I've had some random messages on PlentyofFish, yes (duh)... But, blog material?  Nope.  Not a shred.  Well... I take that back.  There's been a few components of said adventures that I thought I could possibly muster a few paragraphs out of, but haven't felt compelled enough to bring them to your attention until I'm able to flesh them out a bit.  You know, make them entertaining and blog worthy.  I have high standards.

The reasons behind this particular post are a combination of date-relevant and personal-life-relevant.  To some, the date-relevance might seem like a bit of a stretch, but others will jump right on board. 

To give you some background, this was a big week for me.  I enjoyed the company of some wonderful people over the Fourth of July weekend and truly had an awesome time.  I've had a much shorter commute to work, thanks to a friend, and overall, things have been peachy.  I got an all-expense paid ticket to a Braves game last night and they won, basically rubbing the opponent's nose in their victory with a 9-1 final score.  Everything I touch this week turns to gold.  But, the real bell-ringer is that I was presented with a blessing that will allow me to be a bit more financially comfortable and to do some things that I really only dreamed about doing before Tuesday afternoon.  Pretty amazing how things can look so different from one day to the next. 

This sudden and unexpected turn of financial events got my mind racing.  What to do, what to do?  And then it hit me.  You know, after I weeded through all of the Dave-Ramsey-isms in my head.  I intend to listen to them... a little.  In February, I dove into something that I was unable to fulfill because of financial reasons.  Head-first, I decided then that this was the right course of action for me and totally had the air let out of my balloon when I realized how much it was going to cost.  A girl on a budget who works for a small, non-profit isn't really what you'd call "rollin' in it."  So, it went to the back burner until one of those days when I happened to rub the right lamp somewhere and a genie popped out, ready to grant three of my top one-hundred wishes. 

Now, that giant speed bump in the shape of a dollar sign has been eliminated.  And I'm petrified at the reality of the decision.  I know that I need to relax and resist the urge to make rash decisions, as if somehow my changed financial outlook might melt away or like there's a bonfire burning holes in my wallet.  Granted, this winfall isn't enough to change the world or really change the rest of my life.  It's something that could make some future decisions easier and definitely provide me with a nice, little, just-in-case cushion.  But, if I make this particular decision with it, it could change my life. 

Okay, so I know what you're thinking.  Relax.  No gender changes here.  I'm quite satisfied with my feminity and like dresses, makeup and all other womanly accessories entirely too much to even fathom a team-change.  And I like boys. A lot.  Which hopefully isn't news to you, at this point.  I'm considering a game-changer/life-changer and granted, it may be partially for the wrong reasons, but I'm considering it nonetheless.

I'm thinking of having weight loss surgery.

I know that with all of my plus-sexy confidence this might be hard to imagine.  And honestly, I've been weighing (I crack myself up) all of my options.  I'm currently on a mainstream diet program that is working, but it's not easy.  It's a lifestyle change as much as surgery.  And it's slow.  And you all know that patience is not a virtue that I possess for longer than two or three minutes.  I'm losing weight, but I know that it will be a lifelong battle.  But, so will surgery.  But, can I do it by myself?  Can I tackle the plus-sexy battle on my own and be successful?  Although the odds are against me, I'm a girl that likes to see things to fruition.  I am also a girl that doesn't like to make permanent physical changes.  It makes me nervous.  What if I need that 2/3 of my stomach again for some reason?  This fear is 99% of the reason why I don't have a tattoo.  I can't even commit to putting ink on my skin, how can I commit to removing most of an organ?  But, it could change my life.  I've seen it change other people's lives. 

Besides my overall health and chances of living longer, which are the obvious and primary reasons, there's this little, lonely, single girl in the back of my mind saying "Do it, Melanie... do it."  This little, lonely, single girl has tried diligently to overcome the stigma and stereotypes associated with plus-sexy women for years and continuously failed.  She's exuded confidence, sported some dead sexy outfits, been friendly and outgoing, flirtatious and fascinating.  But, she's scared to death she's never going to find someone who can see past the fact that she's not a size 6 and he will miss out on all of the wonderfulness she has to offer.  But is that the reason that I'm not dating someone?  Are men rejecting me because I'm plus-sexy?  Sure.  I know it for a fact.  I'm sure it hasn't been the case with all of them, but I've heard "Well, Melanie's a sweet girl, but..." and "Well, she has a pretty face, but..."  countless times.  I'm not looking for pity or intending to wallow in self-deprecation, but, it's a fact and a part of my history in Singledom.  Society creates an image of a man who dates a plus-sexy woman as one who has settled or has somehow lost the dating game and gotten stuck with the runt of the litter.  The other side of that coin is that plus-sexy women should be grateful for whatever they can get and willing to settle for the first man who comes along regardless of what he has to offer.  It's not fair.  And I want out.  I'm not the runt of the litter; I'm not someone to settle for; I'm freaking fantastic, but many times I have a plus-sexy wall between that fantastic and the men I'm trying to get through to.

So, there it is Singletons and Marrieds.  There's my current "heart on my sleeve" moment.  I'm not going to rush into the decision.  Four days ago I didn't even think surgery would ever be a financial option for me, so to jump into it would be silly and shock my system.  We'll see which way the wind blows.  Maybe I'll just pay men to go with me on exotic vacations until the money runs out.  I'm not above it.  Or maybe I'll take my sister's advice and buy a house.  Although she wants me to buy one in my hometown, two hundred miles away from my job.  Houses are less expensive there, but that's one hell of a commute...  Are men attracted to hot cars like women are?  Maybe I'll buy some super sexy sportscar man magnet.  We'll see...  We'll see.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"I Promised Myself I Wouldn't Cry"

For so long, I've lamented the woes of online dating purely from a female perspective.  Well, to be honest, the woes of dating in general.  Don't get me wrong, I've been completely open to hearing the male perspective, even inviting some testosterone to dabble in guest blogging with great success.  Some of the greatest conversations ever on this silly social commentary have included or been started by the male voice.  But, I never fully accepted that online dating could be as bad from the other side of the coin.  I figured that women were much less likely to do things like share too much information, rush to sexual innuendos or outright display crazy behavior.  Until today.

Men of Singledom, on behalf of my gender and my own previous naivety, I humbly apologize.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Online Dating Junk Mail

So, I'm not usually a fan of posting actual online dater information or messages on here.  I just kind of feel like that's a bit, I don't know, creepy...?  Sort of like I'm invading their world.  They candidly post things about themselves in pursuit of a potential mate, so who I am to share that with the whole non-online-dating world? 

After reading the message I received this morning, I threw that baby out with the bath water. 

Let's talk, Singletons.  Why, oh why, do people make up fake online dating profiles?  What could possibly be the benefit?  They kind of remind me of those emails you get from Princess Nathumala of Nigeria who has two million dollars she wants to leave you in her will but needs you to forward your bank account information to her so she can bequeeth it to you.  Seriously?  Does anyone fall for this?  And what does the "online dater" get out of it if I respond to him/her/it?  Are there people out there that would believe that the photograph posted is the actual person and could someone be so swayed by said photograph that they'd be willing to send them money or something?  That's the only factor I can come up with in my limited scope of the online con-artist world.  Let's go through this particular scammers interaction with me one ridiculously horrible line at a time: (Wait, first, don't skip ahead, but take a gander at the photograph that was actually included on this profile.  This joker wants me and others to believe that this is really him, when I'm pretty sure this is a Lands End ad from their website advertising that scarf... or those shoes...or something.)

Screenname:  sodiq (say what? If I'm reading this phonetically, I'm a bit worried.)

31, florida (just Florida in general?  Like, the whole state?)
Seeking women, 30-99 ( I wonder what made him decide on 30 as the starting point.  If you're willing to go all the way to 99, you'd think a 27 year old would still qualify.  Guess not.)

Education: Masters (setting the bar pretty high here, bud.  We'll see...)

Height: >5' (>152 cm) (wait...what?!  The guy on the suitcase patiently awaiting his arriving train [or his frat brother to pick him up after he got evicted...that hand truck behind him is a dead giveaway] looks a tab bit taller than the average American fifth grader.  Just saying.)
•Is between 30 and 99 years old.
•Never smokes.
•Can have kids living at home.
•Minimum education: Masters. (damn... I'm out of the running.)

Subject: hello dear (really?)
Sent: 5/20/2011 6:27:39 AM

how are you doing?am mark simply minded person,easy going,lovely,caring,friendly,trustworth and I no that ? are my right soul ? can mail me mark/scolt/at/yahoo/com.Am waiting for your reply THANK. MARK ( #1. If one more man tells me that I'm his soul mate during our first conversation, I'm joining a convent.  That's all there is to it.  #2. Sweet baby Jesus, the grammar and spelling and blatant misuse of the English language... Masters degree? No "English is not my first language" way.)


At this point, I haven't taken down this account simply to maintain the constant stream of ridicule inducing communication and fabulous blog material.  Thankfully, it's free, but consider me your middle man of comedy.  Happy to help.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dating Do's and Don't's 1949-Style

I couldn't resist sharing this gem!  So, if I'm picking up what they're throwing down, a girl who eats cotton candy at an alarming speed is obviously one who "knows how to have a good time."  Hmm... now to find the perfect, non-awkward situation to eat pink spun sugar in a target-rich environment...  Or maybe the underlying message is that blondes are superior and the ultimate goal, brunettes are more attainable, but dull and sub-par in attractiveness and redheads are the life of the party (and good at eating cotton candy).  Well, one of my sisters just dyed her hair red and the other dyed hers blonde, so we're probably a very good test case.  I'll keep you posted. 

Enjoy, Singletons!  Could it have been this easy?!  I'll let you digest this nugget and post Part 2 later.

Friday, May 6, 2011

(Apparently) I Get Around

What the hell is going on here?!?  If I hadn't become accustomed to these ridiculous shenanigans, I would seriously wonder if I was on Candid Camera.

So, this afternoon  I got off work early.  Having not stared at a computer screen for the seven and a half hours a day it usually takes to recharge my internet battery, I sat down to an "X-Files" rerun and my laptop.  I'd gotten a Facebook friend request while I was at a work picnic earlier in the day and since I own a Blackberry and it's lame, I couldn't see the requester's picture.  Sometimes my overly socialized brain forgets names until I see the face and then my memory comes flying back to me.  Apparently, I'm a visual person.

I opened Facebook and didn't recognize the name or the picture.  He was local though, coincidentally close to Mr. Affair's hometown and the same location as Mr. Gunslinger.  Keep that in mind.  Naively figuring that I'd probably met him before and just didn't remember where (sometimes I meet people at work conferences who find me online later and quite frankly, I've completely forgotten how I know them), I accepted his friend request so that I could see his page.

His privacy settings were so high that I couldn't send him a message before I accepted his friend request or even afterwards.  I perused his photos and still nothing rang a bell.  He didn't look scary and was listed as being in a relationship, so I figured there was no harm in sending him a chat message since he was online.

Totally putting the blame on myself, I wrote to him politely asking if we knew each other, stating that I had a horrible memory and had received his friend request today.  He immediately started typing.  "Ya... we know each other" was his unhelpful response.  "Help me out," I replied, adding a smiley face to seem less confrontational.  You know, because emoticons fix everything.  I thought  maybe this was one of the gentlemen I met a few months ago who had approached my friends and me with Mr. Gunslinger.  His location was right, and he kind of resembled one of them. "We dated," he stated.  Uh... no we didn't and not Mr. Gunslinger's friend.  Being the perpetual wallflower that I've been through most of my adult (and hell, even teenage) life, I am well aware of every single one of the men (or boys) I've dated.  Doubting that?  Don't.  I can give you a complete list in chronological order, just ask.  First and last name.  Even where they live currently and who they're married to (because they're all married or have been married).  The list is that short, people.

Before I got a chance to reply, he added "a while ago."  Still no.  We did not date recently or a while ago.  Ever for that matter.  Initially I thought of telling him that he was not at all unattractive, so had we dated, I would have been happy to have acknowledged such an affair.  Again, I tried my best to keep it polite without overusing emoticons and replied with "Oh, I'm sorry.  I think you have me confused with someone else."  "No, I do not.  I added you through AIM."  First of all, who still uses AIM, really?  Second of all, it's been so long since I used that account that it's probably been hacked 100 times and quite honestly, I don't care. Again losing the battle to maintain a back-and-forth conversation, he dropped the bomb.  "We had sex," he sent.  HA!  We did not.  I was shocked.  My fingers couldn't land on the keys fast enough.  Looking back, I shouldn't have responded, but I felt the need to defend my honor.  I started typing, saying again, "No, you're mistaken.  I can verify that we did not have sex."  Typing at the speed of sound, he wrote back that yes, we did and that I had stayed the night at his house.  "I remember it," he said, totally creeping me out.  Apparently my profile picture is entirely too "captivating."  Blah.  "Wow," I finally got to write back, "that never happened.  Good luck to you!," and I was off!  Close chat screen, open profile, remove from friends, block.  Whew.

Really?  Really.  In less than two weeks, I've been propositioned for and accused of having sex with complete strangers.  It's just got to be uphill from here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"I'll Have One Extramarital Affair. To Go, Please."

So Easter weekend was a big deal for me.  After prepping and studying, discussing and debating, praying and kneeling/standing/sitting for nine months, I officially became a member of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil on Saturday. It was a beautiful ceremony where almost fifty of us fulfilled our goals of becoming full members of the church.  For me, it was a thirty year (almost to the day) journey.  I was truly moved by the Mass, felt very connected to the folks who had been on this journey with me and was pretty proud of myself for sticking to the classes and commitments that were totally voluntary from the first moment.

Throughout the course of our nine-month class, I became very comfortable and in touch with my spiritual side.  I'm not breaking out into tongues or anything, but I have come to realize that this particular element of who I am needs and should be a part of my life on a daily basis.  This deeper connection came with a deeper responsibility for my own actions, words and thoughts.  The thoughts being the hardest of those three to restrain (and retrain!), quite frankly, but I digress.  I started looking at things less in respect to what I wanted or needed at the moment and what was for the greater good of my life as a whole.

Heavy, right?  I know.  Granted, I didn't get there overnight.  And although it may sound like I've tightened the grip on my social life, I think, in a lot of ways, I've done quite the opposite.  I've been surrounded by people who respect my faith for so many  months that, I think, that giving this respect to others has become second nature.  Just because you don't believe the same things I do doesn't make you less than me.  My faith requires that I treat you the same way I would if you agreed with me down to the letter.  I'm straying from the point, but...  well, you get the point.  I'm very much in touch with Spiritual Melanie.

Fear not... this post is not going to take a hard left turn from my usual topic of discussion, but I needed to give you some background.  Don't lose your shirt, I'll move out of the warm fuzzies now.

So, on the Monday after Easter I had the day off.  I was riding around town with my friend who also had the day off.  We were chatting as we headed out to a local liquor store for some non-mainstream beer to go with hot dogs and baked beans.  Suddenly I heard that ever familiar ping of my phone alerting me to an email.  I glanced down and saw that it was one of those PlentyofFish messages that I somehow manage to continue generating although I can't tell you the last time I voluntarily logged in to the site.

The pursuer's screenname included the name of his city and because it was relatively close to my own in Atlanta terms (and because I know it's just a matter of time before I stumble across someone I know in real life on an online dating site), I opened his profile.  No photograph (strike 1), but I kept reading.  And would soon find out why.  He was in my age range (32...which seemed so old just a few years ago!), did in fact live in the city that he listed in his screenname and wasn't single.  Wait...what?  He's not single?  He's not single and he's not looking.  Um... huh?  He didn't disclose whether or not he had or wanted children, what his religion was, whether or not he owned a car (PofF is weird.  Would I deny the man of my dreams contact with me because he doesn't own transportation?  That must be the 21st century standard for true love:  "must own a car."), or any identifiable information.  Perplexing.  So, I opened his message.

What I found can be nothing less than a true challenge to all of those convictions and determinations that I mentioned above, the ultimate challenge to Spiritual Melanie.  Beyond Spiritual Melanie, this was a supreme trial of exactly the type of girl I am.  Well, it was a challenge until I got to his last line, which made the decision pretty easy, but I'll tell you the story before I jump to the conclusion.

This gentleman explained that he found my profile enticing (nice) and he was captivated by my photograph (same one I use for my profile on here, are you captivated?  Pull your eyes away from it for a second and finish reading this post.  It'll still be there when you're done. Thanks.).  He quickly followed this eloquent and flattering compliments with another explanation, stating in no uncertain terms the type of interaction with me he so sought.  He got right to the point.  We would ask no questions about each other's personal lives; we would meet in a public location where we could assess whether or not we were attracted to each other off-line (I hadn't even seen a picture to know what he looked like online, which we all know can be deceptive on its own!).  If we felt so inclined upon making eye contact, we could begin a purely physical relationship, meeting weekly or on a more regularly basis if either of us wanted. Perhaps, he continued, having dinner together every now and then in a discreet restaurant.  He shared that he was just looking for someone to have fun with and have absolutely no strings attached.

Who does this?!  Who creates an online dating profile in complete pursuit of sex without even disguising it like Mr. Too Many Words did?  Maybe I should give him some credit... I have been griping about rampant dishonesty in online dating over the past year. This person is obviously hiding something (most probably an innocent, completely faithful and devoted wife and caretaker of his three children who all look exactly like him, who provides a loving, warm home and three homemade meals a day, while vacuuming in pearls) but obviously very trusting that I would just go along with this charade and all his "wills" and "won'ts" simply for the thrill of it?  Hopefully for whoever he's able to reel into this scheme it is a "thrill."  Based on my initial shock, if this is prevalent than I have simply managed to escape it up until Easter Monday.  Coincidence?  Maybe...

As a girl who has been on the sidelines of the game for a while now, Old Melanie may have been tempted by such an offer.  Probably only if I knew that the situation was not based on infidelity, which is doubtful in this particular instance, but you know what I mean?  The excitement and drama of behaving outside of the norms and having a whole life lived behind the scenes. I've never had an easy time of meeting new people outside of college, high school and work, so I might have been tempted to see what walking on the wild side felt like for a few minutes.  But, New Melanie wants more than that, I quickly determined.  And remembered.  Way more than that.  Wants and deserves. Out of sheer curiosity, I finished reading Mr. Affair's email and maintained my maturity and understanding that again, the whole world doesn't fall within the same parameters of belief and ethics as I do, until I got to his last line.  "I am disease free," he stated, "and expect you to be too."

Oh, how I was tempted to write back to him with a laundry list of the itchiness, redness, bumps and sores that cover my entire body and how I'm so contagious people have been known to contract my rare, life threatening petri dish nightmare just from standing next to me.  But, I resisted.  When I reach the point in this  whole dating debacle where I feel the need to tell complete strangers that I am, in fact, disease free, please stop me.  Resign me to the fact that I will live a long and happy life even if it is alone with ten cats and I become the creepy old lady of the neighborhood who people only know exists because the stack of cat food cans outside my door never ceases to increase in height.  I will hold you responsible for this important task.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Nothing

As a Singleton who often comments on the differences between men and women, this is beyond fascinating to me (and very entertaining!), so I had to share.  I've even done a little bit of research myself, mostly with married women who have experienced these differences firsthand (mostly that I work with, all of whom are probably going to put the future Mr. Melanie through a gauntlet of American Gladiator-like husband challenges to prove his worthiness, with questions like "So Melanie calls you and says she has to work late.  What do you say?") and single men who can verify what Mr. Gungor is saying in this video.  Actually, married men can probably verify it as well, he doesn't discriminate in his observations.

  Watch, enjoy and comment.  True, Singletons and Marrieds?  You know that I live to read your opinions.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Guest Post - Just Believe

Editor's Note:  Singletons and Marrieds, I hope you enjoy this guest post from Sarah, one of my long-time friends who has recently joined the blogosphere herself.  She also recently found her way out of Singledom!  Sarah and I had often commiserated together over the plight (and perks) of being late-twenties/early thirties Singletons until she found her "Mr. Darcy" about two years ago.  Read more about Sarah at Worrywart Tales, where she is writing her worries away (no longer dating woes... jealous), one entry at a time. 

While visiting Boston on a business trip a couple of years ago, I sat next to a young woman at a lunch conference. She was glowing and couldn’t stop talking about her upcoming wedding.

“Ugh,” I thought. “Here’s someone else getting married.”
Then, something occurred to me. If I didn’t start being genuinely happy for such future brides, then I may never become one myself. I had to be happy with where I was in life and embrace it.

So I pushed aside my negative thoughts and began asking this future bride questions. When was the wedding? Where did they meet? How did she know he was “the one”? She welcomed the questions and answered them with much enthusiasm.

When she finished recounting her story, for once, I didn’t say I would probably never get married. Instead, I said, “I hope I find someone like you did.”

She smiled and replied, “You will.”

Little did I know that at that very moment a friend was planning to set me up with my future husband and that I would be engaged eight months later.

While I’ve been married now for about six months, it wasn’t that long ago when I could be found sitting on my couch, watching countless romantic comedies, and wondering if I would ever find the man of my dreams. At times it was difficult as a singleton. I witnessed friends getting married and having children. And then having more children. All the while, I was alone with barely any prospects in sight.

But don’t get me wrong. I also found much joy living the single life. I had opportunities to travel around the United States and five times to Europe. I also had time to concentrate on my hobbies and was able to save some money.

Now that I’ve found my husband, though, I can’t imagine my life without him. In my single life, people kept telling me the same things: You’ll just know when it’s the right one. It’ll happen when it’s the right time and when you least expect it. And when it does finally happen, it’ll happen so fast.

When I was a singleton, I never believed any of these things and would dismiss them with a roll of the eyes. Now that I’m married, I can tell you that they are all true.

So just believe, Singletons. When it’s meant to happen it will happen. Until then, enjoy the single life. You never know who’s around the next corner...

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