Sunday, January 30, 2011

Guest Post - Survival of the Singleton

Blogger's Note:  Singletons, enjoy this post from a very special guest.  Guest blogger, Marie, is a former long-time Singleton herself, who claimed a desire to maintain that status through most of her young adulthood.  Last year, however, a special someone stepped into the spotlight and changed her mind.  But with years of citizenship in Singledom to her credit, and having successfully navigated her way out, she is happy to share that the frustrations of single status don't necessarily disappear with the arrival of a significant other.  She's also been a friend of mine for almost twenty years.  Enjoy!

People never cease to amaze me. One of my favorite places to venture in my downtime is the local bookstore. Something about it brings me serenity. I can spend endless hours viewing various titles, checking out the new releases, and of course, how can you not check out the bargain titles? You all know that row, the ones where all the various relatively-unwanted hardbacks are marked down, and, as unwanted as most of them are, you can't help but find something that catches your eye. Funny thing about book browsing, it’s not just the cover that captures your attention, but the title. As I was strolling down this particular aisle, looking for something that would peak my interest, I immediately noticed something a bit disheartening. There it was staring me in the face, almost daring me to pay it attention. Here, right in front of my very eyes was a book entitled, “How to Be Single”. Really? So now being single comes with instructions? Are there people out there who want to maintain this status, enough to make sure they do it well?

Where was this book a year ago when I was single? Honestly, I’m not quite sure if I was following the correct guidelines. Had I known about this book maybe I would have been a bit more successful at being single… or was I successful because I’m no longer single? In a world where there are how-to guides on just about everything, now a publisher and an editor feel it is necessary to put this book on the market? Wow.

I felt compelled to open the book and read the summary. Of course, it starts with an explanation of “typical” group of women having problems in their relationships and dives into how one of their “friends” quit her job to go on a quest to explore why women are experiencing these problems, basically why they can’t find and keep a man. You know, any “typical” woman’s reason for living. So, what this book is telling us is in order to find out why a person is single, a woman must quit her job to go on a dating quest… Are you serious?

As a former Singleton, I appreciate and know of all the struggles a single woman is up against in this world. Women have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and adding a single status to that can create even more of a struggle. It’s almost as if you have to prove yourself twice as hard because a.) you’re a woman and b.) you’re single. Why do most people make it seem like that’s two strikes against you? What is wrong with being single? Absolutely nothing, and yet this how-to guide implies there are certain rules to follow in order to live your single life appropriately. How hard can it be? You answer to yourself; you make your own decisions; you don’t have to share a closet. I’m curious to know how all the Singletons of the world have survived without this “guide.” How did you know what to say? To do? Is it appropriate for a single woman to do the same things as women in relationships or are there double standards? All the questions!

I immediately took a picture of the cover and sent it to Mel. She was just as perplexed. One of the things I was curious about was to see about the author. Is she single? What is her bio? What does she look like? Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), there was no picture of her available and not much information offered on her. I made a mental note that I needed to come back and research this lady, find out what makes her such a credible Singleton. I circled the row various times, before deciding to choose another book. Maybe I should have purchased the how-to guide, so that I could be educated and understand the guidelines that all respectable single women should follow. Maybe if I had bought and read the book, I would have been enlightened and able to share the wonderful wisdom that came from this author. As I made my purchase (a completely different book which definitely sounds like a keeper), I couldn’t help but look back at it one last time in amazement. Offering advice is one thing, but setting up guidelines is another. Apparently now everything comes with instructions.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Texting Turmoil

Oh, Singletons, Singletons, Singletons.  Have I got a story for you.  Might not be my usual novel-length potboiler, but still... it's definitely worth telling.

Last night, as I quietly tucked myself in for a few pages of my most recent book choice (which should also lend itself well to blog material, but that's for a later date) before turning in (it was a school-night afterall), my cell phone started to ring.  I looked down and immediately noticed that I didn't recognize the number.  I will be straightforward with you about my phone call screening process:  if I don't know the number, you'd better leave me a voicemail if you want me to call you back, because I never answer calls from numbers that I don't already have stored in my address book.  But, it only rang twice, falling short of the necessary commitment to get to my voicemail.  I shrugged it off until another little jingle rang from my bedside table.  A text message.  Hmm...  Who could this be?  Everyone I'd spoken to yesterday knew how tired I was.  I made no bones about the fact that all I wanted to do was go home, crawl into bed and catch some much needed z's. 

I looked down and saw that it was from the number that had just called me.  Not the first time this had happened, so I opened it.  "?s up, lady," followed by a text signature of "NoMercy4No1" stared back at me, almost mockingly, from my inbox.  Really?  Because I have recently wiped out my phone address book by mistake, I wondered if I did, in fact, know this grammatically incorrect person, (although the gangster-like signature pretty much sealed their fate) and just hadn't reacquired his or her phone number.  I wrote back:  "Who is this?"  Well... within seconds of receiving the response, I was no longer confused.  There was no way that I knew this person for multiple reasons.  The response read:  "Dis Spank, Wanda."  1).  Last time I checked, I'm not acquainted with anyone whose given or chosen name is anything resembling "Spank."  2).  I am not Wanda.  Politely, I wrote back:  "I think you have the wrong number."  Almost before my phone had completely sent the message,  my inbox lit up again and I read, "Oh sh*t my bad."  (I censored this particular text.  Who does that?  Who writes back to someone they don't know and uses profanity as if it is a common and acceptable way to speak??)  So, assuming that this meaningless conversation was over, I hunkered back down and cuddled up to my favorite pillow to finish a few more pages before calling it a night.  A couple of minutes later, I realized my eyes were starting to droop, so I turned out the lights and laid down my head.

What? What was that? Was that another text message? Are you serious?  Almost disgusted, I picked up my phone and saw that Mr. Mystery Man had once again sent me an inquiry.  "Who dis," he asked.  Well, I'm pretty sure he asked it, since there was no such punctuation to reinforce that idea.  I wrote back in hopes that my obvious lack of desire to really communicate would stop the flow of messages.  I said "Not Wanda."  Because, you know, I'm not.  Again, light off, head on pillow.... come on!!!  Really??!?  "I c dat but Im trying to make a new lady friend," he explained.  Poor Wanda.  Written off, just like that.

Now, here's where my sarcasm usually gets me in trouble.  This obviously very educated and wellspoken gentleman had absolutely no notion of my gender at this point.  He hadn't made it to my voicemail message or he would have known that he had the wrong number (unless "Melanie" ocassionally sounds like "Wanda," but I'm thinking he at least has the intelligence to be able to decipher between those two very distinctive sounding names).  Maybe assumed that since I used punctuation, I must have been female.  Maybe it was just the fact that I'd responded to "Who dis."  I don't know.  Part of me wanted to have some fun with this particular scenario.  Creative Melanie had visions of delight at the thought of completely flipping this guy out with something shocking to do with having a particular male body part (which of course, I do not) or acting like he'd somehow managed to mistakenly contact a local celebrity, a priest or a police officer.  Instead, I decided to take the moral high road and simply respond with:  "Sorry.  Good luck."  Before I could lay the phone back down, yet another message glowed from my screen:  "?s ur name Im trying to get lucky with u."

I kid you not.  I can't make this stuff up, my friends.  I decided that this was the final straw and did not continue our "conversation."  When I woke up this morning, I had four additional texts from Mr. Mystery Man, all saying "?s ur name."  I'm assuming that by adding an "s" to a question mark translates as some kind of conjunction for the words "what" and "is" in the language known as Stupid, or at least in the dialect spoken with the 706 area code.

I know I've said this before, but I have now reached the absolute bottom of the dating barrel.  Surely.  Please God.  How can you possibly get worse than an incorrect grammar-ridden, wrong-number text proposition from an absolute stranger??  Text messages are the bain of my social existence!  How do I manage to attract such communications even at a random level?!?  The dating gods have been laughing at me for months, but this is just a low blow.

After twelve straight months of examining and writing about my life as a Singleton, the silliness never ceases to amaze me.

P.S.  I missed the eHarmony deadline, but ever-predictable in their marketing, I received an "Offer extended!" email just a few minutes ago.  We'll see which side the coin lands on after a few more days of pondering.  For those of you interested in giving it a shot,  you can communicate for free throughout the weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

To Date or Not To Date

I don't know how well I thought through this whole "online dating hiatus" thing.  At the time, I was in the midst of online dating chaos, surrounded by ridiculous profiles and communications that had absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  I was overwhelmed with the ridiculousness of it all.  A self-imposed break was a light at the end of the tunnel and just so happened to be perfect timing.  I mean, honestly, who wants to juggle deciphering online-dating-email-man-speak and various uncomfortable first-dates/meetings with Christmas parties (potential target-rich environment... unfortunately, I was unsuccessful again this year), gift purchasing (no boyfriend equals one less present to buy!) and family gatherings (don't get me started on the caliber of man I need to find to tolerate my family in a small setting, let alone when they're at the peak during holiday festivities).

For the last three days I've had an email in my inbox to which I keep going back.  I'll open other emails that are new, glance through some old funny forwards and the like, but this one has a little yellow star next to it that I put there to remind me not to forget about it.  Although part of me wants to forget about it.  Part of me can see Future Melanie stumbling across it when it's entirely too late and overdramatizing a response of "Oh, man! I can't believe I forgot about that email!" with maybe a "disappointed" click of my teeth and a nod of "disbelief."  The other part of me hates to pass up a good deal... a good deal with potential lifelong benefits.  eHarmony, in their never ceasing pursuit of me as a customer, sent an email three days ago singing their own praises, adorned with photographs of the loving smiles and tender poses of endearment of an eHarmony success story couple and giant letters promising a subscription of only $9.95 for three months for returning users.  Urgh.  As a frugal girl on the hunt for love, this is almost as good as free and much less expensive than other nationally recognized online dating options.  You know, besides, but we all know what comes of actual free online dating. (Sidenote, have you seen their television commercial?  We'll visit this topic at a later date.  Stay tuned.)

The more I think about this amazingly good deal, the more it infuriates me.  I am tempted beyond belief to dive back into the online dating pool, simply because it's been a relatively long time with no potential-suitor action to speak of and my weekends are far from noteworthy.  My "good God, I'm running out of time!!!" inner monologue continues to increase in volume as even my "I'll surely get married before they do" acquaintances have almost all found true love and ridden off into the sunset.  And to lay all of my cards out on the table, even though I'm surrounded by people on a daily basis with never a problem finding or making friends, I'm lonely for that distinct companionship that eHarmony "promises" to help me fulfill.  But, back to why it infuriates it... it infuriates me because I can't use my usual excuse of not wanting to pay the standard ridiculously high monthly rate.  Bastards.

Two dates (at places not fulfilling my New Year's Resolution, of course, any establishment meeting that goal would be well worth the $30 investment) would pay for my three-month membership easily.  But are those two dates worth getting back into the shenanigans?  Will the shenanigans be worth it if I meet the man of my dreams?  Do I really need to pay to meet said man of my dreams? Questions, questions, questions...  Oh, believe me, I have more after contemplating this email for the last 72 hours.  But, I'm sparing you.

Here's the catch:  the rate in my email expires at 11:59 p.m. tonight.  Well, supposedly.  Sometimes I get an "Offer Extended!!" email within the next day or two, but they've never sent an offer this enticing, so eHarmony might throw me a curveball and really stick to their deadline guns.  As of writing this, that gives me a little over four hours to decide my immediate future and fate in the realm of online dating.  Nothing like adding another ticking clock to things (See: Things That Aren't So Great About Being Single Reason #5.)

Help me, Singletons and Marrieds.  Do I remain hopeful that I can and do have the power, attractiveness, personality and communication skills to meet an actual, real, upstanding human being man in the flesh or do I temporarily go back to requiring the assistance of 400-question personality surveys and 29 levels of compability??

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Singleton Lockdown

Sometimes I view my status as a Singleton kind of like being in a jail cell.  Okay, maybe jail cell is a bit harsh and a slight exaggeration.  Hmm... maybe more like a holding cell.  Yeah...  But, don't get me wrong, there aren't any cinder block walls, lines scratched in the walls to keep track of the days or ugly bars.  My Singleton holding cell is pretty.  The walls are decorated in cute, feminine colors and designs.  I have lots of pictures on the walls of all my friends and family smiling down on me.  I can play music, watch television, sleep in a bed that is at least an upgrade from a plastic covered foam mattress.  I can make as many phone calls as I want and nobody reads my mail. 

But, if you look just beyond the edge of my cell, there is a pretty little gate.  It's not the least bit pretentious or threatening, but nonetheless, it is there and there's no getting around it.  As you get closer, you can notice a small, shiny red, heart-shaped combination lock securing my gate to the walls of Singledom.  Go ahead... check out the lock.  You've never seen anything like that before.  So many possibilities one could never just stumble into figuring out the combination, whose length changes with the wind.  The timing has to be just right.  It has to be a perfect fit.  You can tug and tug on that lock, but it won't give.  You can sit there for hours, days, years trying to come up with the right configuration of letters to spell the right word to open that stubborn little thing, but you won't have any luck on your own.

On the opposite side of my Singleton holding cell is the walkway of the cell block.  Day after day, the warden walks other Singletons past, obviously on their way to their holding cell, some passing so quickly that they're almost indistinguishable.  Occasionally, one will slow down and notice me standing there smiling in my best outfit with hair that took hours to get that good and makeup that took even longer.  The warden will let them chat for a minute or two, maybe even come in for a visit.  We sit, have a bite to eat, laugh.  I work up the nerve to ask them if they know the combination to my lock.  Suddenly it becomes clear that I've said too much, gone too far, rushed too fast or waited too long.  And they're gone... without ever helping me with even the slightest hint.  And I'm alone again.

Just beyond my lock and gate, just out of reach is Coupledom.  I can see it clearly.  Happy people living their lives in twos, without concern to who they'll spend Valentine's Day with or how they'll manage to completely block out all signs of it in an attempt to wish it away.  Happy people who discovered their combination years ago and just can't understand why I can't master my own heart-shaped lock.  Happy people who smile reassuringly, "You'll get there, honey, just keep waiting... can't be long now!  Eventually you'll get it right... hopefully," and off they skip, arm in arm. 

I can see Coupledom.  I can almost reach it.  But, I can't get to it.  Sometimes I get close.  I spin the little wheels on my combination lock to spell the name of my most recent visitor, tug at the heart and... nothing.  But, I keep trying.  One day, I'll figure it out.  I'll put everything together, everything will fall right into place, the timing will be perfect, I'll spell out his name and... click!  We'll throw open the gate and leave Singledom in our dust, a distant memory of another life.  But, I'm not there yet.  Soon.  Hopefully.  I can't imagine I'll have too many more attempts before I just completely wear out these little wheels, rubbing clean the letters and maybe my chance of ever getting it right.  I have to be careful and more conservative with my lock, resisting the urge to try every John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt that comes along.

So with that, I'm thinking since I've got a bit longer to hang out in this holding cell, I should probably maintain my pattern of good behavior.  Maybe I could manage at least a conjugal visit or two while I wait.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Love Drop - January

As a member of 20SomethingBloggers (check them out, there are some really great writers in the blogosphere... but don't tell them that I'm now a 30SomethingBlogger), I was recently approached to be a part of something that I think is a wonderful use of all these words I throw out into the universe.  ItStartsWithUs, a global community service project, reached out to those of us who are members of 20SomethingBloggers asking for our help in their newest endeavor:  Love Drop.  After reading about this project and watching their videos, I agreed to be a unique part of what they're doing.  I want to tell you why.

Lost in Singledom has really helped me through a pretty tough time in my life.  I've spent countless hours pouring my heart out in search of love in a very particular form.  But, what I have gained from this blog and all its silliness is love in two very different forms that my original intention.  First, (and without inspiring an inner monologue of the lyrics to "The Greatest Love of All" to become stuck in your head for days... what is it with that song?!?) through the last year, I've really figured out who I am and learned a lot about what I want out of life.  I've learned about the things that make me who I am and embraced the parts I love and really reevaluated the parts I'm not so crazy about.  I also realized how important it is to love the people around you, and when you emanate love in its purest form, you get it back tenfold.  So, at the heart of the matter, Lost in Singledom is more than just an expression of my utter hatred of online dating and all its shenanigans.  It's more than just my desire to find someone with whom I can spend the rest of my life.  At its core, Lost in Singledom is about love.  And so is Love Drop.  So, I had to be a part of it.

Each month, I will share with you the story of that month's Love Drop.  Wait, I haven't told you what a Love Drop is, have I?  Sorry.  I tend to get ahead of myself.  Each month, the people involved with ItStartsWithUs choose a family in need and together, through the power of the internet, we (as subscribers, fans, donors, etc.) do what we can to help put that family's life back together.  As someone who works in philanthropy on a daily basis, I can testify that giving means more than just whether or not you can write a check.  Money is wonderful and of course, ItStartsWithUs will happily accept donations.  But, they're looking for unique and clever ways that you can help.  Got a giftcard from Christmas that you'll never use?  A family in need could use it to buy things after a house fire.  Have a blog or Facebook page (click here for the ItStartsWithUs Facebook page)? Spread the word.  There are millionaires next door all over this country, many of whom are looking for good causes.

Please take a second and learn about Jill, this month's Love Drop recipient:

Every month the Love Drop community comes together to raise as much support and awareness as possible. It starts on the website -, gets spread across the entire network of blogs, continues through the forums where all the members are brainstorming, and finally lands on the front steps of the recipients. Literally.  At the end of every month, the founders of ItStartsWithUs show up in the town the people live in to deliver this pile of goodness. The money, the gifts, the services, everything! It's all on film, and it all ends with an amazing outpouring of love. And then it starts all over again the next month.

How can you help, you ask?  Easy.  First, you'll get a chance to meet the recipient each month right here.  My commitment is to share their stories with you!  Once you've been touched by their stories and want to get involved, you can:

  • Join the team - Become a member by paying whatever you want. Even $1.00.
  • Join our blogger network - Blog about Love Drops once a month! It's easy, it's rewarding, and it really helps spread the word (which in turn helps the families!). Love Drop will give you all the content you need.
  • Give a gift or provide a service - Gift cards, household goods, football cards/jerseys for the boys, web design services, pampering gifts for Jill, etc. (email all ideas/questions to, and they will make it happen).
So, please consider how your unique skills, talents, gifts or blessings can make a difference for this family!  I can't wait to see what happens!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Breakup Bashing

So, I don't want to turn this blog into any kind of celebrity dirt site or anything, but I want to talk about something that really bugs me.  Hopefully it bugs you too, and we can have a rip roaring conversation about it.

Tonight I was watching one of my mindless guilty pleasures, "Chelsea Lately," a late night celebrity gossip show combined with an actual "celebrity" interview.  The quotations are necessary because of the caliber of guests who appear on the show, for example, tonight's guest is Roseanne Barr.  See...quotations.  Anyway.  During the celebrity gossip roundtable, host Chelsea Handler started a discussion about Camille Grammer and her recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show.  While talking to the radio show, Grammer expounded on private details about her relationship and marriage to actor, Kelsey Grammer.  And by details, I really mean too much information.  She willingly shared that her ex-husband has a propensity to wear women's clothing and a lack of interest in a physical relationship with her. 

As much as this isn't uncommon, it hit me for some reason while watching this completely  meaningless show.  Why does a breakup automatically entitle people to share entirely too much information about their previous significant other?  It's downright frightening!  And celebrities aren't the only guilty parties!  How many times have you seen ex-bashing on Facebook? 

I know that Camille Grammer in no way should stand for the average American woman responding to a breakup.  She's desperately trying to achieve something beyond her fifteen minutes granted through her appearance on the Real Housewives of wherever the heck she lives.  And honestly, before two days ago, I didn't even know she existed on this planet, and I'm moderately up-to-date with pop culture.  I can't keep the names of the Kardashians straight, but I know the important stuff.  I don't know the details of their breakup either, but unless Kelsey Grammer beat her, cheated on her or stole from her, does he deserve this treatment simply because their relationship didn't work out?  I'm not necessarily on his team because from what I've heard through various sources and from the man himself, his treatment of women seems usually less than gentlemanly (and I learned my lesson picking sides during the Team Jon vs. Team Kate showdown), but why has this become commonplace following dissolution of relationships?  At some point, these two people thought (hopefully) that they were going to spend the rest of their lives together.  They thought that there was no one else on the planet better suited to be their partner in life.  Then, all of a sudden, the tables turn and out come the insult guns, loaded and cocked.  If the other person is so horrible now, did you even know him/her well enough to get married in the first place?

Maybe I'm idealistic and overly romantic.  Maybe I don't know the true depth of a breakup because I haven't really had to experience one of my own.  Thankfully.  Maybe I don't know how a deep enough hurt can make the worst come out in a person.  But, I hope that I'd be mature enough to keep my personal issues off the internet and respect the other person.  Bashing them isn't going to make them come running back to me or change the situation.  Move on, Camille and salvage whatever self-respect you may have left after your jaunt as a "real housewife."

Post-Post Writer's Note:  Apparently, Goldie Hawn's ex, Bill Hudson is no better.  Check it out.

Run-On Sentences and Other Dating Turn-Offs

So after two and a half days of being snowbound due to Winter Storm 2011 blasting Atlanta and North Georgia, I've had plenty of time to... well... reflect.  Okay, plenty of time meaning the two minutes and two seconds during commercial breaks of NCIS reruns and the local news and the occasional instances where I decide that it is part of being a responsible adult to get off the couch and bathe on a daily basis.  During a few of these rare moments of brain activity, I realized that I can't really accomplish my 2011 New Year's resolution without putting myself out there a little bit.  Maybe I should work harder at mixing up my dating options a bit, I thought, create more of a combination approach to meeting new people.  I know I've talked about it before, but maybe now is the time to put that in action.  After the longest of these contemplations, I sat back down on the couch (come on, what else is there to do in 5 inches of snow in Atlanta?) and decided to finally open a few of my recent emails... mostly out of curiosity to see what I managed to attract without any effort on my part in my recent online dating hiatus. 

It took all of about three seconds for me to make a pretty monumental discovery.  I have become the Singleton that I had hoped I would not.  When I started this whole thing, I promised myself (and was forced to promise various other friends who knew I had this tendency) that I would not rush to judgment of male suitors or potential matches based on some small, insignificant, obviously petty characteristic that seems to be more prevalent in the country today than the opposite.  Urgh.  But more often than not, I find myself completely ruling people out because of it, and there is no way to stop it.  I can't overlook it, and my ability to instantly recognize it aggravates me tenfold when I can't seem to forget that it exists.  All right, I'll say it.  Are you ready to finally see how discriminatingly narrow-minded I can actually be?  Here is it:

My name is Melanie and I can't see past spelling and grammatical errors in online dating profiles.  (GASP!) (Hangs head in shame.  Peeks up to see if you are looking at her with disgust.)  Let me explain.

Among the various emails I received from men on POF, the first one that caught my attention didn't even require clicking the link to open.  His screenname alone proved, in multiple ways, that I was not the slightest bit interested.  "IWantToPleezeYou" was obviously less educated and driven to online date by more physical factors than I am (and I am not giving him the benefit of the doubt that by "pleeze," he means "make me happy."  Nope.  No benefit simply because of his choice of letters and their placement).  Moving on to the next contestant on "Who Doesn't Really Want To Date Melanie?"  The next email was from a gentlemen who had a very reasonable screenname (although I'm pretty sure it contained his actual last name, so draw your own conclusions on intelligence).  Inside, his profile relayed his desire to find someone who wasn't going to change him, wasn't going to cheat on him, and wasn't into playing games.  His introduction paragraph went on and on about these things, all in one rather lengthy, rather grammatically incorrect sentence.  Okay... deep breaths, Melanie... it's okay.  Maybe he was just really excited about getting his profile out there to the world to find the woman of his dreams.  Deep breath.  Keep reading and don't be judgmental.  I noted that he preferred not to answer on his religion, his desire to have children and whether or not he owned a car (strange POF profile required question), but kept reading.  Amazingly.  Until... I got to his profession.  I could see past blatant attempts to obscure unattractive responses; I could see past his probably Guinness World Record quality run-on introduction paragraph/sentence, but I could not see past what I saw next.  Next to "Profession,"  this Singleton replied:  "Buisnes."  Oh.  Good.  Grief.  Seriously?  Seriously. 

Spelling the word as "buisness" is a pretty typical typographical error.  I could overlook that.  Probably less likely to be overlooked when paired with the run-on sentence of the year, but I digress.  But, dropping the last letter most definitely reinforces the spelling error.  It's his profession!!!  And he can't spell it!!! 

Okay, so I know that I have had many a spelling error myself and am by no means claiming infallibility when it comes to grammatical errors.  I'm sure you could easily peruse through the last few posts and find at least two or three errors within the first few paragraphs.  But, much like my resume and cover letters for job applications, my online profiles are proofread repeatedly and absolutely spotless.  Because I'm trying to make a good first impression.  And somehow transfer to the world via the internet that I have at least a semblance of intelligence.  Which will hopefully inspire communication.  I know that not everyone possesses this extreme love of comma placement, appreciates the lost art of the semicolon and comes alive at the challenge of out-thinking a thesaurus.  But, how can I take anyone seriously who cannot, at the very least, spell check the name of his own profession?!

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that I'm probably simply diverting my lack of desire to go anywhere near online dating again towards an inability to find anyone above an eighth grade reading level.  More than likely, I'm just looking for reasons to continue avoiding it altogether and poor spelling and grammar are...well...easy targets.  I won't see past them unless I want to.  And right now, I think I'm happy to be a self-righteous, but thankfully grammatically correct, Singleton.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolution: No Flair

So, with the close of 2010 came the end of my self-imposed moratorium on all things online dating.  And honestly, I haven't really missed it.  I've missed...well... men... in a dating capacity, but I haven't missed the constant dramatics of the search and follow-up.  Being single through the holidays is never as miserable as I think it's going to be, and although I don't really know otherwise, I enjoy them regardless of my relationship status (hit me back around that retail-driven "holiday" that occurs mid-February and this will be an entirely different sentiment). 

As we're all well aware, the television advertising this time of year caters to those of us in the resolution mindset.  Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Nicorette, and now online dating all hit the market full throttle, as if throwing away your 2010 Puppies calendar and replacing it with a 2011 Kittens version is somehow going to instigate you to do things you should have done months or even years ago.  I'm just as guilty.  I have my annual January Diet and Exercise Plan, which fades into the "Wait Until It's Warmer Outside" Diet and Exercise Plan, then becomes "Oh, It's Entirely Too Hot To Exercise" Diet and Exercise Plan and dies a slow, quiet death long before the holidays approach again and then who has motivation to diet and exercise when faced with heaping plates of gingerbread cookies, shortbread and rum cakes.  Not I.  So, I wait until January to kick off the cycle again.  But, I digress.  Before this year, I hadn't noticed all the online dating commercials.  Could be because I spent most of 2010 immersed in this particular strange subculture of relationship-creating.  Can you really make a resolution to date more? I guess so...  maybe a resolution to put yourself out there and be more open to a relationship, but I'd imagine that has an even lesser success rate than Jenny Craig and Nicorette.

To be blunt (and who I am to beat around the bush?), watching the commercials really ticked me off.  Apparently, I'm still doing something completely wrong.  In the ad, which I've so cooperatively embedded below for your viewing pleasure, there are couples meeting on actual, real first dates, so no actors here, no stages, no set-ups (as if first dates are freaking enough, throw a camera crew and lighting techs in the middle of it,  They are meeting in nice, sophisticated adult restaurants, drinking wine, toasting each other... one couple even takes what resembles Jager Bomb-like shots.  On their first date.  And they're laughing and comfortable and dressed appropriately.  And probably didn't tell the other one that they made him/her drive almost an hour and a half to meet them because they were only familiar with the five-mile radius around their apartment complex.  And no one was wearing holey polo shirts five sizes too big for them or beat up Birkenstocks with nasty toes exposed.  No one seemed confused because the person greeting them looked completely different from their profile picture.  Why, dating gods, why?  Is it possible that there is this whole demographic of real people on that I somehow got excluded from in my searches?  Did I click some kind of unknown button that made me only have access to the weirdos and liars?  Surely that's what happened.  Because none, not one single one of my first dates even came close to looking like the ones in this ad.  Look at this girl's face in the screenshot!  That's a real smile, for goodness sake.  Urgh.  Watch the commercial...I'll wait...

So, after careful consideration (and watching this commercial several times), I've decided that my New Year's resolution is not, in fact, to find love via online dating.  Oh, no.  It is much simpler than that.  I want to go out on a real date.  I want to get dressed up (and I don't mean wearing my best pair of jeans and heels and being the snazziest person in the Rio Bravo) and be invited to a restaurant where the wait staff do not wear flair and the dining room does not have a decor theme that even hints at "the wild west," "the Australian outback," "a Mexican border town," or "the woods of Alabama" (have you been in a Bugaboo Creek?  People, the stuffed moose head on the wall talks to you.  The squirrels in the buckets behind your head sing to you.  It's ridiculous.).  Beyond this, I'd like to order a glass of wine without getting 1). the "I can't believe you just ordered that, do you see how much it costs?!?" stare down or 2). the "We're going to be here forever" shifting in the chair and sighing (or the outright "You took so long in the bathroom, that I started playing a baseball tournament game on my phone" comment I got from Mr. Braves Fan.  Not kidding.  I was gone maybe 4 minutes.  He's lucky I didn't climb out of the window while I was in there.).  I'm not a huge drinker and would never insist on drinking if my date was uncomfortable with it, but I'd like to find someone who is okay with it and just might join me.  Unlike the last ditch attempt I made to meet face-to-face with an online dater who told me that, although he does drink, he would not accept a beer from me in honor of his birthday because he never drinks of first dates (commendable, right? Keep reading), in fact, he never drinks of dates period and would never have a drop of alcohol in front of me as long as we knew each other.  Ha. I stopped communicating very shortly after in that day.   A glass of wine makes me feel like a sophisticated, grown up and ladylike.  Three glasses of wine make me feel like a...  I'll stop there.

Long story short, my idea of a perfect date (and hopefully an attainable goal in 2011) is pretty simple and not at all demanding, I don't think.  I'd like to ponder for days exactly what to wear, either settling for my most flattering dress in my closet or using the classiness of the date as an excuse to go out and buy something brand new.  I'd like to meet, as I said, at a nice restaurant, possibly one that serves something foreign and exotic that I've never had before.  Something memorable.  Our face-to-face meeting would be a bit more friendly than my usual handshake I've received from most of my online dating suitors and sometimes that was even a stretch.  At several of my first dates, it was simply a "Hi, I'm (insert name here)" and into the restaurant we'd go.  A glass of wine would be ordered by each of us and enjoyed over actual conversation, not job interview-like question and answer sessions.  He'd be equally dressed in his finest business casual (we are at a nice restaurant, after all) and we'd laugh with the waiter as we mangled the pronunciation of the foreign dishes.  As we start to relax a bit, we'd continue our amazing conversation, share a dessert and leave the restaurant, walking a bit closer than we had been when we first made our way to our table.  He'd walk me to my car and I'd anxiously await a phone call or email or hell, even a text the next morning.

Is that so much to ask?  Should I just expect that the most elaborate thing on the menu for my future first dates will be a Bacon Cheddar Barbecue Burger?  Do I sound ungrateful?  Should I be happy at whatever restaurant is chosen by my online dating matches?  Or hell, most of the time happy that they didn't leave all the decisions to me? Or are peanut shells and Boot Scootin' Boogie-ing servers a reflection of how interested or serious my pursuers are?  Not in 2011, friends.  This Singleton is classing it up in my thirties.

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