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.


  1. I JUST saw that commercial and was completely astonished. It's gotta be fake, right? I finally caved and bought a subscription to eHarmony and can't even get anyone to return the dumb first stage multiple choice questions, let alone go on a date. I've gotten more dates from those free communication weekends, where you have to shove all your communication into two days and risk looking like a loser with nothing to do for a weekend except hang out on eHarm, just so you can get someone's email.

    So goal of 2011 is a date, from online, real life, to anywhere. Well, not ANYWHERE. But I've gotten cynical. Your standards for classiness are completely justified and hopefully satisfied.

  2. My first date with my husband was at IHOP, which probably set a precedence for our courtship and marriage. It's nearly impossible to get him to wear slacks and a polo instead of jeans! You can console yourself with the knowledge that there are married women who yearn for your ideal date, but don't lower your standards--you deserve a gentleman!


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