Chick On a Date

adventures in online and offline dating

You Never Can Tell

What’s the old saying? “You can’t judge a book by its cover”? True, and you also can’t judge a man solely by his online dating profile.

I have a confession to make here: I’m sometimes kind of a bitch when it comes to this dating thing. If I don’t like your pictures, or if you strike me as boring, I’m probably not going to go out of my way to talk to you much. I mean, I’ve completely blown off a lot of guys…and I’ll bet some of those guys are pretty great in person. I just wasn’t bowled over by something about them that I saw online.

But here’s the thing. I was doing this to a guy recently, kind of just ignoring him. Somehow we gotten to the point where we had exchanged phone numbers and everything, but we hadn’t met in the flesh yet. That’s probably because I just wasn’t all that excited about him. His photos were okay, but nothing really exciting. His profile was decent, but nothing really stood out to me. So every time he asked to meet, I would either make up an excuse or really be busy doing something I didn’t want to change.

But then one day I said, “What the hell” and we hung out for a while. And guess what? I really liked him. I mean, he was way cuter and smarter and funnier than I would have ever guessed. He made me laugh, made me think, and boy, does that guy have gorgeous eyes. I didn’t get ANY of that by looking at him online.

So this guy has forgiven me for being a bitch at the start and we are going out again soon. I’m pretty happy about that, because I could have ruined this whole thing before it even began. Lesson learned: no more judging a book by its cover. I’ll at least read the first chapter from now on.

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Let’s Make a Pact

We all know I’m currently boyfriend-less. I’m just another lonely lady in the lonely world looking for a lonely man to call her own. But I’ve been meeting some really interesting people lately and, who knows, one of them just may end up being the Man For Me. And if that turns out to be the case, I know there are some things I’ll have to change in my life. So here’s my Contract For Being A Good Girlfriend:

What I’ll Do For Love

I solemnly swear that at such time as I earn the right to call some guy My Main Squeeze, I will do or will no longer do the following things:

  • I promise to smash down my insane hair in the morning to the best of my ability so I don’t scare the hell out of him as soon as he wakes up.
  • I will limit the number of products in the bathroom to leave space for his personal items. (This is a hard one.)
  • I will not eat only a hotdog and a glass of wine for dinner (unless he happens to be as awesome as I am, and then I’m totally willing to throw a couple more dogs on).
  • I will remember to call to let him know when I’ll be late. I will also try really hard not to bitch at him if he forgets to call me. As long as he just forgets once. After that, dude’s on his own.
  • I will make it my number one job to make him laugh every day. Even if I have to fall down or put snow down my own pants to do it.
  • I will never forget his birthday or our anniversary, and I will think of amazing ways to celebrate. (I may need help with this one.)
  • I will always pick him first whenever we’re in a situation that calls for teams.
  • I will not make fun of him when he cries at a sad movie and then pretends he wasn’t crying. At least not much.
  • I will read aloud to him. Hopefully, this won’t be something I have to do against his will. I will also listen carefully when he reads aloud to me.
  • I will make up songs and stories about him. Everyone deserves to be the star of a song and a story every now and then. Especially my honey.
  • I will not make him do stuff he really hates, and if it’s something we both really hate then we will take turns or draw straws.
  • I promise to never withhold sex as a punishment. Because, after all, that’s really just punishing myself, isn’t it?
  • I will always ask his opinion about important things, and I will actually consider his opinion thoughtfully. No lip service here.
  • I will laugh even when he tells lame jokes. I will laugh especially hard at said jokes when we are in the presence of other people and no one else laughs.
  • I will always have his back.

I’m probably leaving a lot of stuff out, but that’s what we (whenever I know who “we” is) can figure out together. For now, I think this contract is mighty tempting to any man, don’t you?

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Living Like I’m on Fire

Wanna know the best thing about dating? Yep, you guessed it: It’s meeting all those cool people. So I haven’t met The Man For Me yet; I HAVE met some amazing, interesting, fun, and fantastic guys. And I’ve realized that even when I’m sick and tired of going on first dates, ready to call it all off and just buy a bunch of cats and eat Mexican food every night, and dread the thought of meeting yet another creepy asshole, I can’t stop looking.

I’m looking because I know I’m better when I’m in a relationship. I know I’m more comfortable when I have someone to care for, to laugh with, to share my innermost secrets with. I realized a long time ago that I’m a snuggler. Sleeping alone drives me crazy; I’m always searching around, half-asleep, for the man I know is supposed to be sleeping over there on the other side of the bed. I love holding hands, kissing in the rain, getting a phone call in the middle of the day (that always cheers me up). I like eating with someone, traveling with someone, being excited to see someone at the end of a long day.

So I keep looking. I know, without a doubt, that I will find someone incredible to spend my life with. I’ve never doubted that. I may get frustrated because it’s taking so damn long for us to find each other, but I have always known that I will have someone holding my hand at the end of my life, someone to kiss me good night.

I know how to find him, I just don’t know when he’ll show up. I will keep going on those first dates (and seconds, and thirds…), and I will continue to talk to strangers and dance with friends of friends and take snowboarding lessons and join running clubs and take Italian classes. I will smile and keep an open mind and bitch about the losers and always be hopeful. I will live like I’m on fire, taking on too much that I don’t have time for and looking into the eyes of strangers to find that spark that will tell me we are supposed to be together.

Life is much too short to give up on love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down at the coffee shop,
Hoping you’ll come in,
Hoping you’ll sit down with me
So our new love can begin.

I don’t know who you are,
But I need a brand new start,
So come on to the coffee shop—
You’re welcome to my heart.

— Betty L. Killebrew

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What’s Cooking, Hot Stuff?

Last night I attended a cooking class, a Stir (Match.com) event. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a very good cook. I get impatient, I throw things into pots and pans willy nilly and just hope for the best, so I thought this would be a good way to actually learn a skill while I meet some cute guys and have a good time. Mission accomplished. Well, except for that cooking thing, because probably the only thing I came away from it with is how to make gnocchi. Oh, and I will never eat anything but homemade caramel again.

This was a FUN class. The scariest thing about it was that the cooking school is in this weird warehouse area of Minneapolis. The streets around the building were actually deserted at six p.m. on a Tuesday, and the place itself doesn’t have any real signage until you walk right up on it, so I wondered at first whether I was even in the right place. I wasn’t the only one who thought that, either, because as soon as I walked in, the first thing I heard were people going, “Thank goodness this is it. I wondered where the hell my GPS was taking me.” But anyway, it was the right place — a very cool warehouse-y type joint with big open garage doors (you can kinda see that in the photo) and an industrial type feel to it. There was some soft jazz playing (because, duh, isn’t there always soft jazz playing at places like this?) and as soon as I signed in I was given a couple wine tickets. So of course I made a beeline for the booze and poured myself a nice big glass before starting the weird middle-aged mating dance that these things really are at heart.

Guess who the first person I saw was? Yep, Mr. I’m Gonna Kick Your Ass from the last happy hour thing I went to. He complimented me on my dress and boots and then refused to leave my side. It was a little flattering but a little weird. He said, “Oh, I decided to come to this because when I saw you last week you mentioned you were going.” Uh huh. And THAT was your reason? Is he not aware I’m not into him?

Anyway…

I am nothing if not a social butterfly, so I just jumped right into the closest conversation happening around me and ended up sitting with a great woman around my age (yes, we exchanged numbers; how does that always happen?) and two single men. The ass kicker noticed, I’m sure, that I grabbed the last seat at a table so I wouldn’t get partnered up with him, but he sat right behind me so I still had to talk to him for about half of the three hours or so we were there. The guy sitting next to me was cute in a nerdy sort of shy way, and we hit it off pretty well. In fact, after the class he walked me to my car and asked me when I was available to go out. Success! But my poor new friend across the table ended up with a much older, bleary-eyed gent who managed to somehow look creepy while he was mixing up the flour, egg, and potato for the gnocchi. For some reason, my table put me in charge of forming the little gnocchi balls and pressing them down a little with a fork before we threw them in the pot. Apparently I look like a hell of a good forker. I do love a good fork, I have to say.

It was fun learning how to cook, hearing about starch molecules and why Rachael Ray is a condescending twat. So we cooked and ate and laughed and talked and the time flew by. Midway through the cooking instruction, we were told we could swap tables if we wanted to. My new friend and I immediately made eye contact, raised our eyebrows, and started scanning the room for a couple of hot men we could sit next to. We moved down to the other end of the room, leaving our partners with new ones. It wasn’t the nerdy shy guy we were escaping from, though; it was mostly the guy who looked like he was raping his dough.

So now we were set to make some risotto. I love risotto and, although I’ve never made it myself, I consider myself an expert in how it should taste. So I was pretty interested in this part. Unfortunately, however, I got sidetracked by talking to the new people at my table and didn’t really pay attention (I know, big surprise, huh?) and therefore never caught on to what the hell we were supposed to be doing. I just let some woman at the table do all of it while I clinked glasses with the men around me and talked about politics and music. I did give the chick who did all the work a big smile and a “Thanks, this is awesome” while I ate her creation; I’m not RUDE, damn it. (She did forget to add the parmesan, though, and I could have called her on that, but since she did all the actual cooking while I got my flirt on, I kept my mouth shut.)

Finally…dessert. Chocolate cake with caramel sauce. Bliss. Again, though, I didn’t really do the actual dumping in of the ingredients or the stirring or any of that, I just basically chatted and had a good time while the women around me worked. I would have hated me at this thing. Our table’s caramel sauce didn’t turn out so great, so I turned to the next table and ate some of theirs. Hey, they let me, so whatever. There were no rules saying I couldn’t eat from another table or anything. And it was delicious. Best part of the whole night, really. And I was also pretty tipsy at this point, since I had two very nice gentlemen with good intentions filling my wine glass all night.

How about the man thing, you ask? Well, that was good too. Again, I met two men I probably wouldn’t have given the time of day by looking at their profiles online, but talking to them and getting to know them a little in a real-life setting showed me how attractive they really are. So there are at least two dates that are going to come out of this, and a possibility for a couple more. And yeah, I got two women’s phone numbers as well…somehow I think I’m getting different stuff out of these things than I’m supposed to, but I have nothing against making new friends, no matter their sex.

I still can’t figure out how we get invited to these things, as about half of the people I spoke to last night have been invited to the next happy hour and half have not. I seem to be invited to everything. No idea why or what criteria Match uses to figure out who to invite. One of the women I met didn’t get an invite, but I can bring a couple guests, so I went ahead and added her so she can go to the next event too. See how this “chicks sticking together” thing works? I’m actually looking forward to the next event. I just hope the ass kicker guy won’t be as hard to shake next time.

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Romantics Among Us

I admit it: I haven’t always been the most romantic woman on earth. I’ve forgotten my share of anniversaries, and I’ve never been good at remembering the date of a first kiss or what he was wearing the first time I saw him. But I’m often shocked by how romantic many men seem to be, and how they DO remember what I was wearing on our first date, or the name of the goofy waiter at that restaurant we went to on December 12, 2008. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship with a guy where he wasn’t better at remembering our anniversary, and I’ve never loved a man who has forgotten to get me a Valentine’s Day gift. I haven’t (yet) sprinkled rose petals on our bed, but I’ve been sent a card a day for the month before my birthday, and even though I haven’t (yet) spent hours slaving over his favorite childhood dishes on my lover’s birthday, I have been the recipient of a handmade, heart-shaped pizza and a cake with my likeness on it for mine.

It seems, therefore, at least to a semi-non-romantic like me, that men are much more romantic than we women give them credit for. Recently, I was on a date with someone who mentioned that for our third date he wanted to do something “unique.” I asked him why it should be unique, and he replied that he wanted it to be special and memorable in case we fall in love and people ask us someday down the line what we did the first few times we went out. Awwww… right? I mean, how cute is that?

And that’s not the first time I’ve heard that. I can’t tell you how many first dates I’ve gone on where the guy says something like, “I wanted to bring you somewhere special because that way it might become ‘our’ place,” or “I always want to remember that I brought my wife to a Twins game on our first date.” No, these guys aren’t creepy stalkers, but they ARE forward-thinking romantics who are hedging their bets.

It’s also sort of flattering that a man thinks enough of me when he first asks me out to make it special for me. I’ve been given flowers, books, cards, drawings, and other items on first or second dates. And you know what? I’ve kept all of them, just in case that guy turns out to be The One and I can someday show those dried up daisies to my daughters and say, “He gave these to me on our first date. I loved that he remembered that I like daisies.” Know what I mean?

It’s surprising and wonderful to see what romantics those big, strong guys can sometimes be. They give me hope, every single time, that there’s a guy out there for me who will always see me as special enough to go out of his way for. And they also give me hope that, over the years, I will become a better romantic myself.

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