Chick On a Date

adventures in online and offline dating

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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A Valentine For You

If you are single, this is for you:

You are simply the most amazing person in the world. When others look at you, they see a warm, happy, beautiful human being. They see someone who does everything themselves, and who does it all well. You are a fabulous cook, an awesome parent (if you are one), and an excellent driver, no matter what anyone else says. You know how to juggle, how to delegate, and how to prioritize. You always look great. You are really, really wonderful, and I don’t want you to forget that. Ever.

I love you.

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Romance Isn’t Dead, Dammit

The upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday (I use the term “holiday” loosely here) makes me think about all things associated with romance, and what romance is, exactly.

I won’t lie; I love a romantic man. I absolutely adore feeling pampered (who doesn’t?) and when a man does little things for me I become like putty in his hands. I’m not talking about being showered with jewels or vacations or cars or anything; I’m talking about a little bouquet of flowers, a sweet little text that tells me he’s thinking of me, a home-cooked dinner. You know — those things we do for each other when we are in love. That’s my idea of romance: the knowledge that someone has thought of you and gone out of their way to bring a little sunshine into your life.

This Valentine’s Day I will still be single (as I have been for the past three), so I won’t get any flowers or cards or chocolate. I won’t be treated to a lovely dinner or get a delicious foot rub. Likewise, I have no one to get all mushy over either, so I won’t have to send any flowers, wear tantalizing undergarments, or try my hand at baking someone’s favorite dessert. I won’t have to remind any silly, absent-minded man to make dinner reservations or to leave work a few minutes early that day. I won’t have to spend any time looking through a hundred Valentine’s cards to find just the right one. And part of me is very glad I’m still single this year.

But why is Valentine’s Day the only day you become a romantic? Why is it the one day you make someone feel special? Shouldn’t we be doing that every single day for the ones we love? I really hope my next relationship will be with someone who understands what romance really is — that it isn’t the flowers you send on February 14 but the soup you make when your honey has strep throat, the note you leave on their pillow in the morning, and the voicemail that says, “I just wanted to say I love you.”

That’s romance, my dear, and it has nothing to do with Valentines’ Day. And it sure as hell isn’t dead.

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Looking For Jake Ryan

If you’re an American woman of a certain age, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. We all want Jake Ryan.

For those not in the know about this, Jake Ryan was a character in the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles. Jake (played by Michael Schoeffling; was he ever in anything else?) was Samantha’s (Molly Ringwald) love interest, and he was just as cute as can be. And every. single. woman. who ever saw this movie wanted her own Jake Ryan.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that Jake Ryan (for some reason you always have to say his full name; just Jake won’t do) is to-die-for gorgeous. I mean, look at the guy. Piercing eyes; thick, luxurious hair; sexy sideburns; and an extremely kissable mouth. Hoo-doggy, what a nice specimen of manhood. But his looks are NOT what most women love about him. Uh uh. What we really love about Jake Ryan are all those perfect-boyfriend qualities that every single one of us desires. In other words, I’m not looking for someone who looks like Jake Ryan, but who embodies the Jake Ryan-esque traits I adore.

So what makes Jake Ryan so special? Let me spell it out for you:

1. He’s funny.

Okay, maybe that scene isn’t a good example of his sense of humor, but take my word for it.

2. He is sensitive and stands up for the downtrodden. Jake Ryan is one of the beautiful people. He has a gorgeous girlfriend, popular friends, and a hell of a lot going for him. But he doesn’t treat “the little people” like crap. Not Jake Ryan.

The Geek (played by Anthony Michael Hall) is stuck under a glass-topped table. Does Jake Ryan leave him there to die? No. He lets The Geek out, gives him a beer, and lets him drive his car. How many people would do that for a nerd? And he falls in love with a dorky chick, even when his friends wonder what the hell he’s thinking. He stands up for her. He thinks for himself. What a lovely man is Jake Ryan.

3. He is deep. Jake Ryan has a gorgeous girlfriend who puts out and likes to party (or vice versa). And yet, he is drawn to the quiet, sweet Samantha instead. I personally have no idea what he was thinking, but hey, what woman doesn’t want a guy who looks under the surface of a woman to fall in love with who she really is?

4. He is romantic. Everybody else forgets poor Sam’s birthday, but not Jake Ryan. He even gets her a kick-ass birthday cake and (I am assuming) lifts her up onto the table to eat it with him. And he opens doors for her! And he looks into her eyes longingly! And he thinks she’s the cat’s pajamas (my words, not his)!

What woman wouldn’t like that shit?

As soon as I find my Jake Ryan, it’s all over. And he’s out there.

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Taking It All More Seriously

I’ve been single for about three years now. Long time, right? And it’s not like I haven’t dated — I’ve gone through periods where it felt like all I was doing was going on dates. But I haven’t been taking it very seriously. I wasn’t trying very hard to find the right guy, and I certainly wasn’t giving the guys I was seeing much of a chance.

So what’s different now?

Truth be told, I don’t really know. It’s not like I had some near-death experience or an alien abduction or anything. I haven’t been hit over the head with anything. But all of a sudden I feel very different about the whole dating process, and I’m looking at the men I date in a whole new way.

Don’t get me wrong: Every date I go on is not with a potential marriage partner. I’m not pushing for a relationship with anyone (yet). But I have a completely different viewpoint these days. I’m much more discerning in choosing my dates — I’d rather go on one good date a week than three meh dates — and I’m looking at them differently. Instead of thinking only about where we’ll go and what we’ll do, I’m thinking more about how our personalities, values, and goals complement each other. I’m thinking about how kind this guy is, how much he makes me smile, how he communicates.

Believe me, I don’t want to make dating a job. It’s not like I’m interviewing the men I go out with to see if they will make good partner material. But something in me has changed. I’m ready to be there for someone again. I’m ready to see how things work with just one person. I’m open to falling in love, and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way.

I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t know if I will ever fall in love again or be in a relationship again. But I do know my heart is open now. And I think that’s a pretty good place to start.

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