Chick On a Date

adventures in online and offline dating

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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Mingling with Match

Online dating is annoying. It’s also a good way to meet other single people, at least for someone like myself, who isn’t interested in picking up potential life partners at a bar. I recently rejoined, and within the past month I’ve been invited to a couple Stir events.

Stir events are Match’s way of bringing us lonely online hunters into the real world — all together, at the SAME TIME! Revolutionary, right? There are a variety of Stir events planned, including happy hours at a variety of venues, cooking classes, dance lessons, and other stuff single people are into, I guess. (I think these Stir events are being held all over the country in major metropolitan areas, but I’m too damn lazy to look it up at the moment.)

Here’s how it worked for me:

I got an email inviting me to a Stir event, a happy hour at a downtown Minneapolis wine bar/restaurant (Spill the Wine). I thought, “What the hell; it’s not like I’m going to do anything else on a Monday night in October” and RSVPd. You can also register to bring two “wing men” or “wing women” if you don’t feel like going alone; they don’t have to be members of Match, but they have to be single. I didn’t invite any friends to go with me, mostly because, yeah, I don’t have any single friends. Sucks to be me sometimes. Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea if I went alone; it would force me to mingle with people I don’t know instead of just hanging out with people I already know, right?

So last night I went.

And guess what? It was actually kind of fun.

Ladies, if you want an ego boost, go to one of these deals. You will have men swarming all over you like flies on poo. As soon as I walked into the place and headed over to the bar, there were guys eyeballing me and heading over to say hi. And the cool thing was that I knew all of these guys were single (well, at least I hope so; I guess we can never be too sure at the start, huh?) and were all around my age range. Nice. Know what else? There were some damn good-looking ones in attendance! Fo shiz.

Sorry about the quality of the photo. I actually forgot about taking more pictures as the night wore on, so I guess that’s a sign I had a good time, right?

It was a pretty good sized crowd. Maybe, at the peak of the evening, about 150 people or so. There seemed to be around an even number of men and women, and most appeared to be in their 40s and 50s. There were a couple of guys who seemed a little elderly, but they might be ex-rock stars or something, so what do I know?

The first few guys I talked to were nice enough but not ringing any “this guy is hawt” bells, so I kept moving. I happened upon a little group of women who let me join in their conversation. We actually ended up hanging out off and on all evening and made plans for a girls night out later in the week. Who knew a dating mixer could bring me some new girlfriends as well? In fact, the first phone number I got was another woman’s. So, as women are wont to do, we started scoping out the crowd for each other: one of the women in our little group is looking for a guy fairly close to retirement, as she’s in her late 50s and thinking about retiring and doing some traveling in a few short years; another woman is newly single and really just looking to date, nothing more right now; and a third only wants guys with no young kids at home. As we were talking to guys, we’d steer ones that weren’t good for us toward the women we knew they’d match up better with. One of the women even has a friend she says would “be perfect” for me (I know, uh oh). And yeah, a couple of times we “accidentally” pushed each other into cute prospects.

Of the guys I met, there were maybe five that were pretty damn interesting and that I will probably see one-on-one at some point. I got a lot of business cards and numbers, and this morning I had quite a few messages on the site saying, “Saw you last night but was too scared to come over and say hi.” Because, you know, I’m fucking frightening. A couple messages said things like, “You look even better in person,” which, like I said, is a total ego boost and I felt cool for about five minutes until I realized I, sir, am no Mary Tyler Moore.

There were a couple of weirdos I came into contact with during this thing. One guy, who had me cornered for about 15 minutes, went into a tirade about how women are rude and they should just come out and say they don’t like you rather than leading you on. He also told me about the funny time his ex-girlfriend called the cops on him. “Oh, ha ha. I think I have to go now.”

Another fella informed me that when he moved out of his marital home, his ex immediately changed the locks and bought new computers for herself and their children so he “couldn’t hack into them.” Was hacking into their computers a real threat? And why would he tell me, a perfect stranger, this story? It really didn’t win him over in my eyes.

Just as I was preparing to leave the event, another guy came swooping in. Sorta cute, tall, with a lanky build. Nice, right? Nope. “You rejected me twice and I want to kick your ass!” he yelled at me. And yes, that’s a direct quote. This had actually been a fear of mine going into this thing. What if I came face-to-face with some guy I had said no to, or worse, not even responded to? It happened. It was happening. I laughed and said, “I did?” I mean, what do you really say to that kind of thing? In retrospect, an evil sneer might have been more appropriate, but whatever. He looked slightly familiar but I didn’t really remember him. We had some awkward conversation, he tried to give me his card, he hugged me several times, and I must have looked like a frightened deer because not one, but THREE gentlemen came to my rescue.

In sum, and even in spite of the weirdos, this was a worthwhile experiment. I had a good time and met some people I may not have normally given the time of day online. I also met some interesting women that I can hang out with, which is always a good thing. It was a low-pressure, non-competitive event, and a good time seemed to be had by all. I wasn’t completely impressed with the venue (no music? no food in the “lounge” area? Wtf?), but that’s not really the fault of Match.

I’ll be going to some of these things again in the future. Until I meet someone as intensely cool as myself, of course. And next week: a smaller (15 men, 15 women) Stir cooking class. I’ll report back.

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Online Dating’s Code Words

It’s been quite a while since my last post. Rest assured, dear friends, that I have been continuing the awkward, painful dance that is online dating. No, I still haven’t found My Man, but I have met quite a few very nice guys and a few weirdos. I know it’s the weirdos you want to hear about — more about them soon.

I’ve become sensitive to la langue d’online over the past couple of years, and I figure it’s time someone posted the code words that appear often and what they really mean. I mean, it’s my obligation to help you navigate the deep dark waters of the dating ocean, right? So here you go.

When Men Write:

  • “easy going” – This actually means one of two things: 1) They are either so laid back they are nearly dead and their idea of a good time is watching seven episodes of Sons of Anarchy back to back; or 2) They have a mean streak a mile wide. This second “easy going” guy can be a little intense. This summer I went out once with a Federal Agent guy. Yeah, he said he was “easy going” in his profile. On this first date, he told me I was “flirting” with the bartender (I asked for a drink), he questioned me about the men in the room I thought were attractive, and he cornered our server to ask him whether he was just coming back to check on us or if he thought his date (me) was attractive. Be careful with those “easy going” guys; that’s all I’m going to say.
  • “athletic” build – This one rarely pans out. I did, however, have a recent meet-and-greet with a guy who almost fit the “athletic” moniker. He was just a little skinny, but he was probably the closest I’ve seen for a while. Most guys who say they are “athletic” looking have what appears to be a beer gut. I have no idea why that is, but I now associate the word “athletic” with “pudgy.”
  • “average” build – This means, almost always: Fat. Although, when you think about it, obesity rates in this country are, indeed, skyrocketing, so who am I to say they aren’t actually accurate in claiming “average” status?
  • “good dad” or “great father” – Both of these descriptions are usually followed by an explanation point, and they often appear quite early in the profile. What this detail means is often “I am overly concerned with everything my children do every moment of every day and I do not really have the time or the will to date but I sometimes think it would be nice to have sex with something other than my hand.” Not that a guy can’t be an excellent father and a wonderful partner; I truly believe those guys are out there. But the ones who balance the various aspects of their lives usually don’t go on and on about their kids or post 10 photos of their children on their dating profile.
  • “financially responsible” – I don’t know what this is code for, actually, but I have noticed that these guys often drive 10-year old rust buckets. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
  • “highly sensual” – Code for “pervert.” A couple months ago I was on a date wearing closed-toed shoes and the guy requested that I show him my toes. Um…okayyyy.

When Women Write*:

*Note: I don’t date women or peruse their profiles, but from talking with a LOT of disillusioned men over the years, this seems to be the consensus.

  • “easy going” – This often means she is a couch potato. She gets scared at the idea of doing anything that will raise a sweat on a date (or maybe ever). She’s sometimes (often, from what I hear) a bit of a pushover, and may be so lonely she’s willing to put up with a lot of shit from the men she dates. (Needless to say, my profile does NOT say I am “easy going.”)
  • “average” build – Apparently this often means “chubby” or “overweight.” In the spirit of full disclosure, I put “average” on my own profile, and I’ve had a number of men say I’m smaller than most women who say they are average. I’ve heard from quite a number of men that this is code for “I don’t take very good care of myself.”
  • “athletic” build – From what I’ve heard from a good number of guys, this means “I worked out once, about 10 years ago.” I bet it sucks if a woman really is athletic (with those muscly legs I wish I had) when most of these jaded gents think you are probably going to be hideous.
  • “curvy” build – Seems like this one means “big and beautiful.” So I’m not sure what BBW would actually be code for. The whole thing is rather confusing, isn’t it? I would actually put “curvy” on my own profile, since I think that description kind of fits me, but I bet I would get fewer guys looking at my profile (even with my pictures as evidence of what I actually look like). I always assumed “curvy” meant you had bigger boobs and a good-sized butt…not necessarily overweight…but I guess I’ve been mistaken.
  • “independent” – A couple men have mentioned that women who put this word in their profiles often have photos of themselves fishing or hunting or otherwise wearing camo. Maybe “independent” means “I can kick your ass.” This one confuses me.

There are a lot more words out there that seem to mean something other than the definition I’m familiar with. I’ve become fairly adept at figuring out who the crazies are and who seem to be relatively normal, but every now and then a freakball sneaks in. But if it wasn’t for those freakballs, I wouldn’t have nearly as much fodder for this blog, now would I?


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I Love Being a Girl

Women have come a long way over the centuries, baby. No longer relegated to the kitchen and the bedroom, we can do just about anything we set our minds to. Although sexism unfortunately is alive and well, with hard work and determination a woman can become nearly anything. She can command a boardroom or a classroom, wield surgical instruments with skill and confidence, or create a great work of art, among a gazillion other things.

But you know what else we can do? We can just enjoy being who we really are. Some women are into sports, some like math, some totally dig opening their own doors or kicking ass at chess. Others like high heels, silky underwear, and lip gloss (like me, I guess). But all of us are equally feminine. All of us are strong, beautiful, and amazing.

Women come in all shapes and sizes — contrary to what the media may tell you. Some of us are tall, some are short, some have broad shoulders, some have lots and lots of curves. And yet, we are all women on the inside as well as on the outside. There’s a sisterhood among us, no matter who we are or what we do. Women belong to a special club — a club that will probably always be a mystery to men.

I will never apologize for being girly. I will never feel bad that I have lots and lots of shoes. I will never resent a man who opens a door for me, pulls out a chair, or takes care of a scary bug for me. I refuse to think of myself as inferior because I sometimes can’t get the lid off a jar of pickles. And I will always certainly appreciate feeling comforted by a strong pair of arms around me. I will cry when something’s sad, I will giggle like a maniac when I find something funny, and I will always find babies amazingly cuddly and sweet.

Does any of this mean I need a man? Hell no. But I would love to have one to balance me out, for his masculinity to complement my femininity. Male and female are two sides of a coin, a yin and a yang (at least in the heterosexual sense). The men I admire and want to spend time with are as comfortable with their manliness as I am with my womanliness. They enjoy my being a female as much as I enjoy them being male. They don’t expect me to like the same things, speak the same way, think the same thoughts. They can appreciate me appreciating them.

Come on, ladies, be proud to be a woman. Stop apologizing and acting like second class citizens. Stop acting like it’s okay if a guy isn’t a gentleman (because that shows how “equal” we are?) and embrace being a girl. Because there just ain’t a damn thing better.


Online Dating Redux

Yes, friends, I’m back on the proverbial saddle. Back to take another shot, another swing, another jump at finding love. And you know what that means? Oh, yes: Online dating,

This time, I thought I’d widen my options a bit and try a few different sites. Of course, I’m cheap, so I decided to join only one that actually costs money. After a little research, I narrowed my options down to these: eHarmony,, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid. The first two are paid sites and the latter two are free. I looked up a bunch of reviews of each of the sites and discovered that eHarmony is probably not for me: they seem to cater to — sorry if this offends anyone — conservative Christian bores. That definitely leaves me out, as I’m a big freakin’ ball of fun, and not conservative by any stretch of the imagination. Match seems to get some decent reviews from middle-aged daters (my demographic), and they have that commercial. You know, the one where they say: I mean, seriously, that’s salesmanship, right? Not a snaggle-toothed, beer-bellied wife beater-wearer in the bunch. Plus, I have a promo code. (Told you I’m cheap.) I set up my profile page in about five minutes and let the guys have a gander at me.

So once I had the pay site set up, I went to OkCupid. I’ve been on this site before and have had quite a bit of success with it. Almost all the guys I’ve met through OKC have been very nice — gentlemanly, even. And I’ve been on a LOT of dates in the last couple of years. I should have been married by now with all the dating I’ve done. But my picky, snooty behavior is a story for another post. The point is, there is a plethora of available, seemingly normal men trolling this site for possible mates. (Your mileage may differ in your metro area.) Plus, it’s just a fun site if you like taking weird quizzes, answering questions like, “Is a man who shaves his chest: A) just fine B) creepy as hell C) vain or D) who cares?” and reading people bitching about their last dates on the forums. The site wizards do some thing involving math (I don’t do math, so it’s all very mysterious to me) to figure out who your best matches are, and, oddly enough, it’s usually fairly accurate. I’ve actually met a couple guys who are between 90-99% “matches,” according to this magical algorithm, and I’ll be damned if I haven’t liked them. And it’s also fun to antagonize people who have a high “enemy” percentage. Not that I would do that.

Finally, Plenty of Fish. I had a couple people recommend this one to me; they met their significant others there or whatever. All I can say after a couple hours on the site is: WTF. First of all: MY EYES, MY EYES! The site design makes me want to scratch my own eyes out; it’s a throwback to early 90s site design and that’s not a compliment, if you know what I mean. You just see all these little, blurry images of people who look like they uploaded their prison photo onto their profile. Some of these guys — and this is just a hunch — seem to be wanted by the law or hiding from the sex crimes registry people. I’ll give it a couple more days, but I’m not expecting much. I have no idea how people I know found partners in that mess of mouth-breathers; there must be a few decent folks on this one. I guess I’M there, right?

After two days on, I have a grand total of 41 winks and 64 emails. And no, I haven’t read any of them yet. Once I do, you just know that’s gonna be an interesting post, huh? I’ve been back on OkCupid for about the same amount of time, and I’ve had maybe 50-60 messages and some people “favoriteing” me. I’ve been keeping up with those messages a little better, because I’m more familiar with this site, so I’m not sure of the exact number, but it’s a lot. Seems like women must be like the rare and beautiful unicorn on these dating sites. Not that I’m complaining.

So I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ve got a couple potential coming-up-soon dates on the line, so in no time at all I’ll be sharing (within reason) the deets.

For now, I better go read some messages.

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