Are You Trying to Make Me Like You?

17 08 2012

Over the past year and a half, I’ve recounted my dating adventures, but I haven’t written much about the hundreds of emails I have exchanged with men in order to set up these dates. It’s kind of ridiculous. I would have a panic attack if I actually started tracking the numbers on the emails and texts needed just to set up one date.

It’s like when you’re in sales. You need 200 prospects a week, 60 contacts, which might result in 10 appointments, and hopefully, if all goes well, 2 sales.

It’s fucking exhausting is what it is.

Then you get these guys who want to send a hundred one-sentence emails or texts, and it starts to feel less like dating and more like work.

Case in point:

The Characters:

Short, Italian Man (SIM) – a real Italian, from Italy, not one of those Jersey Italians who don’t even pronounce their Italian surnames with the correct Italian pronunciation. (Yes, I’m talking to you, Teresa Giudice.)

Tall, Buxom Woman (ME) – a Viking, blogger, and mom, short on time and patience and long on sarcasm and expletives.

The Scenario:

SIM originally started sending me messages in April, but because I was mostly unavailable due to my MBA coursework, I put him off until after graduation. Then, with summer activities, work, and time that I wanted to spend with my kids, I put him off some more. I have to give him credit for perseverance.

A couple of months ago, he emailed me and asked me for my phone number so we could text. I sent him a message and said,

“I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. I don’t like giving my number out to men I haven’t met yet, and texting is the fastest way to piss me off.”

Yes, this is how straightforward I have become. Rather than let these men fuck it up on their own I like to give them a warning. I’m a busy woman, and I don’t have time to play with my phone all day long, and when men can spend all day texting, it makes me wonder if they have a job.

Fast forward to the other day and SIM asked me for my phone number again, so we could “flirt” through texting. This is apparently his idea of fun. I wasn’t too excited by this idea at all since the last Italian who flirted with me through texting made a surprise reference to his c&%k, but since SIM and I have finally scheduled our first date for Wednesday next week, I figured it was time to exchange phone numbers.

I like to get a guy’s phone number just ahead of a date in case one of us is running late or can’t find the other at our meeting place.

I felt the need to warn him a second time about my impatience with texting. I basically said I don’t like it so don’t abuse it.

The Result:

Last night I received a text while I was meeting with my wine club (I mean book club.)

SIM: and this is my number. ciao

This morning…

ME: Ok. Thanks. I didn’t see your text until really late last night. I didn’t think you would want me texting you at 11:30 p.m.

This afternoon…

SIM: yep. it s you…sorry your number was not iny phone, and didn’t memorize it 🙂 …

ME: That’s ok. My phone doesn’t know who you are yet either.

SIM: then i guess we are two strangers

ME: As far as our phones are concerned, yes.

SIM: is this Wilma?

(WTF? Who the fuck did he think he was texting? Apparently, I am one of many…and so is he. He has no idea. Mwah ha ha. )

ME: As tempted as I am to fuck with you and say no…yes, this is Wilma.

SIM: lol…(I hate when men use lol. Actually, I hate when anyone uses lol. What are you? Twelve?)

SIM: listen to you so innocent looking with hot legs 😉 and using the f word 🙂

(Oh god, just stab me in the eyeball with a sharp stick, please.)

ME: You just don’t know me yet.

SIM: sweet and naughty is a good mix 🙂 (Insert Beavis and Butthead laugh here.)

ME: Does dropping an f-bomb make me naughty? I thought it just made me foul-mouthed.

SIM: you got a point 🙂 …let me hope 🙂 lol

(Ok dude, enough with the fucking smiley faces already.)

ME: You can hope, but you should never assume.

SIM: well assuming is ok when you hope to bw proven wrong 🙂

ME: So you’re hoping I’m not naughty?

SIM: no! i am hoping you are 🙂

ME: Then wouldn’t you hope to be proven right?

SIM: i can see you have been paying attention!

ME: I”m very detail-oriented and it’s hard to not pay attention when my phone keeps beeping at me.

SIM: i should stop …you specifically asked me not to flood your phone

ME: Yeah, I can understand the excitement, given that is has taken over four months for us to get to the first date but it would be a shame to mess it up now.

SIM: yep. ok, i will be mindful don’t worry. enjoy the weekend 🙂

ME: You too.

I’m supposed to meet him next Wednesday. Is it wrong of me to feel intellectually superior at this point? I’m a little worried that he was beating off while telling me he hopes I’m a naughty girl.





Final Gifts

11 12 2011

The past two months of my life are a blur. I’ve been back and forth to Eastern Washington to help with my uncle’s hospice care several times. I took a leave of absence from work, sent Thor to stay with friends, and asked my son to fend for himself. I would return to Seattle only to attend my MBA classes, catch up on personal business, and replenish the fridge so my son wouldn’t think I had completely abandoned him. It’s been physically and emotionally grueling.

In late October, minutes before I was about to leave Seattle, once again, the mail arrived. It was a package from Amazon. I tore it open, and inside, I found a book called “Final Gifts.” There was no note to indicate who had sent it, but it was about the hospice experience and communicating with the terminally ill.

I searched for a note and found nothing. I even threw the packaging away and went back to the garbage to dig it out to search for a note again, but found nothing that would tell me who had thought to send this to me.

Since it seemed extraordinarily timely and relative, I stuffed it in my bag and packed my car. It seemed like it would be immensely helpful, and, oddly, lighter reading than my “Capital Budgeting and Investment Analysis” textbook.

Each time I would return to Eastern Washington, even if it had only been a few days, I would find my uncle worse off than he had been when I left. I don’t know why this seemed like such a shock to me; even when I was with him, I could see the day-to-day progression in his cancer. I saw it in the amount of times he asked for morphine. I saw it in how easily he became exhausted and needed to sleep, and I saw it as numerous visitors came to see him, causing him to cry when they were gone, knowing that it would be the last time he would see them.

When he first came home from the hospice facility, we had a morning regime of breakfast, medications, newspaper, hike, always in that order. Most of the time, he would shuffle around the house in his slippers, but at around 11 a.m. every morning, he would let me know he was ready to go. He would put on his old hiking boots, jacket, and hat and want to go for a hike.

As always, I let him dictate where and how far we would go. Surprisingly, with his pain under control, he had a lot more energy than he had when he was in the hospice facility. The first time we went out, I asked, “Do you want to take your walker, just in case.”

“No.”

“Ok.”

He’s a pretty proud guy, and I’m fairly certain he didn’t want the neighbors to see him pushing a walker up and down the street.

The first day, we went around the block, and he was soon exhausted. I felt relieved that we didn’t go too far, because I was concerned about him falling or having the pain break through his medications. The next day we went a little farther, and the next day, the same thing. Each day, we progressed until we were walking to where the sidewalk ended at the end of a nearby street, and then, walking along a natural trail, through the sand, behind the housing development he lives in. We would end up back in the development, a few blocks away from his house.

He hated being cooped up in the house and wanted to get out every day, so our routine soon looked like this: breakfast, medications, newspaper, hike, morphine, nap, lunch, golf channel, more medications, another nap, nightly news, dinner, more medications, and finally, bedtime.

I started to sleep with a baby monitor in my room, so I could hear him if he got up in the middle of the night.

It was painful each time I had to leave and come back to Seattle, and one day during our hike, I said, “I hate leaving. Every time I leave and come back, you’re worse,” and I started to cry. My uncle reached for my hand and he too started to cry. We walked like that in silence for several minutes. These are the moments, the conversation, the gifts that nobody will be able to take away from me from this experience.

Sometimes we would just sit in silence. Other times, he would tell me stories from when he and my aunt lived in Cameroon, South Africa, or Alaska. I guess in a way, he was completing a survey of his life. He had done a lot over the years. On one trip, he sent me home with the horns of a Central African Giant Eland, ranked 8th in the world. He had shot it on safari in 1962, and the next day, over the bucket of water that he was soaking the horns in, proposed to my aunt. I jokingly let him know that the scenario did not seem very romantic.

“I suppose you were letting her know you could provide for her, huh?”

“Yeah.”

The neighbor gave him a hard time about trying to bag two prizes in two days. (Ironically, in later years he had become opposed to the idea of safaris.)

He talked about teaching himself Swahili, so he could one day hike Kilimanjaro. He had given up the idea when my aunt got sick several years ago, and regretted that he never got to go.

By my fourth trip to visit him, he could no longer go out for our long walks.

Increasingly, he talked about hiking Badger Mountain, and said that he wanted to leave with me and go hike Tiger Mountain one more time. I could imagine him hiking up and never coming down. This is where the book, “Final Gifts,” was useful. The book talks about how, as people near death, they often talk about doing things that involve going somewhere or doing something like they did in life. Basically, my uncle knew he was too weak to hike Tiger Mountain, but he was preparing for a journey.

One day my uncle said, “Tomorrow I think we should hike Badger Mountain.”

My aunt and cousin didn’t get it, saying, “Now, you know you can’t go hiking.”

The effect on me, having read the book, was to consider that the following day perhaps he would go on his journey and not come back. Whenever he said these things I would go through a little checklist in my brain, making sure there was nothing left unsaid that I still wanted to tell him. Plus, it was an extra reminder to tell I love him.

My uncle is really the first person with a terminal illness to whom I have been extremely close. Helping him through this transition has been some of the most difficult work I have ever done, but, I have to say, in a strange way, perhaps it has also been the most rewarding. It has taught me a lot about myself and my capacity to love and care for someone. There are only a handful of other, similar milestones in my life, the births of my 3 children and my marriage.

I am back in Seattle once again. I have been back since the Sunday after Thanksgiving. My uncle had told me, “Bring the boys. I want to see them, and then that will be the last time.” “Final Gifts” explains that oftentimes people will signal the timing of their death, and I don’t expect my uncle to be with us at Christmastime. I think he knows. He told the neighbor the other day that he was counting the days. I could be wrong, the doctors didn’t even think he would make it to Halloween, but for some reason, I feel an intense urgency to finish this post before he passes.

Some things I’ve learned over the past two months:

  • Don’t dismiss the messages of the dying as “chemo-brain” or the effects of the medications. Pay attention to everything the dying person says. There are important messages and lessons there.
  • If you don’t understand, don’t dismiss. Ask open-ended questions.
  • Sometimes silence is the best gift you can give. You don’t have to have an answer for everything.
  • Touch communicates much more than words.
  • Leave nothing important unsaid.

Yesterday, fall quarter ended. I have two more quarters left in my MBA. While I’m in Seattle, I can’t visit with my uncle. He can no longer finish his sentences and therefore, has a hard time communicating over the phone. I’m grateful for the precious time I’ve spent with him over the past two months. Although difficult, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And, one final thing I learned…

Over the past month and a half since the book arrived, I have asked all of the usual suspects, and hadn’t found the sender until last Thursday. Thank you, ElderBaud, for such a tremendous gift.

“Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” – Rossiter Worthington  Raymond, 1840-1918





What Happened to The Suitor?

6 11 2011

I don’t know if anyone has been wondering what happened to Man #22, The Suitor, or not, but I will fill you in on the latest and then ask you to weigh in on my perceptions of how things transpired after our first date.

When we last left The Suitor, he gave me a kiss goodnight and wanted me to text him when I arrived safely at home.

I did.

While on our date, I had told him that I was just getting back out there and not really looking for anything serious, and he had agreed that this was where he was currently at in his dating adventures as well. I had also warned him that I am terrible at texting. I try to warn everyone that I’m really not into texting. I would rather get to know someone face-to-face.

I have also had all of this cancer stuff going on, so I’ve been a little pre-occupied, to say the least.

Anyway, in the days that followed the date, The Suitor found random reasons to text me. Nothing specific, just random things like, “[did I] like chocolate covered macadamias.” I DO happen to like chocolate covered macadamia nuts, but the question was still kind of random. I took it as a sign that he was thinking of me, participated in brief texting volleys, and didn’t let it annoy me.

Not too much anyway.

Then one morning I was jarred awake by an incoming text message just before 6 a.m..

WHAT

THE

FUCK?

Are you fucking kidding me???

Who does that? Why would someone think that after one date they know me well enough to text me at 6 o’clock in the f^&%ing morning?

I ran the scenario past one of my colleagues and he told me it was my fault for having my phone on at 6 a.m.. What he doesn’t seem to understand, however, is I have teenage sons. I have to leave my phone on, because I never know when I might receive a call from emergency personnel or law enforcement. (Not that this happens on a regular basis, mind you, but you never know.)

Now, I don’t know about you. Maybe I’m old school, but I grew up in an age when you didn’t call someone before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. at night. Generally, I still try to stick to these rules.

Am I wrong in thinking that The Suitor’s 6 a.m. text seems sort of disrespectful? Ok, so it’s not a midnight booty call/text, but it seems similar.  Also, considering my recent experience with the Italian Sausage only wanting to text about stroking his c%&* during early morning messages, I was afraid I was in for the same scenario with The Suitor.

Anyway, this time, I let him know I was annoyed. He apologized. Apparently, he was in Chicago on business and had forgotten about a little thing we call time zones. I accepted his apology, but, to be quite honest, I had a hard time getting past it. I don’t like being disrespected or taken for granted. I also don’t like it when guys play dumb. If you’re going to play dumb, I’m going to assume that you ARE dumb. And, as I’ve stated before, I like my men with intelligence.

Whew! I feel like I’m ranting. It feels good to get this off my chest.

Anyway, some other random texting volleys followed, and then there was a long pause where he must have realized that he was the only person initiating the text messages. The ironic thing is that I would have gladly accepted another invitation for a date had he thought to pick up the phone to ask me out.

Then one day, a few weeks ago, while I was sitting in the hospice facility with my uncle, I received a text from him that read, “Haven’t heard from you in a while. Don’t know if you’re interested in going out again but I feel like I’m bothering you.”

I responded, “Sorry. I have been extremely busy helping my uncle who is in hospice because of his prostate cancer.”

The purpose of this message was two-fold. First, I was legitimately busy and wanted to let him know the reason why. Second, it was sort of my way of letting him know that the world did not revolve around him, and dating him was not particularly forefront in my mind at that moment. In other words, “My uncle is dying. This is no time to get needy with me, asshole.”

He responded with a text saying, “I’m sorry to hear that. If you need an ear, let me know.”

Maybe dealing with my uncle’s cancer has made me cynical, but, although the thought of The Suitor lending his ear seems nice, I just couldn’t imagine calling him to talk about my uncle’s cancer or anything else for that matter. I barely know the guy. It felt like an attempt to build false intimacy to me. If I need to talk to someone about anything as serious as the stuff I’m going through with my uncle, I’m going to turn to my family, my friends, or my wacky therapist, not some guy with whom I’ve had ONE date.

He probably meant well, but I just felt overwhelmed by the thought of trying to develop a relationship in the midst of prostate cancer and pain meds. I told him, “Thanks,” but left it at that. That was a few weeks ago.

Then we jump to last week. My uncle is now at home, with a hospice team coming in once per week to make sure that his pain is managed, and I was there to help out as much as I could. One afternoon, while my aunt and I made a quick trip out for groceries, I received another text from The Suitor.

It was again saying that he had a really nice time, but he didn’t want to bother me and didn’t know if I was interested in him, so he was going to let me be.

I deleted it without responding. Call me a bitch. I have too much going on in my life right now to spend my time texting someone. The Suitor obviously had my phone number. If he really wanted to ask me out again, he could have done it with a phone call. I probably would have gone out again, but I’m not going to text someone just to stroke their ego.

So, am I just way too bitchy about all this texting stuff? Maybe it time for me to get with the times and start texting a million times per day. I’m curious to know what the guys think about The Suitor’s 6 a.m. text message. Also, am I the only woman who finds the whole, “I don’t know if you’re interested line,” to be a major turnoff?

I think the bottom line is that I just can’t take on any more work right now, and The Suitor started to feel like work.





A Serial Dater’s Thoughts on Marriage

1 08 2011

I’ve taken a break from dating for most of July, and I have to say I feel a little off my game. After an MRI at the beginning of July showed my uncle’s prostate cancer had spread the full length of his spine and caused a fracture of his second lumbar vertebrae, I packed up my trusty little Jetta and drove out to the Tri-Cities with my middle son, K2, to help my aunt and uncle. (All three of my son’s names start with K, so for the blog, they will be K1, K2, and K3, oldest to youngest.)

It’s never easy staying in someone else’s home for an extended period of time (longer than three days, right?) but our stay allowed me time to make some observations about my aunt and uncle’s marriage and to think about the things I would want for my own life moving forward.  Now, as a woman with a checkered dating history, 4 marriage proposals, one long-term relationship where I was engaged for 5 YEARS before finally calling it off, and a marriage that only lasted 3-1/2 years, I will be the first to admit that I am not an expert on marriage.  I have no background in sociology, psychology, or any other study of human behavior, so these are simply my ruminations after a stay with a married couple who have managed to make things work for 47 years.

Terms of Endearment:  My aunt and uncle have their own special language. My uncle is originally from France, so they call each other “mon chéri” and “ma chérie.”  The way they actually say this to each other, however, is quite different.  My aunt usually says, “Sherry!”  Yes, it comes out in a rather loud, high-pitched voice, sounding as though she’s a chef in a busy kitchen requesting a cheap cooking wine. She needs to project her voice, you see, because she’s either yelling from across the room or from another room.  Despite the volume, my uncle will take his time in responding to her, depending on how engaged he is in la Tour de France, a soccer match, or the PGA Tour or whether or not he’s decided to take out his hearing aid. 

My uncle has always been much more soft-spoken. It’s not how he says things but what he says that’s important.  He sort of mumbles, “ma chér.”  The “ie” part never seems to make it all the way out, and he doesn’t say it nearly as often as my aunt. This wasn’t just a result of the pain meds he was given either; it has always been this way.  Both of them typically use the words to initiate a request. I would guess that the ratio of “Sherry’s!” to “ma chér’s” in their household is about 4 to 1, and these terms of endearment are used at least thirty times per day between the two of them.

For my STB ex and I, the term of endearment we used was “baby” or “bebi.”  It got said so much that one time, after listening to us play a board game for several minutes, one of my friends stopped us and said, “You have to stop that.”

“What?”

“You two have to find different names for each other. I can’t stand it, all this baby, baby, baby stuff. Just stop!”

Now, I know there are some women who feel that the use of terms like “baby” and “sweetheart” are demeaning, and in some ways, I have to agree.  If a man I have just met starts calling me baby, I’m going to assume that he is trying to run a game on me. Either that or he can’t remember my name and thinks I won’t notice if he calls me “baby.”  Yuck!  But in intimate, long-term relationships, I like the use of terms of endearment.  In the case of my aunt and uncle, “Sherry!” and “ma chér” have become part of the special way their communication has evolved over the past 47 years. That special language that develops between two individuals is just one of the elements of the glue that keeps people together.

The bottom line: I want terms of endearment in my next long-term relationship.

Picking Your Battles:  For all of the times my uncle did not utter “ma chér” in relation to my aunt’s requests for “Sherry!” he made up for it by saying, “Oh, my god.”  This is a phrase my uncle probably mutters under his breath in a heavy French accent at least 25 times per day.  It is said in the same way I would say, “Oh, for fuck’s sake!”  Basically, it means he thinks my aunt is being ridiculous, but he’ll do whatever it is that she wants anyway.

My aunt and uncle are avid gardeners, and since my aunt is not supposed to lift anything over 5 pounds, and my uncle has a fractured vertebrae, my son and I tried to help them with some simple gardening tasks.  My aunt was very concerned that the tomatoes my uncle had planted from seed had blossom end rot, and she had a spray she wanted to use to fight off the disease.  Every time she mentioned it, my uncle would say, “Oh, my god.”  He had his own list of things he wanted to see accomplished while we were there, and the tomatoes were very low on that list.  They were high on my aunt’s list, however, and she kept insisting that the tomatoes needed to be sprayed.  The most I heard him say about the tomatoes was at dinner one night, he finally said, “I should just throw those tomatoes away.”

To which my aunt responded, “But you’ve worked so hard on them.” (You see, it’s a vicious cycle.)

While I was in the garage one afternoon, helping them organize some things, my aunt finally got my son out in the garden to spray the tomatoes.  My uncle came out to the garage and asked where Aunt D was. 

“She’s outside showing K2 how she wants the tomatoes sprayed.”

“Oh, my god,” he said, shaking his head.

“It takes longer than one season to change the pH of a soil,” I said.

“Yeah, but once she has in her mind that she wants something, you can’t stop her,” he said.

He shuffled out to the garden.  (You may be wondering what a guy with a fractured L2 is doing up and about anyway, but it’s hard to keep a good man down, and he was flying high on pain meds. I had to keep reminding him to take it easy, and every time I got him back in his chair, my aunt would yell, “Sherry” again.)

In the car, on the ride home from the Tri-Cities, my son confessed that as soon as Aunt D had gone back in the house, my uncle had told him not to bother with the tomatoes.

“What should I do with the rest of this spray?”

“Just dump it here in the gravel.”

For the past week, my aunt has been sending emails out to the family raving about the work we did while we were there, and how good the tomatoes look now that K2 sprayed them.  Apparently, “Oh, my god,” has some sort of placebo effect, but see, they never fought about it.

In a twisted, covert sort of way each of them has figured out how to let the other one do as they please, or at least THINK that they are doing as they please.  There are no big fights, no drama. They save their battles for the things that are really important, like fighting cancer.

Commitment to a Partnership: Finally, for all of the requests of “Sherry” that my aunt needs throughout the day, she’s really on top of things.  She’s coordinating all of my uncle’s cancer treatments, discussing wills and trusts with a lawyer, making sure my uncle takes his medications, massaging his back, washing his hair, and stealing apricots and making him apricot jam, his favorite.  (I will need to tell you about our apricot hijinks later this week.) My uncle has always gardened, cooked, fixed things around the house, and maintained their cars.  My aunt says she doesn’t know what she will do when he is gone, but I don’t think she’s giving herself enough credit for everything she is doing for him. Each of them is fully invested in the partnership they have created, and it’s both beautiful and comical to see in action.

In the months since my STB ex moved out, I’ve said several times that one of the things I learned about myself from being married was that I could be a really good wife.  Preceding marriage, I had worried that maybe I had gotten too stuck in my ways to be married, but once I was finally in it, I was fully invested.  I was less worried about the day-to-day minutiae and more focused on long-term planning for our future together.  I could never understand why my husband resisted conversations about buying a house, building our financial future, or anything requiring a long-term investment.  I now know, of course, that long-term was not something he was particularly concerned about.

The bottom line: I’m a team player, and IF I ever decide to be married again, my partner would need to be just as committed to the partnership as I am.  Married or not, I really do want someone I can trust with whom I can grow old.

I worry sometimes that relationships like the one that exists between my aunt and uncle are a thing of the past.  Are we all too self-absorbed now to give part of our lives to another person like that?  For so many years?  I hope not. What are your thoughts on marriage?

Photo here.





Man #18, The Burner

1 07 2011

Before weighing in on Weight Loss Weigh-in Wednesday #2 and swearing to the one drink a week rule, I had met Man #18 for drinks at The Scarlet Tree.   It was truly refreshing to meet someone who was both intelligent and good-looking.  (The two attributes so rarely occur together.)

I typically don’t tend to go for the good-looking guys. Quite frankly, they intimidate me a little.  Well, maybe it’s not really that they intimidate me so much as I’ve just always been hesitant to date them.  I always assumed they would know they were good-looking, and therefore, would be players. 

I’m a very competitive person, but I try to avoiddrama, conflict, and competitions.  Does that make sense?  I get ugly when I get competitive.  I become someone I don’t really like when I get into a competitive situation.  It’s not that I get rude or violent. I just become sort of like my pit bull; I’m tenacious. I don’t like to give up.  I’ve never liked the idea of competing for a guy, so most of the time, I’ve just stayed away from the good-looking ones.

The one exception, ironically, was my STB ex. Cute, cute, cute, and trouble, trouble, trouble. Yep, my STB ex was a good-looking one, and you see where that got me.

But, I digress.

Anyway, Man #18 was good-looking, but I am not going to hold that against him.  Besides, what I was most impressed by was his mind. There were moments in the conversation where I felt like I was struggling to keep up, and it wasn’t just the Manhattans I was drinking. It’s not like I’m some dumb bimbo. I’m smart, like Magna cum Laude smart combined with some good, common-sense, street smart. (Most of the time.) It’s just that Man #18 was also very smart and some of our areas of knowledge did not necessarily intersect.

Imagine our two brains as a Venn Diagram.  The overlapping area in the middle is where most of our conversation happened. Most areas did intersect, and it was a very enjoyable date.  We talked about the business case for One Laptop per Child, how program managers have a tendency to get romanced by technical solutions when they should put more focus on user experience, and how both of us had spent time guarding the U.S. government’s secrets.  We shared similar religious ideologies, believing that Agnostics are spiritually passive-aggressive, and we also have similar political views. The conversation topic that really stuck with me though was that of Burning Man.

Burning Man is a temporary city, where 48,000+ participants gather for one week each year in Black Rock Desert. Man #18 is a burner. I have never been to Burning Man, but if there was ever a year when I should be going to Burning Man, it would be this year. This is my transformational year, and Burning Man has the potential to be, if not transformational, at least a profound kind of experience. Unfortunately, the tickets are already up to $320 and climbing, and I really can’t afford it.  On top of the financial deterrent, I have the fact that my body is not Burning Man ready.  I’ve seen the pictures.  I’ve seen what people wear, or don’t wear.

Believe me. Nobody wants to see this big ass half-naked out on The Playa!

This big ass would really like to be there though.

It turns out, The Burner has been involved with the event for many years.  He explained that it’s best to find a local group, get to know them well in advance, ask questions, find some way to participate, and then just go enjoy the experience.  Seattle actually has one of the largest “burner” communities next to San Francisco, so it wouldn’t be difficult to find other people who could school me on how to make my Burning Man experience a good one.  I actually have several friends who have participated too, so it’s not like I’d be out in the middle South Dakota or some place trying to find other burners.  I’m in Seattle: home of all great things alternative.

It’s not only that I’m interested in the participatory experience; I’m also interested in the large-scale art installations.  Check out this photo from Burning Man 2007.  How cool is that?

And that’s nothing. You should check out the Gallery on the Burning Man website. The scale and detail of the art is truly incredible.  I HAVE to go see it in person.

As for Man #18? I liked him, liked him enough to kiss him.  I won’t be dating him, of course, there are 82 others, but I should probably keep his contact information for next year when, fingers crossed, I’ll go to Burning Man.

Photo here.





Rebalancing

30 04 2011

Earlier this week, I realized that I have been being way too nice.

I hate it when that happens, and it seems to happen more often than I would like.

Do you know what happens when you’re too nice?  People will take advantage of your good humor; that’s what happens. 

Perhaps I need to be more specific.  There are a few observations I have made in the past few weeks that need examination.

First of all, until my catastrophic blunder with The Blues Man two weeks ago, neither my match.com dates nor my Plentyoffish dates knew that I was chronicling my adventures.  Since I did not want a repeat performance of my mistakes with The Blues Man,however, late last week, I went on both match.com and Plentyoffish and changed my profile to include information about my blog.  As much as I felt I needed to do this for moral, blogging reasons, I was hesitant to reveal this information for a couple of reasons.

First, what I’ve found in dating my Craigslist dates (who DID know about my blog) is that men will be on MUCH better behavior when they know you’re going to be writing about them.  Well, I should preface that.  They will be on the best behavior of which they are capable.  (Believe me; there is a huge difference.)  You may think that good behavior on dates would be a good thing, but I’m starting to think that it does not give an accurate picture of the behaviors that are out there.  I compare notes with my girlfriends; I know.

Second, I have found myself trying to be much more diplomatic in how I write about my Craigslist dates as opposed to my match.com and Plentyoffish dates.  This has had serious implications and this is where I have realized that I have been far too nice.  And, perhaps this being nice shit needs to stop.

Let me offer some examples and illustrate the subsequent events that have brought the error of my ways to my attention.

There have been a handful of dates from Craigslist that I have erroneously reviewed as good dates just because they didn’t totally suck!  Two in particular come immediately to mind.

The first was a date with a gentleman who was probably my mom’s age.  The venue of the date was nice and the conversation was ok, but he seemed to be one of those people who is an authority about everything.  There was nothing in particular that he said that set me off; it was the way in which he said things.  He had a rather condescending air about him, and the last thing I want to be around after escaping my machismo soon-to-be-Ex (STB Ex from here on out until the divorce is final) is someone who is incapable of treating me as his equal.

To further compound my mistake of being too nice, and not calling this behavior out in my post-date post, I later emailed him and ask if he could provide some reference materials we had discussed while on our date.  In my email, I was cordial, but not flirtatious.  My philosophy was that, although I could not see myself in a long-term relationship with him, overall, he was not a bad guy, and I should be able to shoot him a friendly email.

I was wrong.  I received an email in response, which informed me that although he was interested in seeing me again, the fact that I was not divorced yet bothered him,and he was not interested in dating me.

Well, ok.

That’s actually good, because I was not in the least bit aware that I was interested in dating his old, know-it-all ass.  I thought this was mighty presumptuous to say the least.  This is one of those cases that supports the “men and women can’t be friends” argument from “When Harry Met Sally.”  Apparently, there are men who think that just because you email them, you must want them.

Not true guys.  Not true at all.

Next we move to another Craigslist date.  Again, the venue of the date was great, but the conversation was horrible. Do you want to know why?  Because it wasn’t a conversation.  This date blathered on so long, talking about I don’t know what all, that I had one of two choices.  I could either stab my eye out with my drinking straw to keep myself awake, or I could be what I consider to be rude, and interrupt him for a few brief seconds to get a word in edgewise.

This tendency to talk, more than ask questions and listen, is a very common issue with men.  At least 7 of my 13 dates so far have talked so much during the date that I’m sure they walked away thinking that I have much more personality in the blogosphere.  They did not bother, in the least, to find out anything about me.  In fact, most of them could not shut up long enough to take a breath, let alone ask me a question and then wait for an answer.

If I was inclined to give them a break–and I already have by being too nice–I could speculate that what is happening is that men are reading my blog and, because I have written so many of my insights here, perhaps they feel like they already know me.  Therefore, when it comes to the date, maybe they feel like they need to tell me all about themselves or that they need to impress me.

To be honest though, I think these guys are just clueless as to how rude they are.  They lack interpersonal communication skills, and they wouldn’t know an intelligent woman if they met one.  They’re too busy talking.

Finally, with this second Craigslist date, he seemed to think that he should be able to exert some sort of editorial control over what I wrote about him.  He started freaking out about what I considered to be a minor detail, written in the way in which I had perceived it.  After a few extremely verbose emails where he argued that what I wrote was not a “statement of fact,” a phone call, and a comment on the blog, he won out and rather than continue to deal with him, I eliminated the two sentences in question, his comment, and deleted him from further communication.  It was better to just cut him off swiftly and cleanly.  Personally, I think he came off as much less of a prick in the blog post than he did in real life.  He was much more interested in being right than in how he would be perceived long-term.

So, you see; I feel like I’ve been too nice, and I feel like these guys tried to take advantage of that.  It seems as though they either a) thought that I was a pushover or b) thought I was hot for them.  Neither of these things are remotely accurate.  I’m ashamed to say that I have not been as forthcoming in my reporting of my dates, because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  Well, that is about to change.  I’m not out to massacre 100 men, but I’m not going to continue to sit back and let their borish behavior go unnoticed either.

To all of this, I will simply say; this is my blog, written from my perspective.  I’m sure that if my dates were to write about me, they would have their perceptions too.  Some of those would be good. Some would be bad.  Those would be their perceptions. 

But isn’t that what we do with people everyday?  We make judgments base on our interactions with people all the time.  Certainly, going on these dates and assessing what I like and don’t like, what works and doesn’t work, makes me more aware of how I might also be perceived.

For me, that means I will try to ask intelligent questions of my dates and listen more…

…if I can get a word in edgewise.








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