Friday, December 31, 2010

The End

As the leaves started falling this year, this blog took a turn toward the depressing.

When I started blogging, the purpose was largely to force myself to sit down and write.  As an inveterate procrastinator, having that goal of pushing the "Publish Post" button did wonders for my motivation.  It forced me to gather my thoughts, and it forced me to finish them for once.

Throughout the year, I kept a running tab of all the random things that happened to me that would make good writing material.  I still have a list of ideas for posts that remain unwritten, like the time a guy on the street randomly guessed that I was a lawyer; the fact that all the guys in my life have insanely generic monosyllabic names, like Dan, Dave, Doug, Greg, Jeff, Joe, John, Matt, Mike, Pete, Rob; the time that a guy asked me for my phone number after a softball game by throwing his BlackBerry at me and saying "The keypad's on the left"; the shape of my various first dates - dinners, drinks, baseball games, concerts, ferry rides; the time a 80-year old southern gentleman told me I was one of the most gorgeous women he had ever seen in his life.

But I soon found that while these stories were certainly entertaining, it wasn't what I wanted to think about when I sat down to write.  As the year progressed, my posts became less anecdotal and more introspective.  I concentrated instead on all of the negatives - my frustration with the dating cycle, my fear of ending up alone, my constant battle against being disappointed, my fear of never figuring out what it is I should be doing with my life.

I think introspection every now and then can be a great thing, but as I wallowed in my own self-pity and even started writing a post defending people who feel sorry for themselves, I realized that thinking about myself all the time was not making me a happier person.

As I said way back in January, the point of this blog was for me.  For me to remember.  For me to remember what it was like to be 26, living in New York in 2010.

So without realizing it at the time, I had set an expiration date for this blog.  The year twenty-ten is just a few hours away from being over, and with this post, so is this blog.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Explanation of Silence

I know you said you weren't particularly surprised to hear from me, but did you wonder why you hadn't heard from me in nearly two years?

I had planned to cut you out completely.  I found it perplexingly distressing to deal with the aftermath of your visits.  After your last visit, I decided that inviting you to pop in and out of my life like that just wasn't good for me.  I wasn't strong enough to handle it - to make myself emotionally snap out of it every time.  So I decided to cut you out.  I pushed you out of my mind.  I dated a ton.  I went on a lot of great dates.  And went on a lot of bad ones.  I broke up with a few boys.  And got broken up with by a few boys.  I forgot about you.  And wondered about you.  I resisted the urge to email you.  And eventually, in a typically me way, gave myself a target date.  If I could maintain silence for two full years, then I would allow myself to think about getting back into contact with you.  I changed my mind after a drunken one-night stand.

Dating in New York has been exhausting.   I think I dipped into every possible pool of available guys - work colleagues, former work colleagues, sports teammates, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, randoms at bars, randoms on the internet, hell I even did speed dating.  There have been so many ups and downs in the last two years.  In the summer, I dated this lawyer.  He was a really nice, decent guy who will probably end up making partner.  I couldn't help but think that if all I wanted was to get married, move to the burbs, have kids and quit my job - well this was my chance.  But I couldn't do it.  I was on a date with him and couldn't wait for it to be over so I could text this awful douchebag of a guy I'd been sleeping with on and off for the previous five months.   Fucked up.

So I took a time out from boys altogether.  Apart from my friend's bachelorette weekend and another friend's birthday, I didn't go out.  It was nice to simply surround myself in the comfort of my friends.  Then in October, I went to a wedding, got totally drunk and hooked up with a guy there.  Oddly enough, it was probably the most fun I'd had all year.  The first time in a while I felt like I was just going with the flow and not getting wrapped up in what was going to happen next.  The first time in a while I remember actually smiling to myself on the street the day after.

That's when I wondered why the hell I was waiting to email you.  Once, you too had made me smile to myself the day after.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


When I finally dragged myself out of bed on Saturday, my first thought was, did that really just happen?

'C' came to visit on Friday.  He caught me a little off guard.  I was expecting him to be here on Sunday; instead, I got an email from him on Friday at 3PM saying he was on his way to New York.  A few hours later, he was here.  And a few hours after that, he was gone again.  Apart from the faint trace of his cologne on a pillow, there was no sign that he had even been here.  And within a few hours, that was gone too.  Just like that.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Different Angle

I made a New Year's Resolution a few years ago to Be Less Negative.  A friend promptly pointed out that my first step in keeping my resolution should be to rephrase my resolution from Be Less Negative to Be More Positive. I laughed, agreed and then proceeded to tell this very story every time the topic of negativity or resolutions came up.

What I didn't realize at the time was that Be Less Negative and Be More Positive were two entirely different resolutions.  When I was less negative, it didn't automatically mean I became more positive.  Just because I was focusing less on what I didn't like about my job didn't mean that I was thinking about what I liked about it instead.  I didn't replace my negative thoughts with positive ones.  While it would be nice if positivity and negativity were a nice, neat sliding scale of -50 to 50, sometimes the parts just don't quite add up to 100.

Similarly, sometimes an event or milestone doesn't quite live up to all of the hype leading up to it.  As a result, the actual event or milestone that you'd been so eagerly looking forward to for so many months ends up being disappointing.  My solution has always been to lower my expectations.  If you're not expecting something to be amazing, then you can't be as disappointed if it's not and you'll be pleasantly surprised if it is.  But then I had a thought: why am I trying to Be Less Negative when I could be trying to Be More Positive?

Instead of lowering expectations to avoid disappointment, why not accept that the whole may actually be less than the sum of its parts and enjoy both sides of the equation?   It is possible to enjoy the means, the process, the anticipation, the hype, the expectation, the build-up just as much as the end itself.  In some ways, the process is the very fun itself.  It's like a road trip - it isn't the destination that matters so much as the journey itself.

Monday, November 29, 2010


My family had a rather untraditional Thanksgiving this year, complete with a Sumatran elephant ride, a Hawaiian turkey bake, fresh coconut water, a Balinese massage and a rainy rice paddy walk.

But the day began most unusually, with a visit to a healer.  A healer not unlike Elizabeth Gilbert's Ketut in Eat, Pray, Love.

I don't know that I really buy into the whole spiritual healing thing but there's something about knowing that these practices and beliefs have been around for thousands of years that makes me inclined to be less skeptical than usual, even if I do still find some things rather hokey.

With my parents, the healer prodded at their temples with his fingers and poked at pressure points on their feet with a stick, sometimes eliciting small (or big) yelps of pain. And each time there was a yelp, the healer would nod and say, "That was your lower back" or "That was your left knee."  Then he'd make a few motions ("Moving around your blocked energy," my yogi cousin explained) and voila!  He'd poke the same spot, and this time, no more yelping would occur.  When my brother's turn came, the healer looked him up and down and sighed.  "What do you need me for? So young!"  But still, he poked and prodded.  No yelping occurred, much to my (and, I suspect, my parents') disappointment.

Then it was my turn.  The healer didn't even bother to feel my temples.  "I already know she is fine," he explained.  Instead, he went straight for my toes.  Poke, nothing, poke, nothing, poke, nothing.  "Liver, lungs, kidneys.  All fine."  Then he took a look at me and poked the corner of my fourth toe.  "Ow." It felt a bit like he had taken a pair of tongs and pinched my toe.  He poked again.  And then, noticing the look on my parents' faces, he turned back to me again and gave his diagnosis.  "You are fine, but maybe.  Maybe you are asking questions.  Asking 'Why?'  Looking for answers.  Questioning."

You'd only have to take a look at the books I'd brought with me on my trip to figure that out.  Apart from a novel I'd been trying to finish for the past year (now complete), I had with me The Happiness Project and Mere Christianity.  How's that for soul-searching reading material?

I hoped the healer would move my energy around and make my questioning toe go away, just as he had with my dad's achy back.  Instead, he just looked at me and said, "You must look inside yourself."

And that was that.  He made it sound so simple.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I have a bit of a crush on someone whom I've never met - it's based purely on the sound of his voice.

I've never been much of a phone person, probably because when you have very nosy parents, you never want to have private phone conversations with your high school boyfriend that can be easily overheard by your entire family.  And so, I've always placed a lot of importance on a guy's command with the English language, whether via email, instant messages or texts.  Besides, what could be more romantic than a handwritten love letter?

The phone may be a touch less wistfully romantic, but still, there is something so comforting about hearing a familiar voice answer the phone.  It's the knowledge that at that very moment, the person on the other end is there.  He's awake and he's listening to what you are saying at that very moment.  With email, you never really know quite when your words will reach the person to whom they're addressed.   Then there's the a monopolistic quality to phone calls that's lacking in electronic situations.  With the phone, I love knowing that I am the sole person being spoken to out loud.   Sure he could be multi-tasking, but for the most part, I can tell whether I have his undivided attention.

And to top it all off, a voice - particularly a man's voice - can be sexy in a way that the written word just can't.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daily Reminders

Almost nine years ago, my three best friends from home and I were sitting at a cafe (okay, it was a Starbucks) catching up, analyzing each other's lives.   Eventually we decided to memorialize our conversation and jot down a few reminders/resolutions for each other on the back of Starbucks napkins.  I vaguely recall one of my reminders had something to do with not making out with random boys.  I guess I still need to work on that one.  What stuck with me a little more though, was their reminder to enjoy what's going on around me, right now, in that very moment.  I have always had a bit of a tendency to forget to enjoy my current surroundings because I am already looking forward to what lies ahead.  There always seems to be a new chapter in life to look forward to - a new school, an exciting trip, an interesting internship, a new city.  And when each of those new adventures begins, it never takes long for me to get caught up in planning my next one.   It's like asking what's for dinner before you've even finished your lunch.

I've been acutely aware of this trait of mine for all these years and was reminded of it more recently on account of an impending visit from 'C'.  I emailed him - breaking our almost two-year silence - and he emailed back to say he would be in New York in December.

His visit didn't come as much of a surprise to me but still, my reaction was rather mixed - a cocktail of hope, apprehension, excitement, doubt and confusion.

What I knew I needed to avoid though, was viewing his visit as something to look forward to.  I hate the idea of spending the next month thinking about what, if anything, will happen when he visits.  But more than that, I hate the idea of secretly wishing November was over and done with so December could be here already.  Life is short enough as it is.  I have actively tried not to become someone who lives from weekend to weekend or from vacation to vacation for precisely that reason.  It's too easy to forget to enjoy the random pleasures of a weekday when you're counting down the days till Friday.

And so I am reminded yet again to enjoy what's going on around me, right now, at this very moment.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Tonight I got off the plane at LaGuardia and had this urge to call 'F'.   While we haven't actually seen each other since August, he and I have still been in not infrequent contact, though the purpose of said contact remains hazy at best.

It happened while I waited in the cab line.  As I stood there in the 40 degree weather in my 65 degree outfit, I watched a couple in their late 20s/early 30s in line in front of me, him holding her close for warmth.  It was clear that he had been away for the weekend and she had met him at the airport.  She announced happily that she had made him tortillas.  "Made them?!" he responded.  "Okay, okay, I didn't make them.  But I got them for you!"  Just as I was ready to peg them as a three to six-month-old couple - somewhere in the stage where one still wants to meet the other at the airport - I noticed their simple, matching wedding bands.  And suddenly my eye-rolling at their cutesy cuddliness turned into a combination of envious yearning and mad jealousy.  A wave of loneliness hit me.  I thought I might start tearing up in the cab line, and that is when I had the urge to call 'F'.

It's pretty ironic considering I see 'F' as this emotionally unreachable being - a bit set in his own ways and a lot closed off.  Though I doubt he would never admit it outright, I think he tires of leading a solitary life.  The one time he ever hinted at feeling alone, he all but retracted it the following day.  I think part of the reason I haven't fully cut him out of my life is that I almost feel sorry for him, in an empathetic way.  I look at him and fear that his life is what mine could look like in five years - living alone, with almost all of my friends married or coupled off and feeling as though my job was a dead-end.  I can't help but wonder whether there was some dramatic event in his life that rendered him so emotionally shut-off - a broken engagement or unrequited love perhaps?  Or was it a series of failed attempts at relationships that gradually chipped away at his capacity to love?

I honestly have no idea, but I rather hope it's the former, for my sake.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What I Learned from My 2010 New Year’s Resolution

I have always been a list-maker.  To me, it is simply a natural part of being an organized human being, like having a planner or a box of blank labels.  As a kid, I methodically catalogued each and every one of my stuffed animals (and there were plenty, I assure you).  It was basically a list of their names and a brief description, you know, just in case Floppy fled to Canada and I had to file a Missing Beanie Baby Report.

Today, I keep lists upon lists upon lists.  Some are more useful than others.  There are lists of restaurants I like for brunch, restaurants I like to recommend for dates, restaurants I want to try.  Then there’s a list of jobs to apply for eventually.  A list of books I want to read.   And of course, The To Do List.  Naturally, I don’t have any old ordinary to do list.   My to dos are separated out into errands that I can definitely run when I have downtime at work (CVS), errands that I could possibly run if I have a LOT of downtime at work (Saks), errands that I have to run on weekends (ikea), household items I need to get (swiffer refills), groceries I’ve run out of (olive oil), things to ask others (get gyno rec from Jane), things that I want to look up on the internet (population of Vermont) and things that I want to buy but will require some comparison shopping (tan boots).  Just reading my list of lists (which doesn’t even cover all of my lists) stresses me out.

The great thing about lists is that I don’t worry that I’ll forget something.  The bad thing about lists is that I don’t forget anything.  I am constantly reminded that there are all of these things that I need to do, get, try.

Now, my 2010 resolution had nothing to do with ridding myself of lists.  My resolution was to stop buying kitchen accessories.   I realized I had a problem when I bought a corn stripper and stuck it in my gadget drawer next to a cake tester, mushroom brush and melon baller.

Looking back, I began to realize just how much time I wasted unintentionally shopping for kitchen gadgets.  Because of that damn “To get for kitchen” list that was always stored in my phone, every time I passed a kitchen supply store – even the Williams-Sonoma that I passed at least weekly – I had to go in.   I’d pluck out my BlackBerry and peruse the store for items that I could potentially erase from the “To get for kitchen” list.  Four out of five times, I’d decide I just couldn’t justify spending $40 on a box grater or $200 on a stand-mixer and leave the store empty-handed.  Stand-mixer has been on my “To get for kitchen” list for at least 5 years now.

So on January 1, 2010, I deleted the “To get for kitchen” list from my phone.  It was strangely liberating to know that it wasn’t there anymore.   That I couldn’t access it when I walked into a kitchen store.   Looking new set of red wine glasses no longer seemed like something I needed to do on a Saturday afternoon.  I still went into kitchen stores every now and then to admire, but at some point, my former preoccupation with kitchen gadgets started to fade.  The last time I went into a kitchen store, I got through the portal and walked back out.  Why was I in there?  I couldn’t buy anything anyway (without breaking my resolution) and more importantly, I neither needed nor wanted to buy anything.   Once I let go of my obsession with clearing my “To get for kitchen” list, I had one less idle obsession occupying my time.

I worry some about becoming too set in my own ways, of getting into a habit of doing things and not really knowing why I’m doing them (like walking into every kitchen store I pass).  I worry about becoming too preoccupied with the list itself rather than focusing on what’s really important or necessary on that list.  I could probably draw some deeper parallel here to relate it to the general theme of my writings here, but I’d rather not right now.   My point is really just this: getting rid of my “To get for kitchen list” was just one small step toward letting go of obsessions that bring more bad than good into my life.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


My generation (the "Millenials" or "Gen Y" or whatever other arbitrary name has been assigned to us) is collectively known as a bunch of whiny, entitled, lazy, willfully ignorant (my favorite), spoiled brats.  You won't get much of an argument from me on this point; too often I fit the description of a Millenial.  But if there's something that irks me to no end about the Millenial mindset is the attitude exemplified in John Mayer's Waiting for the World to Change.  I used to really love that song until one day I actually thought about the lyrics.  It is so symptomatic of our generation to say something like, "We just feel like we don't have the means / To rise above and beat it / So we keep waiting / Waiting on the world to change."  If there was a theme song for Millenials, I'd say that's it.  We complain, and then we shrug our shoulders and say there's nothing we can do about it.  We're a generation that doesn't effect change so much as wait for someone else to do it for us.

Now it's not as though I'm out there working on a grassroots campaign to change the world, but when it comes to my personal life, I'm not a fan of waiting around.  I do not subscribe to the love-happens-when-you-least-expect-it school of thought, I'm more of a when-it-rains-it-pours kind of girl.

And so, I've done all sorts of things since moving to New York to inject change into my life.  A lot of it has been motivated by dating.  Forcing myself to go out.  Forcing myself to go on second dates even when I know they're not leading anywhere.  Forcing myself to try match.  And then every time that starts feeling empty, I try to fill the void simply by keeping busy with things I enjoy.  Signing up for classes.  Signing up for sports teams.  Signing up for a blog.  Signing up for community service projects.   Signing up for things that make me feel like I am enriching my life in any sort of way.  Signing up for things that keep me from feeling like I am wasting away my weekends and evenings sitting in front of my TV, alone.  

But sometimes it all seems like a rather temporary fix.  I can keep myself busy all I want, but at the end of the day, I still come home to an empty apartment and I still don't have any real control over certain aspects of my life.  It still feels as though I am waiting around.  Waiting on the world to change.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


The month of September was quite blissfully boy-free.  As the month drew to an end, I wondered to myself whether I should sit down and re-evaluate this dating break.  Should I set a date (pun not intended) for when I need to make myself get back out there? And then I thought about just how ridiculous that sounds.  Sometime it's nice to set "goals" but maybe I could benefit from a little less structure and a little more enjoying what life throws at me.

This weekend confirmed that for me.  I went to a wedding - one of the most fun weddings I've been to -  small and casual and just lovely.  It was in the groom's parents' backyard, the tent was set up right next to the groom's childhood swing set, the bride's friend from college officiated the ceremony, the guests sipped bloody marys during the vows and everyone was drunk by about 4:30 pm (Irish wedding).  So, not unsurprisingly I suppose, I wound up shacking up with one of the few single guys there.

Now usually after a hook-up with a random guy, I wake up the morning after with a terrible hangover and a feeling of self-loathing.  But not this time.  This time I woke up and couldn't help but just smile when he reminded me that he had written "I heart men" on my arm like a tattoo and then laugh in horror when I discovered a dried-up lime wedge in my purse.

I'm not quite sure what felt different about this one.  Maybe it was just that he made me feel comfortable and secure.  I slept more soundly snuggled up in his arms than I have in recent memory.  (Okay, that could have also been the alcohol.)  Maybe it was that there was no expectation of anything continuing since he lives on the other side of the country.  Maybe it was just that it was fun and completely unexpected.  For once, I just enjoyed what life threw at me.

But more than anything else, he reminded me that there really are attractive, young, smart, straight, single men out there.   And he was really nice too.  It made me wonder if I have been unnecessarily putting up with a lot of shit from New York boys and not even realizing it.  He reminded me that maybe not all cute boys are assholes.  And he reminded me how fun it can be to be single.   After a year of being heartbreakingly disheartened and constantly worn down, it was a reminder that I absolutely needed.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Someone to Lean On

A few weeks ago, I cried on the phone to 'F'.

It's almost comical to see in those words on a screen.  If nothing else, this year will go down in history as the year of uncontrollable crying.  I think I've cried more in the first three quarters of 2010 than I did in all of the entire previous decade (granted, crying twice a year was probably my previous norm).   The odd thing about this particular instance was that it was even more random than usual.  'F' didn't say anything to piss me off (for once).  Actually, he probably didn't say anything more than "Hey."  Literally.  He called me, I picked up and the next thing I knew, nothing was coming out but tears. 

I was tired.  Tired of being in charge.  Tired of being responsible.  Tired of being in control but not in control.  Tired of doing everything for myself.  Tired of doing shit for other people.  Tired of organizing get-togethers to no one's full satisfaction.  Tired of answering questions like "Where's X Bar?" when the questioner could have easily taken an extra 4 seconds to type the "X Bar" into google instead of immediately sending me an email.  Tired of giving date recommendations to my guy friends.  Tired of giving second date recommendations.  Tired of giving recommendations period.   Tired.

Most of the above are things that I generally enjoy, or at least don't mind, but after an entire summer of what felt like constantly stepping up when others weren't, there were times when I just wished I could go to my parents' house, crawl into my childhood bed and have my mom take care of me.  Escape all of my responsibilities, even for just a moment, and let someone else do things for me for once.

I guess it is quickly becoming the one critical trait that I look for in a guy.  It's not necessarily how funny or how smart or how cute they are, it's that Darwinian instinct in me that asks, can he take care of me?   And for me, that means whether he's someone that I feel like I could turn the reins over to, even for just a moment.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nobody Just Wants To Be Friends

Nobody just wants to be friends.  This has quickly become one of my favorite phrases.  Originally, the phrase was used in this context:

Cute Friend: This older guy who is friends with my friends but isn't friends with any of them on facebook just friended me and then said we should get coffee.  Is that weird?
Cute Friend's Friend: Yes.
Cute Friend: But he's just really friendly.  I think he just wants to be friends.
Cute Friend's Friend: Nobody just wants to be friends.

We started using the phrase repeatedly because said Cute Friend gets this type of "friendly" message all the time.  I think of it as a "feeler" message.  Generally, no one, especially not someone you know through friends, really wants to just lay it out there up front so instead they ask if you want to do something wishy washy that makes you think well, maybe-it's-a-date-but-maybe-it's-not.   The last time I got a feeler message like that, I told him I thought his friend was cute (and then that friend and I dated).  Yeah, I was that brutal.

So anyway, the phrase has become applicable in my own life lately.  The guy I went on one match date with ages ago actually emailed me MULTIPLE TIMES to see if I just wanted to grab lunch in the park or go to an architecture lecture with him or see a movie with him and his friends, you know, "just as friends."  It's probably my own fault since I pulled the "I'm too busy to date" line.  At first I sent him polite, but what I thought were very clear, responses.  And eventually I stopped responding full stop.  Nobody just wants to be friends.

And then 'G', the Good Guy who I just couldn't bring myself to keep dating, emailed me out of the blue a few weeks ago and asked if I'd be interested in hanging out with him and some of his friends now that football season is starting up (Uh, what?  I do not watch football), totally not as a date thing (riiight), just because he thought I was really fun (well, thanks) and might have fun joining up with him and his buddies sometime (because that wouldn't be awkward).  I don't know that I could've had a more negative reaction.  I wondered if I was just being too cynical, so of course I told half my friends (aka forwarded the email) about it, who similarly concurred that it was weird, and then I proceeded to tell an entire bachelorette party the story, and they all thought it was weird too.  Nobody just wants to be friends.  (On the bright side though, in one fell swoop, that email erased any chance of me having any future regrets about ending it with him.)

And then 'F' popped up again.  True to form, I just asked him why the fuck he was emailing me.  In a nutshell, he said, can't I just say hi?  I said, no.  He said, we can't be friends?  And I said, what?  No. Why would we be friends? Nobody just wants to be friends.

Now I know.  It is so absurdly cynical, but if you think about it, in a post-college stage in life, isn't it sort of true?  There's always some reason, as innocuous as it may be, that you wind up exchanging numbers with a member of the opposite sex - whether it's that you want to date them, or that you want to date their friends, or that you want to work for the company they work for, or that you need a new tennis buddy.  Sure you may eventually end up becoming actual friends after you've dated/dated their friends/gotten a job/played sports together, but at the very beginning, there was probably some ulterior motive.  Since graduating, I cannot think of a single straight guy I've become friends with purely because I thought he would be a fun friend.  It's kind of like in that episode of Friends when Joey challenges Phoebe to find/perform a truly selfless act and she fails.

Nobody just wants to be friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hiding the Ball

I recently read an article about a study that measured the happiness of married couples one, five and ten years after marriage.  And they didn't measure the happiness of just any old married couples; they compared happiness of arranged marriages versus "love marriages."  Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly), the couples whose marriages had been arranged were happier than their love marriage peers five years after getting hitched and much MUCH happier ten years after tying the knot.

Granted I have no idea how this study "measured" and "compared" happiness, but my first thought was well, obviously, the arranged marriage couples were quote unquote happier.  Their expectations were lower!  Happiness is nothing if not relative.  Case in point: I loved law school.  But was I actually happier while I was in law school than I had been in college or at any point in my life before that?  Or was it simply that I had expected it to be horrible and when it wasn't, I was suddenly not just happy that it didn't suck but I was also happy that my decision to attend law school had been validated and I wouldn't eventually regret being saddled with a miserable amount of debt to pay for a miserable three years.  So, my point is, of course arranged marriage couples are happier.  They probably expected it to suck.   So when it didn't suck as much as it did, they were happy that it didn't suck and on top of it all, they were happy that they were happy.

(Or.  Maybe the people whose marriages were arranged had spent two years being single in New York and had given up hope that they would ever find anyone so they were just grateful that their parents were able to find someone for them to marry at all.)

The study did not espouse any such cynical theories.  The one that struck me the most was the idea that in arranged marriages, everyone's faults are out there on the table from the start.  Everything has already been vetted and all the cobwebs have been swept out of the closet.  You know exactly what you're getting into.  On the the other hand, with 21st century dating, you can spend months getting to know someone and still have no idea what the catch is.

Now, I realize that maybe not everyone has a catch.   And for my own sanity, I think I'd want to know that too.  If there are NO deal breakers attached to a particular guy, it would be great to know that up front, so I could stop looking for faults and stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I feel like I've spend way too much time trying to figure out the end of the phrase "he's really great but..."  And similarly, I feel like I've expended a lot of energy hiding my crazy girl side from guys I've dated.  So maybe it would be nice to just say to a guy at the very beginning, "Hi, nice to meet you.  And by the way, I can get a little nutso at times, I'm a commitment-phobe and I don't like holding hands."

This all sounds so nice to me in theory.  After years of futilely playing the dating game, the idea of having a little cheat sheet, a guide to getting the next level in Mario Bros., well, it just sounds lovely.  But then I wonder, if I did have such a cheat sheet, would I ever give anyone a chance in the first place? Would anyone give me a chance in the first place?  Maybe it IS better not to know someone's faults until you've had a chance to meet each other and sparks have flown.  Maybe it's only after falling in love with someone that you can really accept someone's faults because you actually want the good to outweigh the bad.

So is it better to have all the information up front?   Or is it better to keep hiding the ball?  I'm not sure.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Dating Cycle

This weekend, it felt like fall had finally found New York (nevermind that it is supposed to be 89 degrees tomorrow).  I love fall.  I love the sound of leaves crunching underfoot and being able to sleep with the windows open.  I love how fall comes with so many mixed feelings - giddily looking forward to a new school year full of potential while wistfully saying goodbye to the carefree days of summer, eagerly picking crisp, red apples while noticing the sudden absence of lush, summer berries from the produce aisle, wrapping a warm scarf around your neck while reluctantly tucking away your flip flops.  I love how fall feels quiet, but hurried, as though everyone is trying to get as much done as they can before turning in for the winter.

This year, the tidings of fall came with the usual melancholic mix of feelings.  But more present than ever this year was dread.  This fall will usher in my third year at my job.  This fall will mark five years of living alone.  This fall will mean two years have passed since I last saw or spoke to 'C'.  And this fall will mean that I've been actively dating for two years, with not much to show for beyond a few more proverbial notches on the bedpost.

As if I haven't said this enough already, dating is exhausting.  First, there's the exhaustion of trying to get a date - going to bars, weeding through the online profiles and flirting, flirting, flirting.  And then there's the exhaustion of going on first dates - making small talk, putting your best foot forward and smiling, smiling, smiling.  And then there's the exhaustion of the second, third and fourth dates - actually getting to know someone, determining whether you're compatible and analyzing, analyzing, analyzing.

I have yet to make it much further than these stages.  It's like I'm stuck in the board game Chutes and Ladders.  I keep plugging along, square by square.  Occasionally, I get lucky, land on a ladder, get really excited, climb up, and then boom.  On the next roll, I land on a chute and get spiraled right back down to the beginning, where the game begins all. over. again.  

Right now, I feel like I'm at the starting line and it's my turn to roll, but I just don't want to.  I don't want to put myself back through the cycle and risk landing on chute after chute after chute.  I just want to sit here for a moment.  Sit on the sidelines.  Take a moment to stop thinking about boys all the time.  Take a break from thinking about how lonely it would be to live by myself for the next five years, much less the rest of my life. 

I guess this dating break has a lot to do with why I am dreading the fall.  That same quiet, hurried feeling that seems to wash over New Yorkers (and squirrels) as they try to get as much done before winter arrives is taking over me.  I have a completely self-imposed sense of urgency that I need to get to the end of this board game before the sand in the hourglass runs out.  Hence my dreading the fall.  The change of seasons seems to remind me that as long as time is tick, tick, ticking, then I need to keep dating, dating, dating.

But I don't want to.  I just want time to stand still with me for a sec while I take a moment to prepare myself to roll the dice again.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I went on a fourth date with 'G' yesterday, and I told numerous little white lies leading up to and during the date.  He originally asked me to do something Friday night, but I said I had plans and suggested brunch on Saturday instead.  After brunch, I faked having to go to work to avoid spending the rest of the afternoon with him, even though I could very easily have worked on Sunday instead.  And when he asked what I was doing Monday night, I pretended to have a soccer game on Monday, even though it's actually on Wednesday.

And afterward, I thought, "Wow, this is so not normal."  It's not normal to have an "Oh, it's just you again" reaction when you get a thoughtful text from a guy you've been dating.  It's not normal to lie to avoid seeing someone.  Not being super excited about going on a date is one thing, but repetitive lying to avoid spending time with someone?  Not normal.

So I went back to trying to decide how I was going to end it.  My girlfriends said I could get away with an email.  And then, I took a poll of some guy friends.  Every single one said that male ego-wise, it was better for the girl to never respond.  Never call back.  Never text back.  Never email back.  Just completely drop off the face of the planet.

I was a little shocked that this was their advice!  I'd be PISSED if I never heard back from a guy after four good dates.  I hate being left hanging.  I'd be sitting there for at least a week, wondering what happened.  "I don't think I can do that," I told them, before remembering I had done exactly that at least twice last year.

Maybe I've matured or grown or something, but really, I think that this last year of dating has made me more sensitive to just how awful it is, for all parties involved, to be out there dating in the first place, without having to deal with selfish, rude, insensitive jerks (like the one I apparently was last year).

So today, when the rain ruined my plans to go to the beach and his plans to do some outdoor drinking and 'G' called to see if I wanted to see a movie instead, I knew I couldn't just not call back.  Here was this nice, great guy who just wanted to spend some time with me, and I was actually contemplating dropping off the face of the planet?  I called and awkwardly told him I just needed to take a break from dating in general (which is true).   I think I probably sounded a bit like I was going to cry (which I did a little later) because his response wasn't, "Uhhhhh okay," it was, "Sure, it's your call, but is everything okay?" When I told him I'd just had a really up-and-down year (also true), he responded, "Well I just want to make sure you're okay," which just made me feel even worse.  Not because I was ending it, but because I couldn't bring myself to like such a nice, good guy.  And then there was the complete and total awkwardness of ending the actual phone call itself.  I may as well have just said, "Have a nice life" and it would've been equally as awkward.

So here I am again, completely of my own volition this time, back at Square 1.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me. Or Is It?

I finally went on a third date with 'G'. (I decided that even though there is a chance that I may never speak to this kid again, he still gets a letter.  Because he is representative of my inability to commit.  Because he is an archetypal "Good Guy."  And because I was avoiding assigning someone the letter 'G' and just needed to be done with it already.)  'G' is the guy that I avoided going a third date with a few weeks back for no good reason.  I just wasn't feeling it at the time.  And after Date #3, I waffled.

Like I said, 'G' is a Good Guy.  The worst I can say about him is that he is from New Jersey.  And that he didn't step up and plan our second date.   That's it.  Seriously, no obvious flaws.  Objectively, I honestly have nothing else negative to say about him.  And this is Negative, Cynical Me actively looking for faults.  Conversely, there's nothing spectacular about 'G' either.  Nothing stands out.  I never wrote about our first date, because other than what we did on our first date (which I planned), there was nothing to tell.  I never wrote about our second date, because other than the fact that he was terrible at planning the second date, there was nothing to tell.  And similarly, there is nothing to tell about our third date.

Now this all makes it sound like he is boring.  Or that I am bored when I am with him.  But neither of those things is true.  He's interesting enough and we have plenty to talk about.  Our dates are totally fine.  Fun even.  But am I itching to go out with him again?  No.  

Hence, the waffling.

This weekend, I went down to DC, and on the bus trip down, I decided pretty definitively that I wasn't going to see him again.  I even got so far as to figure out how I was going to tell him that I didn't want to see him anymore (a phone call with the "I just can't date right now" and "There's this other guy" and "I have baggage, you don't want to date me" type of speech).  

But then on the bus trip back (which was longer, thank you I-95), I decided maybe I should go out with him again.  I thought about all the girls I knew who hadn't been totally swept off their feet on their first dates with their now significant others.  I thought about how many of them were just kind of "eh" about their guys.  I thought about how many of them expressed lukewarm feelings, but kept going out with these boys anyway, and then ended up (gradually) falling in love.  It made me wonder whether my entire search for a boyfriend is sort of doomed from the start, because I want that instant gratification, that immediate spark.  Am I giving up on guys too quickly?  Perhaps.  Am I simply not committed enough to the idea of being in a relationship to stick it out and gradually fall for someone?  Probably.  Is it me and my mindset and my inability to commit getting in the way of my own happiness again?  Almost definitely.

But then I remembered how ready I was to be in a relationship back in January, with 'D', and that sends my mindset theory flying out the window...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Letting Go, A Follow-Up

When I re-read what I wrote last night in the light of day, it just suddenly seemed so clear to me.  I mean, sure, maybe the reason nothing has changed in my life in the last two years is simply that I have been waiting for the Perfect Guy, the Perfect Apartment, the Perfect Puppy or the Perfect Job to come along before plunging into a relationship, home-ownership, "motherhood" or a new career.

Or, maybe I am just a huge commitment-phobe.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Letting Go

Last weekend, I was catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in a couple months.  My friend had all sorts of new developments in his life.  He had a new nephew.  He and his long-term girlfriend had broken up.  He had already gone out on a first date (with a cougar!).  He was entering a new stage in his career.

And then we turned to me.   "So, where are you living now?"  "Oh...the same place as before."  "I thought the last time I saw you, you were looking at moving?"  "Oh...yeah, still looking."  "Did you get a puppy?" ", still no puppy."  "And did you quit yet?" "Oh...uhh no...not yet..."  (At least he spared me the "are you seeing anyone" question.  I suppose he knows me well enough to know that the answer to that question never changes.)  "Wow," he said, "What happened to all your plans?!"

We laughed, but then later, I couldn't help but think, what DID happen to all my plans?  Or, more precisely, why haven't I followed through with any of these things that I talk and obsess about all the time?  These things - apartment, dog, job - are all things that are more or less in my control, and yet I simply cannot seem to pull the trigger.  I keep hesitating, stalling.  Sure, they're big life decisions and certainly choices not to be made hastily, but still.  What am I waiting for?  What is holding me back?

And then this weekend, I avoided going on a third date for absolutely no good reason.  I didn't have any real set plans, and it would've been easy to have met up with him on Saturday or Sunday night.  But I didn't.  I lied.  I made stuff up.  And then I made plans so I wouldn't feel as guilty about making stuff up.  I was purposefully trying to stall our progress.  The thing is, he's actually a pretty great guy.  We have a good rapport, and he is genuinely nice without being boring.  And to me, he seems, well, safe.  Drama-free.  So why am I hesitant to move things forward with him?  Why am I shying away from a chance to actually try to have a stable, adult relationship?  What am I waiting for?  What am I holding on to?

When you're single, it can be so easy to cling to the dream that maybe one day things will magically work out with the one who got away - the ex-boyfriend, the best friend, the summer fling, the boy who moved 500 miles away.  It's so easy to keep retreating back into the comfort and familiarity of that someone, even when you know deep down that it would never actually work out.  It's easier to hold on to even just the idea of that someone than it is to get out there, start fresh and go on those first, second and third dates.

I don't think I'm holding on to the idea of things working out with a specific person so much anymore as I am to just the idea of the Perfect Guy.  And no matter what I've said in the past, maybe I'm still not quite ready to give up the dream of someone else, the dream of the Perfect Guy.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Empire State of Mind

I wouldn't say that I'm "rebellious" per se.  I don't have tattoos.  I don't have piercings anywhere but my earlobes.  And, really, let's be honest, I am a straight-laced, J.Crew-shopping, Top-40-listening, corporate-America-working, unapologetically mainstream 20-something.  I know that.  My rebellion takes place completely in my head.  My own inner struggle between being content with the straws I've drawn in life and this rebellious streak that nags at me, telling me that no, you must resist!  You cannot simply "settle" for the status quo!  There's always the thought in the back of my head that something can always be better.  It's that quest for perfection that keeps me continually on the lookout for the perfect apartment, the perfect job, the perfect boyfriend.

And that continual pursuit of "something better" appears to be symptomatic of my generation.  To us, nothing is permanent, and everything is fluid.  Anything can be changed, undone, fixed.  Don't like the college you picked?  Transfer.  Don't like the boy you married?  Get divorced.  Don't like your job?  Quit.  Isn't that part of the beauty of so many things in life?  You are allowed change your mind.  We are a generation of flip-floppers.  When I accepted my job offer over 2 years ago, my dad commented that he had never known anyone who was already planning when they were going to quit before they had even started their job.  I was very vocal about wanting to quit within 2 to 3 years of starting.  Now that the 2-year mark is nearly upon me, that nagging feeling that I should really be looking for "something better" is becoming more and more urgent.   It's pretty easy to hate this job, but I wonder how much of that hate is a sign of true discontent or whether it's simply a result of my own rebellion against myself.  I wonder how much my own state of mind is actually preventing me from embracing and enjoying my current lot in life.

Take, for example, when I first moved to New York.  I absolutely hated the idea of being that wide-eyed girl from southern, suburban America moving to The Big City.  As a result, I really tried to resist the City's charms.   When I went home and people asked me how New York was, I found myself hedging.  I was snobby about it.  I'd say something like, "Oh it's okay.  I mean, you know I never really wanted to live in New York.  It's just the only place in the States I can see myself living right now."  I could hear myself downplaying it, like it was just sort of the default choice.  No big deal, who the fuck cares, it's just New York.  And eventually, even I tired of being such a Debbie Downer about the whole thing.  I decided I needed an attitude adjustment and resolved to be less negative.  Basically, I gave in.  I stopped resisting.  I allowed New York to seduce me.  I embraced it.  And it still kills me a little to say it, but yeah, okay, I do love living here.

So what would happen if I stopped trying so hard to hate my job?  What if accepted it for what it is - a job that pays the rent and enables me to enjoy New York?  What if I actually tried to embrace it?

Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Get Over Someone You Didn't Even Like

My "I-hate-boys" attitude sort of bled into this past week too.

It was 'F'.  No, he didn't do anything.  And I was still, STILL thinking about him.  About what?  I don't know.  Do I want him to contact me?  No.  But I still kept wondering what he was up to, if he was spending the night in, if he was working, if he was out, if he was lonely, if he was still mad, if he was thinking about me.

I guess it just goes to show that certain people can get under your skin simply with TIME.  The longest we ever went without talking was a week.  And of course this week, all sorts of things kept reminding me of him.   Things popped up that I would've immediately texted him about a few weeks ago.  I hate that he is actually sort of my "type" and then to top it all off, we actually have that spark of chemistry.  The kind that draws people to each other from clear across the room (or bar in this case).  That, I suppose, is mostly what is to blame for why I let our entire relationship continue to function in such a dysfunctional way.

Ultimately, I hope to find someone who brings out the best in me and vice versa.  That was definitely not the case with 'F'.  We brought out the worst in each other.  The absolute worst.  As much as he makes me crazy angry and as much as I continue to tell myself all the reasons that he is so wrong for me, it still makes me a little sad.  Yet another failure, yet another disappointment, yet another guy who has let me down.

And here I am again, back at Square 1.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Enough is Enough

Last week was a little rough for me.  And by rough, I mean that I had a total "I-hate-boys" week.  Initially, it was because of this guy who I thought was a really great guy.  (Well, he might very well be a great guy who just wasn't into me.  Which sucks, but fair enough, I guess.)  In a nutshell, we're friends, we hooked up, we exchanged lukewarm emails, we made really half-assed plans to get together, we missed each other's phone calls, and that's pretty much been it.  All week, I was more or less rationalizing away his behavior.   And while there are actually legitimate mitigating factors, at the end of the week, when I received yet another lukewarm, lame-ass email, I read it, frowned, walked away from my computer, stopped half-way across the room, went back, read it again, and thought, well, Fuck That Shit.

Later, I related (slash copied and pasted) his email to my go-to straight guy friend, whose interpretation was something along the lines of, well, this doesn't mean that he's not interested.  I went, wait, what?  Said friend then proceeded to lecture me on all the things he thought I had done wrong up to that point and then advise me on how I should act going forward.  Basically, he encouraged me to play a lot of stupid games.  And I thought even more emphatically that time, well, Fuck That Shit.

Mostly, I just couldn't believe that here I was trying to make excuses for this guy.  That is so not my job AT ALL.  I recognize that I'm probably unfairly taking an entire year's worth of frustration at boys out on this poor guy who just happened to stumble into me at a particularly low-point in my life, but that's kind of just it.  There's a point at which enough is enough.  I have wasted so much time and energy making excuses for boys, hoping that one day they'll come around, waiting for the day things will magically be different.  I guess that is sort of why it's taken me so long to cut 'F' (who also resurfaced in the MOST frustrating manner this week as well) out of my life.  With 'F', I knew from Day 2 (seriously, Day 2) that he was not right for me.  And yet, I convinced myself that it was fun and not particularly detrimental to my life in any way, so I let it drag on for practically four months, far past the point at which it stopped being fun.  And gradually, during that time, this very small part of me started to hope, even believe, that one day, we'd wake up and he'd suddenly be different.  He'd make some grand gesture and grow the fuck up.

So when 'F' did resurface, I caved and agreed to see him.   Every single thing about him that day simply reconfirmed what I already knew about him.  In fact, everything single thing about him that day actually made me angry that I was there at all.  And when I told him that this was the end of the line for us, he was astonished (and pissed).  He kept asking, "What changed?"


Nothing had changed between Day 2 and now.  But do I really want him to change?  Do I really want to be with someone who has to come around to the idea of being with me?  Do I really want to waste my time waiting for someone to change?  Do I want to be with someone with whom I have to play games to get to date me?  Do I want to be with someone that I have to wear down before he'll fall in love with me?   No.  Fuck That Shit.

Life's too short.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Feeling Restless

When I moved to New York, it was the first time in my entire life that I moved somewhere not knowing when I was going to leave.  I found the fact that I could be living here in New York indefinitely really, really unsettling.  It also didn't help that I felt like I had wound up in New York by default.  It wasn't so much the best option as it was the least bad option. There really wasn't any other place in the country where I would've wanted to live as a single 25-year-old, single being the operative word in this sentence.

So initially, I was rather negative on the City before deciding that I needed an attitude adjustment.  I convinced myself that yes, this was the best place to be as a single 25-year-old.  And then I convinced myself that since I was here indefinitely, it was time to buckle down and actively concentrate on dating and relationships. I like to call it my "time-to-stay-put-mentality."

I tend to attribute my perpetual singleness to the fact that I've always been sort of focused on where I was going with my life (even if I never really knew where that was).  In the back of my mind, there's always been this hesitation of not wanting to get entangled in a relationship and be forced to give up my dreams to follow some boy.  But now that I was indefinitely stationary, it seemed logical to start concentrating on my personal life.  Stay put.  Grow up.  Stop dreaming about traveling and moving around every few years.

Today, probably for the first time in a really long time, the I-wish-I-was-living-in-a-foreign-country wave hit me.

I blame my Afghan coffee cart guy, who may be one of the nicest people I interact with on a day-to-day basis, for this sudden surge of restlessness.  He was just chatting with the guy from the coffee cart across the street and eating a plate of food from the food cart next to his, and as he poured me my coffee, he told me that the guy from the coffee cart across the street was actually his uncle.  I don't know why that made me smile.  It reminded me of how all the shopkeepers at street markets in Cairo knew each other.  It reminded me of the sense of community that suddenly bonds even the most typically unfriendly Americans when displaced in a foreign environment.  I suddenly longed to be somewhere else, soaking up a local culture, learning a new language and, when struck by homesickness, retreating back into a community of Americans with whom I never would have been friends back at home.

It wasn't quite enough to make me immediately sign up to move to Kabul, but it did get me thinking.  If I weren't for the fact that I decided that my odds of meeting someone were best in New York, would I still be  here?  Would I still be practicing law?  Doubtful.  If I wasn't so worried about being single for the rest of my life, I would have done everything in my power to move to some random country.  I wouldn't be limiting my current job search to New York. 

You hear about people all the time who put their personal life on hold for their careers.  I guess in a way, I am sort of doing the opposite.  I've put that dream of working abroad on hold in pursuit of this pipe dream of finding true love...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Match Story #3: Online Deal-breakers

So in addition to the chemistry factor and my increasingly cynical attitude towards this whole online dating thing, I also don't think I will meet someone on match because it is just so easy to nix people for big AND little things.  And apparently it goes both ways.  I've already come across a few guys who have said things at the end of their profile like, "If you're a drama queen, move on."  And "If your idea of a meal is Jenny Craig, then we're probably not a good match."  And then today, I came across a guy who listed not just one but TEN deal-breakers.  I am kind of tempted to copy and paste it, but I will loosely paraphrase instead...

"A few things....

1.  If you're on here just looking to get a free meal from as many dudes as humanly possible...don't e-mail me.
2. Shopaholics/high maintenance/"fashionistas"...go away.
3. I don't have Fbook, so please don't ask.
4. I don't like texting.
5. A sense of self-importance based on a perceived social-status won't get you anywhere with me.
6. If you date dudes that wear Ed Hardy or Affliction shirts: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
7. Have a job.
8. Please, please, please...have a brain.
9. If you're operating on 1 or more psychotropic drugs prescribed to you by a therapist for severe depression/ bipolar disorder and withhold this information until we actually meet....yeah.... I think you know where this is going...
10. If Daddy pays your rent so that you can live in a posh apartment in Manhattan, please never reproduce, and obviously, leave me alone."

The list was actually much longer - like a paragraph of description per deal-breaker.  I thought it was pretty funny, although I have no idea what an Affliction shirt is.

I revised my profile last week and I actually did consider posting a short list of deal-breakers too.  But then my guy friends told me that it would make me sound like a total Debbie Downer and that no one would ever want to date me.  So, I'm just going to post it here instead.

My online deal-breakers

1.   A shirtless picture
2.   A picture taken in a mirror with a cell phone
3.   A picture taken in a bathroom mirror with a cell phone
4.   A shirtless picture taken in a bathroom mirror with a cell phone
5.   Misuse of you/you're or their/they're/there; generally terrible grammar
6.   Use of the phrase "partner in crime"
7.   Living outside of the NY area
8.   Living on Staten Island
9.   Being divorced
10. Being 40 or older (and that is being generous)

Actually, it seems that this list isn't necessarily specific to online dating...hmmm.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Match Date #1 Breakdown

Alright, let me just first admit that this is going to be really honest.  No holding back.  Which means it is also going to be really nit-picky, petty and shallow.  Consider yourself warned.

So when I left the date, I thought, alright well, that was fine.  I guess I would go out with him again.  But then I got home and started thinking about all the negatives.  And then today as I was describing it to my friends, I remembered even MORE negatives.  And here they are.  Some of them.

Planning the date.  When we had messaged about meeting up, he had suggested that we meet on Monday at 7 at Madison Square Park.  My initial thoughts, in order, were:  "Uh, Madison Square Park??  Are we going to Shake Shack?  Do they serve alcohol there?  I don't really eat burgers. Maybe I could get a shake. This is a weird spot to pick.  What?"  Ultimately I figured, hey, he was very specific so at least that shows he can take some initiative.  So fast forward to Monday.  I text him as I'm leaving work and he texts back "Do you have a place in mind?"  So I'm thinking, what?!?  Didn't he already suggest Madison Square Park?  Long story short, I say no, he suggests Madison Square Park again and I suggest that we get a drink in Bryant Park.  Which is what we did.  I personally think alcohol should always be at least an option on a first date.

Height.  His profile said he was 5'9".  I was wearing flats.  He did NOT seem 5'9".  Now, I think I may very well have a warped perception of height, as two of my best guy friends are 6'5" and 6'3" and I think 'A','B', 'C', 'D', 'E' and 'F' were all at least 6'.  Well, 'D' may have been 5'11".  Anyway, this guy did NOT seem 5'9".  Maybe 5'8".  Maybe even 5'7".  In any case, possibly shorter than advertised and definitely shorter I would like.

Religion.  I don't particularly care what religion someone subscribes to or if they're religious at all as long as they're respectful of other people's beliefs.  He frowned upon those he deemed fundamentalist.  When we were talking about where we grew up, he asked me if it weird to grow up not religious when everyone else around me was.  I was a little taken aback.  I don't say anything about my religious beliefs on my profile, so I wasn't sure how he assumed that (a) I am not religious now and (b) I wasn't religious then.  Maybe he had me confused with someone else?  I told him that I went to church twice a week in high school.  He back-tracked a bit.   Apart from that, he also expressed his dismay that his friend thought they should teach Creationism in school.  And then he continued on to say how he just couldn't understand how anyone could possibly believe that Creationism is a valid theory.  I found his tone condescending and elitist.  I guess this is why you're not supposed to talk about religion on a first date.

Other dates.  Somehow the topic of other dates came up.  I told him how weird some of the guys on match were, especially the guys who sent follow-up messages when I didn't respond to their initial emails.   So then he told me how he messaged this photo editor (who he thought was "like so amazing" and with whom he had "so much in common"), and she didn't respond, but he messaged her again anyway to invite her to a photo exhibit he thought she might enjoy, and he still didn't hear back from her at all for two weeks until THAT MORNING (the day of our date) when she messaged him back.  Uhh.  I mean, don't get me wrong, obviously this is not exclusive, and obviously I know we are all probably seeing multiple people at once, but come on.  Really?  Didn't need to know any of that.

Just a little awkward.  He said, "So you're a lawyer huh."  I said, "Yup, I'm a lawyer." He said, "Like, a real one?  Barred and everything?" .... ummm yeah.  But what I really wanted to say was, no, I'm a fake lawyer, and I chase fake ambulances.

Post-date.  So the end of the date was sort of awkward.  He asked if I wanted to grab something to eat.  I declined.  And when I got home, I logged into match.  On match, you can see when someone else is online, so it occurred to me that it would be really awkward if he saw that I was online.  But I did it anyway.  And he saw.  And he sent me a message that said, "haha your [sic] online right now!"  Oh lordy.  Awkward.  And then he tried to add me as a gchat contact.  I declined.

On a positive note, I did like how passionate he was about his job.  That's always nice.  We had also studied abroad in the same random city.  But given the above, and the lack of chemistry, I'm pretty sure there won't be a Match Date #2 with Match Guy #1. On to the next.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Match Story #2: Chemistry

Drumroll please...I went on my first date last night!! Generally, I don't get particularly nervous before first dates.  Not so this time.  I was kind of sort of nervous ALL DAY LONG.  The more I thought about it, the weirder it felt.  I was about to have drinks with someone I had never even met!  My friends pointed out that it's really no different from going on a first date with someone you met at a bar.  When you meet someone at a bar, you probably chat on average for 10-60 minutes?  Long enough to know where they're from, what they do, where they went to school and maybe another tidbit or two.  When you meet someone online, you probably exchange a few emails.  Long enough to know where they're from, what they do, where they went to school and probably a few MORE tidbits.

So really, the only bit that really distinguishes the two is the looks factor.  But even that is debatable, becuase when you meet someone at a bar, it's likely that you've been drinking.  Is your hazey memory of that "cute guy" really more accurate than the 5 to 10 pictures that a guy picks to put on a dating site?  I'm not so sure. 

All things considered, it should be a relatively level playing field.  EXCEPT for that good ol' intangible thing called chemistry.  I kind of hate that word.  It's such a dating buzzword, like "networking" and "work-life balance" (which I realize is 3 words).   But even so, I'm starting to think "chemistry" is just another reason that it's less likely I'll meet someone with actual potential on match.

The thing is, I nix guys who message or wink at me purely based on their profiles.  And well, 80% of my decision is based on their pictures.  Now, I don't think that's unfair of me, considering that's basically all you have to go on when you're looking at someone's profile.  BUT if I look back at the guys I've dated and been attracted to in the past, I can pretty definitively say that I probably would've ignored them too had I only seen their match profile.  The reason for my attraction to them wasn't necessarily that they expressed themselves well in words or that they were photogenic.  Nope, it was almost always simply chemistry

So if I wasn't already underwhelmed by match, now I'm becoming increasingly skeptical.  Who knows, maybe one day, the stars will align and I'll find someone with a good profile AND chemistry.  But as far as Match Date #1 is concerned, well, it just wasn't there.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Match Story #1: Filters

Today, I logged into match and this popped up:

Based on what you've told us in your profile, we've noticed you're getting a lot of emails from people who don't meet your criteria. Would you like us to show you how to use email filters so you can get more emails from people you want to meet?

So I said, why, yes, thank you match.  I would like to know how to get more emails from cuter, smarter guys who do not misspell definitely.

And match responded, well, here's how you can set up filters!

Basically, if someone messages you and he doesn't meet the criteria that you select, his message goes straight into the "filtered mail" folder.  Criteria by which you can weed people out include age, height, location, smoker/non-smoker, want kids/don't want kids, ethnicity and religion.  So it basically enables you to say, "If you're a 40-year-old agnostic smoker who doesn't want kids, then you're spam and I don't even want to see your message in my inbox."

I decided that I would be super shallow and filter out all guys under 5'8". 

Turns out, the filter is also retroactive.  So the filter gets applied to every message that you've already received.  Apparently 18, eighteen, of the 31 guys who have messaged me are under 5'8"!!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Saga Continues...

So even though I joined match, 'F' is actually still kind of around.  I think the only appropriate word to describe us is "rocky."

I get mad at him rather frequently. I'm pretty sure if this exact situation was happening to one of my friends, I'd be trying to figure out a good way to tell her, "Why are you wasting your time?  This guy is trouble."

The problem is, no matter how peeved I get by his behavior and no matter how much I rant about it to my friends, when I'm with him and when I rant to him, all he has to do is swoop me up in his arms and kiss me and suddenly all I can do is roll my eyes, shake my head and hate myself for not being able to resist.

I suspect he's figured this out too.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Online Shopping

So I did it.  I joined!

When you join, you get a little "New!" next to your profile, which means that every message or wink I've gotten makes me feel like that new girl in school who gets pounced on as fresh meat.  I suppose it's better than no messages or winks, except that usually my reaction when I click on their profiles is "Ugh gross."  I guess it's sort of what I expected.  A lot of messages from old guys, horribly unattactive guys and guys who take pictures shirtless in front of their mirrors with camera phones.  Ugh gross.

On a less negative note, browsing is kind of fun!  It's like online shopping for a boyfriend!  Which made me realize that I seem to be spending a lot of my time these days online shopping.  For shoes, wine, groceries, dogs and now boys...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Progression to (or: Procrastination of) Online Dating

After a LOT of resisting, I've decided it's time. 

When I first moved to the city, my friend's little sister tried to convince me that I should try  She even offered me the rest of her year-long subscription after she met her boyfriend (who she's still with today).   I declined.  I didn't have any real reason not to other than I didn't particularly want to.

Fast forward a few months.  My aforementioned friend and I decide to make a pact to join  I mean, if it worked so well for her little sister, then obviously we, the older, wiser versions of her, should similarly be able to find matches online too.  Plus we thought it would be fun.  Go out on a bunch of random dates, meet new people, flirt, blah blah blah.  So we set ourselves a deadline.  We would join on July 4.  Fast forward to July 4.  Said friend was dating someone (who she's still with today) and me?  I felt like I had finally gotten the hang of the dating scene (slash I had finally figured out how to get a guy to ask for my number AND call AND ask me out).  It was exhausting enough dating guys I'd met the old-fashioned way that I couldn't even imagine throwing online dating into the mix.  So I put it off.  And put it off.  And put it off.

And then came the day that I actually canceled a first date to go over to a friend's house to watch Top Chef.  That's when I knew I needed a little breather from dating.  So I decided to take a nice, long break, enjoy my friends, go on vacation, take my time sifting through appropriate pictures of myself to put online and then, finally, without further ado, get on  But then I met someone.  Went on a few dates, that didn't work out, went on a few other random dates with guys I met in the interim, those didn't work out, starting dating 'D', that didn't work out and then poof.  It was 2010.  It sort of felt like I had crammed five years of dating all into one.  Excitement, exhaustion, up, down, fun, boring, great, terrible.  Get on match after all that?  Uh, no thanks.  It would've felt so defeatist, so sad, so desperate to try my hand at online dating after all that.

But now, I'm kind of excited again.  I'm ready to go out on a bunch of random dates, meet new people, flirt, blah blah blah.  And I suppose in a way, I have 'F' to thank for my progression back to a date-able state.  For one, he was a great distraction.  But more seriously, and rather ironically, 'F' helped me to realize how much I had been ready to compromise in a relationship.  With 'F', I wasn't constantly worrying about whether he was a potential boyfriend.  And without those could-he-be-my-new-boyfriend goggles, I could see just how much of me I was often willing to trade in just to become part of an us.

Now I'm sure I won't still get carried away from time-to-time and I know I'll still need to compromise when needed, but hopefully, this time around, I will still have the courage to be honest when I need to and not worry so much about losing someone before I've ever really even gotten them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I am feeling pretty indifferent towards my job right now.  Sure, there are some good things to be said for it, but it's kind of a dead-end.  I know it's not where I want to be in five years - hell it's not even where I want to be in five months.  And, it's not as though it's leading me to other opportunities.  There's no light at the end of this tunnel that I'm trying to reach, no real reason to stick it out for a set period of time.  So it feels like I am just sitting here without any real purpose, floating along, passing time.  Yet I'm not being particularly active in seeking out alternatives.  The problem is, my current situation is pretty comfortable.  It's easy.  I have no urgent reason to quit now; in fact, it's quite the opposite.  There are probably more reasons why I should just stay until something better comes along.  It can be a giant pain-in-the-ass sometimes, but for the most part, it's really not so bad.  But I also think that the longer I stay and the more comfortable I get, the harder it will be to leave for something unfamiliar that holds more potential for a future.  

Now, replace "my job" with "'F'" and read that paragraph again.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Skipping Ahead

As a kid, I hated when people would spoil the end of a movie or book for me.  I had friends who liked to read the last page of a book before starting so they knew how things would end.  I was the opposite.  I wouldn't even skim past a particularly long, descriptive paragraph to get to the action-packed sequence at the bottom of a page.  And, if, by accident, I did happen to read the action-packed sequence at the bottom of a page before trudging through the paragraphs before it, I was just neurotic enough to go back and soak up the words I skipped.  Occasionally it was worth the effort to go back, but most of the time those paragraphs were just boring filler.  But still, I always went back.  I just didn't want to miss anything in the off chance that those unread paragraphs contained something magical.

Now, with dating, it's the opposite. I usually just want to skip ahead.  First dates can be especially painful what with the forced job interviewesque questioning, the constant pretending like you're interested in what the other person is saying, the feeling that your date is evaluating every word that comes out of your mouth.  I fully admit to having a first through fourth date persona myself.  It's a censored, watered-down version of me, like what you would give someone when you don't think they're quite ready to handle the Real Thing.  But after a while of only showing part of your true personality and only getting to know someone on a superficial level, it's like, enough already.  Can't we just skip forward to the comfortable stage when we're not worried to be ourselves?

'F' and I kind of did just that - we skipped ahead to the I-don't-care-if-he-sees-me-without-make-up and he-doesn't-care-if-I-see-him-in-his-dog-covered-pajama-pants stage.  'F' never really saw my first through fourth date persona - poor kid had to deal with the Real Me pretty much right away.

On one hand, skipping all of the pretending has been nice.  'F' hasn't exactly been a picnic, but at least it's less exhausting in that I'm not tip-toeing around his feelings or worrying about showing too much emotion or whatever.  I can be me - mean me, crazy me, mad me, indecisive me - all the mes that I try to hide from other boys I date.  But while it's comfortable, it's not entirely familiar.  I realized recently how little I actually know about him.  Sure, I know all the basic stats.  I know what time he wakes up.  But do I know all the intangibles?  What he wanted to be when he was a kid?  Whether he and his brother are close?  If he had a dog growing up?  When you go on those awkward initial dates, the uncomfortable silences force you to talk about these things.  To fill the silence with random stories about your life.  Slowly the stories help to paint a picture of an entire person, bit by bit.  Slowly the gaps are filled in.

I suppose that's the problem with me and 'F' right now.  There are entire chunks missing from my picture of him.  But honestly, I'm a little afraid to go back and try to fill in what we skipped.  What if it turns out that it's just boring filler?  I guess it's a risk I'm going to have to take.  In the off chance that it turns out that there's something magical.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Getting Carried Away

A few weeks ago, 'D' accidentally left his keys in my bag.

My first thought was, ugh what a pain.  My second thought was, oh my god!  What if he left his keys in my bag on PURPOSE so he'd have to arrange a one-on-one meeting so he could tell me what a mistake he made and how he wanted to try dating me again?!?!?!  My third thought was, Jesus.  You are one crazy, spazzy bitch.

In my defense, 'D' leaving his keys in my bag on purpose was not entirely out of the realm of possibility.  Our first date was actually sort of the result of a similar absent-minded-professor moment on his part.  He had "accidentally" left his ipod at my apartment, so he took me to a movie (worst type of first date ever) to repay me for taking care of his most prized possession.

Now, in all honesty, I thought there was a 1 in 99999999 chance that 'D' actually orchestrated the whole situation so we could have a heart-to-heart.  Yet still, I, very briefly, considered what I would do if he wanted to date again (I didn't reach a conclusion).  And, even though I didn't really think it would happen nor did I have any desire for it to happen, I still felt completely foolish that I had entertained the idea at all when 'D' didn't confess his desire to resurrect "us."  This got me thinking about how often I get carried away and how often I end up feeling foolish.  And I don't mean getting carried away in a post-first-date-oh-this-is-the-guy-I'm-going-to-marry-and-we'll-have-2-kids-and-a-golden-and-live-in-Connecticut kind of way.  No, I mean in a much more quotidian sense.  Like the time I bought a new outfit to wear on a date only to never take my coat off on the date.  Or the time I didn't make plans one night just in case so-and-so wanted to do something only to end up at home alone watching reruns of Seinfeld.  Or the time I bought a present for a boy I was dating only to have things end before I had a chance to give it to him. 

Foolish, foolish and foolish.  The worst part is that feeling foolish is almost totally preventable.  If I hadn't bought that outfit or if I hadn't turned down plans or if I hadn't bought that present, I wouldn't have felt foolish at all.  I didn't think there could be a worse feeling in the world than disappointment, but apparently there is.  If high expectations result in disappointment, then getting carried away begets foolishness.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What I Can't Say

I say all sorts of things that I shouldn't.  I know I've hurt people's feelings (probably most often my mother's) with careless and callous words, but even so, what I probably regret more than anything are the times when I should've said something or wanted to say something and I just didn't. 

The other day a friend introduced me to the Daily Mission Project (which in itself is really fun to read), and in my browsing, I came across April 19th's mission: "Think of one person in your life you wish you had said something, anything to. Track them down and say it."

When I read that, I knew exactly who I'd track down if it were my mission.  Luckily, it's not.  I don't know that I would ever actually send this to him, but if I did, it would go something like this:

Dear ____________,

A while ago, a guy that I really liked broke up with me. I was so blind-sided by it that I didn't even know what to say at the time.  I made some lame joke so we could laugh away the awkwardness and brushed it off as though he had just told me that he couldn't get tickets to see Avatar in 3D and not that he had just told me that he couldn't see us working out in the long-term.  When I got home, it still hadn't registered; I was simply stunned.  What just happened?  I started to wonder if part of the reason he had ended things was because I had been too emotionally distant with him.  Had it even been clear to him that I liked him?  I wasn't sure.  I couldn't sleep, so I wrote him an email in the wee hours of the morning, telling him how I felt and explaining to him that the only reason I was even bothering to tell him any of this at all was because the one thing I regretted the most about my past relationships was not telling this one person how I felt about him at the time.

That one person is you.  For whatever reason, that regret - not telling you how I felt about you at the time - has managed to resurface from time to time in the last few years.  It bubbles up most often when I'm feeling particularly alone or when yet another potential relationship has gone awry or when I meet someone who even remotely reminds me of you.  The puzzling thing is that I don't know why it's a feeling of regret.  There's no "what if?" trailing that feeling.  It's not as though I think, or even wish, that things could have turned out differently.  Circumstances are circumstances, and to me it seems fated that you and I were only meant to cross paths for a short period of time.  Regardless, I still wish you had known how I felt about you at the time.  How much I liked you.  How uncharacteristically emotional I was when I had to leave you.  My friends have all said, "Well I'm sure he knew on some level how much you liked him."  But did you?  I guess sometimes I worry that you think I only dated you because it was convenient.  Because you were there at the right place and the right time.  But if that really is what you think, then you're wrong.  You were there at the right place and at the right time but you were also the right person.  The right person for me.

If life is all about timing, then our timing could not have been more or less perfect.

Without regrets,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Never Go to Bed Angry

So you know how they say never let the sun go down on your anger or whatever?  Well I was a little annoyed last night with 'F' but didn't care to do anything about it so I just went to bed.  I didn't think I was that mad, but apparently I was, because I ended up dreaming about him.

I dreamt that I was at some dinner theater (yes, dinner theater, I dream about dinner theater...) thing with a few girlfriends and apparently 'F' was on the board of directors of the theater group.  So before the play starts, the person announcing the play says, "Is 'F' here yet?" And of course, I'm like, oh shit, 'F' is going to be here?  Apparently I was already mad at him in my dream.

So he's not there yet, and the play begins, and he comes in, rudely late and looking kind of sloppy, like he's already had a few drinks.  He sits at the table near us with some guys and I whisper not so discreetly to my girlfriends, "That's him.  My 8 o'clock.  That's 'F'."  They all turn to look just as he is similarly whispering to his friend and pointing at me.  Our eyes meet, we stop for a split second, and turn immediately away, pretending like we didn't just see each other.

And then he says something passive-aggressive to his friend about me, clearly raising his voice so I hear what he says.  Without even looking at him, I respond in kind.  Soon enough it escalates into a full-on screaming match.  In public.  At some point I look at him and say, "Oh my god, stop it.  We're in public."

And then I hear someone snicker in the backround, "Ah couples and their fighting."  And I look over, astonished, and sputter, "But...but...we're not EVEN DATING!!!!"

This is about when I woke up.

So I went to bed only slightly annoyed with 'F' but I woke up so completely and totally angry at him.  I could even feel the tension in my back and really wished I had a giant punching bag in my apartment.  It was like 6am.  He wakes up early.  So I texted him a totally angry message.  He apologized but his response infuriated me even more!  So I responded with an even angrier text.  He apologized again.

I feel a little silly that my really stupid dream prompted me to action, but man, oh man.  It sure does feel good to get even just that little bit of anger out there and off my chest.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


My mom has been wanting grandchildren...probably since I was born.  Eight years ago, we were at Harrod's in London buying a gift for my cousin's first baby.  I picked out this cute little stuffed bear.  And then my mom decides to buy two of them - one for my cousin's kid and save for her first grandchild.  I was 18.  Eighteen!  That bear has probably been shoved so far back into a corner of my mother's closet that by the time the day comes when my mother becomes a grandmother, it'll probably be easier to fly back to London and buy a new bear than to try and find the old one.  Actually, I bet by then my mom will have completely forgotten that she ever bought that bear in the first place.

So, a little while ago, I was thinking about expectations, and my mom's in particular, and decided it would be in her best interest if I told my mother NOW that I didn't think I wanted kids.  Truthfully, I'm pretty indifferent to the kid issue, and I imagine I will probably end up wanting them at some point, BUT the truth wasn't the goal of this exercise.  The goal was to start tempering my mother's expectations; I just wanted her to be prepared for the possibility that she may never have grandkids to spoil.  I confess that I also thought it might be kind of fun to see her reaction.  I'm a bad daughter, I know.  I wasn't sure if her jaw would drop to the ground or if she would cry or if she'd try to convince me what a joy it is to be a parent (until the day your kids become sick and twisted and tell you that you may never be a grandmother just to see your reaction).  So one day, I decided to just drop the bomb completely out of the blue.  The conversation went something like this.

Mom:  Do you want to come with me to the grocery store?
Me, casually:  I don't think I want to have kids.
Mom, without missing a beat:  Well that's okay.  Some women are more into their careers.
Me: ................

Well that back-fired.  Instead of shocking her, she completely shocked me.  She shocked me into complete and utter silence.  I couldn't believe she was so okay with the idea of me not having kids!  Her!  My mom!  The woman who bought a stuffed animal for her first grandchild when her daughter was 18!  And then I went, wait.  What?  Does she really think I don't want kids because I want to focus on my career?

But...but...I don't even like my present job.  I certainly have no plans to make it my lifelong career.  When I think about how I've conducted my life over the course of the last 10 years though, it does seem like every decision I've made has been in furtherance of some fuzzy dream of professional success.  It is also true that when my high school classmates got married at 22, followed their husbands to wherever they (the husbands) found jobs and then started popping out babies, I absolutely judged them.  These were smart girls, and I couldn't help but wonder what happened to all of their youthful ambitions of becoming somebody, apart from just somebody's wife.  I distinctly remember one girl whose goal was to be the first female President of the United States.  She was one of the ones who got married at 22 and has never lived further than 10 miles from where we grew up.  Now, I know that when she tied the knot, it didn't mean she couldn't still become the first female President of the U.S.  But in my mind, it did.  Marriage meant failure, while getting far away from the town where we grew up meant success. 

The thing is, I'm relatively happy with the straws I've drawn in life, but still, sometimes, in some ways, I envy their lives.  I envy the fact that they have a family of their own that they can call their number one priority.  When someone asks them what the most important thing in their life is, they can definitively say, "My baby and my husband."

And then I look at myself.  I've never made having a family, or being in a relationship for that matter, a priority.  Actually, I actively avoided it.  I've always kind of thought, well, what's the point in getting emotionally invested in someone when we're just going to have to break up at the end of the high school/college/graduate school/summer?  I feared that I would fall in love with someone and then have to rearrange my life around him and give up a dream job for a lesser one just so that we could be together.  I didn't want love to hold me back from achieving whatever it was I thought I needed to achieve.

So if I haven't chosen to make love and a family my number one priority, does that make my career my number one priority by default?   Are those the only options?  I tried to think about what might appear at the top of other twenty-somethings' priority lists if not their family/relationship or career.  Faith?  Charitable works?  Drinking?  Blogging?  Traveling?  Coffee breaks?  City league sports?  Mere survival?

I guess the most important thing in my life right now is figuring out what the most important thing in my life is right now.