Monday, March 29, 2010

A Springtime Resolution

I don't know what it is about the spring that makes me feel like I need to adjust my philosophy on dating. 

It was at about this same time last year that I made two dating decisions.  The first was to date more just for the sake of dating.  This was because I felt I was an inexperienced dater, having spent the last seven years of my life in higher educational environments where no one dates, they just hook-up.  The second was to go on more second dates.  This was because I felt I was nixing guys too quickly and not giving them a fair chance.

Now I was pretty good at doing both of these.  The first decision meant that if you asked me out and you were a boy and you didn't have horns growing out of your head, you had about a 90% chance that I would go out on a first date with you.  And the second decision meant that if you asked me out and you were a boy and you didn't have horns growing out of your head, you had about an 80% chance that I would go out on two dates with you (though, I suspect these odds have now been greatly decreased given my last two first dates).

So this week, I met someone new.  We had fun.  And by fun, I mean that we made out at the bar.  Clearly one of my finer moments.  I told some of my girlfriends about him, and their first question was, "So? Potential?"  They probably meant, "Potential date?"  But in my mind, the question "Potential?" is merely short for "Potential boyfriend?"  So of course, I started thinking and obsessing about whether or not there was potential with this totally random guy who I hardly knew and who I made out with at a bar (!) before I had smack myself back to reality.  Was I really just wondering if someone I met at a bar and made out with could be a potential boyfriend? Why, oh why, do I always have to be obsessed with whether or not someone is the one?

So enter my 2010 spring dating philosophy resolution.  I want to enjoy things for what they are.  Worry less about where something is going.  Enjoy things as they are happening.  Agonize less about whether I should call someone and just do it.  Stop trying to see every guy I meet as a potential boyfriend.  Oh and stop making out with boys at bars.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not What You Said But How You Said It

So I went on a date last weekend with this guy that I met the weekend before that.  My initial impression of him was pretty lukewarm, but I was feeling open-minded about the whole thing because the date itself sounded promising.  It was the first gorgeous spring day in New York, and the plan was to picnic in the park.  Unfortunately, the picnic was a Disaster with a capital D.  Had it been any other guy, I'm sure I would've just said, "Let's pretend this never happened and go on a second first date."

But with him, I didn't.  I couldn't quite put my finger on what I disliked about him initially.  My first thought was, well, he was nice...I guess.  And he was...I guess.  He was polite, good-natured, maybe a little boring, but there was nothing overtly offensive about him.  Which of course made me feel a smidge guilty for nixing him after the first date, especially since it wasn't really his fault that the date was a Disaster.  But thinking back, I now know what it was that I didn't like about him.  He was just like any other career-obsessed, full-of-himself guy in New York, except that he tried to hide it behind his I'm-just-a-nice-humble-boy-from-the-midwest facade.  And it was that facade that I found the most offensive.

The thing about living in New York is that everyone you meet tends to be young and successful.  Everyone has something to be proud of, whether it's the guy in the suit on his BlackBerry who just closed a multimillion dollar deal or the guy working the night shift in the copy center who also happens to be a back-up dancer in hit music videos.  Sometimes you can never tell what a person has achieved so far, while other times they wear it on their sleeves.  I have certainly met my fair share of arrogant douchebags, but not once in my last year of dating lawyers, bankers, hedge fund managers, architects and doctors did I have someone give me a full and very detailed run-down of his resume.  On a first date.  Which is what this guy did. 

It was as though he felt compelled to explain his success because maybe it wasn't immediately obvious from his job title.  Fair enough.  I had never heard of his company, so sure, it was enlightening to hear what he did.  But he didn't stop there.  He proceeded to tell me the full story of how he got his first job, why he decided to leave his first job, how he wound up getting his second job, why his second employer moved him to New York, and THEN, he went on to tell me how his dad's business was bought out by a major company, how his parents looked to buy their winter house in several tropical countries before settling on Florida, and how his 21-year-old brother had a wildly successful club-promoting career on par with the 40-year-olds in the industry.

And all of this in approximately an hour.

So okay, after writing it all down, he does sound pretty awful.  But really, that wasn't even the worst part!  Sure, it was partly what he said, but it definitely more how he said it.  How he pretended to be humble.  How he pretended like he was just telling me stories about his life when he was doing nothing more than spewing and gushing about how great he was.

Which is only mildly ironic considering the reason the date was a Disaster was that he had diarrhea.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I can never bring myself to delete phone numbers from my phone book.  It's partly sentimentality and it's partly just that I am a pack rat.  So, naturally, I have all these random guys' phone numbers in my phone.  On occasion, this causes a lot of confusion for me when I come across a random "Mike" or "Adam" or other generic name in my phone book and can't figure out who they are.  But still, I never delete.  Instead, I re-organized my phone book so that anyone who I've met randomly is in there as "Random - [Name]."  A few are even in there as "Random - [Name of bar]."  This also helps to avoid awkwardly calling the wrong person.

But it doesn't prevent it completely.

Last night, I was trying to call a friend to tell him I was running late to meet him.  Unfortunately, said friend is in the middle of a phone book minefield.  I have 5 guys in my phone with his name, AND he just happens to be smushed right in between 'C' and 'A'.  I'm always afraid that I will accidentally call 'C' and break our collective silence, since we haven't actually spoken since December 2008.  I've never worried so much about calling 'A', the guy that I went on one perfect date with before he moved to Seattle.  But of course, yesterday, instead of calling my friend, I called 'A'.  I didn't even realize until I got his voice mail.  Two minutes later, the following text conversation ensued:

'A': Did you call me on purpose?
Me: No sorry!  Too many people named [name] in my phone.  Hope all is well.
'A': Ouch.
'A': Well...I was at dinner or I would've answered...
Me: That would've been hilariously awkward since I didn't even realize I called the wrong [name] until I got your voice mail!
'A': Are you going to make out with the other [name] at the [building where we made out] too?

Oh 'A'.  If only you hadn't moved.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Evidence, Part II

Okay, so my friend emailed me today to tell me that my last post was depressing even HER.  Oops.  I know the title says "sometimes depressing" and I guess so far, it's been more "mostly depressing" than anything else.  I think it's just a phase.  Or maybe it's just seasonal affective disorder.  Luckily, spring is around the corner and so is a potential date.  Today, I found myself rather prematurely wondering what I might end up writing about him - this kind of random, totally new guy who hasn't even earned a spot in the alphabet yet.  I'm not even going to go into how weird it is that I wasn't thinking about him but what I would write about him.  Truthfully, I don't foresee myself having a particularly strong reaction to him one way or another since I didn't when I first met him, but for the sake of argument, let's say I do.  Let's say I fall completely 100% head-over-heels, madly-in-love with him on our first (not-even-set-yet) date.  Will I still want write about him in an unfiltered way, knowing that if things turn out badly, those permanently inscribed words may haunt me (and depress others)?  I decided the answer is still yes.  Sure, things may turn out terribly and those words may evolve into painful evidence of yet another one of my failed relationships, but I am not going to let that concern stop me from memorializing how I feel know what?  One of these days, I will write some sappy journal or blog entry about how much I like someone and that someone, whoever he is, will be thinking the same thing about me.  And when that day rolls around, my words will no longer be a sad reminder of how wrong I was, but of how right I was.  And then one of you lucky girls will have to go back through these entries or my emails to you, find those gag-inducing sentences and read them out loud at my wedding when you give the maid of honor toast.

And that is when writing it all down will have been totally worth it.

Monday, March 15, 2010


It turns out that I have two journals.  There's the ugly, brown journal that I write in from time-to-time and then there's what I like to think of as my travel notebook.  I bought it a mere four months after I bought the ugly, brown journal, partly because the second notebook is conveniently-sized, lightweight and durable, making it more travel-friendly, but also because when you're on an overnight train in Egypt, it looks a lot cooler to whip out a black, Moleskine ("the legendary notebook of artists, writers, intellectuals and travelers") than it does to whip out an ugly, very journal-looking journal.

So yesterday, I was trying to find something to bring around the city with me and remembered my travel notebook.  Looking for the first empty page, I flipped past foreign hotel phone numbers and phonetic spellings of "thank you" and "hello" in four other languages before discovering that the last thing I wrote in my Moleskine was a journal entry about 'D'.

I couldn't bring myself to read what I had written.  From the first few lines, I realized I had written it just after our third date, which meant that it was right about the time that I started thinking he was perfect for me.  I couldn't read any further.  I knew it was probably a girlish gushing of all the things that I had learned and liked about him so far, and I just did NOT want to think about how much I liked him or how hopeful I was at the time.

In the last month or so, I honestly haven't thought about him that much.  Which unfortunately also made me realize that if I wasn't even thinking about him, then for sure, he was not thinking about me...  In any case, working non-stop, going out-of-town and seeing 'E' were all great distractions this month.  Of course, every now and then, 'D' did seep into my thoughts.  Usually when I try to get over someone, I try to forget what I liked about them and focus on all the negatives.  I haven't really done that with 'D' (although I will admit that when I saw him for the first time two weeks ago, I did think to myself, I am definitely cuter than him).  Instead, my thoughts have centered more on whether I really liked him specifically or whether I just really liked the idea of him.  The idea of dating someone who could fit into my life.  The idea of not going on any more first dates.  The idea of being 26 and ready.

I do think all of this is true.  So much of life is about timing, and surely timing did affect my state-of-mind when I started dating 'D'.  Yes, he did fit a lot of my "criteria" but would I have thought he was that great if I had met him two years ago?  Probably not.

Still, no matter how much I try to make why I liked him less about him and more about me, the evidence that could potentially contradict all of this there, in that travel notebook, in my own handwriting, unread.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On Being 26

Today I thought, holy shit, I can't believe it's MARCH.  March!  And on top of that, it was 60 degrees and sunny.  When did it become spring?  Oh right.  While I was stuck inside my office drinking coffee by the gallon.  And then my next thought was yikes, I am in my last few months of being 26.

Twenty-six!  Once upon a time, 26 was my magical number.  As a kid, I always thought of it as the age that I would get married.  Even when I graduated from college, I still felt like it wasn't totally out of the realm of possibility.  I probably didn't start to really give up on the idea until I turned 24 and was  still decidedly single.  Yet in spite of the generally negative tone of my writing here in blogland, I have actually spent the last year being secretly hopeful.  I mean, not secretly hopeful that I would get married this year - I'm not crazy, thank you.  I am kind of embarrassed to admit it, but more than once in the past year, I thought, well maybe 26 is the age at which I will MEET the person I end up marrying.

Silly right?  But hey, maybe it's true.  Maybe I have met him already.  Or maybe I will meet him in my remaining months as a 26-year-old!  Riiiight.  Still, it's funny how much my hopeful, sappy state-of-mind has colored my attitude towards guys that I've met this year.  Thinking back on a lot of my post-first date reactions, I was mostly optimistic.  I saw potential and possibilities and chose to ignore some obvious red flags.  I really tried not to concentrate on the negative and to focus more on what I liked about these guys.  And it helped for a bit, at least until my negative side succeeded in stomping all over my already-stunted optimistic side.

I think a lot of my hopeful mindset stemmed from my belief that because I was 26, I was ready for a relationship - ready to let someone in, ready to depend on someone, ready to try to make a relationship work.  Dating is exhausting, and a year of dating has definitely worn me down to where I just want a boyfriend already.  But recent events have merely proven that maybe I'm not all that ready.  I still haven't really let anyone in, and I still haven't tried particularly hard to make anything work.  What's that old saying?  Fake it till you make it?  I figure I will just keep plugging along, going out, living life, meeting people and hoping that some day, everything will just click into place.

Monday, March 8, 2010

More Mysterious Boy Behavior

So a while back, I met a guy at a friend's birthday party.  We chatted for a while and then towards the end of the night, he asked me for my BlackBerry Messenger pin.  My BlackBerry Messenger pin.  For those of you who are not blessed/cursed with a BlackBerry, BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, is basically just AIM/gchat on your BlackBerry.  Except that you can tell (a) if your message was sent, (b) if your message was delivered and (c) if your message was read.  It's yet another way for people you work with to keep tabs on you since they can tell when you have read, but are ignoring, their messages.  So, when this kid asked me for my BBM pin, I was pretty taken aback.  I mean, I didn't even know what my pin was or how I would even go about finding my pin.  Did I receive it in the mail?  Did it come on a single sheet of paper with the warning:  "IMPORTANT: Keep this separate from your ATM card"?  So I just said, "Um, I don't know what my pin is." And then he took my BlackBerry from me and gave me a little tutorial.  Weird, but whatever.

A few days later, within the 3-7 day window that all guys think they have to make contact, he sent me a message.  We had a brief, inconclusive conversation.  And when I say inconclusive, I mean that it is totally still a mystery to me whether he wanted to just say hi and chat about the weather or if he wanted to ask me out.  Our conversation was probably 8 or 9 lines of small talk, and eventually I just didn't respond when I didn't have anything to respond with but a fake "ha ha."  And there was no attempt at reviving the conversation on his part.  So, much like the why-bother-to-ask-for-a-number-if-you're-not-going-to-call dilemma, there's the why-bother-to-make-contact-if-you're-not-going-to-ask-me-out mystery.  Basically none of my guy friends could figure this one out, with the BBM factor thrown in there.  Maybe he just wanted to be friends and didn't know how to say "let's hang out" without making it sound like a date.  I'll never know.

And then, not long later, it happened again, just without the BBM factor.  I met a guy at a friend's party (errr ironically, the same friend whose party I was at when I met Example #1), we chatted, I weaseled my way out of the quickly-turning-awkward conversation and disappeared.  Then like an hour later, he resurfaced.  He interrupts my conversation with two guys and asks for my number. (Can we say cock block?)  And then of course I couldn't really say no, because now there were others around who would become witnesses to (a) this guy's humiliation and (b) my cold-heartedness.   So I saved us both the trouble and just gave him my number.  After all, it kind of did take some balls to come up to me while I was talking to two other guys.  So, two days later, I get a random facebook friend add.  From him.  Who didn't know my last name.  We exchanged a few texts but again, he never actually asked me out.

I didn't actually want to go out with either of these guys, but I am still totally puzzled by their behavior.  I mean okay, there's a time for games and dilly-dallying and all but come on.  Just cut to the chase already.  Is that really so much to ask?

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane

So, last weekend, I went back to a city where I went to school, where all my friends from that school would be reuniting for a wedding and where 'E', an old summer fling of mine, was now living.  I mean, talk about a trip down memory lane.  More like three memory lanes merging.

I can't even really begin to describe my pre-departure excitement surrounding this trip.  I should have been more apprehensive.  I knew going into the trip that there was a whole host of uncertain variables which could either add up to a fabulous or a disastrous weekend.  There was the possibility that I would have to work all weekend, and then there was the possibility that 'E' had a new girlfriend or it would just be awkward, and then there was the possibility that there were so many planned group activities that I wouldn't get to really catch-up with my friends.  Even knowing all this though, I couldn't help it.  I was totally giddy.

And for once, I wasn't disappointed!  Everything went perfectly.  Being together with all my friends from school again was just as lively and rambunctious as I remembered, and still I was able to catch up and spend some quality time with a few of my closer friends in that group. 'E' did have a new girlfriend...but they broke up (win!) and it was surprisingly un-awkward seeing him (every day I was there).  I revisited my favorite restaurants and watering holes.  My BlackBerry stayed remarkable quiet.  I got a massage.  The wedding was lovely.  And at the end of the weekend, I didn't really want to leave, but I didn't want to stay either.

This was not at all the reaction that I was expecting to have.

Usually, when I go back to a city that I used to live in, I am struck by an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.  Inevitably things have changed; stores have closed, new buildings have been constructed, the people are all different.  That was only sort of the case this time.  Sure the skyline had some new indentations, and the downtown area was peppered with new bars, but my friends were all there again.  It was as though we had all just returned from a really extended winter break.

Usually, when I see old friends again, I'm a little saddened by how much we've changed and grown apart.  So many changes in our collective lives had occurred in just a year and a half - marriages, engagements, pregnancies, babies, cross-country moves, home ownership, new cars (lots of them), new jobs, new significant others, new exes.  Yet our group vibe was still the same.  Everyone had entered a new stage in life, but once we were drinking pitcher after pitcher of beer at our favorite bar in the middle of the afternoon, it was as if everything picked up right back where we had left off.

And usually when I see an ex, I just don't know what to feel.  There's always something awkward and uncomfortable; that odd dynamic where you are both wondering whether the other still has feelings for you.  Two and a half years had passed since I had last seen 'E'.  I worried whether we would have anything to talk about, how I should act around him, what he was expecting from that weekend, if any emotional repercussions would result from seeing him again.  But when I was with him, all of that worrying went away.   He was exactly how I remembered him.  We were exactly how I remembered us.

So when the weekend was over, I felt far from nostalgic.  Everything had been familiar and comfortable. It was a true trip down memory lane. Things were just how I remembered them.  And things were just as wonderful as I had remembered them.  Which pretty much explains why I had nothing to be nostalgic for.  

Now, I don't like change.  But not feeling nostalgic at the end of the weekend made me realize that as much as I dislike change, I don't like when things are stagnant either.  I've struggled a lot in the past year with the feeling that I have no idea where I'm heading with my life.  I've never had a ten-year plan, but for the last 26 years, I at least had a three or four-year plan.  Now it's 2010, and I have no idea what I will be doing or where I will be in 2011, 2012, 2013.  I am settled and happy in New York.  But sometimes it is just easy to become complacent, and I worry that if I let it, it will inevitably become like this past weekend - a little too comfortable and ultimately, stagnant.  The weekend was a reminder that I need to keep reevaluating and moving forward.