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.