Category Archives: Dating Theories

How Much Is Too Much?

 

I met Sheila a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit, I am rather taken by her. She’s funny, fun to be around, smart, and attractive. What’s more, she’s new to town, ready and willing to try new things and go to places she’s not been before.

At this point, I can’t tell whether she sees me as just a friendly tour guide, or something more. I’m pretty cool about things, and either way, I’m happy, but I really want to know at some point. I figure pretty soon I might make some subtle advances and see if they’re returned, and that’s where the debate comes in. . .

My best female, friend, Brenda advises against this. Her philosophy seems to be to play the aloof card. In fact, with Sheila’s out of town on business and her birthday mere days away, I thought it might be nice to call and sing happy birthday on her answering machine. Is it a little goofy? Yes, but that’s me; that’s who I am. She seems to like me so far . . . right?

Brenda’s response, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO, you can’t do that!!! You’ll immediately place yourself in the friend category . . . Bad idea!!!”

“Well maybe I should just call, then?”, dejected by the strong admonition.

“No don’t call her, “ she nodded, convinced that this, too, was a bad idea.

“What? Am I just supposed to ignore her birthday?”, I replied, shocked at the advice I was hearing.  Brenda didn’t really have an answer for that . . .

I mean, I like this woman. Are we in 4th grade again? What am I supposed to do? Pull her hair? Call her names? I thought we were past all of this stuff as adults, and while I understand that panting like a loyal dog is not a way to win her heart, ignoring her doesn’t seem like a good thing either.

I’m a “do what I say I’m gonna do” kind of guy. If I tell you I will call. I will call. I don’t wait until the last second. If I want to take you out, I won’t wait past Wednesday to set something up. I just don’t see any point in pretending like I don’t care, if I do.

I realize, this philosophy can be taken too far, and may make some women uncomfortable. I know where that point is. I’m not gushing over her. I make eye contact, and get good eye contact in return. I keep plans light, and flexible, but I’m consistently available when I say I will be. If she wants to make plans, and I’m busy, I offer up another time or an alternate plan that works better with my schedule.

At the end of the day however, my heart is on my sleeve, and I believe I’m being told, that’s not a good thing. I think need to get some more clarity on where the line is.

Which brings me to my dilemma, ladies – especially the single ladies: How much aloof, is too much aloof? Do you ever get to a point where you cut him off because he’s too aloof? On the other hand, how much is too much? What are the rules, or are there any rules?

Your input is valuable . . .

 

Incidentally, I texted Sheila on her birthday . . . at the risk of losing my anonymity, it read like this . . .

“May your day be filled with fun.

May your belly be filled with laughs.

And may your mouth be filled with cake.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

I hope you’re doing something fun!!!”

 

Was it too much?

emotional REAL estate

Robyn just posted a recent sonogram as her FaceBook photo. I decide to ring her and we meet for an impromptu picnic in the park. Something we both have shirked since I left the firm we sold our souls for. It was high time for some herbal Honest Teas, huge hoagies from Saigon Sandwiches coupled with Sprinkles’ vegan red velvety goodness.

“How’s what’s-his-face?” Her affection for a particular man-in-my-life zeroes in the second we meet up.

“We’re good.” I struggle with the Built NY bags as Robyn smooths the blankets on the still dewy grass.

“Just good? You two were inseparable last time I saw you guys.” She needles. Nothing escapes this woman. Her seventh-sense is always spot-on.

“Eh, you know. Growing pains.” I’m no good when it comes to being nonchalant.

“Hmmm.”

“What’s THAT supposed to mean?” I feign offense. We’re cronies. We’re past pretenses, but it doesn’t hurt to act hurt once in a while. Keeps us from tip-toeing our way through each others’ lives.

“Nothing.” Her eyes dart to the way my fingers fiddle with the loose button on my cardigan. “You know when I met my husband, right?”

“When you went online.” I still have trouble piecing together what she’s driving at.

“Yes AND no.” She pinches my nose playfully. I grimace. She caught me wrinkling it again. Key word. WRINKLE. She has none, and insists it’s because she’s met her soul’s mate. “Yes. I met him online. No, that’s not what I meant.”

I look at her blankly. She giggles. “I mean to say, it’s good that you and what’s-his-face are not so hunky-dory.” She’s resorted to riddles. I sigh. Loudly.

“Engrish. Preez.”

“The day I lost ALL my guy friends, was the day I met MY guy.”

“Huh?” I swipe my pinky against the pseudo cream-cheesy goodness of the vegan cupcake. Robyn’s deciding to slam dairy during her pregnancy still eludes me, but I’m game for trying new ways of tricking my tastebuds into thinking they’re being sated.

“Look, I know you’ve got a ton of buddies that have your back. There’s nothing wrong with your band of bros. I just think it’s great timing for you to concentrate on you moving past [the EX-factor].” She’s chattering really quickly now. I’m certain she’s been dying to get this off her chest. “What’s-his-face is the best of the bunch. I know that. You know that. We all have known this.”

“So what’s your point?” I’m edgy. The cupcake is not cutting it. I reach for a Vietnamese sandwich. Robyn’s usually succinct. It’s not characteristic for her to circumvent conversational shrubbery. I bite down hard into my hoagie. She follows suit. We sit silent for a split second. Then it begins.

“I”m just saying. I’m glad what’s-his-face is giving you room now to meet the man-of-your-dreams.”

“Say what?” I’m puzzled. If memory serves me correctly, a few years back, I couldn’t get Robyn off my back about how my best bud and I were meant to be Plato’s picture perfect definition of soulmates.

“Emotional space.” Prompt replies are Robyn’s forte. “It’s prime relationship real estate. Own it. Stop letting what’s-his-face lease it with 0% APR.”

We both sip our teas in silence. Staring at the boats slide lazily across the Bay.

Online, huh?”

“Yep.”

“Should I let what’s-his-face know?” My best bud balked the last time we spoke of my perusing internet dating. That particular conversation is partially to blame for the “[emotional] space between.”

“You’re no longer renting, hon.” I know this. “It’s time to buy.”

7 Ways You Should Ask Someone Out On A Date Before You Get Married Or Die

If you’ve found that dream girl or guy you’d like to ask out but are too afraid to ask face to face, normally you would go for texting or maybe even emailing them. I am now going to list 7 ways you can ask your date you may or may not have tried before, but you definitely should try them… just for the experience. Embracing new internet trends and technologies, and exploiting their easy of contact, we’re giving you ways of levelling the playing field and making it easier (or funnier at least) to get dates!

1. facebook your date
If you’re a member on Facebook you can ask your target via here. A good way to do it would be to either post a message to them. You can do this privately, or post it on their “wall”. A simple “fancy going out for a drink?” should do the trick. If they ignore it you know the answer.
You could also speak to them on chat. Just a simple hello, how you doing conversation should get it going, then pop the question, in the safety of your own home hiding behind your computer screen
One very controversial thing you could do is actually start a group, called “Join this group if you think {your dates name} should go out on a date with me” – you don’t even have to to tell him or her about it or invite him or her to the group, once it gains some momentum he or she will hear about it, and get in contact with you… and at this stage I can’t tell you whether they’ll be pleased or angry. It’s all good fun at least?

2. Hit them up on MSN messenger LMAO
Ahh.. the old classic. Instant messenger. If you have their instant messenger id you can add them and start a conversation with them, and tell them you should go on a date together. If they don’t reply you can always use msn messengers built in “nudge” feature, which can get rather annoying, but he or she won’t be that annoyed with you… will they?
For those of you that want to mix it up a bit you can use certain animations. A lot of the messengers have them built in and are very similar to one another, but the idea is you send an animation, like a bit of a greeting card, to portray a certain message. I’m sure you can be creative and find a few heart and love ones to woo your dream date.

3 skype ’em
It’s not the same as calling them right? No… that would be too scary. This is an internet phone… Skype…it’s all cool. Get their id and give them a ring. Don’t worry it’s nothing serious, you;re not really calling them… it’s an internet phone remember?
So ring with full confidence, and close the deal of a date with your dream partner

4 ask someone through a dating site
You can always message them through a dating website. That’s if they’re on there… If not, why not ask them to join. There’s loads of dating sites. Recommend it to them, with little or no hint of the intention you have to message them through the dating site.
Fashion your profile, put up your best pictures, and message her as if you’ve never spoke to him or her before If you haven’t ever actually spoken to him or her this will be easy.

5 Tweet Your @dreamdate
Twitter, one of the newer cousins of the whole “social networking revolution”, may be your answer to getting in their with that dream date of yours. Twitter is basically where you follow people and people follow you… and you tell them all about what you are doing or thinking.
You can send “tweets” direct to people on twitter, so my advice is, “tweet” your dream date. You have to put a little @ sign and then their username, then your message. Simple… so for example:
@dreamdate So You Fancy A Drink Sometime?
There you go now you’ve officially tweeted a date. Twitter.com

6 build a website
Now come on, how many people do you know have their own website built especially for them? I don’t know any. Now if someone made you a website all for you, specifically about them going on a date with you, well… you would wouldn’t you?
This is what you’re going to do. You need to go get a free website at blogger or wordpress, and choose the name of the site to be something simple like their name.
Now, without being freaky (not sure how this can’t be freaky) source a load of pictures from them and make a bit of an online shrine, pleading for a date with them. Include ideas for the date, and maybe a little contact form so she can get in touch when she see’s the site and she’s oh so happy with it! It might just work… it might just work.

7 shoot a video and post it on youtube
We’ve all seen those embarassing videos online. Why not shoot your own? Get a flip camera, and shoot a video telling all the reasons why you should both go on a date. Send the video via a link to his or her facebook. I’m sure thy’ll be flattered and not freaked out at all!

Get hitched? Check…

My high school English teacher once told the class how he met his wife. The girls in the class had convinced him to tell the story after word got out that it was unique. He went on to tell us how he was at a church function sitting next to a girl he had never met before. His parents approached, and assuming she was with him, asked, “who’s she?” The girl turned around to see who had spoken, and my teacher jokingly told his parents, “oh her? That’s the girl I’m going to marry.” He then struck up a conversation with her and several years later, they were married.

Stories like that used to be the norm in our society. Some chance encounter leads to a relationship that withstands the test of time. Yet why have we become so scared of such encounters? Today, it’s easier than ever to fall into the trap of modern dating. You know, the trap of online sites, singles gatherings, and blind dates. It seems like most people have just added “get hitched” to their checklist of things they want to accomplish, and they don’t really care how it is achieved.

Personally, I think this is sad. The intrigue of the unknown fuels romance so well, and that just can’t be simulated over a broadband connection to eHarmony. What sites like that offer is a lazy way to meet people so you can cross of “get hitched” on your list of to-do’s and move on to the next thing. I see this over and over again, especially as acquaintances get older. They go from finding a new job, to finding someone to marry, to buying a house, to having kids, all because it’s on the list and not necessarily because things just happened that way. Plus, we’re not getting any younger, right? The chances that something magical is going to happen only decreases with time, after all…

Civilization survived for thousands of years before the Internet, which means that people must have found each other and procreated. To me, that’s proof positive that online dating isn’t necessary. The only time limit on your romantic life is the one you impose on it – and people sadly seem to do that, too. If I’m not married by the time I’m 30, I’ll just marry the first nice guy I come across. It doesn’t sound bad, except for that poor nice guy that doesn’t realize he hit the lottery rather than having a real match.

More and more, we’re encouraging people to get further away from genuine social encounters. Learning how to talk to and meet new people is an important life skill, not just for dating, but for business, friendship, and any number of reasons. The more social you are, the more of a life you have, the more support you have, and the more fun you have. If you want to get married, that’s fine, but why not put some effort into the social part of your life? You may just find that the person to marry shares the same interests and is too busy to post a profile online. Don’t just cross something off of your life’s to-do list, really make it happen.

TRUTH about cats & dogs

“It’s a given that all men are dogs. What differentiates each guy is how much dog is in him.”

I barely settle into my side of the cab and my college buddy starts barking his version of conventional dating wisdom at me.

“I suggest you tap into me to discern the purebreds from the strays in your life and NOT that silly book by Steve Harvey.” Davis glances down at the three copies I’ve got carefully tucked in a clear plastic bag for my gal pals. He’s determined to squeeze in brunch by the Bay before heading back to Tulsa. “You know a good guy will come along when you least expect it, or are looking for it.”

It’s obvious he’s caught wind of my recent internet dating fiasco. I suspected as much when both he and the girls were quite insistent that we meet up on this not-so-sunny Sunday morning. I try to fill him in on my latest mismatch: Mr. Persistent-turned-less-Consistent.

“Well, that could be a sign, but it also could be something came up.” Davis runs his hand through his chin length hair. Looks at my expectant expression and pinches my nose before it can wrinkle. “You should never read too much into what men do, because, quite frankly, we don’t know what the hell we are doing in most cases.”

“It just throws me for a loop. I like it when guys do what they say they’ll do. I thought we had that. It’s what I liked the most about him.” So I thought. I am SUCH the SUCKER.

“The guys you select just don’t know real talent when they have it in their grasp.” He shakes his wavy locks. “It’s just a shame.”

“You’re being sweet because you’re my friend.” My mood matches the forecast. It doesn’t help that I’m not a morning person.

“No. I’m telling you because you’re missing the point. The one thing I do know is that the more you women like a man, the more they get all scared.”

“Who does?” Davis wags his finger between himself and the driver. The driver glances back at us through his rear view mirror, his eyes crinkle in agreement. He’s got great laugh lines. He’s also got on a ring. On his left hand. Guess he’s not one of the strays.

Davis rubs the steamy window with his elbow. He squints at the street signs up ahead. “Make yourself a little mysterious. We love a good mystery.”

Here we go again. “I don’t get it.”

“Look, you know I think you are the sweetest woman I have ever met. Just real thoughtful and nice. And I am a total prick.” Davis guffaws. Maybe that’s a mark of a real man in the Midwest. Someone not afraid to carry around, then empty out, belly fulls of laughter everywhere he goes.

“So if I see it, you know darn well those soft guys you like will notice it, too.” He laughs out loud again at the look of horror I can’t seem to squelch these days. “The old adage, ‘don’t mistake kindness for weakness’ perhaps.”

This time, I groan loudly. “I barely know how to flirt as it is. Now that I’ve sorta got that down, what next?”

“What you have to do is be interested, but not seem interested. It’s a fine line to walk, but be more cat-like than dog-like.”

“What’choo talkin’ ’bout Willis?” The rain’s pounding on the cab’s rooftop now, matching the rhythmic thudding of my heart.

“You ever notice how a dog runs up to you when you come home?” I nod. He smiles. Doesn’t skip a beat and continues: “But a cat. Oh my, a cat does not seek you out. A cat has to be found.”

The gentle drum of the rain onto the roof of our cab does nothing to drown out Ra Ra Riot’s refrain ringing in my head …my bed’s too big for just me… I shake my head. Hard.

“Be more like a cat.” Just for the record, I abhor cats. Of any kind. Maybe it’s because I’m deathly allergic. “You are sweet with a heart of gold, but not every guy needs to know that from the start. And, lastly, mix it up just a little bit. Maybe you need to be more selective. A lot more selective.” No kidding.

It’s my turn to stare out the window. It’s all fogged up. So is the story of my current dating situation. Gotta love it.

“Just don’t play your hand too fast is all.” Davis hands the driver a twenty and slips out of the cab. He opens his umbrella and holds out his hand towards me. “Quality women usually get quality men. It just does not happen on the time table you may have set for yourself.”

PUPPETS, PIRATES & ICE-CREAM… Oh my!

“So this guy points out all our differences on the date…” Eddie wants a full rundown on my latest-and-greatest dating adventure. I’m trying to convince him that this taking-it-slow mantra is just not working for me. It’s not my style. Right?

“Wait, this is your second date?” He’s got his big brother glare up and running.

I nod. “So he calls me and leaves a message saying he wants to chat. I thought he blew me off. I’m so confused.” I hate being petulant. Dammit. “I don’t understand guys at all. I really, REALLY don’t.”

“He’s playing you like a puppet and you’re letting him.” It’s my turn to glare. “Do not give him the satisfaction.”

“Yuck!” It’s not my salted caramel and Meyer lemon ice-cream combo on a cone that I’m talking about. “So he’s NOT interested in me, huh? Is that what guys do? So what do I do? I don’t want to make the same mistakes in the future with other guys.”

Eddie finishes ordering his blood-red orange sorbet with creme-fraiche ice-cream in a cup. “I don’t know about that.” He thrusts his remaining two bucks into the tip jar. “But if you keep doing what you’re doing. Yes.”

I blink rapidly. The sunbeams are bouncing off the bright yellow interior of the creamery. I close my eyes to soak in the warmth of the rays on my cheeks. The caramel mixed with lemon tastes a tad bit saltier than I remember it being.

With any other person, this lull would usually drag discomfort along with it. Not with Eddie. I listen to him tossing names of some of the newer, more eclectic bands that are performing in town with the soda jerk behind the counter.

I feel a gentle nudge on my back. Eddie’s propping the door with one foot and studying my lack of expression. I step into the bright sunlight and squint up at him. Too damn tall, I tell you. He pushes my sunglasses down from my head to the bridge of my nose. I readjust them with my index finger. We start walking towards 826 Valencia. His niece’s pirate-themed birthday party is in a couple of hours and we’ve been assigned to pick up a few choice items for the festivities.

“This is what you do.” He’s not letting me off the hook so easy. Whoever said silence was golden wasn’t kidding. Too bad I’m partial to platinum. “Cherish yourself. Hold yourself in the highest regard. Always keep in mind that not any guy can have you because you’re very selective.”

“Jessica says I’m way overthinking things. That I’ve got impossible standards and I end up sabotaging my dates with them.”

Eddie stops short. I slow down and turn to look at him. My salty and citrus concoction drips to the pavement. “Is this what this is all about!?!? You know, I hate having to say this, but she’s the last person on Earth I’d listen to when it comes to dating.”

I grimace. He’s not a fan. I forgot about that. Jessica’s got this knack for rubbing people the wrong way. She claims she’s socially awkward, but still has an amazing ability to score a gazillion dates without blinking an eyelash. Even the fake kind. It floors me. Eddie knows this.

“I know she’s your friend,” here it comes. “But those guys she attracts in droves? Not the kind of guys you want.”

“Correction. That you think are good enough for me.”

He grins. Widely. I’m learning. He’s a proud Papa again. “All I’m saying is that you should hold onto these things and you’ll attract the kind of guys that you want.”

I playfully punch his left arm. His sorbet starts to topple, but Eddie skillfully saves it with a flick of his wrist. Whoops. Close one.

“Hey, I can tell you what to say forever in every situation.” Gotta hand it to him, he’s got tunnel vision. It’s a guy thing. Can’t shake Eddie once he’s focused. “But if you see yourself the way I just described…all of it will naturally come from you. You won’t need my help.”

“Nonsense.” My nose is doing that wrinkly thing again. “And miss out on all this fun?”

I toss out the rest of my cone. Just not in the mood, really. It’s a sad state of affairs. Ice-cream is supposed to make everything better. So I’m led to believe. Eddie hands me his. I muster up a lopsided smile.

“Hey. None of that. Okay? You’ll learn so much from every encounter. Before you know it, you’ll be giving me advice.”

DITCH those who go DUTCH

“How was the date with [fill-in-the-blank]?”

I get quizzed by my buddies every other day now about the last guy I’ve kept myself from swapping spit with. They’re harassing me for this new road-to-dating-recovery I’ve chosen to take. No PROMISE of SEX. Just the POSSIBILITY of it. And, quite frankly, it’s driving me nuts!

Then again, getting back into the dating groove has made me realize a lot of dating faux pas that I’ve been making. More so than blunders I’ve observed my date(s) make. It’s both refreshing and depressing at the same time. So I’ll give you ONE example.*

*Let me preface what I’m about to divulge with this simple fact: I’m NOT a golddigger.

FAR FROM IT.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I will say this once. DITCH those who insist upon (OR even suggest) going DUTCH on a date. And girls, if he allows YOU to pay on the first date — cut that date SO short, he’ll hear skid marks for the next few months straight.

Look, I’m not a Stepford-wife-in-training. Nor do I expect a guy to shell out for every single meal, drink or activity. NO. It’s vital that a woman push to pay for an outing once in a while, though initially, I am a HUGE proponent for guys picking up the tab. I believe it says a lot and sets the tone for how the date(s) progress(es). Really. I do.

Why? It goes hand-in-hand with Zack Taylor’s PURSUIT THEORY. That’s why.

Chivalry is NOT dead. It’s bit the dust in some circles, which is a damn shame. That’s why I’m determined to rectify it. Even if it takes one-post-at-a-time. Guess Ne-Yo is partly to blame by setting the tone with his YEAR OF THE GENTLEMAN. Chivalrous acts needs to come back. With a vengeance.

Back to my initial point: it’s just plain dumb on a guy and/or gal’s part to split the bill. Especially on the first date. Unless you’re NOT planning on seeing that person again, DO NOT go DUTCH!

Guys? It’s not too much to ask for you to shell out for that quick getting-to-know-you meal. If you’re afraid the girl is going to rob you blind because she’s a “golddigger,” then pick out a place that’s not too pricey, but quaint enough for her to be charmed into spending more time with you. Let her do the purse-pull, but INSIST on paying.

I’ve heard guys bitch and moan about how they like girls who are more independent and can pay their own way. That’s bullshit. You’re just lazy. You’re lame. AND you’re cheapskates. I’ve said it.

Girls? Don’t waste your time on men like these. No matter how HOT. How CHARMING. How O-mazing in bed he could possibly be. IF he doesn’t want to let you know he appreciates you showing up, prettied up and ready to meet-and-greet for the next few hours — DUMP HIS ASS. Don’t waste your time, unless you want to keep questioning the next five weeks, months, years if this guy is really into you or not.

DUMP HIS ASS. Really, it’s THAT simple.

Guys? If she INSISTS on paying for the first date? Think about it. Is this little act of independence really what it is? Or is it setting the tone for plenty of power plays to come? Gauge how graciously your lady of interest accepts your display of appreciation for her time and effort. Yes. She’s worth it. Let her know she’s making you feel special just by being there. You won’t regret it. The kind of girl you want to keep on seeing is the one that makes you feel like a million bucks for picking her. At least, for that particular date.

the POSSIBILITY of sex

“So you’re really back in the game, huh?” Eddie pushes the last piece of the mulberry tart towards me with his fork. I shrug. We’re both killing some time by grabbing a bite before heading out to a singles’-slash-benefit event in the Mission. I nudge the last bite towards him. Eddie’s got an insatiable sweet tooth. I wouldn’t even think of depriving him of this last choice morsel. He grins widely. “Just for that, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.”

“What’s that?” I reach for my purse. Eddie playfully swats my wrist with one hand and slips a crisp ten-dollar bill under our dessert plate. He’s quick.

I wrinkle my nose, then stick out my tongue. We’ve known each other since grade school. I’m allowed. He wags his finger at me knowingly. Eyes crinkle, followed by his killer grin flashing perfect pearly-whites. “Do NOT ever forget that EVERY single thing a guy does is ultimately motivated by getting more sex or reproducing.”

I blink twice. Really. No kidding. I roll my eyeballs and start to collect my things. Pashmina. Purse. I’m always forgetting something. Eddie snatches the coat I’ve left by the window ledge. The book tucked in my coat sleeve tumbles to the floor. It’s Steve Harvey’s latest concoction ACT LIKE A LADY, THINK LIKE A MAN. I grin sheepishly and try to grab it from him. “Funny you should say that, Ed.” I playfully punch his arm. “Steve says the same exact thing.”

Eddie’s got an iron grip. He flips open to the page I’ve bookmarked. “What’s this 90-day thing?”

“Kinda-sorta along the lines of what you’re saying.” I’m beet red. Eddie scans the chapter. “Hey, we’re going to be late.”

He doesn’t look up. I try not to fidget. I clear my throat. No response. Eddie’s still poring over the pages. “Actually, this guy is right. Never give up your ‘cookie’ right away. It’s your most precious gem.”

We lock gazes. I’m silent. Then I tap the back of my left wrist to indicate the time. He ignores the gesture and continues, “You definitely should save it for that special someone.”

I blush. Again. I’m pretty certain he’s poking fun at me. “You’re my own personal PSA.” Actually, more like one of those afterschool specials. What am I, thirteen? Eddie hands me the book. I stuff it in my purse. Time to switch gears. Sort of.

“Hey, thanks for heading to this singles’ shindig with me.”

“Sure. Anytime. Do you have your game plan down?”

“I have to have a game plan?”

“Of course.” He jabs the the crosswalk button with his fist. “You’ve been complaining about how you don’t want to be a buddy-collector anymore. You need a plan so that you don’t make the same mistakes.”

He’s right. Friendliness is both my biggest blessing and constant curse. I sigh. “What do you suggest?”

“Flirt.” Eddie stoops down to play with the labradoodle tied to the corner lamppost. He’s as much of a sucker for leggy-brunettes as he is for all of GOD’s four-legged friends. “Just a little. Learn how to use your eyes to flirt with a guy.”

I grimace. Flirting is not my forte. Especially not when I’m conscious of it. “And how do you suggest I do that?”

Eddie chuckles. The light turns green. He’s got a long, lazy gait that keeps me tottering in my four-inch CFM-heels just to keep up. “As you’re saying something funny, basically advertise the POSSIBILITY of sex and you’ll have many guys all over you.” He stops at the corner turns around to look at me and grins.

I reach his four strides in sixteen steps. Pathetic, I know. The cost of cute kills me. He gently grabs my elbow to avoid tripping over a nasty pothole, “But NEVER have sex with anyone quickly or easily.”

“Wait,” it’s my turn to push the button to cross to the other side of the intersection. “I’m confused. You tell me to flirt with the guy. Promise him SEX…”

“… the POSSIBILITY of sex.”

“Same thing.”

“Nope, it’s not.”

“So you’re telling me to be a tease.” I’m sure that my cheeks are fire-engine red at this point. Not so much from exertion.

“No, I’m just giving you advice on how to get guys to fawn over you.” We’re outside the venue now. He reaches for his wallet and motions for the bouncer to reject my attempt at paying. “Guys will bend over backwards if they think they have a chance… however slight.”

Eddie hands the coat-check girl our belongings. I slip the claim ticket into my purse and glance up at his six-foot-four frame. I quickly bat my eyelashes. He grins like a proud Papa and rumples my hair. “Ready?”

Single on Valentine’s Day

When I was in grade school, I used to hate getting my tests back. Not because I was a bad student , and not because I dreaded some draconian punishment if I did poorly. On the contrary, I had good grades and my parents were very permissive. No, I hated getting my tests back because I hated seeing what I had done wrong, marked up in red ink. If only I had studied more on chapter six…I knew the answer was Jefferson, not Hamilton, why did I change it? Ahhh!…Why am I so stupid? Looking at my mistakes, in black, white, and red, was agonizing.

So, Valentine’s Day. Time’s up, pencils down. Did you pass? Do you have a woman on your arm this weekend? Are flowers being sent to your apartment this Saturday? It feels like a test. If I had only spent a little more time staying in shape…I knew I should have waited to call. Why is Valentine’s Day so dreaded? Not because we’re single – we’re just as single on February 13th as we are on February 14th – but because we are forced to confront our singleness. Like looking at a graded test, we are forced to see our failures.

It hurts, not because we are alone, but because we wonder why we are alone. For some of us, the answer comes easily – perhaps a divorce, perhaps a messy break-up, or perhaps just single-minded dedication to career or school – and we can just shrug off Valentine’s Day. But for the rest of us, those who put in the time and energy, the mental and emotional investment, and still came up short, when we wonder why we are alone, and the answer is not so easy. I have tried my best, so why am I still single? Is something wrong with me? Valentine’s Day asks us a question for which there is no dignified answer. No wonder people hate it.

So, what do you do, come Saturday? Try to forget, somehow? Go to a singles’ night at the local bar, go dancing with fellow single friends, or do some other socially-acceptable substitute activity? Yes! Enjoy a nice Saturday night. But what if you can’t enjoy yourself? What if you feel that you’re only doing these things to avoid thinking about the terrible question of Valentine’s Day? Go anyways. But before you head out, make a note to yourself – I am going to set aside some time tomorrow to think about this.

Then, Sunday afternoon, find a nice quiet place, perhaps a window desk at the local library, with only a pen and paper. No TV, no internet, no music. Just you and your thoughts. Let’s be realistic here – there will be no magical epiphanies or beams of light shining upon you from the heavens. But you are going to spend one or two hours staring at a sheet of paper, thinking about yourself and your life, and when was the last time that happened? Start with the basic question – why am I still single – but turn it around. Why do I care so much? Can I be happy with myself even though I am single?

If you can be happy with yourself even though you are single, then you shouldn’t care so much Valentine’s Day. After all, you can confront your singleness, and still be happy. Looking into the mirror on Valentine’s day shouldn’t bother you at all. But no, Valentine’s Day does bother us – we can’t be happy for ourselves if we are single. And this is a real problem, because what we are saying is we need someone else to love us in order for us to love ourselves. In other words, we need someone else to validate us.

Again, this is a problem. If you look to relationships not as a meeting of equals, but as a lifeline to save yourself from failure, things will not go smoothly for you. You might find someone with a Messiah complex, but do you really want your relationship to be one of the-savior-and-the-saved? Life isn’t meant to work that way. You need balance. Don’t look to other people for validation; self-worth must come from other sources.

Find a way to be proud of yourself in an honest way. You might find that you need to do some heavy lifting – become more mature, more responsible, more generous, more kind – do it. But become someone who doesn’t depend on their relationship status for happiness. How? You’d laugh if I said I knew how. Besides, giving you a good recipe doesn’t make you a good cook. It could take years. But at the end of those years, you want to be able to say this. Let’s call it the Single’s Creed:

I’m not perfect, I’ve got issues. I know dating someone doesn’t solve those issues. I won’t seek relationships to ignore my problems. My self-worth doesn’t depend on my relationship status. When I enter a relationship, it is for what I can give, not what I can get. Finding someone will make me happy, but I can be happy without finding someone.

Next year, you might be single, you might not. Who knows? But perhaps, next year you will care a little bit less. Perhaps next year Valentine’s Day will feel a little less like a test of your value as a human being. And perhaps eventually, if you find yourself single on Valentine’s Day, it won’t bother you at all.

SINGLE-itis

I’ve come to rely heavily on Depeche Mode’s take on GOD’s bizarre sense of humor — especially when it comes to my dating life. It’s been six months (give or take) since the scolding I got from Karen at the clinic for not practicing better cootie control. I cried abstinence, so I guess GOD decided it was high time I partake in taste-testing some crow by exploring what Mr. Ethical Slut coined as “camel sex.”

Sure, I’ve been dating. Just not seriously. I’m not ready to be serious. At least, that’s what I tell myself and all my busybody buddies.

Speaking of which, I recently stumbled upon a bizarre realization that all my engaged/married friends expect to live vicariously through me. Which is sad. As of late, I really haven’t got much to offer in terms of entertainment value. It hasn’t been pretty trying to explain what it means to have camel sex. Those dinner party points drop faster than Tiger scoring down by Pebble Beach.

Last weekend, one of my favorite married couples invited me over to meet the newest addition to their family. I absolutely LOVE kids, so I couldn’t wait to meet baby Noah. Little did I know that three other married couples (and their kids) felt the same exact way. Oh joy.*

*Look. I have NOTHING against happily married couples. I’m simply stoked when they start popping out kids. I really, truly LOVE babies. Just not when they poop. I can handle barf. I can’t stand poop.

Which brings me back to another thing I can’t stand: how SMUG couples get. It’s inevitable really. They can’t help themselves. I’m convinced of it. The moment your friends enter couple-hood, they conveniently forget what it’s like to have the “-itis.” As in SINGLE-itis.

Had I known I was going to get ambushed with FOUR sets of happily-married-couples, I would have been better prepared for the emotional onslaught to come. HELL, I would have printed and passed out copies of Potted Plant’s 7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Single Friends!

Alas, I was not clued in this time around. So I braced myself for the worst. If you’ve seen BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY — just imagine that dinner scene with all the couples. It promised to get THAT bad.

The funny thing is, I’m not writing this to bitch about married couples. I also want to point out that I’m not an instigator by nature. Nor am I a trouble-maker. I’m a peace-loving kind of gal. Just don’t EVER patronize me about my SINGLE-itis.

I state this because I’ve come up with the BEST way to deflect attention from my SINGLE-itis. I’m going to share it FREE OF CHARGE. All you have to do is ask all the happy couples to relay the “STORY OF US.” It’s quite comical to see how extremely squirmy the adults get. Especially those of the male gender. I mean, you’d think that after making us SINGLE folks watch those damn wedding videos delineating the time frame from which person A was born to meet person B — they’d have their story down pat.

NOPE. Not at ALL. No WONDER they have those damn videos.

Let’s just say, by the end of the evening, I quickly thanked GOD for the sense of humor only GOD has. To place me in a situation where I initially was dreading to quickly finding myself thanking each and every lucky star that I have SINGLE-itis. That I still have ample opportunities to connect-the-dots around town and find someone worthy of memorizing the “STORY OF US” the way it’s supposed to be. By heart.