Category Archives: Rants

I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend Anymore

I have a really bad habit of staying friends with my exes.  I say it is a bad habit, because that is what it has become – I go on a few dates with someone and a month or two rolls by and then it fizzles and ends.  We say let’s be friends – after all – there was a reason we liked each other.

But the truth is, I don’t want to be friends with this person.  I have tons of friends  – some of which I barely get to see.  Why do I want to be friends with someone who reminds me that I had yet ANOTHER dating experience that didn’t work out? I have my unfailing memory to crystalize that I am in my mid 30s with no Mr. Potted Plant in sight and a trail of failed attempts at forever.

So I am going to call it for 2009 – no more being friends with the exes.  The past is the past and let’s leave it there.  Friends are people that have a bright and uplifting spot in your future.

To all my exes – I am deleting you from my facebook friends – stay the fuck in the past and out of my newsfeed.

Waiting for the call

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment on The Perfect Date, I’m so relieved to know I’m not the only one who has felt anxiety (instead of just pure bliss) when things go well!

So although I knew it was unlikely to see him again before 2009, I have to say this waiting is making me insane.  No, worse than that, it’s making me over-analyze.  If there’s one thing I hate to be, it’s a typical woman over-analyzing a bunch of stupid stuff.  UGH!!!

Yes, I did hear from him after my first blog, a text that said he can’t wait to see me again (last Friday), which was after an earlier phone call where he re-iterated how much fun he had on our last date.  I knew end of quarter would mean work hell for him (and more so since he’s a self-confessed workaholic), and I also know that today, Jan 1st, is his sacred watch-football-all-day-I’ll-be-MIA.

It’s likely I’ll hear from him tomorrow or later this weekend, and once we talk, I’ll feel stupid for stressing out all week.  But let me tell ya, in all honesty – I have been absolutely sabotaging this inside my head for almost 7 days now.  I have never had to wait this long for a man to call, especially with so many fireworks from the get-go.  It’s odd, but then, he is kind of odd.  It’s why I like him so much – he’s not typical.   And yes, my eye surgery, the holidays, end of quarter, all calls and texts clear indicate he is very much still interested.  Blah blah blah. It’s been almost a week, and nothing.  I don’t like it.

Thankfully I have held strong and avoided the mistake of texting and calling him any further – as it is clearly his move now.  The thing is, I’be gone from being excited and optimistic to irritated and skeptical.  At first I was sure this was insecurity and let-downs from the past, but today I realized what’s bugging me.

My biggest complaint about dating in my late 30’s here in the Bay Area is what I call the Green Grass syndrome.  There are so many single people here, successful, fun, smart – and as such, I’ve found that people take their sweet ol’ time in courtship.  Even when there’s a phenomenal connection and mutal interest, it seems like there’s a feeling that perhaps there is something just as good, or even better, just around the corner.  No need to get this person off the market by securing next dates fast, or heaven forbid, make a commitment.  He/She will still be around.  If not, there are always others.  I’ve traveled extensively, and I’m absolutely convinced this phenomenon is unique to this area.  It is perhaps why we have one of the highest singles rates in the country, and one of the lowest in terms of relationship satisfaction.

In any case, what I liked about what was happening initially with this guy is it was busting my Green Grass theory.  Actually, probably moving waaaay to fast in terms of emotional and (very soon to be) physical intimacy.  But the pace was refreshing because it was so anti-Bay Area, and I had singulary attributed this to the fact that this guy was originally from the Midwest.  I lived in the Midwest for a few years and I can tell ya, when a guy meets a women that takes his breath away, he doesn’t tell her that over and over again and then wait a freakin’ week to even call or text or anything.

So, I don’t get it.  Yes, I’ll be patient.  Yes, I’ll wait him out.  And yes, I would love to see him again.  If he asks, I’m there.  But here’s what’s changed: my guard is back up.  I’m certainly not going to entertain any kind of physical relationship any time soon.  Because he was a man who seemed to know exactly what he wanted, found it, and was pursuing it quickly, I was likewise ready to throw caution to the wind, no games, and give this 100% effort.  Now I’m cautious, and emotionally have rolled all my enthusiasm back to the stage of Date #1.  I have to, or I can’t wait for a week to hear from you, it’s just too scary and unnerving.  Sorry.

If you wonder what happened, well, you waited too long to call.  I don’t need a check-in every day, or even every few days.  But a week?  It’s too long, it tells me you’re really not that interested despite what you say, actions always speak louder than words.

What do you think?  Am I expecting too much too soon?  Or am I getting played a little, with the compliments and “you’re perfect, I don’t want to date anyone else” simply a ruse to get some action sooner rather than later?  Is a week to call a long time or a reasonable time to wait to talk?

Land of the Misfit Toys

My married friends ask, “Hey, how is the dating thing going?”

My reply is stolen from a remark at a cocktail party, but I love it, and use it: “Oh, it’s like living in the Land of the Misfit Toys!”  Everyone laughs, but I look for the few who have that knowing smile, for they are my comrades in a war for love.  That smile, it comes from singles in their late 30’s or early 40’s.

People are endearing, happy, accomplished, intriguing, hilarious…but also broken, weird, lost, and lonely.  The toys in this land are not the “latest and greatest”, young, hip, and must-have.  Yet they are tried and true, favorites of a past not too long ago, some damaged and re-built, yet with the sturdiness, reliability and love from age-old craftmanship you just can’t get with today’s new, cheap models.

I could blog about the wonderful people in this land.  But you already know them, they are the friends you can’t believe are still single, the ones you try to set up.  Instead, I’m going highlight three misfit toy reflections from the past 30 days:

1. Online classic: The camera phone bathroom shot

Can someone please tell me why men think it’s a great idea to take a picture of themselves shirtless in their bathroom with a camera phone?  I don’t know if it’s the grainy photo or misc. abs missing a head, but it’s all wrong, just all wrong.  If you have a great body, bravo!  Put up a normal social picture like swimming by the pool, or hanging out on the deck with your friends.

2. The Reburn

I know with the Green movement it’s all about recycling.  But honestly, there was a reason you walked away in the first place, so why do we go back?   No matter how intriguing it may seem, there’s no reason to revisit old news.  My reunion with the man from Let’s Dance went from enticement to boredom inside of 15 minutes.  It lacked the spontaneity of a 20-something hook-up, and had the baggage of 30-somethings lost and looking for some kind of emotional connection.

3. Damaged Package

At this age it’s unlikely you’ll meet someone who hasn’t gone through significant heartbreak, and for some, the wounds heal slowly.  It’s amazing how much of this shows through even on the first date, and many times I think to myself, “Man, I can’t fix this for you, I can’t carry us both through the uncertainty of love, rejection, or failed relationships.”  What’s interesting though, is if I take the time to look past the damaged package, many times I see that in fact, the contents are still solid, and with a few loving repairs, what seems like a throwaway can be new again.

I am starting to embrace the Land of the Misfit Toys, yes, even the oddities of online dating, misguided reburns, and damaged packages.  It reminds me that we are all looking to be cherished by someone who will not only appreciate, but uniquely love, our misfit attributes.

I love it when…

I love it when you look at me and smile that sly smile you have. I know the smile is meant only for me, and it makes me melt every single time. Keep doing it.

I love it when you wear my shirts. Especially effective is when the shirt is way too big for you and you’re not wearing anything else. Wow.

I love the random voice mails left on my cell phone or at work. You know I can’t talk, but still take the time to leave a message that makes me laugh and look forward to talking to you later.

I love it when you watch sports with me and pretend to understand the rules and cheer for my team.  I know you have no idea why holding is a penalty or why no one moves before the ball is hiked, but it’s really cute that you try.

I love it when you threaten to beat me up. I love it even more when you try. I love it more still when you succeed.

I love it when you make plans for us, including what I should wear. Seriously, it saves me a lot of time.

I love it when you fall asleep on me. You look so peaceful and content. And ripe for a tickle attack.

I love it when we’re walking in the mall and you ask me if I want to go to Victoria’s Secret. Yes, yes I do.

I love it when we share quiet evenings alone together. There’s nothing more I need at that moment.

I love it when you dress up. You look absolutely amazing and I’m honored to have you on my arm.

I love it when you confide in me when you’re upset. I’ll do everything in my power to make it better, I promise.

I love it when I can cook a meal just for the two of us. Don’t even think about chipping in, this is my treat.

I love it when I see something that reminds me of you. It happens whenever I’m out alone, and makes me feel like you’re never too far away.

I love it when we say goodbye at the airport, knowing we’ll be without each other for some time. And I love knowing that you’re going to be waiting for me when I get back.

what FACEBOOK tells me

You’re an asshole.

Plain.

Not so simple.

In fact, you’re an insecure narcisist with no less than 50 uploaded profile photos of your various pouts and poses to prove it.  You even catalogue your ex-girlfriends with captions below.  Sexy.

I never knew FB was a vehicle for name dropping, til I perused your profile.  So what if you’re some hotshot Hollywood hack!  Pitch me this: why the hell should we keep dating — since you spread your ego so thickly all over your page, there’s really no room for my space in your life?

You dress like the devil.  Literally.  Lots of red.  A little too much.  Santa gets away with being adorable in a little red suit.  You?  Not so much.  Though I get it: seduction’s not your strong suit. I also get that you’re all about the chase, NOT so hot on the finish.

You’re a friend poacher.  I’ve noticed you’ve already plunged into my picks and made plenty of them your own.  Without the vested time and interest of course.  Gee, how convenient for you.  And that’s only after meeting them on our psuedo-date # 2.  To you?  Friends = colleagues.  Everyone you know is someone you either worked with or worked up.  No sense of history.  Do real relationships elude you?

Hmmmm.

The ratio of females to males are raising both my eyebrows.  Especially the scantily clad ones.  And not just those of my gender.

Hmmmm.

Que mas, que mas, que mas?

You’re definitely amusing as fuck.  Your postings keep me rolling.  Not just the eyeballs.  I could do without the status updates, though.  What I now know of you that I wish I didn’t?  You have a VERY small bladder.  Which can only lead one to wonder…

BTW, if you’re going to date multiple girls at once, you may not want them to find out you double-booked via FB.  Seriously.  At least spread ’em out.  Girl # 1 gets added to your MySpace.  Girl # 2 to Friendster.  Girl # 3 to Klamour.  Girl # 4 to LinkedIn.  Girl # 5 to Hi5.  Girl # 6 (yours truly) to FB.

See?  I should be your personal dating consultant.  I’d watch you doggie-paddle for a bit.  Maybe I’d throw you a bone or two, before pulling the plug to keep you from drowning in dating drama.  It’s fun letting you think your suave and saavy.  Because, you’re not.

Why?  You leave NO room for mystery.  You’re cute in that hobbit kind of way, but there’s NOTHING that keeps me wanting to get to know you.

T.

M.

I.

busting the BUDDY system

“Just so we’re clear, I’m not in the market for new guy friends.”  I try to make eye-contact.  I figure I’ve got nothing to hide, since my new motto is to live like I’ve got nothing to lose.  “We’re either dating OR we’re not.  There’s no friendship fallback at the end of this tunnel.”

“Huh?”  Grant shifts uneasily in his seat.  He spins his fork for the third time.  That reminds me, we’re on our third date.  Perfect timing.

“Look, I’ve got more than enough guy friends.”  Thirty-plus years worth to be exact.  “I’m not planning to pick up more platonic pals in the near or immediate future.”

Grant finally meets my gaze.  “Well, I like you a lot.  I love spending time with you.  If things don’t progress from here, I don’t want it to be over between us, because I really believe we’re meant to be friends.”  He picks up the fork, changes his mind and sets it down.  He reaches over and then switches the salt with the pepper shaker.

I wrinkle my nose.  I do that when I’m about to sneeze, or patronize.  “Not to belittle your belief system, but my hard-earned conviction still stands.”  I try to change.  It’s tough.

“So that’s it?”  Grant doesn’t sound surprised, though he knocks over the salt.  “Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?”  He creates a tiny salt circle with his spoon.

“It’s a tough enough market out there as it is.”  I try not to grit my teeth.  Another bad habit of mine when I get antsy.  I wonder if I grind them in my sleep?  I push the menus closer to the edge of the table.  “I’m not just talking in terms of financial — the relational market is pretty cutthroat.  I’m hitting my thirties and not appreciating in value.  Substance seems to be falling short of the superficial more often than not.”

Grant sets his spoon down next to his circle of salt.  I’ve got his full attention now.  “You have lots of friends that are guys.  Actually, I’ve met quite a few of them.  They all care a LOT about you.”  He looks tired.  Or sad.

One thing I absolutely can’t stand, is being called out on my shit.  Good thing I’ve been rehearsing:  “Those guys are like family.  We’ve got history.  They made the cut.”

“What cut?” OK.  This part was not part of the practice runs.  The diner is playing Katie Herzig.  How appropriate:

…I’m in a love affair without a love song / I’m in the habit of having what I don’t want…

“Cut off point.” I don’t hesitate.  Duh, right?  It’s my turn to give the salt shaker a spin.  “After my last relationship, I realized I’m done investing in platonic relationships.  I’ve got the attention span of a hyper three-year-old.  Commitment to one’s significant other is enough of a challenge for me as it is.  I’m also in the process of weeding out my existing pool of platonic pals.”

“That’s not fair.”  Grant’s not pouty.  What’s worse, is he’s overly steady.  Other than spinning his utensils or petting condiments, he’s not easy to get a rise out of.  No fun.

“You’re right.”  It’s not.  I am fallible.  I get this.  What I don’t get is why this guy is making it SO difficult to shake him off.  “That’s why I’m certain that it’s not fair for me to have to be the fallback every time one of my guy friends’ ‘more-than-just-a-friend’ fails to meet his expectations mentally or emotionally.”

“So you’re saying…”  If we were characters in a comic book, I would draw a big baseball bat next to his light bulb.

“I’m saying I’m tired of being such-and-so’s GIRL FRIDAY.”  I’m pouty and DAMN proud of it.  “I’m no longer OK with the GAL PAL status.”

“Why be so black-and-white about it?”  The waitress brings our orders and Grant reaches over and nabs one of my curly fries.  I say nothing.  The waitress forgot the spicy brown mustard I asked for.  I think twice about pissing her off, since our drinks are still coming.

“I’m exhausted of fighting the WHAT IF factors of each and every opposite gender-based relationship I’ve got.”  Grant grabs another three curly fries and shoves them into his mouth.  He grabs the Heinz and proceeds to pound the 57 on the bottle next to my fries.  I try not to wince and scoot my chair to save my blouse from becoming a ketchup casualty.  “It’s time to up the ante for access.  I’m ready for membership status to the blocks of time I’ve still got for meaningful relationships.  I’m realizing I’m a worthy investment.  I’m no longer okay with being the emotional corner convenience store.”

“I still think we’re meant to be friends.”  Grant motions the waitress to come over.  There’s no more ketchup.  “I’ll still be here when you change your mind.”

The internal struggle

I’ve been waiting for today for a long time. I haven’t seen her in so long…something like ten months. There was a spark then, and just arranging for lunch today I can feel that it’s still there. We’d been trying to plan this get together for almost two months since we first reconnected, and an almost sitcom-like string of events made us cancel lunch after lunch. I finally caught up with her again on Tuesday and IMed her, suggesting we get together on Thursday for lunch. She said sure, she’d get back to me to discuss details the next day.

The next day came. She had mentioned how busy she was the previous day, so I didn’t want to interrupt to confirm our plans. So I waited. Staring at her name in my buddy list. IM me dammit! My telekinesis wasn’t working. I hid her name from sight so it wouldn’t taunt me as I tried to focus on my work, but every hour I checked just to make sure she was actually online. And one time I looked…she was gone. Dammit! She wasn’t going to contact me today so why did she say she would?

And the next day, Thursday, the day we had planned for lunch. Still no word from her. That bitch. Seriously, why do I even care? She’s clearly classless and disrespectful and would be horrible in a relationship. I bet she’s terrible in bed too. So why do I care? Why would I care about you, stupid bitchy girl who sucks in bed (and not in the good way)? In fact, I decided that I hate you. I’m going to put every last piece of attraction energy I have and convert it into anger. You suck. It’s noontime and you haven’t IMed me to confirm lunch? Seriously? You’re clearly not the type of girl I want.

Just then, an IM window pops up. It’s her.

“We still on for lunch?” she asks.

“Oh,” I type, “was that today?”

reBOUNDing

Mr. Write’s got this theory that I’m a reBOUND reWOUND addict.

He may be right.

See folks, Mr. Write constantly kicks my ass about how I have this nasty habit of hitting the rewind button when it comes to my dating life by reBOUNDing.  It’s my coping mechanism.  As in “coping” with my commitment-phobia.  Especially after tossing and turning the last six or so odd years over the EX-factor.

True, shaking off my terrible habit of revisiting relations with the EX-factor was somewhat synonymous to a HEROIN addiction.

It took a lot of weaning off though.  After the EX, came the exit-my-emotions strategy # 1.  The sex-sans-strings-attached tryst.  This came with a twist: cords made of titanium.  It probably wasn’t the greatest idea to detach myself from such an addicting presence (i.e. the EX-factor) by then flip-flopping with the guy I didn’t realize was my emotional CRACK.  So much for that attempt, since it would would later prove to be a fatally flawed decision.

So the pursuit for the most pure form of ECSTASY was what I tried to turn to next.  Twas not the answer for a speedy recovery.  The one-night-stand that wouldn’t settle for just one night.  Especially when he reassured me over and over that he was “PERFECT REBOUND MATERIAL.”  Two words:  FALSE ADVERTISEMENT.

My last attempt at substituting my relational tug-o-wars was to flirt with the equivalents to WEED and CIGARETTES.  According to Mr. Write, both seem harmless at first — one’s mellow and relaxing while the cancer sticks are around for social reasons.

I tried to prove Mr. Write wrong on this one, thinking maybe I wasn’t clear enough about the ground rules for picking the prime REBOUND candidate.  I decided to do the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend thing.  For all of you trying to keep up?  That’s almost six degrees of separation.  I was a smidgen off.  Math was NEVER my forte to begin with.  SO… I tried to be HONEST and straightforward with my intentions… to no avail.  Friend-of-a-friend-times-four tells me he’s not looking  for any attachments right now.  Which was fine until his actions spoke volumes, since they didn’t match up with his words.

So Mr. Write?  You’re RIGHT:

You told me there’s NO such things as NO strings attached.

You warned me NOT to be careless with other people’s hearts.

You called me out on the singles blunder that SO many of us don’t want to admit: being ADDICTED to reBOUNDing.  Doing the “reBOUND reWOUND” dance?  It binds and winds up with one-too-many casualties.

Your words DO sink in.  They do.  I now realize and am slightly traumatized by your simple golden rule about guys:  don’t listen to a thing they say AND always watch what they do.  I get it now.  Really.  I do.

Guess I’m going to check myself into relationship rehab.

When I ask you out

When I ask you out, it’s because there’s something about you that I find attractive. It may be your sense of style, it may be your personality, but there’s just something that has inspired me to get to know you better. And that’s the purpose of asking you out: to get to know you better.

When I ask you out, I’m not thinking about ways to get you into bed. I want to figure out who you are; I want you to figure out who I am. To me, a date is an evaluation period. Let’s see if we enjoy being around each other. Let’s see if we have interesting conversation. Let’s see if there’s any chemistry whatsoever and not worry about what comes next.

When I ask you out, I have a simple evening planned. A nice dinner at a quiet restaurant where we can talk and get to know each other better. Hopefully the restaurant is in a nice area where we can go for a walk afterward. I’m not trying to get you to fall in love with me, I just want the opportunity to see if we’re compatible…if there’s even a reason to consider a second date.

When I ask you out, I’m not asking you to marry me, or go away with me, or come back to my place. This is not a commitment or an invitation into something torrid. The only thing I want is some alone time to see what happens. I want to see how it feels when it’s just you and me and time. There’s no hidden motives and nothing for you to be weary of. It is exactly what it appears to be: two people enjoying dinner and sharing conversation. That’s it.

When I ask you out, it means I think there may be potential between us, but I’m not sure. I need to get to know you better before making that determination. And the only way to do that is to spend some time alone with you. I haven’t actually made up my mind that I want to pursue a relationship with you, so please don’t feel that sort of pressure. There’s nothing to live up to.

When I ask you out, I’m trying to see if you’d fit into my life. I’m evaluating you to see if I can picture you having a more permanent spot in my routine. I hope that you’re doing the same thing with me, figuring out if I’m someone you’d want to spend more time with. Would you get along with my friends and family? Would I get along with yours? We both should take this date as an opportunity to answer those questions.

When I ask you out, I’m inviting you to take the first step of a journey with me. That journey is to discover if we’re compatible. If you’re even a little bit curious, then I hope you’ll accept my invitation.

Let’s Dance

Damn it.  Now I’m curious.  Interested…in that way.  I did NOT expect that.  You queued up the music, and started the dance.  And there I was, stepping on the dance floor as Chatty Cathy, thinking all we were doing was catching up, pleasantly surprised at how much we still had in common now in our late 30’s.  And like any good male dancer, you took the lead, starting a subtle, liquid tango.  Now I am forced to improvise, clumsy as I catch up to the beat of the music, keenly aware that the dance has already started and I’m late to the game.

I’ll admit – at first, I was more concerned that I would hurt you again, somehow lead you on, repeating the same mistakes I made so long ago.  After all, when you reached out to me on Facebook and asked if I remembered you, I almost fell out of my chair.  It was the same day I posted an apology written with 3 very specific men in mind – and, as irony would have it, you were one of them.  Your timing was surreal.

You were surprised to hear that I remembered every detail of our little high school romance 20 yrs ago…you were flattered by my memories of the past, encouraged by my compliments now.  Yet, I still saw you as the boy in high school…and you had become a man.  An experienced man.  Looking back on the past few weeks, I am laughing at my own naivety.  The opportunity was there to show me the man you had become, to dangle it out there like a shining fishing lure, just to see if would I bite.  In my own arrogance I let my guard down immediately – I mean really, 20 yrs have passed, and a high school fling?  At best, maybe a new friendship.  At best.

Meanwhile you put the chess pieces in place, confident with your ripped body, many accomplishments, humor and wit.  You were careful to balance these things with humility, honesty, and the kind of genuine demeanor that I loved in you so long ago.  You weaved together what you remembered of me in the past together with the woman I have become, and patiently fostered a “no pressure” pursuit.  I ate it up – hook, line and sinker.

I did not even see it coming…my curiosity.  I know you would smile if you read this, knowing your intentions were exacting the desired results.  You got me, and I am very curious.  Nervous, even, about seeing you this weekend.  Yes, I have imagined kissing you – deeply.  There is something very intriguing about resurrecting innocence of the past to experience it as adults…dangerous, delectable.

But…

Do you really believe I’m not paying attention to your innuendos and allusions?  That even, after so much time, I don’t already anticipate your hidden desire to even the score a little?  That the end game is to have me fall for you, so this time decision making power on what happens next belongs to you, not me?   You know what gave you away in our conversation last night?  How purposely you controlled the tempo, how fast you took back the lead the second I started to direct the discussion, but mostly, the way in which you laughed when I called you on it.  You knew I had started to figure it out – and took delight in it.  No fear.  No corrections.  Just that “knowing” laughter.  Impressively ballsy.  Not surprising though – after all, the advantage is all yours  – you, supremely confident…me, less so, my self-esteem haven taken a consistent beating the past few yrs.  Yet I’m too curious now to turn back now, and you know it.

There’s only one catch.

You have awakened a sleeping tiger, and the dance you have chosen…I have practiced.  More times than you.  More passionately.  More intensely.  I have compensated for the imperfections I have today but honing my skills in all other areas of the game.  I’ve tailored my weaknesses into a wild card you can’t begin to anticipate.   No doubt we will have a blast when we get together – conversation is effortless, laughter and fun is a foregone conclusion.  Perhaps it will ultimately lead to a new and treasured friendship.  I wonder, though, how you will feel when my steps sync up with yours…when the dance becomes suddenly, imperceptibly, more fluid and untamed?  I’m ready.  Let’s dance.