Cohabitating, Cougars and Finding the one

I should be arrested for neglect. Blog neglect. It’s just hard to live a life and blog it at the same time, you know?

Been thinking a lot about relationships lately (I know, master of the obvious) … why they work so easily for some people and not for others. A friend of mine says I probably scare guys. Thank you? I’ll read into that and assume that he means I’m so independent/witty that the boys don’t know how to talk to me. Except the ones I’m not interested in. They seem to have no trouble going out of their way to engage. Any thoughts on this? Really, any theories on this would be appreciated.

I take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone. As many people as I know who are in deeply in love or at least in cohabitable-like, I know probably twice as many who are looking for love or who have just resigned themselves to being alone. Or maybe they’re just not willing to take crumbs. I mean theoretically you can be in a romantic relationship with many people – if you don’t pay attention to how you really feel. For me, that’s important. I need to look at him and want to jump him. And of course I need to like him as a person and all that horse shit .. but really if the physical connection isn’t there, it just doesn’t work for me. Maybe I’ll outgrow that.

courgar shirt

In five years or so I think I could embrace the cougar lifestyle. Get hitched to a wealthy old man, and keep a strapping young buck on the side for when the mood strikes. Seems doable.

In the meantime, I’ll just bide my time with the occasional passing interest.  Winning?

Go Team Single

I’m always impressed by people who can maintain themselves in the face of a relationship vampire. 

Vampire

You know, a person who effortlessly siphons off your personality, making  you look less funny, less interesting, less you than the real you.   Does this happen to anyone else?

Usually the personality-sucking is done by a person who is brighter, louder, brasher than myself.  But on Wednesday a weird thing happened.  I was on a first date and found that he, a  quiet, 45-year-old lawyer, had reached in and snatched — ooh maybe not a good word choice … ahh … had stolen the talkative, confident, funny  “me.”  I was quiet, reserved even.  Struggling to come up with  something to say.  There were long stretches of silence, which I tried to get comfortable with.  And then about 90 minutes in, he told me I was more serious than I seemed in my profile.  K.  What do I do with that?  What was he really saying?  That he thought I’d be a party girl?  That he thought by this time I’d be on my knees in the coat closet? 

It wasn’t until later, when I was reflecting on the evening, that I realized I was mirroring him.  I was toning myself down to match his energy.   I do this a lot.  I don’t know when it started, but often I check the true me in favor of blending with the other person, or the rest of the group.  It feels safer.  I only show the true me around people who’ve been tested and approved.  So this “impersonator me” let’s me socialize without fear of rejection.  Or at least fear of rejection of the real me.  If this personality-bot gets turned down, no bigs.

 So back to Wednesday’s date … he seemed nervous and not altogether comfortable in his own skin.  It was an impression that totally fit after he told me he’d only dated three people in his life.  IN HIS LIFE.  One or two when he was a 20somthing followed by the woman who became his wife of 20ish years.

When we left the restaurant he didn’t even seem sure that he wanted to kiss me — he did, but I kind of think he would have been happier if I had just run to my car.

Then I read an article today that makes me think maybe I should take a different approach to dating.  It talks about dating as a team sport and describes a new Facebook-created dating platform called Grouper or something like that.  I think it’s aimed at the Millennial Generation, which I can be included in by only the most liberal of definitions.  But I wonder if this would remove the awkward or add more of it.  Walking out of a restaurant with one guy who isn’t sure if he should kiss you is slightly awkward, but walking out after a group date?  Do you all kiss?  Are there just hands reaching for everyone’s junk?  Do things move faster or slower?  And is anyone really themselves or does one person just feed on everyone else?

Meow?

Guy I was supposed to meet for drinks rescheduled for next week … saying that he was, “Out like the cat” tonight.  A work thing came up, whatever.  I am more perturbed by his turn of phrase.  Never heard that one before.  It sounds old or gay to me.  Not that I have a problem with either, it’s just not what I’m looking for in a date.  I heard (and may have used) the term, “Out like shout” … circa early to mid-90s.  Anyone with insight on Out Like the Cat??

Next week is shaping up to be dateriffic.  Looking forward to Wednesday’s experiment.  More to follow … and then this guy … once he’s in like the cat?  Plus I think I may have a third in play …  I should get an assistant.

He Felt my Bicep

That’s not a sexual innuendo.  It was Friday night.  And driving into NYC after work I felt something I had almost forgotten about … a twinge of excitement.  There I was actually looking forward to meeting him and maybe sharing an app.  Uh, appetizer not application.

His self-description said that he liked challenging people and being challenged.  It’s a fine line between a playful, challenging verbal duel and just being rude.  But I was hungry.  Hungry and trying to be open-minded.  So I stayed.  I stayed while he told me that I must have misunderstood the terms of my loan when I bought a house in 2003; stayed while he talked about how awesome he is at trading; stayed while he told me that I can’t possibly know that I won’t want children in five, 10 years.  I refrained from explaining female biology to him … no doubt he’s an expert on that too.  I stayed while he felt my bicep, after I told him that I go to the gym every day.

Bicep

Seriously.  He reached across the table to feel the guns.  Who does that?  And I just kept looking at him thinking you’re not hot enough to be such an ass.

I considered leaving mid-date, but the Margarita was cold and the empanadas were hot.  Is it wrong that I stayed because I was hungry?

He insisted on walking me to my car (my Jeep that he approved of..  Super.  Thrilled that I have your endorsement).  What was I happy about?  That I didn’t try to fill the awkward conversation voids by saying those words that have betrayed me so many times, “We should do this again some time.”  I just got in my car and drove home.  Drove to Stop & Shop to get ice-cream and then drove home.  Ugh.

Do You Want to Make Out?

An actual question I heard tonight. 

I agreed to meet someone in person who I had been chatting with online. On paper, we have many things in common.  Well one big thing in common — we worked in the same field prior to what we’re doing now.  And since work takes up the majority of your adult life, that provides a lot of material for banter.

And banter we did.  Not sure how much he’ll remember since he was drunk.  Not wasted.  Not unable to sit on a bar stool.  But he had that telltale slow, deliberate speech.  Like he was trying really hard not to say the wrong thing, which tends to happen when you’re drunk.  Words get mis-spoken; messages get convoluted.

Let me backup.  He called me when I was leaving work, which was, granted, two hours later than I had planned.  You don’t need a working knowledge of New York City, just suffice it to say he told me to meet him 20 blocks down from where the office is; called me after I had gone halfway and suggested (decided) we’d meet at a bar 20 blocks north of where the office is.  Oh and he was drinking with a buddy.  Fabulous.  What’s that line?  You never get a second chance to make a first impression?

I get there and meet his buddy, who, as far as I can tell, he had met just a few hours prior to my arrival.  They each had oAnimal sexne Guinness in front of them.  I’m guessing this wasn’t the first of the evening.  And I saw a shot glass nearby.  Empty, of course.  I stayed for an hour, which I thought was generous.  Truthfully he was pretty entertaining.  Eventually I stood up and gathered my things to go home.  He was miffed.  Suggested we make out.  I declined.

Soooo .. that happened.

Now Serving …

It’s been said that the best way to get over one guy is to get under another.  Earthy, I know,  but not entirely untrue.  Doesn’t that work with everything?  To stop obsessing over one thing (be it shoes or sex), mental distraction is a great technique.  Don’t stop obsessing, just refocus.

I find myself doing that on a pretty regular basis on this looking-for-a-good-man journey.  Several times I’ve been emailing with someone.  I’ll think we’re both looking forward to meeting, and then, for whatever reason, we don’t.  Or we do and it’s a huge letdown.  How can people be compatible online and not in person?  Maybe it’s just me.  I was afraid it had just happened again … emailing with someone who has similar background/interests; waited for him to suggest drinks, so as not to appear too anxious and then I don’t hear from him again for a week (3 days).  Did I respond too fast?  Did I geek it in my response?  I’ll be working in the city Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.  My office is in midtown but I can meet you wherever. Except on Wednesday because I have a thing, but if that’s the only day you can make it, I’ll make it work.  Here’s my personal cell, my work cell, my direct line at the office and my alternate email address.  Call me or email, I’m super-laidback.  Whatevs.

Okay, I didn’t write that.  But did I write something that sounded similar?  Instead of analyzing what went wrong, I put on my big-girl panties and reached out to some other potentials, one of whom wrote back.  And then this morning I wake up to an email from him.  But back to my point. 

Mentally moving onto someone else may result in two dates next week.  This is new for me.  Traditionally I’ve stayed fixated on one person for a long time, even when there’s no evidence that he has reciprocal feelings. 

deli-counterSo this deli counter mentality is liberating.  If one stops talking because he’s into someone else; he’s going back to his wife; he feels smothered, just move on to the next in line.  Again, refocus. 

This may be grade school stuff to other people, but I think it’s a whole new world.  Because it’s not about me.  If he stops communicating, it’s because something came up for him.  Could it be that something I say makes him think we’re not compatible?  Yes, but again that’s because I’m not right for him.  Not that I’m not right in general.  My shrink would be proud.

I think dating is weird and hard no matter how you do it.  I also think you learn as much about yourself as you do about other people.  That may be the hardest part.

Yea, There’s an App for That

Soooo .. since we last spoke I’ve signed up on another dating site.  Don’t judge me.    

                                                  judgement

This is (part of) an actual message I received:

Well, thought I’d reach out; you don’t want kids and you don’t list a zodiac sign … you cook…three decidedly encouraging things from my perspective. Your interest in sports, not so encouraging, but no one’s perfect.

Myself: I work in the art world, I make paintings, I too like to stay home and cook, widely read, skeptical, curious, and an almost infallible appraiser of people. Do you visit the gritty city often from the tony territory …

I’m rendered speechless, which is not easy to do.  But despite this weirdly passive-aggressive, judgemental attempt at breaking the ice, I push forward.  And truthfully, I’ve been contacted by a few contenders.  One told me that I have a “timeless and classic beauty.”  Okay smooth talker, go on. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very suspicious of gratuitous flattery.  Don’t blow smoke up my ass … Especially when initially getting to know each other.  But telling me I’m timeless and classic is a much better start than critiquing my online dating profile.  (Really.  Doesn’t that reveal more about him anyway?)

As I’ve said before, I like this about online dating … getting deal breakers on the table immediately.  People show their colors very quickly and you don’t even have to actually talk to them to get them to do it.  Recently though I read an article about taking online dating to the next level: your phone.  That’s right, you want to fall in love (like) (lust) … there’s an app for that.

What do you think about this article by @SharonJayson?  Do you use it?  Would you?  There’s a part of me that thinks it’s really creepy.  You at a table for one with your laptop and latte.  A guy approaches, telling you that his dating app just revealed a chart of singles within spitting distance and he wants to chat.  Umm?  If he’s the man of your dreams, well then, this is perfect.  But if he’s ANYTHING ELSE, you’re screwed.  Best case scenario, there’s some awkward conversation while you pack up your things and move 50 feet to the next coffee shop franchise.  Worst case?  He’s a smooth-talking sociopath.

I think for now I’ll stick to “old-fashioned” online dating … I’m such a classic after all. :)