Tag Archives: online dating

Your Father Isn’t… Elliot

7 May

I’m listening to my current guy aggressively drumming and shout/singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” while I’m writing this. It’s an all-around weird moment. Oh well, just go with it.

~~~

Elliot sends me an incredibly sweet, thoughtful message about what he likes in my profile and how much he thinks we’ll get along. There’s no bravado in it, no showmanship, which for DC is impossible. I actually work hard on my reply because I can’t easily match his level of sincerity.

We talk for what seems like an eternity each evening for about a week, one night until 2am. I’m amazed at how much we have in common. For every personal passion or hobby that I mention, even those things I only sheepishly admit, he shares the same excitement. Baseball? Big fan. Astronomy? He’s totally into it. Late 90s pop music? He responds with this gem.

 

Even the few things we don’t have in common he tells me he’s been dying to learn more or try out, like watching the Yankees or Korean barbeque. It’s incredible and I get swept up in the giddy idea that I have found my soulmate. If I’ve online dating has taught me anything, it’s that finding ‘the one’ should be that easy, right?

By the time I finally head to meet the world’s most perfect man, I’m an anxious mess. Even though I’m permanently behind the learning curve when it comes to this dating thing, I feel like may have made a fatal error somewhere along the line.

Our online personalities have become so close, so fast, and we’ve bonded so intensely that I feel this date will either end in an on-the-spot elopement or terrible disappointment. My stomach is in knots and I fight the urge to walk straight across the Metro platform to the train heading home instead of towards my potential Prince Charming, who I’m sure is patiently waiting for me at the trendy pizza place downtown.

Elliot is in fact waiting outside the restaurant, but that is where my expectations begin the crumble. He sort of shrugs his way up to me to introduce himself.  My heart sinks but I hold out hope. He doesn’t exude the energy I imagined for him based on hours of superficial online chats. I couldn’t have been THAT wrong though. He’s just nervous… that’s why he keeps ducking his head as he talks to me. That’s normal, right?

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We navigate the worst part of any pizza outing: deciding what to order. I’m surprised that Elliot is beyond thrilled to order every pizza I suggest. He positively gushes at each suggestion and my impeccable taste in pizza toppings. On a hunch, I pursue this line. I start saying increasingly ridiculous things to see if he’ll agree.

“I don’t like beer.” “Me either.”

“The only beer I like is Guinness.” “Wow, that’s so funny. Me too!”

“…when mixed with tequila and Diet Pepsi.” “I’ve never tried that but it sounds pretty good!”

“But I don’t really believe in drinking at all.” (as I sip my wine). “I actually didn’t drink at all for three years.”

“Oh? Why not? Bad experience? DUI? Religious conversion?” “My last girlfriend told me not to.”

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Elliott goes on to list the various things he gave up for his last girlfriend, including alcohol, red meat, and most of his friends. In exchange, he picked up her religion but is willing to change that for me.

I think back to our internet chemistry… Elliot wasn’t telling me we have so much in common, he was just telling me that we could. Soon. Once I tell him what to like.

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To my disappointment, I’m actually heartbroken. Watching this figment of my imagination dissolve, I feel like I’m going through a real break up. But with an imaginary person. Which makes it that much worse.

~~~

Kids, let this be a cautionary tale. After this experience I approached each new date with a perhaps aggressive level of skepticism, aware of the pitfalls of Internet-based rose-colored glasses. And I still managed to screw things up a few more times. It’s a jungle out there.

 

 

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Your Father Isn’t… Any of these guys

5 May

Good news! I found an old journal full of dates I wrote about but never posted! The bad news is that I’m not totally sure when I wrote them, so they’re all completely randomly spaced throughout time. It’ll be like a sci-fi anachronistic dating adventure… or my dating life doesn’t progress all that much, so the order doesn’t really matter. Let’s go with time-travel adventure.

~~~

I’m on my second hand’s worth of mediocre dates, which for me are the worst kind. I’d much rather suffer through a couple hours of cringe-inducing awkwardness than these forgettable ones, because I know there is at least some payoff in the end of the bad ones (this blog!). Yes, I realize that I’m complaining that my dates aren’t bad enough.

I went out with an accountant who finished my food. I agreed to a second date with a psychology Ph. D. student (sorry Mom) but he can’t think of anything fun to do downtown. One guy told me all about how he keeps his beard long ‘because the ladies love it’ then got food stuck in it. Ok, I might have to write about that one.

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I even went out with a very nice LA (legislative assistant for you “outside the beltway” types). We had a lot in common and the date showed promise until I learned that he someday hopes to run for office. I’m too much fun to be a political wife. Can you imagine when the press finds this blog?

Maybe this means that my filter is improving, or maybe I’ve just been through so many dates that nothing phases me, like how my nurse friend handles vomit like it’s just spilled ice cream. The fact that, as I sit here, I can think of blog-worthy stories from more and more of these dates is making me think it’s the latter.

Crap.

 

 

 

 

Your Father Isn’t…Danny

6 Sep

I should be working on grad school applications right now but I’m experiencing severe writers block. Consider this a writing exercise instead of the productive procrastination it really is.

~~~~

Danny messages me with the New Jersey standard introduction message: “Hey, what’s up?” I answer, mostly to keep my profile out of that “responds selectively” category. If he’s not putting any effort in, though, neither am I. A promising start.

Our conversations consist of him telling me something that went wrong and me responding cheerfully. That he responds always surprises me; the conversation seems on the verge of sputtering out and yet he casually persists.

I give him my number by mistake. I thought I was responding to another message, but oh well. Weeks go by before I receive an oddly specific question. No ‘hello, this is Danny.’ No ‘sorry it took me so long to get back to you.’ No ‘hi how are you?’ As usual, I go with it.

We continue these random spurts of emotionally-unbalanced conversation through the summer. Danny texts me a question. I answer, ask about his day/week/month. He replies that things could be better because of x, y, and z. About every third time he asks if I want to get together. I say sure… then we don’t talk for a few more days, sometimes weeks, as though the step of actually planning the date is just too daunting to tackle right away. Like something will probably go wrong anyway, so why bother?

I’m dying to know one thing about Danny: when will he have a good day? I’m sometimes annoyingly cheerful, more of the Tigger than Eeyore type, so Danny’s ability to find the negative in everything is morbidly fascinating for me. It’s like my own sad, dark reflection.3ors4m

I want to meet my online Eeyore, but that would a) break my rule about not using guys as blog fodder, b) be a waste of time and probably pretty miserable and c) require more patience that I currently possess. And I will not be able to cheer him up (accept it, Heather, and move on!).

So no, Danny and I will probably never meet. I’ve decided that I’ll have to tell him that I’m seeing someone else (yea yea calm down, I’ll get to that), whenever he decides to text me again. Poor guy.

~~~~

Cheer up kids! Even though your future mom is still stuck wading through the dating pool, Danny is definitely not your father!

Your Father Isn’t…Bill

30 Jun

Do you remember the last time you ate white bread? Does any memory of actually eating white bread really stand out to you? I have a distinct memory of smooshing white bread into a tight little ball, but never of eating it. I can describe it’s appearance, the texture and weight in my hand, feeling it stuck to the roof of my mouth. But actual taste? It’s like someone erased the memory. It’s a total blank for me. Or, more likely, it’s been overpowered by all the competing stimuli that are so much more memorable.

I bet you see where this is going.

~~~~

Bill asks me out and I suggest drinks or coffee. He proposes coffee on Sunday afternoon at Starbucks. I’m deeply reminiscing over my first date ever (I was 12), also at a Starbucks, so I don’t immediately notice when Bill walks in. We order iced teas because it’s one of those balmy, moist late-June evenings and anything else would have been absurd, then grab seats by the window.

We chat as I watch a woman walk her cockapoo past the Starbucks four or five times. Bill and I actually have a fair bit in common, such as swimming which I’m trying to get back into, and growing up in the area/still being here (I’d like to clarify that at one point, for a long while, I DID leave. I’m just back now. I’m not bitter or anything). A group of young girls come in, hugging each other and squealing like they’ve spotted Justin Bieber. I alternate between wondering where one got her yellow shorts and the legality of banning caffeine for 13 year olds.

The sky is beautiful as the sun starts to set. We’d had storms not too long before and the clouds are those wild, thick, puffy ones… dark underneath but the top turning brilliant shades of pink and purple that deepen as we talk.

Bill suggests we go for a walk and like a true gentleman, he always lets me go first… through doors, when the sidewalk narrows, when we have to get around a group of teenagers with an enthusiastic German Shepherd outside an ice cream shop. He deftly sidesteps most awkward pauses (there are a few, as with any first date) and he laughs while telling me about an old man wearing a tshirt that says, “I suffer from CRS… Can’t Remember Stuff.” He didn’t see the old man, he just saw a picture of it online, but old people are funny.

I tell him about my grandpa yelling at people, not because he’s a crotchety old man but because he can get away with it now that people just assume he’s a crotchety old man. I think to myself, ‘that’s really not a good story.’

We get to the edge of the “downtown” area we’re strolling through and decide to turn around. I ask what school he went to and he tells me his high school (he did go to college, we get to that later). We talk about traveling and apartment prices in the city and the weather. We talk about the beach. Turns out, we both like the shore and have great memories of going there as kids. Go figure.

By this point we have arrived back at the parking lot by Starbucks and we both move towards our cars. Or, maybe just I move towards my car. I think I at least move a little faster, but maybe not. I thank him for the iced tea (I almost said drink, but that would imply a drink-drink, of which we had none). He says we should do it again sometime and I say, ‘yea definitely’ a little too fast.

We pull out of the lot. I go left. He goes right.

Before I reach the first traffic light, I realize I can’t remember anything specific about him. Just like white bread.

~~~~

Kids, sometimes people just aren’t memorable. There’s nothing bad about them per se, but nothing stands out as good either. You deserve a father that we don’t all forget to miss, so I can say that your father isn’t… wait, who were we talking about? Yes, Bill.

Assorted Advice I’m Not Qualified to Give

11 Dec

As 2012 rapidly comes to catastrophe a close, I feel the overwhelming need to share something witty, insightful, and possibly life changing. Of course, if I knew any such insights, I probably wouldn’t have a bad-dating blog, would I?

But… isn’t providing dubious advice based on questionable expertise the purpose of the blogosphere?

I’m caving in to imagined peer-pressure and offering up the following advice that should probably be actively disregarded.

1. Choose Kelly Clarkson over Britney Spears.

At least in terms of Christmas carols. Kelly pleads “not for myself, but for a world in need.” Britney wants a boyfriend because other people do.

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t belt out Britney’s song in the shower, the car, or any time I have the apartment to myself between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But it’s not good for my emotional or psychological health to beg Santa for a boyfriend, or anyone’s ears when I start singing.

This year, I’m going to focus on wishing other people well and indulge in this classic only once… a week. Maybe.

2. Dating is not a hobby.

Recently my roommate Claire trained for and completed a marathon. Another friend volunteers teaching Spanish classes, while another is a member of the Capitals Red Rockers in her spare time. So when one of them asks me what I did this week and I answer, “I went on three dates,” and don’t even have a good story to tell, even I start to  judge me.

“But Heather, you have this blog at least!”

Thanks Mom dear reader, but can I put “humorous blog recounting dating disasters” on my resume? I think not. Dating is not a hobby.

3. Make things interesting.

When we were 14 years old, my surprisingly wise friend Nick told me, “80 years from now, you’re going to have to watch the movie of your life. You better make it interesting.”

It’s fabulous advice and anything I try to add to it sounds either whiny (who am I to give life advice?), trite (who am I to give cheesy life advice?), or conceited (in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary, am I qualified to give life advice?). Listen to the 14 year old. tumblr_mdtz7rlnLE1qazkdco1_250tumblr_mdtz7rlnLE1qazkdco2_250

4. Being bad at things can be helpful.

I’m terrible at sports. My lack of patience, self-awareness or physical coordination leads me to dread any and all team activities, even drinking games. My entire life, I’ve been battling – in a decidedly off-balance way- the everything-you-got-swing-and-miss.

You know that moment: time screeches to a halt. Sound becomes simultaneously muted and thunderous. Everyone in the entire world is watching you but you are confident this will be your Babe Ruth moment.

You step up to the plate. As the ball comes hurtling towards you, you throw your entire body into a hurricane-force spin. Then time stops.

Nothing happens for a split second. You feel the elation of success… only to hear the ball slap into the catcher’s mitt. That’s when you realize you hit nothing but the ghost of your dreams as they whizzed past. The disappointment and humiliation battle for precedence in your mind as you slink back to the bench.

Seriously, this happened to me EVERY time in whiffleball. Dyq7klltVUyrROq4sXNNJw2

While  that might be slightly melodramatic, it’s essentially that’s the gist of my 2012. I confidently called 2012 as my year to get things right, and yet I’m going into 2013 the same way I entered 2012: single but happy, completely unsure of my future, (again) preparing for the GMAT, and hoping to be accepted to business school by the end of next year.

The nice thing? I can’t swing or fall harder than last time and I’ve spent so much of my life managing the public embarrassment of pretty much every physical activity I’ve ever done, I’m actually quite well-prepared.

So at midnight on January 1 (assuming it happens), I’ll be toasting the New Year with friends and family, ready to try it all again.

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How do you feel about 2012 and 2013? Are you excited for next year?

Your Father Isn’t…Justin

29 Nov

Justin and I exchanged only a couple of emails before he suggested we get coffee… no, how about drinks? We should just do coffee…lunch… or maybe drinks? Let’s do dinner. That all came from him; I’m mostly passive in this process. Promising, no?

I nearly forget about this date, but somehow I make it to the hip sushi spot Justin chose in a timely manner. It’s on my always-wanted-try list, so I take the venue selection as a good omen.

The loud music fills the awkward pauses and dim lighting hides our fish-fumbling (remember back with Kevin when I swore off sushi as date food? Remind me next time). Even with the restaurant conspiring on our behalf like that scene in Lady & the Tramp, it’s still not enough to generate any real chemistry.

Justin and I agree on many things: we both love baseball and enjoy football between October and April. We both have great relationships with our dads. We’re both from Jersey. We share a few laughs but still nothing clicks.

Toward the end of the night, Justin has long ago finished his meal and I’m not touching my nearly full plate of sushi, which he’s not-so-subtly eyeing. So, I offer him the rest of my food. He’s gracious as he devours it, popping one roll in his mouth before he even puts the plate down. You would think he hadn’t eaten in weeks if you hadn’t just seen him calmly and reasonably eat his own plateful of food. Within seconds, Justin has demolished all but one piece, clearly on principle. I watch the dilemma play out on his face as he stares at the final sushi roll. He explains that if food is in front of him, he eats it, which makes me wonder how he’s still so skinny.

Something clicks in my mind. Some tiny warning light starts blinking. I’ve just told him how my brother was a picky eater (a date is going well when I’ve resorted to my brother’s childhood eating habits as conversation fodder), when he admits he was/is a picky eater himself. He reveals that he generally dislikes condiments, especially sour cream, ketchup, and mustard. He not only thinks bacon is overrated but actively dislikes it (too salty and crunchy?). I finish my wine. He also hates onions, at which point I stop trying to remember the list.

Justin lopes beside me as we make the endless three block trek from the restaurant to the Metro, listing other non-food items he seriously dislikes (winter, tv, Panera Bread restaurants, fun) before I can duck safely behind the train doors.

I realize on my ride home why my internal warning system was flipping out. Unfortunately he’s not some cannibal who wants to make me into an overpriced Panera sandwich (good story at least). No, it’s just that… I’ve dated him before. For two years.

Justin is exactly like my ex-boyfriend. He’s a shorter, less attractive, less fun version of him, but generally, they could play cloned versions of each other in a low-budget sci-fi flick.

Have I really dated so much that I’m cycling back through? Oh what joys I have to look forward to!

~~~~

Kids, find a way that isn’t detrimental to your psychological and emotional well-being to easily remember why you broke up with the people you’ve already dated. That way, when you date “them” again, you can quickly decide whether this person will mean more of the same or is different enough to be worth it. On that note, your father isn’t Justin.

Happy Birthday, How I Didn’t Meet Your Father!

25 Jul

Someone pointed out to me that tomorrow is my one year blogiversary! What better encouragement to post? Here’s the next installment in the story of Ethan and then I’m going to get myself a birthday cupcake to celebrate one year of deliciously bad dating stories!

~~~

I hear from Ethan the day after our date and proceed to float around with a stupid grin for at least a week. We chat each day and eventually make plans for the following week since he needs to play tour guide for a visiting friend that weekend. Our plans set, we chat remotely while he waits in the obligatory lines for museum security, overpriced cupcakes, and paper Metro passes.

It becomes clear when my phone dies from checking it every twenty seconds that Ethan has already become a highly distracting figure in my life, so I vow to back off and just wait patiently for our next date. This lasts approximately three hours, until Ethan texts me:

“Mmm Georgetown cupcakes and wine.”

To which I reply, without thinking about the possible interpretations or unintended consequences:

“That better be an offer or you’re just being mean.”

Within ten minutes, Ethan is on his way to my apartment, which I realize is a mess, as am I, and my roommate Jane is cooking dinner in pajamas. I stick my head around the door to the kitchen, tell her sheepishly that a boy is coming over, and then run to my room to clean and avoid her commentary as she frantically attempts to clean the kitchen and gather the remains of her dinner before running to her room. I’m going to need to apologize to her later.

I change outfits three times, trying too hard for a cute/casual look, while simultaneously throwing anything not nailed down into my closet. I have time to put on mascara and a pair of earrings before my phone buzzes that he’s downstairs, so I take a deep breath, avoid looking at myself in the mirror and run for the elevator.

The date itself is the most wonderfully awkward date I’ve ever been on, since it’s barely a real date, more of an impromptu meeting, but more intimate and casual than any restaurant could manage. Ethan brings with him a dark, sweet dessert wine and that famous pink box with four perfect looking cupcakes, just like he promised;  he even offers one to Jane, making her like him more than me at the moment. 

But once Jane leaves, we don’t really know what to do with ourselves. We stand facing each other, leaning against opposite counters, which in my Polly-Pocket kitchen are actually fairly close, and chat casually but haltingly.

This is what I hate about second dates: they are 40% interview (unlike a first date, which is all interview) and 60% pop quiz.  My mind is scattered, trying to remember what I asked him already, or if I’m thinking of him or another guy. Then I start wondering when I became the kind of woman who can’t keep all the men in her life straight.

I’m simultaneously sizing him up: he is one of those tall, sturdy guys that I have such a weakness for, has the palest blue eyes I’ve ever seen, and has a diamond earring I can’t decide if I should judge him for. Oh, and I’m listening to what he’s saying. Totally listening.

Eventually, we settle in to opposite ends of my couch, not touching, as we nibble our cupcakes and sip the wine. Slowly, I relax.

After talking, laughing and trading YouTube videos for a while, I’m surprised to realize that we’re sitting shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh, and I’m leaning slightly into him; I steal a glance at Ethan, who catches me. Embarrassed, I immediately begin to move away, trying to hide my face as I blush. In a move that I swear only works in movies, Ethan boldly slips his hand against my cheek and brings my face back towards his so he can kiss me. I swear, Clark Gable would be impressed by Ethan’s calm, suave move; I sure as hell am.

The rest of the date breezes easily by, now that the ice has been broken by the kiss, and before I know it, we’re kissing good night at my door. Something has been tickling the back of my mind all evening, and I finally realize what it was.

“Didn’t you have friends over tonight?” I ask.

“I did, but I wanted to see you.”

~~~

Kids, I’m 25 years old. What do I know about the future? Not a lot. I do know, however, that everyone deserves at least one kiss like that in their lifetime.