Monthly Archives: February 2014

Comfy Pants vs. Potted Plants: We Take a Look at Online Dating

There are two things that happen pretty regularly when you are single.

First, your friends want to set you up with someone they know. It could be a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or – if your best friend is as awesome as mine – a cute guy she spots in the grocery store and then gives your number to because she knows how awesome you are and feels certain that he is deserving enough (or at least cute enough) to also experience your awesomeness.

And you are awesome. Don’t ever forget that. Even if the guy from the grocery store never calls. Clearly he’s afraid of an adventure, the sissy. Or he’s already attached. Or he’s not 100% in love with the idea of telling folks that he met the love of his life after her best friend (who was probably giggling like a maniac) hastily scribbled his future love’s telephone number on the back of a receipt, threw it at him whilst shouting “Call her!,” then ran away (probably still giggling like a maniac) as he was perusing the green beans.

That is a fantastic story. You should always do the stuff that’s gonna give you a fantastic story.

Which brings me to regular happening number two – virtually everyone you know will eventually suggest that you try online dating. And you probably should, once you know what to expect. Yes, there are plenty of normal guys on those sites, but they are ridiculously outnumbered by some of the nuttiest yahoos you’re ever going to encounter. Whichever you find, there will be great tales to tell.

So if you’ve thought about trying it, or if you just want a glimpse of what this particular hell bus ride is like for us single girls, or if you don’t have a best friend who will literally throw your telephone number at hot guys in the grocery store, then read on.

Before venturing into online dating territory, you’re going to need to dial your expectations down a notch…or six. Really just however many notches you need to land somewhere in the vicinity of “low.” Like I said, there are plenty of nice, normal guys on these sites, but you’re going to be weeding through whackadoodle to get to them, and that takes time. And Merlot.

I just don’t want you to get too excited yet.

Next, select a dating site. Do some research then join one, maybe two. For the love of all things holy, do not do all of them. You’ll look like a ho.

Shameless Blog Self Promotion! Handy tips for finding out if your man is cruising the dating sites will be coming up in a future post. Seriously, I’m like fucking Sherlock Holmes over here when it comes to finding them. Just ask my last boyfriend. While you’re chatting, ask him how he’s doing on CougarLife.com. Then call him an ass clown and storm off. If there’s a door handy, slam it. Bonus points will be awarded if that door is attached to the Marriott he stays in every week for work, and slams loudly enough to prompt everyone on the eighth floor to come out and investigate the commotion so they arrive just in time to see you leave him. He hates that.

Finally, create your profile. This is the part where you will struggle to sum up your awesomeness in about five to seven paragraphs. You’ll also enter some basic info: height, age, whereabouts, and whatnot. Then you upload your very best pics. We both know you have puh-lenty on Facebook; please do not use this as an opportunity to take selfies in your bathroom mirror.

That’s it! Now, it’s time to sit on your couch in your comfy pants whilst aaaalllll the available chaps in your area go parading across your computer screen. Hide the ones you don’t want: too short, too young, too much facial hair, pretty sure that’s not a man, etc. Will you feel a little shallow doing this? Yes. But physical attraction is important, and you know what you like. Besides, the point is to whittle it down to a decent assortment of men warranting your closer examination. And you can always go un-hide them, if you must.

Besides, they’ll never know you rejected them, unlike that ass at the bar last year who stared at you for 30 minutes while hiding in the giant potted plant next to your table.

Yes, that really happened.

Up next: The Delicate Art of Dating Site Messaging, or Why Proofreading is Important, Kiddos!

The First Date

My Bestie, happily married to an awesome guy, was the one who first suggested I blog about my dating “adventures.” Or “misadventures.” Or “experiences in terror and embarrassment whilst in the company of a man who is buying my meal and the alcohol required to get through this coupling catastrophe.” Whatevs.

Anyway, she’s always the first to hear about my awkward-as-ass dates, the first to give me the wide-eyed “He said WHAT?,” the first to cringe when I finally find the nerve to voice aloud the awfulness, like that my date showed up driving his grandma’s powder blue Buick and wearing a Members Only jacket – and not because he’s a hipster.

She loves the stories, and said I need to write them down lest we forget all the the cringe-inducing hilarity – like Buick boy taking me to a movie for our first date where we obviously couldn’t talk and said no more than seven sentences to each other but he didn’t let that stop him from from flipping his flowing locks (did I mention the flowing locks?) in the wind and leaning in – eyes shut – to kiss me goodbye.

(I’m really not a shallow girl. Yes, I judged the poor boy for his Meemaw mobile and outdated attire and shaggy mop o’ hair that he really enjoyed flipping in the wind. Ultimately, though, my gut said “flee,” so I did. And that boy is now a woman named “Rachel.” Well done, gut. You’re alright.)

It’s appropriate that Bestie was the first to suggest the blog since my first post-divorce date was her doing. (So, in a way, this is all her fault.) She set me up with one of her co-workers. “He’s cute,” she said. “He’s fun,” she said. “He’s 25,” she tossed in like a footnote…at the bottom of the page…in a really small font. I was 38.

At 25, this guy was a pup. I was hesitant to meet him, but she assured me he had no hang-ups about our age difference and was anxious to meet me. So, she handed over my digits, he texted me immediately, and we went out that night. She was right. Pup was cute, and he was fun, and our age difference didn’t faze him at all. But I knew that night that a relationship was not in our future. My issue – Pup was not terribly bright. I base this on his assertion that Chiquita bananas come from “Brazil or some other place in South Africa.” Pup’s issue – he was only interested in sleepovers.

I was with The Ex for twelve years. Prior to that, all of my relationships had been long-term, monogamous ones. The whole “no strings attached” thing was not something in which I was well-versed. Or even kinda’ versed. Geography fails aside, he was fun and attentive. So, several months after that first date, Pup and I were still seeing each other, and still having sleepovers, and I was still clueless on how to conduct myself in this situation.

Many more months went by. Pup and I saw other people. After each failed relationship – his and mine – we’d gravitate back to one another. We watched movies wrapped around each other on the couch. We went skinny dipping at midnight. We drank beer and trashed our exes and discussed important stuff like the Chiquita banana’s port of origin. We got jealous when the other had a date. We would bump into each other and ask how it was going with that new person. We would know it was over with that new person when we received a text from the other in the middle of the night that said, simply, “What are you doing?”

And that’s where we were when it all came together for me. We were each other’s hormone-driven support system. We knew from the start we’d never be a “couple,” but we successfully created this pseudo-relationship to fall back on when life was suckish. Break-ups are hard. Promising dates that go up in a blaze of Buick fuel are humiliating. People you care for treat you badly. But having someone around who wants you, despite the emotional mess you might be at any time, is badass. Is it frowned upon? Prolly. Is it ideal? Nope. Does it help rebuild what someone else knocked down? Almost every damn time. While “no strings attached” means you lack the ties that bind, you also lack the ones that choke the life out of you.

After more than two years, our fake relationship finally ended like many real relationships do – in a restaurant after a slightly drunken brouhaha set off by some ill-timed snark. There was chair slinging. As fake relationship break-ups go, it was a good one. Bestie was there.

He and I didn’t speak for five months, and I was okay with that. I didn’t need him anymore. By then, I knew my worth – I will even begrudgingly admit that he helped me find it between the terrible dates and a couple of bad break-ups that made me lose sight of it briefly. When we did bump into each other again, it was for a work project. We were friendly and spent some time catching up before I went down the hall to finish my job. The door had just closed behind me when a text popped up on my phone from him. It said…

“You look great in that dress.”

This is How it All Started

In October of 2009, I’d had enough. Exhausted, I went home from work, sat down on the couch, and said to my husband,

“I think I’m done here.”

We’d been together for twelve years, and I’d finally convinced myself that it was time to mosey along. The decision to leave evoked a grab bag of emotions – I felt empowered, afraid, happy, and lonely. Mostly, though, I felt like I was going to throw up.

Still, I forced myself on. I packed my things, rented a house, and loaded up my kids, in a whirlwind of tears and apologies and promises that everything would be okay.

And, as it turns out, everything was okay. Kids are tough, and they thought it was cool that they’d have two Christmases every year. Silver linings. I decided not to date for at least a year to make sure the kids were in a good place, and they needed me to be at home. Hell, I needed to be at home. I liked this new home. It was a happy place.

The first year passed, and – lo and behold – we were all in a good place. The kids had adjusted beautifully (two Christmases does not suck), The Ex and I were on decent terms, and my job was going well. I decided it was time to wade back into the dating pool.

Sweet Jesus, that’s where everything went sideways.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but I do know it was not this hell bus ride that I seem to have jumped aboard. In the last three years I have met, and dated, and slept next to, and even loved what are surely the most flawed and just downright fucked up men to ever walk this planet. That’s right, ladies, they aaaaaall found me.

There was:

The guy who lisped;
The guy who laughed like a woman;
The guy whose face smelled bad;
The guy with long pinky nails;
The guy with a tic;
The guy who’d get drunk, forget he’d already called me, and call me again;
The guy whose dog humped my head;
The narcissist (do NOT date one of these);
The Jesus fish;
The ugly guy; and
The cross dresser.

There was also the broken boy, but we don’t make fun of him. He’s the only one of them I loved.

The rest, however, are fair game and that’s why we are here. Because if you’re going to put yourself out in the dating world, you need to be ready. I thought I was ready. I went to great lengths to make sure I was ready. But no one told me what was waiting out there.

Truckloads of flawed men.

Guys, I’m not saying women are perfect, so don’t blow me up with a bunch of hate mail. I’m a big fan of men; y’all are fantastic. I’m just saying that I haven’t found my fantastic one; apparently he’s caught in a bear trap somewhere because I can’t locate him. But whilst searching for Mr. Fantastic McBeartrap I found, instead, men who smelled their shoes in front of me…and asked me to send them pictures of my feet. (The latter happened more than once.) The ladies need to know these guys are out there.

I’m a cautionary tale, girls. Heed these nuggets of wisdom! Dating sucks. Seriously, you don’t want this. So try to make your crappy relationship less craptastic (unless he’s abusive, that shit is not cool). Try to save your failing marriage. Try anything before you try the dating thing.

To those of you already out here in this dating muck, I sincerely hope you have better luck than me. I mean, your chances are good since I seem to find all the really, really bad ones. You’re welcome.

You can repay me by keeping your eyes peeled for a fantastic guy caught in a bear trap. If you spot him, kindly set him free. That one is mine.