When they say:

“Why is your dog so weird?”

You say:  “Check please!”

Yep. True story.

So I have a wonderful dog. She’s a bit wonky, but she’s also a Lab, so it comes with the territory. She just super duper wants attention, wants people to be happy, and most of all wants belly rubs. If I’m in public with her, she attracts attention from pretty much anyone because she’s pretty dang cute and she loves everyone and everything (no joke:  she gets super butt hurt if another living being doesn’t immediately want to be her best friend).

This particular date taught me to bring with her on all first dates because if you don’t like my dog, we aren’t going any farther. She’s the constant in my life and comes first…and was there waaaaay before anyone else.

She’s also kind of me in dog form. So if you don’t like her, we won’t work. As a result, she’s my litmus test. This particular date taught me to bring her on the first or second date to make sure everyone gets along and to screen people out early on.

But the biggest thing this particular moment taught me was to just be yourself right from the start, be open about your priorities, and when someone hits a deal breaker to walk away. So often we ignore red flags and don’t act on our needs or set healthy boundaries from the start. As a result, we enter into relationships from a false standpoint and can’t understand why they crash and burn so badly. It may sound weird to compare my dog to other red flags, but it’s true:  if we are as ruthless with our boundaries and needs as we should be, it may take longer to find that awesome person, but it may save a LOT of pain.

Although…if I was always good about red flags, I wouldn’t have this blog or the boatload of other over the top stories. So maybe (safely) ignoring your red flags can make for some good stories 😀

How to lose a girl in 5 sentences

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been pretty much over the cis male dating scene, and recently discovered a dating app for women called Her.

So THAT’S where y’all have been!

One of the really good things about it is that the app will start a conversation if you match with someone and you are both too introverted to start it. It asks some pretty good conversation starting questions, like,

“Snuggle hard or party late?”
“Should glitter be banned or put EVERYWHERE?”
“What’s the worst mistake you ever made with your hair?”
“Gelato or fro yo?”
etc.

Recently, the app stepped in and started a conversation between a woman and myself with this question:  “Have you ever met someone famous?”

Me:  “Yep! I met Dave Matthews a few years ago and I meet some famous people through my retail job. But the people I am usually most excited to meet are the big names in my field of study (I’m a marine scientist). Those are the ones who I forget my name around. (Yep, kind of a nerd here!)

Her:  “Hi! Interesting! Bye!”

Sigh. Shoulda waited a minute before being SUCH A DORK.

But then…at least I was able to dodge a deal breaker immediately?

I’ve been a little torn about this actually. On the one hand, I thought I was being kinda funny and up front that I’m a professional nerd. But then I have to remember the stigma around being a nerd, and the picture people get in their head of a typical scientist. I have struggled my entire life to break that stigma, but society, TV, movies, and books haven’t really done me any favors. Usually when I meet people in person, it takes them a while before they actually get that I’m a scientist. By then, my charm has totally won them over (or not, but at least they have the real me to go by).

So I guess that is the downfall of this whole online dating thing…it’s soooo easy to flit to the next attractive photo. It’s a good reminder to not judge a bio by its cover…and to be open minded that your perception about someone could be based totally on society’s take on them…and maybe not them.

To initiate or not

Or, rather, how to initiate.

So, initially, this blog was going to be titled “Tinderified.” I liked how it felt like the word terrified because that’s how I was feeling about diving in. it also implies a complacency. Like we are zombified to Tinder. Like we are adjusted to this norm of dating.

I’m now somewhere in between. Somewhere between anxious over doing this online dating thing and somewhat numbed to it.

Being pansexual means that I am open to dating anyone I find attractive that is willing to give dating a solid go. But that also means that my energy may shift at times and one type of person may feel ‘safer’ or more ‘right’ at any given time during that search (once I settle in with someone, it’s all about them, no matter what). Recently, I have been solely dating people who identify as either cis or trans women. For those of you on Tinder, I’m sure you know that the options are not high in number, so I decided to click the “men and women” search option.

And I was promptly reminded of why I have had the ‘women only’ box checked.

“Brains and beauty? Meow.”

Um. Are you fucking kidding me? Does that work on anyone? Anyone who I would mildly respect?

(And for those of you furries out there, I am not stomping on you. Because this was definitely not a furry. So I’m not trying to be offensive to you.)

“Women only” could not get reselected fast enough.

Ok, I’m not saying women are perfect. But I haven’t had that shitty of a line from a woman. Ever.

But…what is the right way to open communication? IS there a right way?

Personally, unless they open with the beauty and brains comment, I’m really game to chat back with anyone who initiates. Because initiating takes some cajones.

I used to get super offended and annoyed when someone would just say “hey,” but I got over that kinda fast once I realized there’s not too much that is going to really grab my attention. At this point, I tend to stick with a simple “hey,” or send a smiley face. Everything else feels kinda corny and banal. One woman sent a “Hey! Thanks for liking my profile too J” a while ago, and I feel like that’s another great way to lead off.

One way that I used to try was this: “Hi there! So I never know how to start these things…but here are three random facts about me: 1. … 2. … 3. …” I used to think it was brilliant until I realized how awkward and lame it made me sound. Like…don’t start with pointing out this is an awkward process. Just dive in. Plus, people never seemed to know what to do with a lot of information.

So, now it’s a “Hey! :)”

But I have had some other pretty memorable first messages:

“Assuming that you talk to the horses, and assuming that they talk back and you translate for them, one question: do you use the same voice for all horses, or do they each get different voices? I once rode a horse who talked like Queen Elizabeth, at least until he tried to dump me in the ocean.”

This was great for many reasons: it was witty, it hit upon the fact that I mentioned that I ride horses so I knew they were paying attention, and if they turned out to actually believe they talked to horses, the date would be amazing fodder for this blog.

“Hi, Jon here but where’s here? That is the question or is it the answer…..”

Uh…wtf?

Then there are the indecipherable ones: “I was going to be the best practices in the world of crime and offline for a silent and a half of the world and I have to go :)”

Winning: “I see that thirst for life in your smile! So do you live out in the country?”

Losing: “Hi there. You’re cute. How are you?”

And then there’s the forward, but at least blurts out what they are looking for person: “I’m just gonna be upfront and say I’m not looking for something serious right now. Would you be interested in drinks and casual sex?”

I guess a lot of these are just me being overly judgy. But first impressions are hard to shake. Personally, I usually get a vibe of whether or not I want to meet someone when I look at their profile, so unless they really eff up the intro, I’m already wanting to meet them. The rest of the initiation fails remind me to keep my filter going…and to keep looking.

Geography much?!

Ok. So. If you’re going to try to pick someone up…dear god please have a fucking clue of where places are. Especially with respect to what is a state or a city. And not the obscure ones. The common ones. I would never ask anyone to know where my hometown is. But I expect some basic level of knowledge as to major cities (I mean come on—sports teams alone should teach many the basics of where shit is).

Think I’m being overly judgy and mean?

Well. Probably. Usually.

But.

Then there’s this.

A few weeks after moving to the west coast, I went to a local bar to mingle with the locals and start meeting people. I soon realized that it was a little awkward to just go up to people at the bar and insert myself into the conversations, so I ordered a few drinks and tried to look friendly (and this was before the days of smartphones, so I literally could just sit there and pretend to watch the baseball game on the tv above the bar). Eventually, a really cute guy approached with a smile and struck up a conversation. Hellllloooo McDreamy.

But. Wait. Dammit. He’s a wingman.

Sigh.

He set up his friend perfectly. He was an ace at his job. His friend? Ball dropper of all ball droppers. He quickly realized he was out of his comfort zone when he discovered I have a graduate degree in molecular science and was in the process of returning to grad school for another degree (he sold jet skis…which I hate). But he doggedly tried to stick the landing anyway. I attempted to be friendly, and told him a bit about my life, which involved graduate school in SE Virginia, some moving around, and a few years of a big-girl career in Boston. He scrambled to keep the conversation moving forward…and really wiped out when he asked,

“So what part of Boston is Virginia in?”

I shit you not. I was speechless. I asked him to repeat the question, desperately hoping he would think about what he was saying and trying to give him an out. And he repeated himself.

What part of Boston is Virginia in?

Ok buddy, I tried. His wingman heard the question get repeated and literally facepalmed. All I could do was stammer out, “well, the city of Boston is about six sates away from the commonwealth of Virginia.” (Yes, I was a douche about it and said commonwealth instead of state. Technically that’s correct. And I was feeling extra douchy and extra not like helping him out.)

His defense? “My geography isn’t so good—the east coast has so much more complexity than the west coast.”

Sorry dude, you just fail.

I paid my tab and left. I am still wary of that bar. And think of this situation every single time I hang out there or bike by it.

And I’m not alone in people fucking up geography that badly.

One friend was living in DC trying to take a peaceful ride home on the Metro when a dude, who repeatedly talked about how he was a Harvard grad, decided to prove juuuuust how smart he was. He asked her where she was from, and she replied “Minnesota.”

His response? “Oh cool—that’s east of Wisconsin.”

Her reply? “Um. No. I promise you, it’s west of it.” And he went on to insist that his Harvard-educated dumb ass knew that the state where she is from is in a different location than it actually is.

He was such a wad about it that she finally got off the Metro a few stops early, waited until the train left the station, and re-entered to finish her ride home. Because paying twice for the Metro was So Much Better than that individual knowing remotely where she lived, or her putting up with his idiocy for any longer.

The moral of these interactions?

Trust the person who is from the place you are trying to have some knowledge about. And know some fucking basics about your country before you open your mouth. Or else you, too, may end up in a blog post (and probably Facebook).

But…then again, as with all of the eyeroll worthy interactions, I am ok with their existence because, at the end of the day, they are pretty entertaining.

Unicorns exist.

I pinky swear promise.

Ok, I should interrupt here to say that it has been a ROUGH past week since the election and I am personally still reeling. While we need to laugh, and laugh a lot, I thought that a hopeful post might be fitting.

So, unicorns.

I have had the absolute pleasure and joy of being on dates with two of them.

What is a unicorn? To me, a unicorn is that mythical magical person that you wind up on a date with who shakes you to your core in ways you didn’t know you could be shaken up in. They check boxes you didn’t know existed. You are shaken up in all of the best ways. You question all past dates. You question yourself for having ever been with anyone else (except for the explicit purpose of learning about yourself and what you want…and more importantly, what you don’t want).

When you meet a unicorn, you aren’t expecting it. They come out of left field, and usually at a time when you most need it, but most don’t believe it will ever happen.

The first time this happened to me was a few years ago. I had just relocated to the west coast (again…I move around a lot and usually swap coasts. Sorry, Middle America, I’m just not that into you). I had been in my new city for about 2 weeks, and decided to hit up the local free music scene at an outdoor venue.

I felt his energy before I saw him. When I looked up at him, I felt my world move. I could see it in him as well. The rest of the night, though we were surrounded by people, we didn’t notice anyone else. We were on our own date and no one else existed. I found out later that everyone could see this happen so clearly and they just let us be. We went on to have a beautiful but rocky relationship; the timing just wasn’t in our favor and we weren’t meant to be together as partners. But he’s still someone I hold so dearly in my heart, and someone who will never leave my life. He has been my rock in so many situations, and I have been his support as well. My love for him will never fade.

But, as hard as it is, sometimes your unicorn isn’t your mate…but they can be something closer than a best friend because they know your soul, and accept it without question. More than chicken soup for your soul, they hold your soul in a cloud of love.

I recently met another unicorn. She’s just incredible. She soothed my soul and made my heart smile. She made me feel shiny and bright. She came into my life during a hellish week (in the few days before I met her, my dog almost died and I broke my foot). So when I met her, I wasn’t expecting to feel too much emotion—I had been already feeling too much emotion that week. But she held my pain and my true self in a way only one other person has, and my world moved for the second time in my life. Her kindness, compassion, and ability to let me be me without fear has been one of the most incredible things. Being vulnerable with her, and allowing her to see my truth, was the easiest thing. Normally when I open up, I am in the fetal position the next day (or 5) because I don’t know how to go there and be ok with it. As it turns out, life got in the way and we were done as quickly as we got started. But in the end, I am just grateful to have been held in her presence for a little while. And ever since, I have found a whole other gear for holding space for people and for keeping an open heart.

I know this blog is about bad dates. But sometimes you need to remember the good ones. And sometimes you need to just have good ones. These are the ones that renew your faith in this process, and allow you to keep going through the bad ones. When you talk about them, your friends quiet their energy and listen—and are just happy for you. They can feel the change in you when you meet a unicorn.

Even after you put that hilarious spin on the bad ones, and keep laughing, there’s an emptiness that can be overwhelming, and a loss of faith that only those in our shoes understand. So be inspired. And don’t lose hope or your sparkle.

Your unicorn is out there. And with any luck, you’ll get a few—or even better, it works out with your first. ***<3***

Awkward AF

So, many of these posts are probably a little accusatory of other people’s awkward moments. Just to show that I’m not some snob who feels everyone else is the weirdo, here’s a perfect example of my own evening this past week where I’m sure I created a fantastic story for the other person (and all of you).

My ‘big’ excuse was that I spent the day having a pile of medical tests and some not so fun conclusions, so I was a bit distracted and not feeling so hot. If you recall an earlier entry, situations like this have led to me puking on dates before. Spoilers, I did not puke this time. But maybe I should schedule my procedures a bit better around my dating life?! Oh to have that luxury and foresight… 🙂

Ok, so onto the date. One thing I really pride myself on is my sense of direction. It’s overall really great and rarely fails me. I love road-tripping, and am good at finding obscure places. On this particular evening…all that went out the window. It was pouring rain, and I was meeting my date in a neighboring city that I am not at all familiar with. My iPhone was being a bit of a fuck, and indicated the café was closer on the block to where I actually was, so I pulled into the first parking spot I could find and dodged raindrops into the place. A few minutes earlier, I got a text from my date that she was in the café near the fireplace. Can’t miss her.

I’m sure I would not have missed her…had I showed up at the right place.

I wandered around looking for someone who vaguely resembled the Tinder profile pic, and found no one. I finally texted her, hoping she was just in the bathroom. The text back was “uh…I don’t see you either. You at the right place?” She then did a Share My Location.

Nope. Wrong place.

Shit.

I proceeded to walk back into the pouring rain and off to find where she was camped out. It was on this walk that I stepped in a puddle and discovered my boots were no longer waterproof.

Awesome. Night just keeps improving.

By now, I wanted to throw in the towel and walk away. But that was so not fair to her (or I), so I slogged on and eventually found her. This time when I saw a fireplace in a café, it was the right one. We ordered some warm goodness from the café and sat down to get to know each other

I. Was. So. Out. Of. It.

My foot was freezing and soaked, my body was in pain, and my stomach was in knots. And then I realized my tenseness was making my poor date tense. I decided to relax, and just dive in. We eventually recovered from my awkward early tone, and finally found our stride with things in common.

Until I realized that some of the medical stuff I had done earlier left my back itchy and sore…and I was unconsciously rocking back and forth to itch it on the back of my chair. Fuck. I looked nuts. I wound up dishing on my shitty day, and she was really compassionate about it and understanding that I was so not at my best…but definitely raised an eyebrow that I knew I was going to be a bit out of it and agreed to hang anyway. All I could do was apologize and keep slogging forward with this date that I was feeling worse about by the second—and it had NOTHING to do with her. She was lovely.

We then agreed to go to dinner because we were finally feeling a bit more relaxed around each other, and that came my final are you fucking kidding me moment. I just wanted a glass of water. Literally the easiest thing to get, right?

Wrong. Because life wanted to be a dickhole that night.

I couldn’t work the fucking water dispenser. And I was in plain view of my date while I struggled, swore a few times, turned red, and just felt like sinking through the floor. The servers were gleefully taking bets on when I would lose it and cry. After (I kid you not) about 5 minutes, I figured it out.

If this is the technology of the future, I’m gonna be a very annoyed, thirsty individual.

But I guess the bright side is that I was vulnerable for once on a first date. I so rarely do this—I’m not an easy person to get to know. Because I was already emotionally wiped when I arrived, I didn’t have the energy to hide it. And she responded with humor and compassion and patience. So maybe being open on the first date is the way to go?

I would just like to do it with dry socks for the next time.

Dear texting: you’re a mo-fo

Ok. So. Texting. I’m sure I’m not alone in this angst.

For meeting someone on Tinder, how long do I want to text before I just fucking meet the person?

How many emojis?

How many exclamation marks?

What do they mean by …

What do they mean by a slow response even though they have an iPhone and I can see they read my text?!

Why did texting get created to make me even more awkward?!

I mean…fuck. Dating was bad enough when we had to use the actual telephone. But at least with that it was semi-straightforward. Though, even with that, there was the bullshit game of when do I call and what do I say.

Speaking of what do I say…I literally write out a script for the phone because I’m awkward AF. And when they go off script…Fuck. My. Life.

Ok, back to texting and its struggles. Take today for instance. It’s super stormy out, and for once I wasn’t working, so I curled up with my pup, never-ending cups of tea that transitioned to wine as the day progressed, and binged on Netflix.

And because I’m single and trying to mingle, I had Tinder out and open and ready for some action.

A woman that I liked a few days ago liked me back this morning, and within minutes of the match being made, she sent a “hi!” Texting progressed from here. But I was so nervous about how to “play it right.” I mean, how long do I wait, how desperate and without a busy weekend do I want to seem, how real do I get right away, and when the fuck will one of us just ask the other out!? Literally 10 hours have gone by and we are only just getting to the ask.

Sigh.

Every single new possibility is a new opportunity for a relationship…and a fuckpile of angst over texting and getting that relationship off the ground.

There are the over-texters. There are the never text you backers. There are those that send you a pic of every fucking activity they do within an hour of meeting you (which is good or bad, depending on how you feel about them). There are those people who are waaaay wittier and more open on text than in person (me, at first, before I get more comfy and you find my awkward endearing).

And that’s just the start of dating someone. There are the relationship-maintenance texts that occur next. Or you go straight to being dumped over text.

If you have only been out a few times, dumping via text, especially depending on some circumstances, is A-OK. I have been on both ends of this and it’s kosher in many circumstances.

But. I have also been on the receiving end of a dump via text in which we had been sleeping together for over a month. Definitely not a relationship yet, but I also felt I was worth a bit more than a fucking text. Then again…it’s like ripping off a bandaid and at least it’s over. It’s more of when you read that fateful text that can suck. Like the time I was hanging with an ex…and got dumped via text…and needed a hug but I sure as shit wasn’t going to ask him!

But because I try to stay positive at the end of the day, here are some texting wins:

Recently, I went out with a woman, and we clicked on both ends pretty quickly and we had a great evening getting to know each other. As we were walking away from our first date and she texted, “ok, I can’t wait! When can I see you again?!”

Perfection. And I didn’t wait a second to respond.

Another win was when the person texted me on the way home to say that they and their dog thoroughly enjoyed meeting me and my dog, and that we should get together again…for the sake of the dogs.

Adorbs. And again, no hesitation.

Then there are the hilarious “uh WHY didn’t we sleep together??? I get that it’s the first date and you have standards…but day-um.”

Win. That one is always mixed with a slight regret, but better to keep them wanting more…?

I guess texting is a great way to set boundaries, to get a feel for the other person, and to share some of your life a bit early on. Yeah, it’s stressful as fucking shit…but it does provide a lot of insight into another person and how they operate. It’s also a great way to involve your friends in your relationship as you have them screen your highly angsted over texts. I’m not proud of it…but I have So Many texts edited by friends (and I’m sure I’m not the only one!!).

Just remember to SEE the other person once in a while…cause that part is pretty good too.