Letting Go

I have a guru.

As anyone on a path of self-exploration and growth should.

I can’t believe it was 5 years ago that I started writing this blog.  At the time, I was going on about 32 years of perpetual-singledom, hence the candid title.  It’s purpose was to share my experiences with internet dating, which I assumed would be a joke.  The behind-the-scenes purpose was to prove to my not-single friends that they really needed to stop saying, “Have you tried internet dating?  I heard a lot of people meet that way!”  Shortly after my last post I went to meet with my guru, Jimmy.  I had been so excited about this blog.  The fact that I was writing and getting good feedback.  That I found a creative outlet for the ‘unfortunate’ state of still being single in my 30’s.  I couldn’t wait to talk to him about it.

<Insert that moment when your guru tells you to stop what you’re doing immediately.>

It wasn’t quite that harsh.  He said something along the lines of, “Puddin, I love what you’re doing, but if you keep putting ‘I’m going to be single forever’ out into the universe, that’s exactly what the universe is going to deliver.  Don’t write one more word under that title.”   I tried to argue my point that it was just supposed to be funny, that of course I didn’t actually want to be single forever, etc etc.  And then I realized he was right, and I stopped immediately, telling myself it was only until I could come up with something better.  Which has clearly taken 5 years.

So I stopped writing.  And dating.  And started reading books like The Secret, Before Happiness, The Untethered Soul, and everything ever written by Brene Brown.  I dove headfirst into finishing my Masters degree and becoming a psychotherapist.  I started seeing clients and doing more listening than talking.  I had to let go of supposed-to’s.

One question that I still haven’t been able to really answer: how do you let go?  As a therapist who also happens to practice a lot of yoga, I hear this phrase daily.  “Just let it go.”  But what does that actually mean?  And how do you do it?  As a final farewell to TPB, I’ll leave you with one last story:

In the midst of all the transition I went through; internships, trying to get a job, working 5 different places part time – I met someone.  I saw and felt something with this person I hadn’t experienced in years.  Without realizing it, I put every last hope I had into this situation. And it turned out that I thought it was more than it was. I made excuses for him where he didn’t deserve them.  I lied to myself about what was really going on.  I wanted so badly to believe this was “it.”  And then it wasn’t.  And once again the weight of my perpetual-singleness was heavier than ever on my shoulders.  I cried a lot.  And annoyed my friends a lot.  And then something happened that I still can’t fully explain.  I let go.  But for real this time.  It wasn’t just that I said it.  There wasn’t something I specifically did to make it happen.  It was a moment, a click, a release, a new idea.  An acceptance of the fact that maybe a relationship wasn’t something I was supposed to have, and that my life was still fulfilled without it.  It wasn’t meant to be in the cards for me, and that could be OK.  Even though I’d said this a hundred times before and thought I was “doing it” for so long, one day it just became true.  It was a freedom I didn’t know existed.

About 2 weeks later I stepped into an elevator on my way up to my new private practice office, and a guy that had a strange sense of familiarity stepped in shortly after.  And we’ve been inseparable ever since.

There is a quote by Joseph Campbell that says, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”  I still can’t give you a step-by-step guide to make that happen.  But I know it has a lot to do with working on yourself and creating a life that gives you joy, fulfillment, peace, or contentment.  And those Buddhists are on to something with their practice of non-attachment.  I very much believe in the power of guru’s and psychotherapists as guides.  But sometimes the best therapy is letting go of trying to analyze and figure it out, and just experiencing.  Sometimes the best therapy life has to offer happens “off the couch.”  If you’d like to continue to follow me on my quest to answer the letting-go question, and a handful of others, you can find me at www.theadventuretherapist.com.

Thanks for reading!

TPB

M.

Good On Paper

I keep hearing that if you want something you should ‘put it out in to the universe’ and it will magically come to you.  I figured it was worth a try…

Dear Gods of the Dating Universe,
Please consider this my official request for the following:  I’m ready for a relationship.  I’d like to find a guy who is in his early 30’s.  A man with no kids who has never been married.  He’ll need to be smart and have a good job.  (Since I’m wishing, just go ahead and make him a doctor).  He should be attractive and tall and have nice teeth.  A non-smoker, obviously.  I prefer he’s from the Midwest and has good family values.  He has to like sports, and be health conscious.  He can’t own white sunglasses or put more time in to his wardrobe than I do.  He should like me exactly as I am, and be incapable of playing games.  Oh, and I’d also like for him to be genuine, honest, considerate, respectful, trustworthy, and have a good sense of humor.  And I don’t want to meet him on a dating website, k?

Patiently awaiting your response,
TPB

And just like that,  he appeared.  When I least expected it.  So cliché, right?  But I’m serious.  Every single thing that I said I wanted, the universe delivered.  Through mutual friends, nonetheless.  Which is even more ideal because then you have someone to vouch for those characteristics before you even exchange phone numbers.  Which we did.  And went on a date, because that’s what’s supposed to happen next.  And it was promising.  And then we went on a second date.  I was excited and nervous and 2 glasses of Pinot Noir in, and ready for this thing to happen.  And as I sat there at dinner, the figurative heart shaped balloon I had floating above my head just… deflated.  I don’t know why.  I can’t explain it.  I just felt… nothing.  I’ve heard it said a million times that ‘you just know.’  And at that moment I just knew.  I just knew that I wanted to go home alone.  And if he didn’t call me again, I wouldn’t be upset.  I was confused, disappointed, frustrated, and a little mad at myself.  Why couldn’t I make this work?  The universe hands me the perfect-on-paper man of my dreams and I’m walking away from him.  I guess it’s my own personal character flaw.  I can’t force something I don’t feel, even if I used the words “husband-material” for the first time in my life when describing someone.

I realize this may be pushing my luck, but like Nora Roberts said, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

Dear Gods of the Dating Universe (Revised),
I want need butterflies.  I need chemistry.  Sparks.  Fireworks.  I need the elusive X-factor.  I need that intangible tension you feel when you can’t wait to see someone again and you grin somewhere deep down in your soul when you see their name pop up on your phone.  I want all the other things on my list too, but I’m willing to compromise.  And yes, I know attraction fades.  But I refuse to believe that it fades completely.  So it has to be there initially, at least a little bit.  And at least for me.  I’m coming to the realization that maybe I don’t want what everyone else wants.  Or what society in general thinks I should want.  Even though good-on-paper sounds ideal, I guess it’s just not for me.  So if you could just go out there and find exactly what I want, even though I can’t tell you exactly what that is, and magically deliver him in some non-online-dating-forum fashion, that would be awesome.

Do you think the universe has a limitation on wishing for more wishes…?
I’m going to be single forever.
TPB

It’s Not You, It’s…

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So I went on a date recently.  And I can’t say a bad thing about it.  The date, or the guy.  Shocked?  I was too.  Even more so when nothing came of it…

He wasn’t an online dating prospect.  After an entire year of bathroom mirror pictures, bad grammar, gang signs, and disappointment, I decided it wasn’t even worth it for the funny stories anymore.  This guy was a friend of a friend.  A mutual  acquaintance.  Allegedly the best way to meet someone these days.  And I had no problem agreeing to go out with him.  He’s tall, athletic, attractive, has perfect teeth… oh, and he’s nice.  The date was pretty close to perfect.  And when I say perfect I don’t mean it was straight out of an episode of the Bachelorette and we had a picnic on top of a private mountain in Maui.  As far as first dates go, I believe it’s gone pretty well when you walk away from it looking forward to seeing the person again.  We had drinks and appetizers, good conversation, no awkward silences, discovered we had a lot in common, we laughed, and had a little bit of what felt like chemistry.  Apparently it’s been so long since I’ve felt it that my radar is slightly off.  At the end of the night we talked about doing something again but didn’t set a specific day since we both had so much going on.  I told him I had fun, thanked him for dinner, and went on my way.  He didn’t try to kiss me which was unfortunate, but we were in a public place so I tried not to take it personally.  And then…   I never heard from him again.

I remember seeing an episode of Seinfeld that had something to do with George dating a woman that he couldn’t stand and wanted to break up with.  They were sitting at the infamous café when he tries to break it off.  He tries to give her the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech.  He tells her he has a fear of commitment.  He doesn’t know how to be in a relationship.  He’s still trying to find himself.  Blah blah blah.  That cliché monologue has been doled out a million different times a million different ways probably all over the world.  But no matter how eloquent the speech or how well it’s masked in self-deprecating language, it’s just a nice way of saying “I’m not interested in you, but I’m going to take the easy way out and blame it on myself so you’re left with no real explanation.”  In the episode, after some coercing by the woman, she gets George to tell her the real reason he doesn’t want to date her.  He regrettably uses the word “pretentious” in his rant, and also tells her that her earrings are terrible.  But at least she walked away from it with no doubt in her mind as to what happened.  Unlike myself.  I didn’t even get a speech.  Even if I had, I don’t think this guy would have told me he was doing some kind of soul searching that would prevent him from being in a relationship.  But I also don’t think he would have been honest enough to tell me my jewelry sucked or my personality was lacking.  Does anyone ever really do that…?  I have to say, I kind of wish they would.

And now I’m left wondering what it was this guy saw, or didn’t see, that made him not call.  I know it’s my own fault for being overly analytical, but I can’t help wondering why.  Am I too short?  Is it because I didn’t wear a dress?  Because I’m older than him?  Did I swear too many times?  Did he see my one annoying piece of grey hair that I’m too afraid to pick out because I believe the old wives tale that two will grow back in it’s place?  Some of my friends suggested I just call him and ask him.  Astounding display of common sense.  Even if I had the b*lls to do something like that, do you really think he’d say “I was really turned off that you said you’d never go skydiving?”  It would almost be refreshing to know that was it, instead of feeling too old or too short or too brunette or too blunt.  And yes – I know that if a guy doesn’t like me because of one of those things there’s nothing I can do about it and it’s his loss.  All I’m saying is that as women we tend to be our own worst critics and let our self-consciousness get carried away.  It would save us hours of speculation, and save us tons of money spent on wine and therapy, if we could just get some honest feedback.

Could I do it?  Could I be honest and tell a guy if there was something about him that I felt made us incompatible?  Could I actually tell him it’s because he’s a smoker, has nothing but selfies on his FB page, spells “what’s” by typing “wutz,” or still thinks that drinking until 3am should be a weekend ritual?  I think so.  It’s not meant to be criticism.  (OK – with the smoking it is).  But if that’s where you are in life, then good for you.  You’re just not the right guy for me.  Which is absolutely what I would tell the incredibly sexy younger guy I met about a week after the aforementioned date.  Actually I would tell him he’s an idiot, if I ever planned on speaking to him again.  My friends warned me against this guy due to the 8 red flags that were immediately apparent when we met.  But he was cute and seemingly charming, so I proceeded.  Yeah, yeah.  Who says just because you’re in your 30’s you always make good decisions?  After a few flirty texts and a several invitations, I finally went out to meet up with him again.  Where he proceeded to completely ignore me.  So I left, obviously.  And I am proud to say I only wasted a total of 2 minutes of my life analyzing.  Definitely not me.  Definitely him.  Idiot.

I’m going to be single forever…
TPB

For The Unattached

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That was the theme of the Valentine’s Day party I was fortunate enough to be invited to.  How’s this for posh:  One of our cities most wealthy and eligible bachelors has started a tradition of hosting a party at his home on Valentine’s Day for singles only.  His home being a ridiculous mansion on the water, obviously.  Invite only.  The invitation read as follows:

If you received this and you are dating someone, you may not attend.
They should be taking you out elsewhere.
If not, break up with them and then you can come.
If you know someone who gets dumped before the party, please tell them not to blame me.
We will all toast to not being invited next year.
Every guest is REQUIRED to bring one (and only one) single friend (either male or female, it doesn’t matter)
You do not need to arrive with your guest. Their name will be on the guest list.
You cannot RSVP with someone who is invited
Cocktail attire.  No jeans, no sneakers, no one with significant others, no exceptions (you will be turned away at the door).
FYI – No smoking indoors or out.  Put your patch on.
This is an adult party in my house and I’m expecting adult behavior from everybody.
Anybody who doesn’t know how to act like an adult, shouldn’t come.
Have fun.  That’s all.

Jealous yet?  I can’t lie.  It was quite the extravaganza.  Full bars indoor and out, valet parking, food, dessert, bartenders, servers, classy romantic-ish music playing in the background.  No detail overlooked.  I chose one of my favorite single friends, S.S., to be my partner in crime for the evening.  She has become somewhat of a dude-magnet of late, so I thought she’d be a good person to work a room with.  An accurate prediction.  Two of my other close girlfriends were also in attendance, so no matter who showed up from the opposite sex it was already a good night.  Interestingly enough, S.S. and I had a brainstorming conversation a week earlier in which we thought we came up with the best, most creative idea ever.  My single girlfriends and I are always talking about our Plutonic Boyfriends.  Those guy we love, trust, and hang out with – but just don’t have a romantic connection with.  So our brilliant idea was that we should throw a party where each of us brings one of our single guy friends and we could determine if maybe someone else’s plutonic boyfriend could be our real one.  One of our friends suggested we call it a  “Trash & Treasure” party.  She had the right concept, but we needed to come up with something that would actually entice our invitees to attend.  And then I got the invitation to the party For The Unattached.  Basically our idea, with a little more class and about 100 more people.  Here’s the thing though.  When I tell you that for a big city this town is really small, that’s not me exaggerating or being dramatic.  Between me, S.S., and my two other friends, we basically knew everyone else there.  That’s the thing about being single for so long in the same place.  Everyone’s circles start to mesh together.  You’ve already run in to all of these single people before either through mutual friends, at happy hours, at weddings, at the gym, at last years Unattached party, or via their online dating profile.

Even though everyone at the party seemed to already know each other, that didn’t stop the ‘fishbowl effect.’  That feeling where you walk in to a room and you might as well be stuck in a fishbowl surrounded by people staring you up and down from every angle with no escape.  Guys looking for the girls with the shortest dresses and longest legs, and girls checking out who’s dress is cuter or who’s heels have red bottoms.  Not to say I’m not guilty of participating.  Come on.  You know how they say “you’ll find it when you’re not looking…?”  I’m sorry but when you put a single person in a room full of 200 other single people, I dare them not to look.  I could feel the judgment on my skin as strongly as the heat from the heat lamp I was standing under.  And that is, of course, why God invented wine.  And why I, being the witty researcher that I am, had to find ways to distract and entertain myself.

We spent some time getting to know other single yet fabulous women, and trying to convince everyone they need to practice yoga.  Then I tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to find guys I could have intelligent sports-related conversations with.  This is about when S.S. introduces me to one of the guys she knows at the party whom I have never seen before.  You think I’m about to say we hit it off and went home together.  Not quite.  I’m pretty sure I insulted him.  As he’s talking to S.S., one of the first things he says to her is, “Why are you here?  How are you still single?”  Cue Bridget Jones:  “Oh, I don’t know.  Suppose it doesn’t help that underneath our clothes our entire bodies are covered in scales.”   Yes – I know it’s meant to be a compliment.  However, when you’re at a party where most of the guests are over the age of 28, what do you think the answer to that question really is?  My mother always gave me the advice not to ask questions that I didn’t want the answer to.  And the answer to that question by a lot of the unattached attendees was either because they are divorced, because they’ve had their heart broken, because they just broke someone else’s heart, because they made a series of bad relationship decisions, or because they’ve been searching everywhere including the Internet to find a significant other and all they have to show for it is a series of bad dates and funny stories.  So when I pointed my finger in this guy’s face and mandated that he never ask that question ever again, I did it with good intentions.  Although I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m crazy.  Which might have to be my answer to his question.  Which is probably why…

I’m going to be single forever.
TPB

26 Dresses

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I’m almost there.  I’ve almost gotten to the point where I can’t force myself to watch another friend walk down the aisle to her perfect, happy new life and last name without standing up and screaming “WHEN IS IT MY TURN!?”  It’s not because I’m not happy for my friends.  I am.  But how many times is a girl supposed to dress up, smile, be dateless on the dance floor, and wake up alone in a hotel room before she just stops RSVP’ing?  How many times does she have to be asked “Sweetie, why are you single?”  Only to have the insensitive question askers answer their own question with some insensitive cliché like “Don’t worry… you’ll find it when you’re not looking.”  Really?  Because right now the back of my hand is going to find your face sooner than I’m going to find my future husband.  …Sorry.  I’ll keep the hostility in check.

So yes, I went to another wedding.  I spent most of the day with one of my friends’ husbands because she was busy with Matron of Honor duties.  It was nice not to feel like a third wheel, but it did get awkward when people assumed I was his wife and started asking about our baby.  I followed up that wedding weekend with a bridal shower the following weekend.  Which means yet another wedding coming up.  (I hear the groom has a cute, single friend though.  Can’t blame a girl for looking for a little added incentive).  In an effort to keep myself entertained at weddings and related events when there are no prospects, I realized that I’ve developed a pretty random habit.  When you attend said occasions as a single person, you have no choice but to be overly social.  Not a way I would have ever described myself, but turns out it’s a sort of survival mechanism.  In my quest for conversations apparently I’ve turned in to a hopeless romantic.  I’m constantly asking things like “How did you meet your husband?”  “How did he propose?”  “What makes your relationship work?”  and of course, “Does he have good-looking single friends?”  Again, can’t blame a girl for trying.

So while “Jane,” aka Katherine Heigl collected bridesmaid dresses, apparently I collect stories.  Listening to other people share their experiences gives me a sense of hope.  And a confirmation that chemistry and romance do actually exist.  Maybe hope is dangerous… but I’ve heard some pretty amusing stuff.   For example, the couple whose wedding I just attended met while mopping up blood in an ER.  (Not voluntarily.  It was their job, but still…  if you can find your soul mate in a biohazard-ous environment, it’s gotta be the real thing).  I met another couple who had broken up for almost a year, and then got in simultaneous biking accidents which ended up bringing them back together.  Random, but romantic.  Then there was the girl who took a year off to travel around the world and ended up meeting the man of her dreams in France.  I met a couple who said they were high school sweethearts and haven’t spent a day apart since.  And they still seemed to like each other.  And one of my recent favorites:  I ran in to an old friend whom I know was very active on the same dating website I was using.  He got his fair share of dates that way.  He’s a good looking guy, and smart.  A rare combination in this city’s online dating forum.  Admittedly I viewed him as a player.  And a leopard never changes its spots, right?  But he told me a story that even I couldn’t roll my eyes at.  After all the time and effort he put in to online dating, he was just done.  He was giving up and letting his membership expire after years of time consuming searching.  And on the very last day he checked his matches one more time and saw a girl who caught his eye, so he said F- it and sent one last desperation email with his number and an explanation that it would be up to her to contact him.  And it just so happened that she was at a point with her unsuccessful dating experiences that she decided to say F- it, and call him.  And they had a first date.  And they’ve been together ever since.  Very Nicholas Sparks-esque, right?

I’ve heard great proposal stories too.  For example, the guy who brought his fiancé of almost 10 years back to the college dorm where they met to propose, and the guy who surprised his girlfriend with a  proposal the day she moved to a new city to be with him, and the guy who proposed using an Easter egg hunt, and the guy who sent a rose for every day they were apart during a relationship-hiatus. I also like to talk to older couples at weddings while I’m wandering around aimlessly.  You know, the ones who have been together for 40, 50, 60 years and still dance and hold hands.  I ask them what the secret is.  The #1 answer?  A sense of humor.  Or if you ask my 97 year old uncle he’ll tell you, “She’s tried to poison me once, shoot me twice, and leave me a hundred times.  But I’m still here.”  So… perhaps the secret is – to each their own.  I really believe that’s what it comes down to.  Whether you meet the love of your life in high school, on the internet, on a plane, in a Vegas casino, in a yoga class, or because he was your boss, the story is meaningful to you.  And you get excited to share it with people who ask.  Of all the stories I’ve ever heard, from the most cliché to the most outrageous, no one has ever said “well… we just kind of forced it.”   So I’ll keep RSVP’ing, hanging out with the bartenders during slow songs, and collecting stories.  Hey, at least I’ll get more use out of them then a dress I really have no intention of shortening and wearing again.

But unless that elusive white dress finds its way in to my wardrobe, I’m going to be single forever.

TPB

Plutonic Boyfriends

News flash:  I’m dating.

In the spirit of the holiday season, my newfound yogic way of life, and <gasp> turning another year older, I’ve been trying to focus on being grateful for the things I do have as opposed to pining for what I don’t.  Easier said than done when the one thing you don’t have is something you really, really, really want.  And, if we’re being honest, really, really need.  But I digress.  The point is that despite my proactive efforts to get what I want, it’s just not happening.  So I have two choices.  Focus on the nonexistent, which seems really ridiculous when I put the phrase in writing.  Or focus on the present, my current surroundings, and what I do have.  I remember watching an episode of House once where he tells Cuddy, “…like the philosopher Jagger once said, ‘You can’t always get what you want.'”  At the end of the episode she gets to remind him, “…you can’t always get what you want.  But sometimes you find you get what you need.”

So no, I don’t have what I want.  For a long time the running joke with my friends has been that although I don’t have a significant other, I have lots of “plutonic boyfriends.”  In other words, male friends with no benefits.  I’ve collected them over the years in different ways.  Some of them I’ve known since college, met through mutual friends, met at the gym, or attempted to date once or twice and realized we were better off as friends.  They are all incredible men that any girl would be lucky to date, and I cherish each of those friendships.  Unfortunately I just never had a romantic connection with any of them.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t still go to dinner, see a movie, grab a drink, watch a game.  (Except when they move 5 time zones away, but I’ll deal with you later JP).  So I’ve been thinking a lot about what dating even means, and what you get from it.  Why do we get in to relationships in the first place?  What are the aspects of relationships that make them so desirable?  Do I already have what I need?

I always hear women say they are looking for important qualities like trust, honesty, and loyalty.  Check.  I’ve got that with my plutonic boyfriends.  Of course I trust them.  They tell me everything and have no reason to lie to me.  They even give me their honest opinions about pseudo-relationships I might be in.  That’s the difference with male friends.  They’ll tell you what you need to hear, even if it might make you cry.  And I appreciate that.  Most women also want a guy with a sense of humor.  I’ve absolutely got that with my PB’s.  We may not kiss, but we’ve got inside jokes.  Who doesn’t want friends that send you random pictures of themselves wearing elephant thongs..?  Come on.  That’s funny.  And everyone wants someone who shares the same interests and values.  That’s not even limited to romantic relationships.  All of my friends share similar interests and values.  That’s usually why you become friends with someone in the first place, right?  Then there are other qualities that are debatable necessities in a potential boyfriend.  Chivalry.  Making plans.  Opening doors.  Picking up the check.  Having a good job and a good education.  Someone who wants a family and would be a good father.  Someone you could bring home to your parents.  Or in my case, my siblings whose standards are sometimes higher than my own.  Whatever your requirements are, at the end of the day you want companionship.  Isn’t the ideal situation is that your best friend becomes your lover?

Am I missing out on the intimacy part?  Absolutely.  The funny thing about that is – most of my friends that have it complain about it and could take it or leave it.  Incomprehensible to me, but like I said, focusing on that isn’t going to make me feel better.  Who am I to complain when I’ve got every other good aspect of a relationship, and no drama?  “Boyfriends” who are willing to sit with me for hours helping me make life-altering career decisions and who offer to drive me around when I’ve had too many drinks and who let me live in their condo for a while when I’m struggling to find an apartment and who have their mother bake me cakes and send them to me on my birthday and accompany me when I have to go to joint bachelor/bachelorette parties at strip clubs and hold my hand sometimes so I don’t die like the Lithuanian Babies.  There is something to be said for being able to let your guard down and be yourself with someone.  It’s a lot easier to learn what it is that you really need, want, and enjoy in a companion when you’re not focused on the relationship status or picturing what your kids would look like. Maybe none of these best-friend-boyfriends will ever get down on one knee for me, but I’m grateful that I can ‘date’ them before they are swept off the market.  Which is inevitable.  I don’t foresee any of them having my fate…

I’m going to be single forever.

TPB

T.M.I. & R.I.P.

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Ahhh… honesty.  It can be the most refreshing part of a healthy relationship.  It can also be the thing that fractures a relationship beyond repair if it isn’t taken seriously. But is there such a thing as too much honesty?  Do you have to disclose everything to your significant other?  And when is it appropriate to confess certain things?  For example – do I need to tell someone on the first date that I’ve never been in a serious relationship?  Do you have to tell someone up front right away if you’re divorced?  If you live with your parents?  If you are unemployed?  If you’re an atheist?  If you’re gonna vote for Obama (and you like to dance to Madonna?*).  Yes, yes, yes.  Wouldn’t you want to know about someone’s core values upfront if you were looking to possibly procreate and spend the rest of your days with them?  I would.  I am clearly not a dating expert.  However, what I do know is that I really feel you should meet someone in person (or at least communicate with them in some form or fashion) before delving in to any of the following:

“Good Evening how are you? im John nice to meet you loved your profile. Heres alittle about myself and my family, i have 1 older sister she is 32 and is married and was born in xxxxxx, xx but lives here and is expecting on december 28th her husband xxxx and her first child. my sister Xxxxx works from home as a computer programmer for a company in Xxxxx, XX and her husband Xxxx works as a middle school teacher for a christian school. my parents have been married for 40+ years and my dad works as a director with construction at a assisted living community were his mom my grandmother lives so he gets to see her and have lunch with her from day to day, my dad was born in Xxxxxx also. my mom is retired was a RN nurse for 25+ years but as of 8 years ago has had to retire early due to a dibilitating disease. So i help my dad out with her alot cause she looses her balance and falls alot. I am going to school online for graphics design and wanna start fire fighting academy hopefully soon, i build pool cages and screened in lanais for a job now have been doing that on and off for quite some time now. I was born 4 months premature and weighed only 2 lbs. when i was born and had to be at a childrens hospital for awhile but born and raised in Xxxxxx, XX. I enjoy working out 3 to 4 times a week, going dancing even though i stink at it always wanted to learn salsa or swing,i enjoy any kind of music but listen to as of late country and rock, i like all kinds of movies too,also enjoy going to football and baseball and hockey games,the beach day or night,running,anything outdoors from camping to playing sports to fishing love saltwater fishing too. well thats all alittle about myself and my family. Enjoy….. feel free to contact me 555-555-5555 . friend is having a bbq on saturday for the game was wondering if you wanna come? – John Smith”

I have never, ever, seen, winked at, emailed, spoken to, or communicated with this person before at all.  I did not know he existed until I opened this email.  Good L0rd I don’t think even my best friend in the whole world knows that much about me.  This is also clearly a form letter that he probably cuts and pastes to everyone he emails.  Don’t you at least want to know my first name before you feel comfortable enough to tell me that you struggled through your first few days of life in the NICU?  And NO – no, I do not want to go to a BBQ with you and your friends on Saturday.  What if (haha) he sent this to 5 different girls and they all responded yes?  So while I appreciate his attempt at being honest, there is, in fact, such a thing as too much.  And too soon.  And then you just come off as creepy.  This is conversation material for date 5.  Or maybe 6.  What do I know?  I haven’t gotten that far in a while.  But this is absolutely T.M.I. for an initial internet dating email, Mr. Smith.

So in the spirit of the season, I bid R.I.P. to my internet dating adventure.  My membership is up and I think I would lose my remaining self respect if I resubscribed.  Maybe I’ll go back to relying on my friends to set me up.  Maybe I’ll go back to hoping I’ll meet someone at the gym.  (Which would mean I’d have to actually pull my headphones blaring *Scissor Sisters lyrics out of my ears- and who wants to do that?)  Maybe I’ll go back to imagining I’ll run in to the man of my dreams in the grocery store.  Maybe I’ll go back to thinking it’s possible to meet someone in a bar…

Or maybe…

I’m just going to be single forever.
TPB

Pants On Fire

And not in the good way.  Unfortunately.  I knew Mr. Worldwide sounded too good to be true.  A friend of mine raises his eyebrows at me in situations like this and just says, “stop being surprised.”

So I had been exchanging emails with this guy while he’s working and vacationing in Europe.  Allegedly.  He admitted to me that he “chooses to live” with his parents.  Who live in Washington.  Which is not even in the same time zone as my city.  But that it only makes sense because why should he spend money to maintain a place he’s in for one month out of the year?  Ok.  I suppose I can respect that financial decision.  But for now he’s in Armenia, Spain, Poland, etc., and having a blast.  As much as I love hearing stories about running with bulls and impending Oktoberfests, I had a more pressing question for Mr. Worldwide…

My last email said: “Theres something I guess I just don’t understand.  You’re a 30 year old, single, successful guy running around Europe having experiences of a lifetime.  Yet you still actively participate in an online dating site looking for girls in (city where I live), and taking time out of your day to respond, at length, to emails.  And this isn’t even your home city.  It’s just one you work out of on a regular basis.  At this point you can’t even tell me if or when we’d ever actually meet.  So…what am I missing?”

His response:  “I absolutely would like to meet you. I consider it not a matter of if – but when, which could be a while unfortunately. I’m due back in the States now Nov 16-20, sometime in there. I might come back for a week in October, we’ll see what happens…   I understand that there’s an edge of “is this guy telling the truth?” The only thing that I’m lying about now is probably my body type. Athletic – true. Tone – I’m off my game a bit I’ll admit. Tough to find a good workout here – no gym, poor country, and working 12 hours a day has been an excuse I’ve too readily accepted… but just recently I have found these stairs that go straight up the side of a mountain. It’s an ass kicker. Love it. I run with a couple of “Kiwis” – people from New Zealand in the exploration department here.  With all that said – if you wish to see my public side I’ll offer up my Facebook. I don’t have much to hide so I don’t mind.  Hope all’s well and talk to you soon. Cheers.  –MWW”

So he lives with his parents.  And he’s chubby.  And I could possibly meet him two months from now…  losing…  interest…   Oh – and you’re wondering if I FB stalked him.  Obviously.  He gave me his email address so I looked him up.  From the pictures I could see, he appeared to be telling the truth about his traveling.  Unless he superimposed himself on some postcards.  Which, at this point, would not surprise me.  But I found nothing else of interest.  Until I signed on the dating website to email him back yesterday.  Where I noticed his profile changed and he is now “looking for women within 30 miles of…  Chicago.”  Not where he’s from.  Not where I live.  Not even in the same time zone.  WTF, mate?  What, exactly, is the point of lying to someone on an internet dating site to get them to keep talking to you knowing that you have no intention of meeting them?  I can’t think too much about the possible answers to this question because I might throw up.

I think it was Oprah who said, “we are rarely ever truly surprised in life.”  A powerful statement.  Well Oprah, I can tell you what I definitely won’t be surprised about…

I’m going to be single forever.
TPB

It’s Not Me…

When you’ve been single as long as I have, you start to question yourself. Geez, is it me? Am I not skinny enough, pretty enough, funny enough, smart enough, or young enough? Is it because I’ve never mastered the art of walking in high heels? Because I’m fashion challenged? Because I’m culinary challenged? Is it that big of a deal that I use my oven for storage and don’t own a food processor? Am I really quirky and weird and my friends just don’t want to tell me? It doesn’t help that they are repeatedly telling me that I’m too picky. So… what you’re saying is… I need to lower my standards? Thanks for the support and vote of confidence. Nothing like kicking the ego when it’s down. So I’ve been struggling with this self-doubt lately. No one is perfect. Myself included, obviously, given the above self-disclosure. But am I being overly critical of these guys? Is it really me???

And the universe answers with a big, bold, ABSOLUTELY NOT reminder. In the form a match email, literally titled ‘Standing Out From The Crowd.’

“Please decode the secret message…

7-9-22-5 /
20-8-9-19 /
18-15-13-1-14-20-9-3 /
7-21-25 /
1 /
3-8-1-14-3-5! ////

A=1 B=2 C=3 D=4 E=5 F=6 G=7 H=8 I=9 J=10
K=11 L=12 M=13 N=14 O=15 P=16 Q=17 R=18 S=19 T=20
U=21 V=22 W=23 X=24 Y=25 Z=26

Just a corny attempt at being different… Don’t hold it against me!
-Cornyguy”

Simply amazing. I won’t spoil the fun for you. Go ahead. Decode away. Just know that, for several reasons, Cornyguy is not getting a response from me. Even though I’d like to email him and thank him for the reminder that my standards are just fine, and not in need of adjustment.

And next in the inbox:
“Hi. I’m George. Your interest are similar to mine. I’m laid back. I volunteer with animals. Whats your name?”

Really? Well, George, I’m ‘curious.’ If you actually read my profile and believe that we have similar interests, why wouldn’t you comment on what one of those similar interests might be? Because nowhere in my profile does it say I have, want, work with, or even like animals.

And third in the inbox:
“I like yor profile, you seem really cool.”

Well… duh. Tell me something I don’t know. But literally, word for word, that’s all it said. Not only did he not take the time to tell me anything about himself, ask me anything else about myself, or even type the word ‘Hi,’ he couldn’t even take the time to proofread the 8 words he actually typed.

I also received a wink from someone who calls himself ‘diaperboy88.’ For the love of G0d. I don’t care if you are the inventor of Huggies and are a billionaire, what on Earth would possess you to choose that as a username? I mean, you’d be better off calling yourself “Ihave$$$” and then telling me why later. I am not a gold-digger by any means, but seriously isn’t the point of this to appeal to the opposite sex? There are only a few mental images that the word ‘diapers’ bring up, and none of them are attractive. And speaking of unattractive, ‘diaperboy88’ weighs approximately 400 pounds. Just… eew. None of my friends have 400 pound husbands, so can we agree that this particular ‘standard’ of mine is not outrageous?

I’ve been told I fall for guys who are emotionally unavailable. I can’t really help that, can I? When I see a guy I find attractive, it’s not like his emotional availability is tattooed on his forehead. (That would be totally convenient though, right?) Even when using an online forum where he is required to describe himself, it’s not like he’s going to spell that out for you. However, I think I may have made a connection recently while attempting to call someone out on his availability. This guy, we’ll call him Mr. Worldwide, winked at me a few weeks ago. I looked through his profile and all the initial criteria were met. He’s cute, and claims to be tall enough that even if he was lying by a few inches he’d still be taller than me in heels. He’s educated and his writing seems to support that. He likes sports and seems to take care of himself physically. Nice teeth, no kids, non-smoker, only 2 years difference in our ages. Good stuff. But something in his profile made me roll my eyes. One line says, “Don’t think I’m in much of a position for a normal relationship, but maybe you’ll change that.” Of course. Let me guess: you want to be a bachelor-for-life. You want some kind of ‘open’ relationship, or you require threesomes, or you want to make sure I understand you never, ever want to get married, have children, or cohabitate. So I sent him a very brief email. Something along the lines of, “Please expand on what you mean by not looking for a ‘normal’ relationship.”

He responded with something good-natured, polite, and thorough. I can’t find it otherwise I’d cut/paste, but he started by explaining his job. Apparently he travels (worldwide) for extended periods of time. He told me a little bit about how he ended up doing what he does and a little about his family and background. But ended by saying that he wrote that he wasn’t in a position for a ‘normal’ relationship because he usually won’t be home in time for dinner. To which I hastily replied, “Perfect! I don’t cook dinner!” And we’ve been emailing ever since. (It’s not me!!!) And to be fair, it’s not ‘them’ either. It’s OK to have standards, whatever they may be. Everyone should. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to find compatibility. Maybe I’ll find it with Mr. Worldwide when he’s back in town. Until then…

I’m going to be single forever.

TPB

Nuclear Apocalypse

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And just when I was getting bored…
Just when I was beginning to think I’d seen and heard it all.  I was ready to give up.  Throw in the towel.  How many times could I write about white sunglasses, bedazzled shirts, bathroom mirror pictures, bad grammar…?  And then I opened my emails for the day, only to find the most amazing correspondence I’ve ever received:

“If there was a nuclear apocalypse where only Jessica Alba and I survived and we were tasked with repopulating the world I would kill myself rather than force myself to fornicate with her because I know that our offspring would look like leprosy stricken monstrosities compared to the potential ones that could be made by a heavenly blessed beauty like yourself.”

‘Speechless’ is not usually a state that I find myself in very often.  But that is the only word I can come up with right now.  Can I even give him credit for creativity on this one?  Is he trying to be funny?  While I appreciate the poetic attempt at flattery (that’s what that was, right?), it’s really close to just being downright creepy.  I’m responding.  With one sentence, and one sentence only.

“Dear Pussinboots321, please procreate with Jessica Alba if given the opportunity.”

Not making up that name either.  If there actually was a nuclear apocalypse and ‘Pussinboots321’ and I were the only two survivors, I wouldn’t procreate with him solely based on the stupidity of his user name.  Who else wouldn’t I procreate with if re-populating the world depended on it?  For starters, this guy:

Who is that, you’re wondering?  That would be the 71 year old man who winked at me last week.  71.  You disgusting old pervert.  He is so far beyond Adam Sandler’s “old…balls…..gross!” comment I can’t even think about it.  It makes me want to throw up my breakfast.  Eew.  Eew.  Eew.

Or how about this guy’s headline: “40 year old virgin!”
I get the movie reference, obviously.  But that’s not even funny.

And a few more classic emails:

“I’m a very funny and fun guy. I am highly sarcastic and very whitty. I am educated and can hold a conversation in almost any topic.”

Whitty, huh?  Amazing.

“Hi,  I will like to talk to you and know you, please let me know if that is ok for you.”

Nope.

“i noticed u were one of my matches and your pic really caught my eye. you are very attractive. how is it that u are single ?? seems like u would get lots of attention from guys. we should def get to know eachother. let me know if u are interested. hope to hear from u again soon, hun.”

Hun?  What is WRONG with you!?  I don’t even have to see your picture, hear your voice, or meet you in person.  You have already thrown your masculinity out the window and I’m turned off.  And this isn’t Twitter.  Spell out the words “you” and “definitely.”

I also got this email recently:

Subject: Uh oh…
It looks like we both have the same problem… 🙂

Which is cheesy, and ridiculous.  But the best part about it is that this is the second time I have received the same exact email from that guy.  I responded, of course.  “Hi.  Just thought I would let you know you’ve already emailed me the same exact thing before.  You might want to start keeping track of who you are cutting and pasting that to.”

Yeah, yeah.  I’m a total b*tch.  But really- have some accountability.  And I’ve got some backup.  I have a few girlfriends who are online dating as well, and due to my picky-ness and therefore lack of material, they are allowing me to share some of their stories.  Here is a recent email I received from one of the girls:

Hung out with that guy I met online on Saturday- not sure that’s gonna go anywhere. He’s kinda dorky. Nice, but dorky. At least he’s not an OCD clean-freak like the last one.  This guy is far from that, but not terrible and not the worst, but still. And I’m sorry, but when a cute gal is sitting on your couch and you’d rather “mix” music instead of hang out- not a huge fan of that. That’s cool- you like to play DJ and all (not my thing- but whatever), but really? Not cool. AND I still haven’t been asked out on a proper date yet either. SO… ‘nuf said. And picking your nose in front of someone you’re trying to impress is not a good idea. And when you’re setting up your DJ stuff at your friend’s house for a party and you don’t notice that you dropped the tent on my head- hmmmm. And there’s this annoying head rest pillow attachment on the driver’s side of the car. And the comb over attempt is poor.

I hope the fate of the world will never depend on my friend having to procreate with the nose-picking, comb-over DJ.  I have higher hopes for her.  As for me…

I’m going to be single forever.

TPB

*Congrats to Kobe, Durant, LeBron and the rest of Team USA for bringing home the gold.  Well done guys.