Almost 30: The YOLO approach to dating

Well hello again readers! It’s certainly been awhile. I’d like to tell you that’s because I’m successfully married by now, due to following the advice we dispense on this blog, but that would be untrue and I cannot tell a lie. (Like this guy. And George Washington). However, the reason for my absence is pretty delightful; I just got back from a whirlwind vacation in the Balkans. I’ll spare you the deets, since, much to my chagrin, S and D were not fans of my request to transform this blog from a dating blog into a “brag about your exotic vacation” blog. And let’s be real: that’s what facebook and instagram are for. So instead, I tip my hat to S and D for keeping the wheels of the blog turning while I jetted around Europe took lots of buses through mountain back roads.

Anyway, vacation gave me a lot of time to reflect on things. 

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Good god. Not like that. No meditating or like, speaking to monks or spiritual nirvana or anything. But I did take some time to think about the way I interact with men and what I’ve learned after a good year and a half of being single. S and I have also been having a number of conversations recently about our “new” approaches to dating. I mean, we’ve been feeling pretty mature ever since we hit 29 and the next birthday on the horizon is the big 30. I think we’re hoping to feel less like GIRLS and a little more like SATC (though it’s usually more like Seinfeld).

Anyway, folks, here are some new things I’m trying this summer. I’d bill it as advice, but since I’ve obviously demonstrated by now that I don’t have, as we say in the business, a “proven track record of success,” I’ll call it experiments from which you are welcome to take or leave your own lessons.

1) Limit the texting. On this blog alone we have amassed a collection of memes and videos about texting, and how it makes us single people miserable as we navigate the dating world. I just googled “texting ruins dating,” and found this spot on article from the Toronto Sun. (BTW, should it make me feel better that texting and dating is an INTERNATIONAL problem? Cause it does. People around the world unite! Free yourselves from the tyranny of ellipses and emoticons!) 

I’ve always felt a lot of pressure to carry on a text message conversation with guys I’ve been on a couple of dates with.

This involves:

  • Obsessively checking my phone/not checking my phone;
  • Getting a Master’s degree in Emoji language (I mean, why say BE COOL when you can send a picture of a cute bee and and ice cube? And let the person on the other end try to figure out if you meant “BE COOL” or “striped ice” or “I am putting ice on my bee sting?”); and
  • Trying to craft witty responses to stupid questions like, “what’s up?” or “how’s your week coming?”

I no longer have time nor the patience for this nonsense. I’m a grown woman with a job and a mortgage rent for godsakes. I’m not saying texting is bad for everyone. It’s just that I’m sick of spending time communicating in a medium I don’t even like. Going forward, I am trying to use texts for two things: Making plans and sending articles/sharing information that is truly funny and relevant to another person. Eventually, I’m gonna try to graduate back to phone calls.

mindy texting

I know Mindy, but YOLO. A lady’s gotta try an alternate approach.

2. Go for it. Drive to the basket. Swing for the fences. Run the ball. Kick the hockey puck. Sink the putt. (I mean do I know my sports analogies or DO I KNOW MY SPORTS ANALOGIES? I feel like a got 1-2 of them right.)

The point is, I am not sure where the pressure comes from, but a lot of times I feel like dating is a contest of just trying to care less. Care less if someone calls you again, even if you had a great date. Care less if someone disappears for a week and resumes texting you (DAMN THE TEXTING) like nothing has happened. Care less if someone says they really like you and want you to see again.

And the truth is, that’s so hard for me, because I care so much about everything I do in my life, and usually I show it. I’m a passionate person, with a lot of strong opinions. (I know this might be quite shocking to you readers. Hope you were sitting down). So if I like someone, I’m just gonna tell them I like them.

joey chandler love,22-ooc-girls-vs-boys-semi.htm

OK, well, ideally, a bit more toned down than that.

In the opposite vein, but same sentiment, if I am confused about a guy’s behavior, I am just gonna call him out rather than watch him slip away unexplained. (Major props to S for inspiring this–please stay tuned for her upcoming post, unofficially titled “YOLO Part II.” The more interesting part. Since she’s already YOLO-ed)  

3. Don’t give away the “cookie” right away. WTF IS THE COOKIE? Bear with me for a sec. I recently read Steve Harvey’s, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” It was recommended to me by a colleague, who wanted my expert perspective, as a trusted voice on love/dating/relationships.*

*Actually she gave it to me after listening to story after story of dating mishaps and said, “I hope this helps.”

Anyway, I am considering doing a full review of that book, but for now I’ll sum up my thoughts in a few short words: SEXIST. PIECE. OF. CRAP. Even the title is heteronormative. It’s full of stupid statements, including a Q and A section at the end where Steve Harvey and his ghostwriting team have dreamed up ludicrous questions that women allegedly submitted to him like, “What should I wear on a date?” and “Is it ok if I don’t like to cook?” (According to Steve Harvey, if you want a boyfriend, ladies, you best learn to cook).  You’re welcome readers. I guess you got a mini review after all.

However, there was one useful nugget I am trying that was loosely inspired by that book: Don’t sleep with a guy ASAP.

Of course, my reasons for trying this are very different from those presented by Mr. Harvey. If you haven’t guessed by now, the “cookie” is the delicate term Steve Harvey uses to describe sex. According to him, men are basically the equivalent of preschool students you might be bribing to sit still for a dentist appointment or something, and the only real power you have over them is a “cookie.” That, or men are cookie monsters.

cookie monster

Neither possibility is flattering. And, for the first time in a very long time, I found myself defending men. THEY CANNOT BE THAT SIMPLE AND STUPID.  Right? Male readers, please tell me I’m right.

But something about Steve Harvey’s advice stuck with me, and I have decided to try not to sleep with guys on the first or second date. When I sleep with a guy right away, I often muddle the process of getting to know them. There is a ton of physical intimacy ASAP, and yet, I don’t even know the person’s last name (well I do, because I’m an A+ internet stalker, but not officially).

Plus, as much as I’ve tried to deny it, sleeping with someone does make me more attached to them. And, I’d rather not feel so connected to relative strangers. 

Lastly, I have this hypothesis that the better you know someone, the better sex with them will be. And who doesn’t want to start something on the right foot?

That’s all for now readers. Hopefully you’re crossing your fingers for me and not shaking your heads about all the misguided assumptions I am making. Wish me luck as I unleash my YOLO resolutions on the DMV area and see what happens!

The art and etiquette of messaging

In the world of online dating, you make or break your chances of dating someone on the first message you send out. Here’s our collective advice on what leads to a date,and what leads to a delete.

1. Keep it short. I want a date, not a pen pal. Keep your message short, with a few fun facts about you and a few questions about me and I’ll do the same. And once we go back and forth twice, decide if you want to ask me out or not. I write enough emails for work, I don’t want to come home and read something with multiple paragraphs unless it’s this or this.

2. Never ever mention someone’s booty (or their labia, or their toes). True story–every girl I know on the site receives several messages–sent between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m., that read something like this: “Hello sexy fresh bootlicious, I want to cum ovr rite now and suck your toes and smack yERr boo-TAY!”(Spelling and punctuation borrowed from real life messages). The thing is, even if I wanted to respond, it’s incredibly difficult to dream up a response that could top your literary genius and complexity.

3. Write me a personalized message. You (presumably) just read a bunch of information about me on my profile. I didn’t put it there for myself to read. Just add a few sentences, personalize the message. Do we have something in common? Did you think something in my profile was funny or interesting? Do you have any thoughts at all? Do not just say, “hi-what’s up?” or “how are you?” First, that’s lazy. Second, How AM I? Well I just got over a UTI, I threw up in my sink last week, I ate crackers for dinner, and I’ve been listening to “Dancing on my Own” on repeat. The point is, I’m not comfortable sharing my weird little habits and worries with a stranger (I’d like to get to know you and THEN let all my ugly secrets come out).   And if I follow your lead and respond with a generic “good, how are you?” we’ve learned nothing about each other.  Keep those kind of pleasantries for when you pass a co-worker in the hallway.

4. Don’t use that terrifying AIM like “chat” feature. It’s not 1995 and this is not a chat room. 

5. Getting belligerent is scary. A little teasing and some friendly debate is great for a first date, but can be really off-putting in a first message. For instance, if I really like the Washington Redskins, don’t message me with “RGIII SUCKS! GO COWBOYS!” First of all, CAPS LOCK is terrifying–you’re yelling and I don’t know you yet. Second of all, the Cowboys suck, and so do you.

6. Be yourself, but don’t reveal your deepest darkest fears. Admitting you’re new to the site, you’re awkward, or you don’t understand messaging protocol is fine with me. A little humility is refreshing. However, don’t start a message with, “most people think my messages are annoying but I am trying to get better at them so I finally get a date cuz i’ve been on the site forever and no one likes me.” Instead of responding, I’d like to direct you to my therapist so you can work on your self esteem issues.

Lastly, ladies and gents, we believe personalized messages deserve a response. Unless someone looks and sounds like a serial killer, if they take the time to write you a nice message crafted with details from your profile, do them a favor and respond. If you’re interested, continue the conversation. That’s easy enough. If you’re not interested, respond anyway. Would you ever ignore a real live person who asked you a polite question at a bar? (Oh god, I bet some of you just silently answered yes. I hope I never meet you–at a bar or otherwise.) Just thank them for messaging you and let them know. While I felt like an admissions officer sending my first “thanks but no thanks and best of luck” message, I also felt like a brave, direct person. A brave direct person whose karma will be improved so people will answer her perfectly normal, wittily-crafted, messages.

-L & D