First date with the Good Message Unicorn

In case you are just joining us (in which case, welcome!/fasten your seat belt) this post is technically a Part 2. When we last left off, the Good Message Unicorn had apologized for his lame behavior and asked if I wanted to meet. And sweet baby Jesus, it was about time. In keeping with my Summer of YOLO affirmations, I decided to go for it. I gave GMU my phone number, sat back,  DudeWaiting …and waited for him to take the reigns, which he did. We made plans to meet for drinks, which in my mind was going to go one of two ways:

  1. We’d meet, hit it off immediately, and begin a hot mid-summer romance, thus validating the entire Summer of YOLO plan
  2. We’d meet and the date would be mediocre, in part because I set wildly unrealistic expectations of a complete stranger who sent me some half decent messages over a month ago

Hmmmm let’s see. Which of those options seems more likely in the world of LSD, and the world of online dating in general? fresh prince hmm The night of our date, I arrived at my old reliable (yes, he asked me where I wanted to meet and yes, I was annoyed about it). I didn’t see GMU at the bar, but he’d just texted me that he was there, so I headed up to the second floor and…. literally ran right into him on the stairs. Now, if you’ve ever online dated, you know that the first moment of a first date is almost always excruciatingly awkward because neither party knows how to appropriately greet the other person. Do you shake hands? Hug? Wait to see what your date does? Before I even had time to consider my greeting options, this happened:  GMU: Sorry, I don’t want to touch you because I’m really sick. Me (internally): wtf-mate-o Me: Oh. Sorry you’re sick. We could have rescheduled…? GMU: I know, but I was looking forward to meeting you, and I also felt like since I kind of disappeared for a bit, it would have seemed extra shady for me to cancel at the last minute. I didn’t want you to think I was blowing you off. Despite that fact that we were still having this awkward ass conversation ON THE STAIRS as waiters and customers brushed by us, GMU earned some points for that. Because he’s right: the fact that he fully disappeared once, coupled with the fact that more often than not, the ‘I’m sick” excuse turns out to be bullshit, (and maybe the fact that Stupid Cupid is the patron blog of pessimistic over thinkers) means that I probably wouldn’t have believed him. Well played, GMU… 10-points-to-gryffindor_gp_1622829 Source: memecdn.com …even though I was now at risk for contracting the “summer cold” he claimed to have come down with. Welp, that’s what they make Purell for, right? Finally we moved from our creepy perch and I got a chance to fully check my date out. He was:

  • shorter than he claimed to be, because duh, but still respectably tall
  • almost as cute as his pictures

All in all I was pleased. We sat down, ordered drinks, and GMU launched into telling me about his job. I don’t know why this seems to be a trend with me lately, but I’ve encountered some serious Chatty Cathys. Luckily GMU had a cool job that I was mildly interested in (small/independent film distributor–I’m sorry but no one can top Keith Mars in that department) so I peppered him with a lot of questions. Homeboy was smart and well spoken and unlike a previous Chatty Cathy, didn’t bore me to tears with tedious anecdotes that no one cares about but him. But, even though GMU was holding my interest, at the same time it all seemed very…official. And oddly business-like. We were chatting like two strangers exchanging platonic pleasantries, not two people on a date. Our messages had been filled with all the flirty, loquacious banter of some snappy Aaron Sorkin dialogue, but that just wasn’t translating in person. This is actually pretty common, I think mostly because it’s easy to sit in front of a laptop and type and re-type a message until it’s the perfect blend of sassy, witty, and hilarious, but when you’re sitting in front of a complete stranger yeah, that shit’s a little harder. Men appear to especially have a hard time with this… I can’t tell you how many have been literally PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR over messaging and then come off like a wet blanket in person. Midway through the date I went to the bathroom and thought about how it was going. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. Two things needed to happen for the night to tip the scales toward positive:

  1. We needed to stop talking to each other like two co-workers in a conference room at a Scottsdale Ramada and start flirting, ASAP.
  2. GMU needed to actually ask about me and my life, and then shut his mouth and let me speak. The talking thing seemed like a nervous habit, so I was trying not to take it personally, but at a certain point it’s hard not to feel like you could be replaced with a bag of rusty nails and your date might just keep going because he literally has zero interest in getting to know anything about you. If you think I’m exaggerating, read this article. More great news for single women!

I got back to the table, these thoughts still on my mind. As if on cue GMU said, “Where was I…? Oh yeah!” and immediately launched into ANOTHER STORY. And I just sat there with my mouth agape, thinking: not done My eyes started to glaze over. But then, as if he could read my mind (or possibly my facial expression), GMU stopped mid-sentence and said: “I’m sorry, I can hear myself talking your ear off. I’m talking too much, aren’t I?” Well. That took me by surprise. I appreciated the self awareness, though it took a lot of self control not to shout “YES, YES YOU ARE TALKING WAY TOO MUCH AND IT’S REALLY OBNOXIOUS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??” Instead I went with a much kinder: “Yup, maybe a little too much.” “I knew it. I’m sorry! I just want you to know it’s because I’m having a really nice time. Let me finish this thought and then I promise I will shut up and you can tell me more about you.” I had to physically bar myself from rolling my eyes at ‘it’s because I’m having a nice time’ because LOL, yeah. You’ve been listening to the sound of your own voice for the better part of an hour. I bet you’re having a nice time. narcissism To GMU’s credit, though, he did shut up and listen. Thank God. As the conversation became more of a back and forth, we started to banter a bit. GMU had obviously gotten more comfortable, and even managed to pull out some of the teasing and volleying he’d been so good at over messaging. Then it was revealed that he knew my alma mater, BU, very well because he dated a girl for three years who went there and visited frequently. The highlight of the entire date was when GMU started to talk shit on CGS, which is something that every BU student knows about. The College of General Studies is a school that freshmen are admitted into when they’re…not…ready?…for BU itself. CGS has an infamously bad rap at BU–it’s affectionately known as crayons, glue and scissors cgs So it totally tickled me that GMU knew about this and was in on the shit talking (PS, most of this shit talking stemmed from the fact that his college girlfriend cheated on him with a CGS student, which explains his surprising fervor on the subject). I know this all probably comes off as mean spirited and douchey, especially coming from a school that lives in the shadow of the capital of elitist doucheland. And yes, it kind of is, but it’s also a time honored BU tradition. Sidenote: I actually have a few friends who were in CGS (if you’re reading this, hi guys!/I’m sorry, I’m the worst xoxoxo), and who are smart, successful humans with good jobs, so clearly all this snide judgment is meaningless. Funny, but meaningless. ANYWAY, I was still LOLing from the BU/CGS tangent when my date surprised me again: GMU: I’m having a lot of fun. Would you like to do this again sometime? I mean, what single girl doesn’t like to hear that from a cute guy, even one who talks incessantly? I’ve just never heard literally it in the middle of the date in the middle of a conversation. A part of me was like, wait. Is he ending the night right now? Is GMU just going to get up and walk away after I answer him? Only one way to find out. Since the date had markedly improved during the second half of the evening, I decided the Good Message Unicorn was worth a second look. Me: I’m having fun, too. And sure, I’d love to. GMU: Awesome. Anyway, back to what we were talking about… So the date continued but started to wind down. 15 minutes later we got the check and left. We stood outside the bar, saying an awkward goodbye. GMU repeated that he’d love to see me again, and told me he’d be in touch soon. Then something…unprecedented happened. My date fist bumped me.

My date FIST. BUMPED. ME.

Yes, you’re thinking of the right fist bump. The GMU and I did this: fist bump 1 fist bump 2 fist bump 3 I have no words. And I had no words then. I think I actually blurted out, “wow, okay. That just happened. Well….goodnight!” and fled. So what happened next? A second date? A phone call? Some text flirting? Anything? Anything at all? Nothing. https://i2.wp.com/i.qkme.me/3rdom7.jpg After a months-long saga of messaging, taking a break from messaging, disappearing, YOLOing, reappearing, meeting, illnesses and hand moves made famous by bros, after all that, I never heard from the GMU again. That bastard had the gall to pull a fade away. the jerk store called I’m not even going to go into how maddening it is to be asked out again IN THE MIDDLE OF A DATE and then hear nothing from that person, because it’s well covered territory here at Stucu. Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is not an interesting or juicy ending to the GMU saga by any means, but it’s so incredibly true to life and to the dating world as I know it. A lot of BS, time and effort amounting to… this. I realize this post took a dark turn for a sunny Friday afternoon, but if you’ve been following our blog you should hardly be surprised. I do have two positive things to end on. 1. I’m still hella glad I YOLO’d, because at least now I know. I know that GMU is not the one that got away and that I didn’t let tired dating conventions and self consciousness get in the way of figuring that out. So…go me? I mean, still alone, of course, but alone and wiser. Yup, basically just alone. Positive thing #2… our wonderful co-blogger D celebrated a milestone birthday this week! Readers, join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday! D, you’re one of my favorite people in the world, even if you do have a ‘tude about Disney classics and our use of the term YOLO. Here’s a little belated Bday treat for you… Date rating: 6/10. The chemistry that I had with GMU over messaging never really materialized in person, and he talked my ear off, but the date did improve a fair amount towards the end. Until, of course, he FIST BUMPED ME and then pulled a fade away. Given the last two points, my grading might actually be too generous.

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Another unicorn, and another act of bravery

Yes, you are still reading the right blog. Despite our frequent digressions these days into whimsical subjects such as mermaids, unicorns, and valiance, this has yet to become a website focused on writing GoT -themed fan fiction. Though if it does take that direction, I know K would be very proud of us.

So, during my faintly disguised brags about my Balkan trip in last week’s post, I neglected to mention one detail about the trip that would be slightly relevant to this dating blog: I went on the best first date of my life the night before I left for that vacation.

Now, I know I’ve claimed some good dates before. The truth is, most dates are either so mediocre or, so bad, that if I am on a date and we have a great conversation and physical chemistry, I am usually ready to call Columbia Pictures and suggest they make the modern day  romantic equivalent of “From Here to Eternity,” about what just transpired between me and a relative stranger.

here to eternity

http://77days.net/forum/index.php?topic=294.0

But this date truly blew the others out of the water. Really. If I could find a GIF where Deborah Kerr and Montgomery Clift were blown out of the water, I would have used it.

I did have high hopes for this date, because this guy was another unicorn. Not to be confused with S’s Good Message Unicorn, this guy was Good Profile Unicorn (GPU). I actually read his profile and thought, did someone make a fake profile filled with all the things I like? A few excerpts so like-minded ladies can drool…

GPU profile 1

Politics. Seinfeld. Random movie trivia. Sigh. And there is more…

GPU profile 2

 I love Bob Dylan. So much that I even made the ill-advised decision (like many college students do) to hang this over my bed freshman year.

bob dylan poster

Nothing like waking up for 8 am class and looking straight into the eyes of a stoned Bob Dylan blowing smoke into your face.

Anyway, this guy further certified his legitimate fandom by citing his favorite Dylan album, which is actually my second favorite album (Blonde on Blonde is the best. No contest). Plus, in addition to having some good, yet not pretentious, music taste (we’re ignoring the Ryan Adams thing, ok?) he also shared my serious devotion to “Almost Famous” which S and I quote to each other in a completely serious, un-ironic way on a weekly basis. Most recently, this:

Usually walking into a date with high expectations is a bad thing. And people don’t usually live up to their profiles.  But, GPU was BETTER THAN HIS PROFILE. In every single way. I mean, a half hour into the date, he revealed a strong affection for no other than the high priestess of this blog, Veronica Mars.

veronica blush gif

http://giphy.com/search/logan-echolls

He had seen the entire tv series, and could debate with me episode by episode, the characters’ strengths and weaknesses. He knocked my tried and true, Top Three Presidents question out of the park, by naming some of my favorites but offering creative rationales filled with facts I didn’t know. I could go on and on about GPU’s strengths all day, but I won’t, because there is, of course, a more complex story to be told here, and second it is legitimately making me sad.

Anyway, after the date he asked if he could walk me home and I said yes, and he took my hand and even though I abhor PDA, I could not have cared less. And then, a few blocks from my house, he turned and kissed me and my whole body felt like one big firework.

sister act joy

If you have read any of my previous entries on this blog, you know that I am not a romantic person. Nicholas Sparks novels make me gag and I abhor all pastel colors and prom songs. But I am telling you, when he kissed me, I felt like Sister Mary Clarence had just come to the convent and revived our choir. (I mean not because I am a nun. Because that rendition of “Hail Holy Queen” in Sister Act I is the most joyful thing I can recall). Anyway, we went back to my house, where we made out, but did nothing else (please refer to YOLO lesson learned #3 from last week’s post).

Before he left, he waxed poetic about how amazing I was and how “he couldn’t WAIT TO SEE ME after I returned in three weeks” and “ugh, it was such a long time”. But we’ve heard that before. Multiple. Times. So, I shut the fireworky romantic part of my brain up back in the deep dark place it lives, and let my cynical, practical thought process take over. Three weeks were going to pass and he was an attractive, smart, interesting guy who was online dating. It was unlikely I would hear from him again, despite his insistence we see each other ASAP after I got back.

But, when I got back, I gave him a call and we set up a date for a few days later. And that date was similarly excellent, though it did not top the first date. Because I’m pretty convinced nothing could. And he asked me what I was doing the upcoming weekend, and we made plans to see each other. And when he left, he kissed me goodbye and said, “See you this weekend, right?”

Now, as soon as my apartment door closed behind him, I got this weird feeling. And I still don’t know if i should call it general cynicism and fear or if I should call it instinct. But I felt like, wow, things are just going so 100% well. This cannot be real, right? Of course readers, I’d love to tell you my anxiety was misguided, and that all is well.

But instead, I heard nothing from GPU the rest of the week. When the weekend came, I texted him to see what was up:

tom 1

Now, those of you familiar with the world of online dating know that this is probably a lie. I mean,how bad can this cold be? Bad enough to render both your fingers and vocal chords useless so you couldn’t proactively reach out to me to reschedule? Still, I tried to remain optimistic, and I responded with an obligatory sympathy text and some times and dates to reschedule. And then…

crickets

whysoserious.blogspot.com

That’s right. Not a peep from GPU. The same guy, who had declared in my apartment, a few nights earlier, that he “could not wait to see me again.” And for the first time in a long time, I felt RUHL disappointed. First of all, I was dissapointed, because yet again, some guy had told me a bunch of things he didn’t mean. I felt stupid for getting excited about someone, despite my prior knowledge of my own experiences and the experiences of many single women I know, which prove that you really know nothing about a person after two dates (or even 15 dates), and so it’s silly to imagine anything else with him besides the present. And yet, we all do. Because getting excited about the possibility of someone SHOULD be part of the fun of dating, and, not to sound more and more like my sworn enemy Nicholas Sparks, but also the fun part of falling for someone. I was mad at myself for letting my guard down, yet simultaneously pissed that we live in a world so shitty, we need to all walk around with our guard up. Second of all (Oh my god, there’s more?), I genuinely liked this guy and wanted to get to know him better, and I was bummed I wouldn’t get the chance to do that.

After a weekend full of tears comingled with more pleasant summer distractions, I told myself to make peace with the whole thing and just let it go. 

But, then I remembered all the bold proclamations I made on this blog to YOLO. And to call people out when I felt like they were treating me unfairly.

I mean, regardless of what was going on with GPU, I felt like after the dates we had, and the fact that he asked me out again, MULTIPLE TIMES, that he owed me some sort of explanation if he was going to disappear. Veronica would never let someone get away with this.

veronica mars

 

http://sellthekidsforveganfood.tumblr.com/page/2

So, with the courage provided by some booze on a pretty bad date (more on that soon, don’t worry), I reached out to him a couple days later:

tom 2

I mean, believe it or not, the first link is very legit, because we had a very spirited debate about Larry and Piper and OINTB on our last date. (Again. Swoon.) But I didn’t want to send him that text and pretend that nothing weird was going on, so I just put it out there.

Here was his response:

tom 3

Before we give GPU credit for sending a mature, kind message, a few critiques:

  1. Again with the cold. This is 2014, and colds are common as they come, treatable with a variety of drugstore remedies, and do not prevent you from answering a text message.
  2. Don’t act like your moral compass led you “to be honest with me.” I literally demanded you tell me what happened, and then, and only then, did you respond.
  3. This could all be a lie. Like your cold.

Now, let’s put the criticisms aside. And cry, because this is a very decent thing to say to an almost stranger, and he identified such nice, genuine things about me, and, if he’s telling the truth, the timing really does suck. Because, even after a week of thinking about this, I still can’t get GPU out of my head. Look, despite all the complaining I do on this blog, I know I have a pretty good life, relative to most of the world. But at the same time, as I watch my Facebook feed fill with wedding photos of former classmates, and collect baby shower invites on my fridge, I wonder, will I catch a break? Is relationship happiness just a thing other people have, while I’m left to watch my own engagement unravel, and then online date unsuccessfully for over a year?

I realize this post just took a very dark turn, which means it’s definitely time to stop writing, since I intended to pat myself on the back for YOLO-ing, drop the mic, and go watch back episodes of Top Chef on Hulu. 

I mean, the fact remains that I am proud of the way I conducted myself during this brief affair. I was honest about my feelings, and I asked for what I needed. Did I get what I wanted? No. We all know that’s not how life works. (God I hate being an adult.) But there is nothing I wouldn’t have done differently. Except perhaps picked a hipper term for our summer than YOLO (which, according to my hip young colleagues, NO ONE USES anymore unless it’s on ironic bachlorette party tank tops). 

The return of the Good Message Unicorn (or how S learned to not GAF)

Something is happening here at Stucu. Maybe we’ve got the 1.5 to 2 year itch (a figurative itch, people. Gross.) Maybe it’s the recent rejection my co-bloggers and I have endured. Maybe the summer heat is making us crazier than usual…

crazy

Whatever the reason, we have kiiiiind of stopped giving a fuck. About rules. About conventions. Especially about being breezy. When I started online dating, I was fairly preoccupied with not coming off as pathetic or crazy or desperate, to guys, to you readers, to myself, to anyone. I’m not sure where this weird stigma comes from that says single girls in their 20s are batshit insane…

(OH WAIT)

…but I wanted to stay as far away from that stigma as possible.

However. As L mentioned, the more we date, or maybe the older we get, or maybe both, the less this stigma affects and concerns us. Two years into online dating, I’m basically like…

sound of music

Source: www.somegif.com

The other issue is just general human decency. If a guy acts like a douche, I’m feeling less and less inclined to just let it go. We know from experience that the standard of online dating behavior is laughably, pathetically low, but to quote a certain Disney ginger heroine…

Ariel-i-want-more

Source: justgraphicinterchangeformat.tumblr.com

Co-blogger D, what do you think of this GIF? (Co-blogger D has an inexplicably intense hatred for The Little Mermaid, which was my FAVORITE Disney movie as a kid. I know, she’s insane.) (It’s not inexplicable. In fact, I can easily explain it. Ariel is a selfish twat who shits all over her family, signs a deal with the devil, completely changes herself for a man she barely knows, and then is SHOCKED when it all goes awry. That is, until Daddy comes along and, despite all of her bad behavior and poor life choices, fixes everything with magic and gives her exactly what she wants. There is literally nothing to like about that horrid movie, other than “Kiss the Girl.” And Flounder is kinda cute. Yet everyone goes around touting it as great and “a classic.” THAT’S the inexplicable part.) (You see? Insane. Tempting as it is to take the bait and get pulled into D’s crazy world where animated movies for children make total sense and Disney characters are “twats” for not behaving like realistic, responsible adults, I’m going to spare you readers an impending Disney cage match and get back on topic.) (One last thing – the real Hans Christian Andersen version is so much better, and Ariel gets exactly what she deserves. Ok, carry on S, I will now abide by the cease-fire agreement and not comment any further.)

ANYWAY. As you read in her post last week, L and I have christened this summer ‘the summer of YOLO’. (What’s that? YOLO is a thing my roommate’s little sister said two summers ago when she was eighteen? It’s tired and lame and completely over? We can’t hear you, haters, because we’re too busy unironically YOLOing).

Basically, our goal is less of this:

clueless what's wrong with me

Source: rrrrubberbiscuit.tumblr.com

And more of this:

beyonce

Source: www.iworeyogapants.com

Now, for a real life example of this attitude shift in action.

Remember the great message I received literally days after D dumped me? When I was in what some might call a “fragile state” that essentially consisted of sobbing, sleeping, and ordering Thai takeout?

Refresher can be found here. In summary: I received a great message from a cute, seemingly eligible guy but was in no way ready to date again. This Good Message Unicorn and I messaged back and forth a few times until I revealed that I was post-break up and like a newborn foal wobbling around on its shaky little legs out in the single world. I asked him if I could contact him when I was ready to date, and he said that would be great.

Fast forward six weeks. Feeling confident that I was up for sitting across from a stranger over drinks again, I messaged GMU. He messaged back immediately and enthusiastically–WOOHOO! Then I replied, and…

tumbleweed

Source: choualbox.com

You guessed it, readers. Just like the mythical creature for which he was named, Good Message Unicorn disappeared into thin air.

Now, 2013 S? She would have been annoyed, and confused, but she would have dropped it at this point. She would have been afraid to demand an explanation for fear of seeming, well….

But 2014 S? Summer of YOLO S? She’s like…

life goes on

Source: pandawhale.com

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not rolling out some plan to go after every dude who’s ever pulled a fade away. Most of the time, if we haven’t met and a guy disappears, I take it as a sign that he lost interest, shrug it off, and move on. Because most of the time my interest level is only slightly above ‘would rather be watching House Hunters International’ at that point anyway, so it’s no skin off my nose.

But I liked that Unicorn. He had potential, and he seemed pretty into me before he rudely disappeared with zero explanation. I decided I wasn’t cool with things ending this way, so I messaged him. SUMMER OF YOLO, people.

In my message I pointed out that he’d disappeared without warning in the middle of (what I thought was) a great conversation, and told him I wanted to know why. I decided if he’d lost interest, met someone else, or was turned off by something I’d said, whatever it was I could handle it. And more importantly, I wanted to make him say it. No more slinking off like cowards, single men of Okcupid. You jerks.

Use your words

Source: theonlygirlamongboys.blogspot.com

Unsurprisingly, GMU didn’t reply that night, so I thought that was the end of my little experiment. But the next morning I woke up to a semi long-winded response. Allow me to summarize:

  • GMU was super apologetic he’d disappeared and insisted it wasn’t because he’d lost interest
  • He claimed he’d been “really busy at work” and hadn’t had time for Okc lately (sidenote: I call BULLSHIT on this excuse. It had been a week and a half since GMU disappeared, not two days. Are you a brain surgeon? Are you Secretary of State John Kerry and are you currently negotiating a cease fire in Gaza? Oh, you’re not? Then you’re NOT. THAT. BUSY. We all work; we all have a lot going on. If you don’t have literally four minutes out of your day for some human interaction, then don’t join an online dating site and initiate conversations with people. OR alternatively, just shoot me a message saying ‘hey, it’s a crazy week for me but can we meet up next Tuesday for drinks?’ Do I have to bust out the ‘use your words’ GIF again??
  • He claimed he had started to respond to my message, was trying to be witty and funny, never finished it, and by the time he went back to it was afraid too much time had gone by and he’d blown it.
  • He ended with something to the tune of “clearly I’m really bad at this online dating thing, but I’m definitely still interested, so if you’d be up for it, I’d love to take things offline and meet for drinks.”

Hmm. Well. I’d gotten my response. A long-winded response, some of which made no sense, but a response nonetheless. Now the real question was, what was I going to do about it? I briefly considered sassily telling GMU that he had blown it, dropping the mic and exiting stage left…

mic drop ben

Source: theonlygirlamongboys.blogspot.com

….but I thought about what the he’d said, the fact that he’d sincerely apologized, and the fact that he’d ended with getting to the effing point and asking to meet me in person. Sure, I was annoyed that he’d pulled the ‘I’ve been soooo busy’ BS excuse, but he was otherwise appropriately contrite. That’s what I was looking for. So, wouldn’t it make no sense at all to go to all this trouble and then not at least agree to meet this dude who claimed to still be into me? And who I clearly was still into?

1371257249_tumblr_lo9et1q9711qzbyhpo1_500

Source: genius.com

Yup. I YOLO’d again. I messaged back, gave him some shit for the ‘I’ve been busy’ line, gave him my phone number and left the rest up to him and the universe. I was done putting in any effort at this point; if homeboy really wanted to meet me, this was his chance, and I wasn’t doing another thing to make it happen.

Spoiler alert: we did meet. So, was it worth all of that trouble? Did the YOLO approach pay off? Stay tuned, dear readers, for a post on my date with the Good Message Unicorn with answers to these questions and more.

Lastly, D, nice try attempting to have the last word on our Disney feud, but it’s my post. Please enjoy some of the great Disney songs of our time, readers, and have a great weekend!

Textual feelings: My short-lived, mostly virtual, romance with M

Mark my words, in the next fifteen years, there will be a college course on dating, probably cross-listed under psychology and history. I mean, when I was in college, there was already a course, that, according to my loose recollection, was called something like, “Peeping under the Petticoat: Images of female sexuality in popular British magazines.” (Of course, being the gender studies junkie that I am, I think I took it.)

This hypothetical future course on dating would include, at the very least, three hours of course material on text messages, the form of communication that seems to dominate dating these days. We’ve already written about texting a bunch (texting too much, sexting, texting fails, etc) on this site. I personally HATE texting, but believe it’s one of those annoying, but inevitable things that one must do, especially when dating people you’ve never met in person with whom you want to avoid an awkward phone conversation full of long pauses, static, talking at the same time, and asking things like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Can you repeat that?”

But texting too can have its awkward and frustrating pitfalls. I really think this Aziz Ansari clip says it all:

PREACH AZIZ! I hereby declare that the first college course on dating be named: Guess who is uninvited to the pizza party?: Texting and other humiliations you will experience when dating.

A couple months ago, I met a guy who was, at the very least, case study worthy for this course, if not a guest lecturer. His name was M, and he was a scruffy, tall, flannel shirting wearing, sarcastic, sound engineer. He worked at some very well known music venues in DC by night and made extra cash during the day shooting weird documentaries and promotional films for nonprofits and small businesses. Now, as I have alluded to briefly in my other posts, I am not exactly what you would call COOL when it comes to music and pop culture. I often find myself at the bar requesting a combination of Bob Seger and Whitney Houston, depending on what time of the evening it is. I get my clothes at Target (not ironically, for real) and the most recent thing I downloaded on my Ipod may or may not have been the soundtrack to Disney’s Frozen, which I sing along with while I fold my laundry.

C’mon, you’d be blasting this too.

Anyway, M somehow overlooked the lack of coolness on my profile and asked me out. After I agreed to meet, he wrote:

m message

Oh,  how M LOVED to text. But the thing is, he was pretty good at it. Funny, witty, and could keep up with my jokes.

M is a wit

We planned a date for the following week, so had a full week to know each other through text. The weekend before our date, M even drunk texted me.

Now, we all know that I don’t believe in sexting before the first date. Honestly, in my early years of online dating, this may have scared me off. But M played it off well, and soon enough we were joking around.

m drunk text apology

Sometimes, M’s texts reached beyond the point of my understanding. He liked to send me pictures, which was normal enough when he was in vacation in California, but less normal when he was texting me selfies from a brunch downtown. I mean, how many selfies can one woman take before she actually meets the fellow? 

When M and I finally met, I was super psyched to find out a few things about him.

1) He was better looking than in his profile picture. 

2) He was even funnier in person than in text.

3) He had access to free tickets to any show at any live music venue in DC.

M and I proceeded to have, what I thought, was a very good date. Drinks turned to more drinks turned to dinner and then to more drinks. We were joking around like old friends by the time we finished our first beer. I swear to god, readers, it was like a movie-worthy first date. People at the restaurant were literally jealous of our chemistry. The host at the second bar thought I was M’s WIFE. 

After the date, M and I began to walk home (it was 11:00 on a weeknight after all). He lived a block away from the bar and when we got to his door, and said goodbye, he went in for a kiss. And it was a pretty awesome kiss, though it took me by surprise. And then we stopped kissing, and I turned to walk away, and he pulled me back in for a second kiss.

kate and leo kiss

We were basically Kate and Leo at sunset, minus the good looks and the boat. 

We said a goodbye, and he said, “Promise me something. Never let go.” and I said, “I’ll never let go M. I’ll never let go.” And he then he shivered and floated away on a piece of driftwood. 

PSYCH, SUCKERS! What I just described is a scene from James Cameron’s Titanic. But it was almost that magical, I swear. 

The next day, he sent me this:

mysterious pic

What IS that,you ask? I. DON’T. KNOW. I sent the image to no less than three other experts, and they were just as stumped as I was. If you can figure it out, let me know.

So I replied in the only way I thought possible. With another inexplicable picture.

weird dragon photo

Yes, that IS me giving bunny ears to the stuffed dragon in my office. And, don’t worry, the actual photo was sent right side up.

And then, NO RESPONSE. FOR 2 DAYS. I was pretty bummed. I thought the date had gone well. I thought when someone kissed you and said they wanted to see you again, they meant it. I took the absence of his communication as a sign he wasn’t interested in me and sulked around for about a day, and then decided, the chemistry between us had seem so FREAKING GOOD that it was worth one more try. So, I texted him:

The next day, he replied:

M last time i heard from him

WHAT? HUH? I did not know what to make of this response. Was he flirting? Blowing me off? A little of both?

Sure enough, I never heard from M after that inexplicable text, and about one week later, he disappeared from OKcupid altogether.

Date rating: 9.5/10. Like I said, the chemistry going down would make Jim and Pam jealous. I deducted .5 for the two nasty remarks he dropped about his ex girlfriend. Ovaries before bro-varies my friends, even when the ovaries belong to a stranger.

Lesson learned: There is no way to predict what will happen after a date. People often don’t mean what they say, and they have a multitude of reasons for doing what they do. This date definitely contributed to my journey into cynicism.

**Author’s note: For those of you who are wondering about why I am blogging about something that happened around Halloween, please accept my apologies. I went on a man-bender for the last quarter of 2013, and got very distracted by W and some other gentlemen who I will write about shortly. The Chris Christie-esque traffic jam I’ve caused on this blog is one of the reasons I am trying to limit myself to one guy at a time in 2014. (Three weeks in, btw, and I am about .75 of a guy away from this goal. So TGFMA (thank god for my archives)!

Breaking it off is hard to do…

There is a very firm difference between “breaking up” (i.e., ending a relationship) and “breaking it off,” (telling a guy you’re dating that you don’t want to see him again..)

Breaking up is a hideous business. It involves an in-person conversation/fight/world war during which one  or both of you explain your decision to no longer be together. It can, on occasion, involve crying, sobbing, name-calling, psycho-analyzing the other person, diving up your possessions, determining norms for future communication, and dividing up custody of mutual friends/favorite places to go out, etc.

The aftermath involves spending a lot of time in your car sobbing while listening an assortment of the following: Jewel’s “Pieces of You,” Mandy Moore’s “Wild Hope,”  and Taylor Swift’s “Red,” and basically any Kelly Clarkson song ever written.

There may or may not be instances where you find yourself on your couch, eating alternate handfuls of Kettlecorn and PopChips, waiting for your nightly dose of Benadryl to kick in so you can fall asleep in pool of your own tears and snot and grief. (Hypothetically, of course. Personally, I wouldn’t know anything about this.)

donut gif

Breaking it off is a slightly less hideous business. In fact, if a guy is breaking it off with you, it’s pretty easy to endure. One of two things happen:

1) They just disappear (Please see Fade Away for more info on how that looks)

Hmm..wait. That’s the only way I’ve ever personally experienced a guy breaking it off.  (CLASSY, BOYS!) But, in theory, I realize they could also do option 2.

2) Tell you, via text or a very short phone call, that they don’t want to see you anymore. (As I have learned from S, having this conversation IN PERSON is a real No.)

While I’ve definitely been momentarily bummed by the fade away, give me a few shots of Jameson, an episode of PLL, and a short pep talk from S, D, C, or one of my other lovely friends, and I’m over it. I mean, 1 or 2 dates is at max, 6 hours of my life and I’ll forget about that person soon enough.

That said, I don’t love being the one doing the “breaking it off.” I am actually a pretty nice person, despite my fervent hatred of cats and disdain for my peers who aren’t quite proficient in Shakespearean English. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, and hate to think of myself of the cause of even momentary disappointment.

If I’ve only been out with a guy three times or less, then I think it’s fair to break it off by text, especially if that’s how we have communicated previously. When they ask for a repeat date, and I’ve decided I don’t want to go on one, I just say, “No thanks.”

normal rejection

And, you see, they usually take it very graciously. I mean, like I said, most normal people don’t get that attached to one another after  2 interactions, during one of which they were probably drunk. Every once and awhile, though, you’ll get a bit of terrifying push back:

weird rejection

Ginnfer Goodwin? Is that you? HAVE SOME SELF RESPECT!

Anyway, so far,  I’ve been able to skate by, breaking it off by text. But a few weeks ago, I started dating a really nice guy, R. R was, in theory, kind of the perfect guy. Why?

1. He was smart AND hardworking. Intelligence has always been a turn-on for me. I love it when somebody can tell me something I don’t know already, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that a concise, wittily-worded email or text from a guy doesn’t cause a stomach flip. But I’ve usually been drawn to guys who are smart slackers. You know, unmotivated guys who spent most of high school and college smoking weed and cutting class, but got by with a little bit of Adderall and a whole lot of cramming. R was different. This was a guy who was not only naturally smart, but interested in getting smarter. He was good at his job, he cared about what he did, and he was interested in reading, studying, etc. to improve himself personally and professionally.

2. He was actually a nice guy. We all know many men who call themselves nice guys. Most of them aren’t, and I think actually just adopt the term, “Nice guy,” so they can complain about all the things that go wrong for them and make self-pitying comments about “finishing last.” R was a genuinely, nice, polite person. He was interested in making the world a better place, he cared about his friends and family, and he planned the nicest, most thoughtful dates for us.

3. He was an ideal planner and communicator. Dude, did R READ this blog? Did he eavesdrop on a brunch conversation that I had with my girlfriends? Because he did exactly what I wish every guy would do to plan and follow up on dates. He suggested a restaurant I’d been dying to try for our first date, and floated a few dates and times for me to choose from. He didn’t harass me with mindless texting, just to confirm the day before. After each subsequent date, he would follow up with a text to say what a great time he had, and then call to ask when he could see me again and suggest some some possible destinations for us. I cannot tell you how much of a draw this was for me. S and I frequently commiserate about men’s inability to plan ANYTHING. And, as a the bossy oldest child, the bossy colleague, the natural planner in my friend group, I am SO SICK of making decisions. I make decisions all day. I plan things all day. There is nothing that turns me on more than someone else making plans. I mean, if I could write, shoot, and film a porn for women, I would call it “Men Making Plans.” Srsly. And R did that. Flawlessly.

And yet, after 3 dates with R, I had no attraction to him. I tried booze, I tried different lighting, I tried giving myself a pep talk in the bathroom every time he was going to walk me home from the restaurant or bar. But I just didn’t want him to kiss me, and after openly dodging his kiss after date 3, I felt like it was only fair to break it off. So, when he, like clockwork, called the next day to ask me out again, I realized I had to call back and say no, for good.

I consulted several dating gurus before making the call. Here is the wisdom I gleaned, which I will now share with you, dear readers, should you ever have to dole out a lil rejection.

1. Keep it short. No one likes to be rejected. As soon as they hear the word no, they want to peace out, be pissed and a little bummed, and then move on. 

break up image 1

2. Don’t tell anyone your sob story. This advice came from my friend, I, who is the Professor Emeritus of dating in DC (I, please come guest blog for us!!). I wanted to tell this guy that I’d recently gotten out of a serious relationship, and that I just didn’t think I wasn’t ready to date anyone. Shes said, “Look, that sounds fake. And even though it isn’t fake, don’t burden him with your personal baggage. All he needs to know is that you don’t want to see him anymore. Don’t waste his time making excuses just cause it’ll make you feel better.

3. Do it in a timely way. R called me to ask me out again Wednesday. I called him back Thursday and delivered the news. This way, he can move on as soon as possible to someone better.

This wisdom worked. R was super gracious (of course, cause he’s a GREAT guy). I am sure he’s out right now, with some much more emotionally balanced woman, planning fabulous dates.

Real talk: Do I feel great? No. 

hannah girls

Rejecting a good guy definitely wakes up the little voice in my head that keeps telling me to freeze my eggs or look into adoption regulations in post-Soviet states, because I very well might die alone.

But, I’d rather die alone than settle. Right now, at least.

Got any other good wisdom about breaking it off with someone you’re casually dating? Leave it in the comments readers!

Dating Phenomenon: The Fade Away

Rejection. Is it a dish best served straight up, or in a more subtle form? This debate has been on my mind lately because my last two first dates have followed the exact same pattern:

Go on date —> have great time on date —> have date ask me out again —> silence/crickets/tumbleweeds

liz lemon man

You lose some, you lose some. The funny thing is, for a while it was just the opposite: I’d have a mediocre or in a few cases REALLY BAD date, and the guy would basically propose marriage afterwards. Because apparently awkward silence, stilted conversation and overcompensating nervous laughter are like catnip to men! (Don’t forget shifting eyes and stammering. Also signs that the guy will ask you out again so he can repeat the uncomfortable situation.) But of course, I finally have a string of fun, decent dates and the guys disappear into thin air. Oh, life. What a delightful conundrum you are.

So what is the protocol after a first date when you don’t want to see the other person again? Do you formally tell them that, or do you do the classic fade away, loved by men and non-confrontational women the world over?

fade away

And which would you rather have done to you? Six months ago I would have said I preferred the fade away. And don’t get me wrong, if it’s reasonably clear that the other person wasn’t super into me, or they ended the date with something universally neutral like ‘it was nice meeting you’, then yes, the fade away is totally acceptable, thank you very much. Message received. 

But what about when the signals say otherwise? What about when your date 1. leads you to believe that they’re super into you, 2. acts like they had the time of their life and that they’d like to do a partners’ dance routine with you complete with a LIFT to convey their joy and excitement:

and most importantly 3. says, actually says, that they want to go out again? Well then yes, if you change your mind, or you meet someone else, or you have multiple personalities and the one who showed up to our date feels differently than the one who’s currently inhabiting your body, I believe I’m entitled to a small memo letting me know. All it takes is a short text: ‘Hey there, so nice meeting you but I’m not interested in going out again. Thanks and good luck’. A simple courtesy which absolves me of this song and dance of waiting for you to call or text since you know, you said you would, and saves you from earning the title of ‘douchebag’ on my dating blog (see: N; Dwight Schrute). (Editor’s Note: Please know that I went out with a guy who literally hugged me goodbye at the metro shouting, “I WILL MISS YOU SO MUCH WHILE YOU ARE ON VACATION. I AM PUTTING IN MY CALENDAR THE DATE YOU RETURN SO I CAN CALL YOU IMMEDIATELY.” Direct. quote. I mean, I was a little terrified by his theatrics, albeit still flattered. And I am sure you can infer from the post’s UPBEAT tone that I returned from vacation two months ago, and I still have yet to hear from this clown.)

The worst part about getting the fade away after a good date is that it makes you totally question your instincts and your judgment. It makes you feel like you’re the stupid one who somehow misunderstood/misread the situation. Real life example: the first of my two last dates was a lot of fun… M and I hit it off, had great conversation, good chemistry, and made each other laugh. Our date lasted over three hours and there was never a dull or an awkward moment. When we parted ways M said he had an awesome time and asked if I’d like to go out again. I said I had a great time too and that I definitely would. I received this text when I got home:

okc mcg

Ahahaha inside joke from our date. God, M, you are so funny.

Turns out M is also an asshole, because he then totally disappeared. Right after he said “the next time I see you”. So I’m assuming he meant “see you” in, like, an existential way…? 

I recently lamented this phenomenon to L on gchat:

gchat with lela

Preach, L. The “death scenario” is easily the most comforting thought process to go through when you’re on the receiving end of a fade away. Just simply imagine that the person died or at the very least is laying in a hospital bed in a coma somewhere. And who knows? Maybe it’s actually true:

Except the problem with online dating is you can see when people are signed on. And literally every time I get on OKC, there’s M, alive and well, presumably cruising for more girls to fake being infatuated with. He clearly needs to put a hundo in this baby:

dbagjar

That all happened over a month ago. The more recent fade away happened about two weeks ago with a different guy, also an S. Again, we had (or at least I had) a great time… good conversation, lots in common, joking, laughing, little to no awkwardness. Again, the date lasted over three hours. Finally we parted ways. Again, S said that “he had a great time” and then something to the tune of: ‘So I’ll call you/text you later this week about getting together again?’

You can guess where this is going: absolutely nowhere. I got another unsolicited late night text saying ‘had a great time, so nice to finally meet in person’ and then nada. I mean. Gentlemen. If you don’t want to go out again, how hard is it to just say NICE TO MEET YOU at the end of a date and then disappear forever? ‘Nice to meet you’ with nothing else attached is the universal ‘thanks but no thanks’ of dating. If you’re going to pull a fade away, at least do it correctly! 

I originally touched on this subject a few months ago when I wrote about my first fade away after a promising date, and I posted the following clip from the seminal film He’s Just Not That Into You:

I enjoyed this movie as a senseless romcom that allowed me to stare at Ben Affleck for two hours, but the way it portrayed women also pissed me off. Ginnifer Goodwin’s character is such a clueless halfwit in the beginning, and while I sympathized with her single gal plight she also made me cringe. I watched that above scene and just thought, no intelligent, normal adult woman is that naive. No one hears ‘nice meeting you’ and thinks they’re going to marry a guy. No one goes a week without hearing from someone and still thinks they’re going to call.

But what about the M’s and S’s of the world? Why didn’t the movie cover that scenario? Am I a Gigi if I actually expect “Would you like to go out again?” to mean we’re going to go out again? I don’t think so. I don’t think single women are these insane, pathetic creatures who don’t understand how men “operate” if those men are just straight up lying.

Beyond that, if you’ve been following StuCu, you’ve glimpsed who is currently on the market. This guy. And this guy. And this guy. It is tough. times. out here in Singleland. And while I’m certainly not lying awake at night pining away for either of these guys who I met once, I will admit that when a non serial murderer who can actually formulate a sentence comes along, and he doesn’t immediately try to share a troubling sexual fetish on me or insult me to my face, it’s kind of a big deal. So giving me false hope is frankly just cruel and unusual.

We all know dating is hella awkward. Especially because in the beginning, one party is usually more into it than the other. I’ve been on the other side of the coin multiple times, so I know from experience that it’s not fun or easy to tell a nice person that you don’t want to see them again, even if it’s through something as impersonal as a text. Full disclosure: I recently put off rejecting a guy who I’d been seeing on and off just because he was super nice and I felt bad. But I do believe in the golden dating rule, and that’s:

Reject others as you would want to be rejected.

It’s basic human decency and at the end of the day, good dating karma. Although, if my recent dates are any indication, that’s apparently something I don’t have in spades. Which is surprising seeing as I did spend half an hour of my life helping a certain someone find his automobile. Doesn’t that count for something, universe?

 

UPDATE: Our dear friend and loyal reader E shared this in the comment section:

Here I was smugly thinking my post was so original and that I basically coined a new phrase that would quickly take the internet and urban dictionary by storm, when I come to find out it already exists! Good to know. I swear I’ve never heard this song before, Garfunkel and Oates. Please don’t sue me. xoxo

Except in their version, the ladies are the ones being assholes and pulling the fade away. Interesting. As E said in her comment, apparently this practice is so ubiquitous that both sexes have (allegedly) experienced it equally. I’m kind of baffled that these gals have never been on the receiving end, but I totally appreciate their lyrics, which still ring true:

Cause there’s the right thing to do
Then there’s what I’m gonna do
There’s so much I should say
But instead… I do the fade away

The fade away: dating pandemic.