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. 

925419 - EAT PRAY LOVE

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

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/04/03/six-ways-texting-is-ruining-dating

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

http://www.mycandylove.com/forum/t30444,22-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

http://giphy.com/gifs/whNK1SAMSQjwQ

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!

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Hey, boys. I have a dating blog. Want to go out with me?

One of the first questions I’m asked when people learn that I co-author a dating blog is: do you tell the guys you go out with about it? The answer, to many people’s surprise, is yes. Have I actually allowed my dates to read our blog? No, no I have not. I struggled with what to do about this in the beginning. Common sense told me that revealing to a near stranger that I have a dating blog on a first date might not be the most stellar addition to my five year “Operation: Do Not Become a Crazy Cat Lady” plan, but over time I changed my tune. Here’s why:

1. It’s something to talk about. Dear God, it’s something to talk about. I’ll talk about the Taft Hartley Act if it means we can avoid awkward silences where we both take huge gulps of our drinks and glance nervously around for the nearest fire alarm we can pull.

2. It’s something (sort of) interesting about me. Real talk: I don’t have many “hobbies”. Sure, I have interests. I do things with my friends. I read and keep up on the news and see movies and go to bars and restaurants and cook and take trips and bla bla bla, but so do most people. Things that can actually be classified as true hobbies, though…I kind of come up short.

chelsea handler sit on my ass

I’m not a DJ or local acting sensation. I don’t run marathons (ha! I’d rather be killed). I’m not a classically trained pianist (incidentally my neighbor downstairs actually is, and I feel like I’m living out the plot to Anna Karenina every night when I get home and Rachmaninoff is coming through my floor).

My point is, sometimes dating feels a little like that first job interview after college when you’re basically trying to convince a potential employer that you’re totally qualified and skilled and amazing, even though you’re also not providing them with a tonnnnnn of evidence to support those claims. It’s hard to find a happy medium between selling yourself like a Billy Mays infomercial (oh man he’s dead isn’t he? Whoops.) and coming off as the girl who legitimately spends 80% of her life watching DVR (FYI, it’s really more like 30% when you factor in work and sleep). So this is something interesting about me. And I want to share it, however much it may potentially horrify or scare my date. Mind you, I don’t shout at the first possible moment: FYI I HAVE A DATING BLOG. I try to let it happen more…organically. E.g:

S: So, you’re a journalist? Very cool. I like to write, too. What do you typically write about?

Date: Blablabla small talk. So, you mentioned you like to write?

S: I do.

Date: What do you write about?

S: Well actually, my two friends and I started a blog earlier this year.

Date: That’s awesome! What’s it about?

Which brings me to…

3. It’s a test. If you follow this blog, you may recall that I’m a huge fan of tests. Basically I like to administer small social experiments on my subjects (I’m sorry, dates) and make conclusions based on my data. These may or may not be accurate conclusions, but let’s not ruin the fun by worrying about that! Here’s what I tell my date (in my own brand of breezy hilarity):

  • My two friends and I have an online dating blog
  • We have a lot of fun writing it
  • it’s totally anonymous. We don’t use our names or the names of our dates.
  • We do it because we’re interested in sharing our experiences and talking about all the funny, crazy things that happen to us.

Once I’ve laid out those basic facts, there’s no need to freak out. Because frankly, it’s really not that big of a deal. I’m not revealing to you that I’m Gossip Girl (also can we talk about how Gossip Girl was Dan Humphrey and not Dorota? What’s that, you say? I’m literally the only person in my age bracket who watched that awful show til the bitter end?)

dorota

After I drop the “blog bomb”, most guys are a little taken aback at first but quickly recover and then want to know every detail. A brief Q&A with my date typically follows:

Date: Can I read it?

S: No, sorry, I don’t think it’s a good idea at this point.

Date: What’s it called?

S: Again, nope.

Date: Can you tell me a funny dating story?

S: Sure. (*Insert dating story*)

Date: Wow that is pretty funny. Are you trying to turn it into a book or something?

S: Absolutely. Mindy Kaling is our spirit animal.

mindy eat pray love

Date: Are you going to write about me?

This is my cue to sassily (and somewhat gleefully) say:

Only if you do something worth writing about.

To soften that blow, I follow it up by letting dudes know this policy: I try not to write about anyone in real time. In other words, if I’m going out with you, I’m not going to run home after every date and immediately spill all the dirty deets to the internet (unless we’re working on a post about who pays and my date asks me to split the sushi. Sorry, K). In general, though, I’ll wait until I know I’m definitely not seeing the guy again to dish to you lovely readers.

shoshanna classy

I know. Thanks, Shoshanna.

4. Calm down. We’re not exactly famous. Yet. Yet, damn it. Give us time. This is certainly not a slight against our excellent and loyal readers who for reasons beyond comprehension keep coming back three times a week to hear us complain about boys (you guys are the best!). But let’s be real. If we took away our family, friends and the people reading who are directly connected with our family and friends, oh and let’s not forget the pitchfork wielding people of Reddit, we’d have what? Four readers? Maybe? So it’s not like this shit is being published in Vanity Fair (again, yet). Although my mom, ever our biggest cheerleader, seems to think we’re mere moments away from getting our big break. A few months ago L and I were at my parents’ house and the following exchange occurred:

Mom: I think you guys should write for a magazine.

L and S: We’d love to.

Mom: You should get that going soon. Maybe Vogue (Vogue. Omg she’s my favorite).

S: How, mom?

Mom: Who do we know in publishing?

S: …No one?

Clearly my mother was having a Miranda Priestley moment (happens to the best of us):

So unless my mom is spreading wild rumors to the men of OKC that Stucu is being courted by major publishers, which let’s be honest she may actually be doing, our humble little WordPress blog should not send grown ass men into a tailspin.

5. If you’re a nice guy, I probably won’t talk about you. Well, that’s not exactly true. The guy who couldn’t find his car was technically a nice guy, but he also lost his automobile in broad daylight and suffered from crippling social anxiety, so my hands were kind of tied with that one. What I’m trying to say is, I’ve been out with a number of nice, normal dudes who I’ve never mentioned on this blog, because there was nothing worth mentioning. But if something goes down on a date, pretty much the first thing that pops into my head is ‘Yup. This is definitely going on the blog.’

In fact, this has become a running joke with more than one guy I’ve gone out with. If something awkward or weird happens, multiple guys have been like, “Uh ohhhh, this is so going on your blog, I know it is!” One guy even called me out on our first date when the check came. He looked at me and said, “I bet you and your friends talk about who pays on your blog. I bet there’s a right and a wrong way for me to handle this….hmmm what to do, what to do.” I actually enjoy this reaction the most… it should be something we can joke about. Because come on, it’s funny! Guys who show me that they’re cool with it earn major points in my book (I told you it was a test!).

I do wonder sometimes if any of the guys I’ve told have found the blog. They’d have to care an awful lot, and be pretty good sleuths, but I guess it’s possible. In fact, I was going out with a guy recently who called me to tell me that he’d started seeing someone else (music to a single 28 year old’s ears), and after dropping that bomb on me he proceeded to smugly predict that I’d write about the whole experience (what a narcissist! although obviously yes, he was correct). Here’s what he actually said:

H: I’m sure you’ll write about this whole thing on your blog, and I’m sure it will be really funny and great. I can’t wait to read it.

Me: Except I never actually told you my blog’s name.

H: Oh, I’m really good with computers. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding it.

Me: It’s anonymous. So I think you will.

H: Oh. Damn it.

Me: Yeah. This exchange is also going on there, FYI. Have a nice life, dickweed*.

*I didn’t say dickweed. I should have said dickweed! Because what a jerk. As always, Mindy says it best:

mindy kaling gestures