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

 

Happy One Year Anniversary (of still being single) to me!

That’s right, folks. It’s the one year anniversary of my infamous first okcupid date. A lot has happened in a year; some good, some bad, some laughable, and mercifully, plenty that’s blogworthy. And while it’s tempting to focus on this fact:

mindy single

there are plenty of other things to discuss. For instance, I thought you’d all like to know that G, or as my friends and I fondly refer to him, “the guy who couldn’t find his car”, reappeared a few weeks ago! After our terribly awkward first date he asked me out again and I politely declined, and that was that. For a year. Until I received this message:

g message

I swear, I have awkwardness PTSD from my date with G, and this message sent me into a full on Nam flashback. Initially I was so confused by the bizarre subject that I didn’t even process the improper grammar, the emoticon, the spelling of ‘hiccup’ and ‘recurrence’ (I’m going to give him a pass on ‘therefore’ and assume it’s a typo. Please, let it be a typo).  God, this is embarrassing to share with you all because frankly I can’t believe I went out with this person.

I actually went out with this person.

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Please note that it was sent at 2:59 am. He was drunk, right? He had to be drunk. That would make me feel better so I’m going to go ahead and believe it.

As for the subject, it took me a few minutes to process what he was talking about, but then a light bulb went off in my head. I’d forgotten this detail of the date completely until G INEXPLICABLY brought it up again. Besides the fact that he was a nervous, stammering mess who lost his car on the mean streets of Old City Philadelphia, at one point in the evening G took a sip of his drink, tried to say something, went into an insane coughing fit and semi started to choke. Then, when he finally stopped coughing, he proceeded to get the hiccups (badly) but rather than just ignore them and try to move on, he repeatedly brought attention to the whole thing by exclaiming how weird it was, how it’s never happened to him before, etc etc. Oh God, the awkwardness. I can’t even. But the absurdity of the rest of the date actually eclipsed the coughing incident so completely that I totally forgot to mention it in my original post! Until now.

And as for ‘my overwhelming beauty’…it’s technically a nice thing to say, but it’s also wildly exaggerated and disingenuous. Most importantly, G, we went out a year ago and I said I didn’t want to see you again, so if I may: 

Luckily, I’ve come a long way since that date, and I definitely don’t feel like such a hapless amateur roaming the streets searching for a stranger’s Chevy. Here are some of the biggest things I’ve learned in my year of online dating:

  • People lie about what they look like.
  • A good profile does not necessarily = a good date. This may be the biggest revelation I’ve had since starting this thing. Men were presenting themselves as these awesome, fun, witty, gregarious people online, and I’d meet them and they’d be dull as bricks. And yes, I’m sure men experience this with women as well (possibly even with me). I think the takeaway from these two points is that online dating requires you to basically sell yourself, and more often than not, people sell who they want or perceive themselves to be rather than who they actually are. So it’s tough to “meet” someone online, form expectations based on your messages and their profile, and then almost inevitably be disappointed when you meet in person. Therefore…
  • The less time you spend messaging online with someone, the better. No matter how awesome someone’s profile is or how great they seem over messages, texts, or emails, you’re never going to know how you really feel about them until they’re sitting in front of you. Even if you know you like them, you don’t know if you’ll have chemistry. So if a guy has messaged me but is taking his sweet time asking me out (and trust me, many do), a year ago I would have been irritated and confused, but I probably would have waited it out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still irritated:

meryl

But now rather than just stew about it, mama gets down to business…

  • Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Do not fear rejection. I’ve been both the rejector and the rejectee, and while being on the receiving end may have caused me to do a bit of this:

gretchen weiners                                                                                          

I totally survived, and I definitely don’t take it as personally when it happens now. Everyone is on the site for the same reason (correction: most people are on the site for the same reason. I was once propositioned for a threesome by a couple with a joint profile. So admittedly not everyone has the same end game) and as a friend of mine likes to say, there’s no way you can become more single, so you have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there.

  • Screen, screen, screen. Before you say yes to a date or ask someone out, go immediately to the ‘unacceptable answers’ section of their okcupid questions. This conveniently lists all of the questions that are important to you which the person answered “incorrectly”. You may discover, for instance, that your potential date has rape fantasies, believes homosexuality is a sin or (LSD’s personal favorite) thinks THE EARTH IS BIGGER THAN THE SUN. Better to know these things up front than to waste your Wednesday night discovering these horrors over craft beers when you could be on your couch watching Nashville. AS YOU CAN SEE, I did not screen my first date properly. In fact I shudder to think of the time I wasted in the beginning by not doing this immediately, but boy have I learned my lesson since. 
  • Despite the annoyances, dating can be fun. Talking about it can be even more fun. I’ve met some pretty cool people this year, had interesting conversations, discovered new bars and restaurants, played quizzo, seen movies and plays, and even done a few things that I can’t mention on this blog (hi, mom!). Even with the rejection and confusion that online dating often brings, I don’t regret doing it for a second. Especially since I now have an incredibly fun and satisfying way to chat about my experiences and vent my frustration when I inevitably encounter an asshole or two. So thanks, dear readers. Here’s to you!

leo gif

(God, how does Leo still look so good?)