S’s fall dating to do list

Good morning, readers. I trust that we’re all in a…fragile state after a long holiday weekend and the official end of summer.

sobbing-uncontrollably

Source: wifflegif.com

Speaking of the end of summer, how much do you hate me for putting the word ‘fall’ in my post title? I’m like those ill-informed Starbucks executives who think people want to drink pumpkin spice lattes when it’s still 90 degrees out. I know I may be rushing it, but I’m just so. excited. for fall.

so-excited-sbb

Source: popgoesthearts.blogspot.com

Sitenote: DID ANYONE WATCH the Saved by the Bell Lifetime movie?? Was it as horrific/amazing as it looked? Was this iconic scene referenced?

Anyway, if you’ve been following this blog, you may recall that it’s been a somewhat dark summer (darker than Jessie Spano’s pill addiction-hiyoooo), at least in terms of dating. Basically, things started out low and continued to suck pretty much right up until now. The Summer of YOLO, while a an inspiring idea, didn’t lead to much of anything, unless you count L and I continually embarrassing D with our unironic use of the term ‘YOLO’ (a delightful, albeit unintended, bonus). Psyching myself up to just sign onto Okcupid currently looks something like this:

paul-rudd

Source: flavorwire.com

So yeah, mama’s excited to move on from all that (and to stop designing my date outfits/hairstyles around how much I’ll inevitably be sweating. East coast humidity is no joke, people.) Fall always feels like a fresh start, and it’s a great opportunity to hit the reset button on my tired dating practices. With that in mind, I’ve outlined my fall dating plan for you lovely readers because 1. posting it here will hold me accountable to actually do these things, and 2. I currently have no actual dates to tell you lovely readers about #datelessdatingblogger.

S’s Fall Dating To Do List

  • Update the ol’ profile pic–I have an assortment of cute pictures from this summer where I look arguably tanner than my pasty self has ever looked, and as we’ve covered previously, profile pics are pretty much the only things Okcupid users pay attention to. So why the hell haven’t I uploaded those babies? I’ll change that ASAP before I go back to looking like a Vitamin D-deficient basement dweller. Done.
  • Brainstorm new first date locales, and be open to unorthodox suggestionsI’m not saying I plan to retire my go-to first date suggestion, because it’s convenient and I love it. But there’s something to be said, I think, for throwing out a fresh location, mainly because at this point in my online dating…career… I have a lot of history in my standard bars. For instance, I couldn’t help but think, while being fist-bumped by the Good Message Unicorn outside Strangelove’s, that just over a year beforehand I was having the best first kiss after the best first date of my life. Right there in that very spot. Oof, was that depressing. Depressing and unnecessary. There are plenty of bars in the city and damn it, I’m going to try some new ones (I realize I have to actually secure a date first, but shhhh details). Also, if hell freezes over and a date actually makes a non-bar suggestion, unless that suggestion is ‘Tea Party rally’ or ‘anonymous orgy’, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and just say yes.

staying in

Source: the-girlieshow.tumblr.com

I really only started to think about this after reading L’s tale of downgrading her first date location and remembering that I’ve also pulled that move (making two out of three Stucu bloggers the worst!) Last year my ex, D, who was an unusually thoughtful planner, suggested go karts for our second date. I remember thinking at the time that this suggestion was totally random and weird (which let’s be honest it kind of was) so I pushed for a bar instead. But looking back now, all I can think is, what the hell was wrong with me?? A cute guy was attempting to plan shit, fun and different shit, for us to do. I should have done it! I should have capitalized on dating a planner while I could, loosened up and had some fun, because Lord knows I may be waiting a long ass time (read: forever) for that to come along again.

  • Try Hinge, because co-blogger D is having wild success on it–Okay, “wild success” might be a slight overstatement, but co-blogger D’s been thrown some seriously eligible bachelors in our extended social circle in the week that she’s been using Hinge, including a college friend of L’s who she and her friends refer to as “the one that got away”. Okay, Hinge. I’ll bite. Let’s do this (comically, I just tried to download the Hinge app while writing this and it made my phone semi explode. Foreshadowing?)
  • Don’t be an asshole about replying to messages and then complain incessantly about messages–Real talk, I will never not complain about messages. That’s just a totally unrealistic goal. But I am going to work on being a more decisive replier. Example: sometimes I will get a message from someone who seems kind of meh, and I’ll mentally earmark him as a ‘maybe’, but really I only mean ‘maybe if I’m bored or there’s no one else promising or I stalk an ex on social media and feel bad about myself’. L revealed a similar pattern of hers in her delightfully real post last week (seriously can we all tell how inspired I was be her realness?) As my girl pointed out, this is kind of a dick move, and if we’re going to call dudes out for being dicks, well, we’re going to put ourselves on blast, too. In the future, I’m going to try to give every message a simple yes or no, and move the hell on.
  • Stop taking everything so personally–If you online date, you know how easy it is to take “I’m not getting any good messages” and twist it into “I’m not getting any good messages

 clueless what's wrong with me

Source: sarabynoe.com

In other words, just because it’s been a slow, shitty summer date-wise doesn’t mean this is about me. People have been outside, on vacay, enjoying the beautiful weather and living their damn lives. Everyone is on Okc and other sites less, and the people who aren’t tend to be looking for a casual summer fling/jump off. It’s been a slow summer for almost every single person online dating that I know, and if it hasn’t, congratulations/I hate you/please don’t tell me about it and just let me live in ignorance believing this theory. Thanks!

  • Continue to gleefully boycott and malign eHarmony–You didn’t think my to do list included giving that wretched site my money, did you? HA! I’ll see you in hell, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, before that happens. What I can promise is to follow up on my original post with some more hilariously awful things I encountered during my tenure as a fake free member of the site. Because as L said when I asked her if a second eHarmony post was overkill: “Hating on eHarmony will never go out of style, on this blog or in life”. Wise words, Lady L. Wise. Words.
  • Repeat the affirmation: your time will come. This is some serious zen shit, am I right? It goes hand in hand with one of my favorite quotes that I may need to have tattooed on my forehead by the time I turn 30: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” God damn, Teddy Roosevelt, not only were you a bonafide badass, but you also threw down some sage advice. Seriously, though, I have to stop focusing on what everyone else has (successful relationships/boyfriends/fiances/husbands) trust that things will work out some day, and just continue to do me. While I wait for someone else to do me. HAHAHAawkwardsexjokethatmymomwillread. Basically…patience. I need some. And now this beautiful song is in my head:

Lest you think I’m making a wildly ill-advised attempt to compare my silly little dating woes to the Civil Rights Movement, let me assure you that I really just love the Dreamgirls soundtrack. A lot. And I wanted us all to rock out to this amazing jam. So enjoy, maybe with a pumpkin spice latte?

Just kidding, it’s 92 degrees here.

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What D’s Perfect Relationship Looks Like, According to Science

Get comfy everyone, maybe even grab a snack, because this post is loooong.

To maximize blogging dating potential, I’m on a few different sites (all free ones because I’m cheap). One of them offered a “relationship needs assessment.” As far as I can tell, they don’t use the results to actually match you with other people on the site who meet your relationship needs, it’s basically just a psych assessment by a computer algorithm based on 100 statements and my responses of “Not at all Like Me”, “Somewhat Unlike Me”, “Somewhat Like Me”, or “Much Like Me”. A few samples:

I feel loved when my partner celebrates my birthday with a gift. DUH! Who doesn’t?
I worry that my romantic partners will not care about me as much as I care about them. Sounds like something I should be talking to a therapist about,  not a dating website.
As a sexual partner, I try to be neat. I don’t even know what this means, but I’m pretty sure being neat is pretty far down on the list of things I’m thinking about…
Love comes but once in a lifetime. Santa and the Easter Bunny are real too.
I feel loved when my partner helps me out with chores. I guess I feel loved, but mostly I just feel annoyed we’re doing chores.
 

Obviously I sat down and filled that shit out. The results were broken down into nine categories. As with most things like this, my results were a mix of accurate and hilariously inaccurate. Behold:

Interdependence: how much you need dependency or a “couple identity” with your partner.

We started off pretty accurate. It said that I need someone who reciprocates a strong feeling of attachment to a partner, but who also respects and copes well with the fact that I like some independence (or as they called it, “physical and psychological space at times”). Truth. Both because I think it’s important and healthy to have a separate identity from your partner, and because if I spend too much time with just one person, even someone I love, I tend to want to throw them off a cliff. I once spent a week with my two best friends at a beach house in Rhode Island, and I still go into a blind rage at the mention of Block Island. What should have been a minor disagreement (that I was unfortunately on the wrong end of) turned into a huge fight, and the underlying issue was 80% cabin fever on my part (and 20% my hatred of being wrong). They’re both laughing as they read this (luckily they’re still friends with me). It was ten years ago, and I’m still not laughing. Block Island was very lovely, but I legitimately hate that place. I hate an island that I visited for one day. So a bit of independence in a relationship can only be a good thing for me.

Intimacy: how much you need emotional closeness with your partner.

Allegedly, I am very comfortable with being intimate and vulnerable with a partner and people like me have big hearts and an impressive openness to our partners, including extending trust. Not to get too serious or all therapy session on you, but this is pretty off, at least as far as trust goes. I’m definitely not comfortable being vulnerable or extending trust, for a variety of reasons which aren’t very interesting. I’m working on it. The results also said that I am willing to act on the belief that my partner’s feelings are equally as strong/important as mine, and though I’m not perfect I do try never to belittle or invalidate other peoples’ feelings just because I don’t agree with those feelings. We broke even here.

Self-Efficacy: your self-image, stability of mood and level of motivation.

This one is my favorite. My answers apparently gave the impression that I am “patient”, “calm, cool and collected most of the time”, “likely do not overreact to circumstances as others might do”, and am “able to maintain a balanced perspective on situations.” Excuse me while I go change because I peed myself laughing. Recent examples of my calm, cool, collected, balanced perspective include: 1) texting two EMTs and an orthopedic surgeon (?) because my eye was twitching “weird” and I was convinced that I had an unruptured brain aneurysm that was pressing on my optic nerve and WHAT SHOULD I DO?; 2) spending the better part of an hour researching causes of throat cancer because my throat was scratchy and they had discovered some mold in the drywall and insulation of my office; 3) drafting an (unenforceable) last will and testament every time I get a sinus infection; 4) laying down in the hallway of my apartment building, crying because there was a bird in my apartment; and 5) throwing away an otherwise perfectly good garbage can because the bag had leaked leaving the bottom of the can gross, and buying a new garbage can was more appealing than the more responsible act of simply cleaning out the old one. And that’s all within the last year four months. I’m 28, that’s just a drop in my very composed bucket… I call shenanigans on this test.

Relationship Readiness: how prepared you are emotionally, psychologically and pragmatically for a committed relationship.

I have a good foundation and appear pretty much ready and willing to find a committed relationship. Go me! But maybe I got this result only because I tricked the test into thinking I have a balanced perspective and am generally calm, cool and collected. Whatever, I’m going to take this as a sign that I’m navigating being a grown up somewhat well, which was actually pretty unclear to me based on things like #s 4 and 5 above. Since I’m such an emotionally mature person, they told me that I need someone who is also awesome at life and wants a relationship, rather than needs one to feel personally fulfilled. Accurate. I don’t ever want to be something someone needs. I want to be something they want, but can survive without. Maybe we’re getting back on track…

Communication: your approach to interpersonal interactions and level of emotional intelligence.

Breaking News: I need someone who will not put up emotional barriers as to their thoughts and feelings, but will communicate with me. Correct – I do need that. In fact, I’m pretty sure every healthy relationship needs that.

Conflict Resolution: your stress management and problem solving skills.

I scored in the range of people who do not “consistently consider the Proper Atmosphere when addressing relationship problems.” More specifically, I neither consistently arrange for a mutually acceptable time and setting, nor choose my opening statement carefully to establish positive yet realistic expectations. So I need someone who is actually calm, cool and collected and is willing to address issues spontaneously (read, when I decide it’s time to address them). Perhaps I was a little premature calling shenanigans…

Sexuality: your needs (frequency, boundaries, expressions) related to physical intimacy.

My sexual needs are apparently “best described as fairly conservative compared to most other people, yet you are no prude.” I need someone who sees sex as romantic and fun and especially who will like to be submissive to my sexual desires. I’m not actually going to comment on this assessment, not because it’s right or wrong, but because I’m virtually incapable of talking about anything sexual. But I felt like I’d be somehow deceiving all you readers if I omitted this part, so there you have it.

Attitudes Toward Love: your level of needs for romantic love and friendship love.

I was informed that there are two types of love: romantic love and companionate love. Turns out I’m a hopeless romantic with a touch of realist. But it goes on to say that people in this range commonly view their partner as their soul mate. SOOOO, that “touch of realist” line was a load of crap then. Despite my deep love for The Princess Bride (Columbo! Kevin Arnold! And most of all, Westley! Dreamy Westley saying “as you wish”, which is like the most romantic thing any guy could ever say to me), there’s no such thing as destiny or soul mates. Shenanigans again (unless Ryan Gosling shows up at my door, then I’ll have no choice but to believe in both).

Preferred Expressions of Affection: your likes and dislikes for different ways a partner can express love and devotion.

My answers indicated that I need someone who expresses love with gifts. I don’t like how materialistic that makes me seem, but I also love gifts, so I can’t pretend like they’re wrong about me. My results went on to say that when it comes to my partner expressing affection, I like simple things such as them telling me how they feel, spending time with me, or remembering special occasions with a thoughtful gift. There we go with the gift thing again, but this time it sounds nicer.

So – did I learn anything new about myself or what I need from a relationship? Nope. Even though I’m no psychology expert, and have barely managed to stay alive since my parents stopped putting a roof over my head and food on the table, I am self-aware enough to already know that I need to be in a relationship with someone who 1) can communicate, 2) is calm to balance out my batshit-crazy, and 3) buys me presents. Which is pretty much the gist of that lengthy assessment. But it was entertaining enough reading all the questions and what my answers “said” about me, so it was time well spent I say. And bonus – in addition to all the above insights, I was provided with some very helpful questions that I could ask dates to determine whether or not they fit the bill of what I need. They were so awesome that I need to feature them all on their own, so look forward to that!

-D