Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mutual Respect

So I was seeing this woman from out of town for about 2 months. Like I said previously, she never seemed to want to talk on the phone or communicate via email. When we hung out, we seemed to hit it off exceptionally well. Our dates consisted of either me going down there to meet her or her coming here for a day of hanging out. Each date was different and I tried to keep things creative.

The dates were roughly spaced out over the span of bi-weekly, but I did notice that she seemed to be scheduling me for times when she didn’t have anything else going on. In other words, she wasn’t trying to make room in her social schedule for me, she was penciling me in when a spot appeared. This didn’t bother me too much since it was an effort to make the road trip and we’re both adults with fairly busy lives. The nagging feeling in my head was that she wasn’t making as much of an effort as I was.

On our last date, we eventually ended up at this swanky upscale lounge that overlooks the city. We sat around and talked about nothing of real consequence. It seemed to me to be a pretty good date. There was some making out as there had been throughout most of the day. Eventually the conversation switched to the serious side when I told her that I was digging on her and needed to address the 600 pound gorilla in the room… If we kept moving ahead in a relationship, would she be willing to move away from her hometown?

To her credit, she answered truthfully and confessed that this was something that had been weighing on her mind. She said she really didn’t know the answer to that question and couldn’t say one way or the other. After that, we changed the subject and eventually went to dinner. The physical contact was still present and conversation was back to more lighter and fun-hearted topics. At the end of the night, we kissed goodbye and she went home.

Over the next 3 days we exchanged emails. I told her I hoped she wasn’t freaked out by our brief spurt of “serious talk.” In her response, she said it was something that she didn’t look forward to talking about but agreed that we should have all of our cards on the table.

Ten days went by and I hadn’t heard any responses or returned phone calls from her. On top of that, we had made tentative plans for the coming weekend. Since I hadn’t heard from her, I started to wonder if I was being blown off, so I called… No answer. By the time Friday rolled around, I wrote her a message and said since I hadn’t heard from her, I guess it was safe to assume she was no longer interested. I haven’t heard anything back since than.

That was a month ago. I still wonder what spooked her off, but my gut says it was probably the prospect of eventually leaving her hometown. The killer is that if she came forth and said this was it, than it wouldn’t bother me as much.

I’m not a petty person and I certainly have my faults, but this really bothered me. As people in our thirties, it seems to me that we should be mature enough to have the courtesy to return messages. Its actually rude and childish not to. So, once again I go back to the question, was this the right girl for me? And if not, than what was wrong with her? Eventually, the answer came to me. A person who thinks its okay to treat people like that is not the type of person I want to be with. There’s a level a mutual respect in every relationship and in this case, I was not given the respect that I afforded her.

This seems to have been a common thread in a couple of my recent dating experiences. Has the level of respect that people afford one another dropped significantly in recent years? Why is it all of a sudden okay to behave like this and why are people letting others get away with it?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blast from My Past

So I met up with a woman who I met over 15 years ago at a club one night. We messed around that night 15 years ago and than talked on the phone for a couple of weeks after that. That was when I was a freshman in college. Lo and behold, we happen to run into eachother on an online dating website back in October (actually, I approached her without realizing who she was initially). Anyhow, we made plans to meet up and had gone on a couple of dates. The first one was the typical dinner and talking. We ended up at a local bar for drinks. At the end of the night I walked her home and gave her a hug goodnight. I must say that I felt a bit like I had to carry most of the conversation and she really didn't initiate much of it. This woman is really career oriented, loves what she does and seems to have a fairly active social life. And yet I wasn't too into the conversation. I think what kept me interested is the fact that she is quite beautiful and we have some common interests. Specifically, we are both fairly health conscious and dedicated to working out.

After the first date, we talked and eventually made plans to meet up again. Our second date was another dinner and a movie. I don't know if it was me or her, but it felt awkward. I was tempted to make a move a couple of times, but something kept nagging at me and saying don't do it. Was I possibly reading her body language?

I figured I go for a third date and see how things worked out. We initially made plans to meet up one weekend, but than things didn't work out. At some point, I felt like I was making the effort and she was not reciprocating or just going along for the ride. We talked about meeting on a Friday night and than she said she could only meet for a short dinner because she had friends coming to town. Now with the commute for me to get into the city on a Friday and than her calling it an early night, I would have spent 3 hours driving down and back for a 2 hour dinner. I told her this and said it wasn't worth it. (Maybe a bit too harsh)?

I haven't heard from her since and yet it hasn't bothered me either. I guess thats the ultimate tell tale.

She wants no talk

So I haven't posted in a while, so thee next couple are going to jump around a bit...

Lately, I've been on several dates with a woman who my family set me up with. She lives out of town, so the first time we met up, I went to meet her. We met for lunch and than browsed around some museums a bit. We seemed to hit it off. Our conversation was good, she was down to earth and I got the feeling we have similar interests. There was some joking around and a couple of awkward moments, but nothing really bad. We ended the date with a nice hug and than I got in my car and drove back home.

The next time we met, she came up her. I cooked lunch and than we went out to a local flower garden. Once again it was a pretty good time. We spent a lot of time talking as we walked around the gardens and really just got to know eachother. We ended the night with a respectful kiss and than she took off to head home.

The lastest date, was back down there. I went down and spent 2 days down there. We went to a couple of different places, some movies and more of the same getting to know eachother. It was cool. We did make out a bit, but nothing above a rated PG.

The hesitation on my part was because I can't figure her out. Most girls I meet want more attention and phone time. This girl on the other hand, doesn't seem to want to talk on the phone or communicate much outside of the times when we meet face to face. This is really different than what I'm used to. I actually have mixed feelings about it. Part of me likes the no pressure, laid back approach to this. The other part of me finds this weird and can't understand it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Animal Tries to be a Gentleman

Ask most girls I’ve dated. They will tell you, I was an animal. Not that I was mean or abusive, I was just really rough around the edges. I think I’ve improved over the years, but when I’m with my good old friends, the beast still comes out. This is the Frank the Tank, chugging, pissing, cursing animal. Its far and few between now, but its still been known to happen.

After a series of unsuccessful dates, I’ve decided its time for me to become a gentleman. Its time to turn on the mental filter that I’ve been ignoring for the past 15 years and listen to what it says. Let’s see if I can actually meet someone nice this way. Good idea right? I’m sure its been tried before. I can still be funny and make crude jokes, but don’t take it to the next level. I can still sit close to a woman, but don’t be Mr. Creepy Hands. I can still have some drinks, but don’t go so far that I forget how the night ended. Basically don’t do anything that makes her regret agreeing to go to dinner with me.

So I tried this out. This is the improved new me. Shaved, showered, early, bright smile and clean clothes. Holding open doors, picking up the tab, complementing not just looks but accessories too (and I mean genuine compliments, not empty shit). When we walk down the street, I offer my arm. When we get to the restaurant, I wait for her to be seated. Maintain eye contact. Don’t look at other girls in the area. Nothing fancy, just the way a guy should treat a lady. Don’t try and push for a kiss goodnight. Just get a hug. Call the next day and (if I really mean it) thank her for a lovely evening.

I can’t believe the reaction. Is it me or are women not accustomed to being treated like this? They really seem to get confused by my good behavior. I don’t ham it up, but even the slightest gestures seem to have them amazed. One of my typical dating questions goes like this: If the woman seems to have it all together (brains, personality and looks) I eventually say “You seem to be a really good person, how is it that you’re still single.” The answers I get amaze me. Most say something along the lines of the guys I meet are weirdoes, creepy, cheap, lecherous, expectant, rude to wait staff, mean, pushy. You get the picture.

This is amazing. As males, have we taken such a step down in life that we don’t know how to treat a lady anymore. Why can we somehow hold down very successful jobs in prestigious professional careers (doctors, lawyers, financiers, engineers, entrepreneurs) and yet when we put on our party clothes, we turn into animals. I am occasionally still guilty of the same but I never knew it had gone this far.

Its gone so far that women no a days actually expect it. They are genuinely surprised when you aren’t an asshole. Go figure. I joke with a friend of mine and say I’m giving this whole gentleman thing a try, but truthfully, I really want to stick to it. I figure I can have a reputation either way, I just think I’m better off having one I can be proud of. One that I can tell my parents and younger siblings about.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Every Woman Wants to Be in Sex In the City

So, I am back on the dating scene. Or at least attempting to be on the scene. There seems to be a procedure to all of this. I probably don’t have all the components, but I’ve got the general formula figured out.

It starts with the introduction. In my case, this is usually off of an online dating website. I express interest in them or they express interest in me. This proceeds to mutual acceptance and an exchange of contact info. This is the first test. Through a series of email conversations, can you intrigue this woman to want to know more about you but not say too much and scare her away? A delicate balance of releasing and withholding information ensues. I’ve been guilty of erring on the side of both too cautious and too much information. Sometimes, I still make a mistake, but I think I’ve gotten a bit better.

Eventually, if we are both still interested a meeting is suggested. We pick a time and a place and the first date is set.

Here is what I have been experiencing. We pick a restaurant that we think is amicable to both of us. This is usually some fancy place downtown (a lot of new places have opened up downtown so the options are endless). I’ve tried to stick to places I know, just for the sake of knowing that the meal will be good.

We meet at some mutually agreed place. I’ve taken to suggesting oddball places like particular statues in the park or sections of bookstores. I don’t think its nice to tell a first date to meet me on the corner and most women do not want to have their first date with a (seemly uncreepy) guy pick them up at home. So we meet and head off to the restaurant making small talk along the way. During dinner, conversation is tricky. Try to be charming, listen to what she has to say, ask questions and share a bit about myself. Sometimes the questions come out easily, sometimes, I can’t think of anything to ask. If dinner seems okay than there’s always the suggestion of going for drinks afterwards. If she accepts than we need to pick a place.

What I’ve gleaned from my first dates and introductions: every girl thinks living in the city is the greatest thing in the world. I agree its awesome, I grew up there. To them it seems like there is no place else to live. I would live there if the commute to work wasn’t terrible, but I don’t think I would be as gaga about the whole thing. That’s the difference. Most people move into the city as they get jobs, I ended up moving out. No regrets, no complaints, just the cards that I was dealt. For them, it’s a new place and a new adventure. But I digress…

Here’s my bad episode thoughts. It seems that there are “hot spots” in the city where everyone wants to go. They are not bars, they are not clubs. All the bars and clubs are now called lounges. Its all the same to me, but apparently, lounging is the in thing to do now. Shit, in that case, I was doing the in thing 5 years ago on my couch.

But, when I have one date one night and we end up at a particular lounge. Than a couple of nights later, my new date wants to go to the same place or the place two doors down, it gets old. Last weekend, I ended up in a lounge with one date and it turns out the woman I was scheduled to see two nights later was just next door.

I understand that there are places that everyone thinks is the cat’s meow, but how about some variety? Don’t you get tired of going to the same places with your dates as you do with your girlfriends? This is ridiculous. Can we not go to different places. Must it always be the lounges and the “in places?” What ever happened to going to a nice jazz bar with live music or walking the city after dinner?

I’m coming to the point where I think I’m going to have to make a change in my dating rituals. I can’t keep taking different girls to the same bars. I need to be proactive and suggest places that they’ve never been to. Maybe even shoot down their suggestions of “the lounge.” I wonder how they would react? Would I be the asshole that wouldn’t go to G-Lounge or the weirdo that doesn’t like Mantra?

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Wedding Blind Date

So my roommate from college was getting married. Of course I was invited to the wedding. I RSVP'd months ago and said I would bring a date. Trouble is, it was a week before the wedding and I didn't have a date. I had plans with one person, but they fell through, so here I was, in a situation where I get to be the single guy at the table full of all the couples that I've known for ages.

Let me rewind, a couple of months ago, I went out of town for a buddy's wedding. I went stag. It was just a couple of months after my fiance and I split up and at first I thought, "no big deal." It wasn't till I got there and sat through the ceremony surrounded by all couples that I realized that I was by myself. I really felt lonely. That was a really hard time for me. My friends were there and we were going to have a good time, but there are those tender moments during a wedding where it just feels nice to be with someone.

So back to the present day. What do I do? Do I cancel my attendance cause I can't face being at a wedding by myself? Do I go stag? These questions were running through my head as the weekend neared. Psychologically, I don't know if I was ready to kick myself again. Than in an act of desperation, I called an old friend and asked her to set me up with anyone. And I meant anyone. Kudos to her, she found me a date within an hour. A friend of hers who understood the drag of going to weddings alone. The girl was like 5 years younger than me, but what the hell. My friend said she was a fun person and I didn't have any room to be picky.

So I pick her up and at first it was a bit awkward (afterall, it was the first time we met). The drive was about 90 minutes, so we had plenty of time to get to know eachother. The conversation was good and I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. We got to the ceremony late and snuck into the back (Philly traffic). After the ceremony, we all congregated outside the church and I of course did intros with as many people who's names I could remember. Than it was off to the reception for cocktails.

Man, this girl could drink. She was one her second while I was finishing my first. She made conversation with my friends and we seemed to be pulling it off. Everyone new she was just my wedding date, but thus far, a potentially ego-demolishing situation was turning out to be pretty good. Dinner was the usual antics with us all having a lot of laughs as we harassed the bride, groom and our friends at another table. Dancing was okay, but the music was more live classic band than a typical wedding DJ. My date and I were hitting it off well, no real chemistry but a ton of laughs. While we were dancing, she started to kiss me. I was shocked, but in the middle of the floor, I just went with the flow. I didn't want to make a scene. Than she froze and started to apologize profusely. I pulled her close and told her it was okay and to calm down. I kept saying "no big deal, just calm down." Remember, we're in the middle of an almost empty dance floor. We walked off the floor and schmoozed a bit more before it was time to leave.

As we were leaving, she started to kiss me again and she offered that if I didn't feel like driving home, we could get a room at a local hotel. Now, part of me said do it. If you get a hotel, thats practically guaranteed overnight fun. Another part of me said take her home, you've both been drinking and the last thing you want is to have a story like this get back to the friend that set you up. It took a lot of will power for the horn-dog in me to get crushed and I rushed us to the car before my loins could change my mind. The car ride home was quiet. She didn't say much. Maybe it was the booze sickness or maybe she was still freaking out.

I dropped her off and drove back to my house. I was pretty happy. I had fun at a wedding that for a moment I was dreading. It turned out to be one of the funnest weddings I've been too and yet I didn't even know my date. Go figure. Another life lesson.

Epilogue: Got an email from the wedding date (I had already sent a thanks you were an amazing date message). She explained that she freaked out cause she is unofficially seeing someone and shouldn't have kissed me. I of course replied that it was a wedding and there was drinking, these things happen, no worries. Now I keep thinking back and saying, wow, what if I had gotten the hotel she suggested. That really would have messed up her relationship and it would be my fault. I would have messed up something for someone who was doing something nice for me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blind Dates-1

So, I meet girls in one of three ways: 1) people introduce me; 2) the internet (a culture specific dating website); 3) in a bar/club or other social activities.

A majority of my dates come from the website. A couple of weeks ago, a girl posted interest in me and said she liked what I said in the profile. I read hers and thought "hey she sounds pretty cool." I emailed and later we talked on the phone. We had some common interests so at the end of the conversation, she suggested that we meet. I was surprised that she wanted to meet after talking for only 30 minutes. Most girls want more talk before they'll actually meet. I agreed anyhow and we said we would plan things out over email. Through a couple of emails, we decided to meet in Princeton (about 90 minutes for each of us to drive). I got there a bit early so I walked around and than headed over to the restaurant to wait for her. She showed up ~20 minutes late (traffic). No big deal. We got a table and sat down. Looks-wise, she was above average. Lunch was awkward. First thing I noticed is that she kept looking around at everyone around us and never really made eye contact. She didn't really ask too many questions, and I found it a bit hard to keep the conversation going. She didn't seem to attached to her cultural roots (I'm definitely more attached to mine). I did ask how often she does these first dates and she giggled when she said something on the lines of too much. When the check came, she insisted on splitting it, so I threw down some cash for half plus tip. She reached in her purse and started using a calculator to figure out how much to put in.

We walked around Princeton for a while and got some ice cream, did some shopping and that was the end of the date. Overall, it was okay. Nothing crazy, a little bit of laughs and some uncomfortable silence. We parted with a hug and a thanks I had fun. Of course the next day I emailed to say I enjoyed myself and that we should meet again sometime. Since than we've emailed like twice, but haven't made any plans.

My takeaway from this one... I chalked this date up to being a dud. Nothing against the girl, but we just weren't feeling eachother from the beginning. I made an effort, but I don't think it was reciprocated. The whole eye contact and looking everywhere else thing really bothered me.

Blind Dates-2

I went on a blind date Friday night. It was with someone who I've talked to over the phone for a couple of weeks. On the phone she didn't seem too interested, just somewhat indifferent towards me. I figure no big deal, at least I get to know someone new. From my side of things, I thought she was cool over the phone but there is something not right that I can't quite put my finger on yet. Recently we decided to meet for dinner and see what the other person is like in the flesh. The plan was for dinner and I got the feeling that she was going cause she felt a bit obligated to meet.

When I picked her up I quickly realized that she is much more beautiful in person than the pictures I had seen. We went to an Italian place I've been to before and I've known the owner for years. By shear luck the owner was there and made a big deal about me and later in the night, he even entertained us with some Italian love songs. Pretty romantic, but also creepy for a first date. My date was entertained by the whole thing though and although I could tell she was a bit uncomfortable, she played along. Dinner conversation was good. She even made eye contact while talking (she's got some beautiful eyes). We joked around a bit, talked about work, families and pop culture. I really enjoyed the conversation.

To my surprise, after dinner she was down with going out around town for some after dinner drinks. We went to a couple of lounge/quiet bars where we could talk and hang out. It was cool. She seemed to loosen up a bit and I also started to feel more comfortable. We walked around the city a bit to get from place to place and most of the time, I offered my arm to her. I really was trying to be a gentleman. As the night progressed, we started sitting a bit closer and eventually we kissed for a bit. After that, we ended up going to the river just to check out the view and than I took her home.

Overall, I thought the date was a good one. Still was a bit confused cause through it all, she seemed a bit withdrawn, but maybe its just my paranoia? I did the followup text on my way home and called the next day to thank her for a lovely evening. We talked about maybe trying to meet up again soon (we live 3 hours from eachother).

Today I got a call from her. We talked pleasantries for a bit and than she said she needed to talk to me about something. I figure okay, here it comes... She said she had fun but wasn't feeling the chemistry with me. She wants to slow things down and see where it goes. I responded that I can understand that and after all the life lessons I've learned, I know better than to rush into things. We pretty much left it at that and will talk again soon.

What perplexes me is that I think I may have sent the wrong signals to her. Did I behave in a way that made her think she needs to slow things down? Maybe I shouldn't have asked for a second date so soon? On the other hand, maybe she really isn't feeling me. I might just be in the friend zone now. Or maybe I'm just overthinking things and this is how dating is supposed to go. Being off the scene for so long, I don't really know what to expect or do anymore.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Popping my blog cherry

So this is my first entry in this blog. I don't know why I'm doing this. Maybe its just me trying to get my thoughts out in a constructive manner. Recently I ended a long term engagement with someone very important in my life. We were culturally different and after being together for a couple of years, we realized that neither of us could accept living in the other's lifestyle or under a state of compromise. Some ideals and some habits are not meant to be changed.

I've now moved and live close to my amazing family and friends. I've gotten back into the saddle of the dating scene and at the same time started to be more introspective about what I want in life. Some days I feel great and feel like the world is my oyster. Other days I feel terrible and like I'll never be in a great relationship again. Thats why I'm writing. A friend suggested this as a constructive way to get my thoughts out.