The Most Romantic Thing He Ever Said……..

Recently, I was on a date with Chad.   I’m not really sure how much we had in common-he is short, I am tall,  He is Jewish,  I am Episcopalian,  He teaches at a for profit college,  I am a public school teacher,   ,    I have social skills and he doesn’t.     Our first date was nearly unremarkable-tea, conversation,  a gin and tonic for me and a couple diet coke and tequilas for him.   I guess I should have guessed something about him from his drink.    So we go out again,   and that polite thing, that attempt at charm is already waning.   He switches our plans, we end up at a sushi restaurant in a suburban hell in a flood  plain in a depressing strip mall with a derelict cupcake store and a 24 hour masseuse.  He goes on and on about himself.    He never asks me follow up questions.  He tells me how he’s looking for a relationship, that he is done dating.  A little later, during a lull in conversation he pauses, and in this appraising way says:  “I mean, you’re a catch,  you’re cute,  you’re in your thirties, you don’t have kids and you don’t seem to be crazy,  are you crazy?”

And we both laughed, but I was sitting there reminded of this one time that I went to buy lipstick at a cosmetic counter and this salesgirl told me that my eyebrows were my best feature.   Really? Our second date and  out of all of my manifold good qualities, all of my accomplishments,  everything that I would bring to a relationship, that’s the best he could come up with ?   Up until that moment, I never realized that there was something worse than hearing what a “great personality” I have.  I got all nostalgic  thinking about how I used to be hurt that guys would tell me how “funny” and “witty” I am,  right before they said something about being friends.   In fact, there is something worse than being in a friend zone- being out with a man who believes that he a greater catch than he really is.

Hear me out here,  and I am not saying that it is all men,  just the majority of men I’ve been out with in the last year,  there’s a certain type of guy-divorced,  white,  employed,  reasonably well-groomed,  and has a college degree-and it’s like they think that because they have these things they are exempted from a whole host of other things-like being considerate,  asking questions, or basic courtesy,  you know, the little things that you do to make your date feel special.  It’s like they feel that you are lucky to be out with them,   because women are apparently throwing themselves at them?  In a way, I admire their confidence(or Bravado?), and I wonder what it would be like to grow up in a society where one is encouraged to think more highly of oneself and to not compare yourself to other people or obsess over minor details of one’s appearance.  It’s almost like it’s  some off shoot of patriarchal privilege-like why should they change for anyone or compromise on anything when their whole failed first marriage was based on compromise?   What is repulsive to me is that they invariably allude to commitment-even though there’s nothing about their behavior or demeanor that suggests a human being that one would want to commit to.  I’m not insulted that they believe that I would be stupid enough to believe them, but that they dangle a relationship WITH THEM  to get laid as though it would be some sort of reward or great thing.

So the funny thing was,  he doesn’t really try, I mean, I go to the bathroom and he has the waitress split our check so he could pay with a coupon,  and then he asks me back to his apartment, which was a block away, so that I could sit on his porch or something.  Of course I declined.  Later, he invited me on a third date,   at 10 pm at his house for ” a movie”.   And I really couldn’t get over how lazy he was, and how I was like some kind of pizza he could order for a hook up.     I mean, the dude couldn’t be bothered to drive anywhere.  That’s just sad.    My friends made me promise to stop dating for a while.    They say that I am so awesome and great, and that all of the men I have been dating have been awful, and that they really wish that they knew a guy they could set me up with, but how this last year has been a masochistic march towards not meeting anyone.   They say my time would be spent doing anything else,  and creating vision boards or something.

And that’s when I realized Chad said one of the least romantic things I’ve ever heard on a date.    I deleted his phone number and text messages and hope that this is the worst date that I go on for a very long time-or really ever.

 

Ralph-or the guy who said that thing about my cheast

Recently, I went on a wholly unremarkable date with a guy named Ralph.    He seemed nice enough-to the point that I was lulled to complacent banter over dinner.      He was tall,  attractive,  and the only minor quirk he had was a long beard that he would stroke and pet as if it were a face cat.     Then,  because I cannot eat without spilling something, I dropped a piece of lettuce on my shirt.    He paused and said “Hey, you got something on there” – I admired the classy way he handled it, and I was comforted that he was not the type of guy that would let wander around town with mascara running down your face, or toilet paper stuck to you shoe.  I  looked down and brushed away the offending piece of lettuce, and then he said “I didn’t know if you were trying to feed them or what.”  I was confused and laughed nervously, until I realized what he actually said.  He then followed it up with a discussion about how he hates his mother,  and didn’t even offer to walk me to my car, and then seemed angry that I wouldn’t kiss him.
Romance dead.

Guide for Going on Your Worst Date Ever-a Summary of What I Have Learned or Inferred in the last ten years.

  1. Join any dating website,  the internet is rife with opportunities to meet highly incompatible people, with poor social skills. For maximum bad date opportunity,  try to go out with someone who has a picture of themselves in front of a car or a picture taken in front of a bathroom mirror.
  2.  Date any Philosophy graduate student/Professor.   They’re heavy drinkers and they have tons of amusing stories about existential terror  and a refreshingly nihilistic attitude about the possibility of any romantic relationship  ever working out.  Also,  you’ll never be as smart as them.  Also,  it’s your fault.
  3.  Date someone who hates reading or learning.    Seriously, not only will you have nothing in common with them,  but you’ll spend the evening wondering what they dream about because they have no imagination-reruns of the bachelor?
  4. Date someone who plays the tuba.
  5.  Date someone who is a stand up comedian.    In my experience, men become stand up comedians when they realize they hate women, you know because women are so crazy-or disappointing.
  6. Date a recently divorced man- It’s really fun how small things can become a minefield,  like how he recognizes your shampoo because it’s his ex’s shampoo,  or how that movie was his exes favorite movie, or how it’s really cool that you like doing that thing because his ex didn’t.  It will be really entertaining figuring out whether you are the ghost in his life or his ex.
  7. Go out with someone again you tried to date ten years ago,  and it probably still won’t work out, because, sadly, life isn’t a Hallmark movie.
  8. You know that guy who seems really cool, but also sort of unclear about what he wants?  Yeah, date that guy.  Figuring out what you’re going to eat for dinner will be great,  because you’ll have to talk and talk about all of the options, and then when you’re eating dinner, he’ll talk about long term things but then also how it’s crazy how people fall in love and want to be together and  make commitments to each other. What’s that?  He couldn’t decide on an appetizer?  Quel Surprise!
  9.  Look for profiles that talk about how they want someone who is affectionate and loyal—like a golden retriever.
  10. Look for the profile that talks about how they don’t want “drama”   or   “Someone with baggage”, that’s code for someone who is great at communicating and validating your feelings.
  11.  Go on a date with a clown-but know that clown shoes are like fight club, in that the first rule of clowning is that you don’t talk about the clown shoes.
  12. When a guy refers to women as “Females” in his profile,  it means he has a lot of respect for women.
  13. Date someone significantly older than you, or someone who you have nothing in common with.   You can have awkward conversations in which you try not to remind yourself of the 15 year age gap or the fact that you are not a vegan.
  14.  It’s a really good sign, if, in the beginning, they text you all the time-weeks will go by before you realize it’s weird to call them.
  15.   If you’re ever out to coffee with your friends and some guy with a pony tail invites you back to his house to play back gammon, say yes.

Evil Will 2003

Back in the early 2ooos, I moved to Montreal and went to Graduate School- it would become a defining moment of my 20s, in which i was simultaneously humbled and toughened up to meet the vicissitudes of life-which mostly included awful papers and extremely tedious seminars.     If you’ve never been,  Graduate School is a lot like joining the Marines-if the Marines were run by pasty middle aged men with inferiority complexes, and viscous women who never used upper case letters to sign their name, you know,  because that would be oppressive.  Only,  unlike the Marines,  graduate school tears students down to never build them up again into anything useful.    It was around that time that I first met Evil Will.

Evil Will was sort of Unicorn in that he had just finished his Philosophy degree and had a job.    I met him the graduate bar, and basically spent an entire night exchanging witty repartee with him over cocktails.     At that time in my life,  I was impressed with wit and sarcasm.   We started hanging out,   in that nebulous way that you do and then he invited me to go to his department holiday party with him-I declined.   Even then, I was not so naive to believe that an entire night spent with a group of philosophy  grad students and professors could ever be entertaining or fun.     Evil Will promised that we’d have a good time,  that he’d buy me drinks and we could sit in the back of the room and make fun of people dancing.   Romantic right?

So I go with him, and he leaves me off with this graduate student,  and I spend most of the night alone.    I made a brief foray into light party banter with a group of grad students and professors-and made a joke about continental philosophy,  which was not well received, and decided the only thing I could do was go hide upstairs in the regular bar and drink with my friends, since my night was turning out to be so shitty.    I think I next saw Evil Will an hour later.    Evil Will was mad that I had left the party-I was irritated that I had been left alone for so long,   and confused as to what exactly the night was-was I hanging out with him?  Was it a date?   Why was he such a dick?    As usual, I was worried about the wrong thing,   what I should been worried about was the number for a cab company to go home-I guess this night is what you would call a “learning experience””.   I told him I left because I didn’t know anyone.      If I had been smart, I would have just taken the metro home, rather than staying there.      But to be honest,  both Will and I had been drinking.    I’m not really sure how this next part happened-but it had to be one of the  most awkward moments on date ever-so I was answering a question he had asked me-and I stuttered-then Will made fun of me for stuttering and I explained that I actually stutter, that it wasn’t some weird accident.     Then he turns to me and says,  “Oh, were you molested as a child?”      I told him that he wasn’t funny,  then he said to me,  “Show me on the doll what daddy did to you.” At that point, I realized he was not a nice man at all, that he wasn’t witty or funny,  but that he was just an asshole.  Who makes jokes about sexual assault?   Not anyone I am interested in knowing, that’s who.
It gets worse though,   I see Will exchange numbers with the 19 year old door girl at the bar- I told him he was being an ass.   He turns to me and says,  “What can I say D?   I’m a simple with simple needs.”

I have to say, I was shocked at Will-you know,  because I liked him,  because no guy had ever spoken to me in that way before-and to be fair-since.    I have heard a lot of strange things on dates since then,   but nobody has ever been that mean.

The next day,  Evil Will emails me like nothing is wrong-in fact,  if I remember correctly he addressed the email as “Hey D cups”yeah.   gross.   A few days later we had one of those quietly dramatic scenes at the grad pub he told me we really needed to talk, I told him I wasn’t interested in talking about anything,   then I left in a dignified manner,  only to slip on the ice on my way home and break my leg.  I spent the next five months on crutches.   Evil Will was the only person I knew with a car.

I still saw Evil Will after that, every once in a while.      Of particular note was the night my friends managed to get me up the giant hill to the grad pub on crutches and the on the ice.     The 19 year old door girl comes up to me and tells me how bad she feels for me on my crutches-that’s she had seen my slow perambulations around campus in the snow-like I was tiny fucking tim, and she says to me,  “Whenever I see you, I feel much more than empathy for you, I feel sympathy.”   Then she asks me about my friend,  I feign ignorance, then she tells me that Evil Will had called her, that she had lost his number, and that when i saw him again,  could I get him to call her?

So, horrible night with philosophy students, five months on crutches in -40 degrees,  a life lesson on when to call a cab or take the freaking bus already.   I honestly thought it would be the worst date I would ever have.

Must Love Dogs

Recently, I joined eharmony, you know, the site for people who are “serious” about dating.     Thus far,   I  have been on a single date with man who did not have a full time job, in fact, who in all of his  time working had never worked full time,   who, on the first date, asked me how many children I wanted  and then told me over text message that he didn’t want to see me again but that I should enjoy the  movie we were supposed to go to, and then wished me “Good luck on my search. :-)”    You know, I think the smilely face emoticon made all the more classy.     But I am not here this evening with my glass of pinot grigio to bitch about that man-perhaps, if you are very lucky, I will blog about him later.     I am here to comment on and otherwise complain about the profiles I have read on Eharmony.  And I have read a lot of them, because I am highly compatible with what would literally be binders full of men.  Binders full of them.

After a while,  profiles of highly compatible matches all seem the same to me.  And last night, it occurred to me why-It reminded me of last easter dinner.  Over lamb,  my cousin told a story about being trapped on an Island with elks in fog- unable to kayak  over the bay and he wasn’t sure how they would be get back and it was a pretty dramatic story, in which sally tried to jump of the boat and my cousin had to beat her back with his oar, lest she be eaten by sharks,  and  for  long time, I was confused,  I wasn’t sure if he was  talking about his dog, or his new girlfriend.      In fact, they were both in the boat( the dog and the girlfriend),   and it was never clear which one he was talking about( I could go on and on about my pet peeve about people who say “female” rather than woman-doesn’t that strike you as creepy?  It’s like something that guy in silence of the lambs would say before he lowered the lotion down in the basket).        Anyhoo, while looking at profiles- divorced men with children, divorced men without children,  never before married men who work in finance etc-I realized the sections entitled “What is the most important thing you are looking for”  were all eerily similar-that is they all want someone who is “Loyal”  “Warm” and “Affectionate”  then go on in the next paragraphs about their busy lives   and how they don’t have a lot of time, and are tired of “drama”  etc.    You know, because why should you expect your boyfriend to see you more than once a week?     Or really, expect anything from him at all?
It was then that I realized that most of my highly compatible matches would be much better off getting a dog rather than a girlfriend.   I mean, I don’t get the whole loyalty thing-as my friend pointed out, you don’t have to actually LIKE someone to be loyal to them.    But a dog would not be drama-they’d be happy with anything,  they’re super affectionate  and extremely warm.   In fact, the whole thing would be totally uncomplicated-you’d feed them, take them on a couple of walks and throw a ball around once in a while.  You’d have companionship when you want it, and wouldn’t have to deal with pesky things like needs and feelings and compromise…. And ulimately, a dog would be much cheaper than dating.

Also, they’d totally fit into your outdoor life in which you go climb half dome every weekend.

He’s not that into you: awful people, awfulness

One of the most annoying phrases introduced to the dating lexicon in the last 8 years is:  “He’s just not that into you”.     Here is a phrase that is simultaneously trite and dehumanizing,  while also managing to be both shallow and demoralizing.   Having spent time googling various issues,  it’s a phrase that comes up for a surprising number of relationship problems.      Are you dating someone who prefers to text?  He’s just not that into you.    Your boyfriend is spending a lot of time at work?  He’s just not that into you.    Did she say she was just going to go out for a gallon of milk and then never returned, then when you filed a police report because you believed she was kidnapped, you find out she’s living three states away with a new man?   She’s just not that into you.

I don’t like this phrase because,  first, it’s a way to shirk off one’s responsibility to be caring and compassionate to those that you are romantically involved with-my puritanical DNA abhors such carelessness.   If you’re  feelings about someone change, than it’s really up to you to let them know that-in a nice way-preferably, not over a text message.

Secondly,I don’t like it because it takes away agency from  one of the relationship partners.    This phrase is mostly said to women, appearing first on a Sex and the city episode, where it was meant to be this tremendously empowering concept about not wasting one’s emotional energy on someone who is not awesome.   Or whatever.    Yet, what it really means is that if this guy doesn’t do  this or that, than he’s not into you.  Which may be true. Or he could be out of town.   Or he could sociopath ,  or he could be recently divorced and unable  to give anything to anyone at all, or he could be a dick-my point is that it’s the woman waiting around for the guy to do something, something that she can judge or react to, but not actually being proactive herself.  It’s seems like if you’re waiting around for someone else to do something, than  are you actually an active participant?  Are you a copilot?  Also,  on a personal note, I hate being tested by people.   If you’re testing someone to see how much they like you-you probably don’t trust them or like them that much.

Thirdly, I don’ t like it because it says that this person who treated you badly,  might have been nicer to you if you were worth it to them.   Like the phrase isn’t  “he’s just not into dating” or “He’s just not into relationships”   or  “He’s just not into treating women like they’re human beings” -it’s he’s not into YOU.   Yes, You.  Like there’s something wrong with You.    I beg to differ.    If someone treats you like shit,  it means they probably treat a lot of people like shit-this really has nothing to do with the “You” aspect of it.     I dont’  like this phrase because it saying that if only You were more deserving in some way or better or prettier, than he wouldn’t treat you like shit.     It’s asking the wrong question.   Instead, the question should be   “what do I want in a relationship?”  or  “How would I like to be treated?”     If there’s one thing I’ve  heard from friends,  and the learned the hard way from dating,  is that if you’re asking yourself if the guy likes you( and not that in that cute way where you know he does)  you have it ass backwards.     You should be asking yourself, “Am I happy?” That’s the most productive question.

Finally, what the hell?   Is there a way that you could sweep away all the grace, beauty, and really, anything compelling  about romantic relationships  any faster than with “he’s just not that into you.”   Yo, people are complicated.     Believe me, I’m not making excuses for anyone.  We all know the end of relationships are totally personal-there’s some fatal flaw or compatibility issue.  It’s very sad.   Recently,  I’ve dealt with not having closure-the burnt popcorn man-that was, actually, the last thing he ever said to me.   So THAT obviously ended badly.  I have this  thing against Star Wars and microwave popcorn that I’m trying to work through.      Anyway,  so during the time we were together- I learned a lotand I had a great time, you know, until it ended.     But I also made mistakes that I won’t make again.
My point is this, there’s no pat answer for anything-there’s no fast way to sum up intimacy and disappointment and hope and dread and all of the little things that brought you together and the big things that pulled you apart.   Don’t I sound melodramatic?  That’s because it is melodramatic.    You know, because you cared.    “He’s just not that into you”  might be a  kind of strangely clinical incantation to tie up all the loose ends.The thing is you’re not going to know what you took away from it until much later.     Or maybe it will never make sense.   What do I know?  But what I do know is that “He’s just not that into you” doesn’t apply to 3 dimensional adults.

An open letter to a recently divorced man

Dear Recently Divorced Man,

Congratulations/So Sorry to hear about your recent divorce.  I know it has been many years since you’ve dated, and as you embark on this new adventure/midlife crisis  you must be overjoyed/terrified.     Thank you so much for inviting me out to dinner, even though I am not your ex wife.    As you begin your quest for a new relationship/rebound, it’s important to remember that honesty/telling women what they want to hear is best.   It’s great that we share so much in common.   I can see this working out for the foreseeable future/until your ex calls.     As we build our romantic connection/hook up,   I’m really looking forward to getting to know you better/reading the cryptic text messages you send me because you can’t call when your kids are around-perhaps we might even fall in love/wallow in guilt and confusion.     It’s great that you’re so open/closed to new experiences in your life.    And you’re so great at sharing your feelings/pretending that you don’t have any,  and of course,  so interested in/scared of  how I feel as well.    As we move forward/step back,   I am confident that you will make room for me/treat me like  a ghost in your life.     You seem so considerate/dismissive of my feelings,   I think this dinner is going to go really well!

Sincerely,