Tag Archives: relationships

I forgot what that feels like

I talked about the quality of men on OkCupid in my last post, but to recap – I was pleasantly surprised.  Most of the men who emailed me had full and complete profiles, with very few (if any) grammar and spelling mistakes.  As with match.com, there were a few that I wasn’t interested in, but I started an email conversation with two particular men on the same day, a week after I signed up.

Seal emailed me, and his writing was clear and to the point.  He seemed like a pretty okay guy.

Arlington emailed me, and asked me my opinion on the Oxford comma.  I was sold.  (Pro, for the record.)

I had my first date with Seal on a Wednesday night.  It was very casual, and I enjoyed myself.  He was smart, and outspoken, and opinionated.  And all I could think was, “Oh, he and my dad would soooooo not get along.”  We were there for about 3 hours.  We walked out to the parking lot and parted with a wave.

My first date with Arlington came the following night, on Thursday.  We met for drinks, in a very crowded and loud bar.  He was quiet, but he had no problem talking.  We had a couple of lulls in the conversation, where we were both trying to figure out what to say, but once we started talking again we had no problem.  We spent about two and a half hours together.  We walked out to the parking lot, and parted with a hug.

Saturday rolled around, and Arlington and I went for our second date.  We went for dinner, and had intended to go to a movie, but my friends were throwing an impromptu bonfire.  It should be noted, I almost NEVER introduce these men to my friends before the fourth date, usually longer.  They don’t need a parade of men coming through their lives, in the same way kids don’t.  But…I felt sparks.  We had a blast at my friend’s house, he even did some singing on Rock Band, and we parted in the driveway with a quick kiss.

And I spent the whole drive home (even some of the time I was at a standstill on the interstate, with the car turned off) trying to get the huge grin off my face.

The next day, Sunday, I had a second date with Seal.  We went to a local hiking trail, and it was…fine.  He’s a nice guy, and very smart, and we have great conversations, but there wasn’t any of that sparkage I felt with Arlington.  We ended up running into my friends (the same friends who had met Arlington the night before), and Seal went on and on about how perfect we were for each other – We both like THIS and We both like THAT.  It was kind of annoying.  We parted with a hug.

That Wednesday, I made partial plans for a third date with Seal on Friday night, to go on a gallery crawl.  Then I had my third date with Arlington.  We went and played trivia, and had a great time.  And, wow, what a kiss.

I knew I needed to let Seal know that I liked this other guy more, but it’s such an uncomfortable position to be in.  I called him on Thursday and told him that, while I would love to go ahead with our plans on Friday, I felt I needed to tell him that I had met someone else.  And while I enjoyed our conversation and his company, I just liked…this…other…guy…um…more…

He was cool about it, and said he’d still like to do the gallery crawl, “as long as the other guy doesn’t mind.  And he can come to, if he wants.”  Oh, yeah, like that would be comfortable.

Here’s the thing that hit me.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone out with a guy and said, “He’s nice.  We had a nice time.  Good conversation.  Eh.”  And I would go on second dates with these guys, because, well, he’s a nice guy, and we had a good time.  And, you know, everyone says you need to give a guy a chance, that women expect too much, etc.  And I had started to believe that.

And then I felt what I think I should expect to feel.  Sparks.  That warm feeling in your stomach.  Not low down stomach, up high stomach, almost butterflies but not quite.  I can’t talk about him or our dates with smiling.  Writing this, I’m smiling.

I had forgotten what that felt like.  It’s a nice feeling.  And it’s now been almost a month, and I’m still smiling.

It’s a nice GREAT feeling.

Not too long ago, INRIS commented, “Now you’ve discovered you can feel good about a new guy.” No, NOW I’ve discovered that.  😉

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A variety of questions on OkCupid

As I mentioned in my last post, I joined OkCupid, mostly because I was impressed by the algorithms and correlations they came up with on their blog.  They’re not afraid of being politically incorrect or offending people, because all they’re doing is running the numbers, so to speak, on information that users provide (their latest blog post is titled, “What if there weren’t so many white people?”).  They aren’t drawing conclusions, just pointing out trends.  And some of the trends are interesting.  I highly recommend following the OKTrends blog, whether you’re single or not.  I guarantee you’ll find it fascinating, especially if you’re scientifically minded.

So, yes, I signed up for OkCupid, loaded a couple of pictures, filled out the profile, which includes fun pieces like, “I’m really good at…” “The six thing I could never do without…” and “The most private thing I’m willing to admit…(I shower naked).”  You give your details, obviously – height, body type (which is far more varied than match, which I appreciate), education level, etc.

Then they have these questions.  They’re all user submitted, so the list is growing all the time, and I have no idea how many there are in total.  The question is presented, you are given several answers to choose from (you can only choose one), you can choose which answers you’ll accept from your match (you can choose multiple), and then you rate how relevant or important it is that they answer the question the way you want them to.  You can also add an explanation.

Example:

Q: Are you a vegetarian or a vegan?

A: Yes/No (you can only choose one)

Answers I’ll accept: Yes/No (you can choose one or both)

This question is: Irrelevant/A little important/Somewhat important/Very important/Mandatory (choose one)

Explanation: I tend to eat primarily vegetarian at home, but it’s not a conscious effort.

The questions can be really fun.  There are political questions (Is contraception morally wrong?  Which is more offensive, book burning or flag burning?  To you, is abortion an option in case of an unwanted or accidental pregnancy?), religious questions (How important is religion/God in your life?  Would you date an atheist? How do you feel about Scientology?), drug-related questions (Would you date someone if you knew they were a current drug user?  Do you think drug use with your partner can be a romantic activity?  Would you consider dating someone who grows marijuana for their own personal use?), drinking-related questions (Do you ever feel the need to get really drunk?  On average, which best describes how often you GET DRUNK?), dating questions (How much can intelligence turn you on?  What’s worse on a first date, no physical attraction or nothing to talk about?  Would you ideally like to be married in the next 3 years?), intelligence questions (Which is bigger, the earth or the sun?  If the price of an apple was raised 50% and then decreased 50%, making it cost $0.75, how much was the original price?  What is next in the series 1, 4, 10, 19, 31…), lifestyle related questions (Are you happy with your life?  How often do you tweet?  Are you an aspiring actor/artist/writer or other creative type?).

And sex questions.  Lots of sex questions.  Do you enjoy meaningless sex?  Would you consider performing anilingus on a partner who asked you to?  Would you consider meeting 2 people online, then arranging a threesome?  Do you enjoy giving oral sex?  Would you be disappointed if your significant other doesn’t want to receive oral sex ever?  Would you allow your partner to kiss you after performing oral sex on you?  Is your ideal sex rough or gentle?

And my all-time favorite question:  Do you know what sperm tastes like?

Here’s the interesting part.  As I said, you can answer what you want, when you want.  But, based on your answers, they do a personality profile, measured against the average of your demographic.  “You might be…more/less conventionally moral.  More/less old-fashioned.  More/less compassionate.  More/less kind.  More/less independent.  More/less spiritual.  More/less sex driven.  More/less kinky.”  And, as you might imagine, if you don’t answer the sex questions, they rank you as less kinky and less sex-driven.  But what if that’s not the case?

You can answer the questions privately.  Although, some of those questions I’m still not going to answer…

Then there are the tests.  Over 43,000 tests, actually.  Your Sesame Street Persona Test.  The Director Who Films Your Life Test.  The Which LOLCat Are You Test.  The How Low Are Your Sex Standards Test.  The If You Were a Beer Test (I’m a Guinness – as if there were any doubt).

It’s fun.  It keeps things fresh (says the girl who’s been on there for less than 3 weeks).  It’s different.  It’s free.

So, what is the quality of men on there?

Stay tuned.  😉

Algorithmic Dating

I’ve done plenty of online dating.  I’ve paid for match.com three times (twice using the 6-month guarantee, for a total of 30 months), for eHarmony once (for a six month period), and for chemistry.com once (for only a month).  In case you can’t do the math on your own, I’ve been on an online dating site for a total of over three years of the past six.  Out of that, I’ve had two major relationships, two minor ones, and a bunch of “three dates, you’re out” flings.

My last match subscription ended at the end of February, and I vowed that I was giving up.  On online dating, on dating, on life.  I thought, You know what?  I’m just going to be alone for the rest of my life, that’s just how it’s gonna be, and there’s nothing I can do about it. (Yes, I was in a fairly depressed state.)

But then, the next day, I got my optimism back and started thinking that I needed a fresh start.  (This is one of the reasons I sometimes wonder, half-jokingly, if I’m bipolar.)  I’ve been on match for far too long, and I’m giving up on it.  I was not impressed with Chemistry.com.  I had liked my time on eHarmony, though, so figured I’d give that a go.  Except, do you know how expensive it is?  And did I mention I don’t have a job?

I’ve always been against free dating sites, my thought being that you get what you pay for.  Also, I had pretty much assumed that sites like Plenty of Fish and OkCupid were mainly “hook up” sites, and that’s not what I was in the market for.  But one day in early February I stumbled across an interesting blog post over at the OKCupid Blog:  The Best Questions for a First Date. The people over at OKC wanted to know, “What questions are easy to bring up [on a first date], yet correlate to the deeper, unspeakable, issues people actually care about?”  Turns out, if you want to know if you’re date puts out on the first date, ask her if she likes the taste of beer.  If you want to know what they’re political leanings are, ask if they like simple or complex people.  And if you want to know how religious your date is, ask how much spelling and grammar mistakes annoy them.

I laughed when I first read the article, but I was impressed with the vast amount of statistics and algorithms OKC used to come up with the correlations.  I started reading some other blog posts that they did, and became fascinated.  The Mathematics of Beauty looked at the messages received by women vs. measured attractiveness.  They found that iPhone users have more sex, and that generally the more attractive a picture is, the more likely it is to be out of date. They found that “the MySpace shot is the single most effective photo type for women,” and that man should flaunt their chest and abs if they’ve got them.

You see, OKC gets all this information from a vast collection of questions that users are encouraged (but not required) to answer.  You can answer all of them, or ten of them, or none of them, it’s up to the user.  But, the more answers you provide, the more OKC will know about you as they try to match you with someone.  And, as you’re looking at people’s profiles, you can compare their answers to yours, getting a good feel for the person’s politics, outlook on life, intelligence, and sexual attitude.  You can see what they’re looking for out of life and in a partner.

So it’s kind of like a mesh between eHarmony (with the questions and the matching), and match.com (with the ability to search).

And I know this because I joined.

Stay tuned for a run down on some of the more interesting questions, and for my experience so far.

They like me! They really like me!

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached to do a guest blog.

Yes, me.

I was honored.  Surprised.  Amazed.  Stunned.  Excited.

And scared.

Actually, I wasn’t scared until I suddenly couldn’t form any coherent thoughts on the subject of choice (dating).  I could not come up with any words.

But I finally did it.  Two hours in a mechanic’s waiting room was all I needed.  Must have been the oil fumes.

You can read my post, What’s in a match.com username, on Life in 3D.  Stick around to read some great posts from Charlotte J.

And thank you, Life in 3D people, for choosing me!

Just another day in loveless land

You know what’s odd?  This is the first Valentine’s Day in…a very long time…that I don’t feel like I’m missing out.  That I don’t feel like drinking a bottle of wine and eating a whole box of chocolates all by myself.  Today I am quite content.  Although I’ve told myself almost every year that it’s just another day, this year it actually is.  It’s just another day.

I haven’t always been alone on Valentine’s Day, but I don’t really recall having any truly special ones with someone.  I know that most years when I’ve been alone, I’ve planned activities for myself, including a movie, a bubble bath, champagne, a nice dinner, all by myself, in an effort to make myself feel like I’m not missing out.  Of course, those things didn’t really do their job – I was still alone, and I knew it.

Maybe it’s because this year, I haven’t left the house much or been around people.  There’s not 20 coworkers asking what I will be doing, feeling sorry for me because I’ll be alone, and getting ridiculously overpriced bouquets of incredibly original red roses delivered.  Tivo is the best invention ever, because I fast forward through most commercials, so that my Kay/Jared/FTD/CBS Cares Valentine’s Day reminders are kept to a minimum.  The constant bombardment of Valentine’s Day reminders has been at a minimum.  And I kind of love it.

I started thinking about my Ghosts of Valentine’s Days Past.  I’ve written about a few here before, but I thought it’d be fun to make a list.

  • 2010 – Mental Breakdown.
  • 2009 – I was more than likely alone, as The Pilot was more than likely working.  I remember getting a Valentine’s Day card about a week later…he had it in a book, but hadn’t filled it out yet, so I sat next to him while he wrote some nice words in it, put it in the envelope, and sealed it.
  • 2008 – I was dating Scottsdale, and he took me to a nice steak restaurant in town, but didn’t really treat it as Valentine’s Day, just as dinner out, which was fine by me, since we weren’t quite dating seriously at that point.  He also mailed me a card, which I thought was kind of cute.
  • 2007 – Pretty sure I was alone.
  • 2006 – Pretty sure I was hating life.  Soccer Guy and I had broken up in December, and I know I wasn’t over him yet.
  • 2005 – Quite sure I was alone, as I hadn’t started my joyous adventure of online dating yet.
  • 2004 – Alone.  Bitterly alone, in Denver, after Denver Boyfriend and I broke up.  I do remember a wonderful bottle of White Star champagne, though…back when I could afford $50 bottles of champagne on a fairly regular basis.
  • 2003 – The life changing one.  I drove into Denver just in time to celebrate the evening with Denver Boyfriend.  I was starving, he hadn’t made any reservations, and after an hour of searching for a place to eat without a two hour wait, we ended up at a Mexican restaurant.  If that had been a wait, we would have ended up at McDonalds.

Everything before 2003 is a blur.  I’m sure I was alone for most Valentine’s Days pre-2003, because I simply didn’t date much.  I’m fairly certain I had a boyfriend for 1995, but other than that, I can’t say anything for sure.

Here’s the thing.  Even if I was in the perfect relationship with the perfect guy, I would not expect the moon today.  A nice dinner prepared by him (or some take-out), some wine, some candles, maybe a small bouquet of tulips or lilies, and I would be happy.  I’m a fairly simple girl.  I don’t want roses.  I don’t need grand gestures.  I don’t want the guy to fork out hundreds of dollars on gifts meant to prove his love.

I just want the love.

And until I have it, the good kind of love, I’m okay.  Even though sometimes I might not feel okay, I know, deep down, that I am.

Take off your moccasins

Screenshot of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn fr...

Image via Wikipedia

One of my all time favorite movies is Charade, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. In it, they have this great exchange, where Hepburn’s character is trying to determine if Grant’s character is trustworthy:

REGGIE (Hepburn): Alex, how can you tell if anyone’s lying or not?

DYLE (Grant): You can’t.

R: There must be some way.

D: There’s an old riddle about two tribes of Indians. The Whitefeet always tell the truth and the Blackfeet always lie. So one day you meet an Indian, you say, “Hey Indian, what are you, a truthful Whitefoot or a lying Blackfoot?” He says, “I’m a truthful Whitefoot.” But which is he?

R: Why couldn’t you just look at his feet?

D: Because he’s wearing moccasins.

R: Well then he’s a truthful Whitefoot, of course.

D: Why not a lying Blackfoot?

R: Which one are you?

D: A truthful Whitefoot.

Of course, you (along with Reggie) have to wonder if he is. After all, wouldn’t a lying Blackfoot say the same thing?

There’s actually a longer brain teaser (scroll down about a third of the way down the page) about lying Blackfeet and truthful Whitefeet. It involves a professor at a fork in the road trying to get to a village, and he doesn’t want to get lost, but how can he trust the answer he gets from the native in front of him?

The point is, how do you know who you can trust? And rarely are humans entirely truthful nor are there people who lie all the time, regardless of the fact that we say, “If his mouth is moving, he’s lying.” So then the questions multiply – Is he trustworthy? Is what he is saying the truth?

Can you ever really know for sure?

Are you a truthful Whitefoot or a lying Blackfoot? Take off your moccasins, please.

(I couldn’t embed video, but here’s the clip from Charade.  You can also view the movie in it’s entirety on youtube.)

How to be happy – a sidenote (via Today I’m happy…)

One of my goals this year is finding happiness in every day, and as part of that, I’m also providing some research, articles, thoughts, etc, on how to be happy on my other blog, DelightfullyHappy. Here is a post from yesterday, a recap of the Oprah show on happiness.

How to be happy - a sidenote What does it take to be happy?  Love?  Kids?  A good job?  Money?  Does what you do for a living make a difference?  What about where you live? This blog was started as a way to recognize happiness in every day, but I also intended to share snippets of wisdom, articles, and book reviews.  Today is the first of those “sidenotes.” Today, Oprah had Goldie Hawn on the show, and they were talking happiness.  It turned out to be a good all-around happi … Read More

via Today I’m happy…

Emotional Math

Lots of future posts floating around in my head right now.  I’ll organize my thoughts and get to them all sooner or later.  In the meantime, I just read a wonderful post by IzzieDarling:

  • Just because … I can’t see doesn’t mean I don’t want to. Often times, we are irritated and impatient with others when we believe they are beating a dead horse, not moving fast enough, lazy, playing the victim. Guilty. Add compassion.
  • Just because … you find yourself “lost” does not mean you will not be “found”. Subtract despair, multiply hope.
  • Just because … you face the unknown on all fronts does not mean anything other than you may be at the doorstep of the best life you’ve ever known. Negative thinking is easy. Divide it into smithereens, erase, and add amazing possibilities to each and every half empty glass in your possession.

Read more here:  Just Because: Do the Math.

Ghosts of boyfriends past

Photo by katmere

I got a call yesterday on a job I had applied for last week.  I had a brief phone interview with a woman who I think was HR, because she said she was going to “resubmit” my resume to the hiring manager, and I may or may not get a call back for an interview.  Great news, right?

Here’s the bad news.  The office is literally directly across the street from my ex-boyfriend’s house.  You could probably see his house from the office.

Why do we attach so much emotion to things like this?  Like, where we met someone, or where we had our first kiss, or what we ate on our 49th date?  Why do we have places we can’t go to because they remind us of that person?

ABC Restaurant is just a restaurant.  I’ve been there a million times.  In fact, I’ve been there with at least 5 different guys.  So why is it that whenever I go there, I think of Mr. X?  I’ve watched XYZ TV show for years, since before Mr. X and I started dating and broke up.  So why do I think of him every time I watch it?  I’ve tied my shoes by myself since I was 6 years old.  Why does tying them now make me think of Mr. X?  (These are basic example, people, not necessarily my specific experiences.  I don’t actually think of my ex when I tie my shoe, okay?)

And it’s not even that everything makes you think of your most recent ex.  I think of my college boyfriend any time I go to the zoo.  I think of Colorado Boyfriend every time it snows.  I think of one of my high school boyfriends every time I eat fortune cookies.  I think of Soccer Guy every time I see his college’s emblem…which is the same college my last ex supported, so why would I attach it to a guy I dated 6 years ago and not to the most recent one?

We attach memories to things, places, foods, smells, songs, thoughts.  Then those memories haunt us.  Why?  Why do this to ourselves, why let these things have that much control over us?

And it’s not just exes!  It’s parents, and grandparents, and siblings, and kids, and friends, and jobs.  Some memories are good, some are bad.  Some make you smile through tears, of either joy or sorrow, and some make you want to rip your heart out so you can just stop thinking about them.

Yeah, a little Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind wouldn’t be so bad, on occasion.

What things have memories attached to them in your life?  Do the memories make you smile or cringe?  What have you done to get past those memories?

Age has nothing to do with being an adult

I recently spent the day with a friend of mine, a friend who’s been having some boy troubles.  Her boy troubles are not similar to mine, but they are.  I don’t want to get too far into her problems, because it would be a horrible betrayal of confidence, but let’s just say her “boy” doesn’t want to be monogamous, but he keeps dragging her back into this nasty little storm of his making.

So we spent the day together, shopping, going to the Farmer’s Market, having lunch, and she asks me to stay for dinner and a movie.

lars and the real girl

Image by mandyseyfang via Flickr

We were watching Lars and the Real Girl, and there’s this part where Lars asks his brother how he knew he was a man, an adult.  And his brother, Gus, says, “Well, it’s not like you’re one thing or the other, okay? There’s still a kid inside but you grow up when you decide to do right, okay, and not what’s right for you, what’s right for everybody, even when it hurts.” Lars asks, “Okay, like what?” And Gus replies, “Like, you know, like, you don’t jerk people around, you know, and you don’t cheat on your woman, and you take care of your family, you know, and you admit when you’re wrong, or you try to, anyways. That’s all I can think of, you know – it sound like it’s easy and for some reason it’s not.”

I blinked at the TV, floored.  I started to say something, but stopped myself.  And three seconds later, my friend says, “Wow.”

You grow up when you decide to do right, not for you but for everybody else, even when it hurts.  You grow up when you don’t jerk people around, and you don’t cheat on your woman, and you take care of your family, and you admit when you’re wrong.

It sounds so simple.  But “for some reason it’s not.”