Archive for February, 2009

I’m intrigued when guys I know shower women with gifts. These aren’t long-time girlfriends they’re buying an anniversary present for, these are ladies they’ve gone out on one or two dates with. They probably don’t even know her last name, or how likely she is to agree to a third date, but they’ll send expensive bouquets of roses or take her out to fancy restaurants. No matter how many times I try to tell my guy friends not to do this because a normal woman would find this behavior obsequious and overbearing, they don’t listen. They are trapped in this immature mindset that gifts signal their interest. That might impress a 15-year-old, but most grown women are content with a creatively-planned low-cost date. Overbearing gift-giving shows that you’re so obsessed with getting the girl to like you that you don’t really stop to wonder what about you is worth liking.

The Washington Post ran an article about how the recession is affecting dating. Men who lost high-paying jobs, and the ability to impress women by throwing their money around, are having to rethink their dating strategies. Some spend several hundred dollars a month on dates! That’s more than a car payment! Considering how rarely a first date eventually turns into a relationship, that’s a pretty poor return on an investment — not to say that women are investments, but you have to wonder why some men feel the need to piss money away on dating.

Now’s no time to waste money. Sit down and think of cheap date ideas. Go for a bike ride or a jog (bonus: you don’t have to dress up), check out a museum on its free or reduced fare day, fashion a picnic out of stuff from the grocery store and hang out in a park. Grab a beer and talk. Play tourist and explore different neighborhoods in your city. Look for inexpensive plays and concerts (college towns have a lot of those). In the summer, many cities, like Atlanta, New York City and D.C. have Screen on the Green — outdoor movies for free!

I promise you, guys, the woman you attract by planning simple, low-key dates is the kind of woman worth keeping. Don’t rely on gift-giving as a way to build yourself up. Be a kind, interesting person and have more going on in your life than your high-paying job. After all, you could lose that job tomorrow. Who you you be without it?


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That’s a term we use at work to describe little, often unrelated stuff that needs to be done to finish a major project. I don’t have any one topic to write a long entry on this week, so instead I’ll toss two ideas your way.

Ski bunny

I just came home from a ski trip (my first time skiing ever!) with my brother and psuacoustician. This has little to do with dating, but I totally rocked the bunny trail and I feel like bragging. A big shout out to both of them for cheering me on! Psuacoustician marveled that after I careened right into a snow bank and lost one of my skis, I got up laughing, dusted myself off, and said that was awesome. Treat your dating life that way: If things don’t work out and you’re not sure how you’re going to go on, put your ski (or hot outfit) back on, get out there, laugh, and think you’re awesome anyway. I mentioned before about totally hating the bar scene and feeling invisible, but I’ve had a good couple of weekends in which I actually talked to some attractive guys. I replaced the Angry Face with a smile, and let me tell you, people will notice a friendly face. Try it out sometime!

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go ice my calves.

She’s blinding you…with science!

Kristin (who, several months ago, asked me why women change when they date losers) told me about this feature on 20/20 exploring how, scientifically, we’re attracted to other people. The theory? There are four personality types that are associated with four neurotransmitters and hormones. I took biological anthropologist Helen Fisher’s quiz (she works with chemistry.com) and I’m a “negotiator,” governed by estrogen. I’m naturally empathetic, and I go for decisive “directors,” governed by testosterone.

So, does this work? Maybe. I do like leader-types who know what they want, but it’s not like all the directors are wearing t-shirts indicating them as such. How do you know that hot guy in the frozen foods aisle or that pretty girl in a bar would match up with your dominant neurotransmitters, anyway? My take on this is it would work more in the world of online dating, where people put a lot of information about themselves out there immediately, and people are matched by computer based on commonalities.

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In the first ComeHereOften guest post, my friend L shares her views on dating and relationships. While editing this, I had fun comparing and contrasting this with my own views. “I agree with some parts and disagree with others,” I told her, “but we already knew we differ on some things.” “And how!” she replied. Without further ado, I pass this space to her:

I often refer to myself as “severely single.” I’m basically living like a nun until I meet the right guy. I’ve casually dated for the sake of saying that I was “proactive” about my love life. I’ve tried the random hook-up thing and can’t deal with the following emptiness. I’ve only really liked three guys in my entire life with a couple carefully-selected crushes in the mix. I’ve been single for long enough that when I finally get into anything serious, it better be, and will be, good.

But for some reason, this scares people. Is it really so bad to be single? Is it so bad that I won’t date just SOMEONE for the sake of saying I’m “not alone”? The answers are a resounding NO and NO.

Yet these relationship-minded people feel the need to respond to my situation. Here are some of the many declarations, advice, etc. that I’ve been told over the years:

1.”Man, being single sucks! I hated being single.”

You know what I’d hate? Dating someone I don’t even like! Bitching constantly to my friends about how he/she is stupid/inconsiderate/insensitive/etc.! Lowering my standards so I can get a free meal every Saturday! Staying in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere!

Life as a single women isn’t easy, but life in general isn’t easy either.

2. “Don’t worry. You’ll find someone.”

I don’t want to find someone. I want to find THE ONE, if such a person exists. This is part of the reason why I hate that “Love the One You’re With” song; it basically tells you to settle. I’m willing to negotiate on many aspects of my life (job, dinner, movie choices, etc.) but my friendships and romantic relationships are non-negotiable.

3. “You’re too picky.”

I’ve had options over the years. I’ve just opted not to take them (the boyscout, the friend, the Republican). In her attempt to try and get me to date the Republican, my friend J told me, “You’re not going to find someone who is everything you want. You’ll be lucky to get 70 percent.” Um, last time I checked, 70 percent was a low C. As a chronic overachiever and a high honor roll student, this is simply unacceptable to me. I want an A.

4. “Spend this time focusing on YOU and what YOU want. You’ll never had that time again.”

My friend A summed this up beautifully:

“I just hate how though with girls there exists this whole language of ‘finding yourself’ and ‘making yourself a whole person’ and all this, and with guys there isn’t that. Society tells them it’s OK to go from relationship to relationship and get laid in the little time in between. … Guys have literally never been told (until I tell them) that they need to find out what makes them happy and feel good about themselves w/o attention from women. Whereas upwardly mobile young women get this shoved down their throats and heaven forbid they admit they want a boyfriend b/c they’re supposed to be ‘strong.'”

I work. I exercise. I travel. I read. I watch “The West Wing” while wrapped in my snuggie. I hang out with friends and family. My weekends are solidly booked between now and the first week of March. I have plans for my career and summer. I’m not sitting at home moaning about not finding my Prince Charming. Prince Charming is going to have to race to keep up with me.

5. “I hate(d) being alone.”

Being single means spending a period of your time by yourself which means actually having to like spending time with yourself and that CLEARLY can’t be any good. So logically, it’s best to find any warm body to fill space and time. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Some of the loneliest people I know are in relationships. I get lonely two days a month, and when the hormones pass, I’m back to being good. I think we’re alone our entire lives. We come into this planet alone and go out alone. It’s how we choose to deal with it. I choose to embrace it.

Being single is scary and entirely freeing at the same time. But bad? There are far worse things in life.

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Got your attention there, didn’t I?

So, this being a dating blog, and indeed the first Valentine’s Day to pass since I started it, I’m pretty sure it’s required I talk about this holiday. Invented by Hallmark, dreaded by clueless boyfriends, protested by lonely singles, Valentine’s Day creates such unnecessary stress that I think we should just cancel it and show love for each other every day of the year. I could post some rant about how it’s Singles Awareness Day and it’s an evil consumerist plot to make people overspend on teddy bears, but that’s been done. If you like Valentine’s Day, good for you. If you hate it, you’re in good company. Go out, get drunk, and kiss a stranger.

The one benefit everyone, single or attached, can appreciate? Without Valentine’s Day, there wouldn’t be chocolate on sale on February 15th! To that end, Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher wrote in his Raw Fisher blog that, according to his unscientific research, women prefer flowers to chocolate. Flowers aren’t fattening, for one thing, and the kind the man picks out for you tells you if he’s been paying attention to what you like. That sounds like a passive-aggressive relationship test to me.

Clearly, I side with chocolate. Delicious and generally reasonably-priced,  antioxidant-rich chocolate says, “I love you, and also I’m concerned about your exposure to free radicals.” It’s one thing for a guy to take me out to dinner, but to care about my immune system? That is love, people. Love. Also, who spends $100 on flowers? There’s a recession on.

Let’s make every day Valentine’s Day. Do random favors for people you love. Be polite. Smile at someone on the street. And eat tons of chocolate.

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My posts normally publish on Sunday mornings, but I had family in town this weekend and I was busy. Also, L is late on delivering her promised epic guest post, which will go up next week-ish. Right, L? I forgive her, as she got into grad school this week, which is awesome! I imagine she’s still out celebrating.

Anyway, I had a long phone conversation with my mom about a week ago in which we tried to list all the places where single, attractive, intelligent men could be in my general geographic area. She asked if I’d be willing to try online dating. I’m a skeptic, having heard more horror stories than success stories. I shouldn’t just leave meeting guys up to chance, she said, because then ten years will go by and I’ll still be single.

Ah, mothers. Always good for a pick-me-up.

She has a point, though. If you want to go out on more than one date a year, you have to be proactive about it. Evan Marc Katz’s column this week is about that. He also must’ve spoken to my mother. I mentioned the online dating thing to L and she told me the only times she’s tried it was when she was in her crazy-desperate phase, which is not a happy place to be if you’re looking for a functional relationship.

Now, are there desperate people online? Sure! Lazy people who use it as an excuse to never try and meet people in person? Of course. But I’m sure there are also a number of normal people who just use it as one of the many tricks in their arsenal. I think, no matter your method, if you want to date, you have to be proactive about it. You’ll never meet someone at home in your pajamas, unless you have a hot roommate who likes you back. Right now, my tactic is this: Look cute when I leave the house, leave the house often, accept every invitation I get (schedule permitting), and let it be known that I’m single, so if anyone knows a nice guy…

People get desperate when they’re tired of being and/or too lazy/shy be proactive. “I go to parties! I have hobbies!” they whine. And then they go out to bars and throw themselves at people. Breathe, desperate daters. You’re only shooting yourself in the foot.

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A hypothetical situation that’s pretty similar to a real situation a friend of mine found herself in:

Girl likes Boy. Boy seems to like Girl back, but somehow, things never get off the ground. While they have many mutual friends and see each other often on group outings, Guy has never asked Girl out. Enter Guy’s Friend. Friend meets Girl while out with Guy, asks for her number, and calls to ask to hang out sometime without Guy. Is it okay for Girl to go out with Friend? Has Guy called dibs?

I say Girl can definitely go out with Friend. Guy has made no effort to ask her out on a date. Why should Girl wait around for someone who’s flirty but ultimately uninterested, when another cute guy actually is asking her out?

“But wait!” a skeptic might cry. “That’s not fair! What if Guy really did like Girl, and now Friend is stepping on his toes?”

Too friggin’ bad, skeptic. If Guy liked Girl, Guy should grow a pair and ask her out. Girl has no obligation to Guy when Guy has been a total tease. Had Guy asked her out, and then introduced her to Friend, who also asked her out, this would be a situation in which Girl should be more loyal to Guy.

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