Datehazard’s Blog

On dating, singleness and adjusting to being 30ish.

The Checklist May 18, 2013

Filed under: Dating,frustration — datehazard @ 6:12 am
Tags: , ,

At the age of 39, I no longer have the luxury of chancing upon the “right guy” to have kids with, in his (or my) own time. I also don’t want to torture myself with the prospect, indefinitely longing for a child and constantly grieving, withdrawing, then re-launching into dating.

So I decided to approach the situation pragmatically. I created a checklist of “must haves” and dealbreakers. Each date now gets matched ruthlessly against the checklist, and ranked. No exceptions, no excuses, I wrote in my checklist. The only way to make sure I can find someone to have children with is to approach it as a numbers game, and refuse to compromise.

Here it is, in all of its relentless glory:

———-

What I want:

To find someone to have a kid with.

What that looks like:

  • Financially independent
  • Emotionally mature
  • Interested in having kids
  • Similar sense of humour
  • Totally taken with me (not just mildly interested/turned on).

Dealbreakers:

  • Doesn’t pay for meals
  • Doesn’t open doors
  • Constantly scanning for others
  • Constantly checking e-mail/texts
  • Emotionally unavailable
  • Physically unavailable
  • Annoying behaviour/mannerisms

Do not blind yourself to the dealbreakers. No excuses, no exceptions.

———-

It was working great on the obvious duds: those guys who weren’t ready to have kids yet. I was feeling safe, congratulating myself that it was getting me to move on more quickly and painlessly, protect myself from “falling” for anyone who was obviously not going to be good material to have kids with.

Except.

I just found the flaw in the system last night. My checklist doesn’t account for what happens when my date fulfills all of the conditions, and is for all accounts flawless. But my heart is a metronome when I’m around him.

Can a spark be created with time?

 

Filled with hope May 14, 2013

Filed under: breakups,Dating,Desire — datehazard @ 10:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

It’s 10:40 p.m., and I’m sitting in my living room, the muted sounds of a slow keyboard melody filtering through my ceiling. My neighbours are upstairs, crafting a quiet, repetitive tune.

It’s the perfect accompaniement to my pensive state. I just got off the phone after talking to Sparkling Eyes. I’d forgotten all about him until I ran across my post from 2009. And I was immediately transported to the magic of that evening; the way my breathing slowed when we spoke; the way that rare, deeply intimate space had been created that evening.

And then the discovery of his marriage and kids. And the devastation I felt, even as I’d lied in my blog entry, brushing off the blow as “just one of those things.” After that evening, I’d had words with Sparkling Eyes, accusing him of lying to me, and of being duplicitous. And he insisted he had not; that he and his wife were newly divorced, or separated–I can’t recall the specifics now–but the damage had been done, and I’d said too many unkind words.

Months later, when dating who would become my (now) ex-husband, I received a text, out of the blue, from Sparkling Eyes, saying that if I’d ever change my mind, to get in touch with him, and how sorry he was that things went sideways. It was phrased as though I’d spoken with him just the day before. And when I told him to move on with his life, he was confused; which resulted ultimately in a phone call clarification; he told me he’d sent that text six months prior, after our last phone call. Somehow it had gotten stuck in a queue and I’d only received it long after I’d given up hope, and moved on, ultimately marrying someone that I should never have married.

But one does what one does, and I moved on.

Revisiting my writing, I felt all the high and low of that evening as though it had just happened. And Sparkling Eyes’ full name came to me in a moment of quiet.

And so I contacted him at the last e-mail address I had for him, with the full expectation that my message would bounce back, stamped “unknown recipient”. And I’d breathe a sigh of relief, telling myself, “I guess it was not meant to be.”

Except that didn’t happen. And we ended up talking. And it ended up being amazing, as though those four years when we last spoke was just the day before. Towards the end of our conversation, there was a moment where we were silent; we remained quietly on the phone for a moment, smiling in wonder at each other.

And I just spoke with him again, and despite an awful family difficulty he’s having to deal with–or maybe because of it?–I feel deeply connected to this man in a way I have never felt connected to any stranger before.

I can’t explain it. And I want to linger in this wonder, and revel at its shimmer.

 

Spring and singleness in a new city May 5, 2013

Filed under: Dating,Singleness — datehazard @ 11:03 am
Tags: , ,

After a long hiatus during which I got married, then separated, I’m back to being single in a brand new city: Toronto.

I’ve made it a priority to focus on finding someone I could have a family with. My standards are higher, but the drama is the same: the same mix of unsure men; liars; emotionally or physically unavailable dudes; players. The difference in Toronto is that most people are forced to conform to the Canadian mould of “being nice.” It is an enforced space that makes it hard to distinguish the asshole from the genuine nice guy–an experience which I learned from the hard way recently after dating a seeming “nice guy” who turned out to be a lying jerk. Unlike in NYC, I couldn’t see this one coming at all, and am still shocked at how good he was at hiding his true nature.

Meanwhile, I’m starting to fall for Mercurial, who’s leaving for Russia in a week. And doesn’t know when he’ll be back.

 

A boyfriend’s friends May 21, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating — datehazard @ 8:25 pm
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What do you do when you meet your boyfriend’s friends for the first time, and you don’t like them?

It’s a situation I’ve often felt uncomfortable about: a negative opinion has tended to suggest that I have less in common with the person I’m thinking of dating than I initially imagined. Generally when I feel as though I probably would not have anything to say to a partner’s friends, it’s meant that I’ll eventually have nothing to say to my partner.

I met Camera Technician’s friends at a live music show a few weeks ago. We happened to be on a date, and they happened to be there. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the caliber of the interaction; it felt that they were interested in partying and having a drunken good time, and the level of conversation wasn’t particularly stimulating. I know, not everyone’s an academic — nor should I expect them to be. There are really some ways that working in this field has made me socially unsuitable for smalltalk and ordinary contact. My level of patience for superficiality has decreased rather substantially in relation to the amount of specialized knowledge I’ve accumulated. It’s an attitude that’s generally associated with elitism, an ascription I both loathe and yet, it’s also a position I am loathe to relinquish.

So when I met his friends, an ad director, a filmmaker, and a television producer, all of whom hold rather sparkling, intriguing jobs, I felt very ungenerous when I struggled to find some common ground. They didn’t want to talk shop outside of their work hours, and the cultural capital they had was of a more mainstream variety, which left me rather bored. And so we eyed each other warily, superficially, scanned each other quickly and surmised that we swam in very different oceans, and that we’d probably best give each other respectful, if nevertheless wide berth.

Last night, I had my first “we are a couple” dinner party at my boyfriend’s apartment. We’d invited over two of my current boyfriend’s friends, a couple who paint sets for movies and tv shows. We quickly found that we shared a knowledge and passion for organic gardening, so the evening went along pleasantly enough. But it was a strange space to be in, to be talking about mulch, compost and keeled potato slugs with interest and vigour long into the night. They smoked, I tried not to cough, and we smiled at each other.

Then we talked about bikes, riding, and the summer. The conversation was punctuated with questions about my stay in New York and my summer plans to be away. In the silence broken by the sounds of inhaling smoke, Camera Technician’s friends cast sidelong glances at him and at me, gauging our estimations of each other.

 

Random thoughts about adjustment May 16, 2009

It’s funny. When you’re looking so hard for something, sometimes you don’t know what to do when you get it.

Things are going well with the Camera Technician. In fact, they’re going really well. So well that it’s freaking us both out a little bit. So well that everything is flying along at a breakneck pace and we’re suspending decision-making and rationality and living in an alternate universe where utopia is possible, unicorns are sighted with common-enough frequency that sightings aren’t worth comment, and where love and romance rule the day.

It’s that heady time at the start of a relationship.

And it’s also that time for the hard light of reality to shine, just a little, onto this utopia.

I had made summer plans before meeting this guy, so that I would be out of the country. Meeting him put a wrench in my plans and made me reconsider my options. Was there some way I could remain in New York? Should I forego my summer plans? Can I work around them somehow to include this guy? What are my options?

I started to look around for other opportunities in New York, and he did too. And we both realised that what was available was pretty slim and rather bleak. New York is an expensive and hard place to make a living, especially if you’ve just arrived. It’s not the kind of place that allows you to simply plug into some setting and hit the ground running. Eventhough there are expectations and pressures to do exactly that. Which is also what adds to the toughness of living in this city.

Meanwhile, back in utopia, CT offered me the chance to stay in his apartment, over the summer, as an option.

At first glance, it seemed like a great idea — here was the problem of space answered, I would sublet my apartment as I’d intended to anyway, and we could spend the summer getting to know each other. What could be more perfect?

But slowly the cold light of reality has started to creep in. I have a lot of catching up to do professionally and need to do some uninterrupted research — which I was planning to do this summer. I also had some plans to include some fun activities. And an expectation of feeling a little more grounded by being in familiar surroundings, amongst friends.

All of this means I’m probably going to go ahead with my summer plans and be out of the country after all. Which doesn’t bode well, necessarily, for a burgeoning relationship. Most relationships are rather fragile at the beginning. Adding stressors and qualifiers from the start tends to break a relationship, or handicap the necessary gentle space.

Once again, the chaos of my life gets in the way of sustaining a meaningful relationship. It would be tragic if it weren’t so banal, and so common. I can see it now, the next blockbuster Hollywood film titled, “The Tragedy of Timing.”

Right.

 

Beginnings May 8, 2009

Filed under: Dating,Desire — datehazard @ 3:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Well, it looks like I’ve started to date someone. He’s a camera technician who’s worked on a number of mainstream and arthouse movies. And I met him on e-Harmony, of all places. Perhaps it was elliptical harmony after all?

At this point, I’m not sure what’s happening between us; it’s all pretty new and barely a week old. So far what I can tell you is that we seem to be getting along really well. We have a lot of commonality in terms of our interests, and I find him quite compelling.

Which is a little odd, considering that my attention was completely on other people (The Poet, and the IT Guy). And that there are quite a few red flags that I have already encountered. When I met him, I was immediately put off by the fact that he is larger than he appeared in his photographs. Unlike that adage of the camera putting on pounds, this was quite the opposite. For a moment, I hesitated, considering turning around and pretending that I never saw him. But then he stood up and turned to face me. I smiled and stepped forward to shake his hand.

Date #2 included dinner, and, over dinner, a revelation that he was considering being a partner in a porno production. Yes. You read that right. That immediately made me think, “dealbreaker, of course.” I listened with a mix of curiosity and resignation, heard him tell me with embarrassment that this is not the kind of thing he generally does, and thought about what it might be like if I were in his position. I thought to myself, “well, at least he’s honest and forthcoming,” and appreciated the conversation for what it was. He told me more of the details of the production, and to be honest, it doesn’t sound as though it will proceed. There are too many roadblocks, not the least of which is the fact that the other principals seem more interested in living double lives, or carrying out some kind of fantasy, than in actually following through on a solid business plan. If this is his idea of getting rich quick (which seemed like his approach), I think he’s in for a few surprises. But he’s also no dummy. He pointed out these very issues and I could see that he was wrestling with the project on more than a few fronts, including the societal dilemma being in this kind of a position poses.

I’m not quite sure what compelled me to go on another date with him. It was entirely my suggestion that we go to Coney Island, and it was entirely a spur-of-the-moment decision. If it hadn’t been sunny that day; if I hadn’t been bored; if he hadn’t happened to pick up his phone; if he didn’t feel necessarily inclined, we would not have met. And we would not have embarked on this strange and curious relationship.

It’s uncharted territory for me. Once again.

And I’m still not sure how this will turn out. But I’m oddly not really worried. At this point I can take it or leave it. I know it won’t always be like this, but I also know that expecting disaster around every turn hasn’t helped me in the past: that approach has neither averted disaster, nor guaranteed happiness. Nor has the approach of embracing randomness and chance guaranteed or approximated any measure of reliable success, for that matter. But at least the latter approach has allowed for a more intriguing life: one that allows for possibilities and meaningful interactions.

Even if it might all blow up in the end.

 

What happens next? April 28, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Singleness — datehazard @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It’s a beautiful, sunny, warm day. Spring has given way suddenly to the promise of a hot summer ahead (if the weather over the last few days is to be any indication).

Every year, I find men become much more interested in looking at and pursuing women with the change of the seasons. I’ve never been hit on in my neighbourhood in the months I’ve lived here, until last night, when two men sitting idly outside of a restaurant greeted me with that unmistakeably friendly but flirtatious “Hey Mami.”

I never know what to do when someone greets me like that. Is there a code for how to respond? What if I’d like to? I’m always generally shy but also suspicious of strangers (perhaps my mother trained me too well?) And does this approach work for men, anyway? What do they expect? That the woman would suddenly stop mid-stride, and coyly smile, head bowed, calves brushing each other coquettishly?

And what about men who are more obvious or rude? On the weekend as I was returning from a dinner party, a guy ran up to me and said, “I give compliments where they’re due, and you have all the right curves.” At first I had to ask him to repeat himself, because I didn’t hear him; then when I heard him, I thought he must have said “you have all the right curls” — as in, that he was complimenting me about my hair. I laughed anyway, because I thought it was really funny. Perhaps that wasn’t the kindest response. But I am not cruel, and I thanked him for his compliment, even as I laughed.

But I never did get the idea of obvious overtures. Or cat-calling, for that matter. Do they actually work?

Meanwhile, the Poet and I keep flirting, and I’m not really sure what’s going on. And I’m starting to date someone who I met, through, of all places, the “mysterious ‘e'” dating site aforementioned in the preceding post. I’ll call him IT Guy. He seems pretty besotted with me at the moment, which I’m a bit surprised about, but I am the first to admit general cluelessness when it comes to dating. I’ve also pretty much given up trying to figure out what’s going on around me since I am so clearly bad at it.

Still, I wonder what happens next? Am I supposed to confront the Poet? His ex-girlfriend is visiting in a month. He’s gone for the next 3 weekends on business trips. We couldn’t organize our schedules to even talk, let alone meet this week. And he asked me again whether I was worrying about his ex visiting. Which I thought was weird — so I replied, “No, I’m not worrying — why, am I supposed to worry?” Which he avoided.

Ugh. I need a manual on human relations, STAT!

 

What does the “e” stand for in “eharmony”? April 27, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Singleness — datehazard @ 11:00 am
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An idle thought: what does the “e” stand for in “eharmony”?

My poet friend and I were debating this crucial question the other day. I offered the general assumption: “electronic” (like, “electronic mail” for “e-mail”), and we both started laughing.

Seriously? Electronic Harmony??

How funny is that?

So we suggested other possibilities. I said, “Electrifying!” And he rebutted with “Epileptic!”

The conversation dissolved into laughter at that point. I ended with, “maybe elliptical?” — as in, being entirely tangential.

Let’s hope. It’s certainly better than “electronic” as a start for possible romance.

 

With my luck, I should definitely not buy a lottery ticket April 23, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Drama,frustration — datehazard @ 11:53 pm
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… because with my recent luck (if this is any indication), I will definitely not win anything. In fact, if my most recent dating misadventures are an indication of my current (un)lucky status, I will most likely find out that the lottery is fake. And that I’d just participated in some kind of elaborate scam.

Like what happened last night.

I was out at one of my usual networking events, and bumped into one of my colleagues. We generally never hang out at work, so it was really great to see her. I had also brought one of my new friends along — my roommate’s friend, in fact — because he is thinking of getting into my field of work, and figured he might appreciate being given better access to some of the more business-related sides of what I do.

After he left to another event, my colleague “Stylish Beret” and I stayed behind, looking at some of the work, making a few connections, and preparing eventually to leave and get a drink on our own. We were having a great time chatting, and we walked to a bar nearby to continue our conversation in more convivial settings.

After about an hour of a stimulating and lovely discussion, a group of rowdy men and a few women decided to sit at the table next to us. They decided to invite themselves over, and, as usual, I started getting hit on by the alpha male in the group, while my friend attracted the eye of a kind-looking, jovial guy. The man who introduced himself to me was the President of the company, and the rest of the people there were his employees. He proceeded to tell me about his bisexual wife, and how they have an open relationship. His manner was one of bragging, essentially, but it shifted rapidly to one of fear when he, after a pause, asked me not to reveal this information to his fellow colleagues. It was clear that he’d had quite a bit to drink and was feeling entitled to the liberties he was taking, particularly to an attractive stranger.

I struck up a conversation with one of the women of the group, too, who decided she’d take it upon herself to set me up with someone in the group. She (ever so kindly) shouted jovially at me, “You’re going to pole tonight!!”

I’d never heard that expression before, and honestly, started laughing. It was just absurd. And a little of the usual human comedy/drama.

The rest of the evening was then spent with me talking to a guy who was trying all of his moves on me, while I gently teased him. It wasn’t that he wasn’t good looking, it was that he was trying too hard. And he was definitely approaching me as someone who might help him scratch an itch. Generally, this is not a recommended strategy for complimenting a woman. Guys, take note: spend the time to try to get to know someone, and treat the interaction with a light touch. Leave the hammer and mallet at home. Especially when you realise you’re talking to someone who is intelligent and strong-willed. Cheesy pick up lines are just going to give her so much fodder for comedy. At your expense.

After “Clumsy Conversationalist” eventually made his exit, it was then time for the third act of the evening.

As with all plays, the third act is generally the one with the most promise: the scene has been set, the characters established, and the situation is now ripe for exploit — either comedic, tragic, or a combination of both. In my case, I decided to treat the eventual outcome as a complete joke, and an opportunity for instilling a little fear. Call it vigilante justice if you will, call it delicious, call it whatever you want.

But I get ahead of myself.

As I’m preparing to leave, feeling not particularly inspired by the evening and missing my earlier conversation with my friend Stylish Beret (who is still deep in conversation with the same guy with the twinkling eyes and kind face), another of the party comes over and sits across from me. This is a man who is considerably older than I am, with gently sagging cheeks, but with a smile that lights up his whole face. It is really his smile which is spectacular: it rearranges his time-worn, serious eyes into dancing sapphires of boyish invitation. His gaze is steady and consistent — engaging, but soulful. There is something warm and inviting about this man, something deeply reassuring. He is generally directing his comments to the clumsy conversationalist sitting beside me (who is no longer trying to hit on me), but makes sure he catches my eye, too. Soon, though, we are left alone, and he turns to talk to me. The clumsy conversationalist had been trying to find his way out of the conversation, and out of the bar, and Sparkling Eyes had provided just that convenient interruption.

Sparkling Eyes turns to me, asks, “What is it that brings you to New York?” I look at him, and, based on the brief fragment of conversation he’d just had with the conversationalist, replied, “Work.” I felt compelled to ask, “And, by the way, are you a writer?”

A look of surprise registered on his face, and he said, “Well, actually, I used to write quite a lot. How– how did you– ?”

I replied, “Because I’m a writer, too. Something about the way you put your sentences together gave you away.”

I smiled at him.

I continued, “And, by the way, is Jack Kerouac one of your favourite authors?”

He looked wordlessly at me, even more surprised.

“How– Well, yes– I love Jack Kerouac– How did you know?”

I smiled again. “I don’t know. It was a hunch.” I continued, “I get the feeling that your approach to life is one of a journey — that the metaphor of the road trip and travel — is something that resonates with you.”

I continued, “And yet, you’re still searching. Why are you searching? What are you looking for?”

He looked, amazed, wordless at me. I heard the words tumble out of my mouth, and I was surprised, too. They didn’t feel like my own thoughts, or my own observations — they seemed to be more of verbal manifestations of instinct. And for once, these manifestations were coherent. And so they seemed magical.

At around this point, I expected him to change the subject; attempt to cover up, try to reach for some kind of privacy, however much he’d have to wrestle for it. I am not usually this straightforward or blunt with someone I’ve just met, but with this man, I was much more intrusive than I’d ever remembered being. Even when I’m my diplomatic straightforward self, it results in younger men generally straining to escape, change the subject, or do what they need to do to avoid being so open.

But not this man.

He just kept looking at me in wonder, mesmerized by my words, his curiosity and his attention entirely held.

And so we kept talking. He told me about himself without restraint or edit, calmly, unhurriedly. As he talked, he struggled to be clear, to be concise, and to be precise. His hands formed rounded shapes in the air as he tried to articulate his feelings of vulnerability. He looked, with furrowed brow, at me as he spoke, choosing his words carefully. And interspersed these moments of seriousness with that brilliant, transformational smile.

I found myself smiling in response to him, easily, unthinkingly, each time he smiled at me.

There was a naturalness to the conversation, and a depth that I found difficult to quantify, and even harder to identify. And even more strangely, that I had no desire, whatsoever, to do any of the aforementioned analytical things. Analysis operated on a different level last night, when it came to him. The world dissolved and we were left in a self-contained sphere. He reached out to hold my hands; his hands were surprisingly warm, and reassuringly rough. He pressed my fingers between his palms, smiling in wonderment at me during those frequent, happy silences.

We parted on a subway platform, he trying to insist on me coming home with him, or coming home with me. I reassured him, telling him not to worry, and not to try to be deterministic. Every time he asked, I smiled, and made no promises. He seemed to understand and he listened. Even at that late hour, even with the heady intoxication of our long, intimate conversation.

We kissed, and we laughed as we kissed. I don’t remember being so happy during a first kiss as I was then. I felt, somehow, that I knew him, on some kind of essential level, and that he did of me, too. I knew it wasn’t possible: I knew the feelings were really strong and were most likely based in the cold science of organic chemistry. And I went home, floating on a cloud.

And this morning, I wondered, smilingly, about this mysterious stranger with the sparkling eyes and the brilliant smile.

And found out that he’s married. With three kids.

And so, when he texted me asking to see me again, I replied simply, bluntly, “No, I don’t think so. Cowards and liars are so boring. Give my regards to your wife.”

He replied in kind, by text message. But I haven’t checked it yet. I’d imagine it’s some paltry attempt at an apology.

And so, life goes on, and dating continues its own twisted journey. And I’m left with yet another amusing, if bittersweet, experience.

 

Back at the start. Again. And again. April 18, 2009

Filed under: Dating,frustration,Loneliness — datehazard @ 1:15 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I honestly don’t know how many times I’m supposed to be back here. Once again, someone who seemed promising started to distance himself. Then finally reveal that his ex is coming to visit him soon, and that they “just” broke up. More than 6 months ago. And that he doesn’t think anything might happen.

Doesn’t think so? How about knows for sure? How about that?

I am sick and tired of the games and the drama. When will this end?

Why is it so goddamned difficult to find someone to date?