Datehazard’s Blog

On dating, singleness and adjusting to being 30ish.

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

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Drama,frustration — datehazard @ 11:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

… 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.

 

Adults will do what adults will do… February 27, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Drama,Exes — datehazard @ 12:37 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

My friend The Artist called today to ask to meet with me. When I saw her, she was agitated and looked like she had something on her mind. She told me it had to do with her roommates and how they were driving her crazy; but when I talked to her, it really seemed like an inconsequential problem.

So I was kinda wondering what else was happening with her?

Then she told me.

She’d spoken with my friend The Grad Student (remember him?) and told him that she’d told me what happened between the two of them. She asked me how I felt about the two of them dating, and I told her that I had no problems with it, but that I didn’t want to see her get hurt, and that I felt that his behaviour was pretty shifty from what she’d told me so far.

She told me, “well, actually, he told me that he’s not looking for a serious relationship right now; that he can’t handle one at the moment.”

I said, “And that’s ok with you?”

“Well, as long as he doesn’t mean that he won’t go running off in the opposite direction the minute something gets a little serious with the two of us. I mean, I have to have a talk with him and let him know that I’ve been hurt in the past, and that I won’t put myself in that position again. If he wants to date me, he has to be prepared to date me, not to run away the minute I say I want to date him.”

That was a mixed message, admittedly. But it also put my mind more at ease.

I told her, “Listen, I just want to say that I was hoping that the two of you would get together at some point — that’s why I introduced you to each other. I mean, I told him you thought he was cute the minute you met him and told me that.”

She: “Really??”

“Yeah! I mean, I think it’s great if you two want to get together. But I didn’t think it would happen so fast, and I thought that he was being kinda shady by not telling me what happened between the two of you the night you both kissed. I told him that you’d just broken up with your boyfriend, so I thought he’d have understood to hold back a bit.”

“Well, really at this point, it just feels so great to have so much attention from all of these men. And to tell you the truth, The Grad Student is a real catch. I mean, he’s smart, and really good-looking, and so much better than my ex. I can’t even tell you. So right now, that’s just making me feel even more convinced that I did the right thing.”

That seriously made me happy. I had a huge smile on my face.

“TA, that is EXACTLY what I was hoping for. I’m so glad you’re feeling better!!”

I gave her a big hug.

And I said, “one last thing. If he hurts you, I will break his neck. You can tell him that. Seriously.”

She laughed.

And then I went off to meet up with The Grad Student to attend a lecture that he’d invited me to that evening. And I told him exactly the same thing: “If you hurt her, I will break you limb from limb. This is not a joke or a threat. It’s a promise.”

He, after joking around a little bit, said, more seriously, “well, I mean, how am I not supposed to hurt her? I mean, unless we end up getting married and stay together for the rest of our lives, it’s pretty impossible not to hurt people.”

I didn’t have to say much. I turned to him and said, “You know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s about acting on ethical principles. You know her headspace, and you know what I mean.”

End of conversation.

And end of my matchmaking and guidance.

Now I wish someone could do the same for me…

 

Mental health day February 22, 2009

Filed under: Singleness — datehazard @ 11:58 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Today I’m taking a mental health day. I’m also feeling a little under the weather. My low-grade sinus infection that has been developing over the last few days has nicely bloomed into a medium-grade state.

This is always my body’s cue to get me to slow down and to stop stressing about the small stuff. Like whether The Charmer will want to see me when he gets back. Whether he’s thinking about me at all. Whether anything can happen between us. Honestly, I started to get depressed, thinking about how he just doesn’t seem to be that into me. And yet, he keeps texting me and asking how I am and what I’m up to. Why do I put myself in this position? Why can’t I just delete his contact information and stop checking my phone? I am worn down and sad.

Meanwhile Indie Musician got mad at me for not calling him back. I’d been hesitant because I thought he’d lied to me about his age. When we met, he apologized for his lie–which actually turned out not to be a lie. He thought he’d e-mailed me his fake age, but actually had been upfront with me. We spoke on the phone and I said that the sense of unease and a bad first impression still remained. He had to rush off to his job, but he said he’d call later.

I honestly don’t have that much of a hope for this one, since I tend to hate liars. I had one bad experience in the past with a liar and he turned out to be quite the liar: a coke addict, who slept around with prostitutes and was a cross-dresser as well. And I found out all about that when I returned from a weekend away. My last boyfriend also lied; our relationship opened up with him lying about checking other women out on an online dating site. He hadn’t slept with them or gone out with them, but it was a rude shock, since he’d declared his undying devotion to me. Just before I found out. Needless to say, I’m a little gun-shy when it comes to people who lie, even about small shit.

So I’m taking a mental health day today. I’m still in my PJs, I’m going to eat some nice food, I’m going to call some friends and chat about nothing in particular, and maybe see a movie on my computer.

Corporate Lawyer wants to see me this evening but I am disappointed in him. He’d taken his visiting friend out to a performance yesterday, put on by another friend of his from high school. I felt like the unwashed FWB: never good enough to date publicly, but good enough to have in bed, and out as arm candy.

Ugh. Enough negativity! Time to rock out to some tunes and get on with it.

 

Nasty news February 21, 2009

Filed under: breakups,Drama,Exes — datehazard @ 2:15 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Well, I just had a rather unexpected update from my friend The Artist about what exactly happened on the night she got really drunk and ended up at The Grad Student’s house.

Apparently it wasn’t just that she’d gotten drunk, but that she and the Grad Student had kissed. He’d been putting the moves on her, and he’d also said to my friend, “What shall we tell DH? Don’t tell her something happened. Maybe we can just tell her that you stayed over because you were really drunk?”

And just yesterday, The Grad Student was telling me how he thought I was beautiful and incredibly desirable. Which I’d laughed off and dismissed as so much loneliness. We’d spent the entire day talking about his problems, and I’d been sympathetic about his breakup, trying to encourage him to keep moving on.

And now, once again, I feel used. Once upon a time The Grad Student and I had a thing — a long time ago when I was on the rebound from my ex and had just moved to NYC. We’d managed to work through it, but there had always been that tension, which I generally ignored or pushed aside. After our attempt to date, I realised that he wasn’t the right person for me, and I told him that. And kept dating other people.

And now I am stuck in this awkward situation where I had to promise The Artist that I wouldn’t reveal the fact that they’d kissed. And I can’t act on my anger and ask The Grad Student to explain his actions, and why it was at all important to hide this information from me. And I can’t warn The Artist about this guy, who is clearly playing the both of us, because she would think it’s so much jealousy on my part. And I feel personally responsible for making sure she doesn’t get hurt. Especially when she’s in this particular state. And I’m the one who introduced them to each other.

Men are pigs. Seriously. And clearly I am ridiculously naive.

 

The Goodbye February 19, 2009

Filed under: breakups,Dating,Desire,Drama — datehazard @ 2:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

How do you say goodbye to someone who seemed like they were going to be much, much more than a fling?

You don’t.

You wish them well.

And that’s just what I had to do with The Charmer. He hadn’t returned my phone call or my text message, and so I finally sent him an e-mail. I explained that I didn’t know why he was having this response, but that I’d hoped it wasn’t because I’d annoyed him in some way. And that I hoped he would have a good trip and managed to have some downtime.

I also wrote that I didn’t want to date him when he returned; that I thought it would be better if he wanted to get to know me, and to know me on my own terms, because I have a lot more information on him than he does on me. He really doesn’t know me at all. Which explained his hesitation and surprise at my behaviour on a few occasions, including in bed. I think my availability surprised him. His anxious questions about whether I was dating anyone else seemed from a place of formless fear: the kind of fear that isn’t based on anything except itself.

So I left the door open.

But I don’t think he’ll be coming back.

This one’s in the “fling” category, folks. Much to my disappointment.

[Edit: He texted me back after I’d e-mailed saying that he’d been crazy busy, but that everything was ok and he’d call me after he arrived at his holiday destination tomorrow. It doesn’t really change anything, though. I didn’t text back and I’m happy to move on with my life. We’ll see what happens when he gets back.]

 

Unimpressed women and frustrated men February 14, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Desire,Drama,frustration — datehazard @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Why is it that there are so many unhappy looking people on Valentine’s Day?

And I’m not just talking about people without roses.

On the way back home from spending the day with my newly single friend The Artist, I noticed a woman talking to a man with That tone of voice. It was a quiet, explaining tone, but it had an edge of annoyance. I looked in her direction, but her male partner’s arm was blocking her face. He was holding onto an overhead railing, and she was facing him, her back to the train door.

She was trying to explain the building blocks of DNA to her companion. In her proper accented English, she explained that the human body was made up of proteins, down to the amino acids that make up DNA. Her partner, either willingly or unwittingly, did not seem to be able to understand this basic fact. She tried several versions of an explanation. She tried to relate genetic coding to something he would understand. She chose binary code. I assume he must have been in an IT-related field because of her choice, but I found that hard to believe, given that he didn’t seem to exercise the kind of logic required in the field.

He also seemed entirely unwilling to meet her halfway. I couldn’t really hear what he was saying to her, but I got the sense that he also wasn’t really that interested in understanding what she was saying. I looked at his back and his grey hair, noticed the disparity in age between them, the unkempt and rumpled state of his coat. I saw her wavy brown hair, the edge of her clear glasses, her red coat mismatched with an orange scarf. And I started to get angry.

As she started again to try to explain the four bases in the nucleic acid of DNA (AGTC) he smiled patronizingly at her, stepped closer to her in mid-sentence, and leaned in to kiss her. She returned a peck and tried to finish her sentence. He cut her off, “I just don’t get it, I mean, the body is made up of proteins? These are proteins?” And started stroking her hair. She tried to continue, “Yes, I mean, it’s the most basic fact. It’s really basic –” and then gave up.

Occasionally I would see her reflected profile in the subway car’s shiny metal walls. As she was leaving, I got a good look at her reflected face. Her mouth had a firmness, and a suppressed frown. Her eyes flashed annoyance and she pursed her mouth, then sighed abruptly. Her eyes trailed to the floor and stayed there.

I wanted to run after her, tell her not to sleep with this idiot of a man. Tell her that he wasn’t even attractive, with his grey stubble, soft jowls and faintly stained and spotted crumpled coat. That she is not a misfit, hardly unattractive, with wonderful brown hair and a sparkling, sharp mind. And that she hardly needed to entertain, not even for a minute, this mess of a human being; someone clearly not at all interested in her as a person and only involved in satisfying his own lust.

But I didn’t. And so I sat, disturbed, and a little upset by what I’d just seen.

Corporate Lawyer wanted to meet up with me and was really disappointed when I said no — but I think what I’d seen gave me pause to sit and reflect on what I was doing in my dating sphere, too. I just needed to spend some time by myself this evening.

And The Charmer sent a rather rude text message propositioning me, asking me to stay with him on Tuesday night and he would drive me to work on Wednesday. I didn’t know what to say, which is exactly what I replied. I mean, you’d think it would be nice to be asked to dinner, not to be just asked to come over and service him… which is kinda how it read. How disappointing.

 

The Breakup (Part 2) February 13, 2009

Filed under: Adjusting,breakups,Drama,Exes,Loneliness,Singleness — datehazard @ 11:23 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Another friend I know is also going through a breakup. Hers is fresh, though; the wounds are barely accounted for, and the shock hasn’t really had time to sink in yet.

So she’s in the early stages of Step 1 I wrote about before.

We spent some time talking on the phone this evening, after I got back from my supposed date with Indie Musician. I thought he’d stood me up, so I was pretty bummed. Turned out it was a miscommunication problem, mainly on my part: I thought I’d given him my cell number, he thought my home number was my cell, he’d changed the venue and called and left messages on my home phone… And we never met up. And both thought that the other had stood the other one up. The conversation didn’t go too well at first, and I got a little mad because he started blaming me. But more on that later.

My friend (who I’ll call the Artist) and I had been planning to hang out tomorrow, doing what singles do, because I felt that she needed some cheering up. She launched rightaway into talking about how she wants to write her ex a letter, expressing her desire for him, the fact that she thinks their breakup is premature, that this decision has to do with fear and that they should spend some time talking things through. She’d mentioned the letter before, and I’d cautioned her about that, saying that I thought she needed to wait some time before sending something like that: to write it out, but not send it rightaway. She said she was sure that she wanted to send it out rightaway, but that she’d sleep on it and think it through. She’s going to be seeing her ex on Sunday when she has to go pick some things up at his place.

She’s going exactly through what I mentioned in Step 1: hoping that she can find a way to make the relationship work, somehow. Negotiation, I think is what this phase is called. And there’s no deterring it. Nothing anyone else can say would make that “I really have to be convinced that I’ve done everything humanly possible” feeling go away. It just has to go away on its own time. I’ll try to see how long it takes for her to have this feeling diminish somewhat. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’ve offered to take her out for a nice day of eating cheap, delicious food, walking around, spending the whole afternoon just talking about whatever she wants to talk about, and getting some time to really just unwind and let her hair down. She’s not sleeping and she’s not eating. It’s the least I can do for a friend who’s just gotten her heart broken.