Tag Archives: Online dating service

Turning over a New Leaf (and Then Quickly Blowing It): Dates 31.1 & 31.2

Okay. Now I know why I’ve been avoiding writing about my dates. Looking at where I left off, a guy I (still) *really* like is first on the list. Also, to truly explain why I like this particular fellow so much, I’m going to have to get a little explicit. But whatever, right? It’s anonymous, and you’ve been warned.

So anyway, I was the one who initiated contact with Date 31. We were both on a certain (very large, quasi-expensive) dating website, and I saw that he had visited my profile. Something about him struck me as extremely familiar-looking, so I clicked on his photo to view his bio. Turned out, he lived in my area, so I messaged him, saying I knew he was too young for me but asking where I knew him from (my cousins? the grocery store? the gym?). He immediately wrote back and we struck up a conversation that transitioned to texting.

Now, Date 31 isn’t that much younger than me–only one year. Because he’s never been married or had kids, though, I kind of dismissed him as being someone I couldn’t take seriously. And as you might recall, I started off the year on a vegan-no sugar-no alcohol-no caffeine-no sex fast. Yeah, I was probably being a little too ambitious, but I was super determined to see it through. I had resolved not to have any more meaningless sex, wanting to save myself for a real relationship. And that first week of the year, I was very chaste!

By January 6, however, I agreed to meet Date 31 in person. He took me out to lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant. Going into the date, I told myself I was going to be good, that this guy was kind of a goofball, and no way, no how was I going to have sex with him. And then he showed up.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but I seem to have a thing for Jewish boys from New York. It’s getting to the point where I suspect I can tell the difference between accents from Queens, Yonkers, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Long Island. So when Date 31 walked in, reminding me (in a positive way) of the Beastie Boys? I could barely talk I was so nervous and taken with him. And he seemed to like me, as well, since at the end of the date, he asked if he could see me again.

Before I get to the juicy parts, however (i.e., Date 31.2 and beyond), which will tend to highlight how sexually compatible Date 31 and I are, here’s Problem Issue No. 1: Date 31, while never married, has been engaged. Two years ago, at age 39, his 29-year-old fiancee, a gorgeous, blonde fitness enthusiast (no joke–I’ve seen pictures), was killed in an auto accident. Now, I feel super bad for him, because that’s a horrible tragedy no one should have to endure, but as a potential girlfriend, I could see some difficulties inherent in the whole setup. As in, no one would ever be as perfect as this guy’s dead 29-year-old fiancee.

Since her death, he had settled into a friends-with-benefits relationship that lasted a year, but now he was ready (he said) to find a new relationship, anxious to get married, settle down, and have children. Perhaps I should have ended things right then and there with that admission, since I can’t have children (at least not without the help of a surrogate), but I figured it was too early to jump to any rash conclusions. And besides, he was so cute!

It’s been a few months, so I’m foggy on the details of how it happened, but Date 31 immediately started texting me after our lunch date, saying he wanted to see me again. Eventually, I said okay, come over, so he did.

Things started out vanilla enough, but there’s a certain energy that starts combusting when you match someone dominant with someone submissive in the bedroom. It didn’t take long for him to give my ass a playful slap and discover that the harder he did it, the wetter I got. Add to that the hair pulling, the firm grip he placed around my neck, and the bevy of dirty talk he laid on me, and I couldn’t get enough.

And we got along! Both before and after sex, conversation was lots of fun. Basically, the more I got to know Date 31, the more I knew he was a sincerely nice guy. So nice, in fact, that he said he understood if I wanted to still date other people, but that he’d like me to only have sex with him if we were going to see each other again. This puzzled me at first, but then I was like, Okay! Because if I was getting my sexual needs met, I wouldn’t be tempted to jump into the sack with guys I barely knew or knew there was no future with.

After Date 31 left that night, I looked in the mirror and discovered just how enthusiastic a spanker Date 31 was–my ass was covered in splotchy red and purplish bruises. Um, no problem staying away from other guys, I concluded, since I didn’t want anyone to see me that way!!! I knew he was strong (he’s played sports all his life), but I’d never had someone mark me up like that, and I’ve been with some pretty rough folk!

The next day, I got a series of texts from Date 31 that made me think he’s either been in extensive counseling or has an incredible mother who brought him up right. Yeah, it’s kind of dorky to get a text that says something like, Thank you for having sex with me last night. I really appreciated how wet you got for me and how hard you were able to take it. But after all the callous guys I had dated in the last year, Date 31’s little thank-you texts made me smile, my heart becoming increasingly tender toward him.

I knew we were both still dating other people, but I was anxious to see where things between me and Date 31 were going.

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Dates 29.0, 29.1 & Beyond: Here’s to the Future

As the year and this blog come to a close, I’ve been making some resolutions. Not resolutions, really, more like decisions. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, I opened the year with a 21-day “Daniel fast” (eating primarily fruits and vegetables), during which I also refrained from masturbation. Given that my ex and I only had sex three times the last five years of our marriage, believe me–not playing with myself for three weeks was way more difficult than going vegan and avoiding sugar and white flour. But I did it, and I felt like God blessed me for the effort. [Side note: if you want to know more about the rationale behind faith-based fasting, there’s a pastor named Jentezen Franklin who’s written some great books on the subject.]

Last January (2013), I was in a really rough place. I had left my husband three months earlier and was clinically depressed, the result of which being that I wasn’t sleeping well and had dropped 30 pounds. Honestly, I was dreading the annual fast and a little worried about my health given the circumstances. And then the pastor at my church made an announcement: for the opening of 2013, he felt like God was leading him to skip the corporate fast, calling for feasting, instead.

Anyway, this year, the fast is on again, and I know this one’s going to be an important turning point for me. In short, here’s the deal: vegan diet, no sugar, no flour, no caffeine, no alcohol, no sex (since I’m not married), and no masturbation. And this time, I’m feeling called to do it for 40 days instead of 21. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m doing my best to set myself up for success–I canceled all my online dating subscriptions and I already stopped drinking coffee a week ago.

Of course, as I’ve been typing this, trying to resolve to be good, Date 14 (the 27-year-old with the tattoo on his back, the guy who probably has sleep apnea) texted me out of the blue. I know I should ignore him, but I wrote him back, carrying on a totally inappropriate conversation [secondary side note: Date 14 mentioned how much he liked it when I gave him head, which is tawdry enough as it is, but here’s the really bad thing–I don’t remember sucking his dick! I was so drunk both times I was with him, I was inwardly all like, Hunh??? when he texted me his compliments just now.]

Okay–seems like the texting has tapered off for the time being, so maybe I’m not going to slip up before I ever get started being chaste (although, I have to say, there is the temptation to say, Well, January hasn’t started yet…), but let’s talk about Date 29, the guy from my church, shall we? Here’s the deal with him: we’re from the same small group (a home-based Bible study group designed to enable people to connect on a more personal level, even though our church is super big), so it’s kind of awkward to be dating, but that didn’t stop him from asking me out. First, he just asked if I was going to attend one of the Christmas production performances, saying he’d be there the same night and that we should sit together (Date 29.0). When I showed up, he’d gotten a serious haircut (big improvement) and was all dressed up. We wound up talking for an hour after the show, leading to his asking me out on an actual date.

We went on that date this week (Date 29.1). I wish I could say he was the one, but he’s not, and now I’ve got to face him (and our mutual friends, who know we went out) in church and at small group. We connected on a friendship level, and there was some degree of attraction on my part, but there were a few dealbreakers I just couldn’t get past, the biggest of which was the casual mention of a homophobic attitude. As I might have mentioned before, I have gay friends and family, and I believe that, whether gay or straight, God made us the way we are, and it’s not our place to cast judgment on others. And lest anyone out there start quoting the Bible to me, I’ve read through Leviticus enough times, I happen to know that we’re all in trouble for piercing our ears, having tats, and wearing mixed-fabric clothing if you want to get legalistic about it.

Anyhow, I don’t want to point any fingers, since I still consider Date 29 a friend (though one I hope to influence to have a more loving attitude), but here’s some general advice to the guys of the world about some key first impression stuff women are taking a careful look at when we date:

1. Haircut. As in, has he had one recently? And if so, is it decent? Beyond that, is it professional? For example, one guy I dated kept his hair buzzed short. The length was good, but I could tell from the way his neckline followed his hairline, he buzzed it himself, rather than paying a stylist or barber to do it. Know what this says about a guy? CHEAP!!! And if the haircut is bad or nonexistent, the messages we gals read are LAZY, CLUELESS, and/or OBLIVIOUS. Don’t be that guy.

2. Shoes. Call me crazy, but shoes say a lot about a person. You style mavens out there already know this, but I think this is a point that the rest of us just sort of internalize. Ugly shoes again point to cluelessness. Alternately, unfortunate footwear can also be an indication of someone having a really bad sense of style (extrapolate this to their wardrobe and what their residence looks like, both inside and out, and you get the idea about how this isn’t just about shoes). Down the road in a relationship, you’ll have to make a decision: will you put up with his bad taste or try to change it by offering more stylish suggestions? If you choose the latter path, there’s a good chance that you’ll ultimately be accused of being controlling and/or micromanaging your significant other, an argument to which no one wants to be a party.

3. Car. Now, this is a really tricky one–having too nice of a car might say the guy is a spendthrift, or that he has self-image issues, but having an absolutely awful car says he doesn’t really care about looking good or being comfortable (again, this translates to other realms of the guy’s life). On top of what kind of car he drives is the issue of its condition. My ex, for example, drove an expensive sedan, but he kept so much trash in it, I used to say he should open the windows, then have a garbage truck come scoop it up and shake it clean periodically. Yeah, I can be a bitch, but you probably get my point–it was unconscionable how he treated that fine, luxury automobile (which truly was the ultimate driving machine!).

Looking forward, I know God has someone in mind for me. I don’t know who it’s going to be, but three times in a row now, He’s demonstrated His power in delivering guys literally to my doorstep. The first time was with Date 17, the guy from high school who emailed me out of nowhere. The second time was when Date 29 was late to pick me up the other night–while I was walking my dog, a tall, super good-looking, single, age-appropriate neighbor stopped his car in the middle of the road, cut off his cell phone conversation, and jumped out of the car to talk to me. I was like, Wow!!! Not that I think this guy and I have any sort of future potential, but I took it for a message from above, kind of like God was saying to me, This date who’s late? He’s not the one, but I’ve got someone better lined up for you, and he’ll be along shortly, when the time is right. Third, I got a text from a now-divorced mom friend of mine while at church today: she’s dating a wealthy, good-looking guy who has a wealthy, good-looking (and tall!) friend who wants to meet me.

Of course, and then there’s Date 14, as well, texting me out of nowhere. Not sure if he was sent by God or the devil, but I’ll leave you with one guess as to what might happen with him later this afternoon, given that it’s still December and my perfect guy has yet to come along.

Like I’ve said, we all need Jesus.

Facebook Counter-Stalking

I think I might have mentioned before how my sister knows all these nifty, tech-savvy tricks that have proven useful in the online dating arena. Well, here’s another one: she showed me how to see who’s been looking at your facebook page. Don’t ask me how to do it, since she set me up on her computer and then went to sleep while I obsessively dug around, trying to find out who all the coded-number profiles belonged to (it’s a copy-paste-repeat type of affair, this research), but since you, dear reader, have been in on the details of my dating journey, I figured it’d be interesting to share the results.

That said, my kids were at the top of my list, a discovery that warmed my heart so much, I still get kind of teary-eyed just thinking about it. All teenagers, they’re good at acting like they don’t care, so it was nice to find out that they actually do. Also on the list were lots of friends, family, and writing/professional colleagues, which was great to see. But now let’s get to the guys already.

Right up there with my kids was Date 16, aka My High-School Boyfriend. Being that he’s married, I know this isn’t right. And wasn’t I just talking about his affinity for Catholic guilt? So he definitely knows it’s not right! Because his code wasn’t just there once–it was all over the place, like he’d been stalking my profile all day. Flattering, yes, but seeing his number up there so many times also made me kind of sad for him, since his viewing my page probably says more about the state of his marriage than it does about his fondness for me.

Ditto that when it comes to Date 0, who’s electronic footprints were also all over the place, as well. I know I’m over him now, but I still have a nagging sense of dread that if we’re ever on a panel or at a signing together (especially if it’s somewhere out of town), there could be trouble. Dude is just so fantastically, bizarro-ly charming, not to mention uniquely handsome–I can say we’re done as long as we don’t come near each other, but it’s probably a good idea for us to maintain the 100-mile distance between us.

All right–let’s get to the one-offs, the codes that came up in the top ten but didn’t readily appear further down the page of numbers: also present on my list were Date 13 (the angry but very hot cat-owner guy who’s in his mid-thirties) and Date 17 (the super-amazing, ultra-hot guy I used to be friends with and had a ferocious crush on in high school who started communicating with me out of nowhere and then disappeared from my life just as quickly). Weird, right? It’s like, what gives? These two guys totally ignore me, yet they’re keeping tabs on my facebook profile? Maybe I’m clueless, but I really don’t get it. Probably just as well, since if they can’t be bold enough to make contact, they’re not the type of guy I’m looking for anyway.

Still, I wonder–am I going to hear from either of them at some point in the future? I’m planning on joining Date 13’s gym later this week, not because he goes there, but because it’s a good gym and has relatively reasonable prices. Really, I avoided joining this particular gym previously because of him, but I tried the other local, price-reasonable gym in the area, and I wasn’t happy with it, so tough luck, Date 13!

Date 17 is still slogging through the stickiness of his divorce, so I guess I can’t blame him for maintaining distance. As you might recall, his ex-wife was calling me repeatedly, hanging up on my cell phone, after she found out Date 17 and I were in communication. So, yeah–maybe it’s better if he stays away. My best guess is that she’s threatening him somehow with respect to seeing their kids, and since she’s an intelligent, beautiful woman who happens to work in the profession-that-must-not-be-named, I’m pretty sure she knows how to make good on her words.

Also on the list of lookie-loos were some guys I’ve always suspected might have crushes on me but I’ve never dated. Hard to say if they really do like me or they’re just wondering when my new (not this one, which no one knows about, but the legit one) book comes out (Winter 2014–still don’t have an exact date, but I guess it’s not like I can provide a link here anyway, since it’s teen fiction, and this is, well, NOT!).

Like I said–I’m not sure any of this will matter in the long run, but I’ll keep you posted.

Dates 28.1 & 29.1: Giving Christian Dating a Go

Lest I be struck by lightening, I’ll not give too many details about Dates 28 and 29, since I met both on a Christian dating website, but I just wanted to give a quick recap on my experience thus far with men of faith, since it’s been both exactly what I expected and completely surprising.

First off, the expected: Date 29.1.

I’ve mentioned I go to a somewhat charismatic church, right? Well, Date 29 happened to attend my church, which was kind of convenient but also kind of a concern for two reasons: (1) if we didn’t wind up hitting it off, we’d probably want to avoid each other in the future, and (2) although my church is full of wonderful, spirit-filled people, it’s also a haven for the spiritually eccentric, who tend to be eccentric in general.

The other thing I see a lot of in my church is folks who are in recovery of one sort or another. So when I activated my Christian dating profile, I was more than aware there was a good chance I’d be in for some wine-less dinners, and perhaps some mention of “meetings” and bygone errant behavior. Because some of my best friends are in recovery and I love them dearly, I figured this wasn’t a dealbreaker. But you know what? In a romantic relationship, it’s kind of tough to deal with.

I hope this doesn’t make me sound like an awful person (even though I probably am in a lot of ways–we all need Jesus!), but I want to be open and honest here, and I just can’t help the way I feel. More than the inconvenience of not being able to enjoy a drink together or whatever is the lingering fear that I might somehow eventually derail my date’s sobriety by letting my vigilance regarding his recovery status slip. Like, what if we’re out to eat and I automatically start perusing the drink menu? What if we’re guests at a wedding, and without even thinking, I accept a glass of champagne for the toast?

Granted, I know these are issues people in recovery are accustomed to dealing with, which is why it’s so important to keep up with meeting attendance and such, but I think I’d still feel obligated to join my partner in sharing their sober lifestyle, which would kind of be a drag. Date 17 was gluten-free, and I felt the same type of reticence about getting serious with him, silly as it may sound. Same goes with how Dates 5 and 20 are allergic to cats. These are serious issues when considering someone as a potential eventual spouse. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the experience of being married to my ex-husband, it’s that issues like these (in his case, bad breath and a reluctance to leave the house) don’t go away–they only get bigger and more problematic. Basically, I know this is common sense, but what you see is what you get, and I’ve learned that I’m not in the business of changing people, so it’s better to call it before things really have a chance to get started.

Anyway, Date 29 was one of those recovery guys. Before he even dropped a word about his testimony, I could see it from the zeal in his eyes. I liked him as a friend, but that was it, and I told him so. Luckily, our church is large, so hopefully it won’t be awkward running into each other, but that’s life, and I’m not switching churches.

Now, for the unexpected:

Date 28 was a Christian woman’s dream come true. Handsome and fit, with a well-established career and a friendly but seemingly temperate disposition, I could tell he was a natural-born leader. Before we ate lunch together at a local restaurant, he even said grace! Conversation between us seemed to hum right along, so I thought I’d be hearing from him again, but here’s the thing: I didn’t.

My guess? This guy is cleaning up in the Christian dating arena–he has his pick of Christian women across the county, so someone with as messy an ex-husband and kid situation as mine goes straight to the bottom of his list. Bummer. Because I really liked Date 28, and even though all we did physically was hug, I was definitely attracted to him, suspecting the eventual sex could be stellar.

Looking on the bright side of meeting (and subsequently being rejected by) Date 28, I learned that guys like him actually exist. I was starting to think they were simply a rumor, a rare breed of guy seldom met with in the wilds of the dating world. So even though I wasn’t a match for him, going out with him gave me hope for the future.

Not to mention a nice lunch.

Dates 20.9 & 20.10: Last Call

Of all the guys I’ve been out with, Date 20 is the one I could most see myself marrying at some point down the road. Unfortunately, I don’t think he shares my viewpoint. After our last date, at the end of which Date 20 perfunctorily informed me I snored, we had texted briefly, but then communication between us fizzled and disappeared. And then my birthday passed with no acknowledgment, electronic or otherwise, despite Date 20 being well aware of the date.

[Side note: The birthday thing? It’s kind of a test. Without giving it away, I’ll just say I have an extremely easy-to-remember birthday, since its date is kind of a novelty. That said, I wondered who, of all the guys I’ve been out with, would remember (and/or make the effort) to say happy birthday. As it turned out, Date 23 wished me well before the fact but not on the actual date, and Date 5 said happy birthday because I wound up texting him that night, telling him it had been my birthday during the course of conversation, but only Date 27 texted me specifically, complete with all sorts of cutesie little happy-face and decorative icons, to say he hoped the day was a good one. Everyone else either forgot or decided saying anything would send a message they didn’t want to convey.]

Anyway, when Date 20 let my birthday pass without sending any greetings, I figured we were done for good. Oh, well, I inwardly said with a sigh. I’d been figuring things were done between us, but it still sucked to have it spelled out so clearly in such definitive terms.

About a week later, however, I received a text from Date 20: Happy belated birthday! he said. Kind of pissed he had missed the actual date and kind of figuring he was only texting me because he wanted sex, I texted him back a one word answer: Thanks. No smilie, no exclamation point, just a period afterward.

My therapist, my sister, and my friends were all so proud of me for holding my ground. Too bad I broke down after less than forty-eight hours. I couldn’t stop thinking about Date 20, so I texted him late Friday night, telling him so. Less than thirty seconds later, my phone rang. Date 20 was on his way home from a family gathering. We chatted by cell until he pulled into his garage, and then he called me back from his land line, since cell reception isn’t the greatest at his house.

All together, we talked for almost two hours that night. Even if he didn’t want to be with me long term, it was clear that we’d both missed each other, as our conversation was warm and genuine. At the end of the call, he asked if he could come over Saturday night and take me out to dinner at one of the restaurants near where I live. I said yes, and I could barely sleep after we hung up, I was so excited at the prospect of seeing him again.

Saturday night, I let him into my apartment and we hugged in the doorway. I had decided I wasn’t going to have sex with him that night, since I wanted to know if he had reasons besides getting in my pants to see me, but that resolve faltered when he started to kiss me. He just smelled so good, and I loved the insistent way he kissed and grabbed at me as we made out. Left literally breathless, there was no way I could say no when he suggested we move things inside my apartment.

That said, we didn’t even make it to the bedroom–we did it on my couch. Besides feeling awesome in a sexual way, I found myself emotionally engaged in the act, knowing my hunger for his body wasn’t just physical. When he climaxed inside me, I know this sounds mega-cheesy, but I was fighting back tears of joy. Luckily, though, I was able to hide them when I started crying for real, but I knew what the tears meant: as suspected, I was in love with Date 20. This phenomenon had happened to me twice before–once with my high-school boyfriend and once with my main college boyfriend, who eventually became my husband.

Oh, shit, I couldn’t help thinking. This is bad.

Because I knew Date 20 liked me, but he wasn’t really emotionally available, so I was wasting my energy. But I’ve never been able to help being an optimist, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt that night as he took me out to dinner. Not to mention the fact that he treated me extremely well while we were out together that night, making it way too easy to get my hopes up.

At one point in the evening, we even ran into one of my friends at the restaurant. I introduced Date 20 to her, and I could tell she was happy for me. I was proud to be with him; hanging out as a couple felt right, further cementing my notion that Date 20 and I were meant to be together.

As we said goodnight later on, however, I knew the real test would come in the weeks ahead, when I found out whether he was going to ask me out again. As suspected, communication between us again dwindled to nonexistent.

Two weeks later, though, I texted Date 20, asking him a question related to some upcoming travel I was about to embark upon. He answered enthusiastically and I thanked him but didn’t push for us to get together, figuring he’d ask if he wanted to see me. A few hours later, he texted, asking if I’d like to join him for a hike.

It was great seeing him that afternoon, and we had fun hiking together, but when we made it back to our cars afterward, he hugged me goodbye instead of kissing me. Not wanting our relationship to only be about sex, I didn’t ask him back to my place, and he didn’t ask me to dinner. Instead, I drove away and he sat there in his car, checking stuff on his phone while I crawled along in the stop-and-go traffic our hike’s timing had left us fighting at its conclusion.

The next day, I texted him to say I’d had fun, thanking him for asking me to join him, but his reply was brief and somewhat curt. Maybe I’ll hear from him in a few months, when he gets horny enough, but you know what? I don’t need to have my chain yanked like that, so I’m feeling pretty done. Because, this hot and cold thing? It’s the pits.

I may still have feelings for Date 20, but I deserve better.

Viewing Myself through the Lens of Date [-4]: Domme Potential?

Although I mentioned Date [-4] briefly in my last post, I was kind of pissy about it, since I highly suspect “he” was actually Date [-1/-3], and not a new person. That said, I didn’t want to give him/her the satisfaction of my detailing their dishonesty, lamenting over why they wouldn’t just meet me in person and get it over with already. But here’s the thing: in this incarnation of his/her online dating persona, s/he pretended to be a submissive guy who wanted me to take charge and basically show him the ropes.

Interesting dilemma, that. As a deeply submissive woman, I know what kind of charge we subbies crave. Out of curiosity’s sake, while planning for our “date,” I tried on several outfits, trying to cultivate a stern yet sexy look that I suspected would make Date [-4] cream in his shorts. Taking it a step further, wondering if he really, truly wanted me go there with him, I got out my flogger and waved it around threateningly while making nasty demands. All the while, I watched myself in the mirror to see if I could really pull off being so authoritative in the bedroom.

Oddly enough, I got rather turned on by the whole process. Imagining myself whipping his bare, pinky-white ass, leaving angry red marks from the thin strips of pliable leather, I felt somewhat empowered. Could I really do this? I wondered. Should I start dating submissive guys?

I’ve heard plenty of stories about this particular breed of men. How they’re usually high-powered executives. How they’ll pay $500 an hour to have a hot chick stomp all over them in stiletto heels. Joking around with my sister, I asked her what she thought the practical applications of dating such a guy could be like.

“You will buy me dinner,” I said in a bossy tone of voice.

“We’re going out of town for the weekend,” I continued, “and you’re going to book the reservations.”

“I need diamond earrings. Now!” she barked, and we both dissolved into laughter.

Joking aside, I have to ruminate over whether that submissive side would bleed into other aspects of a romantic relationship. Would the dominant person always be responsible for planning dates? Would she have to pay the bills (albeit out of his checking account!)? Would she always have to initiate sex? Does submissiveness in a guy translate to laziness?

Maybe, maybe not. I’m submissive, but I’m a total go-getter in terms of achievement. At work, I’ve always been an exemplary employee, taking charge when the job requires it and deferring to orders as needed.

Anyway, we’ll see. There’s a younger, somewhat submissive (real) guy I’ve been messaging with on the dating site for awhile now, and I think we might finally go out. True to stereotype, he’s a financier who probably has an MBA or something. Way too many years between us for me to take him seriously, but I have to say this: when we finally go out, I hope it’ll be on a cool night, so I can wear my boots.

Dates 12 and [-4]: The Telephone Is Your Friend

Last night, even though I shut my dating-website profile down (again), I received a call from a guy I’d briefly traded messages with a couple weeks ago. I felt kind of bad about not remembering him better (“What’s your name again?” “How old are you?” “Oh, yeah–the straight-edge/agnostic/vegan guy with the one-hit-wonder-’80s-band screen name. Now I remember you!”), but we had a nice conversation anyway.

Although I kind of doubt we’re ever going to embark upon an actual date, we had an interesting discussion regarding the peculiarities associated with online dating. When I related to him how I’d been stood up on a coffee date this week by Date [-4] (who, in hindsight, I’m strongly suspecting is actually that same lesbian chick who played me twice before), he asked, “Didn’t you talk by phone first?”

“Um, no,” I was ashamed to admit. But then, about half of the dates I’ve gone on haven’t involved phone conversations beforehand, just an exchange of email and/or text messages. Not to mention I have talked to certain guys beforehand, but then meeting them in person was a total bomb (see Date 1.1). Some guys just aren’t as comfortable chatting by phone, so the fact that Dates 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 18, 21, and I didn’t converse telephonically before our respective first dates didn’t strike me as odd. Now, however, I’m starting to learn.

Better late than never.

Because, let’s pick apart the above situations…

Date 2 – If I’d insisted on his calling, he’d have declined, because I’m pretty certain (after the fact) that he’s married, so sharing his cell phone number (because I’m also pretty sure he’s an amateur, part-time cheater, not a guy with a secret disposable cell phone for extramarital escapades) would have been a no-go. Now that I’ve moved back to my previous suburb (where Date 2 also happens to live), I’m just waiting for my opportunity to make him sweat. One of these days, we’re going to run into each other at a school or social event. I won’t rat him out, but I will say something like, “You look familiar. Where have we met? I can’t quite place it…”

Date 4 – Extremely resourceful and horny, if I’d insisted on a phone call, Date 4 would have made it happen, so maybe he’s not the best example of why this should become a nonnegotiable dating policy. Plus, he called and face-timed me after we were already dating, so even though he wound up being kind of a flake, I really don’t think he has anything to hide. Then again, maybe he’s still married, too, and not in the process of getting a divorce, like he said. Never can tell, especially when someone just up and disappears.

Date 5 – Just in case he happens to be reading (since he’s one of the two guys who know about this blog), I’ve got a message for him: I love you, babe, but you’ve got intimacy issues. Had I insisted on a pre-initial-date phone call, I might have been able to sniff out this fact. Maybe it’s just me Date 5 doesn’t want to get close to, but his hardcore avoidance of real-time phone conversation makes me wonder what’s going on beneath the surface. Could be why a great guy like him is in his late 30s and has never been married. Just saying.

Date 7 – If I bored (or overwhelmed?) him so much he didn’t want to go out with me again, and all we did was have drinks, appetizers, and conversation together on our first date, perhaps we could have scheduled a phone call beforehand and skipped a step? Again, just saying–everyone’s time is precious.

Date 8 – Guy was legit, so a pre-dating phone call wouldn’t have changed anything. However…he was late to our first date, and we’d only been communicating by email prior (and I didn’t yet have a smart phone), so it would have been nice if he’d called to let me know he was caught in traffic but on his way.

Dates 9, 10, & 11 – They probably would have called if I’d insisted, and then I’d be more clued in about their personalities and priorities. Not a dealbreaker, since I’m usually up for meeting new and unique people, but also not a bad thing when you’re agreeing to meet a stranger off the Internet for the first time.

Dates 12, 15, & 18 – Could have saved myself some trouble if I’d talked with these guys beforehand. Dates 15 (communication-scrambling accent/rotten tooth) and 18 (sex maniac/control freak), you know about. Date 12, I’ll get to in a minute.

Date 21 – Not sure a phone call would have changed the outcome, but at least I’d have been forewarned about how passive he wound up being, which didn’t ultimately wind up giving me what I was looking for that night.

If I had engaged in a longer telephone conversation with Date 6 (he kept catching me as I was running out the door, so we never got to talk much before meeting in person, though I have to give him credit for trying), I would have known that (like the guy I chatted with last night), he laughs like Scooby-Doo. I also would have gleaned how freakin’ boring his life was (like another random guy I’ve met online, talked with on the phone, but have no plans to ever meet in person), so I might have nixed our plans and saved him a drive from East County.

But let’s get to Date 12 already, shall we?

All right. This is going to make me sound like kind of a mean person, but I want to tell it like it is, so here’s the thing: Date 12.1 was probably my worst date ever.

Before I get to what made Date 12.1 so bad, let me just say that, as an nonphotogenic individual (almost all my dates have told me I’m better looking in person–still trying to decide whether this is truly a compliment, since I think the pics I’ve posted are accurate and decent, but whatever), when I see guys’ pictures online, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. That said, on paper, Date 12 sounded like a stand-up guy: good job, already had a kid, my age, reasonably active lifestyle, etc. His photo, however, wasn’t the greatest. In fact, it made him look downright ugly. Because he had only posted one picture, though, and it was kind of blurry, I just figured he must be new to the online dating scene, not realizing the importance of a flattering image. Aw, I thought, that’s kind of sweet how he’s so clueless. I’ll bet it’s just a bad angle.

But it wasn’t. He looked exactly like he did in that picture when I met him in person. In fact, he almost looked worse, with deep wrinkles crossing the bridge of his nose, making me positive he’d lied about his age, since there was no way this guy was in his early 40s. Late 40s is more like it, I thought, but really, I was prepared to hear he had already begun his 50s.

Compounding my issues with his looks was the fact that he had way too many buttons unbuttoned, revealing (get this–I’m not joking) a gold chain around his neck. Now, in his defense, he grew up in New Jersey. But here’s a tip for any East Coaster guys who might happen to be reading: we don’t do this in Southern California. Not since disco was popular, anyway.

I’m generally a pretty friendly, nonjudgmental person, though, and in his pre-date texts, he’d asked me what kind of wine I liked. I told him, and he said he’d have a bottle ready for us when I arrived. Nice gesture, right? So even though he wasn’t Prince Charming, looks-wise, I figured we could still enjoy a worthwhile evening.

But then he opened his mouth. Within two minutes of meeting each other, we were already fighting. How do you start an argument with someone you’ve barely met? you might ask. In this case, it started with a discussion of public-school API scores (a standardized testing measurement employed statewide in California). I don’t want to call out where I live, but the schools in my area have the highest scores in the county. This is a fact, one backed by data available on the California Department of Education website. But this guy wanted to argue with me that the schools in his neighborhood were better (although his ex-wife lives in my district, so let’s all do the math here).

Moving on, conversation got creepier and more skeezy, with Date 12 alluding to the fact that he knew I was sexually submissive based on the dating-website personality questions I’d answered. Only with people I like, I wanted to point out, but I just kept changing the subject. In the course of finding benign things to discuss, the reason he looked vaguely familiar to me was revealed: we had been part of the same scout troop, meaning we had tons of mutual acquaintances.

Talk about making a bad date worse! Now, instead of just being able to get up from the bar and leave, channeling my inner bitch, I had scores of people to answer to for my behavior. This is why I enjoy online dating so much–if it goes badly, there aren’t any real-life social repercussions. In this case, however, I had to find an alternative means of escape.

I decided to broach all those subjects people aren’t supposed to talk about on first dates: my divorce, my custody battle, the kid from scouts who died of cancer, the heart-crushing details of his funeral. Yeah, I know it was wrong for me to exploit that kind of information, but I kept shooting pleading glances at the bartender at the same time, trying to telepathically send him the message, Check, please! Only the bartender kept ignoring us, finally bringing over the tab after three grueling hours of disastrous date time.

The worst part, I have to admit, though, was when Date 12 asked me about my astrological sign. “Yes, I’m a ________,” I admitted.

After asking what my actual birthday was, he wanted to know, “And you’re really 42?”

No, I’m really 36, I wanted to say. I just tell people I’m 42 so they’ll think I’m more mature.

“Yes,” I assured him, then asked, “What about you?”

“You’re not going to believe this,” he said, digging into his back pocket for his wallet, then producing his driver’s license for my inspection.

Know I don’t like to cuss, but, Fuckin’ A!!! Dude had the exact same birthday as me. Exact same year and everything.

You, me, and [insert name of goofball hair-metal-era lead singer who’s repeatedly been kicked out of his band], I couldn’t help thinking. No one cool ever has my birthday!

Date 12 tried to get me to go back to his place with him after we left the restaurant, using smooth lines such as, “I really didn’t think I was going to like you.”

Yeah, well, thanks but no, thanks, I wanted to tell him. Because we had so many mutual friends, though, I made excuses about having lots of work to do and drove away vowing never to see him again. He did, indeed, wind up asking me out again, but I pulled the Date 17 card, saying someone from high school had recently come back into my life, and I wanted to see where things were going. True, that, but still–sometimes it’s best to just shut up, be diplomatic, and chalk the whole thing up to being a learning experience.