Birthdays and Boyfriends: Meeting the Parents… and Best Friend

So, I celebrated my 28th birthday last week and I did so with such enthusiasm, I’m going to have to have that Logan’s Run themed 30th birthday party I keep talking about… and that city-wide lantern release.

Remember, Gail. This one’s on you.

As I mentioned last week, in my brief Blogiversary post, two of the most significant celebrations I had planned for my birthday were the introduction of Jake to Gail and Terry and his introduction to my dad and Lena. After my late evening at the grown-up arcade with my work friends, on Wednesday night (my actual birthday), I went home to get ready for Jake’s arrival on Thursday morning at nine, as we’d planned. In fact, the previous week, when I’d driven to Wellston and Jake had made me dinner, we discussed this plan, in depth. I told Jake that I intended to take a half day substituting job if I could find one, assuming he’d arrive in Shetland around noon, as he usually does when coming from his family’s cattle ranch.

Jake: “Well, I’ll be there at 9:00.”
Me: “You will? I thought you were leaving that morning.”
Jake: “Yeah, but I’ll leave early.”
Me: “Okay. Are you sure? I don’t mind taking the day off, as long as it’s to spend time together, but otherwise, I need to work.”
Jake: “I’m sure. I’ll be there at 9:00.”

I wasn’t just being pushy, here. While the only times Jake has ever postponed plans have been when he’s driving back from his family’s ranch, it’s also been every time he’s driving back from his family’s ranch. That’s why I was just short of nagging when I asked. So, imagine my frustration to receive this text at 7:00 on Thursday morning.

I’ll be there around lunch.

Even know that three months is too soon to threaten to throat punch the boy, but I was just so frustrated. I could have been working. I haven’t subbed all summer and I could have really used a half day’s pay. Jake, though… well, Jake’s in oil. We have substantially different incomes and likely always will. Half a day’s pay means very little to him and I’m not super eager to admit how difficult September has been, especially with the Gardasil vaccine that I’m getting, at least partly, because of him. I tried to look at things a little differently. Now I had a whole morning to finish sewing my flannel Star Trek pants… for which no one would be paying me. Nope. I just couldn’t get over it, so I kept my texting brief, for fear of sounding bitchy. Verbal and textual chatterbox that I usually am, Jake noticed and called. He said he wanted to make sure the plans were still the same, that we’d be going to the botanical gardens and to the outdoor store. He clearly wanted to see if I was mad and I’m just not all that great at hiding emotions, but I was polite, if brief. When he arrived around noon, I was still a little reserved. Jake actually had to stop me and ask to see the Spock shirt I’d raved about getting with my birthday money: “Trek Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.” Ultimately, I decided the best bet was just to say something to him, rather than let it stew.

Me: “I’d have worked this morning if I’d known you’d be late.”
Jake: “Ugh. Yeah. My brother was being a dick, so I didn’t get out until later.”

He clearly didn’t want to talk about it and I didn’t want to pry, but I quadruple checked that he’d be there early in the morning! Still annoyed, I set it aside and we started our day with lunch. Midway through our meal, I’d forgotten all about my frustrations with Jake and was just so glad to be with him. I always convince myself in our time apart that he’s not as great as I remember and I’m always wrong.

We had a great time. I stole my country boy’s new phone and changed his theme to pink and his ringtone to Turn Down for What, the latter of which I’m still not sure he’s been able to fix. We joked and talked about politics and I, again, took his phone and pretended to change his Facebook relationship status (he doesn’t Facebook at all), only to have him tell me to go ahead. After lunch, we went to the gardens, which were, quite honestly, boring. Did you know that botanical gardens just equals “trees and bushes”? When we’d gone to the zoo, Jake had been strangely gifted at naming the plants, so I’d thought it would be a fun activity, but I was wrong… except for the Jake part. That part was nice.

After the gardens, we went to the outdoor store and Jake asked if I wanted him to buy pretty much everything I touched. While it’s sweet that he wanted to get me a birthday gift, that’s not really how that’s done, so I declined everything but a bag of cotton candy jelly beans. We played a shooting game and Jake told me the official names of the fish in the tank. As much of a city girl as I can be, there’s something so… familiar about Jake’s country roots. All my life, I’ve grown up around men who hunt and fish. My ex-husband wasn’t into any of those things at all and there’s something almost… comforting in Jake’s down home side. He’s so friendly and laid-back, but at the same time, he can argue Lord of the Rings vs. Harry Potter (he’s wrong). Ultimately, you’d think I’d find discussing types of fish dull, but it’s almost… soothing.

By the time we were supposed to meet Gail and Terry at the bar, I was pretty tired, but Jake had other ideas, which made us later than a nap would have. Regardless, everyone seemed to hit it off quite well. Terry and Jake are both from small towns, with farmer/ranchers for parents. The conversation was easy and fun and my three margaritas put me so far over the limit, by the end of the night, that I jokingly programmed a sex shop into Jake’s GPS… and he drove there, when I refused to tell him what it was.

Finally, we went home and crashed for the night. The next morning, we woke up late for Jake and at normal human hours for Belle.

Jake: “It’s 8:00. We’ve wasted half the day.”
Me: “Shut up. It’s like the middle of the night.”

I made breakfast and somehow, the topic of my taking a job the day before came up again.

Me: “I was just frustrated because I asked for that very reason. I could’ve worked a half day. I don’t even know if one would’ve been available, but I couldn’t look because you said you’d be here at 9:00 and I blocked out the day.”
Jake: “I can like… give you money if it’s that big of a deal.”

Me: “Duuude. Noooo. I’m pretty sure that’s prostitution, so let’s not.”

I’m pretty sure that is the boyest thing he has ever said and that’s saying something. Ultimately, however, he got my point and understood the level of frustration I felt, so I feel the communication was successful. It wasn’t a fight, but it was our first disagreement and I think it was a productive one.

After breakfast/brunch, we went to see The Gift and then to meet my parents. I was a little nervous, but I didn’t want to make Jake more nervous by admitting so.

Jake: “I can’t believe I forgot my beard trimmer.”
Me: “It’s not that bad. Besides, I set the bar really low. They’ll love you.”

That’s me… being supportive.

I was right, though. Lena enthusiastically talked about my steps and both she and my dad told stories of their numerous trips to Mexico. My dad was thrilled to have a cattle/hunting/camping conversational companion and Lena and I bonded over how awful all of those things sound. Both of them loved when Jake told them how he doesn’t care for tattoos, piercings, and colorful hair.

Dad: “Are you going to go to the rodeo with him?”
Me: “Oh, I’m sure I will. His whole family is into rodeos. His dad was a rodeo clown.”
Jake: ::laughing:: “That is not true.”
Lena: “You’ll learn that Belle is her father’s daughter. They’re both dramatic story tellers.”
Jake: “Oh, I got that one a while ago.”
Me: “Hey. The difference is, want you to realize I’m being dramatic. My dad wants you to believe that he saw a cricket the size of a pony.”

It was great. They liked him. He liked them. It was a little loud with the live music and that was a damned shame, but it was just… fun. No one liked my ex-husband, so this is new and I’ll tell you, it’s awesome. I’ve always hated the idea of being with someone who doesn’t click with my family again and I’m pretty sure Jake with his stuffed deer head (who he’s refusing to let me a) decorate for Christmas or b) name Buzz) fit in better than me with my Ravenclaw Quidditch sweatshirt.

So that was my birthday and Jake’s introduction to some of the most important people in my life. I’m not sure it could’ve gone better, either. My daddy likes him. My stepmomma likes him. My Gaily likes him. Perhaps most amazingly, after three months, still like him.

Belle of the Book Blogs

Ugh! FINE. I LIED, OKAY?!?!

I claimed the reason I never started a book blog was that I’m just too opinionated. That’s not strictly true. It’s really because I was too lazy. About a year ago, I set one up. I chose a name, formatted it, even made a custom header. I just never did anything with it. You see, my favorite book bloggers, they’re just so… wordy. They go on and on about their favorite titles and how the characters made them feel and what they liked and didn’t like and who they’d choose to play the roles and what they hope to get out of the next installment and for the most part…. I’m just skimming. Also, that was an intentional run-on sentence to create a feeling of endlessness. Anyhoo…

As much as I value the opinions of my favorite book bloggers and appreciate a good review before I spend time trying to get into a story… if I wanted to read that much on the subject, I’d just read the book. Why can’t someone create a book blog where they just tell me whether or not the book is worth my time and give a brief description of why? I mean, if you didn’t like the story because the man was too bossy, step aside and give me a copy, because I love a good fictional alpha male. On the other hand, if you wanted to cut the heroine, because she was so obnoxious, thanks for saving me the time and pennies. Regardless, those sentiments can be shared in very few words and we can fangirl in the comments. Which brings me to my final point: If I wanted to make a book blog, why would I spend hours reviewing a title, when I admittedly skim everyone else’s reviews?!?!

So, I invited y’all to follow me on Goodreads, which I do maintain, but any reviews I might write quickly get lost in the sea of clever, GIF filled, three-page-long critiques. So, alas, I am going to be the change I wish to see in the world… cuz that’s where Gandhi was going with that. He wanted me to review smut and such… in 250 words or less, at Belle of the Book Blogs. It’s the Twitter of book blogging.

Five Ways You Offend Women by Insulting Fifty Shades of Grey

Provocative title, isn’t it? Anyone who reads my blog is familiar with my love-to-hate affection for the Fifty Shades of Grey series. After all, I’ve captioned it here, here, here, and in my last entry I showed you my homemade Pin the Penis on Christian Grey game. There are many things wrong with this series, but quite frankly, that’s a topic that’s been exhausted as of late, by individuals willing to take it a lot more seriously than I. In fact, while researching for this blog post, I found this one, which makes a lot of great points and this one, which makes me giggle.

Reba: “Everything makes you giggle, Belle.”


I do have a pretty low threshold.

So, don’t misunderstand my point here. I am not defending the series, as a whole. It’s just that in reading all of the thought-provoking and giggle-inducing critiques, I’ve come across a few criticisms that insult women all on their own. For instance:

Women who read Fifty Shades of Grey are unintelligent.

Zetus lapetus, is this book badly written. The characters are abhorrent, the dialogue is beyond a reasonable suspension of disbelief, and it is just so redundant. I don’t care that Anastasia says “double crap.” I just said “zetus lapetus.” I care that she says it 88 fucking times. It’s just… unreadable, but you know what? That’s just me. I read books about pushy special ops alpha males and werewolf love stories and that one about the sexy alien king. One of the most well-read women I know has a soft spot for hobbit slash fanfiction. Does that make either of us any less intelligent? If your answer is yes, kiss my ass, because I’m also reading The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen; and I devour at least 10 articles a day on everything from current events to the issues facing prison libraries.

If your argument against Fifty Shades of Grey is that intelligent women can’t read poorly written smut, you are one of the reasons reading is not a more popular hobby. Some people don’t watch American Idol or Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Some people just Googled “most popular reality show” to make that point. That doesn’t mean they don’t need to turn down their brain to relax. Not everyone considers reading a chore all the time. There are two kinds of librarians: literature snobs and those who hate literature snobs. I am the latter. I am intelligent. Sometimes I read smut.

Ana is only 22.

I’ve seen multiple criticisms of Fifty Shades of Grey fixate on the age of the heroine. For one, they get it wrong. Ana turned 22 in the third book, Fifty Shades Freed, so actually, the character in the movie is supposed to be 21, until otherwise specified. If you’re gonna bitch about something, do it accurately.

fiftydollars

When I was 21 years old, I lost my baby to a nearly second trimester miscarriage. Six months after that, I helped my best friend bury her infant daughter. That year, I accepted over $20,000 in student loans, graduated college, made the decision to enter graduate school, and chose to leave my ex-husband. Perhaps it wasn’t the typical middle-class American 22-year-old experience, but I was unequivocally an adult. By 22 I had bought a car, moved several times, paid my bills, taken out more in student loans than I could possibly earn in a year, and made major decisions about my future career path. That is typical. So, how dare you tell me that I wouldn’t have been of sound mind to enter into a sexual relationship of my choosing? If a woman old enough to vote, marry, drink, be tried as an adult, and sign binding contracts wants to sign a pretend contract before consensual sex, it doesn’t matter how much she giggles or how “mousey” she appears. I was 23 when I learned to apply eyeliner from a YouTube video and actually style my damned hair. That’s not what made me an adult. Being both responsible and accountable for my own choices was. Regardless of where things go in the books (spoiler alert: it ain’t good), Anastasia Steele was both of these when she met Christian Grey. Her age had absolutely no bearing on the situation and it’s disrespectful to young adult women to imply that they are not capable of making their own choices.

Ana is still a virgin.

This article is not the first one to take issue with the fact that Anastasia Steele has never had a sexual experience until she meets Christian Grey. The writer actually suggests that, because Ana has had no genuine interest in a man and doesn’t masturbate, it’s more likely the character is asexual. For one, the lead character in a romance isn’t asexual. That’s not how the genre works. Two, we learn later that Ana has had encounters with the opposite sex and they just haven’t gone anywhere. In regards to masturbation, I do know women who just aren’t interested. A lot of women have trouble reaching orgasm, both by themselves and with a partner. Their bodies just work a bit differently and without an emotional connection, physical stimulation may lack appeal… and that’s okay.

My biggest problem with focusing on this criticism of the series, however, is the assumption that a woman who is not sexually active is asexual or somehow abnormal. I am 27 years old and I have not had sex in five years. Furthermore, I’ve only kissed five people, ever. I am not asexual. I’m just not interested in sharing my body with someone with whom I see no future. I once let a man in a bar kiss me, with tongue, when I’d just met him that night. It makes me uncomfortable even remembering that, because physicality without an emotional connection just doesn’t do it for me. Different women have different needs and it’s just as offensive to shame a woman for not being sexually active as it is to call another a slut.

Fifty Shades of Grey is only popular, because the hero is rich.

While Christian Grey sure isn’t my dreamboat, I can tell you that in the current dating pool of grown men with flat-billed caps and job titles as specific as “n/a,” it’s not so far-fetched to think that, perhaps, it would be easier to repair deep-seated emotional scarring than to motivate a man to get his shit together. Regardless, I’m not convinced that the ability to “buy all the planes” is what appeals to the Fifty Shades of Grey target audience, particularly the over 30 bracket. This article actually suggests a somewhat circular logic: women are reading Fifty Shades of Grey, because women are reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Finally, a woman with traditional goals (marriage, children, an optional career) can come out and say…

No longer is it only Carrie Bradshaw that gets to talk dirty, but housewives too!

As a librarian, part of my job is analyzing literary trends. This is why I am particularly aware of the rise of the billionaire romance novel. Along with Christian Grey, in the last few years we’ve been introduced to Gideon Cross, Gabriel Emerson, Jesse Ward, and many other laughably wealthy and emotionally damaged heroes. However, long before well-worn copies of Fifty Shades of Grey hit nightstands all over the world, we met the heroes in these series: Rock Chick, KGI, Black Dagger Brotherhood, Psy-Changelings, Immortals After Dark, and The Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Every title listed stars leading men who are borderline abusive and financially set. That describes most contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance. This shit ain’t new. Not only does the insistence that this book simply broke new ground with an abusive megabajillionaire give the title far too much credit, it also implies that all women who enjoy romance are gold digging whores. That’s just not nice.

Note: I have been known to declare that I’d let a man string me from the ceiling and whip me if he’d pay off my student loans, but I am hardly the standard by which all women should be measured.

Fifty Shades of Grey is responsible for sex injuries.

This article and many, many more suggest that the rise in bedroom play injuries is the fault of Fifty Shades of Grey. Maybe it’s the researcher in me, but…. I call bullshit. You are an adult. You likely have a smartphone on you at all times, meaning you literally have endless information at your fingertips. If you are stupid enough to purchase a spreader bar and use a trashy novel for a user manual, you are the only one to blame for the broken spine. Have some faith that the majority of women are intelligent enough to manage a Google search, y’all.

I can say a lot of bad things about Fifty Shades of Grey. A lot of writers can. I mean, two twenty-somethings e-mailing each other? What is this, Amish country? Between Ana’s “inner goddess” and Christian’s “laters baby” this librarian actually fell out of love with reading for a few days. I love when women ask me to suggest titles “like Fifty Shades of Grey,” because it gives me the opportunity to introduce them to much better written erotica. Perhaps I can get them started on Kristen Ashley’s special-ops-saves girl books. Maybe I can send them back in time with one of Karen Marie Moning’s sexy highlanders. I can even show them more plot-light erotica, but with with steamier scenes that don’t read like a child reporting her molestation – “Then he touched me… down there!” You know what I won’t do, though? Insult them.

Engineer 104: The Date I’ve Already Forgotten

I’m just numbering the engineers by tens now.

Gail: “Judging by the men you skip over, that’s probably pretty accurate.”

For some time, I’ve been operating under the rule that if a man meets no deal breakers, I’ll give him a shot. I know I haven’t written about a date since the night I was stood up downtown, ultimately ending up crying over a bag of jelly beans, but that’s not because I’ve vowed to recruit my gal pals in some sort of eventual Golden Girls arrangement. There’s just nobody left. Every man I meet in person and online is perpetually 12 years old. I’m dating in The Children of the Fucking Corn and there is not a grown up to be found. Thanks a heap, Generation X, for raising a society of men who can’t put down the XBOX controller long enough to fill out a job application.

I jest, of course… sort of… at least about the choices and laziness of grown men still being the responsibility of their parents. Everyone in the dating world, though, has that one stat that they look at before all others. For some, it’s physical attractiveness. For others, it’s whether or not they have children. For me, it’s career. I’ll respond to a man with an otherwise blank profile if he has a legitimate and promising career. It’s not about money. I make my own money, proudly. It’s about security and knowing that I won’t be the sole bread winner, pretty much ever. What can I say? Young divorce broke me.

 

In 2014, when the Peter Pan Generation reigns supreme, it seems the number one profession for men under 35 is “student.” In the South, second to that is “oil.” Finally, at least in my experience, it’s “engineer.” I won’t, under any circumstances, even respond to the first. The second, rarely, because no further specification usually means blue collar rig worker who likely won’t have a job in 10 years, because the oil field just sort of works that way. So, I date engineers. Apparently exclusively.

Engineer number 104 had messaged me multiple times over several different dating sites. He wasn’t especially pushy, doing so with a significant amount of time between each, but he was persistent in his interest. I… wasn’t.

Gail: “What’s going on in your dating world, by the way?”
Me: “Meh. There’s this one guy who keeps messaging me, but there’s really not much there. He’s also too old for me, built like Uncle Fester, and has scary teeth.”

uncle festerNot one time, have I claimed to be sweet.

Ultimately, I decided I was being shallow, because I totally was, and I should give this guy a shot. He didn’t meet any of my deal breakers and I did say I would actually start trying, so as to lessen my chances of getting a Daddy in a Jar at 32 and raising a child alone. I finally responded to his offer to text, with some lie about why it took so long, and tried to get a conversation going. There still wasn’t anything there, but whatevs, in for a penny…

Engineer 104 told me to choose a place to meet, which obviously lost him some points right away, but I was pretty adamant that I was going to give the guy a chance and not go in with any assumptions that the night would be a disaster. I chose a local sports bar and ate beforehand, because however dedicated I was, I knew I’d felt little connection in our digital communications and didn’t want him to buy me dinner if there was no spark in person.

I got to the bar first and, after my tearful night of jelly beans, I most definitely thought I might be stood up again. Engineer 104 was about 15 minutes late, with no text message, but had told me he was on his way earlier. I mentally calculated the money in my bank account and planned to leave and buy a cat at 30 minutes after. No joke, because that is definitely an impulse buy to make after a bad date. When he finally arrived, I realized that Engineer’s pictures didn’t really do him justice, as is often the case with men. They suck at selfies and he’d only posted a single very unflattering one. He wasn’t a Winchester, but he also wasn’t an Addams, so woot. We chose a high top table in the middle of the bar and he started talking… about himself… and didn’t stop.

In all fairness, 104 wasn’t awful, but he also wasn’t interested in engaging me in the conversation in the least. I make an effort to ask questions on a first date, so as to avoid a a nervous Buffy the Vampire Slayer fangirl rant, and did so this time as well, but it really wasn’t necessary. Engineer was happy to tell me all about his father/sons camping trip, his problems with deceased family estate drama, the dog his ex-girlfriend kept in the breakup. He even did a few racist impressions of the past clients he name dropped. Let me tell you, you don’t know romance until you hear a Southern white man’s imitation of the Sultan of Dubai.

Now, I like to exaggerate, y’all. It’s kind of my thing.

Gail: :: shivering in the cold grocery store ::
Me: “No one has ever been this cold. I feel like I’m in the hedge maze at the end of The Shining.”

I must clarify, however, that I do not exaggerate when I say that this man checked his phone at least 10 times in the hour we spent together. He explained that his dad was sending him score updates for the high school game his brother was coaching, but dude, you are on a date. Either this is important enough that you need to leave, or you can put away the fucking phone for one hour. I thought my generation was supposed to be the iGeneration. Which brings me to his age. Engineer was only 34, but to listen to him, you’d think he was nearing 40. I’m 27 years old. I do not feel old and I’m not going to for some time, so the last thing I want is to be with a man who is constantly talking about burial plots. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but he did keep saying things like “now that I’m older” and talking about how hard it was to get around these days. I’d rather be with a 35-year-old, who realizes he has all the time in the world, than a 28-year-old who talks nonstop about the dreaded 30. The golden ticket with 104, however, was when he got out of his seat to stand next to the table for a moment.

104: “I’ve gotta stand for a minute. My butt’s asleep.”

Engineer 104 just may not have been that interested in me and felt no need to impress or engage. I can’t imagine this was his best behavior. Maybe I was too young and spry. Possibly, I just didn’t do a great Arabian impersonation. I don’t know, but after just an hour, I told him I had to get up early the next morning and he didn’t seem particularly disappointed. I feel no need to leave a date with false hopes and simply told him to have a good night. He moved in for a hug and told me we should do it again sometime. I likely just looked confused, because I didn’t think the date went all that well. He either agreed or I’m not great at hiding my emotions (I am so not great at hiding my emotions), because I never heard from him again and I was not sad.

Engineer 104 was… forgettable. You know what, though? That was kind of nice. It wasn’t a good date, but I also didn’t leave in tears, which is, sadly, an accomplishment after these last few months. He did not insult my religion. He did not drink five beers in one hour. He actually showed up. He was just some guy and I assume I was just some girl. Sometimes, it’s kind of nice to have a forgettable date, as it reassures me that I’m not just overly critical and eager to buy myself some sperm for my 32nd birthday. Had he asked, I might have gone on a second date with 104, just to give him another chance. In hindsight, I realize it would’ve been a disaster, but I’m proud of myself for not letting his incorrect usage of the word “literally” write him off as a person. No, it was definitely the racism.

So, here’s hoping that things might go more smoothly with the new guy I’m texting. He’s an engineer, y’all!

The Time I Didn’t Have Coffee with Plant Manager

Me: Remember the guy from eHarmony that I said I might meet? I haven’t heard from him since Friday and now he’s asking if meeting tomorrow still works. Thoughts?
Gail: That’d be fine with me. That’s pretty much just the weekend. People get busy. *Shrug* At the very least, it’s a meal.
Me: It’s a coffee. Today’s Tuesday and I last heard from him Friday at noon. That’s a little more than the weekend.
Gail: It’s a coffee. I’d do that with a guy I didn’t remember meeting at a bar a month ago.
Me: You’d do a lot of things with a guy you didn’t remember meeting at a bar a month ago.

I am going to be completely honest about my motivation to join eHarmony. I follow an über conservative blogger, who has some really great points and sometimes, some really crazy ones. He’s a truly unique guy and just a touch fanatical, but he met his wife on eHarmony and, based on what I read on his blog, they seem genuinely well-suited and happy. Sooooo, if eHarmony could find a match for this just-a-touch-nuts guy, surely my chances would be improved. That’s right. I read a story about a guy who claims to have a good marriage, so I spent $135 on a year of eHarmony.

Plant Manager was my first eHarmony date. He was 30 and transitioning out of the teaching profession. I always prefer for a guy to have a pretty set career, but both options were Big Boy Jobs, so whatever. He also had a roommate, which is always a turnoff for me. In the South, you can get an apartment for less than $700 per month, so it always comes off as a bit juvenile to me when someone doesn’t live alone. Regardless, I understand that different people have different preferences, so whatever. He was particularly religious, which seemed potentially problematic, since he was protestant, but I figured I’d give it a shot, because whatever. Finally, I wasn’t really feeling much common ground or interest, via text message. He hadn’t made much effort to contact me or get to know me at all, prior to meeting; but different people do this online dating thing differently…. so whatever.


I feel like this gif pretty much sums up my dating life.

As you can tell, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about this date. It wasn’t so much my dating attitude, as of late, as it was Plant Manager, himself. I suppose I was hoping that there might be this great face to face connection and we’d have an amazing conversation. Then again, I did send my dad the following text, in regards to visiting my uncle and family at the hospital.

Me: Well, after this date goes badly, I’ll head that way.

The date was sort of just on the way.

When I got to Starbucks, Plant Manager opened the door for me and greeted me. While I tried to put the trivial stuff aside, I immediately noticed that this man could not look like more of a hipster if he had a fedora and knitting needles. Also… 5’8″ DOES NOT FUCKING EXIST! Seriously, if one more man tells me he’s 5’8″, I’m just going to pretend I have a date with Tyrion Lannister.

Are these people just used to the metric system and having difficulties with the conversion? Are they rounding up by two inches? Am I not realizing that they’re barefoot? I am 5’5. My cowboy boots are not three inch heels. We should not be the same height, when he is wearing shoes… even if they were burlap loafers (I shit you not).

Ahem…

After greeting me, Plant Manager just kind of… stood there. He didn’t direct me to a seat, though he’d already been waiting. He didn’t ask me if I’d like anything to drink. In fact, it went something like this:

Plant Manager: “Were you gonna order a drink or anything?”
Me: “Um… I guess not. Did you not want anything?”
Plant Manager: “Well, I thought I might get something if you were gonna get something. If not, I guess not.”
Me: “Um.. okay.”
:: silence… still standing in the doorway ::
Me: “You wanna sit?”

Y’all, I am pretty big on letting the boy be the boy. Not only does that include offering to buy me a coffee after inviting me to Starbucks, but it also includes asking me to sit with him, like a gentleman. I’ve no interest in leading this dance, so I will stand there in the doorway until he gets the point… or someone opens the door (as was the case).

Plant Manager: “I teach at a vocational school.”
Me: “Have you never taught at an actual school?”
Plant Manager: “An actual school?”
Me: “NO! I mean a public high school. I wasn’t insulting career tech.”
Plant Manager: “Okay. Sorry. I’m a little sensitive about that.”
Me: “I actually got my bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Science education, so I understand career tech more than most.”
Plant Manager: “Family and Consumer Science?”
Me: “Home-ec?”
Plant Manager: “Huh. I didn’t know that took a whole degree. Really? Just for home ec?”

Duuuuuude. You just got offended when I accidentally made it sound like I didn’t take your job seriously! Also, remember this.

Me: “So, what was your major in college?”
Plant Manager: “Bible.”

Okay, I don’t know if this is a Catholic versus Protestant communication breakdown or if he’s just wording that incorrectly, but it did bring up religion.

Me: “Ministry is certainly a Calling. I’m Catholic, of course, so that was obviously off the table for me.”
Plant Manager: ::clearly surprised:: “Oh? You’re born and raised Catholic?”

Okay, I am almost certain it’s not just the librarian in me saying this, but an online dating profile is not that long. Read the whole damned thing, so we can both avoid moments like this! Somehow, we got on the subject of homosexuality being considered a sin in most Christian churches, as his was also very traditional.

Plant Manager: “It’s only mentioned in the bible like, four times. I don’t know what it is, but something about that whole issue really doesn’t sit well with me.”
Me: “Well, some theologians have pointed out that Jesus was a devout Jew, so he would’ve been against homosexuality.”
Plant Manager: “I guess that’s the difference between Catholics and Christians. We go off of scripture.”

Um, nice jab at my Church, douche. Also, judging from your burlap shoes, the denim shirt that’s so tight I can see your nipples, and your mannerisms, I think know what it is that doesn’t sit well.

Honestly, y’all, I don’t want to cry homosexual toward every man I date. Air Force was straight as an arrow. I didn’t get any gay vibes at all from the much less manly Engineer No. 94, but I thought this the second I walked through the door and and noted Plant Manager’s khaki colored skinny jeans. In addition to his inability to discuss religious ideas, without being an ass, I’d already realized things would never work, because while I adore my gay friends, I don’t want to date them. I genuinely felt like the man had some things to figure out about himself, so I moved the conversation to some more neutral territory.

Me: “I love my job, though.”
Plant Manager: “Yeah. That’s good. I can’t imagine it being too stressful.” :: chuckles and scoffs ::

Excuse me?!?! I’m sorry, but if there was any doubt of this man’s homosexuality, it was laid to rest upon discovering his ability to be that much of a bitch. What the fucking hell? I did not get my damned master’s degree in shushing people and pushing my glasses up the bridge of my nose. My job is heavily rooted in customer service, research, and information technology. Any given day, I could have a woman on the phone asking me to read her full articles about anal fissures, while I have two people in front of me listening to this conversation, waiting for assistance with reader’s advisory and downloading e-media, and two other people sighing and waving their hands at me to help them reformat that resume and figure out how to print that conversation from Facebook. Furthermore, Plant Manager had already declared that the field couldn’t be that competitive, via text message, when I told him I was half time. I’d already given him the benefit of the doubt. Dude, if you’re basing your knowledge of a profession on a scene from a movie, go suck a dick!!!!

Me: “Well, I think I’m going to go see my uncle in the hospital. It was nice meeting you. Have a good night.”

That’s right. The best part of my date night was a hospital visit.

I quit.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my cousin Delia to get my hair done. I’d been visiting a stylist at Ulta until recently, due to a… “mishap” about a year and a half ago. Now, I am not a gal who particularly stresses over her hair. Delia’s cut it shorter than I intended, done the bangs in a different style, made the highlights too bright, and so has her sister Emily. They’re both professionals, but sometimes the message isn’t clear, because I don’t know anything about hair. Either way, it looks fine, even if it’s not what I originally pictured… until a month before my 25th birthday.

childre of the corn issac
Oh em jingles, I am not even exaggerating, because I wasn’t the first person to make the comparison.

Delia realized her mistake (how could she not?) and apologized profusely for my uneven, way too short bangs. I waved her off and declared “It’s just hair,” because there was nothing to be done about it.

Delia: “I could like… try to do something edgy and cut them at a diagonal.”
Me: “NO! I mean, no this is fine. My hair grows fast. It’ll look fine in a couple weeks and I won’t have to cut them for awhile!”

She felt terrible. An Epic Tantrum was not going to suddenly give me Zooey Deschanel bangs. So, I left with a smile on my face and called my Gramma… crying.

Coworker: “What did you do to your hair?!?”

Customer: ::after it grew out:: “You look better with your hair like that.”

So, naturally, I took a break from Delia’s salon for awhile. Perhaps that’s why I forgot that Delia, God bless her, is the absolute worst with the Time’s A Wastin’ speeches, when it comes to my dating life. I’m not entirely sure why, since we do live in the suburbs and we’ve multiple aunts who married when they were in their late 20’s and early 30’s and have functional, happy relationships, children, and fulfilling careers. We’re not that country, y’all. Regardless, every time I get my hair done, Delia’s first questions are about whether or not I’ve been on any dates, if I’ve gone trolling for dick with any girlfriends recently, what online dating websites I’m using, if I’ve considered a rape cruise singles cruise, when I’ll get a full time librarian position, why I haven’t bought a house…

lalalala

I. Am. 26. I have a master’s degree and a professional career I love. I somehow managed to get both while married to a man Lord Voldemort looks at and says “Dude, that’s fucked up.” I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. On an average day, I don’t feel behind at all. Then Delia tells me that my cousin Kayla, who’s two years younger than I am, has met a nice man online.

Delia: “It’s about time, too. I mean she’s 24.”

That’s right. My baby cousin, who tried online dating as an afterthought (she wasn’t considering it at Thanksgiving) has apparently found a man she’s “never felt like this about, before.” Never mind that I haven’t put any real effort into dating until… well, like this month, because I’ve been busy and just generally happy single. Forget that while she’s been without her ex-boyfriend for far less time than I’ve been divorced, she wasn’t working two jobs and in grad school during that time. Disregard the fact that she’s a different person, with different life goals, and a different plan. I still felt behind 24-year-old Kayla. So I did it. Although I was fully aware that Delia is the family megaphone and every single one of my aunts would hear about it within the hour, I told her about my one good date with Air Force.

As you’ll recall, Air Force was the last installment in my latest series “Three and Half Men.” He was polite and gentlemanly and he asked me on a second date as we walked to our cars. So, that weekend, we arranged to meet at the Springfield theater, which was nowhere near him, but more convenient for me.

As for the date? Well, it went great. Air Force was polite and just as gentlemanly as before, even offering to get my water for me after we’d been seated. Captain America was good and we went to lunch afterward. The conversation flowed well enough, until…

Me: “You said you can pretty much stay in the state as long as you like?”
Air Force: “Yeah. I’m thinking like 5-8 years, then maybe I’ll move on… is that like a deal breaker for you? The moving around thing?”
Me: ::slight nod:: “I pretty much want to stay here.”

Aaaaand… it was over. The conversational flow just completely stopped. I finished up my meal, tried to continue being friendly, but could tell it was done. AIr Force drove me back to my car, and told me to drive safe. There was no mention of meeting again, though he was still polite. I got in my car, called my Gramma and told her I wouldn’t be seeing him again. She didn’t even argue, knowing what a deal breaker it was for me to leave my family and career. She was just disappointed, hoping she’d finally married off her little girl. Gail was the balm I needed, once I’d relayed what happened.

Gail: You were clear. That was kind of inconsiderate of him.
Me: Yeah. Maybe a little. I think we probably both heard what we wanted to hear, to an extent. I’m so genuinely disappointed. I can’t imagine how I’d have felt after three months. Ugh. Emotions belong with the last fucking Horcrux.
Gail: What’s a Horcrux, again?
Me: It’s where Voldemort stored each of the seven parts of his soul and hid them at the ends of the earth, you loser.
Gail: Yes. I’m the loser.
Me: I’m going to die alone.
Gail: No. You’re going to die HERE, which is exactly what you want. 

We tease each other, but I am so truly blessed to have the bond I have with Gail. There’s nothing I can’t tell her, no time she won’t be there for me, and vice versa.

As I’ve always said, I’ve learned something from each and every man I’ve dated. I learned that “we were just better friends than husband and wife” isn’t a good enough reason for a divorce, from the furry pawed analyst. I learned that I have to be with a man who takes my degree and profession seriously, from Engineer. I learned that attraction is a must, on even the slightest level, from Geologist. I learned that I won’t be dating men younger than I, from Civil Engineer. From Air Force? Well, I’m reminded why I don’t date current military. I’m also recalling the fact that I’m not willing to date someone with whom I have no future. Most importantly, I’m willing to concede that maybe I’m not doing a great job of choosing matches for myself. I’ve always “joked” that I wish I’d lived in a time of arranged marriages, because my daddy would do a much better job than I did the first time. Obviously, that’s not a feasible option. Oh, to be a Duggar. In lieu, though, I’ve decided to try eHarmony, once again.

The thing about eHarmony, is that it’s really not a dating service. It’s a matchmaking service. You’re only able to view the profiles of those who are compatible, making the options limited. I tried it two years ago, when I was just looking for casual dating and it was a terrible idea. I only met one man (because of the limited choices) and he was clearly ready to settle down, while I was realizing that I wasn’t, in fact, ready to date after my divorce. Today? Well, today I’m done wasting my time with drunken 25-year-olds.

Speaking of immature men, Producer, who pretended he didn’t remember our correspondence when I met him at The Last Match Event… Ever, has been messaging me on Match. When I responded and tried to get a conversation going, he told me he was busy with work. When I didn’t, he seemed fascinated and after a week of ignoring him, he’s finally asked me to dinner. I thought about it. “Give him a chance” and all those delightful Jane-isms, but… no. Just no. I’m ready to put quality above quantity. The next time I get my hair cut, I may decide that I need to meet someone a year ago if I want to be on the required path for a Southern 26-year-old, especially when Delia asks about Air Force. Today, though, I quit. eHarmony can take the reins and Delia, as much as I love her, can just stick to hair.

Three and a Half Men: Air Force

The trilogy and a half started with Engineer No. 94. He was nice. The conversation flowed. He didn’t live at home, unlike half the men my age. I was totally willing to overlook the fact that I wasn’t attracted to him, because he looked like my pal Ward, and go on a second date. Then… radio silence.

After two weeks of regular and daily texting, I heard nothing from Engineer No. 94 all weekend. When I did, there was no excuse for the absence and I’d already talked myself out of him. I wasn’t attracted to him and silence is exactly the protocol for completely blowing someone off, when you meet online. If that wasn’t what he’d been doing, then clearly he was playing some kind of game. So, though I tried to get a feel for him again, just… no.

Then, a couple of Sundays ago, I went to church and lunch with my lifelong acquaintance, Andy. We grew up together, as some of the only Catholic kids in town, but never actually spent time alone. It wasn’t so much a date, as catching up with an old friend, but it was wonderful to truly enjoy company with a man, sans pressure. Thank the good Lord it was, because, that evening was my date with Civil Engineer. An hour and a half, five beers (all him), and about 37 insults later, I was done. This wasn’t concealed by my claim that I had to leave to get to bed, because I had to work the next day… even though it was only 7:30.


Meh. He was too drunk to have feelings.

So, that left me with one more date, which had actually been planned when I started this series. His name was Mailman and he lived about an hour away. He seemed eager to meet and we made arrangements for that Saturday evening. We were going to get coffee… until he changed his name to The Flake. The Flake had an emergency come up with a friend and canceled on me, promising to get in touch to reschedule. Fulfilling my commitment to actually try, I messaged him my schedule. He said that would be great, he’d let me know, and…

Sigh. It’s a part of online dating, one with which we’re all familiar. The Flake is the Mellenial version of the man you meet in a bar, who asks for your number and says he’ll call. Perhaps Mailman realized, as did I, that he lived an hour away, was thrilled with the house he’d been restoring, and loved his job; while I lived in Shetland, working for the best library system in the state, a mile from my Gramma, just a few from my best friend, and a few more from my daddy. I’m not going anywhere. Neither was he. Well, then… I guess he shouldn’t have freaking messaged me in the first place.

The plan was to try to get another date before I posted this. If I couldn’t, I was going to open with “That’s right. You’ve been How-I-Met-Your-Mothered, bitches!” Then, came Air Force.

Air Force

I met Air Force on OKCupid. I saw his profile, thought he seemed nice, but he had that whopping flaw: he was in the service. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what these men have done for our country. I do. I just don’t want to be the carry on item, while they do it. It takes a lot to be a military spouse… and I don’t have it. I went to school for seven years to be a librarian. I’m very attached to my family and have just mended some very important relationships. My Gramma is my favorite lady and Gaily and I have been conjoined since the 9th grade. I’m. Not. Leaving. So why bother starting something?

I imagine Air Force realized this would be a concern to women, because his first message explained that he’s ready to settle down and lucky to have a position where he can stay for as long as he likes. At this news, I figured, why not? He didn’t open like this…

online dating convo ew
That’s right. It’s a friggin screencap, because that happened. 

I figured I’d see where it led. So, we had the normal online dating conversations. By that I mean…

Air Force: The last book I read wasn’t anything impressive. There’s nothing wrong with a little light reading, though.
– He’s nervous. Librarians might be literature snobs, who only read classics. –
Me: One time, I read this paranormal romance novel about a dragon shapeshifter, who falls in love with a unicorn shapeshifter.



Air Force: I have a bit of a nerdy side. Do you have a limit on that?
Me: I just told you about my dragon meets unicorn paranormal romance book. So not really.

dragon bound
Print this off, for your First Date Conversation Cards.

So, after a couple of days, Air Force gave me his number and told me I could text him. How very confident and decisive of him… and how very unfortunate that I had to give the lamest (albeit true) excuse: I don’t have a phone. You see, my Samsung Galaxy S 3 completely died on me Friday night, right around the time Air Force wanted to start texting. I had already ordered the Galaxy S 5 when it happened and was stuck with a Go Phone/carrier pigeon/smoke signals until it arrived. Fortunately, Air Force didn’t take this as the brushoff and we continued to message online. Eventually, he asked to meet. I expected the usual “I don’t care. What do you want to do?” crap, when he asked what kind of food I liked. I told him sushi, because I gave up meat for Lent.

Air Force: “Is Wasabi good?”  Shetland’s sushi restaurant –
Me: “The food is great. The service is meh.”
Air Force: “Alright. Would you like to meet there Thursday at 6:30?”

I shit you not. The man actually just named a time and place, instead of forcing the back and forth “What time is good for you? Where do you want to meet?” nonsense. He was polite enough to ask what I like and enough of a man to make a freaking decision. Furthermore, Wasabi is nowhere near him. He chose Wasabi, strictly because it’s in Shetland and so am I. He didn’t demand I meet him in the middle. He came to me.

So, I went all out. I figure, even if I’m only cautiously optimistic about a man, it’s a waste of both of our time if I don’t put in effort and vice versa. I donned my cowboy boots, the cute $5 dress I bought at Goodwill with Gail a few months ago, and my new jean jacket. I did my hair and full makeup, with the brown eyeliner that makes my eyes look eerily green and headed out.

On the way, I got a text message asking me to let Air Force know when I arrived. Rather than just wanting to know when to look up from his phone, when I texted, Air Force actually came out to the parking lot to meet me. He opened the door for me and directed me to the table, where he already had menus for us. He was patient while I decided what to order and after the orders were taken, we talked… and it was great. The conversation flowed. He was nice looking and certainly didn’t look like Ward. He was clearly into his job and talked about the countries he’d visited and the cultures he’d experienced. I not subtly mentioned that I was divorced and he seemed cool with it. I, of course, rambled like a moron at times…

Air Force: “I lived in Virginia for awhile. That was nice.”
Me: “I’ve never been further east than Arkansas. It looked beautiful in Hocus Pocus.

Air Force had plenty to say, though, including offering dessert. We talked and ate for over an hour and a half. After he paid, on the way to our cars, he asked…

Air Force: “Have you seen Captain America yet?”
Me: “No, but I was just talking to a coworker about how it looked good.”
Air Force: “Would you like to go?”
Me: “Tonight?”
Air Force: “Well, no. This weekend.”

He just asked, y’all. There was no…

Does he like me? Do I even like him enough to want him to like me?

He didn’t ignore me for a few days to seem aloof. He didn’t make vague “let’s do it again, sometime” plans. I texted him when I got home…

Me: Thank you again for dinner. I had a really nice time.
Air Force: I enjoyed your company. I will look at the weekend movie schedule for Captain America. Do you have any conflicts?

Again, he just made plans. He asked if a time didn’t work for me and then chose the Springfield theater, just north of Shetland, because it’s closer for me. A man mastered the gentlemanly formality that came off stilted and awkward when Geologist called me “enchanting.” So there you go. There’s actually a second date happening.

Air Force: How does noon on Saturday, in Springfield sound? Then a late lunch?
Me: That sounds great. Springfield has lots of good lunch places.
Me: Or restaurants, as they’re more commonly called.

 

 

Three and a Half Men: Engineer No. 94

The good news: My winter dating hiatus has ended!

The bad news: My winter dating hiatus has ended!

I doubt I’m the only woman with a first date, internal pep talk. I may, however, be the woman with the most negative forthright one.

Dating is awful. Dying alone is worse. You will give him a chance. You will be nice. You will try. You will not die alone. 

Apt.

As I’ve explained in the past, my desire to date is directly related to the weather. Well, here in the South, spring has arrived… mostly. In true Belle form, I’ve reached Panic Dating Mode and have once again opened accounts on Plenty of Fish and OKCupid, in addition to Match and Christian Mingle. I’ve vowed to continue talking to any man who has no deal breakers, unless he scares me… but that’s another blog post. I’ve even been successful… if successful means dates.

Engineer No. 94
For realz, yo. They are all engineers.

No. 94 messaged me on Match, before I hit Panic Dating Mode. He wasn’t particularly attractive, but that’s never been the most important thing to me, as long as the person isn’t completely repellent. Love at first sight is a myth, y’all. We messaged back and forth online for about a week and a half, which is more than my norm, but I hadn’t actually been on a date since September and was a bit hesitant. It’s possible I was looking for reasons to blow him off, but I stuck with it and he seemed really nice. We ended up texting every day for about two more weeks.

No. 94 seemed to have a good balance between nerdy and country. He liked science fiction and guns. I wear cowboy boots with my Gramma’s pearls. He read articles on Reddit for fun. I’ve told 22 people about the article I read detailing Samuel L. Jackson’s involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. Honestly, the guy seemed pretty promising, so we met at a Panera Bread, when it was 60 degrees out. Sixty degrees means a choice between cute and warm, around these parts. Don’t worry… I chose cute and felt pretty good about the amount of effort I was expending.

When No. 94 asked which location I wanted to meet at, I gave him a guesstimate intersection, specifying that I wasn’t sure, but it was between Shetland and the far side of the city. Well, apparently, the north/south cross street did, indeed, have a Panera Bread on it… about 15 miles north. Oops.

I was a little afraid that No. 94 would be ticked off about the misdirection, particularly when he didn’t respond to my apology text.

I may have been the wrong person to choose a location. I got lost on the way to my dad’s house once. No joke. I’m sorry.

I was wondering if I should head north, but eventually received a text telling me he was five minutes away. I briefly considered telling him I’d gone to the other location, but decided there’s a time and a place for my weird sense of humor. I thought it was kind of him to come to me, though I’m the one who made the initial mistake… more or less. The Panera Bread he chose was a completely irrational location for either one of us, but you get the idea.

I’ll say this for No. 94. The guy looked just like his pictures. He had very large ears and wore an unflattering haircut for them, but was otherwise pretty nondescript. He wasn’t a mile tall, but he was taller than me in cowboy boots, so that was enough. I noticed these things while choosing something meatless (never giving up meat for Lent again) from the menu. Then came the awkwardness.

I’m not sure if No. 94 intended to pay for my meal or not. I am sure, however, that he asked mehe chose the restaurant, and he was the only one in possession of a penis, so he would be paying, unless he was willing to clearly declare otherwise.

Cashier: “Is this together or separate?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
– No. 94, who had been staring at the menu, realized we were waiting for him. –
Me: “Awkward.”

You know what makes everything more awkward? Blurting out the word “awkward.” Sigh.

No. 94 either intended to pay the entire time, or realized the pressure was on and manned up. Don’t get me wrong. Had he not, I would’ve paid for my own meal, without further comment. However, I do think that, in The Conservative South, his refusal to do so (on a first date, initiated by him) would speak volumes about our difference in opinions on gender roles. While I would’ve stayed and made the best of the evening, it is extraordinarily unlikely I’d have considered going out with him again.

Beyond these initial hiccups, No. 94 and I had a really good time. We talked about television shows, some political opinions, our families. He wasn’t Sexy Like a Disney Hero, but we had things in common. He was successful. He didn’t make fun of my master’s degree. It seemed promising. We left, only because the restaurant closed, and I told him…

Me: “I had a great time. I’d love to do it again. Message me if you’d like to get together.”

If you’ve read this blog, pretty much ever, you’ve probably witnessed my claim that “emotions go with the last fucking Horcrux.” I don’t do heart-on-my-sleeve. In the interest of trying, though, I made it crystal clear that I was interested. He seemed the same… and then I didn’t hear from him all weekend.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to be with a man who texts me constantly. In fact, I’ve stopped talking to men for just that reason. – He was an air traffic controller, worked for an hour at a time, and texted me every hour he wasn’t working. – Clingy freaks me out. You keep your feelings on the inside, dude. The thing is, No. 94 and I had been texting daily and conversationally for two weeks. We didn’t necessarily have lengthy conversations, but we did restate our interest quite regularly. Then, I meet the guy in person, we have plenty to talk about, and I don’t hear from him for an entire weekend? Not even an…

I had a great time. Let’s do it again, sometime. 

By Sunday night, I’d pretty much decided my usual. There’s a lid to every pot and it’s okay if I’m not his. There wasn’t a lot of physical attraction; maybe he felt that, too. I’d even attributed my own interest to the possibility that I was ovulating, blaming my eggs for screaming at me to find someone, anyone, now. Late that night, I got…

I had a really good time on Friday. I’d love to go out again.

That’s it? I don’t warrant any kind of explanation for sudden lack of contact, right after our first meeting? Seriously, I wouldn’t care if we hadn’t been texting multiple times a day for a fucking fortnight, which he had been initiating. I wouldn’t care if he worked on the weekends. I wouldn’t even care if it had been a second date. However, the way you blow someone off, after a first meeting, is to ignore them. So, naturally, in my inability to make grown up decisions all by myself, I asked Gaily.

Gail: “Either he’s playing games, following some kind of dating rule, which is exhausting and we’re too old for that crap; or he had someone else lined up for Saturday night and wanted to see how it went with her.”

Remember, Gail is the reason I went on a third date with Gollum the Awkward Geologist. She once continued spending time with a man who grabbed her nipple on a date, insisting she was sure he understood they were just friends. She doesn’t hand out ‘nah’s’ lightly. Regardless, I did eventually respond to No. 94. Despite his renewed efforts, I was very much feeling what Gail had suggested, and had been even before she verbalized it. I want a man who’s interested in me. I want to be interested in him, also. By that point, I had just talked myself out of him and I couldn’t find it again, no matter how hard I tried. Even my boy pal, Ward, when told about why I wouldn’t be seeing him, gave me a man’s perspective with…

“What an ass.”

Ultimately, every man I’ve ever dated has served a purpose, has helped me to learn something about myself. Texan Engineer taught me that similar faith is not optional. Insurance Salesman taught me that bathing is not optional. Engineer No. 94 taught me that obvious interest is not optional. He was a good reintroduction to the dating world, though. I’ve certainly had worse dates… like last Sunday, when Civil Engineer taught me that masculinity and manners are not optional. As with my last series, The Week of 1004 Dates, if I told you about all 3.5 of my most recent dates, it’d be a novel. So stay tuned.

Okay, Cupid, your aim sucks.

My eagerness to date seems to be directly related to the weather. The second temperatures drop below fifty, it’s all “Fuck love! My pink Christmas tree is plenty of romance for one! Should I cook the cookie dough or just eat it raw? What would it taste like if I covered it in chocolate and peanut butter?”
.
bridget jones moping
I’m pretty sure it tasted like sex. I’m not certain, though. It’s been awhile.
.
Now that temperatures have risen above fifty, I’ve decided to spend my free six months of Match, you know… actually trying… with spunk. Gail calls this Panic Dating. I call it Counting. Counting is when I think “Well, I’d like to have my first child at 30. So, I guess I’d like to get married by 28. I suppose I’d like to be engaged for six months before I get married. It’d be best to date someone for about a year and half before getting engaged. So that means, I need to meet someone… two months ago.”
.
bridget jones working out.
I try to keep a handle on this, to avoid the moment where my dramatic rant turns from a joke to tears, which is a surprisingly sudden occurrence. I’m 26 years old. I won’t be 30 until September of 2017. That’s nearly four years away and four years ago, I was in the middle of my student teaching, had just gazed into the casket of a child I loved, and was married to a man who… well, let’s not get into that. My point is, the whole world can change in just four years, so I should calm the fuck down.
.
Regardless of the little pep talks that sound suspiciously like Gail, I decided to try OKCupid once again. Everyone on the dating blogs seems to have good luck with it. It’s certainly set up better than Plenty of Fish, which my librarian brain cannot ignore, because organization is hawt. So why not?
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I’ll tell you why not. Y’all, the Fates do not want me using OKCupid. If you follow this blog religiously (pretty much only Gail), you’ll remember that the last time I was on this particular free site, I found my ex-husband’s profile. Freaked out by the idea that he might see my information, I promptly deleted my profile and declared myself a Paid Sites Only gal. The paid sites haven’t even been going poorly. I just haven’t really met anyone that seems worth meeting. I’ve also been busy sucking my thumb and reading romance novels under my favorite chair. There’s just no time for dating, peeps!
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bridget jones with comforter
I’m just really busy, right now!
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So… realizing that I haven’t been on a date since September, I decided to give it one more shot… and the Fates chimed in, once again. Here we have, the first conversation I had, upon returning to OKCupid.
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fates
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OKCupid, your aim sucks.
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Him: You wanna play? 888-888-8888
 I was nice enough to change that number.
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Me: So fucking creepy.
– Any time I start a story with “I barely even said anything…” Gaily starts laughing. Apparently, my definition of verbal innocence differs greatly from hers.
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Him: Why is that?
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Me: 
 There is no actual way to send reaction gifs, a grand flaw in online dating.
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Him: Are you a virgin or somethin? I guess I could have been more detailed but I figured I shouldn’t say that much dirty stuff until after you text me
– For the sake of blog humor, I’m kind of wishing he’d been more detailed.
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Him: Tell me something though and don’t lie because I’ve tried several ways on her to get someone’s attention…would you have even responded if I said “hi I’m Andrew. What’s your name”? And was really nice? Truthful I wouldn’t have heard anything back from you and I already know it! Because every girl is the same on here and nice guys always finish last! Sorry if I offended you. But it really didn’t matter what I said to you because you already made up your mind way before we even talked. Hope you find that special jackass;)
– Alright, alright. I’m never mean to anyone online without reason, but he asked.
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Me: I’m going to be honest, because you asked. I saw your profile before and didn’t write first, because there wasn’t a lot of information. If you’d sent me a normal message, yeah, I’d have responded. What little was there seemed okay. I’m not a virgin, but you’re a total stranger and I would never appreciate sexual implications from any stranger. You clearly have a negative attitude toward women and online dating, based on your reaction to my disturbance when you suggested whatever the hell you were suggesting. I would’ve responded if you’d been a nice guy, because they don’t finish last. You finish last, because you’re rude.
– Dude, you can hardly accuse me of being shallow toward the “nice guys”, when you opened with the words ‘down to fuck’. I also wasn’t lying. He had a kid, which was a turnoff, but I’d have still responded.
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Him: You’re wrong lady. So wrong. You have no idea
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Me: You opened with solicitation. There is no other logical conclusion for me to draw, based on the information you gave me, your declaration that all women are the same, and your best wishes for me to end up with a jackass, because YOU’RE a nice guy. I’m sorry you, so severely, lack self-awareness.
– Psh … and Gail claims my apologies aren’t always “real.”
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Him: Whatever. If you find a guy that doesn’t want to use you out there you let me know k;) at least I was nice and up front about it.
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Me: 
– If this is nice, what’s this guy like when he is being a jackass?
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Me: Giving your phone number out is going to be so much fun.
– There are stronger women out there than I. Those women would not have started creating a Craigslist ad for male group sex, with every intention of posting it. 
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Him: Hahaha so it’s like that huh?
Him: Please don’t do that. I said I was sorry anyway
Him: Can we just start over? Lol
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Him: Hi I’m Andrew. What’s your name pretty lady?
Me: Ugh. Fine. I deleted the Craigslist ad. It could’ve been an adventure for you. It was for a group of men and included the words “your pic gets mine.” But, no. We can’t start over. You should be less sexual with people you haven’t met, especially if you don’t want whores. Good luck out there.
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Him: Aww okay
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Him: There’s nothing I can say to make you change your mind?
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Life Lessons from a Chick Flick

I am not a fan of chick flicks. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good romance, but I usually take it in book form. For one, I’m a librarian and can easily find ones with an engaging plot; but mostly, I can add my own tone and cadence to the lines, so they don’t come off quite so cheesy. Not to mention, in my head, every single male lead is played by one of three actors:

alcide

 charlie hunnam

jensen ackles gun

I’d pterodactyl that trio.

1. pterodactyl
When a woman performs oral sex on a man in front of her, while at the same time is giving hand jobs to men on her right and left. The resulting motion looks like she is attempting to fly. (Much like a pterodactyl.)

Too far? I went too far, didn’t I? Who let me on Urban Dictionary?!?! Also, is this the correct verb usage?

Regardless of my distaste for the over-the-top romantic gestures of most RomComs, there are one or two that truly resonate with me. Sweet Home Alabama tells the story of a woman balancing her Down Home Girl roots with her City Girl career. I can totally relate. No Strings Attached emphasizes the importance of friendship in romantic relationships, while also acknowledging that you can’t tongue a pal’s genitals without developing feelings for them (the pal, not the genitals… though those too, I suppose). Bridget Jones Diary acknowledges that sometimes, no matter how bad we claim to want something, we’re just too fucking lazy to make good decisions. 500 Days of Summer has me screaming “BITCH! HOW COULD YOU TURN DOWN JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT!?!?! YOU REALLY THINK YOU’LL FIND SOMEONE BETTER?!?!” Hmm… I may have veered a bit on the last two. I should probably end the list now. You get my point, though. Aside from the love stories that are not about love – The Vow? Really? They hate each other and cry and then go on a date?!?!?! FUCK YOU, HOLLYWOOD! I WANT MY $7 BACK!
Ahem…
Despite all of the bad love stories, there is one that actually strikes a personal cord with me: My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It’s not just my huge, loud, gossipy, overly-concerned family that allows me to relate to this cute, but somewhat forgettable title. It’s that I, too, went through a “phase” through the first 23 years of my life. I was also “frump girl” before a YouTube video and a Gail taught me to apply eyeliner. Many days, I feel like Toula in the last half of this movie. So, while Carl and Ellie take the cake, here are the many lessons present in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, making it one of the best love stories of all time.

It’s never too late to start your life… and you’re the only one who can do so.
So take a class, get a better job, put on some makeup, and do whatever else you have to do to make yourself happy.

Not all men want skinny blondes.
If you can’t change it, work it.

There is no “standard” for beauty, but you do have to try… and that’s okay.
Nearly ever other woman is also wearing contacts and waxes her lip. 

Adult strangers are rarely as mean as they were in middle school.
So smile. Introduce yourself. Sit down. Chat.

Your family is yours and you are theirs, but their claim on you does not extend to your life decisions.
So date the white guy, the republican, the atheist, or what have you. If you’re okay with it and they treat you well, hopefully the family will get on board. 

Regardless, some battles just aren’t worth fighting. An ugly dress never killed anyone.
Nor did an embarrassing comment or bad first impression. Laugh. It’s fine. 

Most families are nosy, pushy, and embarrassing. It means they love you.
If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t pry. Thank them.

Relationships don’t have to be dramatic. You can just be nice to each other.
Fights move a plot along, but they end an actual relationship. 

Third date sex is not the norm.
If he likes you, he’ll wait. 

The people who are already in your life love you and think you’re worth their time. It’s not a stretch to think someone of the opposite sex will, too.
Chin up. People like you. 

A wedding is just a party. There’s no reason to hurt anyone’s feelings over a party.
The worst wedding day is the best blog post.

You should hide a relationship until it’s serious enough to justify the hassle of introducing them to your ridiculously large and in-your-business family.
I may have misinterpreted that. 

my big fat greek wedding