Tuesday, May 9th, 2006
Key to Men Mentioned Below:
A: French-speaking guy
B: Short, bald guy
C: Sports nut guy
D: Graphic designer guy
E: Guy with girlfriend
It is an ordinary Wednesday night, and I am reviewing my upcoming weekend plans in my mind. Tomorrow night I have a date with A., who I met last week at a friend’s dinner party, and on Saturday I’m throwing a “singles” party. Oh, and not to mention I have tentative plans on Sunday to go for Hungarian food with C, who I’ve gone out with four times (though it seems like 40). But more on him later.
You might think all of this dating seems glamorous, and that I must be a very popular and attractive girl. I’m no supermodel, that’s for sure, and at 34 even if I were I’d be over the hill. I am intelligent, have a wonderful job that IS glamorous, and I’m a very good conversationalist. So why am I single’ Well, grad school and living abroad for many years delayed my growing-up process, I think, but now that I’m “settled,” I am making up for lost time. In fact, I’m learning how to date for the first time. I’ve been on more dates in the past month than in my whole life up until that point. During one two-week period, I went on eight dates with seven different guys. I wrote little notes on each guy on Post-it notes tacked up by my phone so when one called, I’d know right away who had lived in Europe, who worked for so-and-so bank, etc. I suspect the reason for this sudden activity is a new photograph taken by a friend that I posted on two online dating sites. I don’t know what it is about this photo—guys have mentioned the smile and the thick, wavy hair but one girlfriend may have hit upon the truth: I look like I have big boobs.
Why did I turn to online dating? First, I’ve always been somewhat of a control freak. Now that my apartment and job are sorted, my life was falling into place except the guy situation. Friends said they didn’t know anyone they could set me up with, and after even my extremely social friends said there were no single guys out there period, I decided that I could get depressed or have fun. So I got depressed. I think everyone got sick of my whining, so I took matters into my own hands and went online, going out with guys I might not have considered a year ago. I won’t lie: my ultimate goal is to get married or have a meaningful long-term relationship. I have a lot to give to someone emotionally, and if not to a guy, then I’ll have to start volunteering somewhere—a lot. Could this all be for naught if I don’t meet anyone? Sure. But I’m less concerned with that now than I was in the beginning of all this. In fact, I’ve found that, after a few months, I’m more open about meeting men in the real world by encounters in the virtual one.
When A. and I met at the dinner party, which gathered together a group of people whose common denominator was the ability to speak French, I was very impressed with his fluency, and it seems, he with mine. I didn’t care if he later wrote to say I was the best speaker in the room just to get a date. It worked. His e-mail hinted that he was interested in art, so I invited him for a tour of the gallery where I work. He promptly said he’d like to take me to dinner afterwards to thank me. Of course we’re going to a bistro. I’m afraid no matter how good his language is it won’t compensate in my mind for him being a little plump.
The one thing I am not looking forward to doing this week, something I need to do right now rather than writing this, is tell B. I feel no chemistry between us. We met online, have been on the obligatory first lunch and then two dinners. After the second dinner, we saw a movie and the groping began. Touching my hair, knee, whatever. Now I really get along with this guy—he is very smart, moved to this country just before college with his parents who had very little money and put himself through school. Now he’s a successful IT consultant, living in the suburbs, and going on hiking trips all over the world. Only problem is, he’s shorter than me, and bald. Now one or the other I might be able to take, but not both, and I need to tell him there’s no spark. Normally I think I could get away with an e-mail, but B. requires a phone call. Ugh.
I can like a guy tremendously, enjoy going out with him and having great conversations, but if I’m not attracted to him from the get-go, I don’t want his hands on me. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those girls who find someone more attractive the better you know them. I am trying, but I think my problem is that I’m in the arts, and what I see doesn’t mean everything, but is certainly an important issue. If you still think I’m too picky, here’s my criteria: taller than me (I’m 5′4″); have hair (losing some is fine); not overweight. That’s about it. All colors, creeds, religions, etc. welcome. That’s not too much to ask, right? Well, maybe it is.
So on to C. I wrote to him first online. Several months later, once our travel schedules calmed down, we met for lunch. Our conversation was less than stimulating, but not painful, and he has the biggest blue eyes. Not wanting to play games, I wrote to him afterwards and said let’s meet again. We did—for dinners, a tour of the gallery (yes, that’s my M.O.), more dinners. I was ready to scrap him before the tour when I realized that I needed to face up to the fact that we may have nothing in common. He’s into football, basketball, anything with a ball, and likes bars where sports jerseys are considered decor. But something kept me coming back. He’s probably the nicest guy I’ve ever met. His dream job would be helping people, though for the moment he works in corporate law. Plus, I want to kiss him and perhaps do more. After four or so dates, I deserve that at least! It reminds me of that Violent Femmes song “Why can’t I get just one kiss?” (For now, I’m still up to only the first verse, but I know where your mind was going.) He responded very favorably to the museum tour and clearly had an interest in what I do for a living. Afterwards, over coffee, he began to open up about his life and career goals, a good sign. And when I told him I was moving into a new apartment, he offered to help me. He’s a keeper, right? Then, I got myself invited over to his place last Saturday night, and I’m really proud of myself for dropping the right hints. Well, not really hints exactly, more like, “Hey, when do I get to see your place?” But I have a cold, and then I admit I hate football and he admits that he hates Sci-Fi, so I go home with nothing. I am trying, though, racking my brain for any sports trivia and coming up with something about Andre Agassi and Manchester United. Since that night, he hasn’t made a move, and whenever I have tried to make the first move with guys it has disastrous conclusions, such as missing each other’s mouths. So I’m about to give up on him again and decide not to return the e-mails he, admittedly, isn’t sending me. But if he did, I vowed I wouldn’t respond—especially since I discovered he’s put up a new picture and updated his online profile since we met! The silent treatment spurred him to ask me out for Hungarian food, for a change, rather than the other way around. We’ll see.
And then there is D. We probably have the most in common (he’s a graphic designer and knows more about art than I do), and while he’s a nice guy, I wasn’t attracted to him. Told him so after the gallery tour, and he seemed to take it very well. After finding out not only do we have art in common, but music as well, he’s been the best person to see live bands with. Everything was going well until I invited him to my party. I think he got the hint that it’s a singles thing, and panicked, even though I made it clear I just wanted to be friends. On second thought, I might have said that I wanted to be friends with him “for now,” and grasping the 1 percent of hope in that statement, he decided to keep trying. He asked me if he could see me this week or if he had to wait until the party. Getting a little demanding, no? My cold and other plans prevent me from seeing him before Saturday, and I hope he won?t make a scene at the party.
I got a call from the girlfriend of E., who I met at a party several months ago. He was hot and seemed to be into me. I offered my business card to another guest, and he snatched it away. Then he wrote his e-mail address on a piece of paper and forced it into my hand. He e-mailed me every day, making clever comments that got me hooked. Then he invited me out to dinner. During the dinner, which I thought was a date (hello!), he called his girlfriend to join us. Not knowing about the girlfriend until that moment, I stayed and chatted with her for a few minutes before I fled in humiliation. Having since gotten over it, I invited both to my party because, well, she knows a lot of single men. She sent me pics of two of them today for me to decide whom she should bring. Now that’s what I call a good friend, well, as good a friend as one can make within a few minutes (and under duress). And for all she knows, I was trying to sleep with her boyfriend (I was). Either she is very, very nice or extremely clever. Probably both. No wonder E. is going out with her.
Up Next: A Thai-speaking white guy in the house of love