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Posts Tagged ‘dating’

The girl sitting across from me on the subway was an exact replica of me at fourteen years old: chubby face, disobediently curly hair, a slim body struggling to develop and a slightly rowdy innocence that would one day cause some trouble. She looked so much like me I had to do a double take, convinced a miniaturized version of me was within arm’s reach.

I may have gone on without giving the matter much thought, except that there was something even more me-ish about the girl than her plump cheeks. She was pining away over a boy who apparently was giving her the run around. Moreover, she was testing the limits of friendship by giving the pal next to her every minute detail of their last conversation.

Me much?

The boy had told the girl to stop calling him. He didn’t want to talk to anyone right now. He wasn’t replying to any of her texts or returning her calls. Every so often, she’d call late, sometimes after midnight, and was surprised when he wasn’t home.

Fourteen-Year-Old Me was confused. Older Me knew there were only a few causes for such behavior and they all revolved around other girls, lack of interest and overall jerkiness.

“He says he can’t handle a relationship right now,” the girl told her friend. “He’s worried about his mom and he has to get a job.”

The girl lifted her chest and proudly said, “And I was like, ‘you expect me to wait for you?’”

Older Me hoped either the guy fell to her feet in tears or she gave him the grand heave ho.

“’He told me, ‘no.’ So I asked, ‘do you want me to?’”

It took everything in me not to take the girl by the shoulders and shake her senseless. “Get some strength in those knees and stiffen that spine. You cave to this creep and you’ve got years of male crap to put up with. Get out now!”

“Honestly, Mary, I don’t know,” the girl continued. “I was like, ‘I can be your girlfriend and support you through this.’”

No, you can’t, I thought, trying to use mental telepathy to communicate with her. You can’t because he doesn’t want you to. Or someone else is his support. Or he doesn’t have a problem, he’s just making up bull malarkey because he’s afraid to cut the cord.

“I was like, ‘I’ll be waiting for your call.’ He didn’t call me, so I called him.”

You just earned another year of lessons from the Relationship School from Hell.

“He was on the phone with his cousin.”

Yeah, right.

“He kept crying and crying and I was like, ‘I’m right here for you.’”

Man, was this girl tugging at my heart strings. How many times have I begged some big wounded boy to let me love him? In fact, nearly every female I know has blubbered to me about some damaged soul who won’t let her heal his pain. Few things are as confusing to women as men who turn away love and support.

I wasn’t angry at the apple of Fourteen-Year-Old Me’s eye. Sure, guys like him can be selfish and plain mean. But they’re just snot-nosed little boys and it’s up to the women who adore them to cut their losses when the writing’s on the wall.

Unfortunately, it can take decades before a woman learns to stop hanging on to dead end love. I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me, but will confess to making tons of stupid decisions, dating scads of nincompoops and coming face to face with lots of not so pretty truths about my own inner workings. Most importantly, it took the real love of a couple good men to show me true connection isn’t something you have to beg someone to share with you.

I wanted to tell Fourteen-Year-Old Me to let this cad go and avoid love she has to wrestle to the ground. Spare her the agony of heartbreak or an on/off affair with someone who only kinda likes her. But like every hard lesson, you’ve got to learn it on your own.

All I could do was give her a smile that said, ‘you’ve got a long, hard journey ahead. But you’ll get there.’

She probably didn’t grasp my message. But maybe she will in twenty years, when her own Mini Me sits across from her on a train.

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Well, I’m screwed again.  Apparently, I am so not getting remarried.  In fact, I can’t believe I even managed to walk the aisle the first time around.

The University of Texas has released a report suggesting the romantic lives of curvaceous women are destined to revolve around one-night stands, extramarital affairs and general whoredom.  After interviewing 375 males and females, the research team concluded “men categorize women with attractive, curvy bodies as short-term partners, whereas a woman with a pretty face would more likely be considered for a long-term relationship.”  Something about fertility.

Curves?  I got ‘em.  But my shape is only numero uno on the list of strikes against me.  I’m also a woman of color, which we recently discovered means I’m more likely to provoke yawns than proposals from the average dude.

Studies similar to U of T’s have long confirmed smart women make rotten marriage material and are even considered less desirable by some guys.  Then years back, a Forbes writer came along begging men to steer away from career-driven women with degrees because they suck as mothers and screw around.  Professional goals and college education?  Guilty as charged.

Man, what was wrong with my first husband?  What kind of freak wants a good-looking woman with a nice shape and personality?  My only hope is that his next wife is an ugly dog with a brain the size of a salt granule.  I’m thinking of going down to the next Tea Party rally to see if I can find him a date.

Fortunately, I’m in no hurry to retie the knot.  But when I am ready to convince Mr. Right to marry me, I now have a plan: get a breast and butt reduction, grow a mustache and hit myself in the head with a hammer to snuff out the smarts flitting around my brain.  That way, my man can appreciate me for the scrawny, average-looking dipshit I’ve always longed to be.

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If only my friend Maria dug bondage, she’d have boyfriends coming out of her ears.

In three months of dating online, Maria has been asked by a stranger if she likes spankings and watched a man whip out his johnson, unsolicited, in the midst of a conversation on Skype.

The kicker was a guy Maria started crushing on after they’d emailed a few nights in a row.  During an innocent chat about favorite films and restaurants, the guy suddenly wrote, “I want to lick you from head to toe.”

Maria recoiled and started typing out a livid response. Then she got another message, saying “I am into kink, rope and bondage.  I’m learning and enjoying putting women into rope, playing with bondage and learning many newer things BDSM related.”  In a snit, Maria instructed the guy never to contact her again.

“Pity,” he typed.  “You’d look delicious in a rope dress.”

I know Maria.  I see how men react to her.  They talk about how cute and shy she is, how sweet and dare I say, wholesome.  There’s nothing about her demeanor or even her flirting techniques that say, “Tie me up, big boy.”  I’d call her personality more “prom gown” than “rope dress.”

Maria and I pored over her online content and pics to make sure there was no veiled raunchiness she’d inadvertently included in her profile.  But after talking to other friends who date online, we came to an important realization.  It’s not us, it’s them.

“Them” being the weirdoes, pervs and fetishists who dwell online.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being weird and pervy, though I’m lukewarm on the fetish thing.  But judging from my friends’ experiences, the chances of coming across a deviant quadruples when you meet him or her on the Internet.  Seems the freaks come out online.

Like the girl who sent a nude picture of herself to my friend Corey after their first coffee date.  Or the guy whose initial email greeting to my colleague Rose was “so, you’re from the Caribbean.  Does that mean you know how to back that thing up?”

Then there was my friend Carla, a black woman who started communicating with an older white gentleman on a dating site.  Sensing a possible connection, Carla agreed to meet said gentleman for a drink.  When she arrived, the guy told her he’d brought her a gift.  Nervously, the guy reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, dark, strangely shaped chestnut.

“What’s this?”  Carla asked.

“A chestnut,” the man answered.  “It reminds me of your black booty.”

Carla, needless to say, was speechless.

Arguably, the upside to these premature announcements is the certainty their dates can have about intentions.  If all you want is someone to chain you to the bed, why not put that out there tout de suite?

It’s also kind of interesting to see what manifests in yourself and others when hidden behind the anonymity of online communication.  If you’re commenting on someone’s blog, you can call her every name in the book without having to look her in the eye or let her identify you to retaliate.  If you want to relieve yourself of your erotic fantasies by spewing them at strangers, it’s much easier if you’ve got an outdated photo and sign off under the name “KeepItFunky69.”  Be offensive, be disgusting, hell, create an entirely new identity.  Online, there are no repercussions.

People ask why I’d never date online.  I say I’m too much of a romantic so don’t like the coldness.  Besides, I can’t even stay on top of my email inbox, let alone manage winks and pokes and whatever else online daters do.  But now I think the best reason not to date online is to avoid having freakazoids ask whether I’m naughty.

At least until the first date.

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So, my teacher friend Corey meets this woman named Michelle in a bar.  After a brief chat, the two exchange numbers and email addresses, then meet for drinks a week later.  Fireworks aren’t going off, though Corey finds Michelle attractive and worth a second date, which he lets her know as they part ways at evening’s end.

A couple days later, Corey gets an email from Michelle; she had a great time, he’s a fun guy, all that jazz.  Attached to the email is a photograph of Michelle looking wistfully out her bedroom window…

…naked.

According to Corey, the picture was tasteful, more soft core than Triple-X.  Still, he was baffled by this new development and couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t jumping at the chance to join Michelle at her bedroom window.  Though she may not have elicited the response she sought, Michelle was successful in dominating Corey and my conversations for the next week, thus becoming ‘The Naked Girl.’

“Did you respond to the Naked Girl yet?”  I asked him over drinks.

“I would if I knew what to say.”

Observing Corey navigate the realms of premature nudity was an education in the workings of the male mind.  His first instinct was to ask the gal if she’d seen that week’s episode of Lost without making any reference whatsoever to the photo; a glaring example of how men too often believe completely ignoring the big, naked elephant in the room is better than meeting it head on.  Corey’s avoidance was an attempt to be kind.  What a relief to discover evasion isn’t always a sign a man is a putz.  Made me feel lots better about the times I’ve sent “I love you” or “we really need to talk” texts and gotten messages like, “what did you have for lunch?” in return.

There seemed only two places from which Michelle’s sexy message could have come: either she was a ravenous sex machine who only wanted booty, thus sending the photo was simply cutting to the chase.  Otherwise, she was a psychological mess who, for whatever reason, thought the nude approach was the best way to endear herself to a potential mate.

The whole ordeal had my friend coming up against his own conscience.  Good Corey thought it wrong to take advantage of a woman in whom he had minimal romantic interest.  But Bad Corey wondered if her blatant overture permitted him to “’bleep’ her like the tramp she is.”

Really, the poor fella was at a loss.  If she was a nice but messy lady, he wanted to save her any embarrassment.  If she was hot to trot, he wouldn’t mind keeping the option open.  But if there was any chance of love blooming, he didn’t want this act to be the seed.

“Tell her the truth,” I suggested.

“I don’t know what the truth is,” he said.  “All I know is I’m uncomfortable and don’t know what this means.”

“Say that,” I told him.

Corey learned a lesson that day.  Rather than dodging or joking or disappearing all together, he expressed his true feelings.  What happened was a dialogue opened.  Maybe the whole relationship ends there, but at least they can walk away with their dignity in tact and without questions remaining unanswered.

I learned a lesson, too.  We ladies feel entitled to express in full everything we feel, both love and lust, our anger and overwhelming need.  But when you see it from a man’s perspective, you realize how coming on too strong brings nothing but forced obligation and loads of discomfort.

So maybe men could be a bit more direct and women could take a step back.  Or at least save the nudie pics for the second date.

Want to know what happened to Corey and the Naked Girl?  Check out Naked Girl II (or) Finding Your Soulmate.

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The other night, I had a wonderfully romantic dream about my high school crush.  Though I haven’t thought of the boy in years, he’s always been the one infatuation I’ve regretted not having a chance to explore.  Back then, he was popular, studly, too cute for my ugly duckling high school self.  For two long, rather ridiculous years, he was the light of my life, the fire of my loins, the name scribbled on the inside of my locker.

In the dream, we were at a reunion, where Crush lamented not having had his act together enough to see how special I was back in school and thus, become mine forever.  I woke up in one of those dizzyingly rapturous post-dream spells where, despite everything good awaiting you in real life, you only want to go back to sleep.  Already, I’d been having dreams of ex-boyfriends and now here I was dreaming about my very first gut-wrenching love.  Obviously, my subconscious had something to tell me.

The next morning, I eagerly fired up Facebook to do a search, and wouldn’t you know, up came Crush’s name.  As the page loaded, I was as nervous as I’d been when the two of us were partnered up in an English class reading of Hamlet.  What if our destinies were about to become enmeshed?

At first I didn’t recognize the somewhat handsome, though mostly chubby, grey-haired papa bear in the profile pic.  Where was the serpentine smirk that used to make me go gaga, the lustful twinkle in the eye that made all the girls go gooey?  Maybe this old guy was my Crush’s uncle.

But alas, ‘twas he, the Jake Ryan of my Sixteen Candles-esque high school fantasies.  How odd to see a person jump in your imagination from seventeen to near middle age.  What a disconcerting way to be reminded of the passage of time.

Equally odd was the life my crush had built for himself.  He was an accountant.  He and his family were living in some weird town in Texas.  He was a raging Conservative.

Strange ‘cause this was a guy who dated foreign exchange students and girls from the other side of the racial divide, he was one of the first kids in our school to dig hip hop, he was popular because he was gorgeous but also because he was ahead of all kinds of cultural curves.

Crush looked happy and I hope he is, yet I still kinda wondered what happened.  Mostly, I regretted ever feeling so lousy for not having made it fully onto his radar.

I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in touch with many of my exes and though I admire their lives, I’m glad I’m not in them.  I would never want to live in a weird town in Texas and attend Tea Party rallies, just as I’m glad things never worked out with my ex in the clink now for shady ties to the mob.  Boy, was that a close one.

Knowing I’ve dodged a bullet would make the whole mourning process easier.  Not because my exes lives are terrible, quite the contrary; but because knowing we were on different paths makes the breakup a good and right outcome.  I know full well my exes probably check out Facebook and thank their lucky stars they didn’t end up with that goofy writer who spent her twenties gallivanting around Europe rather than paying a mortgage.

So I hereby make the following request to, let’s say, Google: would you guys mind making some kind of application in which one could project ten or twenty years into the future to see what kind of person a current, prospective or ex partner becomes?  That way, the poor girl who goes unnoticed by the jock in study hall, the husband who gets dumped by his wife, the crazy-in-love gal whose man suddenly asks for an open relationship, can stop agonizing.

People say ‘everything happens for a reason’ when a relationship goes sour, but we all know that’s a load.  Imagine how much better you’d feel if in the midst of a breakup, a quick Google search could assure you, ‘no worries.  In ten years, he’ll be living in a trailer park in Kansas.’

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I love my mom.  But I think I’m going to have to cut her loose.  Apparently, she’s destroying my love life.

Lots of women have mothers who nag them about their figures, wonder aloud why their daughters haven’t found a decent fella or tsk disapprovingly about the way they raise their kids.  Not mine.  For the most part, my mother leaves me to my own devices.  Or so I thought.

According to a study by the University of Western Australia, the overt ways mothers try to influence their daughters’ personal lives don’t hold a candle to their more dire biological hand-me-downs.  Scientists studied the DNA of 150 college students and found “the more varied [her] genes…the more boyfriends a woman was likely to have,” the assumption being genetic variation leads to attraction.

The study was cited in an inspiring online article called “Still Single?  Not as Skinny as You’d Like?  Blame Your Mom.”  While few activities are more satisfying than condemning others for your own personal failures, the article is misleading, considering any person’s genetic makeup depends on a mother and a father.  Still, the theory is this: if your dumb mother mates with a man whose genes are too similar to hers, dudes aren’t gonna dig you.  Conversely, if she’s sharp enough to breed with someone from the other side of the genetic fence, well, attach a revolving door to your bedroom.

I’m no scientist, but this theory has lots of holes.  How does having more boyfriends necessarily ensure commitment and marriage?  I know at least five women from my high school who married, and are still married to, the guys who pinned carnations to their dresses at senior prom.  They’ve only had one “boyfriend” during their entire adult lives.  On the other hand, I know tons of women who’ve gone through men like Tiger goes through porn stars, yet still cry themselves to sleep each night because no guy presents a ring.

The study, or more accurately the article based on the study, suggests women with a melting pot for a genetic code should have men beating down their doors with marriage proposals.  But if you believe other stats, most marriages in the US are still made up of people from like backgrounds.  People may wade across the gene pool while dating, but unfortunately, they seem to go back to their side of the tank come settlin’ down time.

And here’s poor Jennifer Aniston again, the go-to girl in any discussion about women relationship-hunting men avoid like the plague.  The article uses her to prove its point that uninteresting genetics doom one to singledom.  But further research shows Aniston’s dad was of Greek heritage and her mother was Scottish and Spanish.  Thus, she should have lots of boyfriends.  And well, hasn’t she?  Why, come to think of it, she’s also had a husband.

Comparing oneself to Jennifer Aniston feels like romantic suicide, but admittedly, there are similarities between us.  I’ve got a genetic mix, too, with African, Italian, Irish, English and German blood coursing through my veins.  I suppose I should thank my mother for her procreative wisdom.  And, like Jen, I’ve had a marriage, and a handful of relationships intermingled with periods of romantic drought.  I’d say that’s par for the course for most people.  In fact, I’d say Jen and I have had fairly robust romantic lives thus far.  Is this because of or in spite of our blend of DNA?

I think universities and magazine writers just want to create controversy, so come up with flimsy facts and build worlds of truths around them.  I mean, I just disproved this DNA theory in seven hundred words.  Where’s my six-figure research stipend?

So many reasons are blamed for the state of our relationships: feminism, genetics, male psychological dysfunction, women in the work place, the advent of birth control, economics, education gaps.  It’s hard to accept we’re having so much trouble making relationships happen.  Love may be about scientific truths and social realities, but it’s also about luck and just following the natural course of life.  Ultimately, we’ve got to accept this, ignore the research and leave poor mom alone.

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If you’d like to figure out what’s wrong with you relationship-wise, don’t read a self-help book.  Get an online bank account. 

Every time I log into my checking account, I’m asked a “security question,” the answer to which only I’m supposed to know, so the bank can confirm my identity.  Thus far, the only question the bank has asked me upon logging in is the name of my first boyfriend.  And what a joy it is to be forced to recall that relationship on a regular basis.  

When I was setting up the account, I had to select three possible security questions from a handful of rotten choices.  The only questions I could answer with any certainty were my mother’s birthplace and the name of Bozo my first boyfriend.  But choosing the third question threw me for a loop.  The street I grew up on?  Geez, I moved around so much, I barely remember what my high school was called.  The name of my favorite pet?  Well, there was Mitten, my first cat, but we had to give her away.  Then there was my Grandma’s dog, Maggie, but she got hit by a car.  My best friend in grammar school?  Which grammar school?  I had a best friend in each one.  I could say Molly Bartasevich, she was a decent chick.  But am I going to remember ol’ Moll every time I log in?  

Still, the worst question has to be about my first boyfriend, a self-loathing man/boy who cheated and made fun of everything I did.  Now, every time I log into my account I have to think about this hideous example of masculine turd-headedness and what a dip I was for digging him.  

Could there be worse memories to unearth from the past?  How ‘bout, “what was the name of the kid in grade school who used to make fun of you for buying your clothes at KMart” or, “what was more embarrassing; having food in your braces throughout the entire fifth grade or tripping over your shoelaces in front of your quarterback crush in high school?” 

Based on the answers to my security questions, I’ve deduced the following: I may have a fear of intimacy due to a history of rootlessness, mean kids on the playground and pet trauma, culminating in a damaging first love relationship with a complete heel.  

Thanks, Bank of America! 

If we must remember personal information about ourselves with such frequency, how about more forward thinking, more enjoyable security questions?  Here are my suggestions: 

“What is the most interesting city you’ve ever visited?”  

“What do you love most about puppies?” 

“If you had five minutes in an elevator with George Clooney, what would you do to him first?” 

“How much money do you wish was in this bank account after you get through these lameass security questions?” 

Personally, I’m glad to have discovered this banking treasure.  My financial institution is really helping me out in the most challenging areas of my life.  Their exorbitant fees keep my piddly budget in check, the crickets I hear chirping whenever I’m on hold with customer service teaches me patience, and now their covert love counsel is getting my romantic life back on track. 

Who needs self-help when you’ve got a bank?

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