Monday, February 28, 2011

Second Chances

Maybe I'm a hypocrite. Maybe I'm just sick of dating. Maybe I liked him more than I thought I did. Maybe it's because I'm turning thirty pretty soon and I'm afraid that I'll still be going on first dates for the next decade. Maybe it's because one of the potential matches that sent me today actually specified in his profile how he wouldn't date any girls who were bigger than a size 6. Maybe it's because I wanted to track that potential match down and make him watch a bunch of commercials for diet products until he started weeping over how much of a jerk he is and promised to mend his superficial ways (although that still wouldn't be enough to make me go out with him).

I decided to give bachelor #2 another chance. As you know, we went out on two dates recently, but I told him that I couldn't go out with him again because I was too busy. The truth is, I just wasn't sure I felt anything for him, and I didn't think it would be fair to him to keep leading him on.

I've rejected guys who wanted to date me before, and I never lost any sleep over it. Usually I just felt relief as I thought, I can't believe I dated a guy who was about as interesting as a piece of cardboard! and I can't believe that guy criticized me for not dressing up enough, so that I was tempted to hurl my dinner plate at him! or I can't believe I dated a guy whose sole ambition is to get as many women as Flava Flav did on his reality shows!

But with this guy, I couldn't stop wondering if I'd made a mistake in rejecting him. Okay, so I didn't feel fireworks with him. But the last time I felt a spark for anyone was when I went out with a guy I met on okcupid a little over a year ago. I liked him a lot. He liked the attention. Maybe what I had thought was a spark was just wanting what I would never have.

After several days of feeling like I might have made a mistake, I finally texted chemistry bachelor #2 to apologize for blowing him off and to ask him out for a third date. He didn't respond until two days later; I have to admit, I was disappointed when he didn't respond right away. He said that his cell phone was broken (which made me wonder why he didn't just call me from his landline), but he had said on our second date that he'd been having problems with his phone and would have to take it in to get fixed the next day. In his response, he said something about wanting to hang out sometime this week (although we'll see if that actually happens).

So I'm going to give this guy another chance. I know I sound like a total hypocrite after what I wrote about him in a recent post, but maybe I could end up feeling something real for him. It does make me wonder how many dates you're supposed to go on with a guy before you start feeling something real. For some people it happens right away. For me, of course it has to be more complicated, because it's not like I haven't already been searching for that special someone all these YEARS...but I digress. And anyway, I'm still going to keep reviewing the matches that chemistry sends me, just in case.

Obviously, I don't want to keep dating this guy for too long if it becomes more and more clear that I really don't feel anything for him. I feel like I shouldn't take too long to figure it out, though; based on how he acted on our first two dates, it doesn't seem like he has the same doubts as I do.

What do you think? What would you do if you were in my situation?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Describe Your Flaws in 300 Words or Less

In my online dating profile on, the basic facts about me are listed for my potential matches to see. It includes my beliefs. (I believe that you should eat chocolate - and lots of it - in order to get into heaven.) I can also put down how much money I earn in a year (or in my case, it would be how little I earn in a year, so that I have more coupons in my wallet than cash).

Everyone is also allowed to write a description of themselves in a few paragraphs. But some guys only write four or five sentences, which are usually filled with grammatical errors. These guys are usually the ones without pictures in their profiles. A lot of guys describe themselves as "sarcastic"; I'm not sure why everyone thinks that sarcasm makes a person more attractive. But then again, I suppose people like Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno got a lot of action when they were single. (I do think they're both cute, actually.) And I have to admit that I am sarcastic most of the time, because then I can say what I think and people will laugh instead of plot my demise.

You can also write what you're looking for in a significant other. I've lost count of the number of guys who wrote that they were looking for someone who likes to go out on the town but also likes to stay in. (Doesn't that describe most people, though?) One guy wrote that physical attractiveness is very important to him and he expects his girl to be fit and gorgeous, yet he didn't include any pictures of himself. Another guy said that he preferred girls with nice rear ends. Some will emphasize how attractive they are; one of them wrote that everyone compliments him on how good-looking he is. (He wasn't.)

One of my potential matches actually ranted in his profile about girls who will lecture their dates for not looking like their pictures in their profiles. In his rant, he wrote, "No wonder you're single." It's like, Excuse me? Could you NOT insult me before we've even met? And how about the fact that YOU'RE single?

A few have made it clear that they haven't paid for a membership yet. They include their e-mail addresses in their profiles since they can't communicate with anyone or see anyone's pictures without paying the membership fee first. (So I have to pay for the membership but they're not willing to?) Also, I think that at least a quarter of the matches I've been sent so far are no longer active on the site. And a third of the matches don't have pictures in their profiles.

I like the profiles where the guys actually make an effort and say a lot about themselves, and it's even better if what they write makes me laugh. I have to admit that it is hard to describe myself in a way that will make guys want to date me. If I was going to be really honest, I'd write something like this:

Whenever we have a conversation, I can guarantee you that I will talk about work at least five hour. I know nothing about sports, so please don't make me come to games with you. If you do, I will probably fall asleep and sleepwalk onto the field or the court or the battlefield or whatever it is that athletes call it. I do work out at the gym on a regular basis. But I will never be a size 2 because I love Coke and M&Ms that much. So chew on that, buddy.

I'm completely neurotic and have been since I was a little kid. That was when I became convinced that the monsters under my bed were not only going to get me as soon as I closed my eyes but were silently judging my haircut.

I'll never drag you along on a shopping trip, because I only like shopping for books. If the only stuff you read are magazines with scantily clad girls in it, then I will dump you, but not before I throw all those magazines out the window. I don't wear those stiletto heels that everyone thinks are sexy, because you don't really want me to fall flat on my face on the sidewalk, do you? I didn't think so. I also don't wear miniskirts, because for Pete's sake, this is Chicago; how come you get to be covered up when it's ten degrees outside but I have to dress like I live in the tropics?

If I had to choose between a night out on the town and staying home to work on my dissertation, I'd choose to stay home. You can go out, though, but don't flirt with any other girls. If you do, I will have no choice but to tell all of them that you believe no woman will ever live up to your mother.

Of course, I didn't write any of that in my profile. (It's like when prospective employers say during interviews, "Tell me what your biggest weaknesses are." You're not really going to tell them the truth, are you?) I usually just try to write something about who I am and what I like to do for fun. I also write a little about what I'm looking for in a guy.

But I'm wondering if I should revise it for the guys who actually bother to read my profile and don't just automatically dismiss me because I don't have any swimsuit pictures. Any suggestions? If you were to write an online dating profile, what kinds of things would you write to describe yourself? (I promise not to steal it. If there's one thing I hate, it's plagiarism, especially if I'm the victim of it and someone steals my writing or my ideas. Okay, I also hate decaffeinated coffee. Like I've said before, what is the point of drinking coffee if I'm not bouncing off the walls after I drink it? So that's two things. But I digress.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Maybe I'm the Problem

This past weekend I went on a date with bachelor #2. We went out for drinks, and then we walked to a nearby coffeehouse and spent a long time talking.

The date was nice, but it would have been nicer if the guy hadn't kept watching the game on the TVs in the bar. We'd be talking and then all of a sudden his eyes would drift over to the game. I felt like saying, "Should I just let you and the TV have some alone time?"

Other times he'd gesture to the game and say, "Did you see that? That was really cool." When it comes to basketball or any sport for that matter, I have no idea what's going on. The game might as well have been an all-or-nothing battle for control over the universe between enemy aliens for all I cared, though I'm thinking that an alien battle might have been more interesting.

It also seemed like my date and the waitress who brought us drinks had more chemistry than he and I did, because she was really attentive to him and kept asking him about his drink; it took her more than an hour to ask whether I wanted a refill on mine. This was the second time I've been on a date where the guy seemed to really like the waitress and I kept thinking, Do you think you can wait until AFTER the date before you start flirting with other girls? Seriously?

I did seem to have more in common with this guy than with bachelor #1, and there weren't as many awkward pauses in our conversation. He texted me the next morning, and we went out to eat that day. But...that thing you're supposed to feel when you really like someone? I'm not sure I was feeling it.

I've never been on a date where I took one look at the guy and thought, There he is! The man of my dreams! I can stop dating now. Usually I just think, Hmmm. I wonder if he'd believe me if I said that I was allergic to his cologne and therefore had to end the date immediately, otherwise I might pass out or sneeze all over him?

But on the last few dates that I've been on, I haven't felt that spark where I know that I definitely want to go out with the guy again and I can't wait until I do. I know that it can sometimes take a while for that spark to actually occur, but does that mean I should keep going on dates with the same guy and hope that eventually I'll feel whatever I'm supposed to feel? That wouldn't be the right thing to do, not for him or me.

He texted me right after our second date and asked me out a third time. I texted back that I was too busy, but I think he saw right through that line. I feel really bad about turning him down. Here was a perfectly nice, cute guy who wanted to keep dating me, and I didn't feel the same way. I even considered going out with him a third time, just to see what could happen, but I'm not sure I want to do that.

I've been thinking that maybe I'm the problem. Maybe it's my fault that I haven't met Mr. Right yet. Maybe it's because I sometimes find myself tempted to keep talking about my work, because work is what I think about 95% of the time. (The rest of the time I just think about food. Kidding. Well, not really.) I do try to talk about other things, and of course I always ask the guys questions about themselves so I can get to know them better.

Maybe it's because I never drink alcohol on the dates, even if we go to bars. It doesn't bother me if my dates drink, as long as they don't get too friendly once they've had a few. If that was the case, I really couldn't be held responsible for what would inevitably happen next; i.e., the next drink they order would end up all over their clothes.

But maybe the guys think I'm too uptight for not drinking. On the other hand, I don't want to pretend to like alcohol and order a drink just so they'll think I'm cool, because then it wouldn't be a date; it'd be an after-school special.

Maybe it's because I'm not into sports, and a lot of the guys that I've dated are athletic. So if they start talking about some team that they like, I just say, "'re talking about hockey, right? Wait, does Chicago have a hockey team?" (I know now that they do. I don't really care, though.) One guy told me about how excited he got when his favorite college team won, and I think my eyes must have glazed over, because I had no idea what he was talking about. They often seem disappointed to find out that talking to me about sports is like talking to the Jersey Shore's Snooki about politics.

No offense to sports fans, though. It's just that I've never been into sports. The few times I played sports I always ended up getting hit by the ball. Even if I was just watching other people play I'd still end up getting hit by the ball.

Or maybe it wouldn't matter so much if I did everything right. It wouldn't matter if it still felt like something was missing.

I thought about buying a book on dating, because then maybe it could give me some tips on the right way to act on first dates in particular. One piece of advice that I've read is that the girl should casually touch the guy's arm or hand to let him know that she's interested. But I'm afraid that he might move at the wrong moment and then I'd accidentally hit him or knock him out of his chair or something. Then the police would be called and I'd be yelling, "I was just trying to flirt with him! That's all! Help!" as they dragged me away and then the guy would definitely never call me again.

What do you think of books on dating? If you've read any, what do you think of the advice? The only one I have is the book He's Just Not That Into You, but that book is more about how to deal with guys who aren't interested in a second date (or a first one, for that matter).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The (Un)Real Me is similar to eharmony in that members are required to fill out a long questionnaire before signing up. But to the best of my knowledge, has never rejected any prospective members like eharmony has. Eharmony says it's because the person's answers supposedly make it more difficult to find that person a suitable match on the site. I think that getting rejected from an online dating site can be disheartening (fortunately, that didn't happen to me); they might as well say, "You're just going to be SINGLE FOREVER! You will NEVER be in one of our commercials, so just GIVE UP NOW!"

I don't really remember most of the questions on Chemistry's personality test, but they were mainly stuff like "How do you organize your socks?" and "What kinds of vampire methods do you prefer in the bedroom?" (I am not making those questions up. Maybe the second question is meant to show how the website is open to everyone, including people who drink blood and sleep in coffins.)

After you take the test, the website assigns you a personality type. There are several personality types, according to, including Builder, Negotiator, Explorer, and Director. According to the website, I am a Builder. Although Builder is my "dominant personality type", my "secondary type" (meaning I also show elements of it, not that I have another personality like Sybil does) is Explorer. There's even a full-page description that defines my personality. It's actually accurate in many ways.

For example, tells me, "You are detail oriented. You follow the rules. And you tend to respect customs and traditions." I think that being detail oriented comes with being a writing teacher. My job training means that I grieve over grammatical errors, wringing my hands and sobbing, "Does NO ONE proofread anymore?"

I do follow the rules most of the time, because I don't want to end up on Cops and have a bunch of police officers and cameramen chasing me through parking lots while I throw things at them. On the other hand, if someone cuts in front of me in line, then all bets are off because then they're just asking to...Hmmm. I guess I shouldn't finish that sentence.

The website also says that I am "popular" and that I have "people skills". That's true, especially because I now know how to curse out inconsiderate drivers (especially the ones talking on their cell phones) in three languages. Chemistry also says that my friendships are important to me and that I spend time "developing and nurturing these social networks". Actually, I've lost more than one friend because I spend more time working than I do socializing. It might also be because not a lot of other people want to receive dictionaries for their birthdays. (But it's such a practical gift, and an educational one! I mean, who wouldn't want to be able to use words like "balderdash" in everday conversation?)

A Builder also has a "spontaneous side", which is true for me. On the rare occasions I go to my favorite restaurant, I order the same thing every time (why spend money on something you've never tried before, especially when you could end up throwing up in front of other customers?). I arrange my work schedule so that I can watch new episodes of Criminal Minds every week. I've had the same haircut for four years. I usually wear dark colors so that if I spill food or coffee on myself it'll be less noticeable and then people won't recommend that I start wearing bibs.

Okay. So maybe I'm not that spontaneous. But the other day when the barista at Starbucks asked if I wanted to upgrade my usual order of a grande Frappuccino to a venti for just fifty cents more, I said yes. And if that's not spontaneous, I don't know what is!

What do you think of personality tests? Do you think that despite all their differences, people can actually be categorized according to personality types?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Date Bites the Dust

So you've probably guessed from the title of this blog post that my date this past Saturday night wasn't the type of date that had me singing in the streets afterward, or composing poetry about the color of his eyes, or any of that other cliched b.s. that you see in old Hollywood musicals. (But I will admit that I do like some of those musicals.)

We went out for drinks to a bar that he suggested going to; I'd never been there before but it seemed like a cool place. We spent hours talking, so that the date ended up lasting longer than I thought it would. He was really easy to talk to, though there were a few of those awkward pauses in conversation where both of us were trying to figure out what to say next.

Making conversation is often what sets first dates apart from all the dates that come after. Well, that, and all the first date anxieties you typically feel, where you ask yourself questions like, "What will the date be like? Will we like each other? Will there be a second date? Will it be the kind of date that makes both of us realize that it would be better to stay single for the rest of our lives just so that we never have to live through a night like that again?"

When I go on a first date with someone I don't know very well (or at all, as in the case with online dating), the conversation is basically the getting-to-know-you conversation. So you don't necessarily have that ease you have when you talk with people you've known for ages, because there's so much you don't know about each other. You find yourself much more self-conscious about what you talk about and even how you talk, because first impressions are lasting.

I've had the kind of first date conversation with guys where it felt like they were interviewing me, asking me questions like "Where do you see yourself in five years?" "What do you like most about your job?" and "What's your favorite color?" (I am not making any of those questions up, including the last one.)

I've also had the kind of first date conversations where I was basically on autopilot and only pretended to listen. That was because I'd figured out within the first half hour that I never wanted to see the guy again, usually because he a) said something insulting/offensive; b) looked nothing like his profile picture (I'm not totally superficial, but I just happen to think it's a good idea to not include pictures of yourself from ten years ago and no other more recent pictures); c) was so boring that I had to make sure that I didn't lean my chin in my hand because I might do that thing where I doze off and wake up after I've already fallen out of my chair.

The conversation on this date was pretty decent. To be honest, from what we talked about, it didn't seem like we had a lot in common (though according to we were highly compatible). I also wasn't sure if there would be a second date with this guy, not because I didn't like him (I liked him well enough, and wouldn't mind seeing him again), but because of two things.

One thing was when we talked about things we liked to do in Chicago, and he kept telling me, "Oh, you should definitely go there sometime." But he never said, "We should check it out sometime," which would have implied a second date. I suppose I could have said it, but I don't usually mention the possibility of a second date on the first one because I don't want to seem too eager.

When I was in college, I went on a date with a guy who not only started planning our second date while we were still on our first one, but also started listing all the other things he wanted us to do together. It wouldn't have surprised me if he had our future wedding planned out by the second date, though there never was a second date with that guy in college. The fact that he was already acting like my boyfriend (or like he wanted to be) made me want to tell him that I'd decided to commit myself fully to my Catholic faith by becoming a nun and that I'd also decided to get a head start on that vow of celibacy even before I joined the convent, as in right now. (I also didn't want to go out with that guy a second time because when he kissed me it felt like he was trying to suck my lips off my face.)

The other thing was that this guy said that he was going out of state for the next couple of weeks because of work; he said he'd be leaving just a couple days after our date. At first I thought, Oh. He's just saying that so that he has a good excuse to not make a second date or call me anytime soon (or ever). And we live in different neighborhoods and work in different fields, so it's not like we would have run into each other during the time he said he was going to be away.

But then he told me more about his job and how it required him to do a lot of traveling, so I thought maybe he wasn't making it up. He was also perfectly nice, attractive, and a definite improvement over the last couple of dates I've been on.

But I don't know if I'll see him again, probably not since I haven't heard from him since then. He is going out of town for a while, after all, and it is quite possible that while he's on his business trip he'll meet some supermodel who isn't as neurotic as I am, though I tried to act normal during the date.

I tried not to act like the kind of person who obsesses over everything, including the fact that the large piles of snow left over from the blizzard make crossing the street fairly difficult. As a result, I worry that in my attempt to climb over the snow that I'm going to get stuck inside the snow and become a human snowperson because all the other people passing me by are oblivious or indifferent and won't bother to help me out. I also worry that I'll fall, get all my clothes soaked, and have people shrinking away from me because I look like I just spent the night in a muddy puddle.

But I didn't mention anything like that during our conversation. I'm pretty good at pretending to be someone who's normal when I have to, but only for a certain period of time before my true neurotic nature bursts through the facade.

At the very least, though, I got one date from I still have more than two months left on my membership with this site, so hopefully I'll get more dates, if not with this guy than with someone else.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taking Time for Myself

On the Smart Spending blog that I like to read, there is a weekly post by Teresa Mears about special sales, freebies, and deals that restaurants and stores are offering for that particular week. This week, I read about how Bank of America was sponsoring a Museums On Us plan, where people who had the bank's credit card could get free admission to museums all over the country on the first weekend of each month. I looked on the list of museums, and saw that one of my favorite places in Chicago, the Art Institute, was on the list. Regular admission is $18, $12 with my student ID.

I got a lot of work done last Saturday, as usual. I had just flown into Chicago that day after coming home from an out-of-state trip to visit my parents. But after I got home and had had a chance to rest, I went back to work. I planned to do the same stuff on Sunday: work on my dissertation, complete a project for my website job, and go to the gym. (Paris Hilton would probably make fun of my weekend plans. But I make fun of her cartoon character voice, so there.) I was rereading my blog post from last week and saw on the list about my desire to give up some gym time in favor of going to the Art Institute. So I decided to take some time for myself to go.

And I'm so glad that I did. The museum wasn't nearly as crowded as it normally is on a weekend, probably because of Superbowl Sunday. I have zero interest in football; I don't even know (or care) who played in the Superbowl. One time I tried playing football with a group of classmates. I was just eager to join in the game, despite the fact that I didn't actually know how to play it. So when I actually caught the ball, I saw all these people coming at me for it. I freaked out and tossed the ball to the nearest person, who happened to be on the opposite team (everyone on my team collectively yelled, "Ohhhhh! Why would you DO that?"). It just seemed so much easier than getting tackled.

My favorite art in the museum is the work of the Impressionists. I never get tired of looking at Degas' dancers or Monet's water lilies. I was disappointed because my favorite painting, Paris Street, Rainy Day, was on loan to a museum in Germany so I didn't get to see it again. Every time I go to the museum I study the painting and try to see if I can find something I didn't notice before, like the veil over the woman's face or the fact that there doesn't seem to be any rain in the painting.

I was so fascinated by the paintings that I wanted to reach out and touch them. But I was afraid that the guards would descend upon me and start whapping me with information brochures, bellowing, "Step AWAY from the painting or the green lions on the steps outside will come to life and ATTACK you, THIEF!" while tourists gawked at me and said, "Gee, I didn't peg her for being a sociopath." Or maybe the alarm would sound in the form of a bolt of lightning striking me down while a voice from above thundered, "Do you DARE to defile great art, philistine?"

I am always impressed and amazed by the beauty and imagination that are reflected in the paintings at the Art Institute. I like the ones that seem to tell stories. Seeing art like that inspires me because it makes me want to create my own art, only instead of using a paintbrush and canvas I want to go home and pick up my pen and my journal or sit down at my computer and write a new story.

I went down to the Thorne Miniature Rooms, which is another one of my favorite exhibits. I love looking in all the rooms with their tiny furniture and even tinier accessories, like small eyeglasses and microscopic newspapers. I can't help marveling at how much time it must have taken to create each room. I like looking at the rooms that depict living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms from different countries and time periods and imagining what it would be like to live during that time.

I was a little distracted though, because there was this guy standing near me who kept sneezing. I was hesitant to touch the wooden support bar that people often lean on when they peer in the cases to look at the rooms, because I was afraid that I might get infected by his germs. Then I'd start sneezing and fellow germaphobes would flee from me, screaming, "Get back! Get back!" while squirting hand sanitizer on me in self-defense.

I wondered about what people a hundred years from now will think of our time period, and what kinds of things they'll be showing in the museums about the twenty-first century. Take books, for example. Maybe books will be obsolete by then; writers will simply be able to send their stories to readers' heads through telepathy, so that when people get this glazed look in their eyes and stop in their tracks for several minutes at a time, people will think, "Oh, they must be reading the new best-seller. Either that or they're stoned." And then they'll look at the books and the e-readers in the museums and laugh at our generation's primitiveness.

I hadn't been to the Art Institute in over a year. It felt good to take some time for myself, away from my work, because I hadn't done that in a long time. I used to do all kinds of "Chicago" stuff, but lately I've just been working.

When you take some "me" time, what kinds of things do you like to do (other than writing)?

Side note: I think I'm coming down with a cold, which SUCKS because I'm supposed to go on a date with Bachelor #1 this Saturday night (he texted me this morning, and we made plans to go out. Guess I should wait until later to tell him that I hate texting.). I don't want to cancel because I don't want him to think I'm blowing him off. But on the other hand I don't want my date to shrink from me when I start coughing and sneezing; he'll probably fling some cough syrup and Kleenex at me before running away, yelling, "Please don't infect me, you walking germ, you! Never call me again! AAHHHH!"

I blame the Sneezing Guy for this.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dating Dry Spell

When I heard the news on Groundhog Day that we would have an early spring, I wondered how the groundhog might have reacted if it had seen the blizzard that recently descended upon Chicago. I wondered if the groundhog might have thought, "Well, forget this," and then crawled back into its burrow before booking a ticket to the Bahamas.

That also made me think about how even though I've recently reentered the world of online dating, there are times where I feel like saying, "Forget it," and moving back into the safe confines of the single life. Then I could write stories about why dating sucks and how people will live longer lives if they avoid it as much as possible, and how the ice cream business will suddenly boom as a result. Or I could carry a big wooden stake around and wave it threateningly at any guy who dares to come near me, screaming, "Get AWAY from me! Your masculine wiles will not work on me, freak show!"

And the wooden stake could come in handy in case any of the guys are vampires, which apparently is very likely if you read a lot of the teen novels that are out lately. But I suppose it'd be easy to tell if they were vampires; they'd probably react to the sun by covering themselves with their dark clothes (why do vampires often wear dark clothes? Is it some kind of undead fashion statement?) and yelping, "The light! The liiiiiiiggghhht!" before bursting into flames.

(Ever notice how the vampires always seem so upset? What, are eternal youth and immortality not enough for them? I suppose that drinking blood all the time would probably be a factor. I'd rather drink Coke.)

I've definitely had a long dating dry spell, because I haven't been on a date since last summer. I put off online dating because I had gotten burned out on dating and had had one too many bad experiences. There was the guy who waited several weeks before he called me after our date. Then he kept calling me for months after that, with no response or encouragement from me, until I finally told him, "It was one date! Get over it, weirdo!" (Well, not in so many words, but I did tell him to leave me alone. He creeped me out.)

There was the guy who spent about two hours talking about himself without asking me any questions about myself; apparently I was just there to compliment him while he nodded with that fake modesty thing which made me wonder how many times he admired himself in the mirror every day and imagined women throwing roses at him. (I imagined throwing something else.)

There was the guy on who sent me three or four "winks". I responded to the first wink with an e-mail, but he just kept "winking" at me. I realized that he was either too cheap or too broke to pay for a membership, so he couldn't communicate with me beyond the winks. He must have expected me to immediately provide my phone number in the first e-mail, which I never do.

There were also the creepy e-mails I'd get from even creepier guys who would make comments on my physical appearance in the pictures I posted on my profile. There were the the disappearing acts from guys who would e-mail me and then never contact me again after the first or second e-mail, which made me wonder if I was writing the wrong thing in my e-mails. It's not as if I wrote anything like, "At last I have found you, my beloved! Now we can plan the wedding. What should we name our children?"

When I first started online dating, I just wanted to go on dates and meet new people. I figured that if I met a guy that I really clicked with, then great. But now that I'm on my fourth online dating membership, I'm tired of being a serial dater. It's not like I want to get married right away; I don't have any specific time frame for that. (But hopefully I'll be married before I turn 90. I'm thinking that my dating prospects would definitely decrease by then.) But I don't want to have to keep dating new guys for years and years.

Even though dating dry spells aren't fun, sometimes dating isn't fun either. Maybe it's just because I haven't met that one guy I could really click with yet. But dating does end up being worth it for a lot of people, because they end up finding the people they want to spend the rest of their lives with. It's just that the thought of going through this whole process all over again makes me feel weary, and I've only been a member of for a couple weeks.

I did get a couple e-mails from this one guy on who seems nice, and we've texted each other a few times. We have a coffee date tentatively scheduled for this weekend (tentative because it depends on our work schedules). We'll see if anything more happens, but I fear that I'm becoming a bitter cynic when it comes to dating. Maybe I should have made my "dating sabbatical" a permanent vacation and booked a trip to the Bahamas. Well, maybe not the Bahamas. I don't like the ocean because I kind of have this phobia about sharks after watching scenes from Jaws.

But on the other hand, I believe in being proactive. If you want something good to happen, it's much more likely that you'll get what you want if you do something about it. So I have to put myself out there, and keep trying. And hopefully, eventually I'll get what I want.

Check out this video by Leann Rimes; the song is called "Something's Gotta Give. I like the song because it totally relates to my situation right now, and I like the video because it's about online dating. (And yeah, yeah, I know about the scandals surrounding her personal life. I don't really care. I like her music anyway.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

If There Were No Negative Consequences

1. I'd blow off my other work and spend hours writing fiction every day.

2. I'd go up to the people who camp out at the coffeehouses with their laptops and their cups of coffee that they finished drinking two hours before and say, "Are you going to let other people sit down, like, EVER?"

3. I'd rent a car and go on a cross-country road trip, especially because I haven't traveled anywhere for fun since college. I'd take a lot of pictures, and I'd write about everything. I'd go to New York City and be just like all those tourists who bug the hell out of me here in Chicago. I'd wear one of those Statue of Liberty hats and really big sneakers and point at things.

4. I'd take the laundry that my neighbors leave in the washing machines and dryers for hours after they're done, and throw it out on the lawn, preferably when it's snowy or rainy out. Or better yet, I'd wait until it's really icy out, so that when my neighbors came running out to fetch the laundry, they'd slide down the sidewalk, shrieking, while clutching their sweatshirts and underwear.

5. I'd go up to the nice graduate student who I've had a crush on for years and ask him out on a date.

6. I'd track down all the mean customers I encountered when I worked in the Expensive Clothing Store. I'd find the ones who held up the lines and insisted that I refold their clothes until they were perfect (some would yell insults at me and make me refold the clothes two or three times while I tried not to cry) before I put their purchases in their bags. I'd go through their drawers and closets and throw all their clothes on the floor, and then I'd yell, "Refold that, MEANIES! Ha!"

7. I'd travel through Europe and visit the hometowns of famous authors, like James Joyce, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Bronte.

8. I'd go up to the cliques that inevitably form in grad school, particularly the ones that made me feel bad because I wasn't invited to the party that apparently everyone else in the planet went to. I'd say, "High school is over. GROW UP."

9. I'd skip the gym for a week and spend the time that I would've spent exercising on all the things I never have time for anymore, like look at paintings in the Art Institute, go to inexpensive plays in tiny theaters, and walk around my favorite neighborhoods.

10. I'd find a way to raise money for schools so that they could increase the salary of every teacher. That way no one will ever have to say, "Teachers are underpaid." Then I'd go up to the people who criticized my choice of profession and said, "You do realize you will never be rich, right? Why don't you do something more lucrative?" I'd say to them, "Why don't you use all your money to buy yourself a new personality?"

What about you? If you could do whatever what you wanted and you didn't have to worry about the consequences, what would you do?