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).


  1. Remember "The Rules"? It was super popular in the 90s and it contained all sorts of artificial rules for girls like, don't accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday, and don't get too friendly. A lot of it was how to play hard to get. The woman who wrote it said she had a wonderful marriage...and then got divorced five years after the book came out.

    Call me cynical, but I don't put much faith into dating guides. Every relationship is different–how can you codify the experience in 250 pages?

    Keep your chin up and don't let a few dates get you down. There's still plenty of eligible bachelors out there–ones who don't look at the TV on the first date.

  2. Oh man, I loved The Rules! But that was only applicable to me because I was totally not following them.

    If you do want to get a self-help book, you're going to have to narrow down your problem to something specific. How to be more open to possibilities or something along that nature. I love me some self-help books, but in all honesty, they're only helpful if you already sort of know your problem through and through. And then the book sort of just reaffirms everything you already knew, so that you can truly accept it and start to change.

  3. Sure hope you don't go on a second date with that idiot. He sounds rude and self-centered. And if that's on a first date can you imagine how he would be after 10 years of marriage? Well, good luck, sweetheart. You deserve a great guy who appreciates your quirky self, your quick wit and your workaholicism. Keep trying, don't get discouraged, you just haven't found the right guy yet.

  4. Hi Anna,
    I don't remember the Rules, but now I'm curious about them! I think it would definitely be difficult to talk about the whole dating experience in one book; maybe someone should do a series or something. But even then it would still be complicated, because like you said, everyone has a different experience.

    Hi mmarinaa,
    Whenever I read self-help books I end up thinking that I have a whole new set of problems. :) But like you said, it's a good idea to focus on something specific in terms of a book on dating, because there are so many out there. It's too bad Oprah doesn't have a book club for something like this. Even though I don't watch her show, I do like several of the books she's picked out.

    Hi Karen,
    He wasn't so bad, but I just didn't feel any fireworks with him. And it was one of those situations where I felt like I should, but I just didn't.
    Thank you for your kind encouragement, though. It would be nice to find a guy who appreciates my quirks. Most guys just think I'm weird or nerdy (or both).

  5. I wouldn't worry about getting a book. I mean, you must be doing it right. They're coming back for more. It's you that's not interested in them. Which is good. A lot of girls are happy to settle and that's obviously not the case with you. Finding the right person takes forever. I mean, it doesn't work at all until it finally does. And then you're done.

    I dated soooo many people before Isaac and found even the ones I liked to be totally exhausting. I thought I could never be satisfied. And then I met him and he was just like me. And all of the sudden it was so easy and I couldn't get enough of him. And (in response to your above comment) he thinks I am BEYOND weird and comments on it frequently, but for some strange reason seems to find it endearing. And trust me. I really am very weird.

  6. Hi FreeFlying,
    You're right in that I'm not willing to settle. If I was I would've gotten a lot more dates with guys I had no interest in. I figure that if I'm going to be with someone, it has to feel right.
    That's wonderful that you found the right guy. Stories like yours prove that it is possible. I just hope that it's possible for me too.

  7. I haven't dated in a long time. But even way back when, I remember finding someone attractive and willing to date them, but I never felt like "he's the one". In fact, the man I married I wound up being friends with for a year before we dated. It took me months to even think of him that way.

    If you're mostly enjoying your time with someone, maybe keep going and see where it takes you. I've never been a reader of self-help books so I don't know if they help or not.

    At least he looked like his picture, right?

    I want you to find the one.

  8. Hi Theresa,
    I know that I won't necessarily know if a guy is Mr. Right on the first date, but at the same time I think it's important to feel something (not necessarily love, of course, but something) for that person on the first date or the second one. And the problem is that I didn't really feel anything with bachelor #2, and it was clear that he did feel something. That's why I felt bad about turning him down, because he seemed nice. But if I do meet someone that I like but am not sure yet if he could be the one, I'd be willing to keep seeing him.

  9. Oh, sweetie, this made me sad!! :(

    Last year, I made a resolution to go on a date once a week. I'm going with my husband, whom I've been with since January of 1994. And he ALWAYS looks at the waitress like she's on the menu. But did he do that in 1994-2000?? NO WAY.

    You deserve more. I wish you the best of luck and keep looking. Or else curl up with a good book and a glass of Sprite Zero (my fav).

  10. Hi Erica,
    Thanks for the encouragement; that made me feel better. Sometimes I'd rather just stay home and curl up with a good book instead of go out on a date, because at least with a good book I wouldn't be disappointed. But I am going to keep looking, at least for now. I still have a couple months left on my membership, so I might as well take advantage of it.

  11. I don't think there's anything wrong with you, just maybe who you're being paired up with.

    Sounds to me like you need a bookish guy, who's focused on work, and isn't a barfly.

    Nothing wrong with that.

    And hey, isn't that what dating is all about? Meeting new people until you hit gold?

    Keep trying, girl! At least you're making an attempt while I'm still hiding.