Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ten Questions for a Dating Coach

Recently I was waiting for my coffee at Starbucks and I looked up at the bulletin board, where there was a flyer for a dating coach. On the one hand, I rolled my eyes at the idea of a dating coach. I think that when I go on a date, I should go as myself, not as someone who's "coached" into being the type of person who guys want to go out with.

On the other hand, I thought of all the articles I'd read in women's magazines with titles like, "How to Get a Second Date," or "How to Make Him Want You," or "If He's Not Texting Back, That Means He Likes You." (Okay, I made up that last one, but there ARE articles out there like that.)

People go to coaches or teachers to learn a lot of things. For example, people hire personal trainers to help them lose weight or strengthen their muscles. Athletes hire coaches to help them develop their skills and win competitions or games. My students come to me for help with writing or over-analyzing authors. So why not go to a dating coach, who could tell people what they're doing wrong (or right) when it comes to dating? At the very least it might help to have some support.

I Googled the name of that dating coach. This person's services cost almost a hundred dollars for a one-hour session! Obviously, I can't afford a dating coach, though I probably could if I gave up my coffee habit. (But then I'd end up flipping off a LOT more people than I already do, so I should probably not give up coffee any time soon.)

I did, however, think of some questions that I would ask a dating coach, if I could afford one.

1. How do I get a second date?

2. If he says, "I'll call you," does that mean, "I'm going to delete your number from my phone IMMEDIATELY" every time?

3. When guys don't put pictures in their online dating profiles (and there are a LOT of them), does that mean that a) they're self-conscious about their looks; b) they don't want their girlfriends/wives to know they're online; c) they're in the Witness Protection Program?

4. Would the phrase "I work for the IRS, and I'm going to audit you if you turn out to be a jerk" be a good headline for my online dating profile?

5. When guys write stuff like, "I don't want to date any heavy girls," or "If you weigh more than 135 pounds, don't e-mail me until you lose weight," (I'm not making those up, but I wish I was), is it okay to e-mail them pictures of Victoria's Secret models with the message, "These are the women you will spend years pining for but who will never settle for you"?

6. Why do I only attract the guys who criticize me for not dressing up enough for dates, wait several weeks after our first date to call me, or try to touch me so many times that I have no choice but to "accidentally" trip them?

7. Since everyone is emotionally and physically attached to their cell phones these days, why do some guys take hours to text back?

8. Would the phrase "My biological clock is ticking louder and louder" be a good headline for my online dating profile?

9. What are some good places to meet guys my age who don't reject all the women in their thirties for women in their twenties (or teens)?

10. At what point do you give up on a client and buy him or her a lifetime supply of ice cream?

Maybe the problem isn't just the guys I've gone out with. Maybe it's me. After all, the one common denominator in all those relationships is me. Maybe a dating coach could give me some valuable insight. But right now, of course, hiring a dating coach is not an option for me. I haven't even thought about dating anyone in months, since I've been focused on my dissertation and the job search. I have resolved, though, that once I've secured a good, full-time teaching job, I'll put myself out there again.

What about you? If you could ask a dating coach a question, what would it be? What do you think of people like dating coaches and matchmakers?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Did It! Now What?

I haven't blogged lately because I've been preoccupied with my dissertation defense. I'm happy to say that I successfully defended my dissertation! I will now get my Ph.D., and I am FINALLY done with graduate school! When my committee told me that I passed, I wished I had a hat that I could fling joyfully into the air like Mary Tyler Moore did. I also resisted the urge to run gleefully down the hall, yelling, "I'm FREE!!! Footnotes, be gone! WHEEEE!!!!"

The completion of my dissertation is definitely a relief. It's consumed my life for too long. I sacrificed several fun things that I could have done, like watch Lisa Loeb perform here in Chicago, spend time with my friends, and work on my fiction writing. I worked so hard that I was about five footnotes away from writing the words "REDRUM" and "All work and no play makes Neurotic Workaholic a dull girl" over and over again in my dissertation.

Now I have to focus on finding a job. I've received more rejection e-mails, as well as a couple leads. I could have taken a full-time teaching job at a small school in the South that paid the same salary that the janitors at my school make. I did some research on the small town that the school was located in, and I admit that the caffeine addicted city snob that I am cringed at the idea of living in a town with only one coffee shop (and it wasn't even Starbucks).

I just had an interview with another school in a different state that requires a heavy teaching load (more than most of the other schools I've applied to); it also requires full-time professors to work as advisors. But the salary is very low compared to the amount of work that they expect teachers to do.

The salary that this school is offering is only about a thousand dollars more than the salary offered by another school that I'm interested in, which offers a lighter teaching load and doesn't require professors to work as advisors. I'm still waiting to hear back from that other school, but I'm thinking about withdrawing my application from that school that I did the interview with.

I'm not the type of person who demands or expects a high salary. I just want to earn enough money to live on, with some money left over to pay off my student loans and put in my savings account.

If I took the job with that school, I'd be overworked and underpaid, just like I've been for the past several years. When I work too hard, I get so stressed out that I start screaming at inconsiderate drivers that cut me off and I stand by the tables of WiFi freeloaders in cafes and hold my coffee cup threateningly over their laptops.

I always thought that once I completed my PhD, I'd finally have a chance to breathe. Maybe I could finally find a full-time job that pays enough so I don't have to work a second job (or a third). I'm worried, though, that if this school offers me that job and I turn it down, it may be the only opportunity I have this year for full-time work. And then I'd end up working three part-time jobs again anyway.

Have you ever "settled" for a job that you didn't really want? What are deal breakers for you when it comes to jobs?