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Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Do’s and Don’ts"

Miss-Adventures: A Hapless Helpless Hopeless Dater Teaching Tool
Dating Do's

Do clean up.  Please, for the love of all that is holy, make hygiene a priority.  Please put on a fresh shirt or outfit that you haven't slept in or found in the dark and musty corner of your closet.  If you're meeting after work, take a toothbrush with you when you leave your place in the morning and brush before you meet your date.

Do be on time.  If you're the sort who always runs late, start out earlier than you think you need to.  “Traffic” is not a valid excuse – if you’re at all excited about your date, you will allow for traffic and arrive early.  If you show up for our date more than 15 minutes late, I’m going to assume you’re not that into me and I will move on.  The saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.  Make no mistake: this is the first impression.

Do make eye contact (but don't be weird about it).  Talking to your date while you're looking around the room, checking your text messages and emails, scoping out other women around you, or playing with your silverware is really annoying.  Message heard loud and clear: you’re just not that into me.

Do confirm our date either the day before or the day of.  And please call or email the day after to thank your date for a nice time.  Whether the date was great or another one for the old dating blog, there's no substitute for good manners.  And it's the right way to treat people.

Do open doors.  It’s not a gesture strictly reserved for men or butch women; it’s the well-mannered thing to do.  I’m a great fan of excellent social graces.  I expect please and thank you’s, I expect a “bless you” or “gesundheit” when I’ve sneezed, and I expect you to open the door for me if you’re one step ahead of me, as I will do exactly the same for you.  A well mannered man or woman is sexy and you will get an extra bonus point or two from me.

Do offer to pick up the tab (or at least split the bill if your date wants to pay too).  It gets a little tricky when you’re same-sex dating – the rules are less clear than heterosexual dating – but I always err on the side of gentlemanly behavior and offer to pick up the tab.  You may ask, ‘but what if my date wants to pick up the tab?’  Insist on picking up the tab anyway and make a point to say, ‘why don’t you get the next one?’, thus ensuring a second date.  If your date sucked (and there will be several of those, in my experience), let her pay for her half of the bill and call it a night.

Dating Don'ts

Do not disclose personal financial information.  I have a friend whose story goes a little something like this (I’m paraphrasing):

Text from prospective date: “Hey, what are you doing this weekend?  Do you want to get together?”

Friend: “What did you have in mind?”

Prospective Date: “Well, I’m broke right now because rent is coming up…”

Aaaaand guess who found themselves at the bottom of the suitor list?  Think about that for a second.  It’s one thing if you’ve been dating for a while and there’s commitment involved, then I think you have a right to know where your significant other’s finances stand but if this is a second, third or fourth date, whoa buddy!  You have disclosed entirely too much!  By the same token, it is simply NOT OK to brag about your finances either.  You come off as a superficial, greedy braggart and the only woman you will attract is a gold-digging ‘basketball wife’.

Do not express or talk about bodily functions with your date.  Again, this is something that should be reserved for full-blown coupledom (and even then, it’s a little too comfortable) and absolutely not for your second, third or fourth date.  I guaran-damn-tee you that if you belch, fart, or talk about belching, farting, pooping, menstruating or anything of that sort, you will not get another date out of me. 

Do not talk about your last relationship or recent ex in excess of five minutes.  Anything more than that guarantees you of my abrupt departure.  I don’t want to be compared with your ex-girlfriend.  I don’t want to console you over your recent break-up.  And I don’t want to wonder whether or not you’re over your ex or whether or not you’re just biding your time with me until you get back together.

Don't leave your cell phone on.  This interruption will work against you in a big way.  We’ve only got a couple of hours (if you’re lucky) to get to know each other and if you’re going to waste one minute of that precious time by checking your text messages and emails, I’m going to assume it’s because you’re lining up your booty call for the evening and that’s a deal breaker.  Do yourself a favor: if you want this date to go well, let your date know that she is your priority for the evening and put your phone away.

Don't splash on too much cologne or perfume.  I’m a girl who loves her perfume.  I do! – I think it smells heavenly but I’m not going to assume that everyone feels that way.  So please don’t expect me to think that you’re perfume/cologne smells heavenly by marinating in it just before our date.  Please make an effort to smell clean and, if you must, just a little dab of the perfume will do ya just fine.

Don't bring presents until you're engaged.  Years and years ago, I went on a blind date with a girl who I felt no attraction for.  She pursued me for a second date for some time and even told me that she had bought me a gift.  I’m sure she thought she was being charming or thoughtful but it felt like bribery.  And here’s the thing about people: some will feel too much pressure and move on (like yours truly), but others may stay for the wrong reasons.  It’s a lose-lose for you.  The only acceptable gifts (which should never, ever to be brought on the first date!) are: a simple bouquet of flowers (you may go only slightly grander for birthdays and Valentine’s Day) or a bottle of wine (if you’ve been invited over for dinner at your date’s home).

Don't wait too long before you call for a second date.  Likewise, don't refuse a date just to play hard to get.  No one wants to feel manipulated or unimportant.  So how long do you wait to call?  That’s the age-old question, right?  My general rule: anywhere between one and three days.  Day One after your date: “Thank you for a great night out.  I had a lot of fun.”, followed by Option 1: “I was wondering if we could get together again?  What are you doing on [insert day of the week here]?”, or Option 2: “I’d like to get together again sometime really soon.  Can I call you in a couple of days?”  By Day Three after your date, you had better have date number two on the books.  If I haven’t heard from a date in three days, I assume they’re just not that into me.  If you’ve reached out to your date and tried to get something on the books and have heard (1) “I dunno, I’m really busy”; (2) “I have a lot on my plate”; (3) “I’m really not ready to date”; or (4) “I’m in a complicated relationship”, cut your losses and move on.  [See: "The Foreigner" (Con'td) for translations]

I sincerely hope this serves as good advice to you other hopeless daters.  I'm no expert and the lessons contained herein are elementary, at best, but they are timeless pieces of advice which should go unsaid and be well understood.  Sadly, they are not.  I was a hopeless dater and these are the lessons I learned either through bad dates or when I was a bad date.  (I'll continue to let you guess which ones applied to me and which applied to my dates.)

Happy dating, readers, and best of luck to you!
Credit and a sincere thanks must be given to "Nugget" who helped form the idea for this post.

Friday, April 20, 2012

“The Love Bubble”

Miss-Adventures: A Hapless Helpless Hopeless Dater Happily Domesticated Not-So-Single Bad Ass Superhero

I'm looking for love.  Real love.  Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love.” (Carrie Bradshaw - Sex & The City)

YES.  Exactly that.

I’m so incredibly fortunate.  I thank my good luck Every. Single. Day. that, not only did I find that kind of love, but that my new love was also looking for that kind of love.  Can you imagine it?: wanting “real, ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love” and actually finding it?  Love like that is miraculous and so hard to find.

Love like that is, actually, all-consuming.  Yes, I realize that I’m in the honeymoon phase.  And yes, I realize that my new love and I are trapped in what’s often referred to as “the love bubble” or “the love cocoon”.  You know “the love bubble”, right?  It’s when you’re so consumed by lust and love that you’ve temporarily forsaken all of your friendships and stopped answering your phone, and everyone just assumes that you were swallowed up by the Bermuda Triangle.  And they’re right: you have, in a way.  But really, you’ve just been too busy having lots of hot, dirty sex and nesting in your new apartment to notice that your family and friends are waving a giant “Hey asshole, remember me?!” flag in front of your face.  And they’re right: you are an asshole.  But the important thing to remember is that you are a temporary asshole. 

Your good friends will remember that the love bubble is temporary and that you still love them even in your absence.  And, if you’re a good friend, you’ll pop your head out of the cocoon once in a while and tell them that you still love them (even in your absence).  And so this is me: popping my head out of the cocoon.

There’s a part of me that feels guilty for putting my family and friends on the back burner.  It’s times like these when feelings get hurt and misunderstandings arise more often than they normally would.  (Ehem, you know who you are.)  For that, I’d like to offer my mea culpas but I would also like to ask those family and friends for a little more understanding and patience.  Because here’s the thing:  I never forget that my family and friends held me up while I was at my worst moments.  They loved me, listened to me, offered a shoulder to cry on, drank with me and made me laugh to the point of hysterics when I needed them most.  And, like the truly great family and friends that they are, they’re patiently hanging out in the peripheral zone with supportive smiles and encouraging words while waiting for my eventual emergence from the love bubble.

I’m not always good about reaching out to my family and friends.  “Staying in touch” for me is a status update on Facebook or writing this blog.  I suck at maintaining communication.  I’m also not a heart-on-her-sleeve kind of girl and telling my family and friends how much they mean to me doesn’t always come easily.  I could (and should) do a better job about picking up the phone, planning play dates, touching base and checking in.  Because here’s the thing that I need to remind myself: it’s not all about ME right now!  (See what I mean?! - “All-Consuming”.)  I thank those friends who remind me that they want to hang out or those family members who’ve called me when I haven’t been so good about calling them because it’s been far too easy to put everyone on the back burner and forget that they need me too.

The hardest part about feeling this “consuming, inconvenient love” is the toll it’s taking on my family and friends.  For the most part, everyone is super excited and happy to see me so loved up (and thank you for that!).  But there are those few who, I think, have been feeling separation pangs while I’ve been hibernating in the love bubble.  And for that, I feel a little guilty.  And so I say to you, those “few”: I’m sorry I’ve been so consumed in my love bubble and negligent with our friendship.  I’m sorry I’ve been largely unreachable.  I’m sorry I haven’t been more attentive.  But please know that I’m grateful to you for your love, friendship, support and sideline cheering.  It hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated, even though it may seem as though it has.

I love you all and am grateful to you for your continued friendship, love, support and reminders to not “fuck this new relationship up”.  You’re amazing and you continue to hold me up even when you don’t know that you do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

“Succumbing to Lesbian Stereotypes”

Miss-Adventures: A Hapless Helpless Hopeless Dater Happy Lesbian Cliché

Conversation with a gay friend recently:

Me: What’s going on with you and [man friend]?

Friend: No word on whether he wants to be boyfriends, but we're dating.  Dude, I'm such a lesbian.  I pretty much know if someone's a good fit, after initially meeting them, or by the second date.  It's like pulling teeth with men.  You gotta give them space, or they run towards the hills.

Me:  I'm not good at dating more than one person at a time.  I'm not even good at dating just one person at a time!  I’m, like, can we just skip the dating part and start planning the wedding??

Friend:  FUCK. Right??  I don't have time for this coy shit. DO YOU WANT ME OR NOT!!???? WELL???!!!! MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!!  But I digress…

Me: I get it. Who wants to keep 'dating' and fucking around for the rest of their lives?  What would be the point?  I mean, I don't mind dating, as long as I know it's headed somewhere. It's ok to take your time so long as you know that there's something deeper developing.

Friend: EXACTLY!!!!

Which leads me to these questions: Why is wanting a commitment (or rushing towards commitment) an inherently “lesbian” trait?  Why is being certain about someone a lesbian cliché? 

Which leads me to this announcement (for those of you not already in the know): Glamazon and Miss-Adventures have officially U-Hauled.  See what I mean?  It’s such a lesbian cliché that, what was initially a punch-line to a joke, is now used as a commonplace verb for moving in together.  And if any of you are interested: yes, it’s going exceedingly well.  Domesticity with Glamazon fits me like a glove, boys and girls.

[This one's for you, "B2".  I know you've been waiting with bated breath.  Thanks for reading with such enthusiasm!]

Thursday, April 5, 2012

“Meeting the Family”

Miss-Adventures: A Hapless Helpless Hopeless Dater

There comes a point in every new relationship when you begin to think to yourself, ‘Ok, this one is sticking around for a while.’  You feel happy, secure, loved and optimistic for your future.  And at that point, you have to realize that this is the time to start the familial introductions.  I don’t like to introduce lovers, ladyfriends and hook-ups to my family.  I imagine that I’m not alone in this thinking but introducing someone I’m dating to my family and friends is a big goddamned deal. If someone new is being introduced to my family, they're a definite keeper!  And they've officially been promoted from ladyfriend to girlfriend.

Risk Number One: Family/Friends don’t like or approve of your new ladyfriend.  They either tell you that they don’t approve and you hate them for it, or they don’t tell you and avoid hanging out with you both as often as possible.

Risk Number Two: Your ladyfriend doesn’t like or approve of your family/friends.  She either tells you and you kill her and bury her body in an unknown location have to break up with her or she doesn’t tell you and it makes holidays and family gatherings horrible and uncomfortable.

Risk Number Three: Your family/friends and new ladyfriend get along famously and they conspire to vote you off the island because they’re all so happy together but you make them miserable.

Risk Number Four: Your family and new ladyfriend get along so well that when the relationship ends, the ladyfriend is still treated like family, which makes for awkward family conversations, holidays and family gatherings.

Risk Number Five: Your friends and new ladyfriend get along so well that when the relationship ends, she has run off with your entire support system and you have no one to turn to when you break up except perhaps your mail man and your regular barista at Starbucks.

Risk Number Six: Your family/friends are so bat-shit crazy that they scare off any ladyfriend who may have any potential at all at becoming a long-term mate.

It is for exactly these reasons that I choose to not introduce a girlfriend into the fold until ‘I Love You’s’ have already been said, move-in dates are imminent and marriage talk is on the table.  “I Love You” is a verbal contract, in my opinion.  That shit is binding and you are not allowed to run off screaming for the hills no matter how scary my family and friends may be.

Glamazon, are you listening?