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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The End Is Nigh.

Listen, it's the Nugget here, and I feel like I need to apologize. A few weeks ago, while having a going away party for Miss Adventures and the Mighty Musician (WHAT?! I know!), the subject of this very blog came up. One of Mighty Musician's friends, who'd never read the blog before, immediately pulled it up on his fancy smart phone. "June 28th was your last post?!" he asked incredulously. I stared at my shoes guiltily. "People are going to think you and Miss Adventures found partners and are living happily ever after." That's only half true, thank goodness for you, dear readers! Oh yes, things in my dating world have been just as peachy as ever, and I'm sure you're just dying to hear about it.
About two months ago, I had a terrible, terrible dating weekend. That Friday evening, I had a date with this adorable bald, punk, vegan dude. We had made plans about a week earlier, and he texted Thursday night to confirm. Perfect! I love it when dates confirm, because I'm one of those people that rechecks the time and date about a million times in my calendar (and even then, I've totally gotten it wrong). So, Friday evening, I'm looking cute as can be, and stroll into the bar that we agreed upon about 10 minutes early (to an encouraging wink from the long-haired metal dude working the door). I took a quick walk around the very spread out bar make sure he wasn't there...nope. Not a bald vegan in sight. So, I settled in on a bar stool, ordered a drink, and sent a text letting him know I'd arrived. And waited. And waited. And waited. 15 minutes in, I figured he was just running a little late, and wasn't able to text because he was riding his bike there. 20 minutes in, I was rechecking our confirmation conversation to make sure I had the right place, date and time. 25 minutes in, I circled the bar once more to make sure I hadn't somehow missed him (like I did the first time I met Miss Adventures). 30 minutes in found me having a conversation with the bartender about how I was pretty positive I was being stood up. 35 minutes in, I sent him a text saying, "So...I'm pretty sure I've been stood up and I'm going to take off. Have a lovely evening." 40 minutes in and still no response, I made good on that and headed home (with a nice wave from the metal dude at the door).
The next morning, I woke up pretty excited. I had a response to my ad! From a lady! That almost never happens, so after having a little celebration, I settled in to read her response and peruse her profile. The response was super sweet and attentive, littered with sincere compliments and references to things she enjoyed about my profile. It ended with her asking me on a date. Before I responded, I checked out her profile. Hm, that's odd...she looked vaguely familiar. Upon viewing more of her photos, I realized with horror: I knew this person. Not only that, I had gone on dates and been intimate with this person! About a year and a half to two years ago, I went to a women's party. This woman approached me at the bar and had a drink with me, soon asking for my phone number. We went on a few dates, the last one ending with me coming over to her place. The next morning, she texted me saying she thought I was too young for her, and that was the end of that. Now, here she was, in my dating inbox, having apparently lost all memory of the past two years. I gently reminded her by replying, "Hi. That sounds lovely! However, the last time we went through this, you decided that I was too young for you." She responded along the lines of, "I thought you maybe looked familiar! I apologize for that, I was going through a tough period in my life at the time, but I don't expect you to understand." Well, lovely.
The next day, I was still fuming about my previous days' encounters, but I had a DATE that night, and I was determined to make the best of things! We had plans to go to a local place that I had been meaning to check out, but when I visited their website, they were having some sort of medical marijuana fundraiser. That wasn't really my thing, so I texted my date for a back up plan. He suggested a Korean restaurant near his work. He got off at 6pm, and we agreed to meet at the restaurant at 7:30. As I was getting ready, a little cloud of pessimism started to form above my head. I shook it off, thinking it was just a product of the weekend's previous dating mishaps, put on some lip gloss, and headed over to the restaurant.
The place had two rows of inset booths, so that you couldn't see who was sitting in each one unless you were directly across from it. Thankfully, I found him in the first booth, already working on an impossibly large bottle of soju and an even larger bottle of beer. He was handsome, super tall, and a pretty witty guy, so my little cloud of pessimism started to lift. We chatted about politics, his childhood in Texas, and his job at the bar across the street.He then excused himself to go to the restroom, leaving me to stare at the posters decorating the booth and think of witty things to say. When he returned, there was a...shift. Suddenly, he was getting more aggressive with his words, and slurring his speech. I began to panic a little, as I'm sure I have a little PTSD from my mother's fairly recent death from alcoholism. I mentally tried to calm myself down, telling myself that everyone has a little too much sometimes, maybe he was just nervous, it wasn't that bad.
But he kept drinking. A few shots of soju and pints of beer later, he lost it. He went on a rant about how he should have warned me that he was a rampant alcoholic, and that he hated himself, and he moved all the way here to live the miserable life of a dishwasher, and what a fuck up he was. I nodded sympathetically, but inside my panic was growing and growing and growing until I tears started rolling down my cheeks and I just couldn't stop them. He noticed, and asked why I was so sad. I told him my mother was an alcoholic. He had another drink, and then started petting my face and trying to kiss my cheeks, telling me not to cry, that I was the most beautiful person he'd ever met and we were going to get married one day. I just sat there in silence, letting him apologize over and over, clinging to me, as I prayed for a waitress to come by.
Finally, I spotted one and flagged her down. She asked if we needed another drink, and I told her no, that we just needed the check. She disappeared, and I looked over to see my date putting a cigarette in his mouth, ready to light it. I took it and told him that he couldn't smoke in here, and once we got the check, we could go outside where he could have a smoke, and then I'd drive him home (as he was clearly in no state to be wandering around a questionable neighborhood in the dark). He hung his head, barely able to hold it up, and mumbled something incoherent. I reached for my purse to get my wallet, and he fumbled through his pockets for his. "No! Let me get it. It's the least I can do." He then realize the receipt would be a problem, since reading and writing were much too complex for him at this point. He just handed me his card with the instruction to "leave a big tip." Done.
I practically carried him out of the restaurant (no small feat, considering he was 6'2"), and stood nearby as he smoked his cigarette, once again going on with his self-deprecation. I waited for him to finish in silence. He finally made an attempt to ground out his cigarette (he missed), and I helped him to the car. "How do I get to your house?" After three or four tries, he was able to give me directions I could actually follow, and we were on our way. Thankfully, he lived pretty close, and we were only in the car long enough for him to get a very brief phone call (during which he cussed out the poor, unsuspecting caller and then clumsily hung up). I pulled up across the street from his house, and he struggled with the door. Fantastic. I was going to have to take this all the way. Okay. "Which house is yours?" He made a grand sweeping gesture that was, ultimately, not helpful. "What's your address?" He pondered a moment, and then gave it to me. I helped him across the street, and through the gate of his house. Luckily, his roommate was outside to direct me up the stairs, where I left him. "I'm never going to hear from you again," he mumbled, looking at the floor. "Don't worry," I replied. "You won't remember this in the morning." "Yes I will!" he shouted as I headed back to my car.
The next morning, he texted me, "Sorry I had too much to drink! I should have warned you." Apparently, he didn't remember anything. I reminded him of his bad behavior, and told him he seemed like a good dude, but I hoped he'd get help. I also decided that I'd had enough of bad dates for a while, and after the dates I'd already had planned for the coming week, I'd deactivate my dating profile.
Don't worry, kids! My knack for horrible dates didn't start with the Bay Area! I have plenty in the archives to regale you with while I'm in hiding.

Friday, June 28, 2013

In Honor of Pride Weekend...

You guys, something crazy happened! The Nugget, who's been awash in a sea of (terrible) dudes, went on a lady date! I know what you're thinking. "Freaking finally!" Am I right? I was thinking the same thing...but not for long.
I showed up, and there she was, pacing in front of the restaurant we'd agreed to meet at. She was wearing a perfectly pressed button down shirt, a perfect cashmere sweater, perfectly fitted jeans, and a perfect Tiffany's necklace, all topped off with a perfect blow out (really, Pauly D would be jealous). She flashed me a terse perfect smile (you know, the kind only years of expensive orthodontic work can produce) as she stopped pacing and stared at me, finally offering her hand. "Hi. I'm [High Maintenance Diva] and there's a 30-minute wait. If I would have known that, I would have made a reservation," she announced to me as soon as I accepted her hand, with barely a pause and a distinct accusatory stare. "Oh," I replied, a little flustered. "Would you rather go someplace else?" "No," she responded crossly. "I have to go home and get some work done tonight, so I guess I'll just see if I can wait it out. Besides, it's been a long day and I need a glass of wine. My grandmother died last night." "Oh," I replied, getting a little more flustered. "You could have cancelled. I would have completely understood." "No," she said with a huff, looking as if she were physically restraining herself from rolling her eyes. " I always keep my appointments," she explained impatiently, as if I clearly should have guessed this about her in the 45 seconds I'd spent in her presence. This was going to be a charming date.
"So, are you really in to wine?" she asked, after taking a moment to recover from my clear lack of judgement. "Oh, you know, I really like it, but I don't know much about it. I just know what tastes good." "What's your favorite?" she asked aggressively. This was clearly a test. "Red or white?" "I like both!" I replied. Her face again took on that air of superiority as she tried to muster up as much patience as she could to explain, "I abhor whites. They're absolutely terrible. I love biiiiig, bold reds..." She then started rattling off her favorite varietals, some of which I'd never heard of, throwing in big wine words at every opportunity. She must have noticed me looking a little lost, because she stopped waxing poetic and ended her monologue with (what I'm sure she hoped was) a humble, "...but I don't know much about wine, either." Right.
Thankfully, the hostess appeared behind her at that moment to say, "Good news! We have a table for you!" High Maintenance Diva turned around and affixed the hostess with an accusatory stare and said, in what I'm sure she intended to be a joking manner (she failed), "You lied to me." The hostess looked confused. "You said it would be 30 minutes." The hostess opened her mouth to reply, obviously unsure of what to say to this. Realizing, perhaps, that her joke didn't come off quite as she intended, she said bruskly, "This time I'm glad you did. This time," and motioned for her to lead the way to the table. I trailed behind silently.
Just after we were seated, she launched into the story about her grandmother, in vivid detail, showing absolutely no emotion on her face. She talked about how close her family was, and how her mother (whose mother it was that passed away), viewed High Maintenance Diva as "her rock" and how she had cancelled her last few clients of the evening the day prior to drive the two hours to her parents' house to be there for her mother. She explained how significant this was, as she had just been hired months before at a prestigious law firm (she was a lawyer, if you hadn't already guessed). This had me changing my mind about her, thinking that perhaps there was a soft, squishy interior to this woman, which I'd appreciate. Just as soon as I began to believe this, she said, "...and then my aunt and cousin showed up. They're just so dramatic and over the top and crying and stuff. I just can't deal with people like that so I said, 'Sorry, mom' and I drove the two hours back home last night." Wow. There definitely was NOT a soft, squishy interior to this woman.
Soon after she finished telling me her family saga, the waitress appeared to take our wine order. I had chosen a wine off the menu that sounded tasty, and gave my order to the waitress with a smile. Easy, right? High Maintenance Diva looked at the waitress hard and said, "If I were looking for a big read that's not a Pinot, what would you suggest?" The waitress pointed out two recommendations. High Maintenance Diva then said, "Mm-hmm. And if I were looking for something more tannic, what would you recommend?" The waitress then gave two more recommendations. And waited while High Maintenance Diva carefully studied the wine list. And studied some more. And threw out a few more wine words. And then said, "I just don't know. Can I try [x-wine] and [z-wine]?" "Sure!" The waitress said, and escaped to go gather said wines. The Diva looked at me and leaned forward, as if about to confess her deepest, darkest secret. "I just hate going someplace and ordering a glass of wine and not enjoying it."
She then looked at the menu, and back at me, and said, "So. Are you a sharer, or do you like to have your own food?" Now, we were at a place that served small plates. Usually, when I'm at a restaurant, I order what I want to order, and that's that, unless I'm with my best friend. However, I'd been to this place several times, and had always shared my order with my dining companion. So, I answered honestly. "Well, I usually order my own thing, but here I'm much more of a sharer." She looked at me and almost audibly sighed. "Oh. Well. It's clear that your preference is to have your own food, so we'll do that." "Oh no!" I said, "I'm more than happy to share, especially here." "No no," she replied, "Your food is your food. It's fine." It was clearly not fine. Luckily, her wine samples came just then, and she finally made her wine choice before she could sigh some more about my apparent selfishness when it came to dining.
After a bit of awkward conversation (most notably, discussing her dog that she apparently brings everywhere. "My ex-girlfriend wanted him. It was kind of her dog, and I never would have picked a little dog. If I had known how much energy the dog had, I wouldn't have gotten her. But, you know, when we broke up, I just had to take her."), the waitress arrived to take our food order. I was ready, and again placed my order with a smile. The Diva, of course, had questions. Lots of them. What was in this? Which do you prefer? What's this made of? How is this prepared? Finally, she looked at me, and then back at the waitress, and said in complete seriousness, "I just don't know what to get. I'm having a really hard time because she (referring to me) refuses to share. She's just making it really difficult for me." She paused and sighed, almost as if looking for sympathy from the waitress for her obvious plight, then then forged ahead. "But I guess I'll have [insert order here]."
As soon as the waitress left, she said to me, "You know, I really just prefer to share. You get to try so many more things on the menu, and I can't imagine going to a restaurant and not wanting to try as many things as possible. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to do that." I thought about attempting to explain that I actually offered to share initially, but then realized she wasn't trying to hear that. In fact, she wasn't trying to hear much of anything I was saying. So, I spent the rest of the evening listening to her list varietals of wines that I'd probably really enjoy, and where to get them, and talk about her farmer's market exploits and the culinary masterpieces she creates from them, and so on. I was momentarily grateful when the waitress came by offering the dessert menu.It was a trap.
"Oh, would you like dessert?" she asked me with a smile. "Oh, I think I'm full..." I started to say. " An immediate look of disapproval crossed her face. "Oh. Um. I guess I could share some?" She then turned to the waitress, and started grilling her on all of the three desserts on the menu. What was in this? How was this vegan? What was the replacement for this? What was the texture like in this? In the end, of course, she sighed and looked at the waitress, slowly handing back the dessert menu. "No. She doesn't want dessert, so I guess we'll pass. Just the check, please." I was never so excited to hear those words. Of course, the check didn't come without her wanting to itemize each and every thing to make sure we both paid only our fair share. "I ordered much more than you!" she declared. She did, but spending another 10 minutes with this person was the last thing I wanted to do. "Let's just split it," I insisted firmly. She gave one more half-hearted protest, and then agreed, and within minutes, we were out on the sidewalk, saying our awkward goodbyes, not a moment too soon.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

History and Victory


On this historic day, I can't help but dance on the graves of DOMA and California Prop 8, and celebrate the beginning of my status as a (born and bred) U.S. citizen, finally afforded all the marital rights and benefits under equal protection of the law.  After decades of activism, fight for survival, protests, marches, overcoming hate and prejudice, speeches and perseverance, the message that we are "less than," "not worthy of" or "incapable" has been silenced by SCOTUS. 
I'd like to pause for a moment and thank, from the bottom of my heart, Justices Kennedy, Bader Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan for doing the right thing, for reaffirming the 5th Amendment under the Constitution of the United States of America and for speaking and standing up for my community, a minority group who needs and relies upon its straight allies and the long arm of the law to help in the fight for equal rights.  I would also like to thank from the bottom-of-the-bottom of my heart the plaintiffs and attorneys who brought these historic cases to the courts, fighting and clawing their way from court to court on behalf of our community and our civil rights.  There's a special place in heaven (if it actually exists) for people like you fighting the good fight for couples and families of all shapes.  You've made this world a better place.  You've made MY world a better place.  And I pledge to you my undying gratitude.
It's not every day that one can wake up to a new and improved country.  And it's not every day when those improvements directly impact the trajectory of your life.  For the first time in my adult life, I am legally allowed to marry whomever I so choose.  This is a brilliant day, and one for the history books.  One that I have had the privilege to witness first hand and can recount to future generations, only to hear them say, "Are you fucking kidding me? What do you mean you couldn't get married?!"  I am in awe.  I am humbled.  I am truly moved.
One last defiant parting word before I depart and break into tears of joy and a celebratory solo dance party:
Dear Justice Salia: 
I read your words of dissent. I am disgusted. As a human being, you can do better. 
Fuck the "diseased root" that has infested your soul.  
Sincerely,
Miss-Adventures, a Hopeless (BUT EQUAL) Dater


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Ladies and Gentlemen, I write to you from my own little blissed-out corner of the world.  Without realizing it, I've been on a writing hiatus and have been more than just a little distracted and spending almost all of my free time with the sweetest girl on the planet.  For reals!  I've slipped into a cocoon of sorts where it's all love, sex, romance, giggles and floating hearts above my head.  Jeeeeezus.  I'm almost ashamed to admit it.  Well, maybe not that ashamed - I am too fucking happy to have any shame about this.
I'm so happy, in fact, that all of my little secrets have been slowly slipping out.  Layer by layer, the Mighty Musician is getting to know all of me - warts and all.  My walls are coming down, my armor has started to wear away and the guards that have protected all my secrets are starting to fall asleep on the job!  Case in point:
When MM and I met about a year and a half ago, I could have never predicted then that we would ever become a couple; we are so oddly matched (which is to say, perfectly matched, but no one could have ever predicted that).  In fact, we're so different, that I was often surprised that I enjoyed becoming her friend as much as I did, and even more surprised that we became and stayed really good friends.  What I never told MM, though, is exactly how she came to my attention.  We met last year through that old dating website but I never confessed to her, until recently, that she didn't come up as one of my "Dating Matches".  Of course, I always let MM assume that that was the case because the truth makes me sound like such a date-poaching dickhead.  In truth, I came across MM's profile by way of Nugget (secret #1).  
I'm paraphrasing because it was just so long ago that I can't remember:
Nugget: "Hey, I just got an email from a girl who's not at all my type but she's totally yours."
Miss-Adventures: "Oh yeah? What's her screen name?"
After having looked at MM's profile, I took it from there and sent her an email (she was so cute and I've always been a sucker for brunettes with blue eyes).  I wish I could say that this is where the story ends but it's not.  So, not only am I a date-poaching dickhead, but after we met, I blogged about MM being a Dating Trading Card (Link: Prospective Dates as Trading Cards) (secret #2).  So, not only am I a date-poaching dickhead who trades prospective dates with my bestie, but I'm also the asshole who then called my now-girlfriend "socially awkward" and "nerdy".  Can you just imagine how well that went over?
MM: "'Socially awkward?!' Is that ME?!" (To her credit, she was laughing when she said this and only half kidding with her indignance.)
Miss-Adventures (literally burying my face under a pillow): "Ohhhhhhhh fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I am such a dick.  I'll go sleep on the couch if you want me to."
Fortunately for me, MM was not overly offended by my lack of grace, my insulting remarks, nor was she at all butt hurt about being a Dating Trading Card.  I, on the other hand, may never forgive myself for prematurely labeling my socially awkward enthusiastically goofy and nerdy quirky girlfriend in a public forum.  But seriously, who would have ever predicted that we would have stayed friends, much less wind up in blissed-out coupledom? 
I wonder if other bloggers run into whoopses like these??

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Chaperone

Last minute dates are not my forte, but sometimes you're just itching to get out of the house and you need a catalyst. A few weeks ago I was feeling just that, so, I took to the internets, and 20 minutes later I had a date waiting for me across town. So, I drove over, parked, and strolled up...to a very, very crowded bar watching the end of a very, very exciting basketball game. Luckily, I didn't have to wade through the crowd to find my date, because he was saving me a seat right by the door. How nice! I sit down to watch the last few minutes of the game (giant upset), and then, when the game is over, he suggests we grab a table and a beer...oh, and have I met his friend who's here with him that he's known since grade school?
So, The Chaperone, my date and I all grab a table and a beverage, and he starts telling me about his journey from the South to the Marine Corps to the Bay Area. He's super, super handsome, seems pretty sweet, and...a little intoxicated already. Apparently, he and The Chaperone have been there for a few beers already. After telling me about his little journey, The Chaperone starts chiming in, and then railroading the conversation, mostly telling me about how he was the smartest kid in school. It's sort of starting to feel like a competition, which is making me uneasy. I think The Marine senses this, and suggests that we go play darts at a nearby pub. I offer to drive, since they have a two-seater, and 10 minutes later we have another drink and a fistful of darts. Not, however, after the blondes at the bar made eyes and smiles at The Marine (which he happily returned, so I wandered over to the dart boards as soon as I got my beer to give him time to do whatever he needed to do. Surprisingly, he didn't linger long).
We settle on playing the game Cricket, which I've never played before. The Marine, who's full on intoxicated at this point, starts telling me the rules. The Chaperone starts interjecting, saying he's wrong. They start arguing. Then they start arguing in earnest. The Chaperone Googles, The Marine asks the bartender, and there are conflicting answers. Finally, The Chaperone agrees to drop the subject and let us play "our way," stating, "We need to stop or [The Nugget's] not going to want to hang out with us anymore!" He does not, however, lose any opportunity to get a jab in about how we're doing it wrong.
We start playing, just me against The Marine while The Chaperone sits this game out and critiques. Every once in a while there will be a verbal scuffle between the two boys about technique. I learn to ignore it quickly. Then, as he's preparing for a throw, The Marine says to me, "I have three questions for you." Oh. Well. Okay. The first question was easy enough. "What was your childhood dream?" Veterinarian! I like this game. Next question? "Oh, you thought I had this all figured out already?" Well, yes, that was implied when you said you had three questions. Whatever, it's my turn to throw, anyway.
Eventually, during a throw, The Marine, who can barely stand without a wobble at this point, has a second question. "Is it philosophically significant that humans are the geometric mean between a microcosm and a macrocosm?" I take a deep breath, because I know that he strung together the biggest words he could think of in an attempt to sound more intelligent (and possibly sober), and that The Chaperone was going to have a field day with this question. So I say, "Those are all human constructs, so yes, it means we're super self-absorbed." As predicted, The Chaperone is nearly falling off of his seat with laughter. "We are? Says who?" "Well, just assume that this holds true," says The Marine. "Okay! Let's also just assume that the Cubans killed JFK. NO! No, it's not significant because it makes no sense!" "You're wrong and she's right!" The Marine says indignantly, and stomps up with a pout to make his throw.  I think he was a little hurt that I smiled at The Chaperone's ribbing, because he then announced he had to use the restroom...and 5 minutes later I could have sworn I heard him talking with the blondes at the bar.
At this point, we had been playing darts for close to an hour, and both myself and The Chaperone are ready to leave. We decide to play three more rounds, and then choose a winner. I narrowly lose, and we head out to the car. As I drop them off at their vehicle, The Chaperone says, "It's been nice to meet you!" and ducks into the driver's seat. The Marine lingers and says, "Okay! Question number three. What is your excuse for not kissing me right now?" Predictable. Did I mention he was very, very handsome? So I gave him a brief goodnight kiss and sent him off to his chaperone, never to be seen again.

Monday, May 13, 2013

She writes the tune that makes my heart sing


How the hell did that happen? 
For so long, I was feeling broken, damaged, bruised.  I worked hard to make my way out.  I tried everything to repair the fragments of my broken heart and glue back together my shattered life until one day, I caught myself in a moment and realized that I was feeling pretty well healed, strong, and even peaceful.  The pieces were finally coming together and my life began to feel like my own again. 
Then it happened: timing being the all-important factor that it is, and Mighty Musician being the best surprise that I never saw coming, I began to feel a real change within.  It started as a shift between us, subtle at first, followed by a sudden change in direction in our already-in-progress friendship, and then a leap of faith involving a couple of open hearts and I found myself (and continue to marvel) in utter bewilderment: I'm happy.  Beyond that, actually; I'm excited.
Nobody is more surprised than me.  I'm looking at my friend with a new pair of eyes.  And she's seeing me in a way that few get to do or have ever done.  Honestly, it's fucking terrifying.  I feel so very exposed with Mighty Musician - she already knows me and there's no bullshitting her.  Better than that - there's no bullshitting myself.  And yet, feeling that vulnerable is a bit like skydiving: it's thrilling, exhilarating and frightening all at the same time.  I feel like I'm flying and falling simultaneously. 
For a long time, all I wanted was to press fast-forward on my life so that I wouldn't have to feel the feelings that overwhelmed me.  I knew that the healing would come eventually but (and I know this is NO surprise to you all) I'm impatient like a motherfucker, so I would desperately pray for a fast-forward button.  'Please, just get me through this.  Please let me survive another day.  Please let tomorrow hurt less.  Please let this mourning period end quickly.'  And now I find myself in a completely different head and heart space: I want to press the slow-mo button just so that I can soak up every second of this time.  I want to take it all in, remember every moment and detail with perfect and irreversible clarity.  I want to enjoy this for everything it is.
There is something so very special about working through your bullshit, putting your life back together and then finding the most lovely surprise waiting for you when you do.  She's holding a single red rose and she's written you a song that makes your heart sing.  That, my friends, is what bliss looks like.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sexy Talk



Ahh, the beginnings of a new relationship.  Is there anything more exciting?  More seductive?  More sexy?  Your hormones are going bananas and you're feeling twitterpated with every new text message or phone call.  Every thought revolves around spending more time together and exploring each other in every possible way.  And then you have a telephone conversation that goes something like this:
Her: How do I turn you on?
Miss-Adventures: Umm… (as I start to blush and grin wildly)
Her: Get warm!
Miss-Adventures: Huh?
Her: Get warm!
Miss-Adventures: What?
Her: I can't figure out this fucking furnastat!
Miss-Adventures: Wow.  This conversation suddenly got very disappointing.
Just my hunch, but this may be why we actually fit so nicely together.

______________________________________________________________________
UPDATE: I have been informed that she did NOT say "furnastat" (like I could have sworn I heard) but did, in fact, say "thermostat", which is obviously more accurate but somewhat less amusing.  My bad.  (Sorry, babe.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Safe Sex?


Practicing safe sex.  I was perusing the Google How-To page and I ran across the headline: "How to Practice Safe Sex".  But didn't we all get that class in junior high school?  
Students, this is how you roll a condom onto a banana/cucumber/baby carrot/egg plant.  
We all learned about STD's, pregnancy risks and the proper names of boys' and girls' reproductive bits.  But I started to think: no one taught us how to practice emotionally safe sex.
Like most of you out there, I got the same spiel that mom and dad passed along.  
When a mommy and daddy love each other, they hug and kiss and the daddy puts his… 
Well, I needn't go further but you get it, right?  We were all taught that LOVE was the emphasis.  This is what couples do when they're "in love."  I think we can all agree that sex is better between two people in love; it's absolutely sublime.  And it's admirable, the emphasis that mommy and daddy placed on a loving sexual relationship.  But come on, let's get real: more often than not, we're just getting our freak-nasty on without much forethought about emotional protection.
By show of hands, how many of you were prepared for the emotional baggage that came with your first one night stand?  Or a random hook-up?  How about that guy/girl you just kinda liked?  Or a pity fuck?  How did you navigate the rules of a friend with benefits?  What about with that guy/girl who already had a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband?  Or the mother of all emotionally unsafe sex: a 'please, I just want to forget my ex' fuck?  (Trust me: those never work out as well as you hope!)  With all of that and hundreds of other different types of emotionally unprotected sex, is it any wonder why we're all so screwed up about it?
How many times were you faced with the dreaded "dry spell" and when the opportunity presented itself, you took it without commitment, without expectation and without giving so much as a second thought to "Dear Baby Jesus, I just want to end this god-awful drought!"?  How many times after having your heart broken did you try to fuck the pain away?  How many times have you used sex as a weapon?  That is, to spite an ex with someone else, or to engage in angry sex with your lover after a knock-down, drag-out fight?  And how many times did you rush into sex with someone new because you wanted to lock them down into something more committed?  How many times did you feel a relationship unraveling and use sex as a way to hang on to your lover just a little longer?
These are the things that mommy and daddy never prepared us for.  These are the things that our teachers never taught us in junior high sex-ed class.  You know, they really ought to make condoms for that.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

When Friends Become More


Hypothetical situation - -
Let’s say for a moment that you’re me, and a friend comes to you and says that she likes you and has been wanting to ask you out but hasn't because she (a) was afraid that you would say no, (b) was afraid that it would make the friendship awkward because she thinks you’d say no, and (c) wanted to respect the space that you’re in given your recent heartbreak.  Further, let's say that you've always thought this friend was attractive but (a) that you did recently get your heart stomped on and "all the king's men" are still working on putting your "Humpty Dumpty Heart" back together again, (b) this particular friend knows all about your last relationship and subsequent heartbreak because she was not only witness to, but support system, through those moments, and (c) this friend is moving out of state to attend a scholastic program in less than 6 months.
So what would you do?  I mean, besides talk it out in therapy?
Here's what Miss-Adventures did:
I talked it out in therapy.  I discussed my fears, of which there are many.  I addressed the negatives and accentuated the positives.  I pondered upon the possibilities, the unknowns and the what-if's.  And then I stuck my toes in the water ever so slightly, and ever so out-of-character.  I mean, really, let's be honest: I am a big ol' bull in a china shop.  Historically, I have always rushed without hesitation, usually knocking over small children and breaking valuables in the process.  But this time… no way.  Like a timid house cat, I'm peaking out from behind the sofa with wide eyes, open ears and a very careful step.
Here's the thing: I'm not just terrified of being hurt again (though that's a very valid concern), I'm terrified of hurting someone that I care deeply about.  Those of you who know me know that my friends are, without question, my everything, and my lady-friends will always take a back seat.  After everything I've been through, the only thing I am completely certain of is that when the Titanic is going down (and it always does), the only floatation device out there worth hanging onto are your friends.  So when I'm faced with a friend who wants to explore a deeper relationship, my chief concern is protecting her heart, like I would any other friend.  But when my concern is protecting her heart from mine… well that gets pretty tricky.
So I'm going in slowly.  Cautiously.  Carefully.  And terrified-edly.  But I'm going in.  I'm going in without expectation, without urgency and without any plan for the future beyond our next date.  And ya know what?  I'm enjoying it.  Like, really, enjoying it.  Enjoying the little touches, the innocent hand-holding, the rush of the goodnight kiss, the occasional sweet text messages that let me know that on I'm on her mind and the intermittent butterflies that tickle my insides. 
Could it be that, for the first time, I'm actually living in the moment rather than trying to ponder the possibilities of potential?

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Peeping Tom

I met him on the steps of the local art museum, and he was cuter than I expected. We wandered the food trucks awkwardly, me coming away with a cupcake and him wolfing down some tacos on the folding chairs lining the sidewalk. Small talk came easier after that as we wandered into the museum, eventually pausing over an exhibit as he said, "So, would you like to make out later?" It was a strange question, totally out of context as we looked at art and artifact, talking about work things, so I just shrugged. I wasn't in the habit of planning my affection, and 35 minutes wasn't enough time to gauge my attraction.
We found ourselves in an interactive exhibit built out of an old hot tub. Sitting on the benches, we amused ourselves with the questions about California that the exhibit provided, before he paused to answer a text. "Sorry," he said, "I made plans after this because I didn't know if you'd be crazy. Do you want to go have a drink with my coworker and I?" It sounded like a terribly awkward situation, but a drink sounded delightful, so I agreed. Minutes later, we were being kicked out of the museum as it was closing time, and to the bar we went!
Things started to go decidedly downhill once we arrived at the bar. He was weirdly condescending and several times toed the line of outright racism toward his Latin American coworker, which made both the coworker and I noticeably uncomfortable. He finally moved past this sort of need to puff out his chest and prove himself the bigger, badder dude, and the three of us settled into a nice conversation. This soon began to be interrupted by what seemed to be, bafflingly, attempts to prove his dominance over me. It started with a sterner-than-necessary, but still what I naively thought to be innocent, request for me to sit closer to him. A few minutes later, he demanded that I change my sitting position. Moments after that, he simply reached out and grabbed my hand, placing it around his shoulders. I must have looked visibly unsure of how to proceed with this unsavoriness, as his coworker cleared his throat and said he'd be soon calling it a night.
Mr. Charming paid the tab (but not without remarking how expensive it was, prompting both of us to offer him money. He brushed it away, saying, "No, no, it's the price of living in the city!"), and we headed to his car. Upon arriving, he handed me a piece of paper with his full name, phone number, email address and street address on it. "This is in case you feel the need to verify that I'm a decent person." Oh. Okay.
He then began pressuring me to make other plans for the evening. "I don't want to go to any bars. I chose the last place, so it's your turn to choose." I stated that it was probably too late for a movie, and the only other thing open would be a bar, so we should probably just call it a night. He tried to convince me that if I wanted to, we could prolong the evening by offering me three options:
  1. Hang out in the car. Inadvisable, as cars are uncomfortable!
  2. Drive to the hills. Inadvisable, as it's chilly outside.
  3. Go to my house. No foreseen downsides!
Obviously, it's not my habit to invite people I have just met into my home, so I repeated that we should probably call it a night. He reluctantly acquiesced, driving me home. Once we arrived, in a move that I was later advised by several male friends was absolutely predictable, he stated he needed to use the restroom. I hesitantly let him upstairs, and sat on the couch while he used the restroom.
"Oh! You use the same body wash that I do!" he proclaimed as he stepped into the living room. That's odd, I thought. I'm pretty certain I closed my shower curtain before I left the house, as is my usual habit. He'd have to had intentionally looked in the shower to find it, tucked in the corner. He didn't leave me much time to ponder this as he somehow folded his nearly 6' frame inexplicably into my lap, where he proceeded to tell me everything I didn't need to know about how he conducts relationships. He explained for a good 5 solid minutes that he was exploring poly relationships, and why he was pursuing them. I politely waited for him to finish, and then gave him a terse smile, advising that I wasn't interested in nor equipped to deal with poly relationships, sorry.
Thankfully, my response got him out of my lap, but only to move onto the couch where he quickly back pedaled, stating that he'd never actually had a poly relationship, and he was only interested in them in theory. He then went on to state that all he really wanted was a family, and spent the next 10 minutes telling me all of his emotional issues, and how they affected what he wanted in his ideal family dynamic. When he was done, he looked at me and said, "So? What do you think?" As if he'd given me all of this information, and that somehow meant I was required to either except or reject him on the spot. At a loss of how to react to this (although, looking back, I should have said, "REJECT! Have a nice night!"), I shrugged and said, "Wow, that was a lot of information."
Apparently, he took this as a positive marker, because he then kissed me. I'll admit, he was a surprisingly good kisser, so I went with it a moment, and then said, "Listen. It's late. I need to be up early...." "Fifteen more minutes!" he announced. Um, what? No. This process repeated itself three times before I forcefully stood up and said, "I REALLY need to get to bed." He looked hurt, and then indignant, and finally said his goodbyes before leaving.
If nothing else, I've learned that if someone needs to use the restroom, there's a perfectly good bar across the street.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Ray of Sunshine.

It was New Year's Day, and I'd taken my recovery nap, and found myself wearing fringe with nothing to show for it. It was time to find myself some trouble to get into. So, I took to the internets to find myself a date! An hour later, I was getting pretty to head out to my local watering hole.
Except...it was closed. And so was my back up. And my back up's back up. After much texting, my date and I collectively found a place that wanted to serve the thirsty people of the Bay Area on a government sanctioned holiday.
I arrived to find he had already staked out a table for us. He met me at the bar as I ordered a drink. "Would you like it on the lady's tab as well?" the bartender asked, gesturing toward the woman at the table next to ours. He shook his head, looking slightly sheepish as I, confused, offered the bartender money. "Oh!" the bartender exclaimed, "I thought she was your date!" Iiiiiiiinteresting.
Drink in hand, we headed back to the table. We made small talk, but it quickly became clear that my date had some serious social anxiety, which seemed to be increasing the more we chatted. We finally started talking about what we did for a living, and after several minutes of listening to him trash his former employer in no uncertain terms, he finally started to talk about his new solo venture.
Him: So, do you partake in marijuana?
Me: No.
Him: Not at all?
Me: No.
Him: Well, I'm starting a home business helping those with medical marijuana cards do home growing...
Mind you, I have nothing against those who smoke, it's just not my thing. When someone specifically says, "Yeah, that's not really something I'm into, you should probably change the subject to something they'd show more interest in, and try to find some common ground. He disregarded this and proceeded to go on about this new venture. For 20 minutes. Aggressively. At the first pause, I excused myself to go to the restroom, as I definitely needed a break.
Coming back to the table, I noticed that he was deep in conversation with the lady at the table next to us. Yes, the one that the bartender had thought was his date. I sat down, and he continued his conversation with her until her companion finally arrived. After filling me in without any prompting on her situation, he then asked the dreaded question: "So, how has your experience with [dating site that we met on] been?"
First of all, I hate this question. Who wants to talk about other dates when you're trying to get to know someone you just met? Second of all, it was immediately obvious that he was not merely curious or making small talk with this question. Oh, no, he had a mission. His mission included systematically destroying any potential of this date going well. The conversation (and I use that term loosely, as I quickly found it was one-sided) included such gems as:
"I just know that I could never connect with someone I met on the internet the way I could connect with someone I met in the real world."
"People on [dating site that we met on] are just looking for the next best thing. They go on dates, but really they're thinking, 'Oh, I can do better than this.'"
"I'm pretty much always over [dating site]. I'll feel optimistic for a minute and activate my profile, but then reality strikes and I just delete it. So, don't be surprised if my profile is gone soon."
Listen, I get that dating is frustrating. I get that dating sites are extra frustrating, because a lot of them are full of flakes and people that probably shouldn't have profiles up, but guess what? The last person you should discuss your hatred of a dating site and the people on it with is someone you've recently met on that site. In fact, the last person you should talk about your dating frustrations in general is someone you're on an early date with.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The May-December Romance



How much of an age difference is too great?  We've all thought about it, right?  How old is too old?  How young is too young?  I mean, even if you're not single and dating, you only have to glance around while stuck in the grocery check-out lines to find the discussion staring you in the face.  Tabloid headlines like, "Demi and Ashton", "Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones", "Madonna and (insert name of flavor of the month)."  We talk, we gossip and we silently judge those "cougars" and "dirty old men."  Come on, admit it.  You do!  You know how I know?  Because we all do.  You are not alone.
What I've noticed is that the discussion and debate rarely come up when it comes to same-sex relationships.  Have you noticed?  Does the stigma not apply to same-sex partners?  Did you realize that Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are fifteen years apart in age?  So are Elton John and David Furnish.  So are Rachel Maddow and her partner, Susan Mikula.  And yet, it goes largely undiscussed.  Why do you think that is?  Is it because there's no gender stereotype that fits here?  That is, no dirty old man dating a bimbo?  No desperate cougar trying to recapture her youth with a young stallion?  Or is it that homosexuality is still (and unfortunately) such a controversy that focusing on age difference just seems trivial?
Anyway, I digress.  What I want to talk about is, how many years is too many? and how do we make it work?
The unofficial formula that I've often heard is: half your age plus seven years.  For example, a 36 year old's cut off should be a 25 year old (36 ÷ 2 = 18, 18 + 7 = 25).  A 46 year old's cut off is 30, a 60 year old's cut off is 37, and so on.  Personally, I think it's a silly and ridiculous formula but I think the point here is that, the older you get, the less the age difference matters.
I've been on both sides of the spectrum.  My first girlfriend was 13 years older than me, which doesn't sound like that big of a difference at my age now, but at the time, I was only 20.  Always being a precocious kid, I couldn't see what the big deal was back then.  I was (or so I arrogantly thought) far more mature than my peers, so it made perfect sense that I would fall for someone whose age matched my maturity level.  It didn't take too long for me to realize, though, that I was in way over my head.  Her 33 years of life experiences ahead of my 20 gave her a significant advantage over me and when she was done using and abusing me, she moved onto another young and impressionable girl: my best friend from childhood.  It was then and there that I vowed to never again hook up with someone so much older than me.
My my most recent ex was ten years younger than me.  In the beginning, and only for a fleeting second, I thought that ten years might be too large of a gap for my comfort.  I was in my mid-thirties and she in her mid-twenties.  I remember my mid-twenties: I didn't have a fucking clue what I was doing with my life.  I didn't have a fucking clue about love.  And I didn't have a fucking clue who I really was.  But, as I said, my reservation lasted only a fleeting second.  Because when it came to the real things, values, communication, sense of humor and common interests, I thought she was surprisingly mature.  (At least, that's how she presented herself to be.)
In the end, of course, I realized that, despite her projected maturity, what she was experiencing in her mid-twenties was exactly what I had experienced too: the not knowing who I really am, the not knowing what real love actually looks like, the not having the confidence to be really fucking honest and having a strong penchants for other people's significant others.  (Been there.  Done that.  Happy to show you the scars some other time.)  I've since moved past that sort of behavior.  Now in my mid-thirties, I know what I want in a partner.  I can recognize how special true love is and how to respect, nurture and value it above all other things.  And I was, when we met, ready for the real deal.  And now I find that I am still making the same mistakes as my peers: that is, having had my heart broken by a young, beautiful and fickle girl.  Will that experience sour me on younger women forever?  Oh who knows… At this point in my life, the only thing I'm sure of is that I should never say never.  But there are many factors worthy of careful consideration:
Long-Term Relationship Goals:  This is a biggie.  At this point in my life, I am (or was until the shit hit the fan) looking for someone to stick around permanently.  I don't necessarily need a marriage certificate (though I will fight the good fight for my right to choose that option) or children but I wouldn't rule them out either, as long as I found the right person.  I'm not looking for someone to dance and drink at the clubs with.  I have my friends if all I wanna do is go out and have a good time.  I want the whole thing: love, passion, friendship, great sex, partnership, romance and someone to come home to.  Someone in their twenties is likely just looking for someone to fill their Friday nights.
Career Stages/Financial Disparity:  I'm gonna be honest here, I couldn't give a shit about the financial disparity between myself and my partner.  As long as my partner can contribute to our relationship in a healthy and productive way, I don't care how much or how little money she makes.  But that doesn't mean it's not an issue for her.  Likewise, I don't care what my partner does for a living, as long as she is fulfilled in the career of her choosing.  But I have to admit that this thought crosses my mind when my company throws its annual Christmas parties: Can she dress herself up and can she hold her own mingling and talking with highly educated professionals?  Not everyone is up to this task.
Energy Levels:  I'm lucky.  I'm a fairly active girl.  Even when I was a heavy girl (I used to be 100 lbs overweight), I still got out, swam, skied, traveled, walked, hiked and played outside with reckless abandon.  So dating a younger girl works well for me in that sense.  But my first girlfriend (who was 13 years older and very home-bodied) had a very difficult time dealing with my hyperactive personality. 
Health Issues:  I had this conversation with some friends not long ago - if you knew in advance of getting involved with someone that they had significant and progressive health issues (e.g., type-1 diabetes, cancer, hepatitis c, etc.), would you date them?  I hated sounding shallow but I answered, "no."  The bottom line for me is that I don't want to get emotionally invested in someone when I know for certain that our relationship has a looming expiration date.  Would I want to get emotionally invested in someone who I'll likely outlive by 10, 15 or 20 years?  Would someone younger want to get involved with me knowing the same outcome?
Cultural Differences:  With my first girlfriend, she would often make references to songs, movies and singers that I'd never heard of, and television shows that aired when I was too young to understand.  Lord, I don't think that woman ever got over the '70s-'80s "heyday" of rock-n-roll (insert eye roll here).  Conversely, I'd have a light chuckle over the fact that I remember when Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video premiered on MTV and my younger girlfriend hadn't even been born yet, or that my first girl-crush was on Lynda Carter from "Wonder Woman" and hers was on Kate Winslet from "Titanic" (ok, ok, I crushed out on Kate too but seriously, who didn't?  She's gorgeous!).  And I would laugh at the fact that while I was knee deep in college-aged angsty music like Alanis Morrissette and Sarah McLachlan, my ex was lip syncing to The Spice Girls (sooooo tell me what you want, what you really really want!).  While amusing, these things never really bothered me.  In the grand scheme of things, pop culture doesn't have an impact on the important things like values, friendship, communication, etc.  That said, there's nothing like a good pop culture reference to reinforce the gap and remind you that your life experiences cannot always be relatable.  The soundtracks of our lives are just plain different when you grow up in separate decades.  And if your girlfriend is sensitive about her age, it's probably best to keep those chuckles to yourself.
So while some will say that age doesn't matter, I say: it does… but only so far as you let it.  Maturity can be the great relationship equalizer in a lot of ways.  Not everyone's maturity level matches their actual age.  I've met grossly immature women who were older than me and remarkably grounded young women who are fresh out of nappies; you just never know what you're going to get with people.  BUT you have to admit that no amount of maturity or level-headedness can ever match the wisdom that comes from actual life experiences, valuable mistakes and hard fought lessons. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recognizing One's Own Character Arc


Who have I become?  When I really step back and think about it, contemplate it all and take it in, I have to admit: I often don't recognize myself, and I can't help but marvel at my own "character arc."
Two years ago, I started to question what I wanted for my life.  I had, at last, admitted to myself and to my partner that I was no longer happy in our relationship and that ending our marriage may be the only way for me to find what I SO longed for.  I wanted love.  I wanted romance.  I wanted wild, unadulterated passion.  I wanted it all.  (I can be such a greedy fucker!)
It didn't come easily: the letting go.  I had a comfortable life with someone that I loved, trusted and came to understand was one of my absolute best friends in the world, but it wasn't a happy marriage.  So I left: hesitantly, reluctantly, mournfully and then, eventually, confidently.  It was hard (as the unknown always is) but I knew deep down that I would be ok.  More than that - I knew that I would be happy and that I would find the love that I knew I craved.  I was heading out on a quest to find a once-in-a-lifetime love.
So I strapped on my snorkel and jumped head first into the deep murky waters of dating.  And you all have graciously come along for a voyeuristic and vicarious thrill ride.  (Bless your sick and twisted little hearts!)  During that time, I've met some unusual characters, some fantastic creatures, some heart-breakers and some amazing friends.  It's been a wild fucking journey, no?  And trust me when I tell you: you don't know the hell or the half of it.
I've been propositioned by a hot-as-hell 18 year old college student online (tempting though she was, I'm a good girl and politely declined).  I was brazenly solicited for a threesome not once, but twice. (I declined them both, of course.  What kind of girl do you think I am?).  I've been groped, kissed and hit on… by random gay men in a bar (mostly innocent, but really? gay men?).  I've been stood up, dressed down, dumped, humiliated, humbled, cheated on and used in the most unbelievably sexy ways.  It's been good, it's been bad, it's been erotic, it's been uncomfortable, it's been hot, it's been frigid, it's been confusing and it's been enlightening.  I've scratched my head, searched my heart, listened to my gut and ignored my third eye.  There have been so many lessons to take in.
What I've found is that I've become gun-shy and fiercely guarded.  I've learned that when it comes to my heart and my love, "deal-breakers" exist only in theory.  And at this moment, while taking a breather and stitching up my wounded insides, I find myself trying to know and understand the woman I've become: more vulnerable and afraid than I've ever felt in my life, more compassionate and less judgmental of those around me suffering from their own broken hearts and dysfunctional relationships, less trusting and confident of potential lovers than when I began, but also less willing to wave off red flags, ignore alarm bells and brush off ye olde Spidey senses. 
Above all, I'm constantly amazed and surprised by my own uncontrollable emotions, thoughts, triggers and memories; I'm just not the same stoic, insensitive and impervious creature I had once been.  I'm beginning to think that I suffer from some form of romantic PTSD; it never leaves me and it's the very thing that makes me wonder: who am I?  what else is lurking around the corner?  is there someone out there who can hold onto and care for this heart?  and what the fuck happened to the confident, if not blindly optimistic, romantic reconnoiterer I once was?
Which is sort of a long-winded way of informing you all: I'm still on a dating hiatus and too busy working through my bullshit in therapy to devote any useful energy to dating.  Self improvement is a long and unpredictable journey.  So I'm sorry folks, I have no new material for you to feast on.  Thank jebus for our little Nugget, eh?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Remedial Courses in Dating.

Okay, so I have 10,000 things to post about (and just about as many half finished posts), but this needs to jump to the top of the list. Here it is, for all of you that flunked Miss-Adventures' Dating 101 course. Don't worry, I've kept it brief, because I know your attention spans are short:

Remedial Courses in Dating
by The Nugget

1. Do not show up intoxicated.

Seriously, don't do it. I have had two dates show up intoxicated (that I knew of), and that was two too many. The first date was an hour late, intoxicated,  and ended up whispering, "I am the 1%" (for those of you that didn't follow the Occupy movement, this is like trying to impress me with his AmEx black card) while spitting popcorn in my hair. Intoxicated Date Number Two? Oh, you'll soon see how that went.

2. Take some pride in your appearance.

Listen, I'm not saying dates are like beauty pageants, where you're going to be judged based solely on evening wear and your bikini body, but let's get real. You have one chance to make an impression. Do you really want that impression to be, "I just rolled out of my bed in my mom's basement and grabbed whatever clothes didn't smell like cat urine off the bathroom floor because I really couldn't care less about you or this date (or my appearance)." Date Number Two? Well...at least he didn't smell like cat urine.

3. Engage in conversation.

This is hard. I know it, you know it, even your mom knows it. It's hard to talk to strangers. We've been socialized not to, and what do you really say to someone you don't know? Well, guess what, folks. This is the internet age, and you've probably met your date through an internet dating site. You have a wealth of information at your fingertips. Something in their profile made you laugh? Ask them more about it. You have a few shared interests? Tell them a story about the last time you engaged in those interests. Their profile was boring and basic? Well, what the hell are you doing there, then? If all else fails, always have a light-hearted emergency question or two (you know the kind: "If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you hope to have with you?" "If you were an animal, which would you be?" "Star Trek or Star Wars?" Actually, maybe keep that last one to yourself). Your date may be shy or nervous, too, and your asking questions could inspire her to relax and open up as well. If, however, you let her sit in awkward silence so long that she's making eyes at the person behind you, date's over, buddy.

4. Don't be a bigot.

Listen, I don't know you. I mean, I might, but I can't see through this screen, so you're totally anonymous. You could be of any gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, creed, background, status, etc. I don't know. Even when I'm presented with someone live and in person, sharing my space, I don't know most of these things about you. I don't know your background, I don't know your identity, and I'm sure not going to make any assumptions. But even if I DID know these things, I've invited you to share my space. You're doing that. Why would I then going and say something offensive about you, or someone you know, or someone you might know, or someone you might identify with?
Date Number Two at least had the courtesy to wait an hour and two drinks to show he was a bigot. We were discussing his family, and he mentioned his sister was gay. "I'm totally fine with it, except when she pulls her [insert homophobic slur here] stuff." I sat in stunned silence for a second, then looked him in the eye and said, "I'm queer." He was quiet for a minute, and then said, "I guess I shouldn't use that word." I agreed with that. "But in the future, those words will be rendered meaningless, so people should just be okay with them." "Oh," I replied, "So I should be okay with you calling me a [insert anti-Semitic slur here]?" "Yes!" he said. "I should be able to say [homophobic slur], [anti-Semitic slur] and [racist slur] because in your lifetime, those won't mean anything." "But they mean something now," I said. "You're living in a future utopia that doesn't yet exist, and there's a huge chasm between you and where we are presently, with not even a solid foundation for a bridge yet." "Listen," he replied, sighing. "They're adjectives. Do you know what adjectives are? They're--" "I may be a 'dumb female,'" I interrupted, "but I know what an adjective is. Listen, let's just end this here, because neither of us are going to change our minds. You're going to continue thinking it's okay to use words that people have used for decades to oppress and humiliate and hurt people, and I'm going to continue to think you an asshole for it. It was nice meeting you." With that, I walked out.
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. If those beliefs lead you to engage in language or actions that hurt other people, you're probably an asshole. If you're an asshole, you have four options. First, don't go on dates. This is an excellent choice if you really enjoy being an asshole. Second, go on dates, but pretend you're not an asshole until the person is lulled to a sense of security, and then BAM! Spring your asshole-iness on them. You'll probably get dumped, but hey, at least you probably got some action. Third, throw all of your asshole-iness into the ring right away, and see if your date doesn't flee the scene immediately. If they don't, congratulations! You may have found yourself another asshole. Fourth, and this is the best option, STOP BEING AN ASSHOLE.