It’s been awhile since I have seriously taken a plunge into the pool of online dating. Today I realized it has been 9 months since my last blog entry. (Wow- that sounded like the beginning of a confession). [Read more…]
I am a middle school English teacher by day and writer by night. A Canadian citizen who somehow ended up settling in El Paso, Texas, trading snow storms for sand storms. It is a physical desert as well as a dating desert. Although I do like it here, my reach for the stars fantasy is to one day live somewhere that I can hear the lapping of waves, and feel the sand slipping through my toes. [Read more…]
It’s been awhile since I have seriously taken a plunge into the pool of online dating. Today I realized it has been 9 months since my last blog entry. (Wow- that sounded like the beginning of a confession). Life had gotten busy. Work, finishing my second novel, and my side business had taken over the majority of my free time, and it just never seemed like the right opportunity to “go for a swim.” As a young girl you couldn’t get me out of the water. My family had a property with a creek in the backyard. During the two months a year it was warm enough in Canada to swim, I was out in the water- “accidently tipping over the canoe”, jumping off the tire swing, and splashing my friends. Hours would pass. My hands would shrivel up like prunes or my mom would call me inside, and reluctantly I would return to dry land.
After further thought, I feel more like I am considering leaping into the “creek” of cyber love again. A pool is often crystal clear and the water is pristine. Creeks are dark and murky. You can’t see the bottom, and sometimes your feet touch something slimy.
Anyone who has done a stint with online dating knows that it can be unpredictable with nail biting suspense. There is no safety that comes along from having mutual friends, or even a work acquaintance that can vouch that your potential suitor has not done jail time. That moment of waiting to see if the person looks the same as their picture or if you have been “catfished” (This is a fairly new term describing someone who has completely misrepresented themselves online) is stressful. Side note: Fortunately, despite all the dates I have been on, this has only happened to me a few times.
At a pool you often have a lifeguard, but at a creek only your good friends may be around to make sure that you get pulled onto shore if you need help. A few of my treasured comrads have had the pleasure of saving my sanity after either some horrifically bad online date, or when a relationship that develops from one dissolves. They suffer through the “Are there any good guys left?” tirades that ensue.
So am I ready to take the plunge? A lot of local men have written me, and sometimes I entertain the thought of going for coffee or dinner with one of them. Of course, this is after eliminating some of the men who have addressed me with these types of greetings:
Can you meet me tonight at 11? (first contact email)
I now I am not good enuff for you but…
And my favorite…..
Can I bite your ear? (I am serious)
These are the tamer rated “G” greetings that I don’t mind my mother seeing. Those other offenders I immediately block from contacting me. Those are the water snakes slithering through the weeds in the creek.
Then I have to further eliminate the really attractive guys who have never heard of Happy Days, Gilligan’s Island, or can’t name me at least 10 great 80’s bands. That is because many of these boys were not born yet. Too bad I can’t go swimming with them! They probably look fantastic when they take their shirts off.
Before Christmas I went out with one man who seemed very safe, and was practically wearing a life jacket, but there was no physical chemistry or personality connection. It was like I dipped my big toe into the chilly water, and then retreated quickly.
I live in the desert, and it is starting to heat up a little. Now that all the holidays have flown by, and the hot spring and summer months are quickly approaching, it may be time to dive into the creek. Or belly flop. Maybe instead of a man wearing yellow pants, (see previous blog entry), I can find one in a suitable pair of trunks that can grab my hand and plunge into the cold water with me.
Today I used the hydro massage bed at my gym. With the purchase of a premium membership, I can use it for 10 minutes a day. It is heavenly, and usually I leave feeling relaxed.
While being pampered, there are the options to watch different videos of scenery, whatever kind anyone might happen to like. I always choose the ocean and beach views. For some reason, today, while lying there and watching the waves lap against the shore, I felt strangely cheated. Even though the water was aqua blue, and the sand looked good enough to run between my fingers, it just wasn’t good enough! It felt like I was being offered a cheap imitation, when all I longed for was the real thing. Keep in mind, I live in a desert!
That is kind of what I am feeling about online dating now. I know that I am in the Sahara of dating here in El Paso. Many romantic comedies have been making their debuts in the last few months….everything from The Vow to The Lucky One. Even though I have boycotted these types of movies for the moment, (with the exception of The 5 Year Engagement, which I did enjoy because it gives a more real portrayal of love) they remind me of those static video feeds that I have been watching longingly from the massage bed. Both are an illusion of something real that I am longing for.
Every year I manage to escape to the beach at least twice, but this year I have been spending money on promoting my book. Online dating is something that I have still been semi- regularly dabbling in, but like my beach video- lately that process has felt artificial and disappointing.
While the ocean videos tease me with their ideal images, the fact that I can’t smell the salt in the air, feel the breeze off the water, or bury my toes in the sand, remind me that what I am experiencing is second best. Receiving emails from men that have nothing in common with me, are either 21 or 55 years old (no offense to any of you out there), and don’t appear to be even looking for more than a quick fling, feels….well, second best.
Leaving the gym and pondering these things in the car, I could have felt discouraged. Yet I didn’t. How fortunate that I can have a chance to relax on a massage bed after a hard workout. How fantastic it is that I get to go on a beach vacation with one of my best friends in July for a whole week. Even though I want to feel the sun dry my skin after a long swim in the ocean right this minute, it is ok that I must wait. I’ve experienced the bliss of the beach, and know that when I have the opportunity to return, it will be as awesome as I remember.
I have also been in love. Even though right now, in my current circumstances, it seems like an arduous task to remain open to the possibility of finding someone special. I know that I need to patiently wait. Not just “kill time”, but remember how wonderful it is when that connection with the right guy finally ignites. Just like doing the backstroke in a crystal clear ocean, when the right relationship does materialize, I know that it will all come back to me. The feel of my hand in someone else’s, the smell of that cologne that only he wears, and the warmth of his smile when we laugh at something no one else will. Until then, I choose to remain optimistic. Who knows, maybe I will meet that guy while on my beach vacation! Stranger things have happened.
Awhile back I had written a blog entry inquiring if in the world of online dating, romance was dead. Since that time, I have come to another revelation……Lately it seems that the type of men who contact me are, what I like to call, “The Quick Committers, or the QCs.” My last few boyfriends told me within the first couple of dates that they wanted to be exclusive, and also declared their love for me by week three. I am the type of girl that a guy usually wants a serious relationship with, and not to date casually. Although that can be a great in theory, it often leads to the “QC” factor.
Some men with whom I have gone out for coffee, and have shared a decent conversation, seemed to decide on the spot that I was their soul mate. Apparently I have a bit of a knack for making men feel comfortable and relaxed. This turns out to translate for some of them that I could be “the One”. Occasionally I even get this vibe from men with whom I have only ever spoke to on the phone, and have not even met in person yet. In their texts they call me ‘honey’, ‘sweetie’, or my favorite, ‘gorgeous’. What is that I see waving in the breeze over there? A red flag? This premature adoration makes me feel uncomfortable. When put on a pedestal, the only place to fall is down. Why are they wearing their hearts on their sleeves? Maybe if I had felt that immediate connection to them as well, this would be a whole different type of blog entry! Although flattering, my first inclination is to make a break for it. One friend’s nickname for me is “The Runaway Bride”.
This type of quick commitment scenario reminds me of the trip I made to a new gym yesterday. I had printed out a free 7 day trial pass, hoping that I could check out the machines, classes, and general atmosphere before signing on the dotted line and obligating myself to their terms and conditions. You know, take my time getting to know the facility. Slowly exploring the different characteristics of this gym to see if it was right for me, and make sure we would be compatible, seemed smart. Did it feel natural? Did it feel right? I knew that if I went to this gym I would need to forsake all others, which made this a big decision. After all, we were going to be spending a lot of time together.
When I got there and showed the nice lady in her staff shirt my coupon, she gushed that this gym would be perfect for me. She just ‘knew it’. She even asked me what my fitness goals and dreams were, and made lots of grandiose promises that I knew were premature and based only on the very superficial first impression that I had made. Immediately she declared that if I was willing to commit that same day, she could make me very happy with a great deal, waiving the sign up fee. Hesitation would cost me dearly. The open office we were sitting at was starting to feel like a table at Starbucks, where once again, I was being persuaded and coaxed into making a premature decision. To just dive into a relationship.
What did I end up doing? Maybe you want me to say that I stood my ground, stuck to my guns, and insisted that I spend the week experiencing the gym before making a final decision. Instead I signed on the dotted line, and committed for a year. That is longer than several of my last relationships have survived. What gives me comfort is that the cost of “breaking up” with my gym is just $75 dollars, and the only hurt party will be my wallet. Maybe I am open to commitment under the right circumstances, after all. Maybe my perfect “CT” (Cute guy with Timing- I know, that was corny) will find me, and even spot me at my new gym.
Spring has been a whirlwind season (complete with the sand storms we often have here in the desert) for me. Besides actively promoting my book, Cyberwink, by being interviewed on approximately 30 radio shows, and doing my first TV appearance in Tucson, it is the busy time of year for my day job. Being a middle school teacher. Texas is known for its ‘No Child Left Behind” testing regiment. Personally I think STAAR stands for “Stressing The Adolescents + Adults Relentlessly”
As I am a 7th grade English teacher, I am ‘lucky’ enough to be preparing students for not one, but two of these tests. Of course they get tested in the Spring. Right now, I am starting to feel a little bit ‘tested’ myself in the online dating world.
Remember how I mentioned in my last post that I felt that I was ready to fall in love? Well since then I have tried to “get out there”, but have been met with some roadblocks.
One man that started actively writing me on one of the websites, was living in Hawaii. Immediately tempted to blow him off because of the distance, I decided to at least respond and be more open to the possibilities, as remote as they might seem. For weeks this cyber suitor relentlessly pursued me, even managing to eventually get my phone number in order to call and text me. Invitations to go and visit him in Hawaii were extended. I told him I would have to know him a whole lot better than I did, and that he would have to come and visit me in El Paso first. One day he asked me to send him a picture from my cell phone. I did- and it was a road trip picture, not glamorous, but it looked like me. I didn’t hear from him for almost 24 hours. Was I that scary looking that he would vanish? When I did, he sent me this weird photo where he looked hot and sweaty. He captioned it, “just got back from the gym”. Maybe he didn’t like my photo, or maybe he was unhappy that I did not rave and coo over his post work out portrait. The texts and communications stopped cold.
Another man found me on a website and wrote me a very eloquent and complimentary note. I replied before looking closely at his profile. After receiving an enthusiastic reply to my email, I checked out his information carefully. To my shock, it stated that he was ‘separated’. Anyone who knows me would understand that I consider that to mean that the person is still married. Too bad, he was cute, I thought, as I wrote him letting him know where I stood. Because he travelled a lot for his job, he didn’t really know many people in El Paso, so he also let me know he was looking for friends. I told him that was fine, and we decided to meet up for coffee.
Many of you know the story of Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat.
When I got to Starbucks, I found out that I was on a date with the Man with the Yellow Pants. Pale, baby chick yellow. After doing a double take, I reached out to say hi to my new friend. I’m not going to lie. Those pants were totally unexpected, and threw me off my game. Maybe that was why he wore them? I live in El Paso which is not known for its fashion forwardness. Wranglers and Levis are the staples in these here parts of the great state of Texas. Turns out the Man with The Yellow Pants was a very nice person, and we had a great conversation. I think it was easier to talk to him once we sat down, because I could focus my sights on his smile and white shirt, and not be distracted by the bright denim. One of my best friends happened to stop by the same Starbucks we were at, and very awkward introductions ensued. The first thing she commented on later was the yellow pants. Go figure.
I received a very sweet email from this gentleman after our meeting, but it sounded like he was interested in being more than friends. After a few more emails, one where I think I was expected to be excited that his marital status would be quickly changing, The Man with the Yellow Pants stopped communicating with me. I guess he was looking for something a bit more romantic than what I was offering.
I am kind of disappointed that he didn’t want to stay friends, partly because he had told me he did not own a pair of jeans. He either would either go out in business attire (he is a successful professional) or colored denim. He spilled the beans that one pair of pants he owned were pink. This did throw me into a snit of curiousity (like a certain beloved monkey we all know and love). I think if anyone could have pulled this look off, it was him, but I guess I will never know.
There are a few other people that are potentials locally, and when I have more to report….you’ll be the first to know.