I Found the Cure for Loneliness!

October 14, 2008

 

I can’t believe it’s taken me this many years to figure it out.  If it was a simpler solution, I would have had this figured out years ago.  As it turns out, there is a scientific formula.  It goes something like this:

loneliness + desire to date + dating = confusion + frustration

dating + “free” dating sites = fear + disgust + cynicism

frustration + chocolate = less confusion

loneliness + vibrator = momentary happiness

dating + blogging about it + chocolate + vibrator = an absence of loneliness

I may not win the Nobel Peace Prize for the above calculations, but that’s okay.  The above sums up the degree of excitement (or should I say apathy?) I’m feeling about dating at the moment. 

The good news is that I am getting a serious change of scenery next week.  I will be checking out as many eligible men as possible in California.  It’s a big state and I’ll only have 4 or 5 days, but I’ll see what I can come up with.

Meanwhile, Harley and I have plans to hang out on Friday night.  Hmmm.  I wonder if it will pan out?


To Date or Not To Date…Harley

October 5, 2008

I’m not sure where to start when it comes to the possibility of dating Harley.  He doesn’t have ALL of my ideal traits, not that I’ve even gotten around to listing them yet.  I’ll just report on how he fits into the things I am looking for that I have defined so far:

some level of success (I guess I should define this further…)

This is the #1 catch with Harley so far.  In the past, I have NEVER held a lack of formal education against a guy.  Not everyone has had the opportunities that I have had.  At least half the guys I’ve dated have NOT had college degrees.  At some point, I came to the conclusion that I should only date guys who have college degrees and/or are successful by some other standards.

Harley went to college, but did not finish.  He got married when he was young and had three kids.  He was married for 18 years (divorced two years ago) and his kids are just about grown (i.e., almost out of the house).  He never went back to school because he was too busy providing for his family. 

an ability to conform to social expectations(being weird is okay, as long as you can turn it off voluntarily)

Harley is really good at this.  His effusive behavior is a bit over the top at times when he’s goofing around, but on the turn of a dime he can go into serious, normal, professional mode.

English language mastery

Yep.

self-reflective

Seems like it, but I guess I don’t know that for sure.  I’ll have to report back at a later date.

accurate perception of self

So far, so good.  He’s not overly hard on himself and he doesn’t think he’s Gods gift to the world, either.  (Dave seemed to think he was more evolved than he actually was…he didn’t take responsibility for his behavior, but was quick to make comments about mine).

healthy and exercises regularly

It seems like he’s in pretty good shape, but I don’t know his exercise habits yet.

does not eat meat every day

I think he is a typical carnivore.  I even caught him going to McDonalds with his coworkers one day.  I’m just as likely to dine on jupiter as I am to dine at McDonalds. 

agreement on politics

He isn’t keeping up on politics as much as we are in my office, but seeing as how we are “inside the Beltway,” we have the standards set pretty damn high.  He does have a newspaper article about Obama on the wall by his desk, so that’s a good sign.

likes animals (and is not allergic to them)

He ALSO has three dogs.  Don’t see any problems there, unless his dogs like to eat cats and/or other people’s big dogs.  He definitely gets points for being an animal person.

positive role model for Baby Bear

He is a hard worker and completely dedicated to his family.  His mother was a social worker (as am I).  He is generous and claims to NEVER run out of patience with children or people with disabilities (I am IMpatient and would love to be with someone who is NOT like me!).

Baby Bear has already asked me if he’s married.  Baby Bear is my own (unpaid) professional matchmaker.  He said Harley would make the perfect dad because he has a “tight bike” (a.k.a. cool motorcycle).  I added, “And he has nitrus boosters in his car…and I didn’t even think they were real!”

I am soooo not into cars and all that crap, but Baby Bear is really into that stuff.  I think motorcycles are too dangerous, but if I could afford one, I would have one.  I am an adreneline junkie.


Dating…on My Planet

September 30, 2008

Is it too much to ask to date someone on this planet?  Heck, maybe even someone on the same continent?  Imagine dating someone on the same side of the Mississippi River.

I mentioned 2 red flags in my last post and forgot to describe the second one, which is distance.  The guy in question (for whom the red flags were raised) lives 120 miles away from me.  What’s up with that? 

Is it too much to ask that my dating prospects live close enough where we could see each other in person…on a regular basis?  By regular, I mean a few times a week.  Let’s say you live 20 miles from me and we see each other three times a week.  That is 120 miles a week and at least $50 in gas and wear and tear on your car.  Not to mention the whole problem with the environment. 

I don’t ride my bike to work at least 4 days (and 64 miles) each week to save on gas and parking so that I can spend my free time wasting my time, money, and health driving from point A to point B and back so I can spend time with a guy.  The above scenario would entail spending $200 per month and at least 12 hours (likely more, depending on traffic) per week sitting on my (increasingly) fat ass in a car.  I wouldn’t even do that for my best friend!

The guy, let’s give him a unique name – the Driver, responded by saying he likes to drive.  Okay, so you are willing to waste time, money, and gas (and be environmentally irresponsible) so you can date a woman who lives a good two hours away?  My best guess is that he’s already played every available woman in his own city and/or wants me a safe distance from his devoted wife and children (which, of course, he will never mention.  He’ll tell me he’s single).  Whatever.

So, back to My Planet. 

I prefer to date people who live within 5 to 10 miles of me.  I pay through the nose ($1,800/month) to rent a house just outside of a major metropolitan area.  When my parents came to visit, they referred to my neighborhood as “working class.”  You should have seen the looks on their faces (shock, horror, disbelief) when I told them that the houses in my neighborhood sell for $400K and up. 

I am not paying $1,800 per month (not including utilities) to live in a small, half-ass-renovated home built just after World War II.  I’m paying to live in proximity to a major metropolitan area and all it has to offer.  Why would I choose an (expensive) “urban” lifestyle?  Instead of spending money on gas, a new car, and private school (not to mention time spent commuting), I choose to invest a huge portion of my salary into rent while I enjoy the conveniences of living in an urban area.  Dating someone who lives even 30 miles away defeats the purpose of the lifestyle I have chosen for myself.

I need to adjust my profile to tell people not to bother contacting me if they live 120 miles away, or in Texas, Canada, or Russia (yes, someone just emailed me from Russia).  What are people thinking?!!

 


I Need to Keep Up with CremelloQuarterPony

September 28, 2008

She’s my idol.  She has been putting more effort into this whole dating thing than I have been.  I had some mediocre sex.  She had some crazy tantric yoga sex.  And she has already gone out on more dates since the RockStar got wishy-washy.

I’d be happy to sit here and tell more stories about ex-boyfriends, but I feel like I am doing myself a disservice if I don’t ALSO put effort into my current dating life.  Blogging about dating makes it so much easier to date.  The more disastrous the date, the better the story!  Also, I don’t feel alone any more.  Dating doesn’t have to be such a solitary pursuit.

I spent too much money this summer on a one month membership to match.com and on clothes, shoes, and sexy bras (for all the good it did me!), so I just put my profile up on three different free dating web sites.  CraigsList is still too freaky for me.  I’ve only looked at postings twice and I end up seeing pictures that hurt my poor eyes.  Not that I should be doing my online dating from work, but there is something extra WRONG about a picture of people having sex popping up on my monitor.  IKES!!!

These free dating sites don’t look a whole lot better than CraigsList, except I think they screen for pornographic images better, so I figured I would increase my odds by using three.  Thanks to everyone for their comments and support…it has given me the energy to dive in once again…into that…thing…called…dating.  And kudos to CremelloQuarterPony for inspiring me to keep going, even if my eyes cross sometimes.


Testing Men: An Incident vs. a Pattern

September 28, 2008

What I find annoying about dating is how much time it takes to figure out each person is not right for you.  We chalk up apparent insensitivity to “maybe he was joking” or “maybe he forgot” or “maybe it was a one-time thing.”  I would hate to dump someone because of one stupid thing they said or did, so I give them time to see if it becomes a pattern.

CremelloQuarterPony brought up something interesting a few days ago about testing men.  She was upset about something RockStar didn’t do.  She didn’t ask him to do anything, but hoped that he would think to do it on his own.  On the one hand, it’s not fair to expect people to guess what you want from them.  On the other hand, we shouldn’t always have to spell it out.

While women probably could generally improve their communication skills by being more direct about what they want from men, this doesn’t always make sense.  I suspect something gets lost in the process. 

If we have to spell out exactly what we want, we allow men to get lazy (or lazier, depending on the case).  It lets them off the hook.  They don’t have to bother making an effort to empathize with us and imagine what we may want.  They will wait for us to tell them, and then fulfill the request (or not).  But the thing is, it didn’t come from the heart.

There is something special about someone doing something nice for you (without having to ask for it).  We (women) do this all the time for men.  We go out of our way to anticipate their needs.  Like CremelloQuarterPony said, though, she’ll see if RockStar steps up to the plate in the future.  We can’t expect men to get everything right, but it’s a pattern to look out for over time.


Fine, I’ll Raise My Standards

September 23, 2008

Now that CremelloQuarterPony and Wonferdul have given me grief and/or suggestions about adding to my list of relationship non-negotiables, here is a list of additions: 

  • some level of success (I guess I should define this further…)
  • an ability to conform to social expectations(being weird is okay, as long as you can turn it off voluntarily)
  • English language mastery
  • self-reflective
  • accurate perception of self
  • healthy and exercises regularly
  • does not eat meat every day
  • agreement on politics
  • likes animals (and is not allergic to them)
  • positive role model for Baby Bear

I guess this is a step in the right direction.  I definitely need to be more specific, though.  This is just a first step towards describing what my perfect guy would look like.  Actually, it was my second step.  My first step was pretty lame, although I did forget to add “not a serial killer” to my first draft. 

I think this list will be going through a series of revisions.


Relationship Non-Negotiables

September 22, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I created a list of things I will not tolerate in relationships:

  • physical abuse
  • verbal abuse
  • alcohol addiction
  • drug addiction
  • sex addiction (it’s not as fun as it sounds)
  • dishonesty
  • duplicity (this is kind of like dishonesty, but more specifically about people’s words not aligning with their actions/behavior)

I had three quarters of a page dedicated to things I did and didn’t like about Dave…and less than half of the remaining space was taken up by the non-negotiables (above). 

It was striking to see this short list on paper. 

It became apparent to me that my basic expectations are set too low.  That’s why I wrote about my son’s father; I wanted to provide some back-story to explain where I’m coming from.  Since his father, my longest-term relationship was with a sociopath (of course, I didn’t realize that until after the fact).  What can I say?  I have really bad taste in men? 

Yes, I have bad taste in men…and I think it also goes back to the Theory of Mind thing.  I get stuck in empathizing mode.  I am fascinated by other people’s points of view.  This can be a valuable skill at times, but in relationships it can lead to trouble.  I become so engrossed in learning about the other person, I lose track of my own perspective.


Theory of Mind: Case Study

September 12, 2008

I will share some details of an interaction I had with Dave to illustrate Theory of Mind (ToM) issues mentioned in my last post.

I am not great at making decisions and would prefer the guy figure out ideas of what to do.  Most of the time, I’m flexible.  Sometimes, however, I am in the mood to do something specific.  For example, two weeks ago, I told Dave I wanted to go to a coffee shop to mooch some wifi and then hang out with him at his place afterwards.  He had a better idea.  He said, how about we go get coffee and talk and then you can use the internet at my house afterwards.  Not exactly what I had in mind, but that worked. 

On the way to the coffee shop we had mentioned, Dave keeps driving, then says he hopes I don’t mind getting something to eat with him first.  Okay, once again, not what I had in mind, but I continue to flex my flexibility muscle (it’s in my brain somewhere) and go along with it.  We go to a restaurant he likes and proceed to sit in the back, where it was dark and gloomy.  I told him this was not going to give me my “cafe fix” and he said they have coffee.  All along, I had been thinking about ambiance and a window view, not caffeine.  He was totally missing the point.

On the way back, we were getting near the cafe we originally discussed.  I was really curious to see if he would go there, so I didn’t remind him.  This was not a trap; it was an experiment.  When he kept driving, I didn’t hold it against him, but casually brought it up after we got back to his place.  His response was that I should have told him I wanted to go to the cafe.  I know what he meant – I was supposed to ‘remind’ him.  For me, that was irritating because I’d already told him twice.  How many times did I need to tell him?

As I said in the last post, hopefully he will learn to listen to (and remember!) what I say instead of guessing what I want, which is really easy to assume is the same thing that he wants…in this case, to go to his house.  Fortunately (or not?), I recognize this “deficit” in him as well as in me.  He tends to get completely immersed in his own perspective and I tend to completely completely accomodate other peoples perspectives to the detriment of my own.  We both have work to do.  We are equally contributing to this imbalance in our relationship.


Tough Choice: Which List First?

September 12, 2008

I started out with a single list…or the idea of a single list.  A list of pros and cons about Dave.  Well, not just about Dave, but about our relationship thus far.  Not everything neatly fits into the pro or con categories.  There are positives and negatives, likes and dislikes, and another independent category of specific complaints/observations.  Last but not least, there are the “negotiables” and the “non-negotiables.”

This list idea turned out to be more difficult than I thought.  I wonder if CremelloQuarterPony is having better luck with her list.  Probably not.  It sounds like she’s too busy having sex to make any lists.  The only list she has going right now is a mental list of all of the new “yoga” moves she’s tried.

Then shdwst (I think this is Shad), also in response to the same post, said he likes lists and is looking forward to hearing about what not to do.  I wasn’t exactly thinking about a list from that angle, but since he asked, I’ll cover that list first.  For some reason, that’s the easiest list. 

Okay, Shad, this list is for you and your compadres (since I don’t really know you, I mean men in general). 

Be confident in your intelligence.  Intelligence takes on many forms.  Think Howard Gardner.  Contrary to popular belief, intelligence and level of education are two distinctly different things.  Dumb people have graduated from Yale (well, at least one, anyway) and smart people don’t always go to college.  Be confident in your varied strengths and don’t beat yourself up over your weaknesses.  We all have them, just different combinations of them.

Be flexible.  Be ready to take charge…or not.  You might think this is a trap, but it’s not.  The key here is flexibility.  When you first start going out with a woman, go ahead and take the initiative to plan things out, like what to do and where.  Share your ideas and see what she thinks.  If she has a different idea, or was the first to suggest a specific idea, let her take the lead. 

Finally, keep in mind the theory of mindTheory of mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from ones own.  In plain English, ToM is about empathy – the ability to see something from another persons’ perspective…not as you would see it if you were in their shoes, but how they actually see it.  This relates to the issue of flexibility above. 

Bear with me for a moment, as what I am about to say has implications for “normal folk.”

My critique of ToM involves Simon Baron-Cohen‘s application of it to individuals on the Autistic Spectrum, which he tends to oversimplify as an extreme manifestation of ‘maleness.’  I think he’s missing a critical point: ToM is not always a “developmental milestone” people do or don’t reach.  There is a middle ground, where otherwise ordinary people cannot switch back and forth (from their perspective to the perspectives of others) as quickly and easily as other people.  This relates to why far more males than females are diagnosed with autism-related issues.  Women, perhaps because of hormonal and chemical differences, are more likely “evolve past” the ToM stage, but effectively get stuck in “empathizing mode,” while men are more likely to get stuck in “narcissism” mode.

Here is the meat of it:dating and relationships require an advanced ability to empathize that leaves most people in the dust.  This is a particular kind of intelligence that not all people, including (and especially) those with high “IQs” possess.   In fact, people with highly developed intelligence in subjects like math and science are probably the most inept in this area of functioning.

Are you more of an “empathizer” or a “narcissist”?  Let me guess, Shad – you are more of an empathizer.  If this is true, you get so wrapped up in the other person’s perspective that you lose track of your own perspective.  That’s how I am.  Dave is, self-admittedly, more of a narcissist.  He can be incredibly empathetic at times, but is usually self-absorbed.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.  The point is to be aware of your own tendencies and try to correct for them.  If Dave proves to be a keeper, he will become more aware of his inclination to get stuck in his own perspective.  He will (hopefully) learn to listen to (and remember!) what I say instead of guessing what I want, which is really easy to assume is the same thing that he wants.


Work, Old Boyfriends, and Blogging

September 9, 2008

I just posted a bunch of content to the Cindy, Working portion of my blog.  Sometimes, I go with the flow of writing and then post it all after I’m finished with the writing spurt.  Two posts briefly mention men I dated 15 years ago, Mike and Greg.  Mike was my first love.  He was my first boyfriend…and my first sexual partner.  I will undoubtedly refer to Mike in future posts because, for better or worse, that relationship had a big influence on me.  Also, we reconnected 13 years after breaking up.  More stories for another day.

Cindy’s Blog Trilogy:

Cindy, Dating: My rants and raves about current and past dating and relationship experiences.

Cindy, Working: Work-related stories I have accumulated over the last 20 years.  A lot of these jobs were really crappy, but the jobs do get better over time.

Cindy, Living: Anything and everything that I feel compelled to write about that doesn’t fit into the above two categories.  This is the catch-all portion of the blog trilogy.