Dating for Dummies

September 4, 2008

Last weekend, I went book shopping for my son.  I would have said I went shopping with him, but he was not very helpful.  He just started middle school and needs to read three books on three different subjects.  After picking the last book, Web 2.0 Heroes, I glanced over and noticed a book on a different shelf called Relationships for Dummies.  My son was occupied with a book on inventions, so I thumbed through it for a few minutes.  I was tempted to buy it, but I hadn’t come to buy any books for myself.  Well, maybe the Web 2.0 book was for me…although it’s my job to train him to become a geek like me.  I put the Dummy Book the back on the shelf.

Later, I told Dave, half-kiddingly, how I had seen a dummy book about relationships.  Without pause, he said he thought it would be helpful for me.  I suppose I could have taken offense to his remark, but I didn’t.  That’s what I like about him.  He is very kind in his intentions and gentle in his delivery, so he can be brutally honest without hurting my feelings.

A few days later, I was getting caught up on the latest Adventures With Dating and saw a reference to the Dating for Dummies book.  I assumed it was the same book I had looked at, but it was not.  As it turns out there are a number of books…Dating for Dummies, Internet Dating for Dummies, Relationships for Dummies, Romance for Dummies, Sex for Dummies, etc.  Apparently there are enough people like me to keep this publisher in the relationship/dating business.


Dating Tips for Men

August 22, 2008

I am extremely open-minded and flexible in terms of what I consider good-looking.  After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Kindness, empathy, and understanding can facilitate the growth of physical attraction.  Having said that, there are many great guys out there who aren’t successful at dating because they don’t realize the way they present themselves is a sexual turn-off for women.

 

I can’t speak for other women, but I prefer to date men my own age…or at least men with fashion sensibilities similar to my peers.  Regardless of your age, if the way you dress reminds me of a toddler, I will be turned off.  Similarly, if your style of dress reminds me of the way my dad dresses, I will be turned off.  In a way, I feel guilty about this, but in a way I don’t because this is something you have control over.

 

For the sake of all of the nice guys out there who have a hard time finding dates, I am offering advice.  If you lack fashion sense, get help!  If you haven’t gone shopping in 15 years, go shopping…and get help with it!  Ask a female friend or acquaintance to help you update your look.  Or ask a female salesperson to help.  Little changes can make a big difference. 

 

For your sake, I will share the unfortunately too-common turnoffs I see in men.

 

I like bald men.  I like men with hair too.  I grew up with a lot of bald male relatives, so baldness isn’t a big deal for me.  However, if you are going bald, please avoid the following:

  • combovers (yes, I’ve seen single men with these)
  • long hair
  • medium length hair
  • ponytails (as a friend reminded me to include)

If you’re going bald, embrace it.  Shave your head or keep your hair trimmed to 1/4″ or less as a general rule.  Letting your remaining hair grow any longer makes you look like you hit your prime in the 1970’s.  Particularly, if you think you are enough of a stud to attract a woman significantly younger than yourself, this is important.  No matter how rich, intelligent, and kind you are, having the same fashion sensibilities as her father is not a sexual turn-on for her.  If it is, I suggest therapy.  Likewise, if you find toddler shoes to be erotic, please seek professional help.

 

Men, please don’t wear fanny packs.  If you must, man purses are preferable.  Also, Never wear shoes with velcro closures.  I know I capitalized the word never, but this is for a good reason.  Wearing shoes that were originally designed for toddlers and preschoolers is NOT attractive to women. 

 

Last but not least, if you wear glasses, pick out some stylish ones.  I don’t care how old you are.  I dated an older man who had glasses very similar to my dad’s glasses.  This is the guy whose moves I rebuffed on the second date.  I was trying to be open minded and see if an attraction might develop over time, but he rushed the process and ended up completely turning me off.  If his wardrobe and glasses weren’t so similar to my father’s, he very well might have had better luck with me.


Social Skills and Gender Roles

August 19, 2008

As I mentioned in my previous post, Social Skills, or Lack Thereof, I’m clueless when it comes to men.  Whatever social skills I’ve developed for other areas of my life don’t always carry over when I deal with men.  I think it’s because I’m not sure what my role is.  Thanks to feminism and the women’s studies classes I took in college, I am painfully aware of how limiting and oppressive gender roles can be – for both men and women. 

 

I am a woman, so when it comes to men, what is my role?  I rarely cook or clean.  I’m not crazy about kids in general.  When I see babies, I think, “Thank God I’ll never go through that again.”  I’m a brainiac and I would have definitely killed myself had I been born a few decades earlier.  As a matter of fact, my maternal grandmother committed suicide.  Prior to that, she coped with alcohol and cigarettes.  And my paternal grandmother wasn’t really into children, although she had 6 of them.  She coped with food.  She was obese, long before it was the norm.

 

Anyway, traditional gender roles are out for me.  I just don’t fit into that framework.  I don’t want to be anyone’s wife, in the traditional sense.  So does that mean I want a wife – a Mr. Mom?  I’ve thought about it.  It’s a definite possibility.  Or do I want to be with a financially stable man?  We could afford to hire a wife, so to speak.  We could contract out the cooking, shopping, and cleaning for the household.  That way, neither one of us would have to do it.  I’m leaning towards going in this direction.


Social Skills, or Lack Thereof

August 19, 2008

Did I mention I’m socially clueless, especially when it comes to men?  Contrary to popular belief, social skills don’t always come naturally.  At least for some people, they are a set of skills that are learned.  I’ve always had a hard time with social skills.  Although my friends don’t believe me, I swear I really am a shy person. 

 

I don’t feel comfortable around new people, especially if I don’t know anything about them, like how they see the world.  I need to understand your social and political ideology before I can have a conversation with you.  I’m serious.  Unless you’re a freaky liberal and/or really smart, I can’t have a conversation with you.  I don’t know how to talk to ‘normal people.’

 

Normal people talk about the weather, sports, what they did last weekend, and what they are doing next weekend.  They share stories about the times they got pulled over by the police and the times they came oh so close to missing their plane.  Oh, the drama!  I’d rather stab myself with a fork than listen to small talk for more than 30 seconds.

 

My social skills are better when I am fulfilling a role of some sort.  For example, in the workplace, I need to work with Jack and Jill to carry the water down the hill.  Or I need to go to a conference and staff the tacky conference booth.  Last time I did that, I got a job offer from the person at the next booth, quit my job, and moved to a different state.  I can be smooth at times.


Immediate vs. Delayed Attraction

August 13, 2008

It seems like when it comes to dating, people most often rely on immediate sexual attraction as an indicator of whether they want to go out with someone.  I was talking to a friend the other day.  She is also in her mid-thirties.  She always relies on chemistry.  If she doesn’t feel attracted to someone, she simply won’t go out with them. 

I shared something with her that I have found to be true for myself.  The people I have been most wildly attracted to are people who I initially had *no* physical attraction to whatsoever.  For whatever reason, I became friends with or worked alongside people who, as I got to know better, I became intensely attracted to.  For me personally, this kind of attraction is ultimately what I’m looking for.  This is why I go on multiple dates with people I’m not attracted to; attraction may develop over time.

But, it seems like other people are operating under the other principle.  If I accept a first, second, or third date with someone, is it assumed that I must be attracted to them?  Is that what got me into trouble on Date #2?  I wonder how many people make dating decisions based on immediate attraction.


Physical Intimacy, Gender, and Sex

August 7, 2008

Sure, physical intimacy is nice.  There’s nothing like the human touch.  But in this society, this is one area where women have a serious advantage over men.  We can hug other women, our children, our nieces and nephews…with no social stigma.  Men don’t have the freedom to go around hugging other men (or women) or small children (just check the national sex registry to see how many pedophiles live in your neighborhood you’ll never want any men around your children or anyone else’s). 

 

Women supposedly are the ones who confuse love with sex.  I beg to differ.  I think that sex is the only socially acceptable way men are allowed to experience physical closeness.  I think that men often become confused about what they want.  It’s a lot more macho to go get a piece of @$$ than go looking for hugs.


Why I’m Not Desperate for Sex

August 7, 2008

Reflecting back to Bob and the way that a bike ride, dinner, and half a glass of wine added up to unwanted sexual advances, this leads me to two more questions, which relate to each other. 

 

Question #2:  Don’t men know that we can have sex whenever we want? 

 

Right now, I’m sitting at home by myself, unshowered, and I bet you I could be having sex with a man in 30 minutes or less.  In other words, I could have sex with pretty much whoever I want, whenever I want.  Or I can masturbate.  Why should I want to have sex at all, let alone with you?

 

Why would I want to potentially expose myself to pregnancy and STDs (condom’s can break) in exchange for…20 minutes of feeling good, culminating in feeling frustrated (see Question #3)?  What kind of trade-off is that?  So, back to Bob.  Why didn’t I respond to Bob’s sexual advances?  First, because I didn’t want to.  Second, because I’d rather have sex with my vibrator, which is exactly what I did when I got home.  Thirty seconds of pleasure and a great orgasm with no chance of getting pregnant or acquiring an STD.  Fabulous!

 

Question #3:  Do men realize that male and female sexual organs are more alike than different? 

 

Do they not realize that the equivalent of their penis is our clitoris?  How would they like it if we played with their testicles for 10 minutes, managed to gratify ourselves, and rolled over and went to sleep?

 

I heard a term years ago.  It was something like ‘masturbatory sex.’  I didn’t quite get what it meant.  Then one day, it dawned on me.  It’s what I just described.  It’s selfish sex, using someone else’s body as a means of masturbation – without returning the favor!

 

One thing I won’t quantify on this blog is how many times I’ve had sex with men without having an orgasm.  Or how many times I’ve had sex with the same person, over and over, and haven’t had an orgasm.  Or how many times I’ve had one-night stands with men and didn’t have an orgasm.  Would you like to know why I didn’t have an orgasm on this multitude of occasions?  Because too many of men I’ve slept with didn’t bother, not once, to touch my clitoris.  One night, I had sex with this guy who was supposed to be the local Rico Suave.  We had sex three times in one night.  I initiated the sex the second and third time.  Why?  Because I wasn’t satisfied.  Nope, still not satisfied after the third time.  I NEVER had sex with him again.  He was probably perplexed, wondering why I was a sex maniac on one occasion and never slept with him again.  Duh. 


I just turned 36. I’m ready to start dating again.

August 7, 2008

I moved to Washington, DC a year and a half ago.  Since then, I have been on one date.  I figured, at the rate I was going, I was going to be single forever.  Which isn’t the worst thing on earth, by the way.  I’ll write about that another time.  For now, I need a forum to mentally process this complex endeavor.  A few weeks ago, I posted another profile on match.com.  I did this a few years ago and had many decent dates as a result.  So, I posted my profile, with a picture taken in the last year or so, and a little bit of basic information about myself and what I’m looking for.

 

Based on my last experience with match.com, I figured I would have a date within a week.  I was not disappointed in quick responses to my profile.  I was sure to list one of my favorite activities in my profile – cycling.  I did this because much (or should I say all?!!) of my dating experiences in my twenties involved a sport called drinking alcohol.  Fast forward to the present, and the last thing I want to do is date someone with a drinking problem, so I figured listing wholesome activities would be a good way to attract people with healthier addictions, I mean habits.


Why I’m Writing This Blog

August 6, 2008

This blog was inspired by a friend of mine, who recently shared a secret she had been carrying around for years.  It took her a while to spit it out and when she finally did, it really wasn’t a big deal, at least not to me.  But, she had judged herself negatively for a dating-related decision she made and feared others would as well.  In response to her disclosure, I plan to publicly share my dating and relationship experiences, both current and past. 

 

This includes things I am embarrassed about, or used to be embarrassed about.  Fortunately, time heals wounds, including those to the ego.  Importantly, and part of the point of this blog is that sharing your experiences, thoughts, and feelings with someone else is liberating.  Sometimes it’s embarrassing or sad, but sometimes its funny.  So I will make a fool of myself, so to speak, to prove that sharing secrets is not the end of the world.