Fish

I had the best Fourth of July in a long time.  My sister’s boyfriend has a place at the beach and we went there for a barbecue.  There was a professional fireworks show at dusk, but the neighbors up and down the beach lit huge bonfires and set off their own fireworks.  It was like being at a tennis match; I didn’t know which way to look.

Actually I knew which way I wanted to look.  It was everything I could do to not stare at the brunette beauty by my side.  My cousin (whom I’ve been arguing with on Facebook about Trump and North Korea) is dating this chick, and this chick has a daughter.  Well, the daughter and her friends unexpectedly showed up at the party.  Turns out she’s close with my sister’s boyfriend’s family.  Talk about a small world.  Maybe it’s fate.

She and her friend and her friend’s boyfriend spread a blanket out on the sand when the fireworks started.  I brought down a plastic lawn chair from the deck for myself but she said, “You can sit with us if you want, there’s room right here.”  She patted the spot on the blanket next to her.  Well, I took that chair and Frisbeed that shit into the sand dunes.  I don’t shy away from opportunities anymore.

Her friends cuddled and canoodled in front of us, and I was seized with a strange urge to put my arm around her.  It almost felt like we were two couples on a double date.   I hadn’t seen her in a long time and she is quite a knockout.  But I kept my composure.  Stay cool, don’t say or do any dumb shit…  I just leaned back on my hands, and as soon as I did another crazy thought entered my head:  How much do you wanna bet she touches my hand?  I waited in that pose to see if my hunch was correct.

Sure enough, a few minutes later it happened.  She shifted her weight on the blanket and put her hand down right on top on mine for a moment. “Oh, sorry,” she said.  “That’s okay,” I grinned to myself in the darkness, wondering if that was an accident-on-purpose or what.  And now my brain was going into overdrive.  Would she or could she be interested in me?  We’re potentially step-cousins, or something.  I might not just get friend-zoned but family-zoned.  There’s also an age difference (which doesn’t bother me).

Still, I chatted with her trying to feel things out, until my sister came along and interrupted and wrecked my flow.  Thanks a lot.  We rubbed shoulders a couple more times that night.  Afterwards we started following each other on social media.  I’d like to get another conversation going but she’s rarely online.  A bit unusual for someone her age.  Damn.  This girl is intriguing.

***

In other news, the pool party is a no-go.  First she canceled the event, citing the expense and stress of planning.  Then her boyfriend gallantly stepped in to host a party for her instead.  That was canceled too.  Why?  Because she dumped him.  Apparently she told him she wanted to get into shape and he said he might not find that attractive.   Uh… okay.  Sounds strange to me, but whatever.  And I know this because she broadcasts all her relationship drama on Facebook.

She goes through this cycle every few weeks:  She finds a guy, falls in love, it goes to shit, she rants about how men suck and “can’t handle strong independent women,” and then repeats.  I’ve seen quite a few women make that claim.  While I’m sure it’s true in some cases, it’s more likely it’s a confrontational or bitchy attitude that sends men running.  She does have a tendency to turn everything into a fight, and I know one of her exes told her so.

While I’m on the subject, I ran into a spot of bother with the girl who cuts my hair.  I’ve had her as my stylist three times in a row now.  I like the familiarity, and it turns out we went to the same high school.  I couldn’t find her in my yearbook (would have helped if she remembered what year she graduated – how do you forget that?), so this time I asked what her last name was.  When she told me I suddenly realized: “Oh, you’re Deborah’s sister!” I exclaimed.

She put her hands on her hips and gave me a look.  “Okay, first of all, I have a name.  It’s Mandy, it’s not ‘Deborah’s sister,'” she said.  I just stared back at her in the mirror. Didn’t seem like she was trying to be funny.  I said nothing, partly because I was trying to figure out if I was somehow being an asshole, and partly because I didn’t want to get a shitty haircut.

My brothers are well-known in certain music circles, and when people find out I’m related they go, “Oh, you’re Johnny/Patrick’s brother!”  I just say “yeah” and that’s that.  I don’t get all snooty about it.  I dunno, maybe she’s another “strong, independent woman” like my friend.  I know they’re both single moms.  And I don’t mean anything bad by that.  It’s just that there are single moms, and then there are SINGLE MOMS.

Which reminds me, I promised a post on the subject of having kids.  That’s still coming up next, I just got a little sidetracked.

Advertisements

Social

As I said in my last post, I feel loads better after deleting the dating apps.  Now that work has calmed down and I have more free time, I’ve been getting out and about again.  After years of saying I would, I finally got back on the open mic circuit.  It’s so good to be out performing again.  All my practice in the meantime definitely paid off.  I received plenty of compliments afterwards and one of the girls at the bar started chatting me up.  She told me I “fucking rocked it” and we talked for a while.

It’s amazing how much easier it is when you can just be yourself and not worry about impressing or attracting anyone.  However I was more interested in the brunette behind her, but she only had eyes for the guitar player onstage.  But I struck up conversations with a few others too.  See, that’s how you do it.  Just get out there and meet people and let things happen naturally.  That’s why Meetup is great too – bonding over common interests.  I recently signed up for a full moon paddle, but unfortunately it was canceled due to the weather.

My next stop was the latest monthly jam session, hosted by the band I’m hoping to join.  Another good social (and musical) opportunity, but no persons of interest.  No matter.  I’ve been working on learning their material, of which there is a lot. I’m making progress.  And not only has worked calmed down, but I actually dropped customers as well to reduce my workload.  I’m actually working less than full-time right now. I’m loving it, and it’s giving me space to consider other things… like a career change.

I can’t help feeling I’m wasting my talents with my current job, but the pay is good and it has benefits I won’t find anywhere else.  I have some vague ideas about what I’d like to do next, but music is certainly top of the list.  I recently went to the music store to invest in some more equipment, and I struck up a conversation with another girl while I was there.  She worked behind the counter and there was nobody else in the shop, and we talked for 10-15 minutes.  Pretty cute.  I Facebooked her as soon as I got home, and she has a boyfriend.  Of course.

No matter.  There’ll be other opportunity, and I have a whopper coming up in a couple of weeks.  One my friends invited me to a pool party at her house for her 30th birthday.  A pool party.  I can’t remember the last time I was at a pool party.  But the guest list has a 3:1 female-to-male ratio.  I’ve been busting my ass in the gym lately, and this is just the extra motivation I needed.  A lot of those females are single moms like my friend, but there will be childless single ladies in attendance too.  Sounds like prime hunting ground…

kids – next post

Meh

Okay, I did it.  I went back to online dating.  Four weeks, three apps and two dates later, I called it quits.  It was the same nonsense all over again.  There’s been no change in my experiences with – or opinion of – online dating.  It works for some people, but apparently I’m not one of them.  And I have neither the energy nor the desire to continue with it.  So I’ve kicked it to the curb again, and feel loads better as a result.

Here’s how it all went down this time.

I haven’t been on OkCupid for years.  Back in the day it was the source of most of my online dates.  Well, they’ve made changes and not for the better.  You can still message anyone, but they can’t see your message unless they “like” you back.  And the number of users has dropped precipitously.  Last time there was an endless supply of matches.  This time I exhausted all possibilities within a few days.  I collected 35 likes but only one was mutual.  Her profile didn’t give me much to work with, and this was our exchange:

Did we date once?  Did we talk once?  Was she trying to be funny?  We certainly didn’t fuck, I know that much.  But I never heard from her after that, so it will forever be a mystery.  Two more weeks went by without any new matches or messages. All I had to show for my efforts was that head-scratching conversation.

*delete account*

Next up was Tinder.  I never had much luck with it in the past and it was the same this time around.  Little activity, lack of conversation, flakiness, suspiciously fake-looking profiles… Meanwhile I had over 50 matches on Bumble and a slew of conversations going.  Goodbye, Tinder.  I burned through many of my Bumble matches, not hesitating to unmatch with those who failed to impress.  I was most popular with 28-35 year-olds and it didn’t take long to line up two back-to-back dates.

#47
She was 35 and a police officer.  Only a couple years older than myself but seemed more mature than that. Byproduct of her job, perhaps.  We met at a sports bar for dinner and drinks and quickly settled into nice, easy conversation punctuated by a number of laughs.  We seemed to be enjoying each other’s company.  Midway through she casually mentioned she was recently divorced.  This is the second or third time that’s happened on a date.

*theme from Jaws starts playing softly in the background*

jaws

Yeah, I’m starting to encounter this.  Well, she didn’t mention having kids, so I guess it wasn’t as big a deal.  Although, that’s something else I’ve been running into.  There’s a number of single moms out there who don’t disclose they’re single moms until they think it’s safe.  That happened several times during my latest stint on Bumble.  Sorry, but your personality is not going to overcome my dislike of kids.  Best to be upfront about it and not waste either of our time.

But I digress.  We stayed there for an hour and a half, and then I suggested going across the street for brews and board games.  It was a really cool spot and a popular hangout for people in our demographic.  She enthusiastically agreed, but in between getting up from the table and reaching the exit she changed her mind, saying it was late and she ought to be going.  I walked her to the parking lot and hugged her good night.  She texted me the next day and we went back and forth a little, but eventually things dropped off and that was that.


#48
This one was cute as hell – and she confided that she thought I was too – so I was pretty excited to meet her.  We met at a cheesecake place near my house and I liked what I saw.  She seemed a little more my speed, but the more we talked the more she appeared to be a homebody.  Nothing much in the way of hobbies or activities either.  Hmm.  I wasn’t sure what I could do with her, although certain extra-curricular activities came to mind as I eyed her up and down.  We called it a night after a couple of hours.  The next day I invited her to see a band play at a brewery but she politely declined, claiming other commitments.  Then she unmatched with me.


#49…?
I wouldn’t really count this as a date.  It was hardly even a meeting.  I was suspicious from the start, since her Bumble profile was nothing but pics of her performing and links to her music website and YouTube videos.  We talked music and she said I should come see her play at a bar that Saturday.  I did, but when I got there I saw that I wasn’t the only one she invited out.  I barely got to speak to her either.  My hunch appeared to be correct.  She was using Bumble to promote herself and her gigs.  Not the first time I’ve run into that either.  I’ve seen bartenders do the same.

I had two other hot prospects after that.  I really wanted to meet them both, but for reasons unknown they suddenly stopped talking to me.  One of them asked if I had an Instagram, which I thought was a little odd, then went quiet after I supplied my handle.  I didn’t post anything untoward on there, so I don’t know what happened.  The other unmatched with me after a few days of silence.

Eventually I ran out of Bumble matches, and I deleted the app a short while later.  So I got that out of my system.  I’m sure this is the point where my readers are going to suggest Match or Zoosk or Hinge or Coffee Meets Bagel or Duck Meets Goose or Nut Meets Bolt, or some other dating app.  Not interested.  I’m just going to do like my friend told me:  “Don’t date.  Just go out and meet people.”  Which is exactly what I’ve been doing, and it’s already bearing some fruit.  More on that in the next post…

Itchy

I haven’t been on a date in months and I’m feeling the itch again. Not to mention it’s almost two years since I’ve gotten any action, so I’m getting antsy there as well. I chuckle when I read some bloggers griping about going a few days or a couple of weeks without sex. Oh?  Do tell.

Dating has been on the back burner this year. I’ve been focused on other things, and now I’m back at work so that’s consuming a lot of time. There were a few outings and social gatherings but I haven’t met anyone that way. I’ve yet to go back on Meetup, but I’ve also been considering giving online dating another go.

Yes, I know. I’ve sworn it off a million times and keep talking shit about it. But part of me wants to keep at it until I succeed. Others have, so why can’t I? If nothing else, it’s a good way to keep my skills sharp. When I met Rebecca (the old-fashioned way) I felt like I was applying everything I learned from all my online dates. So I guess it wouldn’t be a total waste of time.

If nothing else, it’ll give me stuff to blog about. But the thought of making a new profile, finding matches, wading through all the nonsense again… I don’t know if I can do it. We’ll see. If I do go that route, I think this time would be different. I feel like I’m a good place.

Stay tuned.

Springtime

Spring at last!  While I enjoyed my three month vacation, it’s nice to be back at work and enjoying (slightly) warmer temperatures.  I’ve crossed a few minor items off my to-do list, made progress on a few others, and came up with a new goal:  visit every winery in the area.  Five down, 30 to go.  That in itself could be a blog, but I don’t really have much to say on subject.  I go there for the scenery more than anything.

I’ve received a flurry of activity and a bunch of new followers after my last post, Politics.  Welcome, all! Don’t expect many political posts from me, although I have toyed with the idea of a separate blog devoted to the issues.   Then again, I don’t feel like I have anything especially unique to add to the discussion.  Not to mention there are already those who are more knowledgeable and can put things way better than I can.

In other news, there’s absolutely nothing happening on the dating front.  Zip, zero, zilch.  No dating sites or apps for me because I’m still intent on meeting someone in the real world instead.  Except… I haven’t been making any effort on that front lately.  I’m too busy doing my own thing right now.  Eventually I’ll put myself out there again, but until then dating is on the back burner.  Don’t fret – there’ll be more disappointing dates to read about before long.

And finally, I’m being interviewed by a fellow blogger!  Unleashing the Cougar  submitted a list of questions and I’ve been working on my answers.  That’s nearly done, so look for that in the near future.

Politics

Never before have I seen so many dating profiles giving space to politics: “no Trump supporters,” “proud Republican,” “pro-choice feminist,” etc.  Screening potential matches this way may seem silly to some.  But with one’s politics comes a set of values.  What you believe speaks to the kind of person you are.  And with everything going on in America these days, I’ve been examining my own preferences and dealbreakers.

When it comes to dating I’ve never been especially picky.  Attractive, child-free, with the right personality and sense of humor… those were the main criteria.  I grew up very conservative and never thought I’d date a liberal, yet my high school girlfriend was just that.  Things were great as long as we avoided that third rail, but I wasn’t averse to dating on the opposite side of the aisle anymore.

My politics underwent a sea change over the next decade and I emerged on the left, eventually settling slightly left-of-center.  I think of myself as an independent though.  I chalk my evolution up to disillusionment as well as my open-mindedness.  I try to avoid confrontation and be a good listener.  I ask questions more than I argue, and probe others’ opinions rather than push my own.  However… when it comes to certain things, I simply can’t agree to disagree anymore.

Trump immediately comes to mind.  Never mind his policies – it’s the blatant hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness of his supporters that I find the most galling.  People on the right are making excuses for Trump that they would never make for a Democrat. Furthermore, facts don’t matter to a lot of them either. Why would I want to be with anyone like that?  Indeed I’ve unmatched several women on dating apps after discovering they were ardent Trumpers.

a.000

What’s more, he also gives voice and cover to some of the worst elements of society.  Of course, not all Trump supporters are racist and xenophobic bigots.  But racist and xenophobic bigots are Trump supporters – such as my dad.  He’s always been a strong conservative but he’s embraced Trump with a gusto I’ve rarely seen.  Of course he would – with his remarks about women and minorities, they’re like two peas in a pod.

Then there are feminists. Now, there are feminists like JBlondie (a blogger friend)  and others that I’m totally down with, who are capable of calm discussion and can actually take a joke.  Then there are feminists who go batshit if you use the wrong word or phrase.  I’m all for equal rights, but conversations shouldn’t feel like navigating a minefield.  Not for nothing, but if it’s a micro-aggression, shouldn’t it just make you micro-angry?

I remember one girl on OkCupid getting on my case for saying “gender-biased” or “gender-specific” things and flipping out when I used the term “friend zone.”  She also groused at me for not answering enough feminist-related match questions.  Then she wanted to do weird things like paint my fingernails.  Um, no thanks.  And before you ask, she was a real person.

Then there was another feminist, who was all into “Womyn’s Rights.”   We got on well enough, but when I was trying to plan our first date she shot down every suggestion I made.  When I asked her for a suggestion, she told me that I was the man so I had to come up with something.  I could have pointed out the irony of that, but chose to bow out instead.

Then I was friends with an uber-feminist.  In between Facebook posts of her hairy legs and armpits and “I hate men” memes, she wrote something to the effect that men should embrace feminism because it equals better sex.  I was privy to a related New York Times article (Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?), so I linked to it thinking it was interesting food for thought and relevant to the discussion.

However I came back to find angry, essay-length comments from her.  Not only was she incredulous and outraged over everything in the article, but she accused me of taking time out to search for this article specifically to contradict her. Never mind the fact that I’d had it bookmarked on my computer for two years.  She also accused me of “furthering the oppression of women.”

Wow.  Nothing like confusing your friends for your enemies.  Needless to say we don’t talk much anymore.  Meanwhile I shared that article with JBlondie, and not only did she not get angry but said she could even relate to it.  That just drives home the point that when people are too far right or left they become rigid, unreasonable, and insufferable.

That’s really what I’m trying to avoid, and I’m certainly making more of an effort to do so nowadays.  But those are two groups of people I’m wary of. I’d rather not engage with Trump supporters, and I approach self-proclaimed feminists with trepidation.  Oh, and then there are vegans.  I don’t mind the passive ones – rather it’s the ones who won’t shut up about it.  Not to mention our lifestyles would clash horribly.

What are your dealbreakers and preferences when it comes to dating and politics?