Happy New Year.  2016 was a year of accomplishment for me, both big and small.

After 16 years, I finally met my dance idol on Broadway.  I spoke to him, shook his hand, and took a picture with him.  I saw the Radio City Christmas spectacular for the first time.  I went on my first Meetup.  I joined a gym.  I went kayaking on the river.  I attended my first sports game (baseball).  I went to my first bachelor party and accompanying strip club (not a fan).  I visited Pennsylvania, Ohio, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Florida.  I jammed at my first music session.  I tried yoga.  I ate at White Castle, Waffle House and Denny’s.  I turned 32.

And a happy four-year anniversary to my blog!  I can’t believe it’s been that long.  Two and a half of those years I spent in dogged pursuit of my goal until I finally succeeded.  I lost my virginity.  While I crossed off a few more accompanying firsts with that event, I still have a lot of ground yet to cover.  There’s so much I still haven’t done sexually.  Next time I need to find someone more adventurous, enthusiastic, and horny.

However, I’m not sure when next time will be.  It’s been six whole months since my last encounter and there’s nothing new on the horizon.  Sometimes I find myself wondering whether my fling with Rebecca was a one-off, a bolt of lightning, a fluke?  On the other hand, I haven’t exactly put in much effort to find anyone since then, and the last two months of 2016 I was so overwhelmed with work that I had little time for anything else.

Now I’m two weeks into my winter vacation.  I’ve put in a lot of work to catch up on my other blog and I update on Tuesdays and Fridays now.  I’ve resumed going on Habitat for Humanity builds and I’m fortunate that there’s one right here in the neighborhood.  There are two cute girls working on that site, but according to my internet sleuthing they both appear to have boyfriends.  Of course… as always.

I met a girl at the gym.  Kinda.  Bumble is the last app standing, and one girl I matched with posted a selfie at a gym that I recognized as my own.  We got to talking about it and ended up doing a class together.  She said she went to the 7PM classes on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays.  Tuesday was coming up first and I said that one worked for me and she said great.  Tuesday came and I messaged her to confirm but didn’t hear anything.  So I just went anyway, figuring she’d be there like she said.

It was a little weird.  I showed up for the class and there were about 25 people there.  I saw one girl who looked vaguely like her, but I wasn’t sure.  Then the instructor partnered us off and we embarked on an hour of circuit training.  She noticed me looking at her when I came in, and our eyes met a couple of times across the room during the hour, but she gave no sign of recognition so I was still unsure.

Finally the class ended and I walked over.  I tentatively said her name and she looked up from her phone.  “Hey,” she said.  I apologized for not coming over sooner but that I wasn’t sure if it was her or not.  “Yeah, I saw you when you came in,” she said.  Um, okay.  And you didn’t come over and say hello, because…?  Whatever.  I let it slide and she asked how I like the circuit training session.  We made chit-chat on our way out of the room.  She asked if I was doing any more, indicating the weight training area.

“Nah, I think I’m done for tonight.  That class kicked my ass.”  Then I looked down at myself and realized we were both soaked with sweat.  Hmm.  Perhaps this wasn’t the best idea.  “Why don’t we get together when we’re not all hot and sweaty?  Let’s do pizza,” I suggested. She’d written that she was a big fan of pizza on her Bumble profile.  She even had a pizza T-shirt she wore to the gym sometimes.  Too bad she didn’t wear it that night; would have helped me identify her.  She looked slightly different from her photos.

Anyway, she said that sounded good.  In girl speak that usually means no, but I just nodded my head and by that time we were at the locker rooms.  She was about to duck inside, so I told her to message me her number on Bumble and we’d work it out that way.  Well, not only did she not message me  but she unmatched me altogether.  All righty then.  Jesus, did I really make that bad of an impression in that short a time?

Again – whatever.  But I tried a class at the gym; another item off my to-do list.  And I tried something different with online dating.  Didn’t quite work out, but it was worth a shot. But she was passive and quiet and weird anyway, so had we met someplace else I doubt things would have gone much better.   I do keep hearing that the gym is a good place to pick up girls, though.

The only problem is that every time I try it, they scream at me to put them down.  I dunno, maybe I’m doing it wrong.

A few weeks later I met another girl from Bumble.  I went back to a traditional date with this one.  Our messages were fun and flirty and she said she was excited to meet me.  We met at the crepe place near my house, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite date spots – not only for the close proximity but because of the variety of fun and games they offered.  After we ate we delved into four competitive rounds of Jenga.  The conversation was flowing and there were a lot of laughs, but when we moved onto Scrabble I suddenly sensed that I had lost her somewhere along the line.  The atmosphere had changed subtly.

I wasn’t sure what had happened.  Perhaps it was because the well of words was drying up a little.  I was considering moving to another venue for drinks or something, but she seemed ready to wrap things up.  Dammit.  I blazed through the rest of my tiles and started packing up the game once we finished.  She went to the bathroom and put on her coat when she returned.  We’d been there almost two hours.  She said she was tired and was going to get going, and I said the same.

I walked her outside.  Things had gone so well at the beginning that I was sure I’d be going for the kiss.  I told her I had a great time and wanted to see her again.  “Yeah, that’d nice,” she said.  Sigh.  I knew what that meant.  She told me to message her, and I barely got a hug in before she started trotting away.  We had been messaging on Bumble, but she unmatched me the next day.  However, she had given me her number.  We had kept talking on the app, but now seemed like a good time to use it.

I texted her a couple of days later and said “Hey, it’s Tommy.”

“Tommy who?  I know a lot of Tommys lol.  Sorry I lost all my contacts.”

I said it was Tommy from Bumble from the other night, and I offered up some second date suggestions:  Ice skating?  Bowling?  No response.  Another girl down.

Up next was another Bumble match.  We set a date for Friday night.  Turns out she was only in town for a week visiting family for the holidays, and then she was flying back to the West Coast.  Hmm.  Every other girl I’d met lived in the area, this would be my first out-of-towner.  This could be interesting.  What was she looking for, I wondered…?

Prior to meeting she had asked for my last name so she could look me up and Facebook and confirm that I was indeed a real person “who’s not going to kill me and wear my skin ;)”

I gave her the link to my page and then I said, “I promise not to kill you as that might put a damper on the evening.  However if things go well enough I might consider making out with you a little.”

She gave me her number after I gave her mine, and then she said, “I’ll be honest, you’re gonna have to work for it… and by work, I mean those sweet dance moves have to come out.”  I told her she had a deal.  Friday arrived, and then a few hours before we were supposed to meet for drinks and dancing I received the following:  “I’m so sorry to do this but I have to cancel tonight.  One of my friends who wasn’t supposed to be home just surprised everyone by coming home for the weekend, and this is my only chance to see her before I head back to Oregon.  Sorry!  :(”  Dammit.  She left town two days later, and I never got to meet her.  Oh well.

Fortunately I had another girl in the wings.  Out of all my matches on Bumble, I kept up contact with 15-20 and zeroed in on three of particular interest.  This girl was the last of those three.  I really liked what I saw.  She was a painter and sent me links to some of her work.  I have a thing for artsy girls – not just painting, but singing, dancing, writing, music, etc.  Anything creative. Plus we had the same literary interests.  And she was hot.  Sold.

Unfortunately she  wasn’t available for the next few days.  We had to wait until this past Monday.  We continued texting in the meantime – not too much, but enough to sustain interest – and I confirmed with her early Monday that we were still on.  Nonetheless I was getting a funny feeling, and sure enough at 4PM she texted me again:  “Ahhhh I am so sorry to do this, but they just bumped up my logo meeting from next Tuesday to tomorrow morning, so I have to produce a bunch of prototypes tonight for them to approve. 😦  Can we reschedule?”

Can we reschedule?  Of course.  Will we?  Doubtful.  But I just told her that I understood and to let me know when was good for her.  “Ok I’ll let you know,” she replied.  Once again, I knew what that meant.  I was determined to sit on my hands and wait it out, but on Thursday I broke down and texted to ask how she was, and how did she make out with the logos?  Two days later and still no word.  Another one bites the dust.

I say none of this out of bitterness.  All I’m saying is that I’m older and wiser now.  I’m down, I’ve got the 411… or whatever today’s yutes are saying.  I’ve grown to learn and accept when I’m getting the boot.  Of course, I always give them a chance to prove me wrong, but so far no one has.   But this is another reason why I stopped investing time and energy into online dating.  Too much flakiness on there.

That’s why I’ve been going on Habitat for Humanity builds ever since.  Meet people in real life, then go on dates.  Seems to be the winning formula for me.  I’ve been scouring Meetup for additional activities, but there are fewer options this time of year than in the warmer months.  I’m certainly not lacking for things to do, though.  In addition to catching up on my writing, powering through my to-do list of new burger joints, and practicing the three instruments in my rotation, I’m also embarking on a couple of trips during my winter break.  At this rate it’ll be spring before I know it.  Whoever the next girl is, she’ll appear when the time is right.

Stay tuned.