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.

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Feelings

I’ve kept a positive, upbeat outlook over the course of this blog, but I was in the doldrums a while ago.  Just a little bit.  It’s passed now.  Part of it was standard winter blues, but another part was my perpetual singleness.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy with myself and my life.  I don’t need “my other half” or someone to complete me. But I want more.  I want someone to share the good things in life with.  Food.  Drink.  Laughter.  Music.  Travel.  Sex.  Just to name a few.

For a short while – nearly two glorious months – I got a taste of what that was like.  I had sex (some of it).  I lost my virginity.  I finally felt like I was in the know, part of the club, part of the world, “normal.”  I stopped feeling those pangs when I saw couples.  I did things that come so easily to most people:  hugging, kissing, cuddling, massaging, holding hands, or just sitting on beach watching the sunset – things other people take for granted.  Until I slept with Rebecca a few times, I had no idea just how warm another human body could be.

Now it’s been ten months.  I couldn’t help but peek at her Facebook and I saw she’s been with the same guy for the past eight months.  Oh really.  So what happened to all that jazz about not wanting to date or be exclusive?  How come she didn’t push him away and sabotage things like she did with me?

Well, let that be a lesson to me.  And I’m leaving her in the past where she belongs.  I’m doing my best to not to dwell on negative thoughts and remain forward-looking.  Therefore I’ve been filling up my time with hobbies and activities to keep my mind on other things.

I’ve been hitting the gym hardcore for the past three months.  It’s a great outlet for my pent up sexual energy and frustrations.  I continue to set personal records in deadlifts, squats, and bench presses.  I’ve stacked three, four, or even five 45lb plates on the weight sled and pushed it back and forth across the floor until my legs gave out and my arms shook.  My buddy and I tried a class last weekend that nearly wiped us out.  But my body is responding and I’m tipping the scales at 187 pounds – a number I dreamed about for years.

The gym is not my only arena of success these days.  I’ve been out there marketing myself and I gained ten new clients, so this should be my best year financially.  I had a great parade season and a triumphant return to solo performing.  I’m practicing several instruments a week and I sound better than ever. (I find playing music as cathartic as going to the gym.) My passport arrived and I’m planning some more travel.  And I’m giving my life a complete overhaul – new car, clothes, furniture, appliances – everything.

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Throughout all of this I’ve had Bumble running in the background.  The last app standing.  There was that one awkward date a couple months ago, and since then I canceled on two more because I’d decided I’d rather go to the gym instead.  I just used the always popular, vague line of “something came up.”  I felt a bit shitty doing it, but deep down I felt those dates would have ended up like all the others, so why bother?

But there was one final Bumble date.  I tried to keep the online chatter light and flirty and save all the getting-to-know-you questions for in-person.  As Matthew Hussey says, “if you’re using texting to ask, ‘How many brothers and sisters do you have?’… you’re doing it wrong.”  So I gave that a shot, but it didn’t matter.  Once again I met a girl who checked out of the conversation after five minutes and I was the only one left making an effort.

I’d talk, I’d ask questions, she’d respond… and I’d wait.  Nothing.  Nothing asked about myself in return.  Scratch that – she asked literally two questions, almost as afterthoughts:  what was my job, and did I live alone?  When I realized she kept glancing at her phone on top of her purse on the chair next to her, I bade her farewell.  I know a lost cause when I see one.  And thus concludes my online dating efforts.  Permanently.

After so many years, I’ve come to conclusion that it’s a supreme waste of time.  There’s always the anecdotal success story, but I could never get it to work for me.  It never felt right – always forced and awkward and unnatural.  Personal experience and informal polling of friends and fellow bloggers tells me that meeting people in real life is the way to go.  Not to mention that I had more success with Rebecca than all the girls I met online put together.

Now that spring is finally here I’m compiling a bucket list, which includes several upcoming Meetups.  I’m trying to get to that same sweet spot I was in last year, where I found the perfect balance of doing my own thing and not worrying about finding someone.  Then BAM, it literally happened when I least expected it.  In the meantime I feel I’ve grown content with the status quo again.

I also continue to work on myself.  It’s almost comical… I’ve had thirty years to work on myself – how much more time do I need?  There’s always room for improvement, I guess, like with my conversation skills.  That’s partly why I’ve been filling up my calendar with things to do – gives me shit to talk about.  I’m doing my best to be more social and to fight reverting back to my natural introverted state.

So I guess that’s all I have to say for the time being.  I’ve had this blog post drafted for weeks and weeks and I kept revisiting and revising as my thoughts and feelings ebbed and flowed.  Now I’m finally ready to publish, and we’ll see what happens next in life.

Stay tuned.

Icebreaker

So… I went on my first date in five months.

In my last post I was indiscriminately swiping right on Bumble (and then Tinder) just to see who I matched with.  Then I starting swiping just for girls I was actually interested in.  This time I engaged them in conversation – or tried to.  Talking to most of them was like talking to the wall.  One word/one sentence answers, and nothing asked about myself in return.  I deleted each one and moved onto the next.

I finally managed to get something of a rapport going with this one girl, and we set up a game of chess for a first date.  All right, something different.  However, I had a funny feeling so I started the countdown.  Right on cue, she canceled the day before saying she forgot she was supposed to help her sister move.  I just said “no problem, let me know when is good for you.”  I didn’t expect to hear back (since I never do) and I was right.  And I don’t even care anymore when they flake out.  Losing my virginity has enhanced my IDGAF abilities.

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Then I chatted up another girl.  We went on yet another goddamn coffee date.  I’d sworn those off, but this time I thought it was a good idea to start small before investing in something more involved.    Good call.  Things got off to a slow start and ended up feeling forced and awkward.  It seemed like we were both just prodding the conversation along, and after an hour she called it a night.  She was actually yawning prior to that.  Either she was really tired or I was really boring, or both.

Outside I gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek and said it was nice to meet her.  Then we said good night and parted ways. I said nothing about getting together again, nor did I follow up with her afterwards.  I already knew what I would hear – the usual “oh I had a nice time and you’re a funny/interesting guy but I just don’t feel any sort of connection etc etc.”  So that was that.  But it was nice to get back in the game, even if I’m feeling a bit rusty.  I’m not really putting effort into online dating anymore, nor am I taking it very seriously.

Some of you have asked me “what are you looking for?” and I’d always struggled to answer that question.  How was I supposed to know when I had so little experience to draw upon?  And I’d always thought it unfair for some girls to reject me when they’d barely gotten to know me.  But now I get it.  The way things felt and flowed with Rebecca is my new benchmark going forward.  So if I do go on another online date, it won’t be unless I’m really feeling things.

Otherwise I’m busy doing my own thing and getting out in the real world.  I recently spent an hour on Meetup joining a slew of new groups and I went on my second outing last weekend.  It was another hike and we had over 20 people, but the vast majority were in their 40s and 50s. There were a couple of girls around my age in attendance, but one of them showed up with her boyfriend and another guy had already swooped in on the other by the time I arrived.

I watched with the tiniest tinge of jealousy as they exchanged phone numbers afterwards.  Not because I was attracted to her, but it was just the very idea.  I’ve always marveled at how dating and relating comes so easy to some people.  Some can date a different person every week, or every night of the week if they wanted, and they have no shortage of options.  They go from one to relationship to the next as easy as breathing.  How do they do it?  And how can I get there?   Not that I want to go through a revolving door of girls, but how do I achieve that same ease of attraction?  It’s something I’m still figuring out as I go along.

Some of you are frustrated virgins as I once was, trying to figure out your own way forward.  The best thing for you to do right now is to just work on yourself.  That can be as simple as picking up a new hobby or cultivating an existing one.  Good skills give you social currency.  Girls like confidence… except maybe you don’t feel confident.  But if you can find confidence simply in doing something well – whatever it may be – then that’s just as beneficial.  It’s why I devote so much time to my music and dancing and other pursuits.  At the very least, your hobbies will give you shit to talk about, especially if you find someone who shares your passions.  So if you don’t know where to start, that’s a good place.

A good analogy for me is this: say you want to develop your abs…  Now, you can spend an inordinate amount of time concentrating on your midsection, doing hundreds of crunches trying to spot reduce your belly fat.  Or you can work your whole body, targeting the major muscle groups with compound exercises.  If you do that and concentrate on your diet, then your abs will almost take care of themselves.  So if you’re struggling on dates or to even get dates, take a step back and date yourself for a while.  It’s an indirect way of achieving the same end.

Apart from my renewed Meetup activities I’ve also started volunteering at the animal sanctuary, the one my old friend is at.  We started super early at 7:30 AM.  On Sunday.  Ugh.  Kill me.  But we were the first two there and I was glad for the chance to talk to her alone as we fed and watered the alpacas and turkeys.  Then our conversation was interrupted by a father/daughter duo who showed up to volunteer as well, and will be joining us every weekend.  Of course.  Not that it really matters, because I’m pretty sure she’s still with the boyfriend.  And even if she’s not, she’s militantly vegan and our lifestyles would clash horribly.  But I’m there to spend time with the animals more than anything else.

Later that same day Vegan Girl posted some animal pics to my Facebook, and as always my friend Don was right there commenting on her post and asking her questions.  Every time a girl leaves me a comment, or vice versa, he sees it in his news feed and he jumps right in with his two cents, stepping all over my dick in the process.  It’s annoying as shit.  I’m afraid the time has come to block him, especially now that he’s mining my friend list for more girls to add. He already has a thousand as it is.

In a way, I almost have to give him credit – even if he did hit on my sister Mary (who’s ten years older and looked at him as if he were a bug).  He leaves absolutely no stone unturned, but I guess he has to when he’s the weirdest and most socially awkward person ever.  I stopped dining out with him because last time he was staring creepily at random girls and blowing straw wrappers at them.  He actually thought he was being flirty.  *facepalm*  (Another bit of advice for you virgins: don’t be like Don.)  Yet somehow he finally managed to lose his virginity too.  And get this – he did it a full two years before I did.  How in the fuck.  I’m still trying to process that.

So that’s the round up.  I’ve also made up a list of things to do and places to see, which has now grown to two pages.  So far I’ve crossed off a good number of items.  Most of it is just fun silly shit, but I consider them accomplishments nonetheless.  I’ll detail them all when I do my end of year post.

Kiss

It’s been ages since I’ve had a second date, but I went on one tonight with The Singer and I dare say it went pretty well.  The original plan was to go to the carnival, but the shitty weather put the kibosh on that.  We ended up going bowling instead.  There was an hour-long wait for a lane so we went into the bar area and had a couple of beers in the meantime.

We found a relatively quiet corner and had a nice conversation.  I found out that not only does she like Harry Potter, but she’s a Star Wars and Titanic buff too.  Score!  She’s very easy to talk to, and the huge mug of beer I had helped as well.  We also delved a little deeper this time, broaching the subjects of religion and politics and the cosmos.  We were pretty much on the same wavelength there too.  She took a lively interest in what I was saying and I was eager to learn more about her in return.

They finally called our names and we went out and bowled a couple of games.  She picked up the tab for those since I bought beers this time and dinner last time.  I appreciated the gesture.  After a couple of good frames I did a spin and a moonwalk, much to her amusement.  When we were done bowling we sat there chit-chatting for a bit before calling it a night.  She had choir practice in the morning and it was getting late.  I also didn’t want to overdo things.

I walked her to her car.  At this point my heart was throwing itself against my ribs.  We’d been texting all week and things got a little flirty the day before.  I was determined to kiss her before we parted ways.  I think she might have wanted me to kiss her after our first date, and I wasn’t going to make the mistake of not doing so this time.  Second date – shit or get off the pot.

We stood by her car making idle chit chat and it was clear she was lingering, so it was now or never.  I said good night and we hugged.  We pulled back a bit, and then I lowered my arms to around her waist and pulled her back in.  She realized I was going in for the kiss and she closed her eyes and tilted her face to meet mine.

As soon as I saw her do that I mentally shouted YES! YES! YES!  Then we connected.  It felt great.  Totally natural and not awkward in the slightest.  I let my hands roam around a bit, running them up and down her back, along her sides, and then reaching up and grabbing the back of her neck.  She pulled me closer against her, and when I put my hand on her neck she grabbed the back of my head and pulled me even closer.  We made out like that for at least a couple of minutes before finally coming up for air.  She opened her eyes slowly and let out a little giggle as she looked me, and then she put her head on my shoulder and just held onto me for a bit.

I said good night again and told her what a nice time I had, and she told me I’m a lot of fun to be with.  Then I said I’d be in touch very soon, gave her one last peck and floated over to my car.  I drove home in a happy little daze.  And now the big question is how to proceed from here.  I’m quickly approaching uncharted territory.  I have to figure out my next move and not screw this up.  I seem to be doing pretty well so far, though.  I’ve been cool and chill and patient, and I haven’t done or said anything weird or stupid.

Oh yeah – and I think she likes me.

 

First dates:  34
Second dates:  4
Third dates:  2
Cancellations:  9
Stood up:  2
First kisses: 3

Scenes

…from an Italian restaurant.  I rarely do dinner on a first date, but I did tonight with The Singer.  She was the second of the three girls that canceled last Tuesday, so I shall adjust my counter once again since we successfully rescheduled.  The Singer is my second Tinder date.

We got there at the same time and she was even cuter than her pictures.  I liked her from the start.  I gave her a hug and we went inside.  We got a table in the back, and since it was Sunday night it was fairly quiet and empty.  Perfect.  I felt a bit more relaxed, comfortable, and in charge of my words than I was on the last few dates I went on.

This actually happened to be the same place where I’d gone on my first date ever.  But at that time we were just high schoolers getting pizza and soda.  This time it was a sit-down dinner, and the place had been completely remodeled so it was almost like being there for the first time.  And I dare say this date went much better than that one.  If you remember that post, you’ll know what I mean.

Anyway, The Singer is a music teacher, an operatic singer, and a choral director.  We had plenty to talk about with our combined musical backgrounds.  And then I found out we share a mutual love of waterfowl.  Major bonus points.  I know what we’re doing on our second date.  If there is a second date.  While things seemed to go pretty well, I feel like I already know how this is going to end, which is the way it always seems to end:  I’ll get in touch with her in a day or two about a second date and I’ll get the usual “Well, I had a fun time and you’re a really nice guy, but…”

Sigh.  But we’ll see.  I could be wrong.  I’ll know soon enough.

In the meantime I’ve been keeping in touch with The Comedian.  I don’t feel any particular attraction to her and I’m not sure what else to talk about either.  So I don’t think this is going anywhere.  However I have a new prospect who just gave me her number on OKC, so I’ll contact her tomorrow and see what happens.

First dates:  34
Second dates:  3
Third dates:  2
Cancellations:  9
Stood up:  2
First kisses: 2

Resurrection

Spring has arrived and it’s dating season once more.  I’m searching on OKC again and my inexhaustible supply of matches continues to astound me.  I can only imagine how many more I’d have if I lived in the city as opposed to the suburbs.

I felt like hot shit when I triple-booked Tuesday.  That’s right, I had three dates lined up.  Then one by one they all canceled.  This one had to drive her sister someplace, this one was with her mom at the hospital, this one had a quiz to study for… Two of them made noises about rescheduling, but the ball’s in their court.  I told them to let me know when is good for them and I left it at that.  In the meantime I’m moving on with my search.

I did score two dates over the weekend, though:

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This one I reeled in via one of my let’s-see-if-this-gets-a-response messages.  She wrote back and before long we exchanged numbers and started texting.  The conversation got better and better until we agreed that we had to meet.  A date was set for Saturday night at a crepe place.  We were just as excited about meeting as we were at the prospect of food.

I was positive that we would hit it off and I had a really good feeling about things, but she telegraphed her disinterest the second she walked into the door.  I hadn’t even stood up or said one word yet.  I gave her a hug which she weakly reciprocated, and we took a seat after ordering our food.

Things were just totally off.  I did my best to engage with her, but despite our shared dance background (we’d even attended the same school) I just couldn’t get a conversation going.  I went from topic to topic.  Nothing.  Of course, it would have helped if she had participated.  She gave me one-sentence answers and then silence, punctuated by glances at her phone or around the shop.  She didn’t ask me a single question about myself, even when I volunteered information. Talking to the wall would have been more productive.

No sooner had I taken my last bite did she start pulling on her coat.  “Well, you’re putting on your jacket so I guess that means you’re ready to leave,” I said dryly.  We’d only been there for 40 minutes.

“Yeah,” she said.  “I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling this.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” she grimaced at me.  “There’s just something about you I can’t put my finger on.”  She paused.  “You’re kinda nerdy, I guess.  Too straight-edge for me.  And the way you’re dressed…”  This coming from the girl wearing a basic sweater and jeans and next to no makeup.  Meanwhile I thought I looked pretty good.  I wore the same jeans and button-down I wore when I met my new friend Emma, and she said I looked good.

“What’s wrong with the way I’m dressed?” Well, she didn’t like that I was wearing sneakers, going so far as to put her head under the table to look at them.  What the fuck.  This was the problem?  Was I supposed to put on dress shoes to eat crepes?   Now I was getting really annoyed, and I was right on her heels to leave.  When we were outside I just said goodbye and that was it.  So… yeah.  That was pretty disappointing.  And I just couldn’t get over the disconnect between the girl I talked to online and the one I met in person.

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This one was actually on Easter.  I’ll call her California Girl.  She’s only in NY for a year for her graduate program and she’s going back to California in August.  She’s more of an outdoorsy type so I suggested a walk through the nature preserve.  When she arrived I took Gratuitous Rex’s advice to dispense with the hugging and just grasp her hand and kiss her on the cheek instead.  However she seemed totally caught off guard and I got her on the ear instead of her cheek.  Woo.  Awkward.

I turned her attention to the ducks clustered nearby, but they weren’t interested in the lettuce I brought.  Damn.  Awkward on two fronts now.  So I gave up on my web-footed friends and led her through the park instead.  Once we got past that rough beginning things went a little more smoothly.  And what a difference from the previous night. CG actually knew how to participate in a conversation.  Quite refreshing.

We toured the preserve, discussing the differences between NY and CA, swapping online dating stories, talking about our jobs, and then we found a giant orb in the middle of a field.  Upon closer inspection we found a slit in the side and an inscription:  “Cartas al Cielo.” Letters to the Sky.  A celestial mailbox for delivering messages to the heavens. We each wrote something and put it inside.  I’d say that was a pretty cool find.

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We were there for almost two hours before calling it a day.  She wants to explore as much of NY as she can while she’s here and she said she was open to another outdoor adventure with me.  However I got the impression that I was completely friend zoned.  She showed zero interest in anything beyond that, so if we do get together again that’s all it’ll be.  It just sucks because I found her really attractive and easy to talk to.  Even though I was nervous and tongue tied some of the time… just can’t seem to get past that no matter how many dates I go on.

 

First dates:  32
Second dates:  3
Third dates:  2
Cancellations:  10
Stood up:  2
First kisses: 2

Music

Music is my escape.  When I’m playing, I’m lost in my own little world.  No worries or thoughts can get in (not that I have many worries).  But I’ve been spending a lot of time practicing lately.  I’ve been fiddling for two, three, even four hours a day for the past couple of months, and when that’s done I’ll slip on my headphones and sit behind the drum kit for another hour or so.  By the time I finally emerge from my music room, I’m shocked to see how much time has passed.

I went to my first Irish music session over the weekend.  I’ve heard about them, I’ve seen them on YouTube, but I’d never seen one in the flesh.  They were very welcoming.  One guy offered me a mic for my fiddle, but I waved him off.  I just wanted to take a backseat, take it all in, see how things worked.  Despite all my hours of practice, there were precious few tunes I could play up to speed, and I only managed to jump in on a couple here and there.  It was a nerve-wracking experience.  I’d played open mics before, but I’d never played with other musicians before.  Some of these guys had been playing for 20, 30, even 40 years and could riff on anything in any key.  I felt like a kid at the adult’s table.

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The attendees and the pub patrons were largely of an older crowd.  There was one girl about my age playing in the group but she slipped away at the end before I got a chance to talk to her, and the next music session won’t be for another two months.   But I’m keeping true to my word to get out and start doing (even) more things and maybe I’ll meet someone that way, although right now that isn’t my express purpose for doing so.  At the moment I’m just focused on the music.  I’m also joining up with the local traditional music orchestra, although that only meets once a month and the next rehearsal won’t be until May.  Well, at least that’ll give me more time to practice.  It’s been eons since I’ve done an open mic or any kind of performance, and I’m keen to get back out there and get my feet wet again.

In other news, I’m still plugging away on Tinder.  I’ve gotten almost 70 matches so far. With all these matches, shouldn’t I have more than one date to show for it by now? A half-dozen turned out to be fakes.  Two girls either deleted their profiles or unmatched us while I was in the middle of setting up a date with them.  Most of my matches I’ve succeeded in starting conversations with, experimenting with different openings, but the majority of them ended up going nowhere.   I guess I still need to get the hang of Tinder.  But I’ll save that for my next post.  I’m screenshotting all my convos on there and I’ll include some of them in my next post.

Stay tuned.