Out of curiosity, do you have enough time to date?

(Before I get to the meat of this post, side note: Why oh why do I suddenly get such pleasure from watching One Tree Hill, possibly in the top 5 worst non-reality prime time shows on TV? I haven’t seen the show in about 3 years and now they are doing flash forwards and flash backs and it’s just so addictive….)

Anyway, today my co-worker L. brought me a very blogworthy book. (In fact, she prefaced it this way: “Don’t be mad! It’s not because I think you NEED this, but I bought it for myself when I was single! And if nothing else it will be good for your blog!”) The book is called Why You’re Still Single: things your friends would tell you if you promised not to get mad.

Well, I haven’t gotten very far into the book yet — I’m on Part II, “You’re Just Not that Into Yourself” — but already I can tell it’s seriously a gem. I almost hate to admit how much I identify with the pitfalls the book describes: insecurity, desperation, and most of all, “Sure, ‘a good man is hard to find,’ but that statement ceases to mean anything when you add the corollary, ‘especially if you never leave your cats and your TiVo in your godforsaken apartment.'”

Wow. Guilty as charged. As I type, I am in yoga pants and my college sweatshirt, laptop on my lap, Project Runway on TV, and my cat Noodles at my side. (What, you mean to tell me that I’m unlikely to meet a man this way?? Pshaw.) The book goes on to say, “And you don’t have to be a hermit or couch potato to put up walls. Spend sixty hours a week at work? Hard to meet a guy there.” Ooh. So there’s the double whammy.

As I read this, I thought to myself, 1) “Wow, I really need to get out of the house more and DO things” and 2) “Why the hell do you think I’m internet dating, people??”

Then, only moments later, I received an email from a Match.com guy that contained the following (this was after he asked what kind of law I practice and I gave him a perhaps over-enthusiastic description): “Out of curiosity, do you have enough time to date? I imagine you’re working a minimum or 60hrs a week.”

Yikes. How is a girl supposed to answer that? The honest truth is, I don’t know. I mean, the last guy I dated was also a lawyer and he worked way more than me, so meeting up for late night dinner was not uncommon. But for non-lawyers, is my schedule unreasonable? Truth be told, up through my trial in March things ARE going to be rough. But I think if I want to make something work, it’d be doable.

I think.

Maybe.

I’ve been trying not to think about C., with moderate success, mostly because I am almost too damn busy at work to obsess. I’m in a pretty good spot as far as not feeling heartbroken, because I know that it’s for the best. The part that gets me is that it was so nice to just have that human connection–and I’m not just talking about the sex, but just the touch and the closeness, too–and now I’m back here and there’s just none of that on the horizon. Meanwhile, C. has at least one go-to booty call…but again, I shouldn’t think about that because it just makes me feel sort of ill.

Also, I had gotten used to us talking every day – online, on the phone, or texting. Now I can feel a definite shift. We still chat a bit, but it’s just different — like we both know that we won’t be seeing each other any time soon, and that nothing’s going to happen between us, so there’s no use.

Oh, and finally, to answer one of my readers’ questions: yes, as far as I can tell, C. and I are still going to Europe together. I figure by then things will have simmered down to nothing, since we probably won’t see each other before then, and then we’ll just be able to travel as friends. The only issue is that, because we’ll be doing the planning NOW, it will make it somewhat harder to put him out of my mind. But i don’t want to call off the trip–I don’t want to go on the trip solo (and I’m going regardless because my best friend M. is getting married), he has his heart set on it, and I know we’ll have fun together. Who knows – maybe I’ll even be dating someone by then, so the gray area of friends-with-benefits won’t even be there.

We can only hope ….

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My tears dry on their own

Yes, dear readers, the long-awaited weekend up in Oregon has come and gone and it’s time for a recap.

I don’t really know the best way to sum up the weekend. I guess I could say, parts of the weekend would have been romantic if it were a romantic situation. As it was, the weekend was at times relaxing, at times super fun, and at times emotionally tumultuous (at least, internally).

I flew into Eugene at about 1 pm on Friday and C. picked me up at the airport. It was a good, smooth flight and I was in a very upbeat mood. We got in the car and began our drive to the coast. It was a cold but sunny and gorgeous day, and we chatted away as farmland and forest whizzed past us. I felt this overwhelming feeling of calm and felt very very far away from my life and my everyday stress.

We stopped to have lunch at this small coast town about an hour from Eugene called Florence. We were the only people at the restaurant when we arrived and got a table by the window with a view of the water. We shared a bottle of wine and had chowder and fish and chips, then browsed at my favorite candy/taffy/gift shop in Florence before we got back on the road.

Once we got to Yachats — pronounced Yaw-hots, or as C. likes to call it, “the ‘Chats” (pronounced “the Hots” — I can’t even type it without giggling), we made our rounds to pick up food & drink. We bought four bottles of wine, some salmon and sangria ingredients. When we got to the house, it was almost sunset so we quickly opened a bottle of wine, poured ourselves each a glass and rushed out just in time to watch the sun set over the water. During the sunset, C. put his arm around me and kissed me for the first time that day.

We headed back to the house, where instead of cooking the salmon as we had planned, we decided to start with the sangria. I don’t know if you’ve gathered this from my other posts, dear readers, but SF is a bit of a lightweight. I had two cups of sangria and wow, the sangria kicked my butt. Anyway, it was only about 8 pm when we ended up drunk and in the bedroom. I’ll spare you all the gory details, but let’s just say that the bedroom part of the trip certainly did not disappoint.

Of course, not content to leave things be, I somehow brought up yet another DTR and the convo went something like this:
SF: I have feelings for you, I can’t help it.
C.: I’m sorry, I can’t reciprocate your feelings.

Not my finest moment, and not the highlight of the weekend. But more about that later.

Anyway, despite what it sounds like, that convo didn’t kill the night. There was more wine, more fun, some movie watching.

But the next day, all the good and the bad of that night caught up with me. I woke up feeling hungover in only the way that red wine can accomplish, and also emotionally hungover and feeling embarrassed/upset about the previous night’s conversation. We spent a good part of the morning just laying in bed snuggling (and then some) and then relocated to the couch and watched movies pretty much all day. It was raining outside and it was actually quite refreshing to have nowhere to be, nothing to do. In the late afternoon his parents arrived, C. and I played Scrabble then went out to dinner and watched another movie then he fell asleep on the couch and I retired to my own room. But all day this icky feeling from the prior night just wouldn’t go away.

That night I snuck into C.’s room when I woke up in the middle of the night … very fun.

The next morning, C. got up and cooked us all bacon & eggs. Then he and I headed back to Eugene. It had been snowing and the drive was like a winter wonderland — all foresty and blanketed in white. It was absolutely beautiful and we were both in good spirits. We had lunch at the airport cafe, and then we said goodbye. He hugged me, gave me a kiss and a soulful look (like only he can do) and walked out to his car.

I then had several hours to stay in the airport where my flight was delayed. I wanted nothing more than to be home at this point. I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and I felt a bit like a string that was close to snapping. They were threatening to cancel the flight, and for an hour or two I sat there, anxious over my two choices – 1) making C. pick me up at the airport and bring me back to his apartment when all I wanted was to put some space between us and clear my head, or 2) calling my parents and confessing to them that I had been in & around town all weekend and hadn’t told them, much less seen them. Um…not ideal. Luckily my flight finally took off and I got my bleary-eyed self back to my apartment at about 12:30 a.m.

So, positive things: I got to relax some, I got some long anticipated nooky, I got to see a beautiful beach sunset and snowy forest, I had some great (but deadly) sangria, I got to enjoy C.’s company.

Not-so-positive things: for better or for worse, I am a quintessential girl about all things related to the opposite sex, and I shed tears more than once over the past 48 hours (once in the airport bathroom – in hindsight I blame extreme tiredness and, I realize now, PMS – a lethal combo). But as today has gone on, clearer heads have prevailed. I realize that I have been projecting all sorts of expectations and hopes and desires onto C. But here’s the thing: he’s not the love of my life. He’s not even the same guy that was my high school sweetheart. He’s — well, a guy. Sure, he’s a guy I have history with. He’s a guy I seem to have amazing chemistry with — 10 years ago and now. He’s a guy who knows me, who I am comfortable with, who gets me. But this doesn’t mean that he’s my future.

It’s weird how we’ve fallen into a little pattern over the past month. We text each other random thoughts, we chat online during the day. We had been endlessly discussing this trip. But now that this trip has come and gone, that both of us know where we stand, and that there is no plan to see each other in the near future, it seems to have lost its urgency. I can talk to him, and we’re friends, but I know we won’t be more than that.

It’s funny – for Christmas I bought C. the book Eat Pray Love and he has been reading it and loving it. He joked last week that he thought he’d write his own male version and asked me what I wanted my name to be in the memoir. When I asked him, “I’d be in your memoir?” he said that yes, since everything that fell apart in his marriage over the last 2 months, what happened between us would be a good starting point. I commented, “yes, it has the elements of a good story.” C. agreed, “And there are still plenty of chances to screw things up or make it better, just like any good story.”

But as it turns out, this great-story-in-the-making, in reality …

Maybe not so much.

Single/Hypocrite

I recently posted about how I just wanted to meet someone organically instead of online. I’ve also written about how if there is an eligible bachelor within a hundred-mile radius, I will be on it like white on rice (is that an offensive expression? If so, sorry – was just the first cliche that popped into mind).

Anyway, as it turns out, a real-life, non-Internet guy that I met many months ago has asked me out on what may or may not be a date. And truth be told, I don’t really know what to do with myself.

Here’s the backstory. After my last BF dumped me in August, I decided that it was time to take time for myself and get back to the things I like to do most. One of those things happens to be speaking Spanish — I studied it practically my whole life and I love it. To that end, I joined this local Spanish language group. There are groups in L.A., Long Beach and Pasadena, and the groups do crossover events.

The first event I went to was at LACMA, and it was a Latin American Art Exhibit. It was a crossover event for the LA and Long Beach groups, and the guy in queston, “JK,” is the leader of the Long Beach group. He was in charge of checking everyone in, and I thought he was cute. (He actually bears a striking resemblance to my ex-fiance! But he’s in his mid-30s.) He and I ended up chatting quite a bit. He is very nice, but my first impression of him is that he was a little….bland?

At the LACMA event, JK told me about the next event he was planning, and I ended up going to it. At that event, I met a guy who was younger than me, who I hung out with a few times but he clearly wanted to date and I didn’t and…awkward. Eventually I just blew Young Guy off, which I felt bad about but didn’t know how else to handle it, but the fallout of that (combined with my work/ personal schedule) was that I have not attended a single event since.

Still, ever since that, JK and I have been emailing each other. Always in Spanish, always friendly. We talk about what we’ve been up to, he invites me to the events he’s planning, I never go (doh!) Before the holidays I thought to myself, “Here’s a perfectly nice guy right under my nose, maybe I’m missing something here” so I invited him to go to LACMA (I had tickets to the Dali exhibit) but he was out of town. We talked about getting together after he got back from vacation a few weeks ago, but as my dear readers know, I have been a bit, um…distracted. And frankly, this guy clearly doesn’t give me butterflies, or I wouldn’t keep forgetting about him over and over again!

So after I forgot to respond to his last email (doh again!) a week or 2 went by, and then today I got an email asking if I like flamenco and inviting me to go with him to a flamenco show at UCLA in 2 weeks that he has tickets for.

I really can’t see any reason not to go with him. Just because I don’t have a burning desire to jump his bones, that doesn’t mean we can’t hang out, right? Or is it wrong to go on a pseudo-date if I don’t feel a spark?

“Hi Amy.”

I really haven’t meant to make this blog all about men and dating and online dating. Truly. But stories keep coming up and I just can’t help but write about them.

As I said a couple of posts ago, I have dived back into the online dating scene – both Match.com and Chemistry.com . A few days ago I got an email from what looked like a good prospect – darling smile, tall, seemed smart and outgoing. I wrote him back.

Tonight I got an email back from him that said, “hi amy. thanks for replying. and, thank you for the compliment. you’re very attractive and obviously very intelligent. (i suppose we could be a power couple 😉 What part of Oregon? (a few sentences about himself and his job) Hope your ‘long’ weekend wasn’t too bad stuck at work. Have a great time in oregon, if i don’t hear from you. and maybe, we could meet up for a drink sometime, and see if we can’t strike up a friendship. the x-bar in centruy city is cool.”

This is a pretty nice, standard email, right? Nothing too alarming or creepy or offputting, huh?

Except for one thing.

My name isn’t Amy.

I don’t really know what to say about this. He caught all the other details of my emails, but he messed up my name. Is this a fatal crime? I just don’t know. I feel like I have stricken people from my online dating life for far less grave offenses. But his smile is really cute…

So, I leave the decision to YOU, dear readers. Do I give this one a chance? Please cast your votes! My dating fate lies in your very capable hands…

When you get right down to it…

…I’m still just a sap.

Sure, I may get all cynical and Bitter McBitterson on this blog, and with my friends. But in my heart of hearts, I’m still a romantic.

What I was going to write about, but forgot: Does anyone but me think that Definitely, Maybe looks adorable? Yeah…didn’t think so. I know that a rom-com starring Ryan Reynolds (who I’m not sure I can see as anything but Van Wilder) doesn’t exactly scream Academy Award. But something about the preview just makes me smile. It’s so…optimistic.

And I’m not being sarcastic when I say that it’s ok that I will be watching that movie, if at all, with girlfriends and not dragging a guy to see it with me. It’s ok that I will be spending Valentines Day weekend (when, of course, the movie comes out) with my parents, who will be visiting. It’s even ok that the last and perhaps only person to really love me in my life was my ex-fiance who I broke up with almost a year 1/2 ago. Because under all the cynicism and humor and bad dating experiences, I guess I must still have hope.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t still be so damn sappy.

Okay, okay

I did it. I sacked up and forked over payment for another 3 month subscription to Chemistry.com. Let me tell you, this site’s not cheap! But I figured that since I am willing to splurge in other areas (ordering takeout and flying to Oregon for a booty call pop into mind…) I suppose it makes sense to invest in my love life, such as it is.

A big part of me just doesn’t believe, given my dates over the past months, that it’s likely I’ll meet someone this way. Of course tons of my friends have met their sig o’s online, and really, once you meet someone, it doesn’t matter how you met – but the dating is just so awkward. I still have this fantasy that I’ll meet someone organically, there’ll be a spark, we will skip past all the blind-date junk and things will just click. Is that too much to ask? As it is, I find myself worrying about stupid things, like whether my teeth are white enough (should I bleach them?), whether it’s false advertising that all my pictures show me with long hair when I recently cut off 8 inches, and the like. Silly, right? (Or maybe not – this is L.A. after all.)

As for my visit to see C. this weekend, it turns out that we won’t make it to the coast until about 2 am. I am seriously contemplating changing my flight so that I get in earlier. My 2 options are – 1) leave work a few hours early, fly through Portland and get into Eugene at 9:45 pm, or 2) take Friday off and arrive in Eugene at 1 pm. If I can swing taking Friday off, that would be the best – it would make the trip way more worth it, and I did work a good chunk of today, despite the office being closed, so I can justify it to myself. Then again, I am juggling so many things at work that I’m not sure I can afford to take a day off on such short notice. I’m saving up my vacation days…and I’m trying to bill like crazy to get ahead for the year. But I do hate being a slave to all that and sometimes I just want to say “peace out”! Also, even though the next 2 months will be crazy, this week I don’t have anything due on Friday. Hmmm. Indecisive much? I will decide tomorrow…

By the way, if you laughed at my last post, don’t feel bad – all my friends cracked up too, and I know the situation is pretty hilarious. So, laugh away.

Okay, so in the past 5 minutes, as I have been writing this, I have just remembered why I disliked Chemistry.com. The artificial steps…the “relationship essentials” and “short answers.” I was sucked in because a couple of cute guys were “interested in me.” Damn you, Chemistry.com! *Sigh.*

All day I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to write tonight, and now that I’m staring at the screen it has all vanished. Sorry, dear readers, and thanks for tolerating my stream of consciousness!

Foiled!

I was beginning to get pretty excited about my upcoming weekend on the Oregon coast with C. We’d talked about what we wanted to cook (salmon) drink (he said he had a good Pinot Grigio) and watch (he spent a good amount of time trying to convince me of the merits of Must Love Dogs). I’m arriving very late on Friday night, so even though I promised that I’d rally for a late night on Friday, I knew that Saturday would be our real chance for quality time.

Then….inevitably, a wrench was thrown into our plans. I got a call from C. on Friday when I was en route to San Diego, and he said “Ummmmm….I have some unfortunate news. Not fatal, but just a…change of plans.”

As it turns out, unbeknownst to C. until two days ago, C.’s parents will also be at the beach house next weekend. C.’s dad is on the board of the HOA, and they have a late afternoon meeting on Saturday. Apparently C. convinced his parents to come out Sat afternoon instead of Friday, but still. They will be there.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Don’t get me wrong. I love C.’s parents. And of course I can’t begrudge them coming out for the weekend — after all, it’s their house! But this whole situation is quite embarrassing to me, to say the least. First, C. had to confess to his parents that I would be there. He explained it quite well — that I was complaining to him that my pre-trial hell would soon be beginning and I wanted to get away for the weekend and he invited me up. (All true, by the way.) But then he had to tell his parents not to tell my parents.

His parents were, apparently, totally cool about the whole thing. According to C., his mom had an undertone of being stoked that I was going to be there. And — get this! — his parents were apologetic about interrupting our plans and offered to pay for us to stay in a nearby hotel! (C. and I agreed that this would make us feel incredibly creepy, so we declined, and we’ll all be staying at the house on Sat night.) But essentially, his parents weren’t born yesterday, so they must be totally onto us. How humiliating–I feel like an uber-slut who’s flying 1000 miles to sleep with their not-yet-divorced son, and now I have to try not to be incredibly awkward.

C. was also apologetic and kept reassuring me that it will be totally fun anyway, and that when they get there, we can go to the beach, and that there’s a sushi restaurant he wanted to take me to anyway. I’m sure we’ll still have fun…it will just make me feel like I’m still in high school (as though our Christmas escapade didn’t already give me that feeling!). Us sleeping in separate rooms with his parents there…. oy. I guess I can mentally unpack all that sexy lingerie that I was mentally packing, and throw in my flannel PJ pants instead.

Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me, loud and clear, what I already know – that I need to put C. back in the friend box. Despite myself, I’ve become very irrational, including feeling jealous re the other girl I know he’s hooking up with. He’d told me about this girl, who’s a legal assistant at his office, before we ever hooked up over Christmas, and described it as just a physical thing and that he was planning to end it. Then recently on Facebook (which people like me should not be allowed to use) I saw a picture of him & her at a party and her arms were around him. I didn’t know who it was but then I put 2 and 2 together based on something he said. Apparently he hung out with her & others on Friday night. I think about him with her and it just gets under my skin even though I know it shouldn’t. Grrrrrr.

There’s this line from High Fidelity (one of my all time faves that I watched again the other day) that really describes what I feel for C.: “I miss her smell .. and the way she tastes. It’s a mystery of human chemistry and I don’t understand it … some people as far as your senses are concerned, just feel like home.” When he and I were kissing over Christmas, C. said to me, “I forgot the way you taste.” And I felt the same way, like “Oh, I remember what this is like.” But even more than the physical familiarity, I felt like my whole being just sort of relaxed when I was around him, like I returned to a version of myself that I had forgotten about. But I digress….

I have been trying to decide whether to renew my match.com and chemistry.com memberships, and I think I should. Despite the fact that this round of online dating has been a resounding failure (now we are up to 5 for 5 guys who’ve disappeared after our date), and the fact that online dating is often so painful that I’d sooner stab out my own eye with a hot poker, I feel like I still need to be trying…to give me a distraction, to not be “putting my eggs in the C. basket” (as my friend T. would say), and to keep the tiny inkling of hope alive that, maybe, there are still nice, normal, unmarried men out there. I haven’t met any of these alleged men, but they must exist….right?