Online dating is terrible. And great. And fun. And frustrating. But those same words describe dating in general. People complain about dating after divorce, or dating after 40, but from what I can tell, dating at any age is a test of one's endurance and sense of humor. Take a snapshot of a website's collection of profiles at any given moment, or trap everyone in a bar on a Saturday night, and you're going to see the same characters. Single people come in all flavors across all spectrums: they are hopeful and jaded, horny and uptight, desperate and cavalier, cocky and insecure, honest and deceptive. They're people. People who need people.
As one of those single people, I admit to being home alone on more weekend evenings than I want to be. Some of my married readers may be jealous, and I can understand why: a Friday night can be lonely, but also self-indulgent. Last night, for example, I did what I wanted: I watched “Sex In the City” and “What Not to Wear” and other chick stuff, flipping channels with the remote as often as I wanted; I ate a healthy salad and diet soda, followed by two bowls of ice cream, approximately (ahem!) number of cookies, and three glasses of wine; I wore my pajamas over comfortable cotton underwear and unshaved legs; I read online personal ads.
So, at this point, I have to admit that I read them all: m4m, w4w, m4w, w4m, and all kinds of other categories I am discovering with each visit to a new site (did you even know there is such a thing as mm4tw???). I should probably be embarrassed to admit that I read this crap. And make no mistake: it IS crap. But sometimes it is hilarious crap. And if I were too embarrassed to admit that I read it, I wouldn't be able to share it with my readers, who by now must know that I am all about sharing and caring, even if it makes me look a lot less cool than the persona I was hoping to establish.
Anyway, the point is that last night I saw a headline that gave me hope for all the single ladies, all the single ladies (whoa-oh-oh).
The headline said it all. It said This Man is Funny. Honest. Vulnerable. Sensual. Expressive. Enthusiastic. It said This Man Knows What He Wants. And surprisingly, What He Wants is NOT a teeny, tiny, prepubescent, stick-thin, wanna-be model-waif chick who is devoid of curves but compensates with a push-up bra. This Man? For many women, This Man is a beacon of hope. For others perhaps, This Man is a crude, sophomoric neanderthal. And for me?
For me, This Man represents a happy future, but not one related to sex or love. For me, This Man represents financial independence. Why? Because while he is trolling online for BBWs, I am going to take his headline, copyright it, trademark it, stylize it, and slap it on tee-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps, bumper stickers, and all manner of dollar store goodies. I will be rich because of This Man and his headline. I don't want to date him, but still I see a bright future because of him. And so, without further ado (and at the very real risk of having someone steal my great idea and make MY million dollars off it), I present to you the headline worthy of an entire blog post and the foundation for my future Fortune 500 company:
I Heart Big Giant Boobies!!!
(Yeah, he included all those exclamation points, too. Thank God for This Man and his unfettered exuberance. This Man is my muse. Hey, and if you see my merchandise in the future, mention this blog post and get 10% off your purchase. Such a deal.)
I can't sleep.
I said I can't sleep.
Don't be sorry. Just keep me company.
I am. I'm right here.
Yeah, but you're sleeping. Wake up and keep me company.
I am awake.
No, you're not awake.
I'm talking, aren't I?
Yes. But you could be sleep-talking.
I'm not sleep-talking.
Okay. I just can't stop thinking about today and how—hey, are you listening?
Really? Then what did I just say?
You think I'm sleep-talking.
Okay? Okay? I said I can't sleep and that I wanted you to keep me company and you said you would and now you're sleeping and when I said never mind you said okay. You're so mean.
Alright, baby, I'm up, I'm up. What's on your mind? I'm ready to listen.
Forget it. I'm too tired to talk now. And besides, now I feel guilty for waking you up.
But now I really AM up. Look, I'm sitting up, my eyes are open, I turned on the lamp. I'm listening.
It's just that earlier today those kids at the mall were looking at me and laughing. I know I'm not as young as I used to be, but am I that hideous? I mean, I've put on a few pounds, sure, but...
Baby, don't you worry about that.
...and we're not having sex as much as we used to.
That happens with kids.
I know. Still, I worry that maybe you just don't find me attractive anymore.
Oh stop. Of course I find you attractive.
Yes, really. And I love you. Even though you worry too much. And even though you're too sensitive.
You're right. I am too sensitive.
It's okay. It's kind of endearing. Even cute sometimes.
Thanks. That's exactly what I needed to hear. Can we cuddle? I think I can fall asleep now.
Of course we can cuddle, baby. Anything for my husband. Good night.
Geesh. Ain't that JUST like a man?
So, guys, you finally got that girl to go out with you. Mazel tov. And the dinner went great. And you were on your game. And she seemed into you. And there was a hug, or kiss on the cheek, or even on the lips. All in all, a great first date. You want a second one? Well, there's a lot of advice out there about how to make sure you make that happen. If you were smart, you lined it up before you let her go, but that's still no guarantee. You need to nurture this tender, new relationship...and let's be honest: if it was a good date, there's nowhere to go from here but down. So you don't want to screw this up.
What To Do and When
Make a lasting impression. Make sure she thinks about you all week. Set yourself apart as an original. Be sincere. Be unique. Be bold.
Text her before you even start driving home. In fact, text her WHILE you're driving home (Who cares if it's against the law? What's a moving violation in the face of love?). And text her a LOT. Not just one message. Aim for at least half a dozen that first night. And keep it going all week.
What NOT to Text
You don't want to be trite. Or weak. Or mealy-mouthed. So, don't use lines that she's heard over and over again from all the other guys. Avoid standard lines like these:
* Text me when you get home so I know you made it there safely!
* The food was good but the company was better. Thanks for a great evening.
* I'm still laughing about that funny story you told. Can't wait to hear more soon.
* That was the best first date ever. I say we go for the best SECOND date ever.
* I can't stop thinking about that kiss. You are so great. I'll call you soon.
YAAAWWWN! No, no, no. Do NOT say any of those things. She's heard all these lines before and she didn't end up with any of the pea-brains who said them. Here's your chance to pull away from the pack.
What You SHOULD Text
Think bold, original, specific. Something that lets her know you were paying attention to the details of the evening. Something that tells her you are a man with your own mind. Something along these lines:
* I paid for dinner and didn't get any action. You can make it up to me though. Let's say on Friday you pay AND put out.
* Sorry I was such a klutz tonight, but I only dropped my napkin so often so I could look down your blouse when you bent over to get it. I totally saw your bra.
* I just realized that you said it “supposably” which makes you sound ignorant. Good thing you're so smokin' hot.
* Hey, I wanted to tell you this in person but was too scared: you've had a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth all night.
* Your face and body are burned in my mind...and I will use them to pleasure myself when I get home.
* I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight. I love you. If you don't text me back and say you love me too, I have a bottle of sleeping pills and a bottle of Jack and I'm not afraid to use them.
Get the gist? Leave her wanting more. Leave her wondering if you'll still be alive next Friday. Leave her knowing that you definitely want to hit that if you ARE still around next Friday. Leave her knowing that you'll be thinking of her a LOT, especially in bed and in the shower. Leave her knowing that you'll probably never leave her alone and that she will one day have to file a restraining order. After being disappointed by so many other men who wouldn't commit, didn't stay interested, couldn't say the “L” word (let alone the “M” word), and let their eyes wander to everything in a skirt during dates, women will find your relentless obsessiveness refreshing and comforting. In no time, you two little lovebirds will be on your way to a mutually satisfying codependent relationship. You're welcome.
I'm practically a lawyer. I didn't go to law school, but I think I have experience that is equivalent to a law degree. Why? Well, over the past few years, I have logged probably a hundred hours watching court TV shows—and if it isn't really a hundred, it just FEELS like that many. I tend to focus on Judge Judy and Marilyn Milian who are, at this point, not only my models but my mentors. These chicks get it DONE with a gavel. Surly old broad and hot-blooded Latina. Both awesome.
Recently, I watched a case where Tyrone was accusing his friend Lashawn of stealing his gun. They'd been friends for fifteen years, and even though they were close, Tyrone said Lashawn was a SNAKE. In fact, Lashawn had a habit of cock-blocking on a very regular basis. He steals females from his buddy, so maybe he steals firearms from him, too.
So, Lashawn drove the two of them to a club, and when they parked, Tyrone left his [registered and legal] gun in the car. But when they came out at the end of the night, even though the car was still locked, Tyrone's gun was missing. Apparently, Lashawn was victimized as well; his hoodie and skullcap had walked. (Gun vs. hoodie. Totally the same. Reminds me of those evil idiots who kill someone, shoot off a half-inch of skin from their own forearm, then claim it was all done by a masked freak during a carjacking gone bad. Whatever.) Anyway, the whole thing is--I am sure you agree--shocking. Quite shocking.
But what was even more shocking was that Lashawn kept insisting that he never took the gun out of the GLOVE DEPARTMENT. There is no lock on the GLOVE DEPARTMENT, and everyone knows that when someone breaks into a car, the first place they look is the GLOVE DEPARTMENT. Besides, he never even saw the gun in the GLOVE DEPARTMENT, but maybe the two other buddies who were riding in the back seat saw it and had opened the GLOVE DEPARTMENT and taken it. He was innocent, obviously.
Of stealing, that is. But of murdering the English language? Verdict: GUILTY.
I don't have a single drop of Latin blood in me to my knowledge, but I know I would have gone loco listening to that guy. I would have held him in contempt. Found him guilty of irritating me. Climbed over the big, high judgy desk thingy and strangled him with his own sloppily-knotted, Walmart necktie. Judges exact justice, not mercy...right?
But the Honorable Judge Marilyn Milian? She kept a straight face and didn't even correct him. Didn't even flinch. That hot-blooded Latina kept it cool, banged that gavel, and let the dude go without sentencing him to mandatory English classes.
Yeah, that was probably the right way to handle it. Never mind. I can't be a judge.
tangled pasta thoughts
meatball words call from the sauce
read me first they say
[Haiku On Why I Can't Seem to Write Anything Lately]
Again, obviously I am no poet, but I lust for the genuine efficiency and economy of words that only real poets achieve through their thoughtful and well-crafted verse. My brain feels like "The Mess"--a pasta dish famous in Boston for looking like an accidental and haphazard pile of pastas and eggplant and mysteries that belie its very well-balanced tastiness. If you are daring enough to stick your fork into the ugly pile, whatever comes out is guaranteed to be delicious and decidedly un-ugly. My head is full of ideas that I feel sure would be as tasty as a bite of The Mess if only I could get the nerve to dive into with real gusto and without fear. My literary fork feels timid lately. Maybe it's time for a trip to Comella's for an order of The Mess. If I can tunnel my way through a plate of that, maybe I can tunnel through the writer's block!
I thought it was exciting when Happy Dog hit a thousand page views. But that was nothing compared to the little shiver that shot up and down my spine when I discovered that there are two search terms that are bringing folks to the blog in droves:
Search for "taze a dog" and this blog is the #8 result.
Search for "gynonudomania" and this blog is the #5 result.
I couldn't make this up. Well, I could, but I wouldn't. I'm not even sure I would want to. But if my marketing background has taught me anything, it's that ALL publicity is GOOD publicity. I'm sure that's the theory behind young actresses exiting limos in short skirts sans panties. Happy Dog is no Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton, but he walks outside completely naked every day and that doesn't seem to be driving traffic to the site. Maybe I need to put him in a short dress. You know how much dogs LOVE to be dressed up in people clothes.
All new year's resolutions fail. It's a scientific fact. Show me someone who is actually keeping a a resolution afloat mid-February, and I will produce the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, show me someone who makes a resolution and keeps it through the end of the year and I'll throw in Big Foot, Elvis, and indisputable evidence that Joan Rivers is precisely 114 years old and has never had a bit of plastic surgery in her life.
Failure simply cannot be an option in 2011. That is why this year I am abandoning new year's resolutions. Rather than resolve to do something new, I am simply going to commit to those things I am already doing with at least some success. I am leaving behind the ideal and grabbing hold of the REAL.
Ideal: I resolve to be more charitable with my time, money, and emotions.
The Real: I will continue to abstain from punching anyone in the face, no matter how much he or she deserves it.
Ideal: I will exercise at a brisk pace for 30 minutes at least three times a week.
The Real: I will continue to walk my dog so he can pee, and even run a little when it is butt-cold outside.
Ideal: I will eat more whole grains, steamed veggies, and drink 8 glasses of water a day.
The Real: I will continue to eat chocolate on a daily basis, preferably more of the good stuff.
Ideal: I will lose the same 12 pounds I have been complaining about for a decade.
The Real: I will not gain weight. At least not enough to require buying bigger pants.
Ideal: I will get 8 hours of sleep every night, preceded by meditation, journaling, and teeth flossing.
The Real: I will continue to fall asleep on the couch watching trash TV if I feel like it, sleep in on the weekends, and floss at least when a popcorn kernel gets stuck up in there.
Ideal: I will speak in a polite, professional, and ladylike manner at all times.
The Real: I will continue to swear when no other words will do, but restrain myself in front of children and the elderly. Well, in front of children anyway.
This year, 2011, is the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac calendar. And rabbits are cautious. They look before leaping. They don't jump into diets and investments and relationships without using their little bunny brains. I feel confident that my list of New Years' Reconstitutions is doable. And that's all I'm really going for in 2011. I'm not saying we ought to settle for mediocrity or stop setting goals or refuse to challenge ourselves. But sometimes we need some small successes just to keep us going. And that's what 2011 is going to be about for me: small successes. It would be great to get out of bed an hour earlier every morning to do sit-ups and stretching and read some classic literature before work--that's the ideal. But you gotta know where you're at. For sometimes just getting out of bed and going to work is not only The Real, but a Real Success, too.
P.S. If you'd like to join me in a year of Real Successes, the official Year of the Rabbit doesn't start until February 3 this year, so you still have a whole month to modify your list and replace some of those idealistic resolutions with realistic reconsitutions.