Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Three Minute Rule?

Twin has been trying online dating for over a year now, and it has indeed been trying. She's found a lot of duds, unfortunately. Last night over a beer she showed me the various messages that have come to her inbox lately. Aside from the 18 year old who wanted her to slap and humiliate him and the WAY too self-deprecating guy who even put himself down for having a boring name, I noticed a trend. 

These guys expected a reply yesterday. Patience, it would seem, is not a virtue among the internet dating crowd. Most of her recent conversations begin with a string of messages from the guy. The first one is his opening line, his introduction or whatever. And more often than not, the second message in the conversation is also from him, generally around ten minutes later, asking why she didn't answer or apologizing for bothering her. Sometimes there is a third from him. (If a guy is going to be rude, it's in the third message. He'll call her a bitch or say she's stuck up and she's really missing out by not giving him a chance. I wish I was kidding.) Sadly, a lot of her opening lines in these conversations revolve around telling him she was busy, or to chill out. It's all very romantic. 

A couple years ago, I met this guy--we'll call him Boy Band--at a bar. I was out with some friends who like to buy rounds of shots and he had a cute smile. He seemed perfectly normal so when he asked if he could take me to dinner sometime, I gave him my phone number. Having grown up with Sex and the City, I figured I would hear from him in three days--two if he was really eager. I was confident with that assumption, because basically every sitcom from my childhood until that point had an episode about The Three Day Rule. RULE. It's so widely known that it has a name! Everyone knows The Three Day Rule! If a guy on TV only waits two days he says he just couldn't wait another day and his friends still give him shit for it! Like it or not, that is the world I know. 

So when Boy Band called me that night after he got home from the bar, I was surprised. (Particularly since my friends hadn't even left yet--we were still at the bar so I had to go outside to hear him.) He texted me the next morning--and all day. I had a busy day planned, including an evening with friends. He texted constantly to see if I had any free time yet. Sitting around a bonfire that night, I missed his text inviting me to his friend's house. When I noticed it after about twenty minutes, I also had another message--"I get it, you don't want to see me." 

CHILL OUT. As my friends laughed at him, I wrote back. Then he tried to flirt with me, but feeling suffocated really doesn't do it for me. I ignored two (TWO!!) 2am drunk phone calls and one good morning text during a family brunch the next day before I deleted his number. How could The Three Day Rule have failed me so miserably? 

Ok, fine. The rule kind of sucks. It's silly. I don't care if you call the next day. I don't even care if you text that day. But I do care that you can't wait for a damn reply. Guys, what is your problem? Do women do this? Is this a side effect of smart phone culture? Like, everything is on my phone and I always have my phone, so no matter how or when you get in touch I should be responding that instant? Or is this an ego thing? You feel like a wounded bird after ten minutes of silence so you blame me to make yourself feel better? Because you're such a catch that I should drop everything to answer you or else I'm missing out? What is it? Because my outgoing voicemail message says that I'm probably doing something more interesting--I don't have time to sit by the phone. 

This idea of "how dare you ignore me for fifteen minutes, I'm awesome" is not attractive. It doesn't make us realize we've made a huge mistake and send our apologies. For me, it's a big red flag. I'll pass, thanks. Play it a little cooler, guys. I'm not saying you have to wait three days, but remind yourself that she probably has a busy schedule give her some time to answer you. 

Otherwise you might end up as the guy her friends still make fun of. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Does Timing Matter?

"Can I request a blog topic?!" 

Absolutely. This came from someone in my real life, but I'm always open to ideas, even from those who don't have my phone number. 

"Is it possible to meet the right person, but have it be the wrong time? And if so, is it possible to meet again and have it be right?" 

Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts about timing. I'm glad you asked. I think timing is a huge factor in relationships. Timing has gotten in my way more than once. It would be really convenient to believe that if you meet someone and you're attracted to them and they're attracted to you, you're ready to live a Hallmark movie life. That would be great. But that's not how it works. 

If you're sitting there thinking, but Amanda, that's how my relationship started, then first of all shut up. No one likes a bragger. Second of all, please know that your situation is not only annoying but also not how it goes for all of us. 

So often you meet someone awesome but you're in a relationship or they're in a relationship or they're leaving for a semester abroad or you're at a friend's wedding out of town or they have kids and it's hard for them to date or they're not over someone else or a million other things that the universe sends to cockblock you.** Because the universe WILL cockblock you. Not every time, but sooner or later the universe will get in your way. 

And that sucks. It's a horrible feeling, to meet someone and think, wow, this person is not annoying and I think I could sustain a conversation with them for at least a whole meal...and then find out that he's moving in the morning. And sometimes (IF EVERYONE INVOLVED IS SINGLE) you choose to spend time with them anyway, knowing it's just temporary, until you fly back home. Sometimes you walk away (ESPECIALLY IF ONE OF YOU IS IN A RELATIONSHIP) and think about how that sucked. Sometimes you do some plotting to figure out how you could make it work. Sometimes one of you acts like a douche about it and that's that. It could go a lot of ways, is what I'm saying. (UNLESS ONE OR BOTH OF YOU IS IN A RELATIONSHIP, IN WHICH CASE NOTHING HAPPENS BECAUSE THAT IS THE DECENT WAY TO BEHAVE. Yeah, there's a sort of theme today.) But it happens. Timing matters. There will be people who say I'm wrong, that the only thing that matters is both of you wanting to make it work. That's a lovely thought, but it's not realistic. I'm not talking about long distance relationships, for the record--that is a whole different topic. I'm saying that every other piece of your life contributes to whether or not the time you meet someone is the best time to pursue them. A few years ago I met this guy at a bar who seemed really great...we chatted for a few minutes before he told me he was really sorry and he'd noticed me earlier and I was really cool but he had a girlfriend. That sucked, but I appreciated his honesty and thanked him but I was really bummed. Some time later, a mutual friend asked if I remembered him because he was single again. I was in a relationship. Timing is a factor.

Now for the second part of your question...what if someone comes back in your life. Remember that thing I said about the universe? Well, we're not done with that. I believe the universe rights itself and shitty people will get shitty things later in life. I believe that sometimes the universe puts you in the right place at the right time. And I believe that when people come back into your life, there's some reason. (I know, this reads borderline sentimental. I have a point, though.) 

I'm not saying that if someone comes back into your life the timing is right, though--let me make that clear. You'll probably give it a shot anyway. And then you'll realize my point here--there's some reason. Your journey isn't done or whatever. In my experience, that reason might be to give you an answer to what if? You might go out with them...try a relationship...and whether or not it works at least you'll know. (It probably won't work. Just saying.) Or maybe seeing them again is a lesson. If someone is a dick to you, leaves, and then shows up in your life again, maybe the universe is sending a reminder. Hey remember how that woman made you feel? How shitty she was? Don't let anyone else make you feel that way. You get what I'm saying? People come back because they still have something to teach you, because you have something to teach them, or both. You won't know until it's over. Or you might never know. That's how it goes.

There are a million reasons someone might show up in your life again. So yeah, maybe the timing is right the second time around .Or maybe not. I can't tell you what it means--you'll have to let it play out to get your answer. Just go in with your expectations low and your eyes open. 

**I think it's worth noting that I'm using the term cockblock even if, in fact, neither of you is equipped with such bits. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

What Kept Me from Blogging This Week?

Sorry if I got your hopes up for some interesting content today. (And most of you are like, yeah my hopes are never very high when I click here WELL GOOD low expectations from the start is also my tactic for impressing men.) 

So what kept me from updating this week? 

Well, on Monday I was totally useless following a weekend-long training. I was going over my notes and working on the to-do list that my weekend created. Also I was recovering from late nights sitting on cement floors with my friends, very few hours sleeping on a bunk bed, and long productive days. Then I met some friends for a beer, which included spying on/live-tweeting a couple dates at the bar. And doing a shot with one of the couples?? And panicking that he somehow knew I was tweeting about his date? And a lemon drop was his way of saying, I'm on to you and I'm not as weird as you're telling the internet? 

It's not like I gave away any identifying details about him, his date, or their location. But when a stranger talks to you while you're composing a tweet about him winking at his date, a bit of paranoia steps in. I think everything is ok though. 

The rest of my week was full of meetings, fundraiser stuff, puppysitting, mile-long to do lists, and potential job stuff. I wish I had more scandalous things to tell you about, trust me. 

And now here we are, with a disappointingly short** blog post. I'm trying to make this quick as I was just flirting with a migraine for a few hours and I'm planning on getting away from screens for a while. 

**Don't you dare make the obvious joke that I've accidentally set up here. You're better than that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thoughts on Casual Relationships

I spent my weekend at a training in the middle of nowhere. Despite how that sentence sounds, I had a great time. Between sessions, I got to hang out with friends I seldom see and some new friends. We sat up far too late on Saturday, talking in between games of Spaceteam. (Look it up. Trust me.) At 1am, one of the college students in our group received a text. Two of us went into Mom Mode and demanded to know who was texting him at such an hour.
"Just a friend from school!" 
We shared a look. "What is she texting you?" 
He laughed at us and said it was just asking when he was getting back. I informed him that I rarely text my friends at 1am, and if I do it's because one or both of us has been drinking, and if it's a man then I'm definitely not casually chatting. 
My young friend insisted that "it's not like that" and that he "sister-zoned her a long time ago." 
Again, my fellow Mom looked at me. At the same time, we told him, "She doesn't know that."**

The conversation that followed, about hooking up and the games we play with each other, got me thinking. In case you hadn't noticed, I am not of the opinion that you have to be in love with someone, or even want to head in that direction, in order to kiss someone. (OR I WOULD NEVER KISS ANYONE.) You can be attracted to someone and enjoy being around them without wanting to create a relationship. I say as long as you're both interested and honest about what you want, the idea of a casual makeout or even the clich├ęd friends with benefits is totally fine. You're all adults and you can make your own choices. (All of this is irrelevant if one or both of you is in a committed relationship, since I have a zero tolerance stance towards cheating.) 

And yet so often it fails. Because none of you are listening to me. I have told you repeatedly, through text messages, in person, via email, and probably here: you really can't keep things casual if one (OR BOTH) of you wants more. I have nothing against romantic relationships, except that they're gross and sometimes lead to things like marriage and babies and lengthy discussions about feelings. If that's what you want, go look for it. But I'm talking to people who aren't looking for serious. Whenever you talk about things getting weird with someone you hooked up with, I'm going to tell you that person is struggling with a serious case of Feelings. (Or a case of Thinks YOU Have Feelings--did you text too many times the next day?) When I tell you to be honest about what you want, you have to start with yourself. Some people can't handle casual--and that's fine. You can't force something you're not into. Some people say casual is fine because they want more and figure they can morph the situation into a relationship. 

I know every situation is different blah blah blah. My advice to you, however, remains the same. Be clear about what you want and what the other person wants. Could this turn into a Real Relationship? Sure. Romantic comedies certainly think so. (I also know real people who've been though that, if that makes you feel better.) Is it guaranteed? Absolutely not. If that's your endgame, you have to be careful--you might be disappointed. 

Otherwise you might find yourself texting some boy at 1am while his friends judge your actions. 

**Ok fine. If this is the sort of thing you do, maybe you do know you've been sister-zoned. Maybe you don't have feelings for the person you're casually texting at 1am. Just know that your behavior is suspect. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kissing Strangers

I tried to resist. I stayed away from the topic for as long as I could, thinking it would go away. But if my facebook newsfeed is any kind of indicator, we're still talking about that First Kiss video. Parodies are still popping up, so I guess we're not quite over it.

In case you've been living under a rock, this is the video I'm talking about: 

So twenty strangers are asked to kiss each other for the first time in front of a camera. Of course there was more to it: turns out it was put on by a clothing company, which explains why everyone is well-dressed. And they used actors and musicians, so of course they're all quite lovely. (Can you spot Damian from OkGo? I missed him the first time. Sneaky.) So is it exactly as advertised? Lots of people are saying no. I maintain that yes, it is--they're still people kissing for the first time on camera. (I was going to say they're strangers to each other but I can't back that up.) 

Did I like the video? Surprisingly, yes. But Bitter Amanda, you're saying out loud looking like a weirdo, you can't stand people making out in public! In fact you're rather rude to people kissing in front of you. What made this different? Great question, readers. And part of my answer is that they weren't actually kissing in public--not counting the camera, of course. They weren't blocking my path to the restroom or exit. But that's just part of it. 

The main reason I liked it? These people are having a real moment with each other without a romantic backstory. Kissing strangers if often portrayed as a pathetic, lonely, (drunk) experience. And that bothers me. 

Why? Because I like kissing strangers. Kissing strangers can be awesome. I don't usually kiss them right away, since that's tough to get away with unless you have some romantic comedy plotline to help you out. (You know, oh that guy over there won't leave me alone and I said you were my boyfriend kiss me so I can prove it to him!)** I usually engage in a bit of flirting first...then I kiss them. 

Some people want to criticize that. Some people believe that you have to create these moments using a relationship algorithm. Smile, introduction, flirting, phone number, three days, dinner, kiss. They want to see the experience as pathetic and desperate and sloppy. And maybe it is, sometimes. (Then again, there is value in those moments too.) But as First Kiss (and my personal experiences...) show, it doesn't have to be. It can be sweet and fun and sexy and yes, it can be intimate. And you can walk away and never see them again and it doesn't lose any value! 

My point here? Despite what movies show us, you don't have to be long suffering star-crossed lovers for a kiss to be worthwhile. A kiss isn't better if you know their middle name. It doesn't have to be about love at all. It just has to be about does this person want to kiss me and do I want to kiss them? (Alright, YES, sometimes there is a bit more to it--is it permissible/legal/whatever--that's a bigger topic for some other time. If you're not sure about those issues you should hold off on kissing. You're getting distracted.) 

Calm down, committed couples. Your kisses are good too. (AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT HOLDING UP THE LINE AT STARBUCKS.) Kissing someone you have feelings for--ugh--or whatever is great. As long as you can convince yourself that your relationship isn't a lie. Of course I don't mean your relationship--yours is fine...I mean other relationships...

So weigh in here, readers--what did you think of First Kiss

**Wait, do you guys think I could get away with using those kind of lines? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Weekend Updates

Have I been neglecting you, readers? I feel like I have. Here are a few updates and things you might have missed...

1. I still haven't taken my Chia Pet out of the box. I'm afraid. But I will! Do I have to name it or anything, or will just keeping it alive be enough? 

2. I spent a lovely, freezing afternoon shoveling snow with Mr. Darcy. We made eye contact once but he preferred to shovel in silence. How smitten he must be, to persist in ignoring me even as circumstances pushed us together! Any day now I believe we'll have our second conversation. 

3. My ex popped up on a mutual friend's facebook last week and it was just annoying. A matter of, ugh, get off my computer screen. Then I noticed his new profile picture and thought, I'm not attracted to this man. Then over the weekend, it was Overshare Story Time with my cousins and I mentioned something about him. Saying it out loud made me realize that our relationship probably wouldn't have lasted, even if he had been speaking to me. It was pretty great! 

4. St. Patrick's Day was Monday and I met a few friends for a beer. We skipped our usual spots and hit up a place we seldom visit. The people watching did not disappoint. Not only did it inspire a new project, but it provided hours of entertainment. St. Patrick's Day also creates crowded bars, which is a perfect setting for my favorite public place game. And yes, the holiday also makes me miss my year in Ireland and yes, I'm that horrible person who wants to tell you how much better Guinness tastes in Ireland SORRY I CAN'T HELP IT IT'S TRUE. 

5. Here's a fun video you should probably watch. I'll never be over this song. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Beginning of Time and Internet Dating

I'm single. 

I know I'm single and that stalking Mr. Darcy does not count as a relationship. I'm only telling you this because a lot of people think I need a reminder. Your relationship status is not something you casually forget. (Unless you're my ex, but that's beside the point.) 

A fair amount of people have taken it upon themselves to help me find my next relationship, despite a lack of interest on my part. I'm even having dreams about friends throwing me under the dating bus. (You'll all be hearing from me regarding your dream behavior.) One suggestion I receive all the time is to try internet dating. 

No. I've probably talked about this before, but it's not for me. I read profiles and find things I hate and never feel the need to talk to anyone, let alone meet them. But that's not the only reason! Guess what? I've tried it. 

OkCupid launched ten years ago, and I tried it. I tried in in those first few months. I was the guinea pig for my friends, many of whom started their own profiles as a result of me not being murdered. We crafted my profile and wondered if anyone would contact me.  My profile said I was only looking for pen pals and I heard from guys all over the country/world. And you know what? I loved it. I would meet my friends for lunch and they would ask about the grad student and the comedian and the English pirate. (He wasn't really a pirate, but he was English. He looked like a favorite pirate of ours.) I was having some pretty awesome conversations with cute boys and it was wonderful. Occasionally I would get messages from local guys, which sucked because they always wanted to meet for dinner or invite me to their frat party after sending me one message. One guy asked if I wanted to meet to watch the sunrise and I laughed for fifty years because are you kidding me. I also had a local guy send me a few unsolicited, very graphic, disgusting poems he wrote about women masturbating, but I reported him. Mostly, my messages came from guys out of range. 

I think I stuck with that for maybe three years? I didn't use it much after the first couple years...I got bored. I think more people found out about it and joined and I found that the quality of men was decreasing. Near the end, I was getting more and more messages that read, "cool pic wana chat" and to be honest that didn't do much for me. Where were the English pirates and the stimulating conversations? These guys sucked. Fortunately by then Facebook was open to everyone**, so I actually kept in contact with a few of the guys I met on OkCupid and didn't feel bad when I deleted that profile. 

There you have it. I tried internet dating. The local guys were unimpressive and creepy. I didn't want to meet any of them for dinner. The interesting ones were far away. Please stop suggesting I try this, both in real life and also in my dreams. I'm tired of your disapproving looks. 

**I'm older than the internet. Of course I remember when OkCupid and Facebook started--or as we called it then, The Facebook.