Or at least it could have been.
Waiting for a date at Jack Rose, I learned more about Notre Dame basketball than I care to remember (my F’in Irish friends would be so proud). By the time he arrived, I had already turned one attractive guy down and had been chatted up by the charismatic bartender for a solid fifteen minutes.
Here’s the thing about being late: it’s not just what it says about your priorities on meeting me. It’s not just my time you waste. It’s about the interest you lose to the hotter, more ambitious men at the bar who are not only approaching me– they’re present. Too bad this kid struck out before he even arrived.
I swear, I gave him a chance. He was as tall as advertised. Definitely as smart. But just not as cute, and his lack of punctuality cost him. Time is money, no? This is why, when I give advice to guy friends, I tell them to get there early. That way, they don’t leave opportunity for this to occur. And bonus: they have time to down a Scotch to calm any nerves. [Or just to enjoy in solitude.] Honestly, that’s why I don’t mind arriving first. Just sucks for the guy when the unfortunate happens…
The dating collateral lost by running late creates a sub- or fully-conscious predisposition to judge any further dealings with you at that level. Before you even take your seat, I’ve seen cute guys. I’ve been hit on by cute guys. And now, I expect you to match or improve on my night so far. No matter how cute some of you are, these memories will remain. If, at the beginning, I think, “this bartender is hot”– at the end, I will still think, “this bartender is hot”. With the addition of “and my date is not”.
Sorry, but the truth’s a bitch. If he had shown up on time, I wouldn’t have had attractive experiences to get me all charged up for disappointment. I still wouldn’t have been attracted enough for a second date either way [probably not]. But it might’ve been a more successful date [maybe]. He at least might have had the chance to ask to meet up again [unlikely]. Instead, we had interesting conversation while I internally had to block myself from scoping out the bartender too often.
So while you’re banging you head against the metro door, cursing yourself for running late [or just not giving a shit, because you're an asshole], just remember this: all those thoughts of the girl you’re meeting being stolen by some charming stranger at the bar? It isn’t paranoia. It’s actually happening.
Because while my date was struggling with the Red Line, I had a bourbon bought by the bartender who then introduced himself, asked again where I mentioned I work, and talked about returning the favor by coming to visit my bar sometime.
Guess who had my number in their pocket by the end of the night.
“Once upon a time, offline wasn’t even a word… You caught someone’s eye across a room. Your stomach leapt. There was chemistry. This was back in the time of romance. Back in the real world.” -The Offline Society
Hello, world! So I’ve joined on with the Pink Line Project as a society-and-dating writer– three hips and a hooray for me! Below is a teaser of my article, found in their Noise section, “The Offline Society: Bringing Romance to the Real World”
Our generation doesn’t live in the real world often anymore—we live online. With all the social media sites “you just have to join!” popping up, it’s tough enough to keep up with your evidently-crucial internet life, let alone an actual one. So many of us, craving that fabled romance of times gone by, search in the only place we know: the internet.
“Hi, my name is Jules, and I am an online dater.”
Yes, you all better chorus a dull “hiiii, Juuulllless…”
The Offline Society has an answer for this generational dilemma:
The three lovely ladies of the rising Offline Society have witnessed—and experienced—this struggle they call “internet-dating fatigue”. They’re offering a solution. In a strange mix of futuristic innovation and historic throwback, they have created a novel concept. According to their press release, “the Offline Society is a carefully curated club of ladies and gentlemen who could all be described as ‘quite the catch’. We gather in a private row home over old -fashioned cocktails and lively conversation. The mood is relaxed and there’s a hint of magic in the air.”
Again, read the full article here with Pink Line Project, and maybe step up your game with me tomorrow night? They’re bringing DC to ‘an era of people, not profiles’, and I sure as hell want to be a part of it.
Get your minds out of the gutter– I’m talking about height.
As a rather tall woman myself [stretching out to an often-contested but even 6"], height has played quite a role in my life. But hey– if Jessica Rabbit was a statuesque sex symbol with a shorter, adoring man, then anything is possible, right? I keep repeating a favorite book quote in my head while thinking about this post, “We’re all the same height lying down.” (Kudos if you comment where it’s from!)
There are some pretty ridiculous variables that go into attraction and compatibility, so there’s no point in borrowing trouble and making up new ones… but size is undeniable. Tradition– and basic animal instinct– dictates a larger male/ smaller female dichotomy. But is it required, or just a socially-learned habit?
I don’t know how many times girlfriends joked that it would be great if I were a guy, because I’m their favorite height. Or guy friends tried flattering me by saying they would totally date me if I were shorter– as if that would make a girl feel better, you goobers.
Apparently it doesn’t bother one of my guy friends (let’s call him Theon, because he’ll like that). He’s dated girls an inch or so taller, and had no problem with it; he actually thinks it’s girls that are ones uncomfortable with the role reversal. A girlfriend and I responded that we always thought it was guys with the height hang-up, and that taller women make them feel less manly or something. Theon laughed and said that he always feels like a man, so he doesn’t have a problem with it… for the most part. ”Only, when you’re holding hands with a taller girl, your arm lengths are mismatched and it gets tiring bending your elbow all the time. It’s very hard to look cool with the awkward elbow…”
Awkward elbows aside, I’ve heard the same from several other average-height male friends. My co-worker [of the "Shit Charming Guys Say" article] says that taller women have a certain attitude that he finds attractive– he often tells me that he loves the way I walk around the restaurant with this calm confidence that says “don’t mess with me”. He then proceeds to attempt an imitation, and always fails miserably with a huge grin on his face. But his bottom line is that height doesn’t matter so much as body type. The taller women he’s dated were up to four inches taller, but curvy or slim; compared to his built, stocky figure, it matches. So I’m thinking that Pop-eye and Olive Oil might have been an appropriate representation?
My romantic history is in no way restricted to 6″4 giants– I’m an equal-opportunity dater! A number of past interests were just my height (which means slightly shorter, since I’ve great posture and a lot of guys don’t), and a few shorter. One was even significantly shorter– by a good five inches. I mostly attribute that to the fact we were friends first (persistence really can earn you a ticket out of the Friend Zone!) Another factor, though, was body type. He might’ve been shorter, but he was stocky and muscular, and I never felt big around him. Despite our reversed vertical roles, he always made me feel properly portioned and feminine.
My problem has always been that dancing and music play very big roles in my life, and mechanical issues arise with shorter guys. Especially since I also like wearing heels on occasion. So it has a lot to do with attitude and self-esteem. Do you have the confidence to date someone of the opposite height-expectation? It worked out the one time with my shorter guy, we danced naturally and had a blast with it. If you’re attracted to them and get along, isn’t the rest just a bunch of details to iron out later? You can always figure out a way to hold hands without the awkward elbow somewhere down the road.
Last night, I met up with a guy that I knew was an inch or so shorter [let's call him the Classicist, over our shared love of ancient history]. He’s rather cute, and intriguing as hell, so I rolled with it and figured I’d have interesting conversation over drinks at the very least. It went better than well– by the end, we both admitted we hadn’t had such a great time talking to someone in a long while. And he dances; when the subject came up, he jumped on it enthusiastically. At the very end, as we decided we both had fun and would like to meet up again, he leaned in for a good night kiss– that also went very well. So I think we might be able to figure our vertical differences out… we’ll see.
In the past month, I have had friends tell me they’re breaking up, changing jobs, moving houses, or switching cities in general– there is clearly something in the air.
To me, spring cleaning is intensely cathartic. Out with the old, in with the new! It’s all about brushing off the cobwebs, sweeping away the dust, and reestablishing a sense of order and rightness to your life. [Clearly Snow White is more than a simple doppelgänger for me; have I mentioned my apple crisp is legendary?] With this sort of meditation, you’re cleansing yourself both physically and mentally. Gotta love multi-tasking!
So we all switch out our clothes for the colorful and carefree, call friends more often to picnic or happy hour together, and suddenly the entire world seem more appealing and fun. In order to help everyone else de-clutter their lives as squeaky-clean as I have the past week, I’ve made a nifty list of what I’m getting myself into. The first are more expected suggestions; the latter ones, a few extra amusing ideas from yours truly.
-The Kitchen: In my world, a home starts in the kitchen. It’s where you cook and bake and people come together, and ours was falling woefully behind any generally-accepted condition of ‘home-y’ this past winter. So I’ve attacked the entire fridge for a [mildly disturbing] clean, scrubbed our stove, scoured the cabinets, and washed the windows. All that’s needed now is a thorough [read: violent] mopping and fresh coat of paint on the walls. [Just got the okay from our landlords-- who likes red kitchens?]
-Yardwork: no one wants to party with untrimmed hedges– so get to work! I’ll admit, I’ve only cleaned up the front porch and walkway, but this weekend will be dedicated to tackling the backyard. A jungle seems to grow at a frightening speed at our little bungalow here, but I’m determined to take advantage of having backyard space and hosting people here more often. This means clean patio furniture, pruned veggie plants, and sparkly garden lights, people, so get to Target! [And if you ever want me to grace your potlucks with my presence, please include Citronella candles; DC mosquitos are frighteningly prehistoric!]
- Phone contacts: I went through a deleted all the old college classmates I’ll never hit up, ex-flings I’ll definitely never hit up again, and all those mystery numbers that find their way into your phone after a late-night partying; not sure where they come from (okay, I lied; it’s all the club’s fault, they always appear after going out in Dupont).
- Personal projects: You know there’s a mountain of things you want to do, but sweep under the rug in the back of your mind. For me, it’s finishing paintings like the world map I’ve been working on for over a year, and the pile of presents I’ve been making for a certain sister of mine. I’ve wanted to paint my room since I moved in [also a year ago], and have half a dozen articles of clothing that need mending in my sewing bag. I want to de-clutter my closet/life, and donate a bundle of things to the local charity store, Martha’s Table, since I can’t afford monetary support right now.
My Spring-Forward Resolutions
I want to get a pet goldfish, because taking care of something else always helps remind me to take care of myself. (Though I’m not sure what it inevitably dying will remind me of…) I never seem to really get into the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, and gave up Lent along with going to church back in the day– but every spring, I always seem to dedicate [or re-dedicate] myself to little self-improvements. This year, I’m going to stop biting my nails. Regardless of the increasing severity of my finances, I’m going to get involved in local volunteering and charities more. I’m going to drink less (which will help with my finances as well as health!) and exercise more. I’ve gotta get back to practicing/ expanding my Arabic and French skills. And I really need to keep up with keeping my room clean.
And what it always comes back to, here at Dating the District: ROMANCE.
Reorganized and reenergized, you are in a much better position to get back out there. No, I’m still not personally looking for a monogamous relationship, but I’m definitely open for some adventure. More to come on the concept, but I’ve realized what I want is a passionate affair. Something fun, exciting, and maybe a little bit daring– but not committed and certainly socially no one else’s business. So my next move is to keep an eye out for an exceptionally awesome guy that might fit the bill. I know he’s out there somewhere, in such a hot-blooded city. We’ll find each other.
I’d ask you if anyone comes to mind, but it would ruin the whole point if you knew about it. It’s going to be our little secret.
Good luck with your spring cleaning and summer secrets, readers. I sure as hell know I’m going to enjoy mine, just as much as I enjoy the delicious intensity of Andrew Bird’s song, How Indiscreet.
One of the greatest adjustments one has to make once you move to DC is a fantastic one: your geekiness no long marks you as an outsider.
Whether it’s on a date or simply getting to know new people in general, we of the dweeby variety are pretty used to self-categorizing ourselves with a sense of apology if timid, and defiance if extroverted.
“Ha, sorry, I’m kind of nerdy like that…”
OR: “Hey, I geek out all the time– GET USED TO IT.”
Back in high school/ most of college, the only time you would see the mainstream ‘cool kids’ wearing what society has dubbed ‘geek-wear’ would be on their way to a theme party. They were only costumes, and barely recognizable ones at that– you just know those girls were wearing sexed-up uniforms to look more Brittany Spears-esque than bookish. But here? It’s legitimate, worn with pride, and [hopefully] representing actual intelligence.
In Washington, the identity is echoed everywhere you turn. Even in the most surprising places, you see yourself mirrored back from every corner, under each rock, and the eyes of nearly all the people about you. Half of the cab drivers I talk to were political science students in their home countries (though the job market forces them to seek the independence of the yellow chauffer in the Land of the Free). What I would dismissively refer to in college as ‘that geeky shit I did in high school’ are no longer educational programs that need explanation– everyone in DC did stuff like Model UN and Mock Trial. We’ve all been there, and now we’re all trying to live those actual lives as young professionals. It’s pretty cool.
It’s smart, it’s sexy– it’s geek chic. The guys dress like Don Draper, and the ladies are redesigning the Marilyn-Jackie duo for a new generation (and yes, I’m evidently still coming down off the recent season’s Mad Men high). I wanted to talk to a cute guy on the bus one time simply because he was reading Game of Thrones. Nerd-dom has finally earned its just rewards, and is definitely a turn-on. I’m not sure what’s hotter than a geek-turned-man with a nice suit, skinny tie, and progressive sense of purpose…. but if there’s something out there that trumps it, my heart might not be prepared to handle the sight.
So geek chic is the thing to be. Unlike the older Urkle variety, we don’t lack social graces or fashion. We have keen intelligence, fierce ambition, and the passion to prove it. Whether we’re determined to make it as the next mind-blowing DJ or are expanding our Hill resumes to eventually run for office, there’s something we all share: that certain je ne sais quoi of sophistication that marks us without a doubt. We have class, and Washington is the place to shine.
Afterword: I’ve been toying with this idea for awhile– coming across a similar concept inspired me to finally post it. While kicking around the blogosphere, I tripped over someone worth mentioning (and possibly idolizing; I might have a bit of an intellectual crush here). Eric Schultz coined noveaux nerd for the new-and-improved Geek 2.0 version that I talk about. He describes us (yes, I say ‘us’) as:
“When I came up with the term, I meant it to mean a young-ish urbanite that embraces how truly nerdy, geeky, and unabashedly stylish they are. In other words, the nouveau nerd has swagger. It doesn’t have to be about science. It just means you have a passion for learning new ideas, enjoy thinking critically, are socially deft, and you look good doing it. Nothing irks me worse than the idea that nerds are social awkward and ambivalent about the culture that surrounds them. Often, nouveau nerds drive the culture and shift perceptions about science, technology, and the arts. And I love that about our attendees.” [Interview found on Famous DC here.]
So he created an opportunity [movement? repeated display of sheer awesomeness?] for DCists to get together, learn, party, and generally love on eachother’s nerdiness called thirst DC. They all get together and turn a mix of laid-back lecturing, happy hour networking, and late-night flirting into what he calls a “sexy nerd house party”. I do believe I might have a raging crush on his– and everyone involved in Thirst DC– brain. Next event is April 26th; who’s in?
Ah, the promised details on an actual guy I’m seeing– yes, folks, step right up! See the guy-wonder that has survived more than three dates with yours truly! [Well, you can't actually see him, since this is a nominally-anonymous blog. Sorry Charlie, no bananas.]
So here’s the scoop: boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-go-for-jazz-and-beer, boy-kisses-girl-good-night-and-therefore-misses-last-metro-home, girl-spends-next-5-out-of-7-days-on-various-exploits-with-boy. Textbook, right?
Ok, ok, I know it’s not. I rarely make it to a third date with a guy, let alone introduce him to friends and invest that much time. Half of my chalks it up to a slow work week and high boredom level, but the other half has to be honest– he’s a truly great guy. He’s sincere, he’s attractive, he’s intelligent and funny. Like I’ve said before: he’s the genuine article. Everything about him screams all kinds of wonderful, desirable things like ‘well-adjusted’, ‘stable’, and ‘STD/addiction-free’. The biggest aspiration woven into every fiber of his subconscious being, though: ‘boyfriend’.
Which has me promptly wanting to turn-tail in the opposite direction for my first run since grade school gym class. [Yes, I'm aware of the absurdity of my reactions.] No, I’m not actually writing him off, and I’m certainly not running away. For full disclosure, I thought to be honest and include this gut response. At this point in my life, someone as emotionally mature as myself apparently freaks me out a little bit.. Now I understand why I sometimes make other guys back-pedal.
Date one: drinks at my favorite blues spot, Madam’s Organ. There was an amazing soul band playing, one of my favorite, crass bartenders working, and plenty of space on a Sunday night to talk without having to shout over drunken morons. We talked well past the time I should have cut him off to catch the metro, and the conversation was amazing. Everything from general background and music/books/etc tastes to aspirations and past intense experiences [getting jumped, moving from home, etc]. The good-night kiss outside the metro was memorable, and resulted in him missing the last train out of the city [he had to take a bus that took an extra hour, it was very romantic-comedy-esque]. An all around impressive, relaxed, and exhilarating first date.
Date two: coffee on my work break the next afternoon. I know, the next day? Already? Went to another personal favorite, Tryst Coffeehouse, and talked for hours. Again, hopping from jokes and society to deep personal stories. Even the heaviest topics weren’t conversation downers, though, just examples of real-life experience. It was liberating sharing that part of me without someone cringing because they don’t understand and pull away from knowing how to handle it. I don’t think I’ve told most of my new friends in DC even half of those major life events I shared with him.
Date three: I attended an event at the White House halfway through the week, and we met up on the National Mall after to stretch out in the sun and enjoy the weather. My first sunburn of 2012 was soaked in showing him hidden spots around the memorials. He asked where my favorite place is, so I showed him: I call it the Duck Pond. [It's technically called Constitution Gardens Pond, but I prefer my name.] It’s a gorgeous spot by the WWII memorial with an island jutting into the water with a few willow trees and cherry blossoms. We walked out there, sat under a willow tree, and watched the ducklings learn to swim. [After a bunch of them fell asleep, he charged in a very 5-year-old manner that I still smile to remember.] It was all quite sweet and idyllic. The romantic-comedy trend persists.
What he doesn’t know is that for years, this is the place I’ve thought to eventually have my wedding ceremony. Since middle school, I’ve told my family that I’m going to get married on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial– everyone wants to have some epic nuptial scene, and I’m pretty damn sure that tops the best of them. After deliberating more recently, I don’t want a bunch of dumbass tourons wandering through my ceremony. Then I fell more in love with my Duck Pond. The island is a perfectly picturesque spot to say our vows, and then go take legendary wedding party pics on the Lincoln steps. [If I find out ANY of you take this dream from me, I will hunt you down and ruin the rest of your life. DON'T FUCK WITH MY UNIQUE WEDDING.]
Date four: a movie night in. On a Friday. Just us at my house. Here’s the deal, my dear readers. Up until the past month or so, I had spent less than a dozen weekend nights at home since moving here nearly a year ago. Those few nights were mostly due to insane work weeks, low funds, or intense illness– and even THAT rarely stopped me from going out with friends. I don’t stay in on weekends, and I definitely don’t do it to play house with a guy. So this is new. And it was wonderful. We ordered Thai, ate it in bed, shared music, and watched an off-genre zombie spinoff that blew my mind. [Thank you, Canada, Pontypool is absolutely brilliant.] We cuddled, and kissed, and again kept him well past the last train home. Whoops! So he stayed over for a DETERMINEDLY shenanigans-less sleepover. Yes, it was tough, but I didn’t regret it.
Date five: drinks and games with my friends at the bar. Went to a frequented local bar, The Red Derby, for beer, Jenga, and Pictionary. They liked him, he liked them, and it was another successful night. This sleepover was decidedly less-determined than the previous one, but also not regretted. I refer you to my RADD update on intimacy and attention spans. Since then, I’ve spent a full week of Me Time, including less-accessible contact with my Genuine Article. [Date six: He did come with me to see Hunger Games with a friend and her guy last night, though.]
Yes, I consciously acknowledge that I was distancing myself over the past week. No, I’m not entirely sure why. I’m mildly concerned this is a (500) Days of Summer situation. We really like each other, we’re both attractive and have a lot in common, but I just don’t think I’m interested in the same romantic lifestyle that he’s looking for. He’s always holding my hand, and had his hand on my leg or knee the entire movie. [I'm watching the HUNGER GAMES, sweetheart, I don't want to play fucking footsies while some of my all-time favorite literary characters slaughter each other on screen. I'd like to get lost in the story, thankyouverymuch.]
Like I said in Chemistry Class, there should be way more sparks flying in the first few weeks, and far less windows into the casually affectionate future of a long-term relationship. I have a sneaking suspicious that he’s a border-line Serial Dater. I know, I know– that’s no bueno, guys. Not just because they need a girlfriend to feel whole, but more-so because I simply cannot relate to it. I’ve mostly been a single girl my entire life, and can’t grasp the idea of only feeling whole when with someone else. I’m whole all by myself. He usually has a year between relationships, apparently, but he still acts like my Serial Dater friends. But who knows, maybe he’s acting like a boyfriend not because he doesn’t know how to act single, but because he wants to act like a boyfriend with me. Scary thought.
So a month or so ago, I’d thought that I was open to finding a boyfriend [or letting him find me]. But maybe I’m not. Attribute it to the uneasiness of still being on the job-hunt, but I think being single suits my current life much better. It’s nice to have the consistency of this Genuine Article, and I like practicing my girlfriendly arts– but I doubt this will lead down any monogamous paths. Maybe it’s because he isn’t the right guy for that job; maybe it’s my the point in my life; maybe it’s just who I am. Who knows?
When I first watched (500) Days of Summer and this totally damn adorable montage from it, I gushed to myself that I wanted a guy that felt that way about me. But that’s only half of it, right? I want a guy that is tapping his toes in anticipation to see me, sure– but I want to act this way about a guy, too. Because it ends the way it does because the love in their relationship was one-sided, and no one wants that. I think I identified with the movie way more than I thought. This blog about my life isn’t a love story– it’s a story about love. And it isn’t over ’till it’s over.
“DC is like dating in Grand Central Station– everyone is coming and going and moving too fast to really see,” he tells us between sips of beer and over the music and noise of Marvin’s.
How to get guys to talk about their feelings: get them very drunk.
The other night at the bar, with most of the group respectably intoxicated, conversation swung over to our District dating world. I only knew the romantic backgrounds of two of the guys [one at the 'interested but decidedly not committed' level, and the other mixed-signals-confused], but then another of them [let's call him Peter] pipes up with that line and floored me. Brilliantly put, my friend.
He threw his hands in the air dismissively and asked, “What’s the point?” With everyone coming and going so often, the city’s in a constant upheaval and no one stays put. Everything is always changing, which means when you do fall into a relationship– more by chance than anything else– it has to continually adapt to new surroundings. New friends, new places, new activities. We’re a city forever in transition, and our relationships follow suit.
He says we’re a city full of very attractive, very intelligent people– and I had to interject my addition of ‘very ambitious’– so it gets overwhelming. Maybe it’s just our personality differences, but those are the exact reasons why I do love dating in DC. The endless new people and captivating conversations have utterly fascinated me. I fully admit that it might be my newness playing a part in that– Peter and the guys have been here for years, whereas I’m still coming up on my first anniversary [I expect a big celebration, Washington!]. And yes, for once I’ll grant that my age might also have a hand in it– though I prefer to refuse the entire age premise.
One of the concerns for singles today is how long to hold out for 3rd base, and what that wait implies. Protest too much, and you’re a prude; immediate gratification makes you easy. A recent relationship developed swiftly [let's call him the Genuine Article, more details to come], and he told me our intimacy didn’t take away from his interest or opinion of me– he won’t become bored. My gut response was to think to myself, “Who said it was YOUR attention I was worried about losing?”
After a week of seeing this truly great guy nearly every day [and loving every minute of it], I was a bit burned out this week and needed Me Time. The result was this romantic malaise whenever I thought of him– am I bored already? Do I only want something that I can’t have [or just don't have yet]? Our quick level of comfortable intimacy is just a little too committed-feeling. Is there something wrong with me? It reminds me of my ex, and how everything felt more like a habit than a desire– that is no good. The start of connection should be all fire and longing. I’m an intensely passionate person; casual affection will not keep me interested.
So there it is. Hi, I’m Jules, and I have Relationship-Attention Deficit Disorder. [It's RADD!] Maybe even R-ADHD, because my high-energy lifestyle is definitely hyperactive. It’s not stress-related, stemming from some PTSD break-up baggage. I don’t have commitment phobia. It’s not environmental, because I’m up to my ears in commited couple friends. Everyone has a significant other this spring.
But I honestly have no problem whatsoever that I am not one of them– I rather enjoy this RADD lifestyle of meeting multiple new people in a short amount of time. The city’s always full of them coming and going, with wild stories to tell about their travels and experiences. Each new acquaintance for me is like giving sugar to a five year old [okay, maybe it's just like giving sugar to me; the effect is the same].
Isn’t that the charm of Washington? Peter’s right about the Grand Central chaos– going out in DC has you on perpetual social sensory overload. There are too many trains pulling in and out of the station going to wild, new places, and I can’t bring myself to narrow my possibilities by going in just one direction. I enjoy who I am, I enjoy meeting new people, and I really do enjoy dating. Maybe that’s why this is the perfect city for me. Only Washington is ever-shifting enough to keep me captivated with its constant influx of fascinating new people to meet and play with.
I’m not writing off this Genuine Article; we’ll see how this unfolds. But if it does turn out that I just get bored and disinterested, I don’t think it means there’s something wrong with me. I just don’t think it’ll turn out that he’s what I’m looking for, or that the lifestyle his relationship offers is right for me.
I’ll admit, the “shit people say” trend is cracking me up. I’ve ignored most of them, but a few snuck by and stole a few giggles. What I’d love to see one for, though? Pick-up lines. They’ve been on my mind lately.
Who am I kidding? That’s always on my mind. I’m what you’d call a pick-up line connoisseur. I blame Night at the Roxbury; those SNL goobers instilled a love of the ridiculous in me at a very young age, and I’ve never recovered.
For me, the more absurd the line, the better is works. My theory is that a guy with the guts to walk up to a girl he thinks is pretty and knowingly make a fool out of himself deserves at least a drink. (Note: key word being ‘knowingly’; guys that pull those lines thinking they’re smooth are just gross. It’s a fine line to walk, so please know you can pull it off before opening your mouth.)
Last Saturday, my group was out in Dupont Circle. We like to start the night at a sushi-place-turned-nightclub because some friends work there and great cocktails should be enjoyed while still sober. We ended up befriending two men that had been at the end of the bar and looking our way awhile. The attractive Lebanese one seems to take to one of my friends pretty well, and joined us for our night of club-hopping. [This eventually led, once the other guys went home, to me spending the later part of the night with two couples.]
At one point, though, the new guy told me that I looked like ‘someone he used to know’. I could tell by his look that he was genuinely being appreciative, but I still replied with a raised eyebrow and “I’m not really sure how to take that. Who?”
“Don’t worry about it. But it’s a good thing.”
Look, guys, if a girl looks like an ex- and you want to compliment her appearance, just tell her she looks pretty and leave it at that. Don’t try to be clever– because ‘someone I used to know’ makes me feel like I look like I’m your high school girlfriend. No woman wants to be a walking reminder of teenagehood– it was all pimples, hormones, and angsty confusion. At least I don’t; but maybe because it’s still in my semi-recent past? Weigh in on this, ladies.
A friend at work says that his approach is simple: if he’s out and thinks a woman is beautiful, he walks right up to say hello and ask if he can buy her a drink. (Full disclosure: working at a Middle Eastern restaurant means that my ‘friends from work’ are foreign, charismatic, and possessing those great accents that trip over the English language in an adorable way. This man is no exception.)
I’ll also say that if this man walked up to me at a bar and asked to buy me a drink like that, I’d find myself in a deep conversation about the beauties of Morocco before I could blink twice. He’s confident, naturally charming, and very comfortable in his own skin. Chalk it up to age, but he’s grown out of the younger-man’s conviction that having game involves complex approaches. You don’t need battle tactics, boys, we aren’t a football game. It’s tennis: volley an opening our way and wait for a response. Simplicity! And this is the advice of an anything-but-simple girl.
Don’t get me wrong, ingenuity has its rewards, too. If you have a unique way to make contact, then go for it. After migrating to our favorite DJ-established vinyl-and-bands lounge and then spending enough time with the two couples, I grew tired of 5th wheeling it and went to the dance floor to listen to the jazz band.
I could tell that a guy nearby was looking, but wanted to see what he’d do. What can I say? I’m a curious girl. To his credit, it wasn’t a long wait. A guy in front of us was blatantly taking up too much room, flailing about like an idiot, and kept knocking into me. I was happy enough listening to a great band, so it was more amusing than anything. In this guy’s favor, it made me back up several times, and the last one that almost knocked my Manhattan from my hand was the last straw. Cute boy went from a smile to busting out laughing and leaned closer to my ear to suggest I fight back.
Sure, such romantic comedy opportunities are rare enough outside of Hollywood, but it’s extra-special when a guy is clever enough to take advantage of it. We went on to have a great conversation over jazz, music, and eventually the fact that he claimed to know how to dance. Naturally, I asked him to prove it. I was far from disappointed.
So sure, sometimes things that would otherwise seem trite actually do work– if you can back them up. And the absurd might pan out, if you’ve the humor to play to the right audience. But the best way to go really is the easiest.
Because in the end, the most charming guys aren’t the ones with the most interesting pick-up lines, which take a deal of contrived forethought and are likely recycled. No, you want to know the shit charming guys say?
They say, “Hello.”
Big D and the Kids Table got it right in their stroll song, A Kiss A Week:
Self-judgment is an ugly feeling. It’s always so much easier to play the comforter to friends, listening to their woes and validating their decisions. The fallout zone always seems so much more frightening when it’s in your own life. Foremost among many 20-somethings’ sexual concerns is their Number.
The ‘modern woman’ has been struggling with this for decades, since the sexual revolution really took hold and broadened social norms to allow some wiggle room on the whole pre-marital sex deal. It’s rarely ever ‘boy-meets-girl, love at first sight, and get married for the 2.5 kids with a white picket fence’ anymore. Chastity belts have been traded in for liberty, exploration, and more frequent free-condom-raids to the local Planned Parenthood.
My mother taught me to test drive a car before you buy it, and I hold to that wisdom. [Hey, even if you don’t make the purchase, the test drive can still be a whirlwind of fun!] Adventuring isn’t without its risks, though. (It wouldn’t be an adventure if it were totally safe, now would it?) Those Planned Parenthood trips aren’t only for condoms, and haven’t always been stress-free jaunts with girlfriends. Sometimes, they’re there for moral support as pregnancy tests are processed… and that’s somehow the least of the worries. This is a frightening new world we’ve been born to. Sex isn’t just fun—it can kill you.
It still is tough when the casualty is something like your heart,rather than your health. Sometimes I think that the stronger women hurt deeper. Everyone likes to treat us like we’re indestructible. They can throw anything they want our way, and we’ll keep trucking with barely a cold glance thrown their way. Hey, the higher you fly from hurt, the harder you fall, right? But more than anything, it’s likely just your bruised pride. [It’s total bullshit anyway, of course, to think my ego is more important than some vapid girl’s. A hurt girl is a hurt girl, bottom line.]
What I’ve always struggled with is the disconnect between my mind and my heart. I can examine, rationalize, and excuse an entire situation from beginning to end, but no degree of intellectual understanding will ease the emotional havoc surging through my veins. That I liked a guy, but never planned on committing because that spark wasn’t entirely there. I’m too young to settle down. He isn’t what I’m looking for. All those reasoned practicalities I figure out as I’m dating someone, they all go out the window when rejection walks through the door. Especially when it comes from a guy that slept with you, and turned around the next week with “I met someone else and want to try and see where it goes with her”. Via text. What a douche.
Even more so when at one point that night, when skirting around the question of what our Numbers are, he laughed and said, “well, not nearly enough to have to make a New Year’s Resolution about not sleeping with people, like you did”. Or something to that effect. I didn’t write it down, so don’t quote me word-for-word.
Yes, I had told him on date two that I wouldn’t sleep with him because I barely knew him. That only 24 hours from meeting, I wouldn’t be with someone past the PG-13 degrees of PDA. When pressed, I joked that it was a NYE resolution. After he said this the night that I did [perhaps mistakenly] sleep with him, I jerked up and set him straight. No, my number isn’t astronomical—it’s actually entirely average for my age. The need for a resolution isn’t a sexual one, it’s an emotional one. I went through a very dark time two years ago when I dealt with far more death, divorce, abandonment, and entirely life breakdown than a lot of people will experience in much of their lives. Even though I shouldn’t have needed to defend myself, I told him that my friends and I pulled through that year by any means necessary—and yes, sex was a key coping mechanism. But I’m not entirely back to how free I was at that time, because sexual liberation is still linked to mourning in my head. The emotions are a bit tangled, so I need to work on it a bit.
Not that it’s much of his business, to be honest. He didn’t comment much else on the topic, and I let it go, thinking it was just a moment of honesty in a conversation with a potentially consistent new guy. With my nifty 20/20 hindsight now, I wonder if that translated wrong to him. And by wrong, I mean that HIS perception is off, not my past. Because I damn well don’t regret my life and how I’ve survived grief—anyone that thinks I should feel ashamed can bite me and piss off.
And that’s the sexual long and short of it: women are shamed; men are acclaimed.
We have to do battle with the double-standard of sex. Among other gender inequities, women bear the humiliation while men get the benefits. Have you ever heard someone looking at a hungover guy walking home on a college campus at 7am laugh and comment on his Walk of Shame? No—because that’s something GIRLS do. Right? Today’s modern girl has to balance the empowerment of ‘I can explore my sexuality the same as any guy’ with the internalized repression that ‘girls who give it up are sluts’.
So where’s the trade-off? How do guys ‘get laid’, while girls ‘get trashy’ by committing the same act? Guys grow in each other’s esteem after sharing the news of another conquest, yet those girls’ stock plummets. They are lesser. Suddenly, they’re ‘undateable’. She’s now the kind of girl you meet at a bar or party to get drunk with and make stupid decisions. She’s never the girl to take to the movies, or meet for dinner. Which is amusing to me, because many guys have told me the reason they wouldn’t casually date me is because I’m the kind of girl you make your girlfriend. [Even if that’s not what I want at that time.]
I’m still figuring out where this unbalance happens, and how they [such men] could possibly think it’s just. I guess we’re all still trying to puzzle this one out, taking each obstacle as it comes. Yes, I struggle against my society and the internalized repression it still has instilled in me. Sure, I fight against the judgment of others for my sexual life. All I know is that for the most part, my Number is just right for me and my life, and I sure as hell won’t let anyone take that hard-earned knowledge from me. Because I know that with each of those numbers, I’ve climbed mountain after mountain of self-understanding that have taught me who I am. And I’m not done adding to that Number, or climbing those mountains. The rest of the world can just settle themselves down and mind their own fucking business.
Though I’m not genuinely this bitter, I can’t help laughing at dedicating this as a farewell to the Stealth Hippie:
There are enough things to be concerned about in the dating world without the question of ‘is he actually into women, or has he just set up camp in that closet?’ When it DOES come into play, it can quickly turn a rather confusing experience into a very sticky situation.
Issue #1: I am a very forward person, so my initial response is wanting to ask ‘but aren’t you gay?’ ATTENTION: DO NOT ASK. One of the first things my mama taught me when I was young is that boys are very fragile creatures, and their egos need to be handled with care. Normally, my bull-headed nature tends to ignore that and charges into whatever blunt idea I had in mind… but in this case, I have to agree.
If it is evident enough to make you wonder, you can be damn sure he’s been asked that before, and you don’t want to crush a guy’s soul. There are plenty of people still in the closet as adults, but that is their decision. What you need to decide is are you into the person they want to be at this moment, or does the possibility of them being someone else in the future bother you too much?
Issue #2: Attraction. I have many gay friends that are crazy hot and like to flaunt it. One of the best things about the gay guy-girl friend mix is being liberated from expectations. You can be sexual and flirty with the knowledge that it is just a game without an actual goal. The pressure’s off, because it isn’t legit. But when you’re on a date, and the guy is setting off your gaydar, there are conflicting emotions. Your habits are telling you to relax and have fun being as flirty as you like because there’s no harm in it, while your brain is screaming MAYDAY MAYDAY, HE THINKS YOU’RE INTO HIM. Danger, Will Robinson, danger.
I am not the type of girl to lead a guy on just because I want a plaything to amuse myself with. That’s a bitch thing to do, and not okay. The main conundrum is for first dates, I’m so used to just being myself at full steam ahead, I forget that they will be reading into every signal I send off.
Case-in-point: the other night on a date, I was busy trying to figure out in half of my head if the guy is paying mortgage on his closet or not, while the other half of my head was on auto pilot. Which, for me, is a rather charismatic flirt. Next thing I know, the guy I had nearly convinced myself deep down should get traded to the other team is leaning over and kissing me in a VERY determined take-charge kind of way. Well, THAT throws a wrench into my actually-gay theory.
The biggest dilemma of it all is that until that point, I figured gay or not, we were having a great night of conversation and banter and I’d probably found a new friend. He was intelligent, outgoing, and interesting, even with his ambiguous sexual preference. And then he had to lean over and solve that riddle by opening a can of very befuddled worms with their own confusing questions.
Talking to a girlfriend about it, I said that I don’t think I could date him legitimately. That I want a manly guy who would suddenly kiss me against a wall just because he wanted to, in that way that makes all other thoughts rush out of your head.
OH WAIT. Isn’t that what just happened?
So , what to do now…