It’s all fine and dandy for advice columnists to write about “putting yourself out there” romantically, or “staying positive” on the job hunt. That’d be just peachy, if I had picked up your article to save on a psychiatric bill– but I’m not here for my mental health, I’m here to figure how to get results. I don’t need your feel-good platitudes, I need a damn job.
What I realize more and more each day is that, for most people in this world, you only get what you want if you barrel into an obstacle with the bull-headed determination to refuse anything other than success. [Trust fund babies can politely bite me.] You might smash half the china shop, but at least it’s progress– right? You sure as hell won’t get anywhere sitting on your ass, unless you’re looking for obesity and a cardiac trip to the ER. So walk up to the cute person at the party, introduce yourself, and show some damn initiative.
Clearly, I’m in a feisty mood this week. [Or maybe it's just frustration? I'll go with both; they tend to go hand-in-hand with me.] My restaurant is closed for the next few months for renovations, and I’m left not only looking for a real job, but without the measly paycheck I’ve subsisted on the past year to support my fanatic career hunt. This is a terrifying time, folks. I have a three-digit bank balance and bills due in two weeks. My conclusion: I need to up my game, pronto. Evidently, the 100+ applications I send out a week aren’t cutting it, and the two staffing agencies I’m a candidate for haven’t helped. At most, they get my hopes up for a day or two a week, only to promptly smash them with a “the client chose someone with more relevant experience”. Which, to me, only says: “Hey, Jules, another employer thinks you’re irrelevant!” Well, fuck you kindly, too. I didn’t want to process your advertising information anyway.
Drastic times call for drastic measures. A friend told me that one of his buddies got a job last year by walking her resume straight in to HR. The ad only specified no calls. So I’m compiling a list today of places to drop in for mild harassment next week! Hey, it’ll be lovely: “You asked for no calls, but said nothing about walk-ins, so I thought I would hand it in personally and say hello.” That’s charming, right? Right??
Which bring me to this week’s problème d’amour: if I need to up my game professionally, a large majority of this city needs to step up personally. Washington needs to take its professional motivation and translate it into social life. Grow a pair, initiate, and follow through. Why doesn’t anyone walk up to the guy/ girl they’re into and say, “Hi, I think your cute/ interesting/ cooler than dinosaurs, want to go out/ dance/ jump in a fountain with me sometime?” Because honestly, those sort of straightforward shenanigans are just about all that I want. Chalk it up to being a budding adrenaline junkie. Nothing makes me smile like those butterfly whirlwinds that speed out of your stomach and overwhelm the whole body. What can I say? That’s what I want. To feel like crazed little butterflies are electrocuting my nervous system.
But hell, it seems like no one does it anymore– walk right up to someone pretty and say hello. So, to chase down the possibility of this idea, I went to the Offline Society’s inaugural event for DC singles last week, and was blown away. It was a remarkable collection of incredibly attractive, active, and interesting individuals. The ladies of the Society put together a superior event of classy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and first-rate characters. I saw some sparks fly, and later recognized several connections made at the party continuing their night together at Wonderland Bar. Success? I think so. Common for DC? I think not. What made the event– and concept as a whole– so wonderful is the sad rarity of such behavior. Men and women were walking right up to each other to introduce themselves and take a leap. The Offline ladies did a fantastic job of getting everyone pumped up for putting themselves out there, and there was constant evidence of their skill in each stranger’s approach. But how is this sad?
Because it just doesn’t happen like that often. Sure, guys approach hot girls at the bar, maybe to offer a drink, though more often than not it’s just a solicitation to rub bodies on the dance floor. And of course, at house parties, new people meet and talk. But while clubs are meant for the carnal alcohol, parties are more platonic social. We go to parties with either someone [or two] in mind for the end-goal, or for a night out with a crew of friends. Even if you meet someone new and interesting, you’re out with a group and it’s a bit difficult– or sometimes embarrassing– to throw out some game with friends looking on. So we pull back and act more reserved under the limelight. [Yes, even me. For the most part, I've no problem with it, but we all have shy days!]
Once you get past that first hello, first date, or even first kiss, people around here still seem to have a problem with courage. I know the whole world isn’t keen on actual communication, especially when it involves emotion– but grow up. I’m very clear with what I want out of life, relationships, and even simple hook-ups. So figure out what you want [even if it’s that you don’t know], and be up-front about it. At the very least, it’ll earn you less social confusion. I was talking with a friend recently, and he agrees. If he likes someone, he asks her out and he doesn’t waffle over the details. It’s a question of “this-day-this-time-this-place, you in?” Cole’s definitely on to something there, because it shows both initiative and follow through. It’s honest, assertive, and endearing; what could be better?
Right now, I want something real. I want to have an affair of uninhibited passion, where it’s no one’s damn business what’s going on but our own. I want to stop wanting to do something, and having to tell myself ‘no’ because it’ll come off as too intense. We’re all comfortable with publicly showing our driven ambition here in DC, so why not allow that same freedom in our dating world? I’m tired of restraining myself for fear of scaring a guy into thinking I want to settle down and be exclusive. That’s not on my mind right now. I just want the freedom to feel what I’m feeling, and that involves a heaping dose of passion. I want the freedom to be me.
When someone kisses me and tells me they’re interested, after I tell them when I want, this is what I DON’T expect to happen: not hearing from them again until the next time we’re out with mutual friends. It happens to the best of us—and we all know the best includes me! Apparently I need to make myself even clearer: I don’t play those games, so don’t fuck with me. Each time something like this happens, Sally and I discuss the many ways that people suck over a bottle of wine [it’s wonderfully cliché, you should try it]. What constantly happens is her exasperated, “What is wrong with men?”, and my immediate, “These aren’t men—they’re boys.” When this weak or wishy-washy behavior happens, you’re clearly dealing with a Peter Pan of some sort who needs to grow a pair. So move on, Wendy, and find a man who knows what he wants, or at least wants to figure it out.
So if I tell this to someone I’ve sparked with, and he says he wants it, that communicates a green light to me. Because when other people talk, I actually listen. If you tell me something, I’m going to take you at your word. Being genuine might come naturally, but honesty takes some serious backbone. Saying what you mean isn’t always easy, or comfortable, or expedient. This isn’t naïveté, it’s a solid expectation. An expectation that you aren’t a liar with your fingers crossed behind your back, or a wimp that will later bitch out on the follow-through. I don’t use my words just because they feel right in that moment, or because it’ll get me what I want for the night– I speak because it’s true.
I expect better from the people I spend my time with. It isn’t a standard I will ever lower; it’s a deal-breaker. It might come off as the cause of many-a-sticky-situation, but really it’s very straightforward. Say what you mean, mean what you say– or get the hell out of my way. It’s that simple. Whether it’s balls or ovaries, we all need to man- and woman-up and grow a pair.
I have the audacity to go for what I want. Do you?
And because the lyrics crack me up so perfectly, I have to include your Ke$ha dose for the month. It’s true– when you grow a pair, you can call me back.
“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.
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?
Sometimes after telling a friend about my most recent flirty shenanigans, they ask how I get up the guts. How? Easy-peasy: I just do it. Seriously, it’s that simple.
You have an impulse struggling to break free from the prison you’ve locked it into in the back of your mind? Slip it the key. Or better yet: explosives, so it can bust outta confinement in style. Out with a BANG!
That’s how I’ve tried to liberate myself since moving to DC. I’m in a new city, new lifestyle, and trying all the lovely new things along with it. I’ve been outgoing and decidedly-Me for most of my life, but this is bringing it to a whole new level. I go out dancing half the week, soak up new friends like it’s my job [wouldn't that be cool if being social was my job??], and strive daily to do ‘carpe diem’ proud. Vulnerability can be a surprisingly delicious feeling.
Most often, this fun growing habit [addiction?] manifests itself in my dating life. I think the bartender that always finds a way to knock down my tab is cute? Well, last Friday, I left him my number on the check along with a note saying “in case you’d like to grab the drink I definitely owe you now”. [Note: this is at a bar my friends and I frequent often, so there is sure to be follow-up on this particular one.] Impulses like these are healthy, natural, and downright exciting as hell– so everyone should take some initiative spice up their own life.
Months ago, there was this boy who played an acoustic and sang outside the metro across from my restaurant. He was cute, obviously did it just for kicks, and had a variety of genres he’d jump around in. All summer and fall, I’d listen to him while getting the patio ready for dinner or waiting for my bus home, and we’d do that adorable smiling-at-each-other-from-afar thing. Sometimes he’d play this great Hank Williams song, and I one time shouted that was my favorite– after that, any time I walked by, he’d immediately switch over to that song. I don’t usually carry cash on me, and started kicking myself nights he was there. So, I did what any decent girl would do.
I dug through my purse for paper, and wrote him a note. “I always seem to only have bus fare home on me, but have listened to your music long enough that I figure I owe you a drink by now– here’s my number in case you’d like to take me up on it some night.”
He called the next day. Not a text, but a phone call. We talked a bit, and he said he didn’t know bars in the NW neighborhood area very well, but I said the Red Derby had great beer. We each brought a friend, had a great night of conversation, and that was mostly it. He still played my metro stop, and was adorable but a little too timid for me to date. But that’s not the point. We’d talk whenever running into each other, so I just made a cool neighborhood friend and an even greater story.
Don’t give me that “oh, but you’re so much more outgoing than me, Jules!” crap. I was a morbidly shy girl up through most of middle school, complete with bright red blushes and the inability to speak when it came to boys and bullies. Then I took to heart my mama’s best piece of life advice: you are who you want to be. Seriously, it’s that easy. You want to be the extroverted girl flirting in a circle of guys or walking up to a cute guy to buy him a drink? Then get over yourself and just do it. The only thing holding you back is you.
I know this is coming off as preachy, but it’s because this is what’s running through my head whenever I get into such situations. I like a guy at a party, bar, coffeeshop, or any other random place. There’s something I want to say to him. The introvert deep inside wants to just watch or run away, so I tell her to shuttup and walk over before I lose my nerve. I’m a recovering shy girl, it’s a daily struggle to overcome. But I decided early on that I didn’t like being quiet and overlooked, didn’t like being the cute-girl’s-best-friend, and definitely didn’t like that feeling of lost opportunity.
So here’s the deal: the end game for this kind of thing isn’t finding a boyfriend, or even a date. I do them because they make people smile. If the Cute Bartender never calls because he isn’t available, isn’t interested, or isn’t assertive enough to do it, that’s fine. I’m peachy keen without any response. Regardless of the outcome for me, everyone likes knowing they’re admired, and I know my note brightened his day. And isn’t that worth taking a few seconds of your time to express something as simple as “I think you’re cute”? Because it always makes them feel a little better, and it will definitely give you awesome butterflies that you will soon learn to crave. Just like me.
So just do it!
So my little sister and her friend Abigail shot me this video the other day, and it’s naturally been stuck in my head ever since. I think the ridiculously cute lyrics/video/everything about it are pretty appropriate here. So thanks, sis.
My friends and I were ‘those kids’ in chem class that rushed into the lab, turned our Bunsen on high, half-read the directions, and ended up with foam everywhere or frightening/ awesome balls of fire shooting from our station.
It’s not that we were idiots (well, not all of us); a number of us went to the best schools in the country. The hyper-intelligent can screw around in experiments with the best of the morons, thankyouverymuch. No, we just wanted to mix this with that, and see if it goes BOOM! [Yes, more often than not, something did explode.] I’m convinced we learned just as much from the negative trials as we did from the positive ones.
Sometimes I talk about my dating life as a series of experiments, but I should clarify. They aren’t only to see how certain guys will react to me, but also how I react to them. Chemistry goes two ways, and I’m still learning all my properties.
For example: how could I know if I like dating a hip-hop dancer unless I try it? Result: it was damn fun. And how would I react to someone wanting to introduce me to his family after two weeks? Outcome: negative. But you can’t truly know how you would react unless you have experienced something– and that’s what your 20′s are about. Experiencing anything and everything life has to offer, in order to better learn who you are as a person and what you want out of life. [Ok, or maybe just have fun.] It’s like a chem lab where you have several containers of the same sample, and add different materials to see how they react together.
Me + questionable sexuality guy = ambiguity confuses me
Me + guys exactly my age = thinking that my little sister would looove them
So I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past few months. I’ve experimented and experienced, and have ruled out certain traits that don’t mix well with moi. It’s not them, but it’s also not me– we just don’t work well together. I’d say it’s a fair conclusion. But the toughest realization to accept is when two people work well together, are a stable combination, but it still doesn’t do what you want [yes, I'm referring to the Genuine Article again; more tba]. There’s no fizzle, no spark, no eyebrow-singeing explosion of fireworks and hormones. I don’t want a stable, flat compound– I want CHEMISTRY. So, I must experiment on with my life.
I blame my fiendish experimental inclinations on the Muppets Lab. Beaker always WAS my second-favorite [after Miss Piggy, of course].
“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, this whole relationship has been getting me down lately. It’s not that the honeymoon phase has worn off or anything—I’m still just as in love as the first day—but this constant rejection is getting to me.
Washington DC is making me feel like I only went to college to get my MRS. degree, and I don’t appreciate it. I studied for a purpose, thank you, so stop getting in my way.
Yes, the rat race is beginning to upset me. (Sometimes literally; those mutant rodents in my back alley would eat you alive if given half a chance, much like their political counter-parts.) A solid university degree apparently isn’t worth [the tens of thousands it cost] as much as it used to anymore.
I’m tired of being a wallflower here; that’s what it feels like. I‘ve been waiting to be old enough to attend the party, practiced the steps for years, and now no one wants to dance with me. Never mind that I have excellent ballroom skills, or the fact that I’ve been assertive and sough out opportunities on my own countless times. I simply don’t seem to have good prospects.
It’s a tough experience to endure, especially when it seems to be so easily handed to others. This city is chock full of debutantes literally bred for the privilege, their dance cards full and the entire night laid out so attractively for them. Some had even been courted or engaged to before they even arrived at the dance.
I’m not the type to sit about moping “it’s not fair!” But frankly, my dear, this is absolute bullshit.
I’m accomplished. I have a well-rounded education, and several impressive specializations. I interned under a few incredible mentors who trained me well. I’m well traveled, cultured, diplomatic. I plan on graduate school eventually, but wanted to gain real-world experience before going further into debt. A year into alumni life, I’ve learned one lesson damn well: don’t ever leave school.
Entry-level jobs in DC are now asking for Master’s degrees, and requiring 3-5 years experience. (I call it ‘job inflation’; everyone was downsized during the recession, so the job market is flooded with higher-qualified employees being hired back for lower-level jobs us newbies normally would get. It’s a bitch.) Internships are unpaid (unless you’re an engineer; in that case, you chose the correct major, and I hate you), but the cost of living is high and unforgiving. At this rate, it looks like my jokes about living in Rock Creek Park with DC’s other homeless when I first struggled with my housing hunt last year might end up becoming true.
I’ve gambled with my internship choices since coming here, and lost the bet. Rather than going to the Hill like I should have, I selected to provide my overqualified and unpaid labor to an organization more in my field of study. The general deal being that I work a few months pushing their papers and going by the wrong name to their oblivious executive board, and then they connect me to actual job opportunities. I had some money from a grandparent to supplement my restaurant/unpaid internship schedule, but burned through it without the promised pay-out. This is what I imagine working the stock market feels like; no wonder Wall Street windows don’t open any more.
So I keep tapping my toes to the beat, looking longingly at Washington glide through my favorite dances, and try to stifle my shame at being left out.
Because that’s what it is, at the end of the day. It isn’t loneliness, or frustration, or even disappointment. It is a soul-wrenching, heart-breaking shame. The goal I’ve longed for since a little girl (yes, I was a mad nerdy little politico-kid, what of it?) is within my reach. It’s within my grasp, just there on the dance floor, but passes me by with each turn. All I’ve worked for, groomed my intellect and acquired skills to fulfill, doesn’t want me.
Yes, I burn with shame against my wall, as everyone else asks, “So, who is your escort?”
“I don’t exactly have one yet… But this is such a lovely event.” The smile plastered on, my mask such a painful ornament at this twisted masquerade. I tire of wearing it, and drink liquid courage to bolster my nerves. It doesn’t really help, but it helps me forget to cry.
I haven’t stopped flirting, of course. Whenever I see an attractive chance (or at this point, even a vaguely suitable match), I pounce. What I want to know is at what point does it become desperate, or simply futile. When should a girl give up and move home to be a spinster working at the village bakery?
The only validation I’ve received lately is from this blog, little though it is. Though I may not seem attractive to suitors professionally to jumpstart my career, this Washington wallflower at least gets the “but you’re so funny, why wouldn’t anyone want you!” platitude.
Most days, it’s a joy to just sit back and listen to the music. ‘Accept what you can’t change, focus on what you can’, and all that. But every now and then, it’s too painful to be surrounded by dancers when every fiber of my being is vibrating to join them. It’s where I belong; why won’t anyone give me a chance?
I promise I won’t step on your toes…
If I don’t want to kiss a guy by the end of a first date, then what’s the point? There, I said it.
I’m not in the market for a frog prince—I’d like a post-transformation guy, with no sign of sliminess to be seen. I really don’t think that is too much to ask.
I’m not saying there’s always a goodnight kiss—I know I’m a forward girl, but it’s not always the right time. BUT if that lack of a kiss isn’t disappointing—or if it’s preferable, even—then I don’t think we’re in the cards at all. That fundamental desire has to be there.
There’s a question asked about first dates: do you expect to determine your compatibility emotionally, spiritually, financially, or sexually by the end of it? My answer is definitely physical compatibility. It’s always been the easiest for me to determine, but not because I’ve a specific ‘type’. I actually have crazy eclectic taste.
There just needs to be that certain sort of spark, on top of whatever about various guys is attractive to me. I generally like them tall and lanky, though some more muscular guys have been thrown in the mix. Blondes aren’t on the list too often, but it’s always a personality thing and not physicality. Eye color doesn’t have much impact—I like the whole color wheel. I’m bigger on eye CONTACT. And someone who’s comfortable in their own skin.
I might find out something incompatible intellectually about a guy further on—say, he’s actually a neo-fascist with the hots for Mubarak, or maybe a closeted NRA member running around in a Democrat’s clothing—but I might not find that out the first date. What I CAN find out without much detail is if I want to kiss him, and by the end of the night if there’s potential for more.
I also wait to see if he’ll make the first move to kiss me. My history has seen a lot of kissing initiated by yours truly rather than the guy, because at that age I “intimidated the hell” out of guys. I’m not all that old-fashioned, it is more about testing him out. I can be a bit of a headstrong girl, so when it comes down to it, I want to know if the guy sees my challenge and wants to meet it.
Recently, I was on a really cute date. The night had gone great, definitely feeling mutual vibes going on, and we had already talked about meeting up again several times. Since we were in my neighborhood, he offered to walk me home, and did the dragging-out-conversation-on-the-front-stoop” cliche, that eventually ended with “so, can I kiss you?” I made the wise choice, and nodded. It definitely added to the night.
If it’s a first date– especially a blind date– I think it’s alright for the guy to ask as his segue into a goodnight kiss. Typically, I’d rather a guy just go for it, but this time around it was damn charming. Maybe it was his puppy-dog brown eyes, or scruffy dimples, or just the whole combination in general… but it worked.
This spark just might be catching flame.
You know how in that moment just before a kiss, when the tension is palpable and you can almost see the intensity rippling in the air, you can’t help but wonder if it will actually match up to the perfection you envisioned in your dreams? [And the unfortunate fact that a lot of the time, it falls painfully short and leaves you dissatisfied.] I was worried that my long-awaited move to Washington DC would turn out like that.
Yea, this is not one of those times. The past few months have been a perfect first kiss of fireworks, chemistry, and a lot of ‘getting to know you wayyyy better’ late nights. DC and I went into this knowing we were wholly compatible on paper, but needing to test drive the car a bit before accepting the knowledge that we were meant to be. Now, it’s settled. The District and I are going steady.
I just moved to DC this summer. Some say I’m still in the honeymoon phase, but they don’t know me very well–I belong here. Most dreamers grow up yearning for the Big Apple or Hollywood, but my geek ass self has wanted to relocate to the capital for years. Mission accomplished! Mazol tov to me, and yes, I get a cookie.
Now comes the hard part: actually living the dream.
Only it hasn’t been THAT hard, in the grand scheme of things. Sure, I’m an unpaid and under-appreciated intern in the pretty small office of a relatively unknown non-profit/advocacy group. We might be known very well within our circle, but the average Joe would probably be baffled. Yes, I pay my bills by working at a restaurant, despite my university degree in a highly specialized and in-demand field. Of course, I’m poor as hell, eating food from my restaurant’s kitchen every night and wondering how I’ll keep from getting evicted and chased down by student-loan-sharks if I don’t get a Big Kid Job soon. But honestly?
I love the freedom of part-time work, find intellectual fulfillment on my own if needed, and have enjoyed the ‘poor kid weight loss plan’ that my impoverished diet has created. For the first time, I am entirely surrounded by intelligent, ambitious people with the drive to be both intense and playful at the same time. It has been liberating. I am not one of the only crazy passionate people in the room, and my political jokes actually get laughs. [Can I also say... there are TALL men here! More to discuss later.] There are attractive men, assertive individuals, and artistic activities. I’m covered on all bases.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t come from some severely rural area where the combined IQ could hide in the corner of my brain and get lost. I’m not the only intellectual from my town– nor am I the only one in my own family and circle of friends. I have awesome roots. I come from intelligent people, accomplished friends, and diverse backgrounds. but every bird needs to fly the coop, and DC has always been my migration destination.
I belong, and this kiss is sweeter and hotter than I ever imagined.