I Stand Corrected


Sushi Deluxe at Sushi Ten
Image via Wikipedia
I totally hadn’t planned on updating before my big vacation, but something totally surprising happened tonight. If you’re following my Twitter, you probably saw I was tweeting a lot tonight!

I am on vacation and out of the country for the next week or so. In celebration of this, I planned on having something good for dinner tonight. Originally I wanted a slice of specialty pizza but passed the restaurant I intended to visit. Suddenly, I passed a small sushi place and turned it, since I’ve been craving sushi for a few days. Normally I’d call my friend who is obsessed with sushi to join, but it was a spur of the moment thing and sushi is actually one meal/restaurant that I don’t mind dining alone.

Anyway, long story short I parked the car and walked in and suddenly remembered what Patti Stanger suggests in the Eight Easy Steps to Finding Your Mate handbook. Sitting at the sushi bar is an excellent place to meet men. You’re more likely to meet someone sitting at a bar than at a table and it’s safer to meet someone at a bar eating than at a bar drinking. The restaurant was fairly small and the bar was near the entrance, and there was a male with their back turned toward me. Snap judgement, I’ll sit at the bar.

I plop down and order a diet coke and take a look at the menu and sneak a look at the male sitting to my left. Looks to be about my age, and pretty cute. SCORE!

Let me take a moment to say I cannot believe Patti Stanger is right about something. I figured her rules only applied to big cities like New York, LA, or Chicago. Why on earth would a small town like mine have single men hanging out at a sushi bar? But there sat a man ordering sushi with no date in sight. Color me surprised.

We made friendly eye contact a few time and I was definitely glad that I had worn a cute dress to work and had taken the time to fix my hair properly. I ordered my rolls, and got a salad. I overheard the young man order two rolls and a salad too. I made eye contact again but he didn’t say anything, he glanced away and seemed fairly shy. The salads came quickly and the waitress asked if i wanted chopsticks or a fork for the salad. I hemmed a bit and finally said “fork”–mostly because I didn’t want to get ginger dressing all down my dress in front this guy. Whether we were going to talk or not, I didn’t want to look stupid. She asked him the same question and he kind of gave the same “heh” and said fork. I looked at him and giggled. Nothing.

I ate my salad slowly and watched the chef make the rolls. Suddenly the guy spoke up…to the chef. He said “is that mine? I don’t need ginger or wasabi thanks.” And I spoke up. “The best part?!”

He laughed and said “I don’t like spicy.” I said “I learned to like it, actually.” and our rolls were delivered. He apologized for having to eat quickly, as he had to be at work. I said I would overlook it, and went to work on my dinner. I tried to eat slowly and smile a lot, just appear light and airy. I asked where he worked, he told me. He was just very quiet. Not in a non approachable way, but in a “I’m so shy” way. He finished eating super fast and paid his bill but sat for a moment. As I was taking my last bite he wished me a good evening and left.

No numbers exchanged, not even a name swapped. But I consider this a huge victory on several levels. First of all–it’s a personal victory. I am comfortable enough to dine alone and enjoy myself with or without meeting someone. Second, Patti Stanger is right. I was surprised to find one of her suggestion spots with an actual male in it. Especially in my town. And this was the small and non-hip sushi place. I’m anxious to try out the big one! Third, I made good eyecontact, showed my interest, and made conversation. This is definitely a step in the right direction for me!

When I get back from vacation I’m actually going to try some more Patti Stanger meet-a-man suggestions, much to my chagrin! Can you believe she was right about something? I don’t expect to meet someone everywhere I go, but it’s nice to know that maybe some of her suggestions aren’t off base. I definitely thought this blog was going to be a parody of these dating books; I figured I would go to these places and have goofy things happen and recount them in a woe-is-me self deprecating humor. Maybe there’s a chance for me after all!

As I’ve mentioned before..The Blonde is going on vacation for a while. Enjoy yourselves and be careful this last full week of summer. Get out there, enjoy yourselves. And if you’re single….have some sushi!

Until next time..

XOXO The Blonde.

 

After the Rose Ceremony…


Rock of Love with Bret Michaels (season 2)
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In my quest to write a dating blog and..well, date…I am frequently asked what I think about various dating shows. The short hand answer here is that I don’t watch dating shows.  True, I’ve stated here frequently that I watch many (MANY!) other trashy reality shows with far less plot or direction, but I simply cannot ‘get into’ dating shows. Why?

Dating shows, to me, are all the same premise but executed in a slight variation that hooks a particularly demographic. They range from the sort-of-normal-but-not-really shows like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette to the truly disgusting and unbelievable Rock of Love With Bret Michaels and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.  The basic formula is one person (guy or girl, celebrity or “normal person”) is thrown into a situation (a house, an island, whatever) with multiple options and then BOOM…sit back and watch the sparks fly.

For me, it’s so generic, and not just in the formula most of these shows use.  I find it generic that most of the people on the show aren’t ‘normal’. They’re models, actors, and actresses, who are cast for a part of either the prize or the competition. They may be single (though sometimes they definitely aren’t!) but they certainly aren’t your average Joe or Jane just looking for a partner.

I also find the format of the ‘picking’ generic.  Most dates aren’t one on one, and it pits two individuals against one another in a win-lose situation that promotes competition rather than honest conversation and get-to-know-you scenarios.  I am not sure how you can make an honest choice between two people who have focused on beating one another to impress you rather than getting to know you and allowing you a glimpse at themselves. It’s not that I think that competition doesn’t bring out the true colors of someone else; precisely the opposite! I think their worst qualities are brought out for all to see in a bad, bad situation.

And while we’re discussing the fact that I think there is communication and openness issues in the set up, I also think there are issues inherent in the fact that cameras capture a large part of contestants interactions.  I am not sure that I could truly be myself or get to know someone in front of a camera.  I wonder how much of the personalities that are seen on these shows are true and how many are characters that individuals develop in front of the cameras.  How on earth do individuals fall in love under these circumstances?

For me, the proof is in the pudding with dating shows.  Most of the engagements and relationships on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette haven’t made it to the altar.  Of the thirteen season of The Bachelor I can only find two relationships that are MAYBE still in tact.  I can’t figure out if they are or aren’t, but to be quite honest…it doesn’t look good for them.  Yes, I realize “Trista and Ryan” are still together, but then again a broken clock still tells the right time twice a day, right?

It’s not that I begrudge anyone who watches these shows.  It’s just that, for me, it’s not a real exercise in dating and certainly offers very little for me to learn in terms of how to date.  That is, unless…maybe one of you would like to send me out to an island home with a giant pool and fly me to several locations for dates with bachelors all competing for my attention? No?

Soon I plan to watch an episode of Dating in the Dark on ABC and let you know what I think.  A friend has recommended it to me.

Until next time! xox The Blonde.

Q&A Tuesday


Should men opens doors for you?

Interesting question.  Is this really something men are debating? I am a door holder.  If I reach a door first and someone is

Mind Your Manners by Claire Wallace (1953)
Image by Ann Douglas via Flickr

behind me by 20 paces or less, I’m going to wait and hold the door for them.  Maybe it’s a Southern thing, I don’t know…

So… on a date, should a man open a door for a lady?

YES. Open her car door, open the door to the restaurant.  It’s the polite thing to do. It shows that you have manners.  There is nothing…NOTHING…I hate worse than a rude male.  Yes, I demand equal pay for equal work, but I also would like to have a door opened for me.  Sue me.

But I’m not just talking about men on dates here.  ALL men should open doors for women–young girls, old ladies, wives, girlfriends, random person–all women deserve to have doors opened for them if they are entering or exiting at the same time as a male.

For some reason, lately I’ve noticed that males under 20 and over 50 are the only men who open doors for ladies. What’s up with that, males? Does something between the age of 21 and 49 make you automatically stop holding or opening doors? Explain yourselves!

On a serious note, men who hold doors without asking, open car doors as I step out, and walk me to my side of the car definitely are a turn on.  I just haven’t dated anyone who’s done that yet!

What is the ideal outfit for a man? Some say jeans & a white tee? Polo and khakis?

Interesting.  The last time I posted on what to wear on a date, a huge discussion broke out on the jeans vs. no jeans (no jeans, no jeans) points of view.  I am almost hesitant to give an opinion here!

I think polo shirts are always a nice look; I’m partial I suppose.  Jeans are nice if they’re neat and not worn or extra baggy.  I am on the fence about khaki pants.  I really, really dislike cargo-style khakis, but it is not something that would make me say “no” to a second date if this was the only problem.  Well-fitted, chino style khakis are a great look. I think shirts tucked in, if possible, are a nice touch that say “I care about my appearance” here.

Shoes can be an important part of the look for men.  You can almost guarantee that a woman will take the time to carefully pick out shoes, but men are sometimes unpredictable in this area.  Running shoes, to me, shouldn’t be worn on a date (unless you’re running).  Casual sneakers can be a good look if worn with jeans in an appropriate setting (think concert scene).  Any other shoes should be neat and not excessively worn.  I’m a sucker for nice Doc Martens or Sperrys, or even just a leather shoe that is fairly nondescript.  I don’t think chacos or man sandals are something you should try on the first few dates, fellas! Just my two cents.

I think hats are not a good look on dates that aren’t outdoor activity. If you are wearing a hat, it is respectful to take it off when you go inside and ESPECIALLY when you sit at a dinner table!

That’s all for this week. Next week’s Q&A may be delayed due to an impending out of country vacation.  I will keep you posted on the update schedule of this blog as the week draws closer to an end.

Double kisses!

XOXO The Blonde

Reluctantly Following the Rules


Facebook logo
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Despite some recent setbacks, there is actually someone I’m sort of interested in. I’m confused about what to do, exactly, but it’s a step that I am interested in this person.

I met this guy working at a store near where I work on a college campus. He’s friendly and we had a conversation about a magazine that was at the register when I bought my diet coke a few months ago. Anyway, we chit chatted, I thought he was funny, and so I went out on a limb and added him on Facebook. But despite the add, and despite seeing him several more times in the store, we didn’t talk much. In the past month he’s commented here and there on a couple of my Facebook statuses and he’s actually mentioned a couple of my statuses when I’ve been in the store. However…there’s just not much there.

I’m not sure how to make the transition and let someone know I’m interested. He seems like a fun guy, we have a few things in common. I would be open to going somewhere and seeing what kind of time we had.

I can’t tell if he’s interested or not. On the one hand, if he’s interested, he’d probably have talked to me by now, more than just a passing comment or two on a social media outlet, right? And almost every book I’ve read says “Don’t pursue a man, let him come to you”. I want to pursue him, however, if the books say no…who am I to go against it? Isn’t this what I’m here to do? Take the sage advice?

So today I made sure my Facebook obviously states that I am single. How pathetic is that? At least it’s out there again. And I could make more attempts to be friendly I suppose. Maybe this is a lost cause. I’m not sure why I’m so focused on this pursuit. He’s attractive, seems witty, and likes football. It just seems like an option. More realistic than anything else I’ve thought about in a while.

I don’t think I’m supposed to ask him out. But if I were going to let someone know I was interested, how do I transition here? Is it possible?

 

Put the Load Right On Me


Yeah…confession time. 

I went somewhere else for advice.  I didn’t know how to tell this blog what was really going on, so I broke down and wrote “Dear Wendy” on TheFrisky.com and believe me, I never in a million years expected a response, much less a letter published in a “Dear Wendy” entry on the website.  Mostly I thought maybe I’d get some low-level functionary to read this blog.  I don’t know.

 The link above has an excerpt from my letter and Wendy’s response. But I’ll detail for you here.

Anyway, the bottom line is The Boyfriend that I dated for…six years….and ultimately split with (very UN-amicably!) two years ago has been writing me emails.  They’re friendly.  Certainly more friendly than they were two years ago.  Mostly they’re full of updates and questions—updates about his life, educational pursuit, and relationship; questions about my job and family.

The first email was definitely provoked by me. Before you jump to conclusions, it was for good cause.  His girlfriend found a blog I had started prior to this one regarding my all-natural weight loss.  And she commented.  And I wanted him to know that it wasn’t me stirring the pot this time.

I’ll admit in the beginning it was a messy breakup and it was more than half my fault.  I am constantly wracked with guilt regarding the fact that I was so emotionally unbalanced in the beginning.  Alright, I was crazy. But for the past 18 months I’ve been really good, minded my business, and when I heard through the grapevine he had a new relationship, I minded my business.  I didn’t see a picture of her, didn’t jump at the bait when friends had stories.  I was good.  So to see that she had commented on a blog that literally no one read (trust me, I have the stats on wordpress to prove it!) I was floored.  Trust me, it’s natural to be curious. I’ve kept myself up more than a few nights wondering if she’s better than me (she probably is) if she’s prettier than me (isn’t that really subjective?), and if she’s petting my dog (God, that kills me the most).  So I wrote him to say a) I didn’t seek her out and b) sorry if she read anything that made she or you uncomfortable.

And he wrote back immediately.  And apologized, and made her apologize, and made excuses for why it probably happened (total coincidence, of course, despite the fact that there were numerous pictures identifying me and I knoooow she had to have known what I look like!) and after the initial shock wore off he wrote again.  About his life, his dissertation, and what am I up to? And how am I doing?

So I wrote back.  The initial emails were a brag fest between the two of us—who’s better, who’s happier.  And then one day I was shopping for graduation gifts for some of my employees with a coworker and he walked in.  We live in the same city, work in the same zipcode, and this hasn’t happened in two years? And all of a sudden now it happens? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME UNIVERSE? WHAT?!

We chatted for about 3 minutes. Mostly just standing there feeling uncomfortable. And finally my friend pulled me away because “it wasn’t going to end unless someone did”.  For weeks I was torn up inside. Stressed, upset, lacking appetite.  And then I went to lunch and there he sat with his girlfriend.  WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, UNIVERSE?

The emails started after that. Asking how I was, acknowledging that the universe was indeed fucked up somehow as it kept pulling us into the same spots. I replied all to a series of emails from some friends mocking a local commercial—and the sentence I wrote? 3 minutes later an email from The Boyfriend popped up containing the same sentence.  I swear I didn’t even know he was on the list.  So he wrote again.  And again.  And again. 

The emails are always friendly and lighthearted but mostly are full of his accomplishments. And every reply I’ve ever given had been nothing short of congratulatory, kind, and CASUAL.  I encourage his school work, I acknowledging that I’m glad he’s found someone, I thanked him for the excellent care he’s provided the dog he kept.  He asks about The Friend and I tell him the truth, I can’t get him to answer me anymore.  He says that’s a shame.  I admit defeat in every category.  I still work in the same place.  I don’t have a new boyfriend.  It took me a long time to get my head above water .  I walked away from something substantial.  Stlil the emails keep coming. 

One day I decided that maybe this was karma.  Maybe the universe wants me to be miserable until I can admit that I was wrong and that I am sorry.  I have never been an apologizer…ever.  So I sucked it up, and hit reply to the latest email asking about my grandmother, and after two sentences detailing her excellent health following colon cancer, a stroke, two broken hips, and an aortic anurism…I start.

I apologize for cheating, for taking out issues from my childhood on an innocent bystander, for being crazy, for being a bad girlfriend.  For keeping a messy house, for lying, for taking him on a 6 year long shit-storm.  I took all the blame and this time I truly meant it.  He deserves someone much better, I have work to do on myself.  I AM THE LESSER PERSON! What a relief.

But the emails keep coming. Emails letting me off the hook, telling me ‘funny’ stories about how his new girlfriend dated someone I was very close to, all kinds of stuff. 

WHAT DO YOU WANT UNIVERSE?!

I’m at a loss here.  It’s haunting me. His emails are kind but make me feel like shit. I’ve apologized, I’ve taken the blame, and I’ve admitted to all my mistakes. I am truly happy for him and his new life, I realize I was holding him back.

What else should I do?

Wendy says I should write him one final goodbye next time he writes. So I guess I will.  But I want to know why this happens and what the Universe wants from me? In the last four months I’ve had contact with him in person and his girlfriend, and I haven’t seen either of them in 24 months.  It’s weighed on my mind more than normal, and I think that’s why I haven’t made any real moves in about a month. I’m stagnant because I feel weighed down by the past. I’ve apologized, there’s nothing that I can do now. And it didn’t make me feel any less shitty.

TheFrisky readers all have the same suggestions:  he’s not over me (I disagree!), I’m hopeful that he’s not over me (trust me, it freaks me out to even type THOSE words!), and that he wants to know what I look like (he already does).  The truth is I’ve asked him what he wants, why he emails me, and if his girlfriend cares that he does this…to which the answers are: none given, none given, no problem.

Bah.

TBLTB Presents: Freedom Friday, Selfish Edition


 

I often worry when I post a freedom Friday that it will the the last one I post. Every week I worry that I will finally become bored with finding the silver lining in being alone…..and every week I am blessed with a tiny reminder that I love myself and I love being with me. Sure, there are moments during the week where I miss being in a relationship, miss having someone to share my hopes, dreams and fears aloud. But somehow, someway, I’m always reminded of a little part of why it’s so awesome to be…single.

This week’s little reminder came in an unusual place, my mother’s facebook page. I was reading her recent status updating, saying that she was going to a high school football game with my stepfather rather than her usual exercise class. I know she didn’t graduate from that high school and she wasn’t looking forward to missing her class, and it’s a constant joke in our family about this school that no one but my stepdad attended…so I gave her a quick “WHY?!?!?” comment. And her reply was simple–“(My dad) asked me to go”. So I wrote back quickly “That’s why I’m single! I do what I want!” I was being silly, but then I had an a-ha moment.

My mom doesn’t really want to skip her class, but she’s a good person and sometimes she’s willing to compromise her wants for someone else’s wants–usually me or my stepfather. And when she does it for my stepfather it’s because she’s in a loving, committed relationship and sometimes you just do things that aren’t your first choice. I’ve been there, I remember it.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great feeling to do something like this for someone you love. It’s great to want to be a good partner. But have you ever done something in order to be a good girlfriend or boyfriend and had a miserable time? I’ve been there. Sitting somewhere you don’t want to be, maybe watching something you don’t want to watch….you’re wishing you were somewhere else. Or maybe you didn’t go. Do you know that guilt? I do…it’s not a good feeling. Sometimes it’s a catch 22. Go and be miserable, stay and feel guilty. There’s no easy answer. It’s a joy to make someone happy, but sometimes that gets old I guess.

Today I am thankful to be free to truly “do what I want”. I don’t have to contend with the guilt of not being there, but I also don’t have to do anything I’m not looking forward to doing. There are no dinners I don’t want to eat, no family get-togethers to suffer through. And there are no guilt waves that pull me under when I decide to stay home. I don’ t miss making those choices at all.

I realize, in time, I will find someone and be put back in these positions. But I am hopeful that it’s someone that I really do want to make sacrifices for. I hope it’s easier to make the choice, and I hope the guilty feelings don’t last long (or even come. is that possible?). I look forward to the day when I want to be a selfless girlfriend. But today…I’m pretty content being a selfish single. I mean that in the best way possible 😉

Do you make these sacrifices in relationships? Do you have the guilty wave? Have you found someone you want to endure torturous events for? haha.

Goin’ To the Chapel


A bride tossing her bouquet of flowers. Catego...
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My office is the home of quick engagements and weddings.  Ironically, it’s where my relationship came to die, but I digress.

Out of the younger crowd in my office who have married in the last five years (5 relationships),  every one of them were engaged after less than a year of dating.  The high was 10 months, the low is 4 months.  The engagements have lasted less than a year as well, with the long engagement being 11 months and the short engagement being 4 months.  The first couple of times this happened, I was shocked at the speed at which these relationships were moving!

We chatted at work for a while about the pros and cons of a long engagement.  We have this discussion from time to time, usually when someone becomes engaged or marries, because the typical question that follows is “How long were you together?” or “How long were you engaged?”.  My opinion used to be similar to that of many of the younger employees in the office (younger than me.  sigh. I used to be the youngest one!)…”I would never marry someone I hadn’t dated for two/three/four/one hundred years”.

But now I’m more comfortable with the fact that not every relationship needs to last for eight years before you make a plunge to be with someone.  Honestly, if you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, why would you want to wait a second longer than you had to before you started living that life?! I am also of the opinion that if you are older than 23 and have dated someone for longer than two years, you probably shouldn’t get married barring some extenuating circumstances that would prevent said marriage.  I mean, if you are questioning your choice after two years, something in your gut won’t let you jump.  And if I’ve learned one thing over the past few years…it’s to trust my gut instinct.

What’s my idea of a good relationship/engagement timeline? I know you can’t plan things, but I think ideally spending 18-24 months with someone should shore up your ideas of marriage with this special someone.  All four seasons once through takes care of a lot of “big firsts”–first birthdays together, first holidays (maybe first family meetings!), first summer vacations.  A trip around the sun shows you that person in every one of these important situations, things that I think are ‘big deals’ in relationships and what I look forward to with my significant others. I think it’s a good measurement of how things could be for you.  Any less than 4 seasons is taking a risk, to be sure, but some people are definite risk takers! Any more than two trips around the sun and I think you’ve got some real thinking to do.  You’ve spent two Christmases either together, or apart, or rotating families.  You’ve seen what holiday life would be like.  You’ve had two birthdays…did they treat you well? Was your significant other unappreciative of the effort you put in? An anniversary or two came.  Maybe you celebrated small ones or just the ‘year’ one or maybe it wasn’t acknowledged at all.  You’ve seen their job in ‘busy season’.  You’ve dealt with football season, basketball season, you’ve seen their schedule during softball league–whatever. If you’ve done all this twice and you’re still unsure that you want to do it again over and over…why do you want to sit there and wait until you ‘figure it out’ and make another trip across the sky with this person?! I know! It’s crazy isn’t it? I used to be that person too.  It’s okay.

The whole idea here is that if you haven’t found the person you want to be with, stop wasting your time with the wrong fit and get out there and try again.  You (ideally..) can’t find the right person if you’re still being consumed with the wrong person. Evaluate why you’re spending time with someone year after year.

Unless you don’t want to get married.  Which is totally cool too.  Power in numbers, my friends!

Q&A Tuesday


Do you think every couple needs a “song” ?

Do I think every couple needs one?  No.  Have I had them? Yes.

It’s much better when you’re a couple if you’re at a function or doing something and a song marks a moment and then when you hear that song it becomes an inside joke…rather than sitting down and picking out “our song”.  If a couple is going to have a song, I like to hear a story behind it.

I think couples should dance to their song at their wedding reception (if they choose to have one!) no matter the style of the song.  Fast, slow, lyrical or not.  I think that makes it more memorable than having to sit through another rendition of “At Last” by Etta James.  HOW many more times can a couple of dance to this at their wedding?!

How do you respond to social situations that ask for spouse or significant other information?

Do you mean, for instance, formal invitations?  If it is a wedding I do appreciate the option to bring a guest though I am currently single.  It is nice to be able to bring a friend, have a dance partner, and someone to talk to.  Addressing my invitation “The Blonde + Guest” is totally appropriate!

A friend of mine asked for some advice the other day regarding this very subject and I wanted to share with you what I thought was a very rude assumption made by a school.  A phone call was placed to my friend’s place of business requesting information on her significant other for invitational purposes.  It was a business function and the inquiring party had no clue whether or not she indeed had a significant other.  How should she respond?

I said it’s totally appropriate to call the location back and tell them that any correspondences and invitations can be mailed directly to her, and she will pass word along to her invited guest and then inform the school of her guest’s information.  Why wouldn’t the school just send “plus guest” with this invitation?! RSVP’s are made for telling the responsible parties the names of those attending!

I have never been sensitive to the “plus guest” feature until I started attending so many functions as a single girl a couple of years ago.  I think “plus guest” is completely appropriate until engagement.  Just my two cents.

More next week!

xoxo The Blonde.