On the Occasion of the Royal Wedding

I awoke before dawn to attend a wedding to which I wasn’t invited.  Excited, I plated my cranberry scone and steeped a cup of blackberry flavored black tea and settled in to watch guest after guest arrive to the royal wedding.  I held my breath as Princes William and Harry arrived at the Abbey.  I looked with delight as Catherine Middle walked down the aisle a ‘commoner’ and emerged a duchess.  All in all, it was a lovely affair.

And while I realize the thought of sitting around eating scones, sipping tea, and wearing a plastic crown (from a bachelorette party!) drudges up images of a chronically lonely singleton, I couldn’t help myself.  I watched without shame, and tweeted with glee as the couple shared small moments during the ceremony.  And then I began to see the few tweets complaining about the Royal wedding.

William and Kate, taken for their wedding program

“Oh God. I’m eloping.”  “I can’t believe people woke up to watch this shit.”

Amidst all the complaints of “who cares about those damn royals?”, something stands out to me.  Some 750 million people are tuning in to see these two young people wed.  True, some are watching just because it’s on, and others are watching just to complain.  But I think a large majority of us are watching for one reason…we still believe in marriage.

Let’s be honest, at every turn we are forced to hear the scary statistics.  45 to 50% of first marriages end in divorce.  The median age for divorce is around 30.  And statistics get worse for second and third marriages.  The point is driven home, time and again, day after day, that marriages just don’t last forever anymore.

And yet we still hope.  We still marry.  Still take vows that speak of parting only at death.  Continue with the ceremony; the pomp; the circumstance.  And I have to believe that we don’t do it in vain.  We don’t do it for the sake of doing it.  We do it because we still believe that there is a person out there for each of us, a lid for every pot, that can last forever.  And we want this not only for ourselves, but for others.  We wish this for our siblings, our children, our parents.  We wish eternal happiness for our friends.  But it goes beyond that…we wish it for our neighbors, for strangers on the street, for two people in their late twenties in Britain, one born to the Windsor family.

So, we wake up early to watch them prepare for their moment to come together as one.  And despite knowing that they already live together, we delight in their happiness, and look for signs that this is real.  Watching coverage of every moment, we look for hints in their vows that they take this seriously…we want to see passion in their kiss.  We grasp at every straw we can to see that the love they have has the tell-tale signs that it could last forever.

And maybe some of us find meaning in things that we shouldn’t.  Maybe we fabricated signs between the two of them today to assure ourselves that William and Kate are in this one for the long haul.  Perhaps, just perhaps, we invent meaning behind smirks and glances.  But it’s not for malicious reasons. It’s because we want to assure ourselves that true love is real, and that once-in-a-lifetime moment can happen.

But it’s not just the royal family that catches our attention with this topic.  Nay, I’d say anyone who has been to a wedding…ever…has watched closely for signs and clues given by the couple at the altar.  We want to delight in their love.  We want there to be meaning for our friends, loved ones.  Because, as the Archbishop of Canterbury said this morning at the royal ceremony “in a sense every wedding is a royal wedding “. Every time a couple weds and commitments themselves to each other is a royal affair.

And that’s why we watch, because it’s a hope we all have.  That one day, our prince (or princess) will come….even in plain clothes.

So is it overload?  Probably.  Everything in this age of social media and electronic communication sort of beings overload.  I think the influx some are complaining about is simply over-saturation because that’s what happens these days.  But that doesn’t make the ceremony and the circumstance any less splendid.


Selling The Drama (Bachelor Number 5 Case Closed?)

So I updated you on Monday with the constant betting war that my friends and colleagues were having with regards to the “Thing That is Wrong with Bachelor Number 5”.  Notable  guesses included “he’s female”, “he’s married” and “he’s got a physical impairment”.

After a few comments on the blog, I was really starting to lean toward the “he has a girlfriend/fiance/wife/family of 17” theory.  I mean, it was a strong possibility that he had speech impediment because I had never heard his voice and he’s reluctant to use the phone.  But, after reading some sound theory on the matter, I figured that was also just another sign that he probably already had a lady in his life and keeping things in text form was probably easier than having a phone ring unpredictably.  By last evening, as I sat watching a storm pass on my front porch, I just sort of decided that “it is what it is” and I should probably just….ask.

But as I picked up my phone, I decided that I didn’t want to take this thing to Crazytown and flat out ask if he had a girlfriend.  Because, on the offhand chance that he doesn’t have a girlfriend or wife, woah…I’m already that girl.

So I simply texted Bachelor Number 5, and left it pretty open-ended.  “We should meet up this week.” It was a simple text, straight to the point, without any filler or fluff.  It was a suggestion that required a response in the affirmative or negative.  And when the little red star on my in-box popped up almost immediately, my heart fluttered a bit.  With a little trepidation, I opened the text message to find the answer.  “I agree.  I was just about to text you to see how your Easter weekend went?”

No hesitation, no argument, no push back.  He agreed we should meet.  So I politely answered his question and added to the end “I’m free pretty much any night except Friday.”

His response came slower, and only addressed the portion of the conversation about what we had done the previous weekend.  And he texted for thirty more minutes with no mention of plans at all this week.

That was the final straw for me, I guess.  I knew in my heart of hearts, something was up.  So I put away the phone, read some of the book I’m currently engrossed in, and went to bed.

I lamented to my friend today between emails and phone calls at work that “something was officially up with Bachelor Number 5” and that I might never really know the outcome.  And she asked the question I should have seen coming from a mile away.

“Have you googled him?”

Googled him?  I don’t even know his last name.

“Google his username.”

Now, I am a smart girl, and I’ll admit that this thought has crossed my mind, but I usually shut the thought out quickly, figuring that I should let someone reveal their secrets to me rather than dragging them all out myself..but once my friend said the words, I knew it was just time to do this.  If she’s thinking it, then it’s okay for me to have this thought too.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I promised you I’d never Facebook stalk again?

Well, I forgot to mention to you all that the rules, for Facebook stalking, only apply to The Boyfriend, The Friend, and anyone associated with them.  New bachelors, of course, are fair game.

And so I googled his username and immediately a Picasa album came up.  The default picture on his Picasa album?  Same as his default picture on OkCupid.  Jackpot.  Same guy.  So with apprehension I flipped through the album.

Yes, there was a picture of him smiling into the camera with what looks to be a very attractive girl sucking on his neck.  But I can’t account for that.  It may or may not be a current girlfriend.  And anyway, the picture was nearly 3 years old.

Yeah, three years old.  Just like his default user picture.  As I got to more current photos, I realized that Bachelor Number 5 has gained a significant amount of weight.  By my own estimations, Bachelor Number 5 has gained around 200 pounds since the photo that he uses on OKCupid was taken.

As different as I look now that I am down nearly 130 pounds, he looks just as different going in the other direction.

I put the username into Facebook and his personal account came right up, complete with recent photos and status updates.

Bachelor Number 5’s dirty little secret?  His pictures are old.

Now, does this change how I feel about Bachelor Number 5?

A little.

But hold on before you crucify me for being a shallow bitch.

Was I smitten with Bachelor Number 5?  Yeah.  I was.  He is funny.  He has a great sense of humor (he laughs at my jokes!) and he is clever.  He asks great questions, takes the lead in conversations, and can be very sweet.  We have a lot in common.

But I feel like he’s misrepresenting himself with older pictures.  And it feels a bit like he wants to twist my arm into just loving him so much, via text message, that when he finally broke down and met me in person, well, I’d have no choice but to just forget about the little incident of misleading OKCupid pictures.

I’m just like anyone else.  I appreciate the good in people.  I appreciate honesty and sincerity.  And I feel like that’s just not what I’m getting when Bachelor Number 5 hides his true self from me by using older pictures and refusing to meet me yet.

I sort of feel like..I have my own flaws.  What are they?  I sing in the shower? Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering?  Wait, that’s Michael Scott. Seriously though, I’ve told you here time and again that I struggled with my weight in the past, so my body is still a ‘work in progress’.  But I don’t try to hide this online.  I use up-to-date pictures.  I have some in make up and some without because…well, I don’t always wear make up!  I have full body shots, close-ups, head shots.  Because I don’t want anybody to ever feel like I sold them a dream that wasn’t able to be a reality.  And that’s sort of where Bachelor Number 5 left me…feeling like he sold a dream.

Being the mature person that I am, I added him on Facebook.  We’ll see what he says. So much for me not taking it to Crazytown, right?  I guess I am the mayor, after all.

Case closed?

Q&A Tuesday–Match.com and Sex

On Tuesdays The Blonde likes to dive into the mail bag from the anonymous formspring account and answer reader questions.  Submit yours for consideration at formspring.me/theblondexox

Today’s question comes from an anonymous user.  The curious reader writes:

Hi Blonde. Should I write that I like sex in my Match profile?

Well, hmm.

First and foremost, good for you that you’re able to really admit that you enjoy sex.  Too often friends of mine are shy when it comes to the topic of sex.  But when we’re all really honest with ourselves…of course we all like sex!

Sex is fun, especially if you’re doing it right!  It feels good, it makes you feel closer to the person you’re sharing it with.  It can be a huge stress reliever, and when performed correctly, can actually burn around 150 calories per hour (assuming of course you can last an hour!).  It’s an adventure, it feels good..wow, I think I just talked myself into a tizzy.

But with great sex comes great responsibility.  Having sex too soon can spell disaster for relationships.  And being too frank with regard to sexual topics early on in a relationship can have the same disastrous consequences, I’ve found.

First and foremost, you run the risk of coming across as slutty if you’re a female or creepy if you’re male.  And I realize this is a serious double standard, but I’m just being honest.  Men will judge women are promiscuous if they are too sexually forward too soon.  Women call men pigs if they’re honest about being interested in sex on the first dat (or sooner).

And, of course, if you take your early relationship to a place of “I LIKE SEX” right away, and things get out of hand, you run the risk of being unable to ‘back the relationship up’.  Slowing things down is much more awkward after there has been a sexual element added.

It’s a delicate balance you’ve got to find; being yourself, showing interest, and not being too forward with sexual topics.  True we all like sex, and maybe we like having frequent sex, and maybe we’ve had sex too soon and it didn’t end up being the end of the world, but if you really want to start a relationship off on the right note..I wouldn’t advertise your desire to do the adult version of the hokey pokey on your Match.com profile.

So, in my personal opinion, it depends on what you’re using Match.com to achieve.  If Match.com is, for you, a means to find someone interested mostly in sex and not a long-term relationship, then yes, by all means, your headline should probably just read I WANT TO HAVE LOTS OF SEX.  And then you should have sex as safely and as often as possible, but be aware that serious relationships may not follow with these connections.

But if you’re interested in finding someone you can connect with on many levels–including, but not limited to sexual compatibility, blatantly stating your sexual needs on a dating website isn’t the way to go.

Sex most certainly plays a prominent role in any relationship.  I’m not saying it’s something you can’t enjoy or be frank about.  I’m just suggesting to you that putting it in your Match.com profile could be counterintuitive if you’re looking for a strong relationship that isn’t solely based on sex.

But that’s just my opinion.

Thanks for reading!

Got a question for The Blonde?  Ask her anonymously on FormSpring!  Visit http://www.formspring.me/theblondexoxo for details.

What’s eating Bachelor Number 5?

Bachelor Number 5 still hasn’t asked me anywhere.  I still get the ‘pleasure’ of texting with him almost daily.  It’s all well and good, I suppose, to have these great conversations, but like I’ve said before…it’s beginning to feel like I’m talking to a perpetual text machine and I’m losing interest in the person behind the keypad.

I enjoy our talks but it’s just never going to be a real feeling for me until I see this person face-t0-face, and really talk to him.  Bachelor Number 5 is losing me, and fast.  I went this whole Easter weekend without so much as checking my phone for texts.  When I did see that he had texted me, I wrote back once or twice but sort of gave up when more interesting things started happening.  Like watching The Ten Commandments in all of its six-hour long glory on television.

To keep myself interested and invested in this story, I’ve started polling my friends and colleagues on what they think is ‘wrong’ with Bachelor Number 5.  Just why, in your opinion, do you think someone I met on a dating site has failed to actually take me on a date?  The answers have ranged from expected to amusing.

I told the short version to my boss while we were standing on the elevator–I gave her the perfect elevator pitch in fact.  “We met on OKCupid.com, texted for a month or more every day, and I really like his personality.  He frequently marvels at who and what I am–but so far?  Bupkis. What’s the deal?”  She looked straight into my blue eyes, shrugged her shoulders and said “It’s a woman.”

We walked down the hall after our elevator ride and I said “You mean like a girlfriend?”

I’d definitely thought of this scenario.  I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time a man with a significant other (wife or otherwise) has shown interested in me, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone on a dating site contacted me despite having already filled the position of ‘girlfriend’ with another person in his life.  So, perhaps Bachelor Number 5 has a girlfriend?

“No.  I mean, as in, he is a she”, my boss continued on.

Oh shit.  Didn’t think of that one.

I continued on texting with Bachelor Number 5, but asked another colleague/friend what she thought of the situation.  I gave the same elevator pitch, trying hard not to pepper the explanation with personal pieces of information, afraid I’d taint the data.  When I finished the sentence “What’s the deal?” my friend “R” looked at me, furrowed her brow, and thought for a minute.

Good, I thought.  She didn’t retort directly back what a “He’s a woman!” so maybe the answer will be better.

“Speech impediment? Stutter?” she asked.

How would I know?  He hasn’t ever offered to call me on the phone.  Not that it would matter.  Because it doesn’t.  And I don’t think I’ve said anything to Bachelor Number 5 that would show that I wouldn’t be a kind, tolerant person.  But then again, what have I shown him that would make him believe I would be a kind, tolerant person?  If it is a speech impediment, well, he hasn’t felt comfortable enough to tell me.

This same observation was made by my friend The Brunette a few days earlier.  “Some sort of physical disability”, she typed, matter-of-factly.  “Something he can’t tell you about.”

Again, not that it would matter.  But I can’t help but think that it’s not fair to be honest with me and try to ‘trap me’ into caring about him before I know the big secret.

What am I doing here?  Resenting someone for a secret that they don’t even know they’re keeping?  A disability, speech impediment, or sex change that may or may not be true?

Two other colleagues asked me how the blog was going, just this morning.  And so I gave them the short story of Bachelor Number 5, though I realize they could go read the long version here on this blog.. and asked what they thought could possibly explain the mysterious behavior of Bachelor Number 5.  I selectively left out my boss’s decision of “female” and our mutual friend’s assessment of ‘speech impediment’ and let them run their imaginations over the issue.

“A”, said, right away “Is he a 300 ton man who can’t leave the house?”

A deathly overweight, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” style human?  I never thought of that one.  Of course, I suppose it’s possible.  Still, he makes too many mentions of restaurants and public places that have opened in the last six months to really be home-bound as much as a 300 ton man would be.  Maybe he’s more over weight than his picture lets on.

“K” followed up with “What about his age? Is he younger or older than what he put on his profile?”

Hmm.  Good point, K.  As much as I hate to admit it, she may be correct.  Either younger or older.  I’m not sure which would be better.  Too young, and it seems creepy and illegal on my part.  The Blonde does not rob the cradle.  Too much older and it’s creepy on his part.  And that’s a huge turn off.

I’ve noticed in this grand game of “Guess What” I’m having my friends play…nobody ever says “He’s shy.” or “Maybe you’re not his type.” The assumption always, always jumps to outlandish (?) “he’s a half-human, half-animal hybrid”.  Maybe that’s part of the stigma of internet dating, still.  The idea that no one is who they say they are, that fake profiles, and fake photos abound.  The idea that everyone is a giant, fat person and that’s why they have to ‘resort’ to online dating.  But I guess that’s another topic for another post.

It’s getting out of hand, this interoffice, interstate betting game we’re playing.  Guessing what could possible be wrong with Bachelor Number 5.  It’s gotten to the point where even I have grown tired.  Tired of wondering, tired of texting, tired of dealing with all this.  And that’s unfortunate because in the beginning I really felt like Bachelor Number 5 had a mass of potential that was unrivaled in recent memory.

So I’m just going to ask.  Well, actually, I’m going to invite.  I’m going to invite him to coffee this week and we’ll see what happens.  He’ll either agree, and show up…agree, and bail, or decline. And then, we’ll know.

I Could Crush Him

I realize that this blog post will make me sound like a huge bitch. I can’t help it anymore

A lot of women talk about the pains of dating younger men.  There are, to be sure, pitfalls a-plenty when you delve into the world of dating ‘younger men’.  Younger men are typically less mature, less stable in their careers, more likely to flit from flower to flower, and need a GPS device to a lady’s nether regions.

The problem I face has little to do, in my opinion, with the fact that men are younger than I am. I am contacted by men in the age range from 25-35, and I’d say most often I am contacted by men that are between the ages of 28 and 30.  One would assume that these are the most ‘put together’ men with the most experience in relationships.  But, one would assume wrong.

While I am not attempting to make generalizations about all men, or all men in my state or city, I am here to say that almost every man who contacts me via Match.com or OKCupid has never been in a serious relationship.  Now, I am not saying that men who contact me are the playa-playa type that are, as we discussed earlier, flitting from flower to flower.  Nay, the men who are contacting ME are men who have very little experience with relationships, serious or otherwise.

It concerns me.  I worry that they are fragile boys, coming into this world of dating with wide eyes and excitement. They’re eager to get into the dating scene.  Everything is new to them. And they have these dreams of what relationships are like.  Clips are played in their minds, sort of like movie previews.  Fields of flowers, skipping hand in hand, laughing.  It’s all so picturesque.

You remember being like this right?

I vaguely do.  I.  Okay, maybe I’m being slightly over-dramatic.  Maybe they’re not dreaming of skipping in fields.  But I don’t think they know that, in the scheme of things, relationships can be sort of…emotional roller coasters.  In addition to the extreme high, emotionally exhilarating moments that come with being in a relationship, there are the…not-so high moments. Dare I say it?  I do dare.  There are low, low emotional valleys that come with some relationships that make you forget that there are even these things called happy moments.  It’s very real.

I feel like, when it comes to relationships, I’ve been road-tested in a way. I know what to expect. I began a serious relationship way too young.  I don’t have these images in my mind of how great and new and wonderful things will always be. I feel more…realistic than that.  I know what it is like to face disappointments.  To bounce back from an argument.  I know what it feels like to have my feelings hurt.  To argue the first time.  The make up after the first argument.  I know what it feels like when you reach a point and know a relationship can’t go any further.  I know the disappointment of seeing a long-term relationship end, of realizing that you’ve spent a long time with someone who you just can’t keep seeing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being in love.   In short, I guess I just know that, as absolutely freakin’ awesome it is to have a relationship, it’s not all fairy tale. It’s work.  And it’s all worth it, but sometimes, in the moment, it’s hard to remember that it is worth it.

I feel like I am going to crush the spirit of these men.  I’m afraid that I’m going to take these men, and just be myself, and ruin everything for them.  I guess the at the end of the day, I’m afraid that I will see the opportunity for power and…abuse it?

I’ve done it before.  I’ve seen the power and control that can occur when someone cares for you deeply.  You reach a point with a person that they just find you…so amazing?…that you can pretty much get what you need with little effort.  I feel like, sometimes, I crushed the spirit of The Boyfriend because I abused my power.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s probably no worse for the ware and he’s got a lovely second-half now (and here I sit blogging about my regrets!).  But I do see where I just squeezed everything I could out of my power sometimes.  And I don’t want to be that way.  But I don’t know if I trust myself!

The boys I’ve met so far on OKCupid and Match seem so…eager and naive.  I’ll be honest, the entire reason I bring this up is Bachelor Number 5.  I know that we’ve yet to actually go somewhere, but I can tell by our conversation that I could hold the entire upper hand in this relationship, should it progress to a relationship.  He says things like “You’re the funniest person I know.” and “You are so smart.”  And my first thought is?  “I think I could crush you…”

Well, that wasn’t my first thought.  My first thought was “He’s Cameron”.  He is Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  I think my favorite part of the movie is when Ferris watches Cameron and Sloan in the pool and talks about them, and what they need.  Ferris says about Cameron:

Cameron’s never been in love. At least no one’s ever been in love with him. He’s gonna marry the first girl he lays. And she’s gonna treat him like shit because he’s gonna kiss her ass for giving him what he’s built-up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him because you can’t respect someone who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.

I think this resonates with me because…it’s true in some ways. You can’t respect someone who kisses your ass.  I feel better in a relationship when I feel a little vulnerable.  As much as I bemoaned never having an upper hand with The Friend, it was more exciting and intriguing for me, and probably safer for The Friend.  When left to my own devices, I can do some pretty bad things. I ask too much.  I can be demanding, controlling.  My own power scares me.  And I look at these men, especially Bachelor Number 5, and they have no idea women can be this way.  It almost makes me sad.

So, as much as I have complained that I don’t want a ‘damaged’ man, maybe it’s better to get one that is at least realistic and knows the ways of women.  Someone who will take an upper hand, who won’t be distracted by the fact that I am a woman who is interested in him.  Someone who’s had a dose of reality without me having to administer it.

Bachelor Number 5 and My Sub-Conscience

It’s unfortunate but I am still talking to Bachelor Number 5 via text message.  Some nights (like last night) we text for three or four hours about all kinds of subjects.  Bachelor Number 5 is fabulous, actually.  I can’t begin to detail all the ways I really feel like I connect with this mysterious man behind the cellular phone.

I find myself checking my messages during the day and especially when I leave work because I just want to hear from him and it’s just so easy to have a conversation with him.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I let myself feel butterflies about a new guy.  I think about him during my day, hope to hear from him when I’m off work.  I’ve gotten a couple “good morning” text messages that made me smile until my face hurt.  The Blonde?  She’s got a bona fide crush.

I can tell that my brain has absolutely no clue how to process the feelings I’m starting to have with this mysterious character.  Since the night I began texting with Bachelor Number Five, I’ve dreamed about The Boyfriend every single time I’ve drifted off to sleep. Sometimes we are together, sometimes we aren’t.  Sometimes I am angry and sometimes I’m not.  The main difference I notice is that when I wake up from these dreams, I’m not sad or wistful like I used to be.  Sometimes I don’t recall the dream until later into my day, and it’s sort of “Hm, what a weird dream” thought. I’ve even had the dreaded sex dream about The Boyfriend and it did little more than make me scratch my head at the mystery that is the human sub-conscience.  I haven’t had the urge to email him.  It’s just..something I hope passes.

I guess my brain is just confused.  I’ve definitely had feelings for other men during my life, and admittedly even while I was still with The Boyfriend.  But to completely let myself go and it seem like a real possibility that it could be a real relationship?  That’s a new one altogether.  I hope the dreams subside soon and that my brain begins to realize it’s okay to connect with someone new.

The difficult part about Bachelor Number 5 is that we’re still just in this mysterious texting phase.  I can’t drop any more hints.  He knows where I stand and that I want to actually move on and go somewhere.  I’e even dropped hints that he’s my “new favorite person” and he replied in kind, but there is still no invitation. It makes me think that there is some sort of deal breaker lurking under the surface.  Does he have a girlfriend? It seems unlikely.  I can’t think of what else might be holding him back. Maybe he’s got a lisp or stutter.  Maybe he has a weird voice or used a fake picture. Maybe he’s shy. Maybe I’m intimidating. Maybe I’m not interesting to him. Who knows.  It’s frustrating.

The shitty part of being stuck here in the middle is that..I like talking to Bachelor Number 5.  He’s funny.  He gives me the right amount of smart ass comments versus serious conversation.  He asks great questions.  When he asks a question, he doesn’t just leave it at “oh neat”, he always has follow-up commentary or information that he wants to talk about.  It’s a real discussion, not just checking items off a “perfect girl” checklist.  We seem to have a lot in common.  The things I enjoy spending time thinking about, he frequently brings up in conversation too.  And we seem to hate the same things, which, to some extent, is really more important than liking the same stuff.

So since I like him, find him interesting and less annoying than all the other boys I’ve encountered during this brief jaunt into the online dating world, it makes me less motivated to log in to Match and OKCupid and interact with these other people who I do find so utterly annoying and uninteresting.  Why should I spend my precious free time logging onto a dating site, formulating painful emails, and awaiting responses, when I have this perfectly normal, funny, interesting person that is texting me frequently?

The answer to that is that Bachelor Number 5 is being a great friend but NOT a great dating partner.  Didn’t I just say a few weeks ago that I was FULL UP on friendship and not interested in adding another person to my list?  I’m looking for someone to really spend time with and date, not just have some good texting while I’m bored at night.  It’s not even sexting, bless his heart.  It’s just texting. All texting.  All the time.

My natural inclination is to attach to one person.  I know, you’re totally saying “WHAT A LYING BITCH, SHE CHEATED ON HER BOYFRIEND!” but what I’m trying to convey is that it’s just my nature to find someone who wants to focus on me…and focus on that boy.  I am just not good at dating.  I am a serial monogamist in some ways.  So my  natural response in this situation is to say “I LIKE HIM, SCREW THE REST OF THE DATING POOL!” but the problem is I’m decidedly not getting what I want from Bachelor Number 5.  I’m settling for good texting when what I really want is good dating.  Face to face. Sure, Bachelor Number 5 is a great partial package.  But I’m worth the whole shebang.  Texting, talking, dating.  All of it.  And yes, I realize the irony of bitching on a dating blog that  all I wanted was someone to take it slow.  Bigger mistake than praying for patience, apparently.

So as reluctant as I am to do it, it’s time for me to log back on to Match.com and write to some of the bachelors that have contacted me.  I need to go through the motions, at least, to get back on the proverbial horse.  Bring on today’s Daily Matches.

But if Bachelor Number 5 asks me out, you’d better believe I’ll be there.  With bells on.  Or at the very least, a cute pair of heels.

Don’t I Know You? Or How I Learned a Huge Online Dating Lesson

I went to the international fair on campus Friday, during my lunch break.  A colleague and I planned to have lunch at one of the booths, watch some belly-dancing, and soak up some sun.  This is part of the reason I love, love, love working on a college campus.  It’s a moment to slip back into the undergrad lifestyle.  And once I’ve had my fill of the taste of life on the other side, I slip back into my cushy office and do real work.  Best of both worlds.

The international fair was packed with students, faculty, and staff.  It was a who’s-who of people I know, and so I was distinctly aware of what might occur.  At any public event held on campus I am aware that I risk seeing The Boyfriend.  We both work on the same end of campus, and so it’s really a miracle that we’ve only had to see one another about four times total in three years.  Seriously, I can count on my hands how many times I’ve accidentally crossed paths with The Boyfriend.  But I can assure you that every time we have, I’ve been having a bad hair day.  Murphy’s Law, what a bastard. Murphy that is, not The Boyfriend..well..

Anyway, though my senses were in overdrive and I was mentally preparing myself for a run-in with The Boyfriend, that’s totally not where this story is going.  As uncomfortable as it can be to run into The Boyfriend, I think what actually happened can be even more uncomfortable.

While I was standing in line at the Iranian booth waiting on some rolled grape leaves (which, are, by the way, one of my favorite things ever!), I kept noticing this guy in line at another booth.  His face looked so familiar.  I am overly friendly sometimes, too, so I smiled at him when we made eye contact and went back to waiting in line.  And as I got my food, I turned around and he was crossing my path again.  Once more, I smiled when our eyes met because…well, that’s just what I do.  And I began wracking my brain to make the connection, willing my neurons to fire on all cylinders.  Was he a hall director that I met through orientation? He sort of looked like him, but the last I heard, that guy was in Bangkok teaching English as a second language. Hmm.

Excited to have a plate of food, my colleague and I sat down and the gentleman passed before us one more time. I looked him directly in the eye and smiled, hoping he’d see my look, introduce himself, and remind me just how I knew him.  But he didn’t.  He passed by me, make eye contact, sort of smiled but kept going.

And then it hit me.  My jaw hit the floor, my cheeks turned bright red. My colleague immediately dropped her fork and looked around.  “Are you okay?”

I was okay but…I figured it out.   It was a guy I had been emailing off and on OkCupid and Match.com (he found me on BOTH..how embarrassing!) and sort of just lost interest in.  He was slow to respond to emails, his emails weren’t super interesting, and if I bothered to ask him questions he replied in very short, matter-of-fact sentences. I wasn’t feeling it at all but I can’t recall ever telling him this.  I think he took so long to reply that I just moved on and didn’t bother replying again.

Clearly that was a mistake.  I should have done the right thing and broke things off.  But I didn’t, so here I am making awkward eye-contact and smiling at the guy like I “know” him when, in fact, we don’t know one another at all and we had only casually communicated on dating sites. I haven’t felt like such a dork since middle school.

I guess this is a lesson to me that I should keep my communications honest and fair on dating sites and I should end things appropriate.  I feel like such a bitch.  Not only did I sort of just quit replying (But I checked my messages and he only replied once! it’s not like he was seeking me out repeatedly!) and then I made such eye contact trying to figure out who the hell he was.

But I think he was trying to get good glimpses of me, too.  I will say that this is the first person I’ve seen on a dating site in real life (that hasn’t been on a date with me) and it was actually interesting.  He was significantly less attractive than his photos.  He was wearing a weird shirt, jeans, and flip-flops.  And I will just say that his toe nails were not well-managed.  At all.

A few months back I blogged about being absolutely terrified that I would see someone I know on Match or OKCupid and it would be awkward.  Well, that’s already happened a few times and nothing has really happened.  Nobody really sends messages that say “OMG I KNOW YOU AND SAW YOU ON A DATING SITE” because, well, OMG I know them and they’re on a dating site too!  This scenario, this seeing someone who you don’t know but have “seen” online is much, MUCH worse.

I’m still dying on the inside.  Lesson learned.

What Happens To A Dream Deferred? It eventually comes back.

Spring is in the air in Knoxville.  The weather has gone from nearly 90 degrees to a crisp high of 50 from literally one day to the next, and it looks like it’s heading back toward warmer side.  It storms heavily three afternoons out of the week, but always returns to the bright, sunny side.  My tulips already bloomed and fell apart in my yard.  And, of course, this weekend is the spring game for the football team.  I am (to put it mildly) so excited I’m about to pee my pants.

Yes, Spring is here, and that means that we’re all sitting on the cusp of the biggest season of all.  No, not summer, the other big season–Wedding Season.

I’ve talked about Wedding Season and Engagement Season before here, but this Wedding Season seems especially prominent.  Three of my office mates are in varying stages of wedding planning.  Two of them are marrying in the next three months and a third is marrying next year.

So the office is full of discussions about dresses, theme colors, invitations, parties, showers.  Rental of tents, booking of quartets and trios, RSVPs, diners, favors.  Maids of Honor, Best Men, flower girls, ring bearers, grandmothers-of-the-groom.  House hunting, cake tastings, vow selection. Ring engravings.  Honeymoons, who could forget  honeymoons?  GASP.

Sorry, I got a bit verklempt just typing the list.  I can’t imagine the stress of actually planning such an affair.  Hmm, actually I can, because we’ve talked about this part too.  In fact, I’ve engaged in a discuss about every aspect of a wedding with one person or another.  And please don’t think I’m complaining.  I enjoy hearing the details get ironed out and see the plans all come together for my friends and colleagues.  I’m excited for their upcoming nuptials!

And it’s not as if this is the first time I’ve gone through a Wedding Season.  Last wedding season was one of the most intense because there was a family wedding to plan and prepare for, and I had the pleasure of being Maid of Honor for one of my very best friends.  Last year a coworker planned every step of her wedding at her desk as I watched and chimed in.

But I worry about myself.  Because no matter how much planning and organization I watch these three people go through this wedding season…no matter how many times I stand at the altar for a friend or relative…I still don’t find myself lost in a day-dream fantasy about a white wedding.

I am sure that as a little girl I once or twice played the role of bride in a game of dress up.  In fact, I remember being a “bride” for Halloween. And the concept of marriage was a very real one when I was with The Boyfriend.  (At least it was in the first four years or so..) but I just have no ability to imagine pieces of my own wedding.  I can’t pick out colors, can’t imagine the first dance.  I don’t have music picked out, or vows I’d like to read or write.  I just do not fantasize about what my wedding will look like.

I do get lost in daydreams.  Just not about tulle and flowers and which sad of pink is better (blush is totally better than bashful).

Sometimes, when I get home from work and start cooking dinner, I wonder what it will be like to come home to a house with someone else in it again.  To have someone who is truly glad to see me.  And maybe someone who wants to sit in the kitchen while I cook dinner, just to be around me.  I look forward to the day when I sit down to dinner at a table with another person.  That, to me, is better than addressing all the “thank you” notes in the world.

I babysit frequently, and I can’t help but imagine what it will be like to put my own children to bed.  Reading was such a huge part of my bedtime routine.  I still remember the first time my mother read me a “chapter book” before bed.  We read “The Wizard of Oz” chapter-by-chapter over the course of a few weeks.  I can’t wait to read to my children.  And when the parents come home and my babysitting charge is just so excited…I dream about that too.  I always joke that I am fairly confident being single, but babysitting actually makes my ovaries hurt.

Holidays are a big time for me to get lost in the moment.  I still look at the Sear’s catalog to find the hottest toys of the season.  But instead of imagining opening them myself on Christmas Day, I imagine wrapping them up with my husband and sneaking down the steps to set them out for my children to open in the morning.  I daydream a lot about Christmas, actually.  I think about children running down steps in their pajamas.  I wonder what kind of traditions we’ll start–for instance, will there be a traditional Christmas breakfast we eat?  Maybe my husband will read “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” to us before bed.  I have a hope chest that is full of Christmas things for my future children.  There is a plate and glass that are specially printed to leave for Santa.  And I have an advent calendar with various decorations that are put on a tree.  I can’t wait to watch my kids argue about who gets to put the star on top of the tree.

But not all of my daydreams revolve around children.  I just think about having someone around.  I think about having someone to share these things with.  Dinners, movies, special occasions.  I just think about having someone.

It’s actually surprising to me that I have started to do this again lately.  For so long, it was hard for me to picture my future at all because I spent so much time imagining my future in a very specific way.  I never really planned a wedding, but I did plan my future with The Boyfriend.  It was painful to imagine it for a couple of years after that break up.  Dreams that would never be realized caused me to physically wince.  But now..

I guess I just daydream more about actually being married more than I dream about the actual wedding.  It’s not important to me where I get married, or what favors we have.  I mean, I do want a wedding, and I want it to be special.  But the details, to me, can’t come until I know who I am marrying and what our story is.  So while it’s fun to watch my friends and colleagues plan their special days, it’s just not something that I can dream about very much.  But the real, solid pieces of marriage, the good times…well that’s something I’m willing to think about.