Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cat & Mouse

Note: Happy Holidays! I'm back from an extended holiday break and so very ready to share more stories, insights and break down all things relationships once again, with you. So, thanks for joining me! :-) Anyway, on to the latest post...

"It's about to close but you've only said a few words to me... I've been waiting for a dose of your personality... See I'm in the mood and if all goes right... Baby you will be you will be going home with me tonight..." ("Kick Your Game" by R & B group TLC)

I'm a firm believer that people can find their personal situations reflected in just about any song. Or, at least I've been able to. And, during the 90s, I was especially attached to the song "Kick Your Game," which tells the story of a girl that's into a guy who she wants to just come right out and ask her out (What girl hasn't felt like that?) But, back then I was a little too bashful and insecure to really make the first move. And, deep down, I felt that if a guy liked me, he would come running...

Anyway, I still feel that way some of the time. And I found myself revisiting those feelings and the TLC song earlier this afternoon after a very colorful flight back from visiting my family in New York. I'd ended up sitting next to this guy, Steven, with whom I hit it off quite well from the start. He was a bit cocky -- but to be honest, it kind of suited him. It wasn't overbearing, but it did work. And, he was funny and definitely smart and candid. And, truth be told -- while I prefer my guys a little more squeaky clean, I was done in by his intense and striking eyes.

In any event, I was intrigued. And, the two hour flight went by pretty quickly. Lots of fun banter, suggestive comments and even his attempt to touch me on a few occasions. Honestly, it seemed like an open and shut case. He'd get my number, we'd either go out or hook up -- case closed.

Yeah... See, that would have been too easy. Instead, we ended up getting off the plane and making it to baggage check at different times. Now that's not a big deal -- but, when we get onto the same train together to head back into the city, I'm psyched. In my head, I'm thinking: Ok, now is his chance to finish what we started.

When I get onto the train, he immediately acknowledges me and playfully asks me if I was following him. I smile, laugh it off and tell him that he thought a little too highly of himself. He then brings his bag up to sit right across from me and where I had plopped down, hot and feeling gross from all the traveling I'd been doing. And, on the ride in, lots of looks were exchanged -- playful smiles, sideways glances... No joke, it was flirtation central. So when he asked me what I would be doing with the rest of my day, I told him for the second time (talking about it on the plane the first time), and our conversation afterward went a little like this:

Him: So, what did you say you were up to for the rest of the afternoon?
Me: (Shrugging) Taking a nap, a glass of wine, take out, a shower... Just curling up at home and recovering from the holiday.
Him: That sounds pretty lonely.
Me: (Oblivious) Honestly, with a family as huge as mine for the holiday, it'll be nice to get back to a little me-time. A chance to unwind.
Him: (Nodding, Curious) Really?
Me: Sure, why not? Besides, it's the middle of the week, what else is there to do?
(He's quiet at this point, looks at me intently)
Me: Is there a problem?
Him: (Half-smiling) No. Just wondering how spontaneous you are.
Me: (Raising an eyebrow) Well, I don't know how you can possibly try to guess that by looking at me. That would depend on lots of stuff. I'd have to have something to be spontaneous about.
(He nods; I look at him then look up and realize we're approaching my stop)
Him: What are you thinking?
Me: Wouldn't you like to know?
Him: So are you going to tell me?
Me: Now I'm at my stop and you waited too long to go there. So, that's a mystery I'm going to have to keep. Besides, what fun would that be?

At this point, you're probably wondering what I was wondering -- what the hell happened. All I can say is that throughout it, I was convinced this was a done deal. In fact, the chemistry seemed to be so there that I didn't think there would need to be any questions except for whether I'd be seeing him that night or over the weekend. Besides, if he had been thinking about it, wouldn't he have just made the plunge?

With all that said, I'll own my "mistake" of not bringing it up when he was clearly trying to leave it open on the train (and which I TOTALLY missed until after the fact). But, then why the cat & mouse on the plane without closing the deal? Personally I would have slept the entire ride if I wasn't going to get anything out of it.

At this point, it's clear the ship has indeed sailed. But I got three key lessons out of all this:

(1) If you want it, you may just have to make the effort to let him know you're interested -- which will be great direction for him. While I would prefer a man to get the ball rolling, ladies, once in a while, if you want it (and he seems to be worthy of the attention), it may not be such a bad idea to act on it.
(2) If it takes him too long to pull the trigger, then he probably isn't all that into you. In which case, you still know. I find that when he's into you, he takes Nike's advice and just does it.
(3) There's only so much cat & mouse you can play before it all gets old -- or someone who wants you decides they're going to be much more direct about it. And direct is always preferable, I'd say. (Heck, even "Tom & Jerry" got old, didn't it?)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Picking Your SuperMate

No one said this whole mating thing would be easy. But, part of the fun in the process is selection and the steps you take to finding a potential mate. Hence, the need to date -- and the journey to finding that perfect fit.

Sometimes, it works, and with it comes the desire to commit to someone for the rest of your life. But many times, people break up. Along the way, that "thing" that worked out in the relationship suddenly changes and it gets harder to keep something alive that once came so easily.

I started thinking about these things while I was out with colleagues last night. Two of them had just come out of long-term relationships, dealing with things rather well. And, while the specific circumstances for each situation vary, the shared point here (and across the board) is simple: in break-ups, what brings you together may be a great foundation... But it's the qualities of a person that makes the difference between a Right Now... And a Long-Termer...

Of course, there's no predicting these things in advance. But, the great thing here is that the opportunity to date and learn about each person. And, realizing what works -- and doesn't work for you. Personally, when I think of the qualities I want a man to have, I start with what I know hooks me in: Looks, Career, Style, Humor, Physical Chemistry... But then, there are other things that factor into my thinking. (Not that the qualities above don't count -- because they DO!) However, after having some strong male figures that I looked up to, and knowing who I am, some of these qualities just plain ol' make sense:

1. Honesty: If we can't just talk to each other, and filtering of any conversations is required, then there's no way we're gonna make it through. Period.

2. Patience: Need I say more? Someone that can't hang with the tough times isn't long term material for me.

3. Expressive: See, now this is a little different that romantic. If a person can let you know how they're feeling about you, then how can you really move to any level?

4. People-Committed: He should have other people in his life he highly regards -- family, set of best friends, adoptive parents, a child... And his actions should show it the same way he uses words to express it.

5. Strength: This one is multilayered. It's more of a man that is decisive in what he feels, and believes in things deep enough to assert himself -- without being domineering.

Whatever your qualities, the bottom line is simple: your "SuperMate" may come in any package. You just need to get past what reels you in and assess what they have that'll make you stay.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

YOUR OPINION: What Men/Women Should Know

So I've been kicking around the idea of putting together a list of things you should know when dating someone. That is, What Men Wish Women Knew and What Women Wish Men Knew (stage of the relationship is irrelevant). Think about it. Are there things you wish your mate knew? Like: How to behave on a first date? How long he should wait before bringing up sex? When you think it's OK for her to meet your boys? Why you need a boys' night? Why talking about the ex on a first date is a turn off?

To really get to the heart of it (and what matters to you), I want you to tell me what you think. What things do you wish the opposite sex just knew without you needing to spell it out?

I'll be gathering opinions until December 28, so feel free to use the link under the "Email the Relationship Diva" section to the right to email me your thoughts. (Email is preferred!) They'll get posted right before the New Year -- and hopefully serve as great insight for dating in 2010!

Note: I'll try to use as many as I can.

The RD

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

15 Signs You’re Not In A Real Relationship

I came across this great read today and wanted to share it. Simple and to the point:
15 Signs You’re Not In A Real Relationship The Frisky

Thanks, The Frisky!

Five Tips to Surviving Those Holiday Desires

What is it about the holiday that just brings up the overwhelming desire for companionship? Maybe it's the snow... Maybe it's the cold... Or maybe, it's just the season of togetherness and the desire to embrace others. Whatever it is, it can easily cause relapse into old habits or mates that are not good for you -- and one that should be controlled as much as possible so as not to do anything you'll regret.

So, in the experiences I've gathered along the way, I've put together some of my favorite tips on how to deal if you're single and trying to behave a little.

And if you don't see one you would recommend, then send that along, too! Would love to post them.

The AD

5 Tips to Surviving Those Holiday Desires
(In no particular order)

1. Invest in a cuddly soft product: One of the best ways to avoid the desire to need a "cuddle buddy" is to grab a cozy Snuggie or a body pillow -- something that you can curl up with on the couch or in bed. You can also consider a pet, although the other items require a little less maintenance.

2. Avoid romance novels, movies, whatever: There tends to be a LOT of these on TV, and I know it's hard to watch, but the love stories contribute to the desire to cuddle. Try action or family fun... Anything that can slow the need for a little sexual craving.

3. Stay Active: Keeping busy and in motion helps a great deal to keep your mind off of the need for a bed buddy. Shop, go to the gym, walk, clean, pick up a hobby... Remember the expression about idle hands...

4. Groups of Friends are GOOD: Being in the company of others goes a long way to fight the urges -- it's like a built-in support group! Consider having dinners or game nights with others so your calendar is full... And you're not sitting at home looking through the phone book for others to hang out with.

5. Delete, Delete, Delete: The numbers of old flames in your phone book can be such the bad thing, which my pal Laurie can tell you -- or even me. (I mean, check out the "Flings" and "Hook Up" tags for goodness sake!) So, remove them and fight the urge to give them a call after hours... Now that's self-control.

Of course... If you want to get into your own mischief, then this won't apply. :-)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chemical Reactions & Drunken Calls

Most times, shutting the door on an old relationship can be hard. And, dealing with the post break-up emotions are just as tough. I know that each time I got over a relationship I had to go through the phases and when my first love, Charles, and I broke up, I had no idea how I would recover. So, I decided to act out -- going out a LOT, meeting boys, flirting up a storm, dating like crazy... I did anything I could to push him out of my life.

So when I was talking to my friend Laurie this week, I more than got where she was coming from. Shortly after having the "DTR talk" with her guy, he called it quits. And now that it's over, she's just now learning to heal.

And it was when we talked this week that she told me about being out on the town and meeting a guy that she seemed to instantly get along with. The drinks were flowing, and may have been a little caught up with the "liquid courage" in her system, but she was having a good time, and ran with it.

Anyway, he kissed her, and thus begins a make out session that could have easily turned into more. However, the guy puts the breaks on it and tells her he's started dating another girl he likes and doesn't want to mess it up. (**Insert splash of cold water here**)

Frustrated and confused, she turned to her phone and reached out to the guy that once made her feel good inside -- Mr. DTR & Run, as I'll call him.

At this point, reeling from the sudden bomb dropped by Mr. Not-Upfront-Guy, this is all too common as a next step. I mean, how many times have we rushed to reach out to an ex when someone seems to blow us off? There's a comfort we get out of leaning on the familiar... Even if it isn't the best thing for us, which it isn't most times (I mean, hello -- "break-up sex"? Who thought that was a good idea?!)

Logically, I'm of the school of thought that once a break up happens, you need to do everything you can to sever ties -- even if that means deleting numbers from your phone book. The stickiness of a break-up is hard to let go of without having a constant reminder in your all-too-accessible cell phone. How can you NOT be tempted to dial or send a seemingly innocuous text? Or even worse -- do that when you're drunk? (C'mon now. Don't tell me YOU haven't entertained the idea!)

As for Laurie... Well, slowly, her ex-guy is calling less... Which may sting but be necessary. I mean, as far as I can tell, no one is immune to the break up process. However, regardless of how you deal, all you can hope is that after the booze wears off and your dialing finger cramps up, that urge leaves your system, kind of like detoxing -- before venturing into the dating world again.

Digital Creepin'

Although I hate to give in to all the Tiger Woods chatter, and especially how text messages gave away his indiscretions, I found this recent story on Good Morning America about texts as the new "lipstick on the collar" quite interesting. According to the article, Tiger sent many of his mistresses racy text messages, and he's not the only one. The story outlines other high profile individuals that got caught -- all with digital trails of less than 160 characters.

This story actually struck a cord with me because it's such an easy thing to do -- text your way to infidelity. In this day and age, I feel like I text conversations more than I have them on the phone. Heck, I've even had dates made by text. Less than ideal but in this day on the go, it happens all too often and easily. Who's to say it hasn't happened to me?

But I digress...

The break-up with my first love, Charles, left me very tenderhearted. While we were on a hiatus, he slept with his ex, getting her pregnant. And so, I cut him off. At first. We then had a limbo thing going while he tried to figure out what he would do. And then she moved in with him, the baby was born and BOOM -- we were done. So I thought.

About a year from our hiatus/break-up, I got a text message from him late at night wondering where I was. I'd been on his mind and he decided to check up on me. And that's when the thread of texting began. How he missed me, how he wanted to see me and still thought about us and the times we'd been together...

Truth? I wrote back -- but kept it very G-rated and asked TONS of questions because I didn't feel right. Granted, I missed him like CRAZY. But a man having a child with another woman while he's with me (even if in limbo) is pretty much a deal breaker.

Anyway, she found his texts a couple of weeks later. And he called me at work, rather frantic to give me a heads up. That conversation was a little sticky:

Charles: Hey, so here's the deal -- she knows.
Me: What do you mean "She knows?" About what?
Charles: She found the messages from a few weeks ago.
(I'm silent at this point)
Me: Are you for real?
Charles: Yeah. You think I would make this up?
Me: So what do you want me to do about it?
Charles: I just called tell you... She and I got into a fight. She was mad. And she may be calling you.
Me: Let her. I have no problem discussing it with her.
Charles: What does that mean?
Me: It means I did nothing. It'll be up to her what to do with you. Hope you get through this but gotta go.

While I never heard from her, I knew at that point that I was lucky to not be with him. Even though nothing happened between us and he was silly for keeping the messages on his phone (Theory: Maybe he wanted to get caught.), he did his own form of cheating by getting secretly suggestive with me while being with another woman. Even if there was no direct sexual violation involved.

It just goes to show that any type of creepin' leaves a footprint -- even a digital one. Just depends on how good you are at covering it up. And many times, it eventually unfolds. I mean, look at Tiger.

But of course, we know how that turns out. So maybe it's a good idea not to play around if you're gonna play sloppy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pre-Dating: The Courting Thing

When we date, we take our chances that the people we meet will be "date-able" -- or, people that are worthy of our time and getting to know better. In order to do that though, we've become conditioned to playing by a set of rules or screening methods, upon which we must make this educated guess.

While people use different criteria to assess who they would date, the truth is that by and large, determining dating can lead to one of two very general paths: (1) Become nothing more than a series of dates or a one nighter (2) Grow into something based on a series of dates, where the intimacy comes with time, or courting.

So now let's take a look at these two options:

One Nighter: Often said to be a shortcut to ending things if it's done before you've had a chance to build with other people. And, how often do relationships grow out of those one nighters?

Admittedly, while we are in a new day and age, I think this one is tricky. There's no time limit on when it's appropriate to have sex, per say. But without knowing the person, is it possible to have the sex be anything more than... Well, sex?

Courting: This is when you get to know the person and all those quirky things come up: Can I date someone that works that much? Are they attractive enough? Do we have enough to talk about? Do they seem smarter than I am? Is he/she good enough for me? And the questions continue.

Essentially, while on dates to the movies, or just a drink, you're getting to know these things as well as the fun stuff: Does he/she take their coffee with milk and sugar or just black? Does she like tomatoes? Does he prefer whiskey or rum? You're learning what you do and don't like -- building foundation on the chance that maybe this person can be more than a brief phase in your life.

Even after both of these options chemistry is still what counts. But gotta get through the basics, first.

Everyone's pathway to a relationship is different. Before you determine whether a person is worth keeping around, you just gotta let the beginning stage run its course.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reading the IOIs (or, Indicator of Interest)

One of the things that NEVER ceases to amaze me is trying to read signs of whether or not someone's interested in you. No two signals are ever really the same, and therefore require a bit of thought in each situation to make sure we're understanding what the other person is trying to tell us. Either way it ends up, you can be sure of one thing: Your target will send out vibes to let you know where they stand: "Yes I'm feeling you..." or "Well, maybe, but I'll keep my options open..." or "Or, hell no, it's never gonna happen!"

To borrow a page from the ever popular book, The Game, I would say that these signals can be considered IOIs (Indicators of Interest*) that will guide you on whether you should move in for the kill, tread lightly or, back off.

Anyway, that's exactly how my Saturday night went -- like a whole marathon of IOIs -- when I joined my pal Marisol out for yet another night on the town, at her old colleague's birthday party.

Here's a snapshot of the night... And some thoughts to boot:

Encounter #1: Jacob
Immediately upon arriving, I started chatting with some of her friends when a tall, pretty eyed guy, Jacob, strolled up to our table. While he spoke to the group I was with, I noticed he asked me questions about myself, slowly taking the conversation away from the rest of the table. Soon I found that we were in a full blown conversation which somehow became the segue for exposing his very crude humor. Not one to hide much, I displayed my shock at his humor and gently shifted gears back to the group at the table, giving him a clear sign that I wasn't trying to continue the conversation as long as he kept talking like that.
Verdict Says: So far, this isn't looking so good... A vibe of trying too hard? Maybe.

Encounter #2: Evan
While Jacob wandered off for a while, I ended up talking to Evan, whose friend was hitting on Caroline. Anyway, Evan, who I'm certain was influenced by the drinks that were flowing was totally doing the flirting thing: holding me by the waist, buying me drinks, talking into my ear... And rolling with the punches, I started to go with it and even return some of the signals. But, soon a group of women walk in and, by the time I'm back from the bathroom, he's trying to work his magic on one of them at the table next to us.
Verdict Says: Douche extraordinaire. No rocket science to this one.

Encounter #3: Mystery Boy
While I'm juggling Jacob and Evan, Marisol was doing a little field playing of her own. She'd set her sights on a good looking guy sitting at one of the tables near us with a friend enjoying the scene. For a while, she was trying to figure out the set up... But not before a small, thin brunette caught his attention, and whom, based on the big smile on his face, was probably just what he'd been looking for.
Verdict Says: Negative. He'd already had his sights set on a girl, so this was a lost cause.

Encounter #4: Jacob
While Evan disappeared, Jacob eventually wanders back to our table to pick up where he left off. And, because I was intrigued by his persistence, I entertained it. Soon, the conversation's going and even though the first time was crash and burn, he's trying to work it again, opening up the floor for me to leave the bar with him. It's clear he seems to think he's got a chance and thinks my intrigue is enough to land me for the night. But, giving him a run for his money, I cut to it, going something like this:

Me: So spare me the double talk, 'cause I'd prefer it if you were honest. Saves us both a lot of the crap. You want me to give in, and something's convinced you that I'll do that. But since I've got that figured out, you're almost better coming out and saying it.
J: (Smiling as he shakes his head) Didn't see that coming.

Me: Didn't think so. But now that we have that out of the way --

J: We can go one of two ways. Option A is together, which I think is a great option, so we go home together... Or Option B, where neither of us gets it, and we go home alone, which I don't find fun.

Me: Yeah, that sounds about right. Although you might as well know that Option A isn't in the cards.

J: No?

Me: No. It's not happening that easily.

And with that I thought the door was closed. After all, if he wasn't getting laid that night what was the point right? Guess again. Somehow, we ended up having an impromptu mini-date which involved grabbing a bite to eat, conversation and a walk home - a huge change from the way the night started out.

When we got to my door, we talked a little in the brisk cold before sharing a nice good night kiss. And now, we have plans for a date a little later this week.

Verdict Says: An unexpected turn, I know. But it seemed that once we were honest, there was nothing else to do but to get to know each other. At this point, I'd say a power struggle and curiosity are keeping this afloat for the hopes of a conquest. Who will crack first? The game is the foreplay, basically.

What it boils down to is that the dating game is all about indicators of interest: looks, conversations, actions... It all determines whether we sit by the sidelines or get into the game.

But make no mistake that your target is always sending you a signal... You just have to pay attention to make sure you catch them all. Who knows what you'll find.

* = IOI is a popular term in the seduction community, and there tons of sites that go into its meaning.

Image Credit: iStockPhoto

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who Asks Who Out? (It's About the Chase)

As I consider dating prospects, there's one question that I continue to ask myself: Is it OK to ask a guy out first?

Now this is one I continue to get different opinions on, from men and women. Many guys I've spoken to still prefer to ask women out; it feeds the idea of a chase.

Other guys? Well, they seem to like to not do the heavy lifting (a little lazy, in my opinion).

Meanwhile, women also land on both sides of the coin. Some still like to be asked out (admittedly, I'm of this school of thought) while other take the bull by the horns and decide to ask a guy out.

Truth is, whatever your preference, it's the idea of a chase that makes dating fun.

I've asked a few guys out in my day. Although in hindsight, those situations haven't fared well for me. Not to say they don't work.

Personally, these days, I play the game by dropping hints. And if it's right, then he'll ask me out. If not, then there's no way it would have worked.

Besides -- Not such a fan of lazy guys. :-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Before Taking it To Bed

I remember the first time I got past second base with a guy, in my teens. I agonized over it for days, asking myself all sorts of questions: Is he my boyfriend now? Did he enjoy it? Will he break up with me? Was it too fast?

Of course, these always seem to fade and the thrill of it all is always more important than what happens afterward. (Personally, I can't seem to remember what all the hype was about back then.)

As I got older and the realities of sex entered the picture, I realized that each time I decided to take my relationship with a guy to the next level, the physical mattered a lot more than I ever thought possible, and in a different way.

I had one situation with a guy, The Casanova, who admittedly swept me off my feet instantly. And, because it was new, he was HOT and I wanted to pique his interest, I spent a couple of weeks agonizing what I needed to do to keep him interested -- and how elevating the relationship on a sexual level would change the game for us. So, I asked myself a whole new set of questions, with more grown up ones emerging: How much time should I wait before taking it there? Does this have long term potential? Can I trust him? Who else has he been with? What did it mean? Will he see me differently?

I remembered dissecting the decision for quite some time before it happened a month later. And, even though it was a great time (and he's tried to pursue a physical connection with me as late as last weekend), everything else fizzled out. And, the kicker? I don't think any amount of time I held out would have changed the outcome. Simply put, 90 Days or 9 Days wouldn't have changed the fact that we became a physical relationship.

That's why, when I came across a post by @SingleCityGuy about the "90 Day Rule" I couldn't help but find it interesting. Based on some ideas by Steve Harvey, the 90 Day Rule (which I appreciate) creates a benchmark for how long you make someone wait before letting the relationship escalate to a sexual level. And, while 90 Days may be a bit long in my book, I think the core idea is there: if they're willing to wait for you to figure out what you want, then they may be worth it. After all, you get the chance to really break down what you're feeling and whether you're into the person enough to be around in the morning.

These days, when it comes to deciding how and when I'll take a relationship to a physical level, I let my brain do the "critical thinking." But in the end, I trust my gut. I still don't like to rush... But I run with it. I trust my feelings and ask myself a whole new set of questions: Do I feel a spark? Will I feel good about myself after it happens? Do we have more to talk about than the superficial? Am I having a good time? Do I trust him?

While I think time an important factor to consider (you gotta have something to look forward to), I try not to let that be my only guide. Instead, I made each decision based on my vibes from the guy, individual situation and time we spend together. Then I let the chips fall where they may.

Song: In honor of this post, I'm going to link to the ever sexy J. Holiday video, "Bed." And, if you need the lyrics? Check them out @ Any Song Lyrics.

Image Credit: iStockPhoto

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kissing Pals

Before I got a (little) wiser to the ways of the dating world, I made the huge mistake of having kissed a guy friend or two in the past. Very intense kissing sessions that have significantly altered the way I've interacted with them ever since.

The first time it ever happened, I was in college and it totally caught me by surprise. But I admit, since we'd been friends, I was convinced it meant more. But, after a spell of not talking, and realizing that it meant very different things to the both of us, I became aware of an ugly dose of the truth I was just going to have to accept many more times: he just wasn't that into me.

Then there was one time that was a little different. Brandon and I had been grad school classmates and had grown close since graduation. That was when we started hanging out pretty frequently -- so much so that when he was randomly over here one night, I didn't even give it a second thought that
he was at my place after 1 a.m. And then, being so caught up in good time we were having, I just dove right in. No second thoughts about it.

At this point, I should probably say that I hadn't felt a strong attraction to Brandon. Sure -- he was adorable in the "Boy Next Door" way. But that was pretty much where it stopped for me. Pretty spark-free.

Anyway, what started out as a kiss ended up with regrets when I woke up the next morning. I had no clue why I did it other than curiosity but I didn't want this to change anything between us.

The events after that were kind of hazy, but I know it was an experience that weirded the both of us out because we ended up psychoanalyzing it instead of doing what we should have done: treat it as one of those random, freakish things between friends. Suddenly we needed to define it, like a rerun of "Dawson's Creek," and what should have been fun and funny just wasn't.

It was around this time that I realize the impact that hook ups have on relationships. See, before then, I was of the school of thought that you could be friends with someone even after something like that happens. However, after the issue with Brandon, I was suddenly not sure.

We've managed to put that all behind us -- for the most part and today's he's happily engaged to a sweet girl. But, all I know is that now it's shaped the way I view hooking up with friends -- which is a bummer only because I know there are a couple of guys that I am curious about if nothing else. I mean, as long as everyone agrees, can it be all bad?

Well, until I stumble upon one of those severely not OK situations, I'll keep an open mind. But that's me.

Image Credit: MorgueFile

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Case Study: Knight in Shining Armor Syndrome

One of the greatest and worst things about dating in your 20s is the fact that it's still very much a trial and error process. But, you have your friends to bat it out with as you try to understand each situation for what it is. And, interestingly enough, I find that many of the guys in my life do things that would make for fabulous case studies.

One of these guys is Patrick (mentioned only recently), who I'm finding has many an interesting situation up his sleeve when it comes to the ladies. When I last left off, he and Lady #2, or Ms. Slow Burn were really picking up steam. Sounds good right?

Not so fast. Herein lies the hurdle: a ten year old ex she seems to have a hard time letting go of -- and who she is considering living with once again.

Now, here's where I see a huge flag: This situation, to me, screams baggage. Like, seriously. Enough for anyone to keep at bay. I mean, do you really want to deal with a situation and a history like that? Logically, I would argue no. But here's where Patrick, a smart, witty and good-looking guy defies this very rule. Essentially, instead of letting this one slide, he decided to up the ante and ask her to live with him.

When he tells me, my eyes bug out of my head. I mean, I had a hard time taking this one in only because a few months hardly seems like a basis to become roommates with someone... Especially when there's an ex of a decade, who, for all intensive purposes, is still very much in the picture. Well, at least as far as the girl is concerned.

And so I'd have to label this "Knight in Shining Armor" syndrome. Prime example of trying to save the quintessential "Damsel in Distress," which I would say is quite accurate for a woman caught in the trappings of an emotional struggle with an ex that has drained her emotionally.

In drilling it down, I'd have to say that situations like this one set the stage for a syndrome as old as time: the idea a girl needs to be saved. Or the idea that a man needs to be a hero. What's more compelling about this is that the syndrome has a little side effect: the guy channels his emotions towards a woman who is emotionally unavailable, which doesn't make it easier for a woman who would be willing to commit.

In summation: While this plays off of an old fairy tale notion, this can exist in many forms across genders and in multiple situations. The gesture can be considered sweet, but its effects can have lasting impact.

The Mystery of this Syndrome: Why it happens. Is it our instinct to protect? Maybe. Is it our desire for companionship? Could be. Is it an excuse to avoid real commitment with someone who is emotionally available? Possibly. I'm sure we could give it tons of reasons, although I don't think we could give it one satisfying answer.

So we won't. But instead, I found a great song that discusses this very topic, with the lyrics on the screen so you can see how well it applies. It's corny but appropriate... Enjoy. :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two to Tango

A couple of months ago, I was in the wedding party for one of my best friends, Melissa. We've been close for about five years, so I was excited and looking forward to the event. While taking part in the weekend's festivities, I met her cousin, Jeremy, who caught my attention instantly. He has boyish good looks, he was witty, made me laugh and seemed to have it together. And, I was sprung and looked for any opportunity to find chemistry between us.

Anyway, we clicked at the wedding, ended up grabbing a couple of drinks and having a great time. That night we did make out (but no "home runs") and I was intoxicated with the magic of the evening. In the morning, as I woke up reeling from the night before, I was smitten. I found myself wishing on the possibility of more dates, because of course we had a "natural" chemistry that just happened and there was no way I imagined that right?

Cut to the present. I haven't seen Jeremy since that night and other than a few text messages, we haven't had any other contact. And believe me, it wasn't like I didn't put it out there. I invited him out, dropped volumes of hints... But I couldn't seem to get him to ask me out. Sure he'd had a great time. But not great enough for it to materialize into anything more than the one fun night.

Truth is, my situation with Jeremy isn't much more different than the kind of things everyone goes through all the time: when we meet someone that just "grabs" us and we're sprung, only to quickly have the tide change and make us realize it's never going to happen. Suddenly, the infatuation phase is over and reality sets in rather quickly.

Anyway, Jeremy entered my thoughts as I was at my cousin Liz's dinner party on Friday night in my hometown of NYC. While I was there, an old schoolmate of hers, Patrick, and I got into a conversation about just that: the idea of what draws us and keeps us hooked on some people over others. While we were there, he had been talking about two women: one immediately grabbed his attention, which he felt instantly. The other... Well, that one was a little slower and snuck up on him.

In any case, Lady #1, Ms. Instant Attraction was great for about a week... And just like that she got difficult. Meanwhile, Lady #2, Ms. Slow Burn, just crept up ever so smoothly. Now it's Lady #2 on his mind. Meanwhile, Ms. Instant Attraction became such a difficult case that it almost wasn't worth it. So he pretty much threw the towel in.

It wasn't until later that night that I realized that Patrick's story reminded me of my situation with Jeremy or guys like him. He "caught" me just like Ms. Instant Attraction did for Patrick. And like Patrick, my situation with Jeremy just got hard... Games were played. And that's when it seemed very one-sided. At least in Patrick's case, he had the opportunity to find something with another woman that luckily enough not only surprised him, but has potential.

What it comes down to is that there is no denying what excites or grabs you about another person. That's the beauty of raw attraction. But, when it's ends up being one sided, it suddenly feels like a one person dance when we know the only way to tango happens in pairs.

In short: When the dust settles, raw attraction isn't always enough. That's when chemistry takes the lead, and makes the difference between a dance for a single song or all night.

Image Credit:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Forbidden Fruit

When I was in high school, I daydreamed -- a lot. Mostly about boys from the magazines, or the most popular boy in my class. You know, the usual.

These days, I still do that -- hotties gracing the cover of People Magazine, old boyfriends... Or, once in a while, guys a little more off the market, like a co-worker I just should NOT be fantasizing about, or a guy friend that would otherwise NEVER happen.

What's the fun in fantasizing over what you can't have? Maybe the fact that it doesn't go beyond the fantasy. I mean, if you think about it, fantasy takes all sorts of shapes in and out of the bedroom. Why do people get thrills out of costumes, role playing and props? All a part of creating the illusion. You get to live a new world, be a bolder version of yourself... If even for a little while.

Essentially, we create fantasy because we get a reason to be whoever or whatever we want. No restrictions, no boundaries. I mean, why do you fantasize?

At the end of the day, a little indulgence never hurt anyone. As long as you're not living in the fantasy more than the reality.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seduction vs. Attraction

Can seduction trump attraction?

This was the very question that entered my mind as I tried to wrap up The Game by Neil Strauss this weekend. I checked it out to understand the world of pick up artists -- and ended up learning a whole lot more about seduction and attraction instead.

Using my trusty resource, Wikipedia, I understand that attraction has been scientifically studied and comes from somewhere deeper within a person. Simply put, it's what draws you to someone and it's natural -- there are qualities that appeal to you and intrigue you about another person, usually the basis to build on something much more meaningful.

Meanwhile, seduction (the "sexier" sounding of the two) is influencing someone into some type of romantic or sexual behavior. The definition implies that a person is led into these things, and not something that comes organically.

It's reading these definitions again that made The Game a pretty insightful read. These guys, or Pick Up Artists (PUAs) as the lingo teaches me, created versions of themselves to establish an aura that would make them appealing to others. Essentially, from what I could gather, the guys in the book aimed to make women surrender (and from what I read did it quite well) simply by observing their targets and using basic understandings about sex and dating. Actually, what disturbed me was that I needed to read this to see it for what it was.

I have to admit -- this made me go back and think of times I was out on the scene, and was "number closed" (gave a guy my number) or "kiss closed." (working towards a kiss by the end of the night) The art of seduction ran deep. Heck there are tons of books, clubs and even schools of thought on the matter. The Game was only the tip of the iceberg.

Seduction is an art that can be learned by just about anyone, as Neil Strauss proved. But it's clear that it's way different from raw attraction. That's something that can be taught. I mean, can you really create something that's supposed to be natural between people? Maybe it's the illusion of natural? Either way, I'm open to discussing seduction verses attraction. Seems like there's a lot there...

But -- I'm still a believer in attraction. Seduction can last for the night... But attraction can withstand all of that - even when the magic of a night is done.

Settling for Second Best

Do we convince ourselves that something is meant when it simply isn't?

I had this very conversation just yesterday with an old friend, Katie, who is seeing a guy that she's pretty lukewarm about. No major fireworks, the sex is "OK" at best, and the conversation is good, but not electrifying.

Admittedly, a million thoughts ran through my head, with the main one being "Why bother?"

"Well," she said, when I asked it out loud rather bluntly. "He's nice... And, well... I don't know when I'll find another guy as good as he is. So I'll play it out and see where it goes."

Not having a response for that remark, I kept my mouth shut and casually let it slide. But deep down, I felt bad for the half-interested emotion she had about the guy she's been seeing for nearly seven months. She didn't seem excited or even interested in this guy. And that was disappointing.

For some others, companionship takes center stage and attraction comes later. But for me? I would want to be thrilled about a guy that I'm dating, especially one for several months. And I'd want to feel it down to the tips of my fingers and toes... So, I'd rather be single than settle for a mediocre relationship. I mean where's the heat? The chemistry?

Now in my "late" 20s, I get grilled a million times over by my family on my dating life. (And with the holidays nearby, I am getting the questions fast and furious.) But, I remind myself that I still have some time to wait for the fireworks before you write me out of the marriage game altogether.

On the flip side, I think about it like this: In the time it takes me to decide how into a man I am, he's figured it out in half the time. So, if he disappears, it's because he already knows that there's no future. And while I don't agree with the vanishing game, he's saving me the trouble of wondering "what if."

Not that I'm in a rush to get to the altar. I still have a few bar nights left in me anyway. :-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Unfinished Business

It takes a lot of practice to just move on from someone when the relationship is over. But, admittedly, since I've become something of a serial dater I haven't had too much trouble in doing so, adopting the "plenty-of-fish-in-the-sea" attitude to dating.

But to keep it real -- I have a thing for revisiting my past every once in a while. Essentially, I allow myself to indulge in "What If" fantasies about men I dated that somehow seem to move on and be blissfully happy with the woman that came right after me. Like, no kidding, it's happened more than once. I end up being the transitional woman that prepares a man for exactly what he wanted but didn't know he wanted until I was out of the picture.

Anyway, all this is to say that I found myself having these fantasies this evening when I received a message from an old fling/flame of sorts. Juan and I met a short while after I came out of a very intense relationship. Not wanting to make him responsible for the experiences before him, I went into it open minded... And surprisingly, I was really into him.

Things started and stopped after that -- I got back together with my ex, then he seemed to want to be unattached... Then he was attached... Never could we get it together.

So, when he sent me a message to my MySpace, hoping that I was still checking it... Didn't know how to react. However, I did know that I wad curious as to whether we had any chemistry left.

Then I thought about it again: Would it be nice to hook up again? Oh yeah... (He was hot and I'm human) But when push comes to shove, it's a sexier thought than it is a reality. After all, when you're feeling someone, it should come out of something naturally - not out of romanticized thoughts. But, then again, those romantic thoughts are OK once in a while... I mean, hell... You need something to keep you warm, don't you?

The Answer to this Mess: Out with the old and in with the new. "Shoulda Coulda Wouldas" are not healthy for anyone. No matter how sexy...

Now, to keep reminding myself of that.

Pulling the Trigger

We all know of the common dating phenomenon when someone you're seeing just up and vanishes - or the disappearing act. But, what do you do when a person goes against the formula and keeps reappearing?

That's exactly what I'd say about a man who continues to appear in my life. Lionel and I met nearly five years ago and after a seemingly nice date, things have been pretty fragmented, to say the least. We've barely seen each other since then but he's had a tendency to call and text me on a very sporadic basis. One time, he texted me and I suggested getting lunch -- JUST to talk and catch up. He agreed... But then called me to say that he didn't want to get anything serious, blah, blah.

So I cut him off. Simply put, I thought he took something casual and made it much more dramatic.

But, how does one explain why he continues to text and resurface in my life? Especially since one single date and his fear of "getting caught up"?

Here it's simple: When it's over, it's over. If you can't pull the trigger with a woman, then why bother engaging her? After a while, it just seems unnecessary.

See, this is where honesty pays off. If you're not interested, don't continue the chase. I mean, you're not even fooling her. And you may be doing everyone a favor.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random Thoughts: Telephone Courtship

If there's any part of my life I like a little variety in, it's my dating life. I've dated all sorts of men that I've met in all sorts of settings -- which have made for very fun stories (hence, the blog!).

However, at one point, I was going through such a dry spell that I took another route: online dating. Granted, while it's a more normal way of being, I personally still crave the thrill of meeting someone for the first time in person, when a look or a smile sets the gears in motion.

We met earlier this year on line and had a great set of conversations for several weeks. Just talk for hours and hours... And about everything. It just seemed so natural and I would argue that it was intensified because it was on the phone.

Anyway, we met once, had a great time and continued to talk... And talk... And talk... And talk... All on the phone. That was it. Lots of talking, some recycling of conversation.... But just talking. Soon, all we were having were phone conversations. Making plans to meet, mind you. But not actually meeting. Sure, I'd plan, and so would he, but we would ultimately cancel.

He gave me a call today and I started at the phone, confused. It was the first time in quite some time we've played the phone game, so either I was really on his mind or the other lady he may have met (reason for which he probably stopped calling) may have disappeared and he figured he would pick up where we left off.

For me, I think this boils down to something pretty simple: If we were going to move beyond the "Telephone Courtship" we would have, despite work schedules and even some distance (he lives just outside of the city). Well, at least I'd hope so after 9 months.

My Takeaway? When a guy is interested, he'll want more than the sound of my voice to comfort him... And, meeting in person would be sexier than any "phone" I could give him.

Yep, I'd say so. For sure.

I mean, what else does it say when a phone relationship, while wonderful, doesn't go beyond the phone?

Simply put, I'd say that screams "Not Interested." But that's me...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Slapped" Into Somethin' Good

So these last few days, while recovering from being terribly under the weather (and confined to my couch), I've been corresponding with Keith, a reader who had a"bad-situation-turned-good" with the object of his affection, a lovely young woman he met while out one night a few days ago. While I have several emails that replay his particular situation, I'll break it down so it's easily digestible, along with the take-aways and the lessons. After all, I think this one makes for a great story of what can happen when a guy is focused!

A Bad Impression: When meeting a woman at a party, they seemed to really hit it off -- they even made a date! However, the script changed when he told her she had a "nice, full hourglass figure," which he thought was a compliment. Instead, she was offended, taking it to mean that she was fat and she slapped him.

My Thoughts Here: While I don't think this is a bad thing (I like the fact that I have a shape), some women may not be comfortable with references to things that imply anything less than "skinny" or "slender." Plus, if she's uncomfortable with her weight and has her own cultural ideas about her body and sexuality, these would be even harder to explain.

Getting Back in the Game (Round 2): Not giving up, he wrote her to apologize. She not only accepted the apology, but went out to coffee with him, where they talked all about it. Turns out that she felt both self-conscious about her weight and a little hyper-sexualized, disappointed that guy she liked was seeing her in such a physical way. But, what she appreciated about him is the fact that he bounced back from the slap, and seemed into her enough to try again.

Since Then: He's e-mailed her, and they even went on another date, with her sister in tow, possibly to feel him out (and which he welcomed!). However, the potential seems great and they're definitely building on the chemistry from the first night before things went awry.

Conclusion? While Keith may have made an initial blunder, he set out to make it right because he wanted the girl. And, because he focused and put his pride aside, things look like they're headed in the right direction, and he's been able to move beyond the bad impression.

The Little Lessons That Keith's Story Enforces:
(a) A Compliment to One is Not a Compliment to All. (This one is especially for the guys!)
(b) It IS possible to recover from a bad first impression.
(b) When a Man Wants You, He Chases. No Questions Asked.

Just goes to show... Sometimes, it can end up with a bow on top! Well, sometimes...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Best Kept Secrets

I grew up in a family with parents that were a little more conservative than most. So, there were many discussions that just didn't happen in my house - especially birds & the bees talks. Or, they were handled with "diplomacy" over something a little looser and more fluid.

In time, I'd say that while I am MUCH better at expressing my thoughts in candid conversations with people, when it comes to things like relationships and dating there are very few with which I really get down to the nitty gritty of it all. And in some ways, I still get bashful telling too much. Some of it has to do with comfort level. And, some of it has to do with how you think another person will react? Do they need to know all this?

Ok, so why the story? Well, this morning I got a call from an old friend, Lisa. We were never tight, but we've recently started reconnecting, which has been nice. Anyway, she gave me quite the rundown of escapades with her flame of the moment -- who, according to her is a "hottie" at 6 foot 4, tan and well-built [Insert giggle here -- how cliche!]. But, I listen because she's a friend and she sounded excited.

Before I knew it, she was getting super descriptive and it was getting harder and harder for me to indulge. She's a great girl, but at that point, I think I knew more about the guy and her experience that I wanted -- or needed -- to know.

I mean, girls talk. Even me. That's just what we do especially when we're excited about a new guy, like Lisa was. But sometimes, I wonder if there's a point when some things should remain under wraps... Like, say, how you use special condiments during intimacy and to what extent. And, if you aren't that close with some of your girls, maybe you may want to spare them the details.

The way I see it, some things (like the special moments between me and my man) I love to be all my own. It's like having a special treat that no one else knows but you. (And him, of course... Which I am sure he'll appreciate, too.)

Besides, it's those very ideas that keep you comfortable in a way that only you can appreciate...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Give & Take

See, here's the thing: Ideally, relationships are a 50/50 split. It takes two to make it work or as one of my favorite Twitterers once said in a tweet: "There's a difference between jumping through hoops and dancing a tango. Only 1 person needed to hold the hoop. 2 needed to dance."
The thing is, that at any given point, a relationship will shift and one inevitably is doing more for the other. Of course, this changes over time so it kind of evens out. But, somehow, I think one person may do a little more of the "giving" overall.

Mind you, this is completely observational... However, it's bound to happen. When I was with my ex, Charles, who I was head over heels for, I would have done anything -- anything. And often, I found myself being much more accomodating than I ever would have been for other men in my life. Essentially, he made me want to give.

One of my close friends, Isabelle and her husband Gregory, are perfect together. It's clear they're in love... But, when it comes down to it, he just spoils her. He's super affectionate, he lets her get what she wants... It's cute yet icky to watch. And, it was the flip from my ex and me.

Truth is, the scales will always tip and shift, with one person giving more any any given time, which is not a bad thing. That said, it's work to keep it balanced... Meaning it's just as important to give as it is to receive.

All theory of course. But I mean, at some point, I'm sure we've all skewed a certain way in our relationships... Or maybe that's me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bedroom Flashblacks

This past weekend, when running to my brunch session with Marisol (which turned into its own session for Sunday's post), I was reminded of just how small the large city of Chicago is when I bumped into Eric, an old fling from a few years ago.

Now, while I alluded to it in a past entry, I never went into much detail about him. Simply put: I took a random, physical event between two colleagues and made it the basis of a relationship that existed only in my mind. It hurts me to think I was this naive about it... But, looking back, I'll admit that I was intoxicated with the idea more than I was with him. And, it was his icy treatment of me after the fact that not only snapped me back into reality, but taught me the true meaning of the "casual encounter."

Anyway, this incident, now five years old, was something I not only accepted, but learned from (And even pulled an Eric or two since then). So, over the years, I learned to not hold a grudge and just appreciate the incident for what it was when it was.

So imagine my surprise when running up the street, I see him walking towards me. I immediately recognized him (I don't forget things like that) and based on the way his face seemed to tense up, I knew that he recognized me too. I was all set to say hi -- but then he flew past me as though we'd never met. Then, I noticed a table with two girls and a guy who had called out to him -- my guess was that one of those young ladies was his girlfriend.

Anyway, I went about my way and didn't give it much of a thought. But, deep down, I was little annoyed that he chose to ignore me. Granted, the chances of seeing him often aren't that great... But there's no harm in being civil either.

What it comes down to: Casual encounters are never really casual. There are always lasting effects. And "weirdness" is just one of them. So I guess it's hard to be friendly after something like that, huh?

Bummer, too. In another life -- had it not been for the whole physical thing -- we may actually have made decent friends. Well, maybe.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dream Lover

The last couple of months have been kind of a whirlwind in my dating life: I've started and stopped a dating situation with a man I met online (totally long story for another post), gone head-over-heels for a guy I met at a wedding (yet another story for a future post), entertained a "temporary situation", fought off the advances of a total Casanova, and had random bar encounters that make me question the dating scene. But, the one that's got me thinking isn't any of these. Instead, it's the past, and an old high school flame , Vincent, that I didn't see coming two months ago. He's resurfaced rather quickly, and that has tripped me out a lot.

When I first met him, I was convinced that we could never be an item. I was bookish and a goody-goody. He was smooth, confident and well-liked -- and much more experienced, especially when it came to dating.

Somewhere along the way, we became friends that happened to like each other. We talked all the time, and even shared a few stolen glances, and a great kiss... But it was never meant back then. (Then again, it's all romanticized at the age of 15.)

Now, Vincent's back in the picture, and we talk all the time. I've almost come to depend on having that everyday interaction with him, and to be honest, we vibe just as well as we did before. No explaining why I'm able to say absolutely anything to him. But the point is, I can. Even hundreds of miles apart, we just... Click.

I have to admit, I'm a little thrown by some of the recent changes in his life: a break-up with a fiancee, a child... Can a man who has all this on his plate feel that strongly about another woman so soon afterward? Maybe, if you consider our history. But still not 100% sure if a man can surrender his feelings that fast. I like to think so. But not sure.

To be honest, there are a million reasons why this situation may not seem like the smartest move. What it boils down to: Is he into me, or the idea of me? I mean, do we see what we want to?

Whatever the case, I just need to figure it out soon... Before I fall in just a little too deep.

Monday, November 9, 2009

UNassist? Nah, This is a prime case of CB...

So I had a few chats about my earlier post, and like I usually do, I picked the male brain. That's when I tapped @SingleCityGuy on the shoulder, who told me flat out this was, by "definition" a CB -- cock block.

As it turns out, he had a similar experience with a co-worker (a taken one, at that) that he shared today! While I encourage you to read the whole post, "Tale of a Greedy Wingman" (it's good), he makes an interesting and simple point which I've included below:

Your job as a wingman is to help your bro out. Sometimes your designated as the wingman, other times it’s automatic....You can’t give up your wingman responsibilities in the middle of the job... Potential wingmen and women need to remember one thing, you are there until the job gets done!

I think that sums it up nicely, don't you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The UNassist (Or the Assist Gone Wrong)

Lots of times when I'm out and about, I find that my girls are my best assets. Whether it's dodging a guy or reading his signals, I rely on them to help me get through the night... And maybe, if I'm lucky, getting the attention of a hot new dating prospect.

So, how does this change when it seems that a friend is cock blocking? (Although the term has been normalized into our everyday, you can find the "official" definition at the Urban Dictionary)

I was having Sunday morning brunch with Marisol when this all came up. She was recounting the debauchery from the previous night, when she and her friend Chrissy were out at a party at a trendy downtown bar. The music was great, the drinks were flowing and everyone was having a good time. Soon, a group of guys spotted them, and one of the guys broke the ice, roping Marisol onto the dance floor and being a good wingman by leading her towards his very cute friend. So they hit it off, and the night, according to Marisol was looking good.

As the evening progresses, Chrissy asks Marisol if she needs help, but Marisol tells Chrissy that she could handle this one. After all, she'd already spent the night talking and dancing with him so she's covered.

However, instead of leaving it alone, Chrissy makes it over to Marisol's target and somehow manages to chat him up, eventually taking him out with her when she heads out for a cigarette break.

A short while later, Chrissy comes back and tells Marisol that he left with his friends, but she gave him her own phone number because it was easier and she didn't want to pull out her phone to look for Marisol's number since the two of them were going to be hanging out together anyway.

When I heard this, I had to chuckle to myself. The two of them are quite the pair and they shared a similar partying style, which has brought them close over the last few years -- even after Chrissy once hooked up with a guy Marisol wanted.

To me, this one seems like a difficult one to chew. Hooking up with a guy that I knew a friend wanted is already a no-no. (MAYBE, if she said it's OK, and they hadn't been a real couple, but by and large -- not something I can swing.) However, if a girl offers to hook me up and then not give out my number to the object of my affection when he asks for it... Well, I find it hard to believe that she had my best interest at heart.

Well, maybe she couldn't get to her phone. Maybe it seemed to make sense to just give him her number because that was all she had time to do before he left. I'm not sure. But, if a friend already bagged the object of my affection once, I know I would be wondering whether she's intercepting the call to cock block, either by blowing him off "on my behalf", or trying to bag him herself. And then I'd be wondering how much more often I should rely on her to help land me a date.

In spinning this one around for a bit, this seems to be an AGW -- Assist Gone Wrong. I mean, let's put aside for a second that the guy didn't ask for the number himself (in which case, he's a punk anyway). No, this is a case of whether or not there was some wingwoman action happening, which there didn't seem to be.

What it boils down to? Before going out with your friends, make sure to take a page from the game of basketball and study the makings of a good assist. Everyone may have a slightly different point of view, so better to clear that up than make any major mistakes on the court.

Saturday, November 7, 2009 Single

Just recently, I received a "Save the Date" from my friend Maria. It was one of those mini CD things that when you popped into a computer was a photo montage of her and her fiance all over the world, with Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," playing in the background. I watched it a few times, smiling, a little nauseous, but also happy for them.

This is one example of the ongoing reality in my life -- more and more of my closest friends are finding long-term mates. For them, their planning now involves another person, essentially trading the "I" for an "Us."

Admittedly, I'm impressed and amazed at the commitment they're making. I've spent most of my life single, so I've been able to channel my energies into lots of things: an aggressive work schedule, socializing hard and being a little selfish in terms of only having to worry about me.

Now don't misunderstand -- I was once in a relationship where all I could dream about was our future... (That's another post) But a broken heart ensued, which took a while to recover from.

The truth is, I think being in a relationship requires a desire to want to share part of yourself with another person and accepting all that comes with it. It's reaching a new level a maturity and it's different than other types of growth because it involves making choices that affect the two of you. I see my friends taking their vows and essentially deciding that they want to keep growing together for the rest of their lives. Pretty heavy stuff.

One could also argue that people use a long-term relationship as a scapegoat -- needing to be with someone for the fear of being alone. In that case, it's much more about co-dependence than about actually being with someone.

While I am sure that I am capable of being in a relationship, I've become comfortable in the world I've created for myself where I worry about me and what makes me happy. And, because it's been a while since I've been in a relationship that looks like it had long-term potential... There's been no need to think about much more than that!

Some of my friends poke fun at me for multiple dating interests that I "squeeze" into my own life. I laugh because it IS true. But, until I meet the one that will make me think "we" I'm OK with thinking "I."

(Although, it would make weekends so much easier to plan... )

Friday, November 6, 2009

More on "After the Talk" (Or DTR)

So, my ever rockin' friend and colleague, Laurie, took some advice provided by HurricanesFan into further consideration, sending me the following note just last night:

...Hurricanes does make some good points, esp about communication. You miss a lot over the phone. Plus, I feel like you have to be in constant communication in order to maintain trust. Otherwise, your mind starts going to all these crazy places and you constantly question his intentions.

His post gave me good insight into what's likely going through his head. He is definitely a rational thinker too- he's an attorney after all. I remember when he called me the night we met and asked me if I would meet him for breakfast. He kept saying "I don't know what I'm doing. This is so not like me to be spontaneous...blah blah blah" My theory is he rode the spontaneity wave for a while because it was new and exciting. Then, the rational part of his brain took over and he realized this was going to be next to impossible.

In a way, Hurricane's post helped me distance myself from the possibility of "us" working out. Still talk to him but just as friends (with the occasional benefit). I just need to move on. Best way to get over a guy, another guy. Maybe that's your next post? :)

Thanks, Laurie. I respect your open mind, and I'm going to have to consider writing something very soon about getting over someone... There are many ways to slice that one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

After "The Talk" (or DTR)

Imagine meeting a man that's cute, sweet, smart, has his life in order, and just lifts you off your feet from the first meeting. Soon, you're traveling together, spending time with each other's loved ones, and making plans that maybe -- just maybe -- means that you're in it for the long-term. But suddenly, the game changes and the thrilling ride just seems to level out, leaving you to wonder when and why things took such an unexpected turn.

It's that kind of situation that Laurie, a colleague and friend of mine, painted for me as we were on our way home from work tonight. She'd met him a couple of months ago while on a vacation with her girlfriends and what ensued was a love affair out of a chick lit book, no kidding. Even though he lived in a totally different time zone, they'd made a connection and soon he was flying in to see her, they were spending time meeting each other's friends and family and he even came to a work party to meet her colleagues! We all suspected it was going somewhere and were way too happy that she found a storybook relationship with a great guy without even trying.

Anyway, during one of their visits together, they'd had the "DTR" (or, "defining the relationship") talk, in which he mentioned that because of their extreme distance (an ocean, at least) that exclusivity may not have been the best option for them. Now at this point, she's clear that she likes where they're going and doesn't want to see anyone else, which she tells him. In spite of the heavy topic, they managed to have a great weekend, which put her concerns aside.

However, when things got weird during their extended vacation, she knew it was different - and just like that, he thought it was best they stay friends. They still communicate often and have maintained a friendship, but it leveled off from their budding romance.

As Laurie told me this, I was admittedly confused for her. It was clear his wall went up fast, probably when she told him how she felt. But for a guy that started the chase in the first place, it just makes no sense that he backed out, especially after all the effort.

In breaking it down in my own head, I found myself wondering if he was caught up in the magic or thrill of it all as opposed to wanting to commit to anything long-term. I mean, did the deeper feelings she had make the situation more "work" and less fun? Honestly, I'm not sure. But my theory is that you don't mind putting in the effort when you want your other half to stay in it for the long haul.

Ultimately, you can never predict what happens after you start seeing someone. Will they stick around? Will they fade? Will they still be in the picture in a year, a month, a week? Sometimes, you may just have to take your chances and hope that the vibe you share should be enough so that nothing -- not even the "defining the relationship" talk -- will weaken it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Marrying Kind

I was laying low late last night when one of my best childhood friends, Renee, asked me whether I knew if our mutual friend, Julian, was engaged to be married. I was immediately surprised, and took to hopping on the ever popular Facebook to find out. Immediately, I noticed there were tons of messages on his Wall from his frat brothers extending their well wishes... And then there was no mistaking he'd taken the plunge, which left me dumbfounded.

Don't misunderstand -- I'm totally happy for him. How can I not be? I've known him more than half our lives, and he deserves to have that kind of love in his life. But, I would be lying if I said I saw it coming, because I didn't. However, something must have clicked for him and the decision was made. Just like that.

Now that I've entered my late 20s, I've seen this happen with tons of my friends and especially the guys in my life who have met that one woman that makes them want to put their single ways aside. They start off perfectly content being footloose and fancy-free. Then there's that one woman that just does it and case closed -- he's sprung.

I'm getting tons of wedding invitations from various friends, all with interesting stories but all ending the same way: the guy decides he can't live without this woman. Even my brother, the ultimate playboy, managed to settle down and not give it a second thought when he found his wife.

The speed and certainty with which my friends are entering this stage of their lives leads me to understand one simple (and obvious) truth: when a man had found the one, he's willing to become the Marrying Kind. No games needed. How he gets to that point is on him, but when he wants to settle down, he will. He gets over his issues and hang-ups... He doesn't disappear... And, he grows up if it means it's going to keep that woman by his side.

This is actually kind of comforting -- it means the games need to stop sooner or later.