Sexless and the City: The Benchwarmers

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Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

“If you can’t say anything nice, text it to the ladies and save it in Notes.” -Me

Watering your own garden can get to be tough work when a woman reaches a certain age and place in life.  I was determined to commit to caring about myself and continue falling in love with myself so damn deeply that it would have to take a really REALLY f*cking upstanding male specimen to get me to say yes to a date.  But alas, while my standards remained high, my expectations were maintaining a low, bottom dweller station…ah the millennial magic.

I started throwing more energy into spending time socializing with friends, out and staying in, just organically making plans and being open to any opportunity that could potentially come my way.  I had a welcome mat…in front of a dead bolted door, but I was open to saying yes to things.  I also really started relishing my alone time to the point where I chose it over other things.  Balance.  The thing I realized was, there are a lot of seemingly great men in this city, but just like most of us never know what the hell to do with our hands when someone says, “Cheese? Smile!” for the camera, these dudes didn’t know what the f*ck they were doing (and neither did I).

Paul* came into the picture as I was sticking to the high standards / low expectations equation and although I didn’t find him super attractive physically, he had good teeth and loved photography seemingly as much as I do so he got a swipe to the right.  We matched, I waited a few hours, messaged him, and he didn’t wait until the last possible clutch second to respond either.  He was already ahead of his “competition”.  A Kentucky born and bred guy, I wasn’t sure where he was going to land on politics, or literally anything, but considered the fact that he was living the good life here in our PNW bubble as a sign that he had liberal leaning tendencies.  This brings us to the month of March (2017, mind you) and I was doing the Whole30 thing…resetting and dealing with more of those food and beverage sensitivities I mentioned in that one episode, where I may or may not have been drugged by Tiny Hands?

So for those of you who have been living under a rock and don’t know, Whole30 is a nutritional “reset” to eliminate five main food groups out of your diet for 30 whole days.  No dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, or alcohol.  Damn.  Aggressive, I know.  You gauge your psychological and physical relationships with food and it’s really effective for most people in figuring out how they can help their bodies thrive through food that agrees with them.  This was my second go around after the first 2016 try and I intelligently stayed hibernating for the first 7-8 days of massive sugar withdrawal.  That’s some monster shit and no one should be meeting strangers when they’re five seconds away from losing it because they can’t eat or drink that.  I’m talking glaring at Girl Scouts at your local grocery store and imagining pummeling them over to savagely steal a box of thin mints to eat in your corner of shame later.  It’s no damn joke.

I met Paul* at The Innkeeper down on 1st Ave (as this episode goes to print, it has been closed and now goes by the name “Jerk Shack” so we have irony being served up stiff which is my fave-pour it in a glass and add a lime, thanks).  I can’t make this shit up people…actually I can, but I don’t even have to so why would I?  I had forewarned him that I was on a special elimination diet and currently not drinking, but was happy to meet him for a soda water and citrus.  Paul* proceeded to tell me that he was actually also on a special diet and doing the Keto thing currently so he could drink, but had to limit his intake.  Having had a little ounce of anxiety having to lay this disclaimer down prior to setting up dates, I was relieved he understood.  Then I realized that I’d just landed myself another filter for weeding out the weak-if a potential date couldn’t understand or be chill with the fact that I was prioritizing my nutritional health over getting buzzed with him, he was out.

Paul* got there first (are we even surprised?  No.  I’ve told you I’m notoriously late and IDGAF).  After finding epic street parking, for freeeee, I rolled in to find him sitting at the bar.  I wore my new 3 3/4 inch black booties strategically.  This was an easy way to size up height when on a date, but dude was sitting so I was totally uncertain for our two hours together and internally screaming to solve the mystery.  He had on a t-shirt and jeans, had hair (BONUS), and tattoos that at first glance weren’t horribly judge worthy (like a barbed wire arm band-yes John or Bill reading this, you should get it removed).  He ordered food and said something to the tune of “I’m bulking and so hungry so I had to order food.”  Okay bro, just don’t talk about Crossfit, mmmk?  My Basic Bitch PTSD can’t hang tonight because I haven’t had alcohol or sugar in 11 days and I just said no to the mini entrepreneurs pushing diabetes filled with hopes and dreams for the 64th time this month…I can’t handle it.  Cal*  ruined me for real on these types.  THANKS.

With the bartender disappointingly delivering my tall soda water with lemon and lime, the date really started and all I was thinking was, “How tall is he?”  and “God damnit, that whiskey smells good.”  “How many more days do I have?”  You get the idea.  Politics came up, not by my lead, and I learned Kentucky boy was a Libertarian and didn’t vote for either candidate, but wrote someone in (I have strong opinions on that one, but held my tongue), was a retired military guy, working in communication systems sales-like the kind that do those big conventions, and had a pug named Atticus after my favorite literary character of young adulthood.  Epic name choice, but turned out Paul* should keep his dog pics to himself.  Atticus was 0% adorable, but I’m sure he had a kind soul.

The date wasn’t totally blah, but nobody was calling the fire department to put out the fire either.  As we ended our 120ish minutes together, he stood and I came to find that even with my heels on, he was still a couple inches taller than me which at this point had become irrelevant because I had already put dude in the probably never going to happen again category.  But, it did feel like a step in the right direction in terms of height.  We said our goodbyes on the street, hugged awkwardly, and he did that whole, “let’s do this again sometime,” dance.  I agreed, but I think we both knew it wasn’t one for the books.  We did actually attempt a follow up date, but then neither of us really tried so it fizzled.  I saw him months later down on Alki Beach while I was sunning my face on a restaurant patio, enjoying lunch and a strong Bloody Mary with my Grandma.  He was skateboarding and Atticus was pulling him on a leash.  I mentioned that I’d gone on a date with that guy and from our table across the street, the cutest thing about the whole scene was by far my Grandma…who then went into a brilliant speech about how women don’t need men and his dog was ugly anyway.  (Mic drop).

Spring continued blooming in Seattle and my dating life was actually budding, but only with the one and done date thing.  When I matched with Brandon*, I was really beaming in that low expectation glow.  I didn’t find him attractive really, but he seemed to have the right credentials so I thought, “Why the hell not?”  We messaged a bit and decided that Kickin’ Boot in Ballard was our Sunday date locale and when I showed up first (now we’re shocked), I was all cozy Sunday dressed since it was a blustery AF March day, yes, wearing a beanie…and he showed up in a bright green The North Face windbreaker (so PNW) with what I’d describe as Sunday Real Estate Broker attire (that wasn’t his line of work).  Not judging, I have brilliantly dressed Real Estate Broker friends (shout out to Matt and Pham), I’m just sharing.  I was sitting at the bar…I’m telling you, it’s the way forward..and he joined me.  I got off my stool to give him a hug and then laughed as I told him it was going to maybe kill me not to order whiskey at a whiskey bar.

We got to talking about his upcoming travel goals and discussed my time in Australia.  Not going to lie, I felt like a travel agent and was starting to daydream about what I’d charge for my trip planning services.  As I told him about where he could look to get flight deals, the cheapest days of the week and times of day to book, I realized he seemed more interested in gathering intel on flight patterns than in me as an actual human.  I was fine with this because I wasn’t really into the opportunity to work with him after this first date either.  We shared a similar life circumstance of having friends who were happily married, friends who were (already) happily divorced, friends unhappily married, friends with kids, very few friends who were still single, and eluded to how tough dating is.  Although we had this and travel lust in common, we weren’t heading to Google Flights to book a joint trip to Aruba.

We sort of hit a plateau and I was eager to get on with the rest of my Sunday.  We walked in the same direction towards our cars, hugged goodbye in the crazy wind, and I went grocery shopping and journeyed home to meal prep.  Monday morning came and as I was sipping my first cup of Joe, I decided to message him in our Bumble convo for taking the time to meet up on a Sunday and drink alone.  He responded with, “Yeah, it was fun and I really appreciate your knowledge on travel and everything.  But I think I’m going to go in a different direction.”  Copy that, Brandon*.  If I’d known I was on a job interview, I would have worn my pencil skirt and pearl earrings.  I mean, I was just being nice, I wasn’t interested in this guy romantically and wasn’t even flirting with the idea of friendship, (let’s be real, when you’re on a dating app, friends isn’t top priority…stay tuned though because there’s more on that to come).  I literally laughed out loud.  Like who was this guy?  It was so business suit and tie, like bro, we were on a date not a conference call, chill.  You can just tell me thanks and take care and we’re golden.  After my research in my own personal March Madness, I realized I had reached a new level in will power because I was actively choosing to stay sober.  On first dates.  And I survived.  If you’re ever losing hope, people, know this: you too, can do really hard things.

There are a lot of great “almost’s” out there.  So many “so close’s”…I felt like I had maybe only scratched the surface in the Seattle dating pool and it seemed…ummm, shallow.  It was starting to feel more like nails on a chalkboard than getting closer to scratching someone’s back.  I started thinking long and hard about what I really wanted…what I was truly seeking in this whole dating thing.  I knew I wanted to be wow’ed by someone enough to feel like a relationship could spark.  I knew I was looking for fireworks and heart sparkles and lady bugs and butterflies and unicorn shit.  I knew I wanted something that felt real.  The trouble was, it was feeling further and further from my reach.  I began to feel like my equation needed some new solutions.  Low expectations just didn’t work for a confident woman who knew herself well enough to know she deserved a whole lot more than what she had gotten before and what she seemed to be getting.  Doubt set in a little…as it does when the weather in Seattle is bipolar and you can’t seem to find a man who will walk Greenlake with you or go to the Farmer’s Market so off you go for the 4,379th time, alone.

I started defining what time spent with this hypothetical human would look like and I honed in on my wants and don’t wants.  I realized settling for a “meh, his credentials are okay,” just wasn’t going to cut the cake anymore.  Because I didn’t want a love found in the shadows of a maybe.  I wanted to find a love that took my sleep away from me for all the right reasons, hurt my face from smiling, was filled with laughing until we cry, sounded like telling secrets in the dark, smelled like maple syrup while we make pancakes in our underwear on Sunday mornings, wanted to sit in silence reading books, getting lost in listening to our favorite music, longed for adventure, and felt like home.  I couldn’t help but feel deep within my bones…if nothing else is, wasn’t that worth waiting for?

Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

*Name has been changed to protect identity of former date

Sexless and the City: The Creep

woods-35Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

“Just realized my childhood crush on Peter Pan explains a lot about the type of guys I’ve been dating…” -Me

With the girls flying free into the next week, I decided that the open minded approach needed some fine tuning.  I no longer felt good about saying yes on a whim, it felt less fun and spontaneous and more anxiety ridden, even forced.  I adjusted the sails a bit and kept swiping, messaging, and generally living my life.  There were times when this whole online dating game felt like another job, literally so much time and energy can go into being active on these sites and apps…it gets exhausting.

I committed to dates and then if there was some better offer that came up with friends or family, I really just wanted to take my pants off and be home alone reading, or I was tired and just didn’t feel like attempting to charm a stranger, I would cancel.  The standard script became, “I’m going to take a break from this whole dating thing for now.  But it’s been nice getting to know you a bit and I truly wish you the best.”  Or some variation of that.  It was true.  I was experiencing the inevitable vulnerability, meeting a bunch of duds, burn out and like I’ve said before, I’m not really into faking it.  They all understood and wished me the best, I unmatched and moved on.  Typically, the ones I pulled this with, were flailing anyway.  It wasn’t going anywhere.  I decided that regardless of a better offer, not wasting both our time just to follow through, wasn’t the way to play it.  There are a lot of really nice guys out there who are handsome and seemingly charming, but sometimes when it’s not there in messaging, you just know it won’t be there over bourbon and bar nuts.

With my dating karma in the safe zone, I decided to keep messaging and see if anyone really sparked my interest.  The real test was that if guys seemed to just want to be pen pals, I was out.  Like, hi, what are you here for then?  There ended up being SO many that just seemed interested in messaging back and forth as if we both had time for that in our already busy and important lives.  I had no patience for it.  But, I will admit, at this point, although my open minded approach to going on dates had been altered, I was getting more fascinated by the WHY in all this millennial dating business-I pen pal’d a bit for research, said yes to first dates for research…and here we are so it wasn’t in vain.

When I matched with Cal* I was digging his big brown eyes, that he owned his own business, and that he was about 6 years older than me.  Let me just give you the spoiler alert now: just like my original belief in match.com translating to thinking that since it was a subscription and people were paying for it, that would likely make them take it all more seriously, a man who ticks an older age range box on his profile, literally means nothing.  He’s not guaranteed to be looking for something serious, he’s not more emotionally mature or worldly, he’s just 38.  That’s it.  Cal* was cute-meh (ish), the brown eyes pretty much took the cake and he had a nice smile.  When I found out that the business he owned was a CrossFit gym, I should have dropped my weights and done knee lifts for the hills right then and there…we all know what’s up with CrossFit-ers.  ALL THEY WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS CROSSFIT.  Reminder: research.  When I asked Cal* what his favorite things to do in the city were, he answered by telling me he really doesn’t get out much and hasn’t been doing much socially in…wait for it…18 years.  WHAT?!  I mean, don’t get me wrong, introvert is the new orange or whatever, but what?!  He did admit he had been sober for that time (we never got into why), but it was starting to feel to me like Cal* didn’t really know how to live outside of where his kettle bells sleep at night.  I proceeded to ask him where he goes when he DOES get out and he told me his favorite places are his gym and Lululemon.  Really?!  I mean, I have a profound appreciation for yoga pants and athleisure, but sometimes a bro has to put down the carcinogenic filled protein shake and live some damn life!  My pen pal days with Cal* proved that millennial men are in fact some of the most Basic of all the Bitches.  I’m still in recovery, even a year later, from the pain in my head due to extreme eye rolling.  Which is becoming borderline chronic, I’ll admit.  I’m a little concerned.  How much more can an intelligent, sometimes charming, woman take?  (Let’s see shall we?)

Enter the always wears a hat in his profile photos and you can’t tell how tall he is (or isn’t) guy.  He was handsome and had an easy to talk to demeanor in our message exchange so when he asked me to take it off the app to text and plan a date, I was game.  Lessons to be learned here for those of you at home taking notes.  Get ready.  I’ve mentioned before that if a man is wearing a hat in all his photos and/or sunglasses, you’re bound to be disappointed.  If he’s always in group photos, never standing, and/or isn’t listing (highlighting) his height, it’s not going to be good.  I could never have known how important height would become to me without this online dating experience.  Truly.  I’m 5’3″ on a good day so I realize that referencing height and men that may appear “too short”, is a little ridiculous.  I’m not walking any runways anytime soon over here, but I do love my heels and I do love a tall man.  It offers a plethora of options both in and out of the bedroom (should I ever make it back into one, at the rate I was going, I wasn’t so sure).  Also, it’s sort of a comfort thing, nuzzling under someone’s chin or on their chest is a lot more cozy than my nose going in someone’s eye…just sayin’.  Kevin* wore a hat to the bar.  I mean, so did I…it was sweater weather and a bad hair day and I’d grown to love myself enough to rock a damn beanie on dates and IDGAF.  Kevin* wearing a hat was hiding something though.  This becomes a point of some relationship PTSD for me since hair (or the receding of) was a serious point of vulnerability and insecurity for that one guy I dated off and on for far too long.  Insecurity can’t be cured by anyone but the wearer, I knew this all too well.  A woman cannot love that out of a man, trust.

El Borracho in Ballard was the spot and as my Lyft dropped me off, I felt invigorated.  I was entering as a researcher, an observer of human life forms in local watering holes… hydrating themselves with tequila and bad decisions.  I was putting myself out there, meeting new people, I was going on a date!  I didn’t cancel!  I am woman, hear me roar, etc., etc. “Why the f*ck does my leg itch?”  Stepping off my mental high horse, I entered the bar and noticed Kevin*’s hat sitting at it.  Well, I guess we know he’s not tall now.  He looked like his photos, but the shocker was the height (or lack of), when he stayed seated to greet me.  I’ll just tell you all now, this is never a good sign.  Another tick against Kev*, tiny hands.  With our country being governed by a tiny handed Cheeto puff, you can imagine the immediate trauma state this puts someone in.  What can these hands do or not do?  Dare I ask or even imagine? A woman has to think of the important things.  I mean, I was putting myself out there to date and find someone worth hanging onto. A man who’s tall enough and who’s hands are big enough for the most basic level of throw down, become a must.  Secret’s out: size actually does matter, just not always in the ways you think.  The irony here is I have dainty hands myself, but the kicker is, I already know what they’re capable of doing so I don’t feel bad judging. Sorry, not sorry.

Sharing dating stories over chips and salsa and a strong Cadillac margarita, I learned that Kevin* wasn’t from Seattle.  He was a transplant who loved the area and the fact that his family lived far away (also, not always a good sign).  He was a manager for a construction company and stuck mostly to his portable office cube telling other (large, capable handed men) what to do all day.

Although I knew that past this particular Thursday night, was going nowhere fast with Kevin*, when he asked me if I wanted to go catch an open mic at a cool bar near his place, I decided to be game.  Where I went wrong here was agreeing to let him drive us there.  Literally up a main Ballard drag and closer to my residence (working girl salary + cheaper Lyft ride home = important), but he’d had at least three margaritas and upon exiting El Borracho, we established he was a small-ish man.  He drove a work logo truck and did that whole play loud music, rev the engine, probably too buzzed on margs and testosterone to drive thing…suddenly I was forced back to high school and swoon, I did not.  We made it to the bar though and I learned that it’s literally down the street from his apartment.  Convenient, bro.  He parked his truck in what I assumed was his usual spot.  This is an imperative time to admit that upon entering 2017, I hadn’t been drinking much and had been dealing with some food and beverage sensitivities, resulting in achieving lightweight/cheap date status.  I was buzzing off my one strong margarita which felt a little off to be honest.  Hello, I’m Irish.  Lightweight or not, it still takes me a bit to feel drunk.  Regardless, I wasn’t ready to call it a night and music is always something I’m down for.  Kevin* had to run up to his place for something and I opted to stay street side under a well lit area in the cold, because duh.  I knew where this was heading for Tiny Hands, but for me, it was headed to a place that poured beer and had an amp.  He was clearly a regular and knew some people there, I was a newbie which gave him something to show off a little bit and he took every chance he could to make sure people saw us.  Feeling awkward while waiting for the next talent to grace the stage, I stumbled to the bathroom.  Took my purse, left my drink.  I was feeling really buzzed at this point and questioning it a bit.  I texted my friend’s Cassie and Nicole while in the stall and told them each where I was, that I was fine, but feeling more drunk than I should be considering the lack of beverages, told them I was going to enjoy some music, switch to water and head home within the next half hour.  I promised I’d text them both when I was safely home.  Moment to shout out to my females who always keep a lookout, stay up a little later than they want to to make sure I’m home safe, set the standard for no less than 75% battery power before ANY date, and are always available to support late night, post date milkshake runs and cry laugh with me when I live to tell another story.

As I was washing my hands, that itch returned on my leg.  Inner thigh to be exact and I was perplexed.  Upon re-entering the stall to survey the situation, I dropped trou and started laughing out loud.  A black lace thong was straight chilling on the inside of my skinny jeans, fresh out of the laundry, pre-date.  Jokes for days.  I didn’t care what Kevin* might have been thinking at this point with my bathroom break extending due to a static cling issue on my left thigh, but I hustled and tossed the clean panties in my purse and exited the ladies room.  Sitting back at my stool perch, I set my 3/4 full Mac N’ Jacks to the side and asked the waitress for a glass of water.  Kevin* asked why I wasn’t drinking my beer (what is it with these guys and judging my water consumption?!) and I said I was just super dehydrated and needed water.  I didn’t really think he’d done anything to my drink(s), but the thought did cross my mind that’s always a possibility and considering how loopy I got after one margarita and like four sips of a microbrew, I couldn’t take it completely off the menu as a “could be”.  I decided I was ready to call it a night.  I told Kevin* it was a school night and I really needed to get home.  He sort of hesitated, stalling a bit, trying to pick his moment to make the move to get me back to his place since we were so close to it.  I told him I’d already requested my Lyft ride and he was about to pull up.  Kevin* decided to put his agenda on hold long enough to walk me outside and wait with me while my ride came.  Mid-conversation, I realized the car was up the street from us and told him I needed to go.  The car sped off.  Shit.  I’ll admit, the country girl in me at that moment, was like f*ck it, I’ll tell Kevin* I’m catching a new ride and just bloody walk up to my place, I wanted out, but considering the borderline creep factor brewing, I decided requesting another Lyft driver was a better move.

Kevin* put his tiny hand on my back and told me that while I was requesting another ride, we could just walk towards his place.  I was more on the “Well, it’ll be easier for the driver to find me if I stay in one place and remain where there’s traffic,” (and street lamps) train.  Crowded neighborhood areas are a good place to be in such a situation because your Lyft  driver will arrive shortly after you decide it’s more than time to bail.  I could tell Kevin* was on a mission so as I saw my car roll up ahead of me on the street, I thanked him for taking the time to meet up, gave him a quick hug and literally ran up the street to the Red Prius waiting to take me home.  That night I learned, that riding in cars with boys you just met who only wear hats and maybe put something in your drink to get you to go home with them never has to go in the “I’m being open minded” category.  It just goes in the “no, thank you, never” one.  The next day, Kevin* wrote me a “Hey girl, what’s up?” text and his 35 year old hat wearing self got his hive closed.

As I woke up the next morning, feeling the hint of a hangover that should never have been, I couldn’t help but feel lucky that the night before had ended with me in the power seat and an exit buddy, thank you Driver Paul, wherever you are…you’re the real MVP.  Between Cal* and Kevin*, a mental list of “never trust a…” had started drafting itself in my head (and in my iPhone notes).  Who the hell were theses guys?  This is what I had to look forward to in dating?  Was I being too nice?  Too open?  Swiping too charitably?  Was I marketing myself wrong?  Were my standards too high?  Expectations so low at this point in my experience that I was becoming dissociated with my own wants and needs?  What was wrong with me?  I decided I was going to refine this list, based on my interactions with men I met in person and in cyber space, add a dash of healthy humor, a large dose of reality check, and march on.

The List //

  • Never trust a man who acts above public transport…privilege kills, people.
  • Never trust a man who’s had a beard since he could grow facial hair.  What are you hiding bro?  Sorry about your face.
  • Never trust a man who says, he doesn’t really “get kids”.   Ummm, excuse me sir, where do you think you started?  Do you even human?
  • Never trust a man who can’t drive a stick shift.  Multitasking in the most basic of forms is crucial…like, what else can’t he do with his hands?
  • Never trust a straight man who looks better in yoga pants than you.  Need I explain?  He’s probably gay.  In which case, make him your new BFF and go to a spin class, honey.

TO BE CONTINUED…

As I compiled my list of what a woman should never trust a man on, I realized that the person I really needed to put more trust in, was myself.  I know when shit feels off, I know when it’s never gonna happen, I know when I’m not into faking it, and I know as a strong, independent woman when it’s time to go. In a world where the grass seems to always be greener on the other side, I decided to start watering my own and trusting that in time, with enough love and self care, it wouldn’t only grow, it would start to thrive.

Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

*Name has been changed to protect identity of former date

Sexless and the City: The Lush

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Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

“Did you have fun on your date last night?” -Jo

“Ummm he got very drunk and then my soul died.” -Me

“Oh god.  Tell me everything.”  -Jo

With 2016 coming to a close, still single AF and (mostly) loving it, I decided to go down the rabbit hole of Bumble.  One of my closest friends had just met a guy through the platform and started dating him; it was free (holla), and a way for me to more easily vet dudes and move on.  I had the week between Christmas and New Year’s off work and threw myself into cleaning, reading, listening to music, dancing in my underwear, sleeping in, and Bumbling like the honey bee I am.

I told myself that it was supposed to be fun, if it stopped being fun, I’d quit…no harm, no foul.  True.  I also challenged myself to be more spontaneous, be open to a last minute date and say yes more often.  This is an important detail.  To be honest, I loved the idea that women got to message first, feel empowered (and safe), I found the 300 character count limit to be refreshing after aimlessly scrolling through Match.com profiles longer than War and Peace.  The account is linked to your Facebook, making sure you actually exist (brilliant), and every photo goes through an approval process as well to make sure you’re actually in 3D, no cat fishing for the bees.

I had no real idea what I was doing, but I took a shot, filling out my brief profile, with honest, personality filled material about myself:

“Likes: taking myself too seriously, speaking fluent sarcasm, music, books, old fashioned’s, dogs, writing, IV drips of coffee, photography, running, human rights, travel, Audrey Hepburn movies.  Dislike: car or gym selfies, inauthenticity, cats, narcissists, global warming, people who don’t like fun.”

As you can see, I refrained from bragging about my sheet folding skills (I do sometimes learn my lessons), and stuck to some authenticity of my own.  I posted six photos showing that I’m adventurous, occasionally smile nice for pics, and love travel.  BOOM.  I was in business.

The first guy that came buzzing in was a dude I saved as Tarzan* in my phone; inside joke…I think his profile mentioned something about him holding out hope that men and women could still meet in the wild so my clever opener was something along the lines of “like Tarzan and Jane wild or heading to your local watering hole realizing you should never go to the bar again, wild?”  Eventually there was a loin cloth reference…he called me Jane, Tarzan* was funny, it stuck.  (For about a week).  We met for a drink at Palace Kitchen, I’d never been, it was a “I know it’s last minute, but would you want to…” sort of thing.  I was literally not wearing pants, on my couch, at home, alone, doing nothing, so I thought, yes.  I will say yes, get myself together and go.  (This thought came in after that beautiful, amazing friend of mine who encouraged me to try Bumble-yes Cass, looking at you, bullied me into a yes). She was right, of course. I had fresh cut bangs…give a woman a new hair do and she makes shit happen.  I went, enjoyed a couple drinks, good conversation, some political talk (which is typically a big no no on first dates, but #2016, it goes in the inevitable category), discussed our appreciation for, but non-obsession with Beyonce, vaguely touched on how hard dating in this city is, and generally had a good time.  Tarzan* walked me to my car and I was off, proud that he was at least worth putting on pants and using dry shampoo for.  Not much in the way of the flirting department post date, but we did discuss seeing each other again.  Then all of a sudden he’s dating someone and it’s getting serious and would I just like to be friends?  I even invited him out bowling with some of my people a couple weekends later, trying to stay open minded and welcome potential new humans into my tribe in romantic or otherwise capacities.  We all know that wasn’t a strike…so I moved on.

Still enjoying my bee hive, I continued swiping.  I even came across four guys I am friends with from college (sorry bros, LEFT!), one dude I was friends with for twelve plus years who I ended my friendship with when he decided to be a textbook narcissist (can you swipe left repeatedly?), and oh yeah, remember that guy I cryptically wrote about for the five years this blog has existed and who I dated off and on for almost seven years, because he used to disappear all the time, (but he was never actually my boyfriend)?  Yeah, his face showed up.  He used his 300 character count to tell the dating world that he’s “100% jokes and whiskey all the time”.  Nice.  Also, kind of true.  But after my lengthy research, he’s a lot more complicated than that.  We all are.  Listen up ladies, run.  Run in the other f*cking direction.  Listen, we all have “exes”.  I still to this day don’t even feel like it’s right to call him that because again, he was never my boyfriend (lessons in commitment by 23-27, then 28-29ish year old me).  And we all deserve the chance to put ourselves out there and meet new people, move on, live and learn, it’s the circle of life (cue the music).  The thing that rubbed me the wrong way when his face showed up was that it felt like he wasn’t taking it seriously and that reflected in every damn thing I’d grown to know about him over the years.  So even though I couldn’t swipe left fast enough, I was sort of bummed in a weird way (just being honest and real here, kids), that he was out there, but still totally not out there, if you catch my drift.  We were off and on for almost seven years, I know him.  Sidebar: There probably could have been a connecting the dots post about him when it ended before I even started this series, but that’s how burnt out I got and how ready I was to move the hell on.  There was a conversation back in the spring of 2016 when I straight up told him that I felt like I could say this knowing him as well as I did, sometimes better than he knew himself, that if he couldn’t make it happen with me, then I had a hard time believing he could make it with anyone.  He looked me dead in the eye and said, “You’re probably, absolutely right.”  So, I share this bit of the story to explain that had his face shown up in my Bumble feed and he’d used his bio to say something about himself that highlighted who he is in any real way, because he’s not all bad (obviously or i never would have spent that many years on him), that would have been less annoying for me.  If anything, it just made me sad that he was still the same on the surface, because I had changed exponentially in our final ending.  I do wish him all the best and hope he finds happiness, I honestly mean that.  But this isn’t his story, it’s mine and we all write our own pages, so back to buzzing.

Truth tellin’: I matched with and messaged a lot of people when I started out.  I got responses from most, talked to some, met even less.  It’s apparently how it works and I was okay with it.  I was putting myself out there and trying to remain open to new people and experiences.  There were some waste of times in there, as one can expect, but then I decided on a new approach.  I decided I was just going to say yes to every guy that asked me out for drinks.  Because I had the power here.  I swiped right, chose to message them, if they reciprocated by responding and had the balls to ask me on a real time, in person date within a couple days of messaging back and forth in the stupid app platform, I was saying yes.

Enter James*.  Your typical handsome-ish dude.  He was the right age, had a job, loved travel, had height on his side (this becomes imperative later, stay with me), seemed friendly, even a little funny, and asked me out for a drink the next night.  Saying yes in my experience is almost instantly followed by regret for choosing to be so open minded because sometimes on a Wednesday, you just want to go home after work, take your damn bra off, and be alone.  But I went.  Tavern Law set the scene, I had never been and was so into the prohibition era vibes and hello, practically the type of place that birthed my poison of choice, I knew I was in for at least a good bourbon drink.  I had started getting cheap Lyft rides from the house I work at to go on dates.  Sometimes you’re on a bad date and don’t even want to finish your drink so you can drive home and sometimes you need like three more just to get through the damn thing.  Getting a Lyft or Uber means I could drink a couple before bailing, I had an out because once you request, it’s coming for you and no one likes to keep their ride waiting, especially when escape has become critical, also let’s be adults here, safety first.  We’d moved to texting at this point since we were meeting up (and I was stupidly or whatever being open to new things), and he got off work before me so he went straight to the bar.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but had fair warning he’d had a few before I arrived.  He’s a tall guy, he’s an adult, I didn’t worry much about it…”big mistake, huge.”

Ahhh the gets there early and drinks too much guy. That was fun, said me never.  Wastey James* as he shall now be called, was wearing a buzz that even the super nice peacoat he had on couldn’t give him enough points to recover from.  The kicker?  The buzz crept up slowly so there were actual moments where I was thinking, “This guy isn’t too bad.  I don’t think I want to see him again, but you know, good drinks, good company, whatever.  I’ll bail soon.”  Thank goodness for dating in a time where bartenders now not only mix you drinks, but serve you bat signals in the form of fancy cocktail names as to save you from bad/creepy/never gonna happen again first dates. Seriously, they must be going through a new training process these days because they know exactly how to time things to gauge how a woman’s feeling on a date. Also, a helpful hint in millennial dating, sit at the damn bar on a first date. 10/10 would HIGHLY recommend.  It’s the perfect way to not be sequestered with a dude who’s already 50 shades of f*cked up when you get there.

This guy had announced we should be travel buddy’s before we actually met for old fashioned’s. Come to find out, once he was about seven deep and I was about seven minutes from requesting my Lyft ride home, his version of having traveled the world…wait for it: he spent a year living in Mexico, Cabo to be exact, Florida, and the Bahamas.  I died.  Sat there dumbfounded, my soul cracking, and internally running faster than my best PR away.  Nah, brah.  You didn’t travel the world, you went on a Basic Fraternity Brothers Booze Cruise for a year.  He barely needed a passport to go to these places.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was in shock.  Mortified that I had even stayed this long, but still battling myself for that whole “be open” approach.  This date had become an actual job in patience and holding my tongue.  Patience I’ve got, like going for sainthood here, ask my family and the children I’ve nannied over the years and they can attest, it’s strong.  Holding my tongue, I mean, hi, welcome to my blog about my personal life where I pretty much say it all…I’m not good at keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself.  With his inhibitions WAY lowered, I kept mine at a healthy height to play it safe, no one needs to be brutally called out on a first date and I’m not out here to put men in their places all the time.  Not all heroes wear capes. Did I mention James* was collecting unemployment for this so-called year around the world?  Don’t worry, he justified it because he works for a government agency now.  The sweet sip of relief…so much no.  As I re-worked the conversation to talk about his job, he went from seemingly passionate to complete asshole.    This was a major lesson in appearances not being what they seem.  Did I judge the book by its cover?  No.  I spent two hours of my life “reading” the important pages and decided to judge it…hard.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “to each their own” and my version of traveling for a year, although different from our boy James*, wasn’t the only right way to do it.  But, I explored Australia pretty thoroughly in my just shy of 365 days there and still don’t consider myself a “world traveler” because duh, I went to ONE country.  Total, I’ve been to only three if you count Canada (I do), so let’s be real here Wanderlusters, Wastey James* basically had a college spring break trip for 12 months and came home to sell his soul to the man.  A world traveler, he does not make.

The next day, as I was packing for a girls weekend away in the snow, James* slid through my text inbox, “Well, hit me up when you’re back from Whistler and we’ll do this again.”  Tough break, lush, but ummm yeah, I think I’m moving to Yemen, bye.

Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

*Name has been changed to protect identity of former date

Sexless and the City: The Egomaniac

Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

“Can’t kick me down life, I’mma kick you down, while wearing fabulous f*cking shoes, thanks!  BYEEE.” -Me to Jo

One thing that I discovered as a positive to millennial dating circa 2016, was the presidential election.  It was easy to get to the bottom line since the political climate was gaining some intense momentum that October as we approached the general election.  When I finally met Seattle Chad*, the second big debate was projected on a big screen in the bar I chose to seek a much-needed after work drink on a Wednesday (I think…give me a break.  It’s already 2018 and even though it’s February 2nd, June is tomorrow and I need a drink).

He beat me there…if you know me,  this doesn’t shock you; I’m notoriously late (fashionably so) and if you stick around, you’ll realize this is a pattern (strategic and otherwise).  He was nursing a beer and I needed an Old Fashioned, like yesterday because I had just circled the area six times and finally bent over to pay $14 for parking…frantically messaging in my group text that I better get at least two drinks and a decent conversation out of this guy to make my lot tab worth it.  I’m a freaking nanny and just came off a summer of FUNemployment in Portlandia, don’t judge me.  First things I noticed: Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit was on point, she had earned a few new fine lines and wrinkles #campaigning, Donald Trump still had tiny ass orange hands and I still hated the sound of his voice, Seattle Chad* had great hair and a nice smile.

With my taste buds happily hydrated by bitters and bourbon, I settled into this first date with ease.  Seattle Chad* was smart, engaging, funny, flirty, confident (cocky?), and when he asked me questions, he actually listened and didn’t just stare at my mouth.  He asked me about nods to my Match.com profile in a smooth way, you know, like in a human conversation way.  We talked about my time in Australia, my love of photography, my essential oils business, and as we talked he turned my forearms over…studying my tattoos, telling me to keep talking, “don’t mind me, I’m just looking.”  “Okay,” (awkward giggle, what the hell was I talking about?  Are those butterflies?  Nah.  I’m just thirsty).

We were two drinks down, it was a school night, we decided to call it.  The ending escalated quickly, leaving me a little like, “what the f*ck just happened?!” but also a little giddy like, “So that didn’t kill me…I think I have a crush on him maybe.  What $14?”  As I drove home, I let my mind wander.  I wondered, “Will I hear from him again?  That seemed to go well, but ended sort of abruptly.”  When I got home, I let my group text know I made it safe and that if I never heard from him again, I was just grateful for good drinks, good talks, some laughs, those butterfly things again, and that my parking seemed to be a write off.  I told Jo in a private message that if I never saw Seattle Chad* again, I was just damn proud that I put myself out there, connected with a new human and survived.  I was striving for progress here, not perfection, people.  Dating is a vortex, I’m still unconvinced people actually make it out alive, but I encourage you to keep reading while we explore this and other things together.

When that Apple iPhone default text tone came through, about 20 minutes after I arrived safely home, it read, “Well, I had a great time with you tonight.  I’m up for round two if you are.”  {Insert embarrassing IDGAF happy dance in my underwear here}.  “I had fun as well.  I’m in.  Goodnight, Chad*.”  The following Tuesday, my choice of place again, lower Queen Anne, another place I’d been before on a blind-ish date back in 2013 pre-Australia.  Seattle Chad* was seated up at the bar, waiting for me (strategically rolling in 6 minutes late), and got up to give me a warm hug and ugh…that smile.  It took about 14:36 minutes for us to get served in a bar that had about four other patrons so we skipped drink two and decided to venture down the street for a bite to eat.  As we walked down Queen Anne Ave, his arm around me, I felt like dating wasn’t so bad, at least not on a Tuesday…relief set in a bit.  We walked in, told the hostess a table for two, and leading me, he reached back for my hand…cute.  We had a great meal, share plates from the prix fix menu, comfortable and easy, hand on my knee under the table, engaging conversation, he really likes to talk about himself, but listens to me, we laughed, more about him, whatever, there’s whisky…I was in for another date if he was.  He walked me to my car, hugged me goodbye, almost seemed to consider going in for the kill, but opted out.  We said, “Talk soon!” or something else very Seattle dating scene and non-committal, and I drove myself home.

Texting ensued that night or the next morning, I can’t really remember, but things went sporadic (anyone else think of Clueless whenever they use this word?  Just me? Cool).  I wasn’t really talking to other guys, mostly using my precious time to delete the influx of messages from sorry excuses for “men” on Match.com who didn’t seem to understand common sense, basic manners, or the concept of reality.  My strategy here was to ignore and delete anything from anyone I wasn’t actually intending to try to date.  Who has time to thank strangers you never want to see in real-time for the nice thing they said regarding the details of your lengthy profile?  I didn’t even choose to respond to the guy who decided to tell me that the way I carry balloons is, “HOTT!” referencing my 30th birthday photo with the “3-0” bigger than Shaq.  Really, guy?  That’s your move here?  I had words, but I have a life too.

Seattle Chad* and I “tried” to make plans for about two weeks and it just didn’t happen.  Nothing and nobody else was taking off for me via Match so I just you know…kept on living my damn life.  Not so out of nowhere, but still unexpectedly, Seattle Chad* came in hot with an ask for a Saturday night date.  So far, I had reserved week nights as my available date nights.  I am a very busy and important person who does dope things on the weekends and wasn’t ready to give those magic days off to newbs, but I made an exception because I wanted to know if it was actually going somewhere or if the initial butterflies turned into decaying moths…it’s happened before, I was in touch with this emotion.  We met on the Hill, at a place I’d been meaning to check out for a while.  Earlier in the day, I was venting to my dad on the phone that I was annoyed AF with Seattle Chad* because he sort of went MIA these past two weeks and I just don’t even know if I want to go meet up with him because I have wine at home and sweatpants and Outlander to read.  I ain’t too proud to admit I went off a bit…to the point that my dad was like, “Jesus Hal, men don’t stand a f*cking chance, do they?”  “Oh, sorry Dad, did I need to tone down the part where I feel like dating totally sucks and I want to feel like a priority?”  To his wise point though, he was right.  I needed to chill the f*ck out…clearly some past baggage was rearing its ugly head and it was necessary to breathe, stay neutral, get myself ready, and drink a vodka drink (and take a mini shot), waiting for my Lyft to arrive.

I arrived on time.  Not by choice, sometimes Petty is my middle name, I’m human, you’ll get over it.  Although I had a bad residual taste in my mouth about the MIA weeks, it was good to see him, we had drinks and some share plates, generally enjoyed each others’ company.  We decided to wander to Charlie’s, his old stomping grounds from college nights out.  Epic people watching, good beer, flat-ish conversation.  Eventually, we decided to call it.  We were flirting and it was all fine, but I think there was some underlying shit floating around.  We took it to the streets.  We requested our respective rides home at 10 something pm and while we waited, Seattle Chad* had some things to say apparently.  He looked at me and asked me, “So, do you like me or what?”  I gave him my best surprised look, with a dash of sassy and retorted, “What do you mean?  I’m here.  Obviously I like you.”  Then he leaned in a bit closer and said, “Let’s just try this and find out…”  And then Seattle Chad* and I were kissing on Broadway, next to a trash can that smelled faintly of urine and weed (#Washington).  The butterflies were there.  Heart sparkles.  All that shit.  As he pulled away, he said, “Okay, wow, yeah.  Got it.”  “Did you really not get that I like you?  I’m here.  I keep in touch.  Although I feel like I’ve had to remind you I actually exist in the last couple weeks, but I’m here.  I like you.  I’m interested.”  He softened towards me a bit and sighed, “I guess maybe it’s that you have this tough exterior or it’s my own insecurities talking, but I just really didn’t know.”  I smiled, “Well, I think we got that covered for today.”  As we exchanged awkward glances and silence, my Lyft rolled up.  The exit escalated quickly…a bit of a pattern with Seattle Chad*…but I approached my front door with a text, “Hallie, I like you.  And I’d really like to see you again soon.  I will be better about communicating.  I hope you sleep well.”  I told him I liked him too and I was looking forward to seeing him again soon.

Three days passed…crickets.  I was a little bit annoyed again, but living my life.  I sent him a check in text and it turned out he had been hit by a car while riding his motorcycle into work that morning.  I cannot make this shit up people.  He was legit in the hospital, high AF on a morphine drip, working on his laptop in a hospital gown, a decent number of stitches down his arm and leg.  (Don’t worry, picture proof was provided).  So that explains it…sort of?  A couple of days later, he had this romantic vision of us going ice skating under the Space Needle, something he did solo every year and was stoked to have someone accompany him.  Not being super ready to dive into couple-y things, I made a joke about pumping the brakes and maybe creating a holiday massacre on the ice when he falls on his ass and busts open fresh stitches wasn’t the best idea.  He invited me to his place.  I’m frantic while driving over.  I haven’t been to a new guys place since I was a backpacker.  Turns out, he lives in the same building as the older sister of one of my college friends used to.  I told him.  He used his shot to say, “Pretty blonde like you, been here before?  I would have noticed you.”  You don’t own the building Chad*, pretty sure even if you had seen me, you wouldn’t have stopped me to start a witty conversation.  Pre-flight ego?  CHECK.  Nervous as hell, I’m in.  He gives me a little tour.  Custom made furniture he made with his dad, humble brag, candles lit, plants that are actually alive, not bad Chad*, not bad.  He got the rink times wrong, crisis averted…we decided to walk a couple blocks up to dinner.  Now, I didn’t make any issue of it at the time, but looking back now, I’m still a bit confused and irked by this…I am 99.9% certain that Seattle Chad* was packing as we walked up to Ten on Mercer…like a hand gun.  (Get your minds out of the gutter).  He had his arm around me while we walked up and I had mine around him, sort of under his coat and I felt something.  And it just doesn’t make sense to me…except…EGO.  Like why?  We’re walking three well-lit blocks from your apartment building.  And since this isn’t a post about gun control, we’re going to move on, but let’s just mark that in his chart as red flag number like four, for those keeping score at home.

Dinner was nice.  He even asked me how I feel about PDA and kissed me right there in the restaurant.  It felt nice to be wined and dined, respected, cared for, kissable in public.  He had thanked me for being flexible and always so understanding, that he really appreciated me.  Considering he was high on painkillers around this time in our courting, I took his texts of “babe” and “I miss you” earlier that week with a grain of salt, but this was a nice and softer side to Seattle Chad*, I was intrigued.  He shared with me that he was really starting to care about me and that he knows he’s a workaholic and sometimes unavailable…that he knows he needs to be careful or he’ll end up alone.  It was refreshing to hear him be somewhat vulnerable.  It felt like we were moving forward at a good pace, getting closer, figuring one another out.  We walked back to his place and I didn’t stay the night.  He respectfully walked (limped) me to my car, kissed me goodbye and away I went.  The next date was planned for Sunday.  I happened to wake up very hungover from Friendsgiving and although ice skating was on Seattle Chad’s* agenda still, it was not written in the stars for me.  He told me he “adulted” that day and bought things for dinner and we could just stay in, cook, and watch the Seahawks game.  Hungover, still blurry, I am thinking, I can do this, he gets me, I don’t have to ice skate and be graceful today, this is okay.  His cooking skills were impressive enough, I felt like a mess and had tried my best not to look like one.  Dinner was good, he had set the table and everything.  A dude hadn’t cooked a meal for me since college, this was living.  I wasn’t allowed to clean up after dinner.  We cuddled up on the couch to watch the game, making out during commercial breaks and enjoying each others’ company.  Kombucha saved me that night and I was finally starting to feel alive again.  Tryptophan and multiple shots of vodka at Friendsgiving going in the file of things NOT to do next year, I’m just not 26 anymore.

As the night winded down, it was getting to that moment I was sort of nervously anticipating, the ask to stay the night moment.  It was a Sunday, I was still hungover AF, and forgive me, but I wanted to be 100% on my A game before the first sleepover.  So I opted to go home.  He was bummed.  He let me know it.  I booked him for Thursday that week and told him that night I’d stay over.  Limping me out to the street, he thanked me for coming over, kissed me goodbye, we said goodnight.  I was still feeling good, lips plumped from kissing, the corners of my mouth seemed to be stuck in an upright position as I journeyed home.  It snowed the next morning and I immediately texted him, thrilled that fluffy white stuff was falling from the sky.  The next couple days, felt like a halfway house for ghosting…he was really distant and not responsive.  The inconsistency of our entire story was starting to give me some feels; like I wasn’t even sure about this guy two weeks ago, I was pissed and borderline ready to walk, but then he kissed me and maybe I’ve just been in a December fog with Seattle Chad*.  Although we had set plans for Thursday and Friday that week, Wednesday morning rolled around and I still hadn’t heard from him so I checked in to see if we were still hanging out the following night.  He proceeded (a couple of hours later) to tell me that he just wasn’t feeling romantic about us and that if two people were meant to be together, it wouldn’t be this hard.  So even though the initial sting lingered and I was truly disappointed; I mean, I’d felt heart sparkly shit for this dude (mostly), what the hell was he talking about?  It hit me.  What Seattle Chad* really meant was that he wanted to sleep with me and when I didn’t stay the night Sunday, his ego took a hit, and instead of his dick being hard, he went to bed with blue balls.  He got pissed.  So, I got pissed.  I’ve seen you 5 times in my entire life, Chad*.  I’m playing for keeps, sorry not sorry I don’t want to see your penis yet.

I won’t lie, it felt defeating, annoying, disappointing, overwhelming, and I really didn’t feel motivated to continue this whole online dating thing because holy shit, I just spent two months talking to and dating a guy that turned out to mostly be an egomaniacal assbag who at 34, still couldn’t quite figure out feelings.  And thus, it was over.  The first guy I really dated in the city after nomadic adventures and being VERY single post Australia adventures.  I can confidently say, based off a feeling (you can interpret what that means for yourself), Seattle Chad’s* ego was likely the biggest thing he had going for him.  I’ve dated Leo’s before, I’ve done the research…just sayin’.

Things I learned from that experience…after some time passed and I was able to tell my own ego to take a back seat, gaining new perspective on things:  Seattle Chad*, although ego played a key role in our entire interaction, was right.  If two people are meant to be together, I wouldn’t have cared that I was hungover, I wouldn’t have cared that I maybe only shaved half a leg that day before I went to his place because when I showered I was still a little drunk from the night before; I would have just stayed the night.  Because the reality is, if it’s there and you know exactly what you want, you take it.  You get yours.  Life is short, you have to be bold sometimes and go for it when it’s safe and comfortable and consensual.  For me, the latter wasn’t there.  So I didn’t stay.  I knew what I wanted.  It wasn’t Seattle Chad*.  Although there were stomach flips and heart sprinkles or whatever, my gut knew that it wasn’t the place I was supposed to be.  This was one of the many pivotal moments in my early 30 something career, folks.  Learning that timing really is everything, change is inevitable, and when it’s just not right for the 489,320th time, you walk away.  The good news there is, you have friends, and a city that serves up stiff drinks when there’s nothing else stiff in your social life.  You are continuing to learn yourself and damn, you’re really starting to fall in love with the woman you’re becoming.  And with or without big gold balloons, that’s HOTT.

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Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

*Name has been changed to protect identity of former date

Sexless and the City: The Very Beginning

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Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

“I think you might be becoming cynical…” -Jo

“Fine.  Let’s sign me up, but we’re going to need more wine.” -Me

I’ve had some strong internal debates about even publishing a series with SEX in the title because let’s be honest, my grandmother and dad read this…and they don’t need to know about my sex life, or intense lack of…

But, in the spirit of honesty and coming full circle with the reason this whole blog began (holy shit, five years ago!), I’m doing it.  I’m a grown woman and I realized, I just have to go balls deep.  All the puns intended.

So get hydrated, grab your sense of humor, and your screens.  We’re going in…

Online dating, amirite?  It’s like suddenly being blind and realizing that all the charm, intellect, and humor you thought you had on lockdown to get you through most of your life just aren’t going to cut it anymore.  So you contact your wine dealer (because NECESSITY) and you go down the rabbit hole.  It feels like the scariest and bravest thing to do all at the same time.  And there are enough stories for me to write a book (any editors/publishers reading?  Hit me up.)  Seriously.

I’m not being dramatic when I say that dating in this millennial age is one of the most ridiculous activities I’ve ever participated in.  Like I’d maybe even trade it for some of those rough days in Freshman year PE class where myself and three other females were stuck with all Junior and Senior boys, playing dodgeball.  Come to think of it, that was probably where I first really found my feminine power so maybe those years helped prepare me in some way for dating…because let me tell you, despite its chaos; dating in these times is also empowering AF.  Like when the dude that’s been flirting with you in PE class (by throwing balls as hard as he can just below your face) finally gets his when you look him dead in the eyes as you catch it and get him out and then proceed to throw it at his buddy and it’s a twofor and you feel like a boss bitch. (Yes this happened).

Some of my (now) best and worst stories to tell are from my experience this past year+, putting myself out there, drafting and rewriting profiles to make myself sound awesome, while also staying true to my authenticity – quite the skill set actually, just building my tool box here, kids!  It legitimately had me wishing for 90s dating in Manhattan because despite some of the questionable fashion choices, at least Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte had each other, strong drinks, and some of them were actually getting laid.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve got people.  We aren’t a foursome, wearing $585 shoes, stomping on men in the city together, but I do have at least three close girlfriends who help keep me sane through my life messes and celebrate all the good stuff with me too.  The challenge is, we’re rarely single at the same time.  So a lot of my single in the city adventures are just that…me, single AF, figuring it out.  Several of my friends have had luck online or they’ve found their person other ways and their caring asses have been pushing me to put myself out there (when I’d really prefer to just stay home and read about great loves with Jane Austen by candlelight).  But, since I realized my friend Jo was right, I was becoming cynical…just a little…and I’d also read that cynicism can cause wrinkles, I allowed myself to be coerced after we shared a bottle and a half of Rosé.

Being lubricated with a nice pink drink buzz, I renounced my power to craft a clever profile to Jo.  I threw all caution to the wind and although I consider myself decently eloquent with words, I just couldn’t quite articulate myself in a fetching way, since I was still getting my head wrapped around this idea.  Match.com was the first mark.  We explored and scrolled, read profiles and drank more wine.  We stumbled upon a handsome guy who seemed to share my love of travel and adventure so I decided to hand over my credit card to subscribe me so we could write him.  I never did end up hearing from him through Match, but we proceeded to match on another app (more on this later) like no joke, four times; masochism becomes a theme you’ll find here.  Jo and I also both fell in love with who we affectionately named “Seal Guy”.  He was a very attractive marine mammal scientist and spent a lot of time out on the water and part of me was thinking, “YES!  A potential part time boyfriend.  Just what my independent and stubborn ass needs. Something like that could be perfect.”  Well, he wasn’t even in wifi consistently enough to talk to me in the prelims let alone plan a meet cute.  I will say my intro message to him was drunkenly epic (and also embarrassingly cheesy)…a few marine puns were used that got his attention, but that ship sank.  (I’m here all night).

As I entered my first work week being “out there online”, I decided to edit my profile and make it sound a little more like me.  Actual text:

I’ve been informed by my amazing friends that the likelihood of meeting a decent guy whilst rocking my athleisure wear in the laundry detergent aisle is really slim…so here I am.

I have been told I’m an old soul, but also young at heart. I’m a city girl that was raised in the country and I can hold my own in both. I caught the travel bug early and I’m always longing for far away places while adventuring around this wonderful, rainy city. I am fiercely independent and I want to find a partner who can keep up with and laugh with me.

I’m a people person and base a lot of my happiness on being in the crowd. I have a deep passion for helping people and continue to create opportunities that allow me to foster relationships committed to worthy causes. I can fold a fitted shit like a boss, however, that doesn’t mean I’m the woman that will do it for you, but I’ll happily teach you…or we can just build a fort instead.

I enjoy meeting new people and I also deeply adore my alone time and disconnecting to gain perspective, get outside, tap into my creative interests, or binge watch old movies.

I love laughing…it’s literally my favorite. A large dose of sarcasm is at the heart of my vernacular and I can keep up with the best of them so if you want a spot on my team, you better be lighthearted and funny too or you can’t hang. I’m spontaneous and all about pursuing life to the fullest and seizing the moment. Music is something that just seems to get me, we’ve gotten each other through a lot and there’s always a soundtrack to my life.

I lived in Australia for a year…traveling around, slinging drinks behind a bar, and exploring. I booked a one way ticket, bought a backpack, and jumped all in. If that sounds crazy to you, it sort of was a little, but in the most epic possible way. My experiences traveling have forever changed me and I can’t wait for the next destination I fall in love with.

I don’t take myself or life too seriously and I’ve become a pro at seeing silver linings and dancing in the rain. Seriously, I’m not afraid to break it down in the street and dance in the rain…if you can’t join me or laugh at me when I’m being ridiculous, take your black cloud elsewhere. I’ll just be over here being awesome without you and having all the fun!

Did anyone notice I spelled sheet wrong?  Yeah…neither did I until like a MONTH later when I was at a birthday dinner and a friend was reading my profile out loud.  Although my pride took a bit of a dive due to my grammatical error, considering this story is still told in my circle today and it makes Jo laugh every time she folds sheets, it was worth it.  At this point I had been on one coffee date with a guy named Rick (we all know that wasn’t going anywhere) who was a perfectly nice guy…the exact right person to pop my online dating cherry, smooth just like my hemp milk latte.  I continued messaging back and forth with some other guys…boring, boring…enter Seattle Chad*.  We met one night after work for a drink, post flirting about old movies and favorite books, I was intrigued and he wore nice flannels in his photos.

We learn all about him and his BIG………ego, next episode.

Wear protection, it’s rough out there.

xx, h

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Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

*Name has been changed to protect identity of former date