Monday, March 28, 2011

The Bachelor

For whatever reason I'd refrained from posting too much about my dating life recently, with the exception of a couple dance floor make-out sessions (refer to the "Die Hard" post). But I thought it might be time to bring you up to speed a bit since it's been on my mind.

There is no doubt that as I've opened up my heart, I seem to be attracting more people these days. I've always been one to have an easy time meeting people, but as I've talked about before, I'd seemed to be sending out a lot of "I'm a good buddy" vibes, rather than "date me". So I've been experimenting with being more open and vulnerable, which has had some interesting results. Here are a few Bachelor stories I'd like to share.

Nice (Enough?)
A couple weeks into my sabbatical, I met him. He was with a group of friends, and I liked them all right away. Definitely a good start. We connected pretty easily, particularly since we were dancing, which you should know by now I love to do. I met a few other men that night, but no one seemed as interesting or open-hearted (for lack of a better term). He may have also scored points for calling me charismatic. Flattery will get you everywhere. And so we've been out on a few dates, and we've run into each other at a few other events. There's no doubt that every time is a good time. Things have progressed slowly (which, I'm told, is normal) and that's been fine by me. It's just been about getting to know each other. This has been the focus on my experimentation here. I'm trying to follow the traditional notion of meeting someone, taking it slow with lots of conversation, letting him call and ask me out, and really just being the "girl". Relaxing and not trying to control the situation, which I find I've really settled in to. But as time goes on, I've begun to question if we're really a good match. As friends? Absolutely. As more than that? Jury's still out.

We met on the dance floor (I seem to be sensing a trend here). I may have been fairly intoxicated. I'd been bugging a friend to dance and he finally gave in. The second we stepped on the floor, this guy grabs me by the hand and pulls me in. I admit I was intrigued by this rather forceful gesture. And we danced. And danced. And then made out a little. I should know by now that this is not, in fact, the way that long-term relationships begin. He seemed like a nice guy. A little older, which I typically like since they seem more stable, comfortable with themselves, and not intimidated by someone with a strong personality (e.g., me). So I admit I was a little interested when he asked for my number at the end of the night. He put it in his cell. And then he never called. I suspect I'm filed somewhere under "Chicks Numbers" like the electronic equivalent of stuffing napkins filled with girl's numbers in a drawer so a guy can remind himself he's still desirable. Lesson here? Quit swapping spit on the dance floor. I mean, seriously. I'm not 29 anymore. ;)

Civil Servant
A friend commented to me that I seem to often attract (or be attracted to) men in civil service type jobs. I'm not sure I'd ever made the connection, but after some thought, I do see what she's talking about. I've always liked guys who were a little rougher around the edges in terms of not being the stuffy office type. But I like them to have a sensitive side, and have been relatively successful at finding it. At any rate, we met at a bar (maybe I'm just more fun when I'm drinking?) and he was in uniform since he'd marched in a St. Patrick's Day parade earlier in the day. We met when I bumped into him accidentally (I swear) and managed to connect my right boob pretty good with his arm. This sort of turned into our joke for the evening which proved entertaining. My friends ended up taking off and I stayed to hang with him and his group of friends. I suspect that I'm a good decade older than the women he's used to dating. Why am I competing with 22 year olds for a 35 year old man's attention? Sigh. He had, at one point, more or less demanded a kiss on the cheek. I said no. Which he apparently doesn't hear very often (that's a cop for you). Nevertheless, we traded numbers at the end of the night.

A couple days passed and I decided that I'd experiment with calling instead of waiting to see if he would. We caught up for a few. I told him the story of leaving the bar and getting absolutely soaked in the rain. About 15 minutes passed after we hung up before I got the first text. "Btw you deserved getting wet for being rude". Hmm, okay. I indicated I had no such recollection of this "rude" woman he was referring to. His response? "next time I request a kiss, there shall be no hesitation". Well okay then. If I was worried about taking the power by calling, apparently I needn't be. He was being cheeky, but he was definately wanting to exert some control. I couldn't resist a reply. "One might argue that real men don't have to request it...they just make it happen ;)" Now, I shouldn't have taken the bait, because this continued for most of the evening. It seemed innocent enough. And then I sent this..."let's catch up soon. you can get any idiot to kiss you in a bar. Let's see what else 'ya got". Now, in saying this, I meant "let's see if you can hold a conversation". But upon reading it back, I can see where I may have sent a slightly different signal. Things went downhill from there. This is why I hate texting when dating. There's too much room for mis-interpretation. Lesson learned? I like letting the guy call better. And quit texting so much.

Group Effort
My entire life I've attracted married men. Forget writing a blog post about this...I could dedicate an entire blog to the reasons I think this occurs. Typically I meet them on the road when I'm traveling. I haven't been on the road much, so I suppose I was due. At any rate, I wasn't surprised to be hit on. But as the night progressed, it was becoming clear that he wasn't hitting on me for just himself. Oh no. This was intended to be a group effort. Certainly a new twist. I shut it down, but I mention it because, oddly, I was flattered! Perhaps that's strange, and maybe the only criteria is a willing participant, but I'm taking it as flattery and you can't stop me. It doesn't technically fit in the dating category, but it seemed entertaining enough to include.

Common Man
Now, I know this guy isn't the common man. But I've met him before. Over and over and over. There are so many of him out there, it sometimes completely kills my belief that there are loyal men out there. We met in a bar. I introduced myself and promptly anointed him with beads (another St. Patrick's Day event). We chatted for a few minutes and discovered commonalities in our profession, consulting, and the on-the-road lifestyle. I'd pegged him as being in town on business in about 5 seconds, so he was amused with meeting someone who got the lifestyle. He was ridiculously hot. I usually try to avoid these guys because they're trouble. My ideal guy is attractive, but in a "normal guy" kind of way. Not in a "I belong on a billboard" way. So we headed to another part of the bar. About an hour later, he came to find me. We actually had a really interesting conversation. I was surprised by his depth, and he seemed to continue to be surprised by my understanding of hotel amenities and frequent flyer programs. I gave him my number at the end of the night. He scored additional points by texting a "nice to meet you" by the time I was driving home. We continued to text the next day (apparently I didn't learn my lesson completely from Civil Servant). And then it all just stopped. No reply.

Two days passed. And then I get this. "Sorry for not responding. I had a great time. I am in a long term relationship so felt a bit guilty taking it further." WTF?! Good grief. I replied that I got the message and thanks for letting me know. To which he replied "I will be staying over in town later this week." And that was the end of that. Lesson learned? Trust my instincts. He looked like trouble, and clearly was. Oh, and never let my future husband travel for business. Just kidding. Sort of.

Mr. Normal
There's a guy in town who keeps getting recommended to me by a dating website. I'm not sure why, but we've never actually connected on the site. He's good looking and appears to know the difference between "to" and "too" and "your" and "you're". These are important attributes when dating online. He just seems like a good, normal guy. I actually cancelled my subscription recently, and was then surprised when he came up to me in a local bar last week. I actually really loved that he called out the potential awkwardness right away by talking about us seeing eachother online. And then I was slightly weirded out that he remembered so much about me from my profile. At least he was paying attention. We haven't had our first date yet, but I'll definitely be considering all the things I've learned when we do. I'm interested to see how this plays out with someone in a similar profession and in my age-range sweet spot.

The Lesson
I'm going to avoid talking too much about this one. We barely know each other, but there's something going on here, and I don't want to ruin it by over-analyzing it. We met in a bar. But this story is a little different. I was camping in Maine six months ago with friends, when we were booted from the campground by hurricane Earl. He and his cousin had the same fate. And so we all met in a bar in town. I liked him right away. Cute, but a little reserved. Our groups shared drinks, we exchanged numbers, and we parted ways. They live about 2.5 hours away, so didn't expect that I'd see them again anytime soon. Only to be surprised 20 minutes later when we discovered we were all in the same motel; their room directly above ours. The party continued. And then that was it. End of story. I reached out once when I was going to be in town, but he wasn't available. After that, I'd think about him, but didn't hear anything and so I let it go.

But then he sent a text out of no where two weeks ago. "you coming to baltimore anytime soon?" Strangely, I was. I had plans to drive through on my way to DC. So we met up last week. He says he was thinking about Maine and has had enough experience to know that when you think about reaching out to someone, you should. So he did. And, I tell you, I am smitten.

If nothing happens here, it's already going to hurt (which is super-weird and not like me, so that's interesting). But, here's the thing...if I never hear from him again, he's already taught me a lesson I needed. In one evening he's reminded me what this is all supposed to feel like. Connecting on an intellectual, emotional, physical, and (maybe?) spiritual level. And that's enough to make me grateful to have run into him already.

Lesson here? People come into your life for a reason. Half the fun (and grief) is finding out why. And I can't wait. I hope you're opening your life to new people too. Just stay away from the married ones. Hasta, sabbaticaljo

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