Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Commitment of "I'm Not Interested"

I have long been a commitment-phobe ... I admit it. The thought of committing to anything kind of turns my stomach and makes me a little light headed. That is why I have been going through so much transition anxiety with the move back to Houston. It's not so much the move as the idea that I am here ... for good. For the past four years, I have been on the move. I have been constantly going from one place to the next. Moving around this much has made it impossible to commit to a job or a man. I am now looking for a commitment to a workplace. And, I had my reasons for not committing to men. But, I didn't have to share those reasons. Because, I was always just on my way out.

Now, I am discovering a whole new form of commitment. I am discovering what it means to commit to a goodbye. When I left before, I could always say, "Hey, I'm heading out of town, but I will hit you up when I get back." That worked. I may or may not have hit them back when I got back to town. But, I always had the option. It was always left open. I know how this sounds. I'm a jerk. But, I am a recovering jerk. And so, for the first time in ... possibly forever, I committed to a good-bye.

"I think you are very nice, but we are not suited for each other. I don't want to date you. We can eventually be friends, but nothing more." As I said the words, I surprised myself. This man was no longer going to be on reserve. And not just because I had said the words, but because I am not doing that to people anymore.

I realized I have not been totally clear with people. And that is changing now. I am going to make it a point to be clear. Whether it's asking what a man is looking for upfront or sharing what I am looking for, I am communicating. It wasn't really necessary before. I was always in transition. I was never really looking for anything. There was a freedom that was beautiful. Sometimes it was a one-night-stand. Sometimes a friendship came out of it. But, other times, people were left confused and even hurt.

I am not 100% clear on what it is that I want. But I am getting settled into my new life and I am not the rambler I once was. I know what goes on in my mind from day-to-day and I think it is my duty to share that with anyone that spends an extended amount of time with me. Is this what growth feels like? Maybe it is. It definitely feels better and more responsible than just not answering texts and phone calls. When I say I'm not interested in games, I am really not interested in games. So, if someone chooses to stop talking to me after I tell them the truth, then that is their choice. But, it is a choice I will always make sure  to offer. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Evolution of the Modern American Male Dater

Or, the situation that poses the question ... Why am I not dating women?

Okay, I have to start this off with a confession. As you guys know, I have not been writing much lately. I have, however, still been dating a lot. I have to ask the forgiveness of my steady readers. I have not been sharing like I used to. But, I have been learning. And, I will be writing more frequently. Here's a little conclusion I have come to in my last few months of dating.

The modern American dating male goes through certain phases in life. Men are not non-commital by nature. It's actually quite the opposite. Men from birth to about 24 are the most romantic of all creatures. They are all looking for love. They believe it to be pure and wonderful. They all want that first real love. They all have that one girl that they love. The one that has never loved them in the past. They pine for her broodingly. They are moody and they are annoying at times. They look at every attractive woman as a possible love and they believe that once in their first relationship, it's a smart idea to just dive right in.

Once they have landed that one true love, they decide that moving in together is a brilliant idea. So, they take that leap. Usually too soon. They move in together. They think this will mean non-stop sex. Some times that is true. It also means non-stop talking, non-stop contact and non-stop sideways glances. Living with someone is not easy. It's about sharing bills, sharing chores and sharing a life ... not just about sharing a bed. This is not exactly what the male was looking for in his love nest. What happened to the days and days of endless sex? Sorry dating male, you and your love have to go to work. You have to feed yourselves and (hopefully) you still have friends you would like to see. Most likely, you want your love to give you space. And surprise, she's not always hot for you or wet and waiting. Not quite the fairy tale roommate you were looking for. Yes, real life can be an asshole that way.

So, things start to get less romantic. The Modern American Male Dater starts growing tired of answering to his love and the sex is even more infrequent now than when they first moved in. Either he or his love does something really stupid, or just grows tired of the other. And, they break up. This leads us to the dating male aged approximately 25 to approximately 34.

The 25 - 34 year old male is free. He's fallen in love. His dreams of romance have been shattered and he walks around with a 10 foot barrier around every part of his body, except his penis. He's still down to get down, but at the first mention of any sort of commitment (or second date), the male's relationship PTSD kicks in and the only thing to be seen is a cloud of dust. He's scared. He's too smart for that. The pendulum has swung from stupid, naive and overly romantic to the most non-commital of all the male creatures. He's not romantic at all. He was burned by his own haste. Now, his heart needs time. This male is trouble to the unsuspecting, commitment-seeking female. He's at his prime age to make babies. But he also, most likely, already has 1-3 kids with the love that burned him. And he's also probably going through child support issues when you meet him and have a lovely dinner and (what turns out to be) one night of passion. He might even rush you out in the morning so he can go pick up his kids.

Then, you have the 34 and up male. He's had his first love. He's had his kids. He's had his fun and he is just seeing where life takes him. He's not seeking a relationship, but he's not completely against one. The scars from that first relationship are fading and he is willing to take things slowly and see what comes of it. He's not overly romantic, but he's no longer terrified. If things have gone right, he knows how to treat a woman. He opens doors, knowing full and well that a woman can open her own door, but wanting to do  nice things for her. Again, if all things have gone well, he has a good job, his own place and a car. He's a catch. This is the most datable of the males. He's not going to stalk you or cry if you stop dating him and he's not going to sleep with you and never return a text again.

So, women, go forth. You now know what you are getting into. This is not to say that all males are like this. There are those that deviate from the pack in all groups. But, if you sleep with a 29 year old and never hear from him again, or sleep with a 23 year old and wonder why he's crying at your job when you get there in the morning ... He's been there all night and you were warned.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Offended Ditch

I think it's really easy to focus on how we are treated. It's easy to say, "Hey, he/she treated me like shit. That's why we aren't together/friends." It is not easy to see the things we do to others. Self-reflection isn't fun. It doesn't help us rationalize our actions. It leaves us with little-to-no wiggle room within the excuses we create about why we aren't happy, aren't loved, aren't fulfilled, etc.

Sitting down and looking back upon the way I have treated people is about as appealing as putting a mirror in the toilet to watch myself shit. However, while I am going to continue to take a pass on the toilet mirror, I did decide to sit down and look at how I have treat people. Here goes. Get ready to hate me ... now.

In dating, I have people that I see as important and I have people that I, apparently, do not value. I know this is a shit way to act. I know, because I have felt it. As I sit here wondering why the man stopped answering my texts/calls, I know why. Because I have done it. I've talked to men and then just stopped. I have strung men along knowing I wasn't interested, with a hope that something might be sparked. I have kept talking to men because they are good in bed and I want to keep them on reserve.

I have joked with my best friend about a guy calling and spilling his heart after just one date. I have laughed that people fall too quickly. So, as I sit here wondering why this person fell off without so much as a "go fuck yourself," I know why. Because it's not worth it. Nor is it easy to do.

I tell everyone that I make clean breaks. I stop talking to men without warning or word, because it's easier to do. It's cleaner and it leaves little room for a person to think that there is a chance. I do it so that I don't lead anyone on. But, the fact is... I do it because it saves face. I don't have to be the bad guy. I don't have to explain anything. I don't have to apologize. I just have to pray I never see them again. And Once I have decided to stop answering or responding, I don't think about the person again. If they call or text a lot, I make comments like "What the hell, take a hint." And it's true to a certain point.

If something is new, explanation is not necessary. If I decide to stop talking to a person after one date, it's okay. I don't need to tell them that it was just my preference. Not true. Sometimes, it's more appropriate to explain. What it is not necessary to do it play the 'offended ditch' cared. The offended ditch is a phrase I coined. It is the act of playing offended in order to drop someone that you just weren't interested in.

I recently played this card. The fact is, I did feel like the man was dishonest with me. I felt like he had told me lies about his life in order to look more appealing. This was a big part of why I ditched him. But, instead of just saying, "Hey, I'm just not interested," I got mad that I felt like he had created this farce. So, I called him on it. Backed into a corner, he continued to lie and so I told him that it was offensive. It was true, but I didn't have to back him into a corner. But, what was I to do? Is it more appropriate to say I am just not interested? Or should I have been honest about the reasons I didn't want to be with him?

I wouldn't have wanted him whether he was honest or not. It wasn't really the lies that did it. They just sealed the deal. So, the ultimate question is, Does my opinion matter? Just because I don't like someone doesn't make them a bad person. Nor is it my job to socialize daters. I don't know the answer. I don't think it's always fair to drop someone without reason, but I do believe that it is sometimes the best option.

I suppose it's something that I have to figure out piece by piece. Some times there are situations when it's important to share my opinion and some times, it's best to just let it die. I do think from this point on, I will at least tell the person that I am not interested. If they ask why, I will carefully choose an answer. It won't always be totally honest. Because sometimes it's just about preference. And I am not here to make anyone self-concious about something that won't matter one lick to the next person. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Overwhelmed


Serial dating is not for the faint of heart. Dating is tough enough. But when you are dating at the volume that requires the title "Serial Dater," you can quickly become overwhelmed. I enter into every date ready to be entertained in one way or another. I have gotten to a point where I rarely (probably never) enter into a date with any sort of hope for a future with the person. 

I wonder if they will be nice. I wonder if they will be funny. I wonder if they will be completely insane. I wonder how long it will take for them to start making sexual advances and if the advances will be respectful. I wonder if, once the advances have been made, I will want them in the same way they want me. 

Once we've made it through the first date, there are only a few things that can happen. Either they like me more, I like them more or we both take it for what it was and move on.  Oh, I am forgetting the other possibility that we will both like each other the same amount, we will start dating and fall in love, then we live happily ever after. I suppose I forgot that option because I have never actually seen that occur in my own dating life. So, the possibilities that I have seen leave only one final outcome; a new date with a new person. 

This is the equation that leads someone to be a serial dater. It's a series of 'failures' that lead to a series of dates. It's not about using someone or conquering. It's simply the product of something ... unknown. It's a refusal to settle. And, in the end, it's about learning. As time goes, you learn likes and dislikes. You get a little better at all the things you do and you start to become more aware of what you want. Whether that is a good or bad thing is yet to be discovered. I am still not sure if I will be able to find someone that would fit all of my likes and dislikes. So, for this reason, I try to keep my flexibility. The last thing I want is to build this idea of what I want and spend my days attempting to find that perfect man. 

Instead, I am working on being the best me I can and should someone come along that appreciates that best me, we'll see where it goes. In the meantime, I am working to strike a balance that leaves me fulfilled in my dating life, while not leaving me feeling like nothing is sacred. I want to have a good time, while recognizing the individuality and value of each person I date. This got tough for a little while, but I think the kinks are starting to iron out and I am starting to enjoy dating again. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rescheduled

When I was in Houston visiting in December, I made plans to meet a man and see a movie. Things happened and I ended up canceling. I didn't really know the guy, so I wasn't super concerned with canceling. I gave plenty of notice. It wasn't a stand up. And I didn't feel too terrible about it. But, I was kind of curious to meet him. I am still not sure what it was that made me curious. 

So, I kept his number and I stuck a mental pen in our unfulfilled date. Months passed and I thought about him again. So, I texted and told him that I would be moving back to Houston soon and if he was still interested, I would like to go on that date. That is, if he was still single. He responded. Turned out he was still single. So, I let him know that I would be home soon and that I would be in touch. 

I got back to Houston and as tired as I was of the dating scene, I decided to try to recreate the excitement I had at the beginning of last summer. It just wasn't there. I went on a couple of blah dates and tried to entertain myself. But, it just wasn't happening. However, I still wanted to meet him. We'll call him Austin. I'll explain later. And yes, he gets a name already. If you haven't figured it out yet, when and what I name the men in this blog is totally left to my discretion. There is no rhyme or reason to it. Well, there isn't a distinguishable rhyme or reason. I do have a method to my madness though. 

So, I decided that, while the dates would be fewer and farther between, I would not end them altogether. I texted Austin and we set up a date. I was going to a movie viewing in the park for a work thing and so I invited him along. However, when the day rolled around and I walked out to get into the car to go pick him up, I remembered that Texas is hotter than a witch's titty and I mentally scrapped the idea of the outdoor movie. Of course, I would run this by him and give him the option, but I was keeping my fingers crossed that he would be okay with just going for dinner and making the rest up as we went. 

I arrived at his place just a few minutes late. I had texted earlier to let him know I would be late. I woke up with some allergies, but canceling was not an option. I was pushing by being a little late. I had canceled on him and then not contacted him again for like 6 months. The fact that he was wiling to go out with me after that meant that he was either desperate or just a cool guy. 

He got in the car and he was really cute. He had freckles and a very nice smile. I was nervous, so I felt like I was acting a little less naturally than normal. But, he was nice and funny, so I loosened up pretty quickly. Actually, it got rather relaxed rather quickly. He was cool with skipping the movie and grabbing something to eat, then figuring out what to do from there. 

We tossed around a couple ideas of where to eat. And, in the end, decided on a caribbean spot in my old neighborhood. We both enjoyed the food and the conversation was natural and nice. I got the idea from some of his comments that he thought I was cool so far. I definitely thought he was cool. But, I did not feel that he thought I was particularly physically attractive. He made a comment that personality went a long way with him as a way of telling me that he was having a good time. Then, he went on to say that I had a unique look. I am not in the business of interpreting what people say or trying to figure out what they really meant. He said he was having a good time and that was good enough by me. We could continue our meal and enjoy our conversation. 

We did just that. Then, we set out to figure out what to do next. After making a pit stop for gas and gum, we went to a nearby coffee shop. It was a place he liked. I agreed. It was a nice spot. We spent the next two hours or so (I can't say I had track of the time at all that night) talking and laughing. We got a coffee and found a spot upstairs where we could people watch and talk. 

We talked about just about anything you could think of. We talked about exes and parents. We talked about our histories and views on relationships. We talked about siblings and friends. And, we talked a little about sex. This was the interesting part. Not just because it was about sex, but because it was a nonsexual conversation about sex. He was very contrary to what you all know my beliefs to be. He shared a pretty typical view that he would have a hard time trusting a woman that loved sex. He didn't defend this view. He actually identified it as a bit irrational, but he did share it nonetheless. I respect that. If you have a thought or view, I think it's best to own it and if you think it's slightly or overtly irrational, I think it's best to own it without defending it. I didn't ask him to defend it. I don't feel that is my place. He was open enough to share with me and I appreciated that. 

We shared a lot of viewpoints. And on the ones we didn't share, we had a respectful and playful dialogue that was kind of wonderful. The night was pretty much what I needed at that moment. I needed to just be heard and listen. From his description of the women he has been with, I got the idea that he likes thin blonds, or 'Barbie' types. I am definitely not that. But, that was okay by me. I'm okay with me. I was just glad that the conversation was organic and open. It wasn't skewed or driven by sexual energy. I was fairly sure that there would be no touching and that he would definitely not try to kiss me or touch me at any point in the evening. 

It was a first date. But, I actually felt kind of funny calling it a date at all.  It was just so comfortable. Not to say that it wasn't exciting. It was. But it was exciting and honest. That's a pretty great feeling. An open understanding and acceptance goes a long long way. So, we had more great conversation, then we decided to head out. 

As I drove him toward his house, we both decided that the night should not end yet. So, instead of taking him home, we went to a country and western bar. That was an experience in and of itself. He doesn't drink (which is a bonus for me) and I didn't really feel up to drinking anyway, so we sat back and talked and watched people dance and drink.  We stood outside and joked for a bit before deciding to head out before the partiers started pouring out. 

It was almost as if the night had been split into three dates and all of them were great. It wasn't just a date. It was an adventure. We spent the whole night getting to know each other a little and I can honestly say I am excited to get to know him better. There is definitely chemistry there. I just can't call it yet. I know I am attracted to him. But, if it doesn't take that route, I am quite sure that he and I will be friends. We have already started building a friendship. He's funny, he's smart and he's respectful. He seemed to be pretty open and honest and I need that in people in my life right now. I have no room to speculate. I just need to be told. 

I pulled up in front of his building and we started our goodbyes. We hugged and he asked when I 'reckoned' we would hang out again. But, he glossed over his own question so quickly, I didn't have a chance to answer. So, we said good bye and I drove home. As I drove home, I found myself laughing about things we had talked about and having moments of nostalgia for my home city and state. The boy is very Texan and I do like a Texas man. I'll let you guys know how it goes. It's been a long time since you've gotten a date post, but here it is. Hope it was worth the wait. It was for me. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Mistake

This time last year, I was sailing smoothly along, enjoying all that my newfound dating life had to offer. It was great. I was exploring and learning more about myself than I had expected. The summer was great and the year kept an overall high note. While there were ups and downs, I could honestly say I didn't regret any of it. I didn't regret any of it until I did. Sails, meet vacuum.

I don't know that this is the end of the blog, but I might have reached my limit.  I made a mistake that I cannot undo. I didn't hurt anyone or act maliciously. But, I was reckless and I put myself in a bad situation. I won't go into all the details. Even if I did tell all, the details wouldn't convey the magnitude of how hard this mistake hit me. It wasn't even about the details. There was a date. There was empty sex. It's not a whole lot different than some of the others before. But, this time, my actions weighed on me like a ton of bricks. More. It was like I was buried to the knees in bricks.

The past year has been an amazing experience. I have had the opportunity to explore not just my sexuality, but my self. I have had a chance to step out of the role I had felt pushed into. Once I stepped out of that role, I was able to breathe. It was freeing. It was exciting. It was wonderful to be able to share all the good and the bad. I wanted to be a sounding board for women that wanted to explore life outside of the expectations society had put on them. I wanted to crack jokes and have fun along the way. And I did. What I did not want to do is be a role model. I wrote because I needed a record. I wrote because I needed support. And I got that. I was never in a place to become a voice for women. I am still on the journey to find my own voice. I am still trying to figure out right from wrong for me.

And, right now, I feel guilty. I wasn't going to write this, but I think it's the only responsible thing to do. I had sex with someone that I did not know. And I did it for all the wrong reasons. I decided months ago that I wasn't having empty sex. I did it a few times and I didn't like it. James, Lewis, Marlon, The Maybe Boyfriend (who perhaps deserved a name more than anyone, but I could never bring myself to name), The Beautiful One, The Player, Todd ... these people all meant something to me.  They may not have, at first, but in my heart, in my gut, I knew they were good guys. I still talk to every one of them, sans Todd.

But, I recently shared myself with a man that I didn't trust. I was not using good judgment and I had a bad feeling the whole time. Then, when I woke up the next morning, I just wanted to be out of there. I wanted it to all be a bad dream. I started realizing he had lied about things and I hadn't even caught on. I didn't care to. My bad judgment was fueled by a bad mood and plane and simple loneliness. This was sex for the wrong reasons. It was reckless and thoughtless. I am left to wonder what I have exposed my mind and body to. I am normally more careful than this. I am disappointed in myself.

All I can do now is move on and learn from this mistake. Sex doesn't have to be all about love. But, I will never let it be about this again. Whatever 'this' was. Sex that leaves a bad feeling, even weeks after it's happened ... Is the ultimate bad sex. So, the blog will go on, but I am going to chill on the sex. I will keep dating, but until I have healed from whatever ails me at the moment, I will not be sharing my bed or body with anyone. I hadn't had much sex before this happened, so I am just going back to that. For this part of my life, I just need friends. I've had enough of all the rest. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Friends?


Why can't we be friends? This is why.

Because we met for the first time to go on a date. That's the beginning of why he and I can not be friends. That's not the only reason. I have been friends with men I've dated. This is not to say it cannot be done. But, this time around it isn't going down that way. 

We went on a few dates. That's no big deal. But, we've also talked on the phone or texted every day for about 5 months. These are also not the reasons we can't be friends. I talk to James and Lewis often. And we made our way comfortably to friendship. It was a natural progression. It just flowed.

Lewis and I even made a mutual agreement that friendship was the best place for us to go, because we cared about each other and we wanted to stay in each other's lives. It was our next step, because it was our next step. 

James and I started out as friends. We talked about our relationships with others. We commiserated and whined to each other. We consulted one another on conflicts and issues. It was great. It was a real friendship from Jump Street. 

This is how all of my friendships have started. They have been this mutually positive progression. They have been about respect and laughs. They are about supporting each other and uplifting one another in times of doubt or confusion. 

What they have not been are a series of consolation prizes. So, when The Maybe Boyfriend suggested we "hang out as friends" I wasn't feeling it one bit. Naw, buddy. Either these hang out sessions are called dates, or we are just hooking up. But we aren't friends. We weren't friends before we went on those few dates and we won't be friends once the dates have ended. 

Don't get me wrong. I really think he's a swell guy. I would have kept dating him. I'm not crushed he doesn't want to go on dates with me anymore. But, switching the time we spend from 'date' to 'hang out' won't happen. I have lots of friends that I can't schedule in for hang out time as it is. I don't need to add your name to the list so we can go for sushi and go dutch while you tell me your dating and work woes. I'd rather do that ish with my homegirls. 

About Me

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I am the product-child of the Women's Lib movement. I have a grade A education, a promising career and no immediate goal for children or a spouse. I will be 30 this year and I have spent many years in monogamous relationships. In and out of 1 to 2 year relationships, I always dated with the goal of meeting someone special. Most of the time I didn't date. Most of the time I found myself falling into relationship after relationship. These relationships were doomed to fail. They were all built on expectations that were, for me, unattainable. I love meeting new people. I find sex enjoyable and empowering and I am not happy when I am monogamous. So, after my last break-up, after taking some time to grieve, I decided to cut my societal puppet strings and get back in the game. I set out on a mission to spend the Summer of 2010 dating as many men as possible. My only initial criteria was attraction. My only limitation was - no love and no structured relationships. This is my date by date tale of what life can be like outside of the goals of relationships and love.
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