Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Okay, So You DON'T Wanna Date Me...?

Being a parent is the most important thing in my life.  If I exceed at nothing else, I know that I've excelled at being an exceptional mom.  So, naturally, it stands to reason that if I'm looking for someone to be my "someone", they should probably like kids. 

Dating...so many friggin’ rules, so much criteria, so much work...at some point, kids, you just have to let go, relax the standards and be open to the opportunities that present themselves.  Kind of like letting Dating Jesus take the wheel.  

You know, they say if you listen closely, the universe will speak to you...

I’ve lived in my house for 8 years and still know very few of my neighbors.  By very few, I mean one; my next door neighbor Philip.  I’m not sure why that is, but I like to attribute it to the decline of America’s sense of community in lieu of questioning my own anti-social behaviors.  Because, yeah, that's better.  At any rate, I had recently come to the conclusion that I was 18 cats and a shower cap away from being labeled a recluse, so I attempted to make myself more available to my neighbors.

To do this I began hanging out in the front yard more often, saying hello to those who walked by and I ran with my head up for a change.  One day as I was about to go for a run, my neighbor, Philip, was outside working on his lawn.  

Sidebar - Philip was the first (and only) neighbor I met when I moved into the house 8 years ago. He wasn't a neighbor I really knew a lot about, we just said hello when we'd see each other either going to or coming home from work. 

With my new neighborly attitude firmly in place, I decided to strike up a conversation by asking an embarrassingly obvious question.

Karen - "So, doing a little yard work, huh?" (man, I'm like catnip for men. I guess that would be man-nip...but that just suggests he's cold, so...)

Philip - "Yeah, I got a letter from the HOA asking me to replace my shrubs or face a fine.  I'd like to find the person who wrote the letter and have a little chat with him."

As I stood there talking to Philip, I found myself thinking, He's kinda cute.  He's slightly taller than I am, he's successful, he owns his own home and he's clearly attracted to me. (two words - Cat. Nip.)  Has my prince charming been living next door to me all this time and I didn't even realize it?  

Is that you, Universe?  It's me, Karen.  And I hear you loud and clear!

What’s that one saying?  *snap* *snap*...you know the one....  Oh yes, Don’t dip your pen in the company ink, Don’t fish off the company pier, Don’t sh*t where you eat, Don’t get your nookie where you get your cookies, Don't do your next door neighbor. (don't look at me that way, it's a saying...)  

You know, there's a reason there are a million (or 4) ways to warn against getting involved with those in close proximity; 'cuz it's stoo-pid.  Every fiber of my being was screaming, DON'T EVEN CONSIDER THIS!  I BEG OF YOU!!

But did I listen?  This is post #13 - I think you people know me well enough to know by now.  That's right, I took off on my run and fantasized about my new life with Philip.  How easy it would be to date my neighbor.  He has his space, I have mine, he's seen me go out for my paper in the morning, so there'll be no surprises there, he knows I have a son (again, no surprises), I know he cycles so we have the "fit" thing in common, he likes beer, I like beer, he grills out, I eat grilled food.  I could go on and on...  This was gonna be perfect! 

When I got back from my run, my husband-to-be was still outside working on his shrubs. 

Philip - "So, you dating anyone?"

(like shooting fish in a barrel)

Mrs. Philip -  "I'm not.  I was doing the online thing for a while and had so many catastrophic experiences I actually just started a blog about it."
 
Philip - "I'd like to write a blog, too!"

Of course you would, because when you like someone, you want to show you have similar interests.

Mrs. Philip - (feigning utter surprise) "Really? How interesting!  What would you write about?"

Ah, the timeless dance of a blossoming new love... 

Philip - "It would be about the fact that I don't have children and I don't want children,  so why the hell do I have to pay higher property taxes based on the school district I'm in?  And why do my taxes help schools if I don't have kids? And why do I have to drive 20 mph in a school zone? And why can't I talk on the phone or text in a school zone?  Why do you get a tax break just because you have a kid?"

*********************

I saw that going so differently in my head... 

Damn!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Cheesy Perv

My therapist (yes, my therapist) once told me, “Karen, you won’t be a member of any club who would accept you as a member.”  (I swear that man was high during most of my sessions)  But I did eventually understand what he was saying.  He meant that I chase after those who don’t appear to want me, and the minute they express an interest, I’m wondering what is wrong with them for wanting to be with me. 

I know, I know - I exhaust myself.

In an effort to "fix" this, he suggested that the next time someone expressed an interest in me, I needed to “push on through” and see what happens.

Questionable advice from my possibly high therapist; I foresee no issues with this what-so-ever.

*******************

Shortly thereafter I received a phone call from one of my best friends, Erica, who hates that I am single:

Erica -  “What are you doing this weekend?”

Karen - “Cleaning my house.”

I wasn’t making excuses.  I really was cleaning my house; a chore I’ve come to realize has taken the place of human touch or intimacy for me.  (my house is really, really clean)

Erica  – “Well, get your stuff done before 6 because we’re going on a double date!”  His name is Steven and he's really cute!  We'll meet at the restaurant at 7.”

I was actually pretty excited about this setup since my dating activity had hit a major drought.  Plus, this friend is smokin’ hot and pretty people hang out with other pretty people, right? 

When I arrived at the restaurant, everyone else was already there as I was running a little late.  I peered around the corner at the table and tried to get a good look at cute Steven before I walked up.  To my delight, he was, as Erica promised, really cute!

After dinner, we went to a nearby club for some live music and dancing.  Our conversation was  eclectic in nature, touching on subjects such as our kids (he had two daughters),"Big 80's Hair", 80's sitcoms and sports.  Most disturbing to me was that Steven wasn't a football fan and had never seen a Superbowl.  (cringe)

The following morning I logged onto my computer and discovered an email from Steven.  When I opened it up, I found a gorgeous picture of a red rose sprinkled in dew drops and a lovely message attached: 

A wonderful night with a beautiful woman.
You're smart, sexy and confident - and you "got" my 80's sitcom references.  
I look forward to seeing you again very soon.

With love,

Steven

Let me tell you what happens to me when a guy does something like this for me - I close up shop and you're forever classified in my irreversible (and un-dateable) "cheesy" category.   I know it's a nice gesture and there's nothing inherently wrong with it, but a picture of a rose with dew drops?  Dude, come on!

Just then, Erica called to see what I thought about Steven:

Erica - "Hey, did you like him?  He really liked you!"

Karen - "I did like him.  Is it weird that I'm so bothered by the fact that he's never seen a Superbowl?  And he just sent me a cheesy email."

Erica - "So, you don't want to see him again?"  Because we're going out to the lake today and he asked if you could come along?"

Karen - "I can't, I have my son today - you know I don't let guys I date meet my son."

Erica - "So what?  We're taking the girls - just let Steven know this won't be treated as a date since your son will be there."  

Suddenly, an apparition appeared above me.  It was my therapist's head in an celestial haze (bong smoke, I assume), saying:  "He likes you, Karen.  Stop finding all the reasons why it won't work.  Push on through...see what happens."

Karen – “You know what?  I’d love to!”

When my son, Ryan, and I got to the lake, Erica's family and Steven were loading up the coolers, towels and bags.  I did my best to pretend Steven didn't have two really big strikes against him. (push on through)  I even found the strength to thank him for the "thoughtful" email. (albeit through gritted teeth)  I also reiterated to Steven that we were just hanging out as friends that day since my son was there and he told me he absolutely understood. 

So you can imagine my surprise when, as I was helping Ryan with his life jacket, I felt a cup full of ice being poured down my bathing suit bottoms.  I'm sorry - what the hell just happened here?  First of all, I hardly know you.  Second, you pulled my bathing suit bottoms out and exposed my nether region to not only you, but to everyone on the boat behind me.  Lastly, I'm 100% certain giving me vaginal frostbite is never the answer.

push on through

I looked at Erica and she was mildly mortified.  She came over and offered the suggestion that perhaps he was trying too hard to be fun for Ryan.  Okay, okay...I guess that's possible.  And I continued to push on through.
 
After removing the ice from my various crevices, it was time for lunch.  I fixed my son a sandwich and some Cheetos.  As is customary when you're under 10 and eating Cheetos, your fingers become an orange, sticky, cheesy mess!  As I looked around for a paper towel or something equally suitable to clean my son's fingers, Steven chimed in:

Steven - "Hey Ryan, why don't you take your cheesy fingers and write your name on your mom's sexy stomach."

ew...Ew.....EW!!!  inappropriate, Inappropriate, IN - A - PPRO - PRI - ATE!!! 


***************************
Push on through...I wanted to push him right off that effin' boat! (maybe that's what my therapist meant)

Damn!





Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Once a Sucker...

Some might say I’m a huge sucker.  I prefer to say that I have a huge heart.  The difference?  Perspective.  Well, that, and the fact that having a huge heart makes me a good person, while saying I’m a sucker, makes me a……sucker. 

For instance – I once had a friend who was up all night doing Wild Turkey shots and called me at 4 am because she was out of cigarettes.  Now, I’m not a smoker.  So, at 4 am on a work day, I got up, got dressed, drove to the store, purchased a pack of cigarettes and delivered them to her at her house.  See? Big heart. 

Another glowing example –  In college I had a strong-willed boyfriend who wouldn’t let me break up with him. (yes, just like the Seinfeld episode where George’s girlfriend didn’t accept his breakup)  So instead of making waves and upsetting my bi-polar friend, I stayed with him for four more glorious, strong-willed months.  I say again – BIG HEART!

But I'm here to tell you, people can change.  Although my past might suggest that I was a bit of a doormat, a yes-man, a chump, a schmo....today I’m a much different person! (unless you don’t want me to be)

As had become customary for me, I woke up and checked my phone for the f(ing)Nonharmonious email that would say, "The one you've been looking for could be right inside this email."  How exciting!  After grabbing my coffee, I headed back to my office and anxiously logged into my account to see who the online dating gods (read random computer picks) had decided I could potentially begin my new life with.  Would it be Mike, Bryce, Alan, Aiden? 

As I read their various profiles, one in particular really resonated with me.  Typically, desperation doesn’t make my “Top 10 Traits I Look for in a Guy.”  But for whatever reason, (sucker) when I read Alan’s profile, I didn’t see it as desperation - but rather a self-deprecating, honest approach as to where he was in life and what he missed about being in a relationship.  (let me show you how beautiful it can be again)   

Where is that therapist’s phone number?

Alan was recently divorced with two children; a 1 year old and a 4 year old.  His profile was painfully honest.  He was previously in a career that kept him from home and family too often, but recently switched vocations to allow him more time with his boys.  The part that really struck me read:

"I'm skeptical of the online dating thing, but with my career and my current situation in life, I don't get out to meet people.  "I guess what it boils down to, is that I'm lonely."

Where, oh where is that therapist's number?

Alan actually sent me the first communication - a stock ice-breaker that said, "Love your smile!"  I never know how to respond to these, because you have to respond with another ice-breaker.  My choices were, "Your profile brought a smile to my face," "Wink," (uh, no) "Just wanted to say hi!" or "I'd love to chat."

I ended up going with "Your profile brought a smile to my face," but then we were just sort of stuck in mutual gratification land.    I love your smile.  Well I love your profile, which brought that smile that you love to my face.  Well that's good because I love your smile...see what I mean?  There was no logical starting point to our next round of communication.  Thank goodness he took the initiative and sent me an email which simply said, "What's your phone number so I can text you?"  Huh.  That was rather anticlimactic, but I responded with my number, anyway.  I didn't hear from him for 6 days.

OUR TEXT DISCUSSION

Alan (text) - Hey, Karen.  When do I get to meet you in person?

Karen (text)  - Well, I don't really know anything about you since we skipped all the steps.  Would you like to talk and see if we're even compatible first?

Alan (text)  -  I won't know until I meet you in person whether there's chemistry or not.  No sense in wasting any time, you free tomorrow night?

Great, another serial texter.  But I could respect the chemistry part as you never know until you actually spend time with someone if there's chemistry or not, so I agreed to meet him the next night.

Alan was much stockier in person than he was in his pictures, but I'm not so shallow that I was willing to end a date over 25 extra lbs.  Additionally, he was the kind of guy I pictured pointing the "finger/thumb gun" my way whilst doing the "chk-chk" sound.  Cheesy? Yes.  Date ender?  No.

Now, his gum chewing?  That was another story.  And this was no normal gum-chewing session. (not that even normal gum-chewing would have been acceptable on a first date)

This particular brand of chewing I can only describe as athletic in nature.  Imagine, if you will, an episode of gum-chewing where the object is to touch your tongue to your earlobe with each mandibular movement.  I mean, the unnatural facial activity this guy had going on would have been impressive had we only been in some sort of unnatural facial activity competition. 

After an hour and a half of conversation, and fighting through the exhausting gum-chewing marathon, our date was coming to a close.  Although I didn't feel any chemistry yet, he ended up being a nice enough guy and I felt that he had a good heart.  So I decided I would give him another shot if he asked me out again. (sucker) 

Karen - "I had a good time tonight."  Thank you."

Alan - "I had a good time, too."  Maybe we could do this again sometime?"

Karen - "I'd like that - you have my number."

And we gave each other a hug goodbye.

I got in the car and made my way home, excited that I had met a sweet guy who I didn't want to immediately kick to the curb.

<text chime>

Awwww - a text from Alan:

Alan (text) - Is it wrong that I want to go to the nearest hotel and get naked with you?

********************

I swear I looked at that text for 5 solid minutes trying to find the "sweet" in it....

Damn!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Better Learn to Play

How many times have you heard this:

“I hate ‘The Game’ - It’s so stupid.  “Why can’t I just tell him exactly how I feel about him?”

Because, princess, he will Run.  For.  The.  Hills.  And before you get all, "Preach on, sister!" ladies, we’re no better!  Well, I’m not, anyway.  You tell me you like me before I’m ready to hear it and I will shut it down!  History has proven there is nothing I like more than a man who wants nothing to do with me.

As much as we all claim to hate “The Game,” I've found it is a necessary evil for three reasons:

1)  The mind-game aspect.  Have you ever wondered why all-you-can-eat buffets are so successful?  Because once we know we have a never-ending supply of something, we suddenly "get our fill" much faster.  I need me an a' la carte kind of guy, who’s open a limited number of days each week and has a little bit of price integrity.  I know it sounds trite, but we really do want what we can’t have.

2)  It increases your strike allotment to three.  I don’t know about you, but I have waved the white flag simply because I caught a glimpse of excessive earwax in an over-anxious suitor’s ear.  On the other hand, play a little hard-to-get and I’m much less apt to pull the plug when you give me an unsolicited “Love Is…” clipping, mistakenly believing every girl thinks those frightening Cupie dolls are endearing. (heads up, not all of us do…)  We need the chase as it forgives some of the unfavorable moves (or earwax) that might otherwise be deal breakers. 

3) It can jump-start the honeymoon phase.  When someone isn’t readily available or blowing up my phone with a play-by-play of his day, it causes me to wonder what is going on in his fabulous life.  I imagine he's not contacting me because he's busy hunting lions in Africa or skiing the Swiss Alps.  So, by the time I find out he was actually unable to call due to super gluing his butt cheeks to a chair on a dare,  I'm already hooked.

I mean, let’s face it, we’re all great in the beginning:

  • “Dating” Life Portrayal- I couldn’t be in a better place in life.  I finally know what I want, I spend quality time with my son; kids need that.  I enjoy piddling around the kitchen – some might call me a gourmet cook.  Oh, my waistline?  Well, thank you, but I’m naturally this thin.  Plus, I always find time to fit in a 3 mile run.  Another beer?  No thank you, one is my limit.  What a coincidence, my credit score is 800, too.
  • “Real” Life Portrayal – Sob uncontrollably as you realize you're jealous as hell of your dating alter ego.  Tell Timmy, “the usual” in the Taco Bell drive thru, speed home to free yourself from your full-body Spanx and exhale for the first time in 4 hours.  Kick your 8 year old son off the couch because you're gonna watch "Dog the Bounty Hunter," and if he doesn't like it, he can go play Grand Theft Auto in the back room.  Finish the night off by pouring a vodka-scotch and using your “Notice of Foreclosure” letter as a beverage coaster.

Eventually, that real-life is going to expose itself.  You might want to play the game in an effort to “hook” them before they find out you’re really….well, you.

"Game Playa’" Paul was delivered to me one morning and I liked what I saw.  He was cute, but different than my typical type.  His profile, however, was amazing!  He was humorous, well-written, and intelligent.  We spoke and emailed around our busy schedules, and he seemed to be a bit of a braggart, but I just figured he was puffing himself up due to insecurity. (kind of sweet, actually)  He was a father of two and very active in their lives, he was a runner like me and lived in a great area – he seemed really “together.”  After several email exchanges and phone conversations, we decided to meet for a happy hour.  And, yes my loyal readers, the happy hour was at BJ's.

When I walked in and spotted him, he was dressed nicely in jeans and a blazer. (hot!)  He was drinking some sort of dark ale, which made me cringe as I feared my Michelob Ultra would give me one strike right off the bat.  My fear was realized when he said, "You're ordering a Michelob Ultra?  "Why not just order water and be done with it?"  I laughed this off, as I've become quite accustomed to the beer jab. (strike 1)

We went through the all too familiar "get to know you" routine.  Like most, I get nervous when I'm on a first date and tend to fire off a barrage of questions to ward off any awkward silence.  As a result, Paul had ample time to talk about himself.  I learned that he was a highly decorated Naval Aviator, a black belt in some martial arts discipline, a full-time father of two kids around my son's age, he volunteered at a center for traumatized children, was an exceptional athlete, in the process of getting his masters degree and I believe he was being considered for a Knighthood.  (I may have made the last one up, but seriously?)

Then it was my turn.

Now friends, I believe I held court for an impressive 22 minutes with my nonsensical ramblings.  All I could think while I was talking was that he had an exceptional vocabulary and was quite eloquent in his delivery.  So after 21 and a half minutes of uncomfortably tucking my hair behind my ears and trying to (unsuccessfully) read his nonverbal cues that he was following my verbal diarrhea, I blurted out, "...and I can recite the quadratic formula and tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue." 

<crickets>   

Did you also want to point out that you were the Chinese jump rope champ in 1978?

(strike 2)

Not surprisingly, he had no reaction to this - not even a courtesy laugh.  At this point I'm so defeated and embarrassed I was scanning my memory for ANYTHING I've done in my life that would be remotely interesting to him. (I liken it to being the chicken-hawk to his Foghorn Leghorn)  And just as I was about to admit defeat, I found it!  My Mud Run!  

For those of you who don't know what a Mud Run is, it's a 6 mile course with 32 military obstacles along the way and it's all done in the mud.  Picturing me muddy, sweaty and fit would be just the ticket to get me back in this pissing match of sorts.

Karen - "I ran in a Mud Run last November and am doing another this April." "It's a 6 mile -"

Paul - (interrupting me and sounding less than impressed) "Yeah, I'm familiar with the Mud Run - I've run it 17 times."  "In fact, I've done over 324 endurance races."

(strike 3)

I bet he had earwax buildup, anyway...

********************


Damn!




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Can I Get Luke's Number?

I'm beginning to think that my “man” wish list is either in the need of a major revision, or incineration.  I mean, the idea of the list is to keep the things I want in a man top-of-mind – like "good man” marketing.

Originally I created the list when my best friend and I were sitting around my kitchen table crying into our beers over our failed relationships.  One of us read in a book…or a horoscope…or heard of a friend of a Kardashian who made a list and she's now engaged to the guy who matched her list - at any rate, we made the lists because someone or something told us it was a good idea.

Finalizing my list wasn’t as easy as one would think.  I thought I knew exactly what I wanted in a guy; a grown up.  But when I found someone who possessed the traits I listed, my eyes would glaze over as they would inevitably highbrow me to death discussing their Growth Stock Mutual Funds or how they heard the most fascinating anecdote on NPR. (I mean, financial security and staying abreast of important worldly matters?  And he calls himself a man...)  Okay, I get it...but it bores me! 

On the other hand, give me a guy with an electronic ankle bracelet, extensive knowledge of Ren and Stimpy, and an expired bus pass and before you know it, I'm extolling the greatness of his Granny's "Weenie and Cheez Whiz Casserole" at his family's Thanksgivin' dinner.

Lesson - just because a guy is a perfect match with my list, doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be attracted to him.  That chemistry is a slippery sucker, isn’t it?  And as we’re about to learn, virtual chemistry is vastly different than actual chemistry. 

Enter Brent.  

Brent’s profile was interesting, humorous and well-written.  And, he was almost a perfect match with my list! He seemed to be the perfect blend of grown-up with the right amount of fun mixed in.  His pictures showed him playing soccer and flag football. (one displayed a cute mole on his right cheek that I found absolutely irresistible)  He was a corporate attorney and a divorced father of 3.

Given the new dating process when you're post divorce with kids in tow, we resorted to phone chats, texting and emailing.  As we spoke on the phone I remember thinking his voice didn't seem to match his pictures.  He was more soft-spoken than I anticipated, but that didn't matter.  He was a great distraction from my previous Suaves and my mind was doing a bang-up job of rounding out this virtual love affair I had going.

We finally found a Sunday when both of us were free, so we decided on a date at the Arboretum followed by lunch.  Since he lived closer to the Arboretum than I, I met him at his house.  When I arrived, my heartbeat was audible, my palms were sweaty and I felt nauseas. 

<knock, knock, knock>

It seemed an eternity before Brent opened the door.  I couldn’t wait to meet the cute flag football playing dad!  As the door opened, my face went from a cheek-cramping smile to what I would guess was a look of what the - (I know…way to rock the first impression)  Standing before me was a guy who sort of looked like Brent.  I mean, it was him...just different.  Realizing I was standing and staring like an idiot, I reached out to give him a hug and expressed my delight in finally meeting him face-to-face.

Throughout our time at the Arboretum and lunch I'm sure he thought I was mildly certifiable, because I kept staring at him in an attempt to find the "virtual Brent" I so looked forward to meeting.  Unfortunately, I didn't feel the spark with real life Brent. 

How can I explain it...he was almost...preacher-like.  By that, I mean his mannerisms were slow and deliberative.  And he kept smiling at me with a goofy grin, cocking his head to one side and giving a slow, knowing nod.  I kept waiting for him to reach down slowly and place his hands on mine, look deep into my eyes and say, "Bless you my child."  

After 2 full hours of staring at Brent, (and not in a good way) something dawned on me; where was that cute mole on his cheek?  You know, the one from the picture that I loved so much? 

Karen – “Hey, you have a mole on your cheek in your flag football picture.  Did you have it removed?  I kinda liked it.”

Brent – “Oh, yeah.  Well, the thing is, I have a twin brother, Luke.  I couldn’t find any good pictures of myself, so I just used some of his - he's the one with the mole.”

Sidebar – Uh, you're no Luke, pal!  You may resemble him, but you aren't him.  People sometimes tell me I look like Jennifer Aniston, but I don’t go posting her pictures on my profile or listing “Friends” on my resume. 

At this point, the date couldn't end soon enough.  I felt like I'd been cheated and I was borderline pissed off.

Once we got back to his house, I knew the drill.  I did everything I could to avoid close proximity or any movement that might suggest I was interested enough for a goodbye kiss. (or even hug at this point)  But, alas, my attempts were ineffective. (damn my hotness!)  When I turned from unlocking my car door, he was standing so close I could see his nostril hairs fluttering with each exhale.   

And then he asked the question I would have gladly traded 4 years of my life not to hear...

Brent - (smiling at me like a creepy creeperson) "May I kiss you?"

Karen (heaven forbid I just say no) "Sure."

Oh dear... make it stop, make it stop, make it stop...he moved in too fast, clearly had some sort of overactive salivary gland condition and he grossly misjudged my attempts to break free from his grasp as some sort of defective return of passion. 

Brent - “That was nice.” “I really felt something.”

blech....who says that?

********************
 
I'm pretty sure what he felt was my gag reflex.


Damn!




Thursday, September 8, 2011

But Who's Keeping Score?

I've come to the conclusion (the very grown-up conclusion) that I may play a large part in my weekly disasters some might refer to as dates.  Perhaps I give off the wrong vibe on a date...?  I was recently speaking with a friend of mine who said she went on a few dates and decided to choose "Mr. Friday Night" in lieu of "Mr. Saturday or Wednesday Night."  Hold up - she decided?  What, they all loved her so much that she just got to choose?  Moreover, all of her weekly flavors were actually relationship-worthy?  

Second grown-up conclusion; my friend must be giving it up on the first date.

So back to my ill-cast vibe – I believe what it boils down to is that dating is just so....what's the word I'm looking for here?  Exhausting.  And not “cute exhausting”, like an IRS tax audit.  I'm talking an all-consuming, emotionally draining, affects-every-fiber-of-my-being, kind of exhausting.  

For example: Bi-weekly pedicures, bi-weekly eyebrow wax, (and let's face it, those should be weekly) daily shaving of the legs, haircut and color every 4 - 6 weeks, purchasing endless seasonal variations of "the perfect outfit" to wear, overwhelming guilt after partaking in guacamole and a beer, (and I love my beer!) always having to be on my best behavior, editing and over-thinking every text response, monitoring my every word, running every day, arms and back on Mondays and Wednesdays, legs and shoulders on Tuesdays and Thursdays, vigilant plucking of the chin hairs, keeping Crest Whitestrips stock prices at an all-time high...So yeah, if I’m on a date with you and I’m not projecting the right “vibe”, it’s probably because I’m worn the eff out!
   
Someone (a lot of people) once (continually) suggested that I'm too particular and should be more open-minded when it comes to men.  Listed below is my “man” wish list. (right, like I'm the only one who has one of these stuck on my fridge)
    • Christian
    • Nice Looking  Has a face
    • Good to his mother
    • A good great father
    • Makes me laugh (on purpose)
    • Has a job (I don't need a country club membership, but I will NOT be eating meat from a can)
    • Doesn't live with his parents (I'm sure they're lovely people, but no)
    • Likes to stay active and fit (but not so much that I feel a need to explain why Queso is part of my Sunday football ritual)
    • Doesn't fart just because he thinks it's funny (I'm willing to give a little on this...never mind, no I'm not)
    • Believes birthdays are reason for a true celebration
    • Realizes the importance of family
    • Thinks I hung the moon but doesn't make me the center of his universe
    • Someone I admire and respect

      Too much to ask for?  I'm gonna’ go with no.  But I did agree to try the open-minded route.

      Enter Secret Service Guy #2 - we'll call him "Brad."

      Brad was another dating site glory who captured my attention with his metaphorical "balls" and avid tenacity.  I had originally closed him out, meaning, I looked over his profile and didn't see what I was looking for, so I "closed communication" with him.  Typically, when this happens, I don't hear from the person again.  But Brad emailed me and said, "I noticed you decided to close communication with me.  I would like for you to reconsider as I think I have a lot to offer and we have much in common."  That took guts and I admired that - a lot!  So, I opened up the lines of communication with Brad, and opened my mind as well.  

      A little background about Brad - he was in the process of moving to Dallas, but hadn't done so just yet.  He actually had several ports around the country that he called home due to work travels, and was very much looking forward to having just one place to lay his head.

      Apparently his head wasn't only thing he was "laying" in these various ports...  

      Karen - So, are you excited to move back?  

      Brad -  I am - it's been a long time coming.  My girlfriend in Austin isn't very excited, but she understands it's what I need to do.  She's just unable to move back with me right now since she's getting her PhD.  

      Austin girlfriend 1/ Karen 0  

      Karen - Huh.  So tell me about your job.  

      Brad - Well, I was doing a lot of traveling with my various assignments for work, but now I'll just be working a desk job.  It's kind of ironic because my girlfriend in Maine is this spoiled 25 year old socialite who can't handle my traveling.  Now my traveling is coming to an end, but she can't move back with me since she's set to take over her family's multi-million dollar business.  

      Maine girlfriend 1/ Karen a-Ze a-Ro  

      Karen - Sounds to me like you've got a lot of girlfriends.  Are you still dating these women?  

      Brad -  Well, I don't actually move for another 3 months.  So, yeah.  But once I move I'm looking to be a one-woman man.

      At this point, I'm in such disbelief that my mind is unable to regroup and negotiate my next move. On the one hand, I'm completely offended that he would be so blatant about his other girlfriends.  On the other hand, the fact that he was so blatant about his other girlfriends was sort of....a turn on. (yes, a most telling peek into my psyche that screams "The answer as to why you're still single lies right freaking here!", I'm aware) 

      Long story short, I accepted a date with Brad that weekend. (cue the collective cry of disapproval) Hey, I was keeping an open mind, remember people?  Apparently, however, the fact that I wouldn't go up to his hotel room after the date was a bit of a deal breaker for him.  Not surprisingly, I didn't hear from Brad after that night.  

      Well, not until 7 months later, anyway...


      Karen 1/ Brad 0


       

      Tuesday, August 30, 2011

      Warning! You've Been Warned...

      I think the biggest obstacle I face with the online dating process, is knowing what to say when I’m openly communicating with someone.  I can write a mean profile to accompany my pictures, and I can answer the canned questions with reckless abandon.  But how do I communicate with someone without the protection of 250 character limits? 

      It’s the impossible task of striking a balance between “I’m interested” and “This is a complete interruption of my very fabulous life, but here’s a bone…you’re lucky to have heard from me.”

      Tell me again why can’t I go to a bar and just pick up the first guy I see?  Ah yes, because I’m 41…

      I’m a very expressive speaker and I’d venture to say that my personality is my strongest attribute.  Therefore, when I’m writing or texting someone, I have a very deliberative delivery that they just can’t derive from an electronic medium.  So how is the person on the receiving end of my messages supposed to “get” how charming and hilarious I am?  The short answer is - most of the time, they don’t.

      Worse yet, how embarrassing is it when you think your exchange with someone is about one thing, but the person on the other end perceives it as being about something else altogether?  There is just so much that can go wrong or be misread by texting/emailing, and I think this leads to a lot of missed opportunities in the dating world.

      One opportunity, however, was not so much missed as it was unintentionally hit head on, hastily batted away, smashed with the heel of my shoe and lit on fire, never to be spoken of again.

      Until now…

      One Saturday as I was sitting in the spa chair for my bi-weekly pedicure, I received a notification that a potential suitor had contacted me. (an email alerting me to an email – very efficient)  When I logged into my account, I saw a very cute guy with the subject header, “Trying to get your attention.”  I clicked on his profile and found that he was currently in the military, had a doctorate, a master’s, two bachelor’s degrees and some certification I can’t remember the name of.  So, you know, a bit of an underachiever, but I decided to contact him anyway.

      My response to, “Trying to get your attention” was “Well, you got it.” 

      I discovered through our email exchanges that he was currently in Afghanistan, but would be coming home at the end of the year.  The emailing was getting a little laborious, so we started IM’ing (that’s Instant Messaging, mom) since phone calls to Afghanistan were out of the question.

      His name was “Tim”, his favorite ice cream flavor was vanilla, his biggest fear was heights, he’d been divorced for 3 years and he had a dog named Bo.  He was nice, he made me laugh and he was smart…I knew it was early, but I kind of liked this one.

      Day two of our "romance" consisted of me IM'ing Tim from the backseat of a friend’s car, which made 2 ½ hours of the 3 hour road trip I was on fly by! (the last 30 minutes dragged a bit as my phone died and I was without a charger)  We IM'd questions about everything from the first job we ever held to how many siblings we had.  Not only was he easy to converse with, he seemed to "get" me. 

      Here's the latter part of our IM conversation:

      Tim – “When I come home I’m taking you out to dinner.” (awwwww!)

      Karen – “When will that be?  December?  Hey, by the way, my phone’s about to die, so if I just stop responding to you that’s why.”

      Tim – “Ok. Yes, December.  Will you wear something tight?”

      That seemed a bit suggestive to me and made me a little uncomfortable, I have to be honest.

      Karen – “Ummm…what did you have in mind, exactly?”

      Tim – “Tight jeans and heels – I bet you look great in tight jeans and heels.”

      Karen – “Well, as luck would have it, I do look pretty good in my jeans.” (hey, ya gotta flirt a little!)

      Tim – “Man, now you have me thinking about you…is that okay”

      Karen – (awww! He’s thinking about me – how sweet!!) “Of course!  What’s not flattering about someone thinking about you? ”

      <phone dies>

      Ugh!  Seriously!?  I at least wanted to say, “Hey, my phone’s dying, I’ll IM you when I get home tonight.”  Now I had to wait until the next day to talk to him because of the 9 hour time difference. 

      Unless….I can talk my friends into stopping at the Wal-Mart up ahead to grab a new charger!  I promised the group in the car I’d be quick as I didn’t want to hold them up.  Naturally, I ended up standing in line forever back in electronics due to some computer glitch.  So, 20 minutes and $15.93 later I emerged with my new charger, excited to continue the sweet conversation with my military man!

      Sidenote - Due to the fact that my mom reads my blog and I don’t want to offend my more sensitive readers, I’m going to use the following code to help explain Tim’s message that awaited me once my phone powered on. 

      Code:   “Taking an exam” =  "Sex"

      Tim – “Look, I know your phone’s about to die, but, ‘When you’re taking an oral exam, how do you finish that exam?’ Hurry and answer because I’m about to finish my own exam right now.”


      Yes, that’s the look I had on my face, too…

      Sunday, August 28, 2011

      Closers Need Not Apply

      I swore I would never succumb to the online dating game…but, alas, I found myself on not one, but two online dating sites.  Not simultaneously, mind you; that would be the equivalent of having two full-time jobs. 

      "f(ing)Nonharmonious (fNON)"

      My online dating career got its start on a site I like to refer to as, “f(ing)Nonharmonious.”  I figured the 600+ questions you have to answer along with the monthly fee would be enough to weed out the Suaves; I couldn’t have been more wrong. (don’t misunderstand, I met a lot of great guys on that site, too, but they wouldn’t be any fun to write about)

      Listed below are some of the sections one would think pretty effortless to answer if you’re genuinely looking for someone to share your life with.  But I’m here to tell you, common sense and "normal," are elusive beasts in the online dating game.

      For example:

      ********************
      Section 1
      THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I’M LOOKING FOR IN A PERSON
      ********************
      • Acceptable –  I'm not looking for one specific quality in a man; I think it's the blending of his qualities with mine that will either work or it won't. Some I appreciate, however, are loyalty, honesty, genuineness and a sense of humor.
      • Not Acceptable -  I like ‘em big, I like ‘em small – don’t care if they’re real or just real nice, I like ‘em all! 
      The answer is yes; this gem was an actual response.

      Vomit 

      ********************
      Section 2
      PHOTOS
      ********************
      Oh, how I would love to post some actual “don’ts” under this section, but being sued for infringement of privacy rights by a Suave would be the ultimate “fail.”  Therefore, I will do my best to illustrate through words what I deem acceptable and what is not in an online dating photo.

      Acceptable:
      1.       Head shot
      2.       Full body shot
      3.       Pictures of you and friends hanging out and having a good time
      4.       Picture of you being active
      5.       Any picture where you’re smiling
        
      Not Acceptable:
      1.       Any picture that resembles a mug shot
      2.       Any photo from your wedding with a black circle blocking your ex's face
      3.       Two words: Nose Check
      4.       A self portrait in the bathroom mirror.  I don’t care that you are wearin’ that wife beater and your mullet has never been longer.  Ask your brother Darrell or your other brother Darrell to take the picture for you, chief.
      5.       If you MUST take that self portrait/bathroom shot, at least remove the lotion from the back of the toilet behind you, as that leads me to believe it's there for just one reason.  Yes, THAT…(sorry, mom) 
        
      ********************
      Section 3
      THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN MY LIFE HAS BEEN
      ********************
      • Acceptable – My daughter. She has changed my life in every way, giving it much greater purpose and meaning.  She’s taught me patience and unconditional love.  I love seeing the world through her young eyes.
      • Not Acceptable - Chad
      Seriously, people.  A skosh of effort is all I'm asking for, here.  And, yes, another actual response.


      "Plenty of D-Bags (POD)"
       
      Once I realized that the laborious question-answering and hit to the pocketbook weren't Suave deterrents, I ventured onto another popular site you may have heard of called “Plenty of D-Bags.” (POD)  Okay, that's what I call it, but that doesn't make my title any less accurate.  This site is a fantastic demonstration in the practice of  “spray and pray”; just send a message to every girl on the site and pray someone responds.

      POD offers photo posting and an "About Me" section, and my rules as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable still apply on this site.  However, by the time I resigned to sign up for POD, I was so disenchanted by the whole online dating experience that when I wrote my profile, this is the extent of the effort I put forth:
      • Headline - Looking For Someone Who Doesn’t Bore Me
      • About Me - I'm looking for someone to complement my life, not complete it.  I do fine by myself; I have a lot of great friends, my own interests and I can handle my own, but I would love to have someone to share the rest of it with.  
      Let me tell you what I learned.  Not only did I get approached way more on POD with my “finger in the air” attitude, than I did on fNON.  But most of the guys on fNON were on POD, too!   
      • Positive - POD is free and I didn't lose 6 hours of my life answering questions no one cares about
      • Negative - Every time I'm on POD, I feel the need to disinfect my entire body...blech
      Sidebar - this could be due to the fact that not only do a majority of guys on that site say something completely inappropriate in under 3 message exchanges, but one of my best guy friends is also on POD and packed a bag for his first date with a POD girl.  I said,  "You're packing a bag for a first date!?"  His response was, "I'm a closer, Karen." (Man, I love guy humor!)  To my (not so) surprise, I did not see his car in the driveway on the way to work the next morning. (she sounds lovely)
        
      Takeaway from today's post; if you find yourself in the market for an online dating site, save the 4 - 6 hour mind-numbing Q&A session and approximate $720.00 associated with fNON, and go directly to POD.

      Lower "f-with-it-factor," same Suave experience.  Just make sure you have lots of disinfectant on hand...


      Thursday, August 25, 2011

      A Rose By Any Other Name...

      Nothing will make you reevaluate your life like writing the “Interests” section of an online dating profile or answering the, “So what do you do for fun?” question. 
      • Online Interests:  I love to run and stay active. I ran in a Mud Run in November and am training for another, this coming November; I will be training for an Adventure Race this year as well. Traveling has always been a passion of mine and I love weekend camping trips.  The Monday Night Football theme song, coffee and sushi genuinely make me happy. Although I am a mother, (and a very good one) I do make time for myself and the things I like to do.
      • Actual Interests: Vacuuming, folding t-shirts with Gap-like precision, finding new uses for the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, (seriously, those things will clean anything) finding a candle that burns evenly, (not as easy as you'd think) running, writing and taking pride in an exceptionally clean toilet.
      That’s right boys…the line forms to the left

      So when one of my matches sent me the question, “What do you do for fun?” and it gave me a PARALYZING brain cramp trying to come up with a response, I realized that I needed to get out from behind my computer and find some interests!  Right then, I hid my profile from the masses and turned off the “match” feature.  Time to go live my life!

      I swear there’s something to the old adage, “When you stop looking…”    

      “Living my life” equated to dinner and drink dates with my girls, enrolling in a candle-making class, (I was on a journey, people) hitting the gym more regularly and catching up on my ever-growing library of books. 

      Candle-making, gym-ratting and marathon reading didn’t do much for my social life, but the dinner dates with my girls resulted in great times and fun pictures.  Fun pictures get posted on Facebook.  Pictures on Facebook get noticed by lots of people.  Some of those people are guys…you see where I’m going with this…

      So there I am, living my life and I get a Facebook message from someone whose name I didn’t recognize.  One look at his picture and I didn’t care who he was, I was just happy he was emailing me!  He ended up being a friend of a friend, so I called this friend to get the low down on the ultra hot cowboy we’ll call Trent.  She told me, “Trent's a great guy, a bit of a ladies’ man, but if you want to give it a shot, go for it.”

      Well I did go for it.  I was on a business trip at the time, so we did a lot of texting while I was out of town, just playing the “get to know you” game.  Then he asked the question I’d been waiting for; “Hey, when you get back in town, would you like to get together?”

      Uh, yes please.

      We decided to meet for dinner and then hit a bar to listen to some live music.  He told me his usual group of friends would also be at the bar, and asked if it was okay that he wanted me to meet them. (did you hear me?  He wanted me to meet his friends!

      Dinner was at a fantastic Mexican restaurant on the lake.  We sat outside and there was a gorgeous sunset; a perfect backdrop to a really great date.  We had lots to talk about given our mutual friend and our steroid-induced texting sessions.  I just knew that “living my life” was about to be rewarded!  In fact, he even asked when he could see me again as we made our way to see the band. (Karen and Trent sittin’ in a tree)

      As we made our way to our next destination, I found myself inordinately intimidated to meet his friends.  I mean, this group all went to high school together and knew each other really well.  And let's face it, no one likes a newbie. (Who does this chick think she is?  Did you see her roots?  Trent can do SO much better than her!)   All eyes would be focused on me and not in a good way. 

      Regardless of the voices in my head telling me otherwise, I proudly walked into the bar, head held high, on Trent’s arm.  After all, he chose me, right?  He spotted his group over by the dance floor and we made our way over.   A shorter girl with brown hair was the first friend he introduced me to.  I was so nervous and it was loud in there, so all I heard was “…is Jennifer.”   

      Thank goodness I at least heard her name. (and she kind of looked like a Jennifer so it would be easy to remember)  So I said, “Nice to meet you Jennifer,” as I shook her hand.  Jennifer looked at me kind of funny, but I didn’t have time to over-think this – it was onto the next person to meet:

      Trent - “Shayla this is Jennifer.” 

      Karen – “Nice to mee –" (wait….Jennifer?  Was I Jennifer?  No wonder “Jennifer” looked so confused – her name wasn’t Jennifer.  She thought I was an idiot!)

      Shayla – “Nice to meet you Jennifer”

      Karen(are you freakin’ kidding me?) “Nice to meet you, too”  
       
      This scenario repeated itself 4 (yes, 4!) more times before he finally got it...

      ******************

      New Interest: Guys who know who the hell I am!

      Damn!



      Sunday, August 21, 2011

      1995 Called...

      There is a phenomenon called “Time Dilation” wherein someone traveling at the speed of light stays the same age (or ages more slowly) than those who are left on earth.  I have found that marriage followed by divorce creates this same phenomenon.   
      • Marriage = Traveling at the Speed of Light
      • Divorce = Returning to Earth
      Which has to be the explanation as to why I was only attracted to 25 year olds for the first two years following my divorce, right?  Poor Suave Magnet – she didn’t realize she’d aged. 
      So you can imagine my elation when I found gorgeous “Guido” on “Plenty of Douche-bags.” (another doozie of a dating site I used to make fun of others for joining)  Not only was I attracted to Guido, he was MY age!  Unheard of!
      Guido was seriously model-hot! Black and white photos of him on a beach, with a rock-hard body and a dynamite smile covered his profile.  And not just one picture – anyone can have one good picture.  He had about 15 photos posted.  Candid photos of him with friends and family laughing and enjoying life;  I could picture myself in his photos – I WANTED to be in his photos.  But before you go off thinking I’m being shallow again, his written profile was exceptional as well.  Not only was his ancestry rich and multi-cultural, he was very well-written and gave interesting details about his interests.  I don’t remember exactly how his profile read, but included phrases such as, “I know how to pair food and wine, I can properly set a table and my manners are impeccable” – a far cry from, “I like sports” (do ya, there, Slingblade?)
      Guido and I began texting (again, how all deep and meaningful relationships start) and decided to meet for a happy hour. (to my surprise he did not select BJ’s)  He chose a very popular Mexican restaurant with a happenin’ patio, but did let me know that he would have to leave around 7 as he had a previous engagement.
      Sidebar – for those of you who are not currently in the dating scene (bastards), let me explain how this works; you meet for a happy hour, but stress that you must leave at a specified time due to a previous engagement.  This way, if your date is a troll or requests to touch your feet, you can make a graceful exit.    
      I knew this is what he was doing and I’ll admit I was more than disappointed that he gave himself an out – I was hoping to spend more than an hour and a half with this gorgeous, educated specimen.  But oh well.
      Before I arrived I received a text from him that he would be inside at the bar as there were no tables available on the patio just yet.  I sat in the parking lot terrified to walk in.  What if he looks at me and thinks, “Ugh, she's way cuter in her pictures.”  I mean, you kind of know where you rank on the hotness scale and I was nowhere NEAR Guido’s level of hot.  But after a quick pep talk with a dear friend, (don't forget to pluck any renegade chin hairs) I made my way into the restaurant. 
      I looked high and low for this guy.  Granted, the bar was packed, but all I had to do was look for the ethereal light shining down and the throng of women and there he would be.  But I saw nothin’.  So I shot him a text, “Where are you?”  And he replied, “I see you, I’ll make my way up to you.  Sit tight.”
      I was so nervous I seriously thought I was going to throw up.  I tried to act casual, and felt myself TRYING to act casual.  I was going for breezy, but feared I was just looking constipated.  Not exactly the look I was hoping to achieve.  Just breathe, Karen.  Just brea - 
      Guido - (in a voice not unlike Mike Tyson's) “Karen?” 
      Oh.  my.  God. 
      The look on my face had to be one of “Are you f’ing kidding me!”  Standing before me was a 5’ 7” Oompa Loompa with a generous smattering of bling, an overly-tanned face, a big barrel chest and I’m guessing to be around 15 years older than portrayed in his profile pictures.  His only redeeming aesthetic quality was that his Under Armour shirt was so tight it was smashing down his man-breasts.  Let's just say, a gross misrepresentation than that of his profile. 
      I prayed that this was Guido's wingman sent in to scout out the date, but that prayer went unanswered.  For this was my Guido. 

      Guido – “Shall we?” (his arm was extended toward the patio door…there was no turning back)
      Now, as I said before, he was well-written, so I was hanging onto the hope that that would translate to well-spoken with a  good personality. 
      Guido(total non-sequitur) You have excellent teeth – I notice teeth.  My last two girlfriends didn’t have nice teeth like you.  And the most recent girl I was with was a total psycho.  We stayed together way too long.
      Sidebar - I can appreciate if you're nervous on a first date and just start rambling.  But rule number one - keep the mentions of previous dates/relationships to a minimum. (I get it, you're a hot commodity)  I couldn't have cared less about the psycho woman in his life, but I played along and pretended to show interest...it was short-lived...
      Karen – Why did you stay with her if she was so psycho?
      Guido - Because she had a bad-ass Mercedes and really great tits (verbatim)

      *********************

      Our date was approximately 27 minutes long.

      Damn!

      Tuesday, August 16, 2011

      An Exceptional Blonde; I'm Talking About My Beer

      The morning started out like most others; I rolled out of bed at 5 am, made my cup of coffee (4 heaps of creamer and 4 heaps of sugar...don't judge) and headed back to my office to peruse the fresh crop of men that "f(ing)Nonharmonious" and their "29 Dimensions of Compatibility" deemed matchy-matchy for me. 

      Now, as shallow as I know I can be, I actually DO read the entire profile before deciding to "close" someone out for shooting a gang sign in his profile picture.  This particular morning, however, I had three (yes, THREE) keepers! A pilot, an attorney and a secret service agent.  I was particularly drawn to the secret service guy, "Darren", and to my delight he contacted me almost immediately. (yay me!)

      Darren was like the majority on this site and took us through "Guided Communication"; a 4 stage Q&A process to get to know one another.  After flying through the steps, we exchanged numbers.  We had great phone chemistry and it didn't take long for him to ask me out to a happy hour.

      Sidebar - I'm not sure what it is with 90% (and I'm not exaggerating, here) of the guys I meet for happy hour, but they all choose BJ's Brewhouse.  And, naturally, each has a HILARIOUS parallel they feel the need to explain to me. (Oh, you crazy boys.  Your fascination with your penises is absolutely precious)

      At any rate, the day of the date was soon upon us.  We both arrived at the hilariously named BJ's and proceeded into the bar area to snag a table.  As the server approached she put down two menus, which Darren quickly handed back to her.  He told her we wouldn't be needing menus and ordered himself a large draft beer.  When the server asked me what I would like, Darren quickly interjected with, "She will have the same as me and keep 'em coming".

      Now friends, I can scarcely think of a time when something good DIDN'T happen after drinking big ass beers on an empty stomach.  

      This is how the date progressed:

      Karen - Did you do anything fun for the Super Bowl?

      Darren - Yeah, I went to a party at my neighbor's house.  I got a call from him the next morning telling me that I owed his wife an apology.  (laughing) I was so hammered, I didn't even know what I'd done wrong. (OMG that IS a knee slapper!)

      Karen - My son and I just watched at home.  I didn't owe anyone an apology the next day. (now THAT was funny!)

      Darren - (taking a huge swig of beer) So tell me how you wound up in Texas?

      Did he really just ask me an open-ended question, showing genuine interest in me?  Maybe he wasn’t such a “Suave” after all.

      Karen Well, I grew up in......

      And I continued to regale him with a lovely anecdote of a girl who grew up in Missouri and found her way down to Texas.  Truly, my choice of prose was flawless. I, myself, couldn’t wait to hear what I was going to say next.

      But let me tell you that I could have said, “Hey Big Daddy, how about hitting the closest hotel and I let you treat my body like an amusement park?”  because he didn’t hear a word of it.  He was too busy straining his neck, turning around, looking high and low for something.  For what?  I had no idea...until it was too late. 

      Darren - (screaming across the bar at our poor server) "Hey! I told you to keep 'em coming and I'm sitting here looking at an empty glass!"

      **********************

      Sweet Lord, please tell me I'm being Punk'd! 

      This is when one realizes that "f(ing)Nonharmonious's" 29 Dimensions of Compatibility just might not be enough dimensions.

      And that was the end of Darren...

      Damn!

      Sunday, August 14, 2011

      Three Out of Four Ain't Bad

      Long gone are the days when I could just go to a bar with some friends, spot the guy I wanted to date and reel him in with a rousing rendition of the "Electric Slide".

      No, now I'm forced to go online, write a flattering "Cliffs Notes" version of my interests (does vacuuming appeal to you?) and post a picture that says, "Look no further.  I'm girl-next-door meets voluptuous vixen".  It's a sad, boiled down version of peacocking and if you can't capture their interest with your pictures, they're Damn! sure not going to read your profile!  But I'm not here to bag on online dating - that's a post for another day.

      So on this particular site, we'll call it "f(ing)Nonharmonious", you have the option to either go through all of the steps the site has in place for you, or you may jump to the finish line and just email someone through the site.

      One particular suitor, "Gary", decided to skip all of the pomp and circumstance and just message me directly.  I liked this.  Here was a guy who was willing to say, "Saw your picture, liked what I saw, let's chat", which is exactly what his first email to me said.

      My first message to him was to ask him about being an author.  His profile had stated such, so it seemed like a natural topic to start with; he gets to talk about himself and I get to learn more about him.  He told me that he was an author and an advocate about and for abused children.  He went on to say he had been abused as a child, so he felt he had an interesting perspective on the subject .  I thought this was quite admirable, of course.  First to have gone through something so traumatic as a child, but then to actually do something positive with it and make a difference in the lives of others. (say it with me girls, "awwwwwwwwww!")  What a great guy!

      His next message to me was, "Are you a good snuggler?".

      Good Lord, here we go again...keep in mind I had been through approximately 946 disappointments at this point, so I was willing to push on through with this one and see where it could take us.  After all, he was cute (shallow much?) and the question wasn't completely offensive.

      My response to him was, "I've never had any complaints."  To which he responded, "Can I have your phone number?"  I realize I probably shouldn't have given him my phone number, but I didn't want to disappoint the little fella.  After all, he clearly found me irresistible and he was an advocate for abused children - how bad could he be?

      The minute I gave Gary my digits, I immediately regretted it.  And as I was mid-text with a friend, Gary's call came in.  For those of you who don't own an iPhone, when you're in the texting "zone" and a call comes in, your finger goes to finish a text word, but instead hits either the "Answer" or "Decline" button.  My finger hit the "Answer" button. (Damn! iPhone!)

      Here is how our conversation went:

      Karen - Hello

      Gary - Hey Karen, it's Gary

      Karen - (kind of chuckling) Hey Gary, how are you?

      Gary - (screaming in the background) You guys stop that - play together! Sorry about that, I'm at the park with my two kids - a dad's work is never done!

      Karen - You have two kids?  How old?

      Gary - A girl who's 9 and a boy who's 6...(more screaming and now crying)...stop your crying - we don't eat ice cream from an ice cream vendor, you're going to get salmonella.  (more crying) If you don't stop your crying this instant I'm going to beat you so bad the cops will be called!

      Now let me interrupt this fascinating story for a little sidebar - A) I'm pretty sure giving your child a salmonella scare isn't the best argument as to why your 6 year old can't have ice cream (why, yes, Father is so wise, let's forego that tasty ice cream treat for fear of contracting a food-borne illness)  and B) What was his profession again?  Child abuse something or other?  

      Okay, back to our conversation:

      Karen - You sound a little busy, I'm going to let you go.

      Gary - No, they finally left me alone.  Look, I want to tell you something.  I've been with a lot of women (swoon!) so I know exactly what I'm looking for.  Imagine my surprise when I get online this morning and see this beautiful blonde (that's me!) and I think to myself, "Well, she's beautiful, but does she have brains?"  So I read your profile and everything is spelled correctly and I think, "Good for her!"  Then I think to myself, "Well, she has brains and she's beautiful, (he's still talking about me!) but does she have a sense of humor?"  And what were you doing when you answered the phone, Karen?" (I wasn't prepared for a test)

      Karen - ummmmm....  

      Gary - You were laughing!  And good for you! (he seemed so proud of me!)  So you've got the looks, the brains, and a great sense of humor.  Now all I have to do is see if you're as hot in person as you are in your pictures, but 3 out of 4 ain't bad!

      Karen- <click>

      And that, my friends, was the end of Gary...

      Damn!

      Friday, August 12, 2011

      You Watched Me Apply My What?

      Typically, I know better...but this ONE time I accepted a setup from a friend. (okay, it's happened 3 times, but I digress.)  This particular guy, however, (we'll call him Ben) was 8 years my junior and had two young children.  So I thought, "normal guy, well adjusted, friend of a friend, loves kids...".  Why not?

      We started off texting, (because that's how all deep and meaningful relationships start) and then we graduated to the elusive phone conversation.  I'm not gonna lie, I fell in love with his voice; it was that low, smooth tone and he had a really great laugh.  For whatever reason, I pictured him with a baseball cap on backward (maybe because I think that's ridiculously hot on a guy), and that just made me want to meet him more.

      Now at this point I had seen a picture of Ben, but it was kind of like one of those "illusion" pictures.  If I looked at it one way, he looked really cute.  If I looked at it another way, however, he just looked sort of "meh".  Anyway, I held onto the "really cute" version of Ben while we spoke on the phone.

      Sidebar - Before you start hating on me for being shallow, you have to understand that I know nothing about this guy other than he's a single dad of two and has a really great voice.  So looks kinda matter.  And, yeah,  I am that shallow... 

      After about three days of texting and talking, I'm ready to be asked out or cut bait.  Ben must have sensed this, because as I was about to bid him adieu, he asked me out to lunch. And this, my friends, is when the magic happened...

      Our lunch was scheduled for 12 noon, so you can imagine my surprise when Ben texted me at 11:15 saying that he'd already arrived at the restaurant.  I asked why he was so early and he said he was very excited to see me and that punctuality was very important to him.  Two things happened simultaneously at this point:  1) I had the fear of God in me that I was going to be late (I felt he was warning me.)  2) I was a little taken aback that he was THAT excited to see me.  To be honest, I was kind of dreading the date not wanting to ruin the "backward baseball cap" version of Ben I had dreamed up in my head.

      Nevertheless, I pressed on and met Ben at the restaurant. (I arrived at 11:55, if you're concerned for my safety)  Ben was actually cute. (not as cute as I had imagined in my head, but cute)  We had a nice meal and a nice conversation and I thought to myself, "Wow, I've been on a million dead-end dates, but I can actually say that I'd agree to another date with this guy".

      As we're waiting for the check, I pulled out my lip gloss and applied it at the table.  I know that's not the greatest move, but I wasn't checking myself out in the mirror or anything.  I just wanted soft lips in case he closed in for a kiss. (doing my due diligence, people!)  And just as I put my lip gloss back in my purse, Ben says, "You know, I've noticed your feet through the entire meal and they're amazing.  May I touch them?"

      I'm sorry, come again?

      You say you want to touch my feet in a restaurant, at the table, on a first date, in the absence of alcohol?  At this point my mind is reeling and I'm trying to think of a graceful way to recover for him because I don't go on second dates; I always find a reason not to go.  THIS guy actually had a chance and I had to save him.  But I had nothing...there was no coming back from that.
      I politely told him that was the weirdest request I'd had on a date and that no, no he may not touch my feet.

      When I got back to the office after lunch I received a text from him that simply read, "I watched you apply your gloss."   

      Eeeeewwwwwww!  Does it "...put the lotion on its skin," too?

      And that was the end of Ben...

      Damn!