Take a Chance, Make a Change

“You are always one choice away from changing your life.” – a quote posted in a coworker’s office

One of my biggest fears in life is ending up alone, yet when I’m in a relationship, I tend to self-sabotage it. I get needy, raging jealousy, and stupidly defensive. Yes, I am a small part of all of these things normally (in the movies, they call these fatal flaws), but when I’m dating someone these seem to increase tenfold. Currently in a relationship, I’ve noticed these characteristics rearing their ugly heads. I’m acknowledging them, but now I need to kick their butts to the curb. No guy is going to like a girl who doesn’t act confident or self-reliant. So I’m saying sayonara to these obsessive behaviors and âllo again to the independent, happy woman I have become throughout my life’s journey.

One of the best ways to combat these terrible traits is to trust the person I’m dating, but that’s ridiculously hard to do when I’ve only just met a person and one of the last guys I dated cheated on me. It ain’t easy trusting a stranger with my full self until he’s earned that trust. Or am I backwards? Do you trust fully until that person gives you a reason not to trust them? My life in love would certainly be easier if I wasn’t constantly worried and instead enjoying the honeymoon period from which every relationship blossoms. So I’m going to work on this part of myself. Live in the moment, stop worrying, and chill the f$@* out (yea, I’m still working on that New Year’s resolution!).

Moving – Again!!

I’ve given my 30-days notice and I am getting the f@$* out of my apartment. What started out as bad, became bearable though still awkward, and grew to become a monster. After a litany of texts hailed at me from one roommate claiming that I’m ignorant, uncultured, and a white girl (um hello, I am?!), I decided that I’d had enough of walking on eggshells. I want to come home and watch TV when I’m tired without being accused of hogging the television. I want to have a grown up conversation when someone is annoyed with something I’ve done, not get called rude and offensive names. I want to have the guy I’m dating come over without getting a note telling him to put the toilet seat down. I may want many things, but none of them are unreasonable. So the apartment search begins…again. Fingers crossed!

And please send good karma my way for the strength to last 32 more days in this place. Because for the last 8 days since the name-calling, I’ve been finding it difficult to eat, my stomach is always in knots, I cry randomly, I avoid home like there’s a plague there (which there sort of is), and I’m nervous constantly. Thank heavens for the wonderful Chicago friends I have for keeping my distracted as much as possible and talking me off a ledge. I will get through this…and I’ll probably be able to eat a horse when I’m moved.

I read an appropriately great quote today that helped me feel justified in my needing to move. I only have one life and I gotta do what’s right for me before this life is adios: “At our age, the end is no longer an abstraction. It’s not in the periphery; it is right in front of us – and has definable features. All roads lead to the Big Adios.”

-Tony Fitzpatrick

New City newspaper

Monogamy = No Sharing = I Love It

Growing up, my brother and I had different interests and ideas of what was fun. He didn’t share his GI Joes, and I certainly didn’t let him take my Barbies. Yes, I learned to share in preschool, but sharing my lunch (heaven forbid I don’t get to eat that entire peanut butter sandwich my dad had so carefully prepared) or my childhood sweethearts was definitely a no-go. I’m admitting it, I don’t like to share. I didn’t back in the day, and I don’t now. When I told my friends that I’d met a pretty cool guy who fit my 5 criteria and that I’d rather get off online dating (also known as, offline dating) and see what happens with just him (yes, only him, no one else), here are the responses that I got: “Are you sure you want to put all of your eggs in one basket?” And “what about the pair and a share theory?” And this multi-dating thing is good in theory, but really freakin’ hard in practice.

An article that I recently read stated it best:

My free-spirited dream self who’d swill wine in Costa Rica wanted to believe Kainoa was the first of many flings I would have until I fell upon the right guy, or the right guy for the moment, but the serial monogamist part of myself, the part that had been in one serious relationship after another since I was 18, was dying for him to call. Dying for him to fawn over me. Dying, secretly, in the most embarrassing depths of my soul, for this random surfer dude to be “it” so I didn’t have to do any more work.

I am a monogamist. I want one guy to love only me while I only love him. Why share when I can eat that whole pb sammie all by myself? And as another friend said, “Isn’t that where we ultimately want to be?” In the end, it’s only 2 people. Why not live that way all the time? So, as my dating saga continues, it continues with only 1 guy who’s taking out to dinners, inviting me to friend’s birthday parties, and sending me text messages whenever he thinks about me. I like this monogamy thing, I think I’ll stick with it for a while.

MFIOD, P2*

*Translation: My Foray Into Online Dating, Part Two

Date #4 was with a TV editor. Because it’s a small world after all, he was born and raised in Ottawa, IL! Definitely up on his English grammar, this guy could write well and even used capital letters! We had good chat and he paid for dinner, which in my book is a W. I was held back, though, by the fact that he could be gay. He was wearing a parka with a faux fur hood (sorry if you’re straight and you own one), leather gloves, and gave the rice bowl a tighter hug than he did me at the end of the date. We left with no future plans, but I would’ve seen him again if the opportunity had presented itself…especially if it presented itself in the plane that he flies. (Update: two weeks after the date and no word. I’m not fussed; I like bear hugs and cuddling anyway.)

 

Date #5 must be related to #3 – they both cancel at the last minute. This guy claimed he was sick and wanted to reschedule for the following week. My week’s busy, so he might not make the cut. You might be a comedian, but it ain’t funny to cancel 3 hours before a date. (Update: he texted me two weeks later; but no plans to hang out)

 

Date #6 is going to hate me for this because he’s read my blog and anxiously awaits his report card, but all I’ll say is that the date was good enough for a second date with the same guy…now that only took six guys’ phone numbers and numerous stupid douchebags’ messages to find! (Update: the second date was fun – went to a yummy Italian place and watched a blue grass band – but dropped it to friend zone. I’m searching for that spark with someone to make continuing to date him worth it.)

 

Date #7 is from Ecuador, only having lived in the US since college when he learned to speak English. He has a cute accent, but then again, aren’t most accents hottt? (An aside, I miss you British boys and your dreamy lilt.) He talked a lot, probably because I’m a good prompter so as to get the attention off of me. A kiss on the cheek sent me off, with a text the next day asking for another date. Bonus: our children would be bilingual…oh wait, maybe I shouldn’t admit that as an attraction after one date?? (Update: we had plans on Friday night at a “hipster lounge with a DJ,” all I’ll say is great enough for date #3 this week!)

 

Date #8…Two facts: swing dancer and works for a placed called Nerdery = ‘nuff said? No? You’d like to hear more, you say? Two more facts: he took me to a pancake house for dinner (ate the bacon waffle, mmm, sooo good) and said I had a good complexion. Still want more? He was nice, he was funny, he was awkward, he walked me home, he didn’t even try to kiss me at the door. Overall, C+ kinda date. (Update: there have been no more exchange of texts, guess we both got the hint.)

 

Date #9 was full of good ol’ fashioned banter. We discussed dates we’d been on, dating in general, and online dating – see a theme, here? Besides the piece of spinach that got caught in his teeth (I mean, seriously, how do you tell someone you’ve only just met that he has food in his teeth?!), it was a fairly good date. We have potential plans for a dinner date next week. He swears that if by date 4 with him, I’m not in love, then it won’t work out. Suspiciously…intriguing??

Stats: 1 month, 9 potentials, 2 cancels, 7 first dates, 2 second dates, no love…yet

 

If you want to read about Dates #1-3, click here: http://newcitylifeadventure.tumblr.com/post/40428279845/my-foray-into-online-dating

Grammar Police

I am a stickler for good grammar and spelling. Whether it’s on Facebook, in an email, a text, and especially on dating sites, if your grammar and spelling suck, I’m judging. Maybe that’s unfair, but 6 years as a teacher, 5 of which were teaching the basics of the English language, and 1.5 years as an editor have made me the grammar police. That being said, reading online profiles and messages from adults can be traumatizing to my inner English snob. To help the guys hoping to woo me over the Internet, here’s a list of some grammar must-haves.

5 ways to win over an editor and former third grade teacher:

1. I is always spelled with a capital letter when you’re referring to oneself or me. It is never i’m, ever.

2. Homophones are tricky words to spell; I taught third grade so, believe me, I know. But basic knowledge of your v. you’re and to, too, and two is a rite of passage…from elementary school. And for the love of god, some is never spelled sum unless you’re doing some addition.

3. Emails are not typically formal on dating sites, but it never hurts to add a salutation and/or closing. All the adults are doing it.

4. Complete sentences are a must. If your third grade teacher let you pass onto fourth grade, this is definitely a lesson you’ve encountered. Subject + predicate = complete sentence!

5. Periods, capitals, and grade school spelling are all a basic life lesson. Use them wisely and all the time.

I wrote this piece a few weeks ago when I was frustrated with the lack of elementary knowledge in the online messages I’d received. Having recently dug it up, I’m appalled that I needed to write this; I had the same expectations from nine-year-olds, so isn’t it ridiculous that I need to tell an adult to do the same things?

What?! Only Three??

When girls get together, we talk about boys; it’s inevitable, even only when we’ve just met one another. At a recent alumnae Kappa brunch (which, on a side note, I’m psyched about finding – new friends, new restaurants!), a girl mentioned a book she was reading about relationships. In the grand scheme of finding a partner, you can’t be too picky, it states. Instead, choose a top three that you just can’t live without.

This teensy list is hard to do because every time I meet a guy, another thing I “just can’t stand” gets added to my list. Chews with his mouth open? No-no. Fidgets like he’s missing his meth? Buh-bye. Wears sneakers on a first date? Don’t call me again! By now, my ever-growing list has become an eyesore and a brain-sore. Maybe the fidgeter who wore white socks and dress shoes was really funny and intelligent, but I just couldn’t get past the glaring white beneath the table.

If I continue to live this way, I’ll end up with a ridiculous amount of particulars and single. Lists don’t cuddle very well or buy me fancy dinners. That means no more hard-nosed judging, only open-mindedness. So what are the three things I just can’t live without? Hell, I don’t know! Who can only pick three things to like about a guy! So, here’s my list that I can whittle down at a later date:

1.    Attractive – I don’t care that I put it as #1, this shit is important! If I don’t want to suck your face at the end of the first date, then I certainly will not want to go any further every day for the rest of my life. I won’t get too particular here, though, because I don’t necessarily prefer blondes over brunettes, 7 foot tall or 5 foot 8, muscular vs. hipster skinny.

2.    Chemistry – Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Sparks usually occur within the first 10 seconds of meeting someone, but if it’s true chemistry, the sparks will last through the entire first date, continuing through the first make-out sess, and into every date thereafter. That includes the thrill of hearing the ding of a text message and the anticipation before each date.

3.    Affable – It’s true, that if you aren’t nice to me, my dad, my brother, my 27 uncles, and my niece will all kick your ass. But, that’s not really what I mean here. True gentlemen open the door, pay for the first date, and offer to hold to your purse. All kidding aside since this isn’t Hong Kong, what I really mean is that guys I date need to be socially aware, nice to waiters, smile when others talk to them, etc.  Affable guys are happy and polite.

4.    Good sense of humor – I like to laugh (don’t we all??), so if you aren’t funny, then you aren’t getting any. I’m a pretty easy laugh, but I don’t do corny and I don’t do stupid. Sarcasm is gold in my book, so if you can use your wit, gold star for you!

5.    Cultured – I’ve traveled the world and I need a man who’s seen more than just the Midwest. Cornfields are great and all, but a passport is better. You don’t have to have been to 20 countries or even outside of the U.S…er…North America, okay, even if you’ve only left once…to another continent. It’s important to me that the guy I’m with is accepting of others that are different than him and understand that America may be the land of the beautiful, but that even more beautiful things lie outside of these boundaries. Part of being cultured is being intelligent and non-judgmental.

Now, these top 5 are purposely vague so as to be open to interpretation by my psyche when I meet a guy. This list isn’t that hard to accomplish, but when you add in the 100 other things I’m judging every guy on, then it’s no freakin’ wonder I’m single. Okay, I’m working on that! Top 5 – boom!

Taking Chicago by storm…one date, one yoga class, one salsa lesson, one blog post, one trip, one drink, one meal, one new friendship at a time.