Monday, September 12, 2005

Hello and where do you live?

Do I have a billboard on my back that says, "Help me, I'm desperate for a man?" I know EV's mom means the best for me, but these attempts to set me up are bizarre. Of the three people my mother's friends have tried to set me up with, none of them have roots in the area. Why is it okay to arrange meetings between people who potentially live hundreds of miles apart?

1) Guy in Taiwan: His selling point was that he *might* be moving back to the states. Yeah, uh, okay.

2) Guy in Vancouver: Okay, he seems like a decent set up. For once I'd say they chose a bit more appropriately. But really, how is this supposed to work if we like each other? My mom's reponse was, oh I'm sure he'd be willing to come visit you every week or two. I feel uncomfortable imposing on his time like that. This is no way to establish a relationship with someone. I don't even have the capability to dial internationally from my home phone.

3) EV's mom wants me to sit next to the 1st cousin, who is a physician, at her wedding. Oh, and did we mention, in two months he's moving to St. Louis. Yeah, that's a good time to start a relationship. At the wedding, his name card got moved around (not by me, by accident) and he ended up sitting across. Well, he didn't seem to be very excited to be there. He did attempt to make conversation with the woman next to him, the groom's sister. But otherwise, I don't feel he made much effort to talk to people further away from him at the table. I just didn't like the displeased look on his face.

Come on. If I had one request for people out there who want to set friends or children up on dates, I'd ask them to first meet the other person and ask themselves if this person is a potential fit. Even my own mother admits a couple of the guys seemed inappropriate. This is not something you do randomly, PLEASE think through what the two people are like before you force them to spend three hours together over dinner. The Asian mentality of, they'll get along because their both [insert your nationality here] is too simplistic. You know your friend/child at least enough to have an idea of their personality and what won't work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Intuition answered the phone

I had talked with Vancouver since his call after our date. I knew he was in Germany for work but not for how long. Frankly works been a mess so the thought hadn't crossed my mind to e-mail him out of politeness. A week had passed before I paused to think about the situation. Frankly, my conclusion was that if I couldn't take a few minutes to think about him, this really wasn't something that was appealing to me.

He's a nice guy. He's the kind of "safe" man you can date and marry. Sadly it lacks excitement. And though there's no guarantee that married life will stay exciting, I suppose you ideally still want a man who has that potential. Starting out boring says something about personality and compatability to me.

So I let another week go by without doing anything. Given that he was out of the country, I figured I'd hear from him eventually. I was on my cell phone when the home phone rang Sunday evening. As I came to the phone, I wondered who was calling. In a moment of clarity, I realized that it might be Alan, so I chose to let the answering machine pick up.

I was right. "Thank God!" is what went through my mind. I didn't want to have another droll conversation pretending to be entertained. I also wasn't ready to discuss next steps. Hearing his message, however, I knew I needed to respond. Monday, I composed an e-mail expressing my honest doubt in my ability to keep up with a long distance relationship where neither of us know much about the other. I didn't assign blame and chose my words carefully so as not to imply that I am not attracted to him. Moreover I explained that I need someone close by who I can spend time with. That wasn't going to happen anytime soon in this scenario and I was skeptical it would work.

Yesterday, I received his reply. He was very gracious and admitted he also had to think about next steps and was at a loss. Maybe he was just saying that out of disappointment, but it's fine. I have to be honest with myself. I deserve to be happy, not just content. I feel bad. I feel like I should have tried harder, meaning called and given it a couple more dates. But why when I felt so little attraction and felt that maybe I was doing this more for my parents than myself. I need to get past that and do what I want.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Blind" date Saturday

I finally met with the Vancouver guy in person. We've been exchanging e-mails and a few phone calls for more than a month. I really appreciate his effort in coming to visit me. Fortunately his sister lives in the area which makes the trip a little less complicated.

He came to me door promptly at 11:30am. I didn't make a big deal or ceremony out of our first meeting. He looked like his pictures - not handsome but not unattractive. I must admit that I find part of myself going through the motions more for the sake of my parents than out of my own desire. Dating is not what is used to be. The whole process has taken on a sense of duty rather than excitement and curiousity. I find it sad to even think or write this opinion.

We hopped into his rental car and talked about where to eat lunch. I gave him several quick, local options. I left the decision up to him and we went to the local Hawaiian barbeque. I can't recall any specific conversation. It seemed fine. He was very direct about using our time together to learn more about each other. It's usually this unspoken thing about the early dates, but given our limited time it was fine to be honest about the purpose of the day.

After lunch we drove to Pacifica for a hike around near Montara. The hours of walking proved a good way to have many little conversations be it about childhood, family, work, career, and current events. He implied with many of his comments that he had done a bit to try and plan out the day's activities. It was clear he wanted to make a good impression given that he had sought out advice from friends about his dress and manners during our date.

(I find myself becoming distressed and emotional from writing this. Obviously there are other issues I need to discuss and think through. Clearly, I've been surpressing some issues and need to confront them. I imagine much of it is related to my mother and to my dear Tim.)

Afterwards we drove over to San Mateo to eat popsicles as Whole Foods. He seemed quite happy and pleased with our time together. He hinted he had no plans for the evening and asked what I wanted to do. I felt like it was fine to have dinner as it gave us more opportunity to get to know each other. See how open-minded I was.

At the end of dinner, Alan was very direct. He asked about next steps and I had no idea how to respond. Frankly, I think I finally realized how complicated and inconvenient a relationship this would become. It would be so slow going seeing each other *maybe* every 6 weeks. Where can this go when you barely know each other? I also realized that to Alan's previous comments, I think having so little contact with each other would grow his perfect and unrealistic image of me. The whole things would be headed for disappointment and that expectation grew into someone I am not. I've seen enough times how having only weekends to spend with each other avoids the bad moods and serious intimacy that must be forged between two people. When you don't see each other regularly, you fail to observe the "bad" days. Everyone has them, you have to know you are okay with them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Never leaves the city

Tongs was another fellow that I met from BAARE. He was cute though he had a young face. I enjoyed talking with him that night. I remember that I loved that he complained that Southern California was too hot for him which is why he prefers it here. Not many people make that comment and I felt I'd found a friend.

We agreed to meet for dinner in PA after work about two weeks after first meeting. I showed up on time but wasn't sure whether to wait at the door or go into the restaurant. I couldn't see well into the restaurant nor could I remember his face well. Thinking he'd be late, I stood outside reading the local paper.

Minutes later, my phone rang and it was Tongs calling because he was sitting down already and saw me outside. I felt a little embarrassed. We order two spicy dishes and chatted.

Everything seemed to go pretty well. I felt like we had some great conversation about living in the city and work. He had no problem admitting he's a city guy. He even acknowledged that he hates venturing outside of it. That was a bit odd but okay. He works rather difficult hours. As a technician for a financial company he has to be available the same hours as the market. That means he's up at 3am each day. I guess he rotates with one other guy so he has only does this for a week or so each month. Still - eeck. He acknowledged that he's been thinking about doing something different but the convenience of the city and time off peaks were nice.

After dinner, he asked I wanted to join him at a cafe. Wow, I thought that's pretty good that he still wants to hang out. I was enjoying his company, so I went along. I learned about his relationship with his parents. He talked about his married sister and trying to visit when he could. We talked about family and how we interact with various members of it. I learned that he's close with his uncle and how he's used as an IT resource but doesn't mind too much. Maybe he had a pattern that was routine for him to get to know women. The cafe conversation got very personal, something I don't expect much on a first date. I felt good that I could be myself and not worry about how he'd interpret what I said. It's what I've always sensed from tv and movies is supposed to be an important things to understand when you date someone. I thought we had done well.

Tongs was a gentleman throughout the evening. He gave me the leftovers, he opened doors, and he walked me to my car. On the way to the car, he asked for my last name. He said he like knowing people's last names. I think he was entering it into his cell phone. I'm not sure, but I think my choice of cars scared him. As we walked towards it, I pointed out that it was a station wagon. He seemed genuinely perplexed and maybe a little frightened by that fact. Oh well, I think that's silly if my "family" car scares a guy. I think it's a very practical car and I certainly chose it for different reasons though I acknowledge that I hope it will be used for family purposes someday.

The next day I thanked him for dinner. He wrote a very brief e-mail commenting that he enjoyed it as well. I never heard from him again. Whatever.

I talked with Is later that week. Turns out we had both had dates with Tongs. In both cases it seems things had gone well. But neither time did he choose to follow up. I wonder if he's a bit of a player? Younger men... (shrug shoulders).

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Poker guy

One of the guys I met at the BAARE event was Michael. He seemed okay at the time though Is was not impressed with him. We matched preferences and he e-mailed me immediately. I've learned over time that I'm not very good about communicating by e-mail so I encouraged us to meet sometime after work.

One key thing I've learned is that unless you're totally comfortable meeting someone, don't commit to more than a drink. Dinner means a minimum two hours where you better be able to talk to each other. On the other hand, a drink means maybe 45 minutes to assess the situation and either walk away or extend the evening. Going to cafes that close early or having a friend call at a predetermined time-point are great ways to force the end of the date.

The only thing I remembered about Michael from the speed dating was his recent experience trying to get into a poker tournament. It interested me since so many of my friends and I enjoy playing casual games of hold 'em. During the course of conversation with him, I learned that he thought it was odd that I was so interested in that. I was surprised because I was just using it for conversation.

He seemed very nervous throughout the date. I felt like I had to dig a bit to keep the conversation running. It was mostly me ask him questions. We talked a bit about real estate. He told me about the house he had bought and sold in Pleasanton. His newest investment was a condo in LAs Vegas associated with the MGM Grand. I learned a lot from him about how the condo is yours, but the hotel rents it out when you're not present and splits the income. It's an interesting concept.

The problem with the date was his nervousness. He made some comments that I didn't know how to deal with. He would laugh nervously and "compliment" me. At one point he commented that I'm very smart. Unfortunately he said it was a very uncomfortable laugh. I say "thank you" hesistantly. I didn't know what to say next. Clearly he was concerned about our ability to relate. As nice as he was, that behavior was the last straw for me. I never felt much of a connection to him and his insecurity highlighted my doubts.

I simply excused myself, saying it was late. As we headed out the door he expressed his satisfaction with the evening and inquired whether he could ask me out again. I panicked a bit at this point because I didn't have the nerve to say "no" to his face. In cowardly fashion, I lied and said, "yeah, but not this week because I'm going to be really busy." With that I shook his hand and said goodnight. I couldn't look at him as I walked away.

I'm relieved to say that he never did write. I think he knew that I was not very comfortable with the situation.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Group experiment

So this is more of a flashback to an event I forgot to mention. BAARE events have grown kind of stale for me. But since I wanted to try the speed dating process once, I thought this would be a good opportunity. Somehow it became four of us, Is, Jw, EH, and me.

We all met near the Mont station where EH's sister kindly picked us up and drove us down to the bar where the event was being held. AS we arrived the fobish guy pulled up in his bright blue Nissan Z. He parked it directly out front of the place. All I could think was "insecure Asian nerd complex." He wasn't a very attractive guy be it his grooming or clothing.

The four of us sat around a bar table very apprehensive and skeptical of the whole situation. Sure enough, Mr. Z tried to come over and talk with us. Ugh. I know it's bad to judge by looks but he just seemed so dull. I think we all felt bad but we just didn't want to talk to him. Going off to the bathroom helped to shake him.

Some other guys who approached us were much more sociable. Speed dating itself often creates a very artificial mode of talking. Most of the guys seemed fine, but I'd have to say that there was no one in particular that caught my attention.

There were actually several guys I recognized before the dating started. This is why I hadn't been to an event in awhile. I was hoping to get a fresher batch of men to meet. I said "hi" to PL, a guy who I've now met three times at these events. The funny thing is both of us admitted that this was the first one we participated in in probably a year. What kind of coincidence is that?

I think we met some 22 guys that night. The one thing I don't like about the format is the randomness of the people and the sheer numbers. This particular organization allows everyone to meet everyone. It's overwhelming and exhausting.

Is and me ended up sitting in a little lounge area for the event. Jw and EH were around the corner at two bar tables. This would be interesting consider we could compare notes afterwards. Is would be the first of the four of us to encounter most of the guys are they were traveling in a counter-clockwise format.

admittedly it's been awhile. Vin seemed like a decent guy. He was very friendly and sociable with both of us. I think Is determined that he was decently close to us in age though he didn't look it. A group of good looking guys came together. In the end I found out that all knew the organizer and had been coaxed there. After our post-dating discussions we figured most of them we just having fun there and not really serious.

I remet one guy whom I had matched with last June. Although I exchanged a few e-mails I never met up with him because he lives across the bay. Plus I was already dealing with dates with three or four other fellows at the time and couldn't handle it. He seems like a decent guy, but somehow he didn't grab enough attention.

One guy that many of us seemed to like worked at CalPine. He was decent looking and had a very mellow demeanor. Strangely, he didn't identify any of us as people he wanted to e-mail. I can only wonder what he was looking for.

One of the more annoying guys was this sportscaster. The minute he sat down with me he asked why Asian men can't date white women. He was very defensive and loud throughout the conversation. The whole thing was so bizarre because it didn't feel like he really wanted to be there. How stupid is it to attend a speed dating event and sound like you're resentful for not being able to attract woman who are nowhere in the building?

I thought there were a couple other nice guys but they seemed rather young. It didn't really matter what I thought since they didn't match me. This one guy was really trying hard with our group. After the event was over he sat with us as we filled out our final match selections. It was a little annoying that he kept trying to see if we picked him. Not a smooth move.

The results came back quickly, the next morning in fact. All in all I think I had six names. I ended up contacting two of them. Maybe there was a third I should have written back but I couldn't remember whether I really wanted to. No more BAARE for me. I would be willing to give C2A another chance, however, because I felt like the mix of people there was better despite the fact I would "date" fewer men.

Monday, June 06, 2005


My mother is driving me mad. Allowing myself to be fixed up by her and her friends has opened a Pandora's box. I'm incredibly frustrated with things going on behind the scenes that I have no control over. I feel like my life is an open box that people car peer into without asking.

This weekend I received a message from my dad. He asked whether they had permission to give a picture of me to the mother of the guy they want me to meet. (I've been exchanging e-mail with him for two weeks. Mom also implied in a previous e-mail that his mom was going to meet with him this month and try and set up a time for us to meet.

Maybe some people are more amenable to this sort of thing. Maybe I'm not being very appreciative. This is just not my style. I'm not good at being told what to do when it comes to being told what's good for me. As much as I love my parents, I live away from my parents for a reason.

I don't know that my mother understands how upsetting and frustrating this whole situation is. She's making me miserable. I can't enjoy myself when I have to worry about her constantly.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Compatibility versus chemistry

So here's the second half of today's "Dear Abby"

"DEAR ABBY: I am a 29-year-old woman who wants very much to get married. I have been dating a wonderful man who wants to marry me. I'll call him "Byron." Byron is intelligent, kind, generous, comes from the same background I do, and shares my values. In short, he is absolutely everything I have ever dreamed of in a husband. He's not bad-looking, either.
The only problem is I feel very little physical attraction to him. It is not Byron's fault; the chemistry just isn't really there.
I am very confused. Part of me reasons that physical passion tends to fade over the years anyway, and I would be crazy to pass up a man who has so much else to offer. Another part of me feels that I'm not really in love with Byron, so it would be a mistake to marry him.
What should I do? Please hurry your reply -- he is waiting for an answer. -- CONFUSED IN CAMBRIDGE, MASS.
DEAR CONFUSED: Before you discard a man who has all of the attributes you describe, I suggest you ask him to wait just a little longer. You could benefit greatly by talking this out with a counselor who, in a nonjudgmental and unbiased way, can help you to organize your priorities."

I felt sad when I read this. It's not the position I'm in, but I feel like I could have been there with Tim. There are still days I wonder very similar things to what this woman writes. How many people out there feel this way about their significant others? What did they do?

Help organize priorities. Is that what I am supposed to be doing? I don't even know what to say to that.