Saturday, September 30, 2006

Still on the burner

I haven't mentioned Limey in awhile. The fact is, with all my recent travels, we've been unable to meet up. We have, however, exchanged some e-mails. He's been very good about keeping track of when I'm in town and makes sure to say "hello."

They're very friendly e-mails. We'll both share a little about what we've been up to, nothing more. He actually has been very busy with his new roomies, two kittens he adopted from the shelter. It sounds like he's been having a great time with them. I imagine they're pretty cute. My only concern... I'm badly allergic to some varieties of cats, though not all types it seems. We'll have to see how that plays out. I've never dated anyone who had four-legged pets.

Limey's made it very clear a couple times that he'd like to have dinner with me. It's just a matter of finding a day we're both available. That day should be coming up soon.

I thought about mentioning him before, but with everything going on, he's not been a priority. After all, I barely know the guy. The other day I was thinking that it's actually a good thing he hasn't been on my mind. Incessantly rambling about him would mean that I was obsessing and any possibility of a relationship would be doomed. Here's to not thinking about dating!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Love is...

My brother is getting married this weekend. In preparation, I've been reading up on passages that people recite during wedding ceremonies for inspiration. The thing is, I still don't feel like I understand how you know you truly love someone. How is it different from being good friends?

I want to leave these two writings as thoughts for the weekend.

A passage from First Corinthians, chapter 13:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

From Ann Landers:
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It takes root and grows, one day at a time. It is quiet understanding and mature acceptance of imperfection. It gives you strength and grows beyond you to bolster your beloved. You are warmed by his presence, even when he is away. Miles do not separate you. But near or far, you know he is yours and you can wait. Love means trust. You are calm, secure and unthreatened. He feels your trust, and it makes him even more trustworthy.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Component of the compatibility equation

Being around all these married people got me to thinking the other day. It's something that's awkward to talk about and that I certainly would never share with friends for fear of it getting back to the men in question.

Sex is a significant emotional bond for me which is why I've never been casual about it. My partners are all people I knew and, for the most part, dated for a period of time. While I'm not religious, I grew up expecting not to be intimate with more than a couple men by the time I got married. That's not exactly what's happened, but my number is still manageable.

I've been with enough men to know that the stories you hear from friends, read in books, and see in tv shows have a healthy amount of truth to them. Men are ultra-sensitive about certain things. Size does matter in some respects. People have different techniques that work for them. Everyone has their limits of adventure and propriety in the bedroom. This all brings me to the question at hand, one that in the end I hope I won't have to worry about - how important should sexual chemistry be in a relationship?

The examples I refer to during my thought process are (and keep in mind the measurements provided are all relative):

1) Someone who I really liked. He felt like the average length but had a pencilish girth. He sometimes got soft if we paused too long and had some difficultly... climaxing. It could have been lack of contact, nervousness, whatever. I feared making him more insecure and never said much about it. The result for me was that there were times that I just needed him to finish. Because I liked him so much, it was something I was willing to accept.

2) A man who I felt totally at ease with. We always had great communication about dating and what we were looking for in someone. He was very attentive in bed, eager to try to please me. In his case, however, he was finishing too fast. Foreplay was a challenge because it was enough to set him off, but he'd finish just when I had warmed up. Such frustrating timing! While he had ample girth, sadly, his shorter stature made more difference than I expected. It really bothered me, but what could I possibly say to him.

3) A guy who really just wanted a friends with benefits situation. He definitely had enough experience to be exciting. Sometimes it felt like a porno movie the way with how he talked and the adventures we had. Healthy length, average girth, just a little overweight. It never would have worked out as a dating situation, our backgrounds and attitudes were too different. And, honestly, after a few months, I became uninterested in the "show." I wanted something more tender and meaningful.

Is this all normal? Was I wrong to settle for the situation because I wanted things to go well? I give him credit for trying. I know in the beginning he was nervous because he liked me as much as I did him. We didn't communicate well; that was one of the downfalls of the relationship. In the second case, I made my frustrations very clear at times. Dare I guess that I might have been a bit harsh? It did get better, but I knew not all the "problems" would ever correct themselves. What a horrid feeling it was to be factoring his size into my attraction. The last example proved to me that I'm not a casual girl because I get too emotionally involved with men.

I haven't been active in awhile... long enough that I can only recall the last encounter sometime within a six month range. As I consider dating again, I think about this for many reasons. As conservative as my sexual history is, in my old age (ha ha), I feel I'm getting MORE conservative. There are days I'd rather just wait until I get married to have sex again. But then, that's crazy, because as my friend once commented, "it's nice to have a test drive before you buy the car." On the other hand, I know that part of a good relationship is taking the risk to be more intimate, on many levels. I have to be careful not to hold back too much.

I don't need amazing, incredible, sex all the time. Maybe I'm setting my expectations too low, but I feel like that time has passed. I heard all that happening through adjoining dorm and apartment walls over the years. Perhaps it's because I've rarely achieved orgasm during intercourse. Whatever the cause, real sex life is not as glamorous to me as our culture would lead you to expect. Sometimes I wish I could be more hedonistic and just have fun - let go the emotional baggage. Don't get me wrong, I like sex, I miss it. I enjoy being with someone, expressing passion and love, sharing our bodies. These days, I want to feel a real connection.

How much sexual compatibility is reasonable to want or expect? How much of it simply develops with time? Where in the overall compatibility equation does sex belong? How much weight does this element deserve? This will differ for every person, but what I wonder is how much is a fair trade-off versus giving up too much or expecting something unrealistic.

Knowing myself better: Part II

[exhale] And now, the other half of the get-to-know-myself questions. Gosh, these are tough.

11) What bores you? What never bores you?
Going to bars and clubs; listening to music.

12) How important is money to you? How much time do you think about it, and what income level do you aspire to?
Sadly, money is the means to many things, especially if one chooses to live where the cost of living is high. I keep track of money, but I probably don't manage it well enough. It's not an obsession, but I believe in trying to get the best from what I spend. Sure, it's be nice to win the lottery, but I would be happy if I had enough to afford a decent house, pay for my kids' educations, and retire comfortably.

13) What is the role of God in your life? What is God like in relation to you?
I don't think I believe in God, at least I don't believe he has a hand in everyone's day-to-day life. Who has time to personally monitor 6 million people?

14) In order, what are your three strongest interests?
This seems like such a simple question, and yet I can't come up with an interesting answer. Or maybe I'm just really boring. I like learning, but I don't have a passion for anything specific. I enjoying planning trips and seeing the world. Cooking, wonderful cooking; it's very therapeutic, and you get something yummy to eat at the end.

15) Who is your biggest enemy, and precisely how and why did this person become your enemy?
Gee, I hope I don't have one. Sure, there are people who don't like me, but I'd never call them enemies. The only enemy I can think of is myself. There are so many expectations, so many preformed prejudices that end up being obstacles to me being a better, happier person.

16) How important is food to you? Do you think of it very often, and do you feel disciplined in your management of food intake?
I definitely enjoy experiencing a variety of foods. If I have too much salty food I soon need to balance that with something sweet. I'm usually well-disciplined about food although it doesn't reflect what I saw on the scale this week. Gulp!

17) Does the idea of being married to the same person for the rest of your life sound appealing to you or not? What about it would you especially like or not like?
Deep down, I'm a homebody. I don't need to go far, but I'd like to be around people whom I love and love me. The idea of getting comfortable and enjoying life with someone is totally peaceful.

18) Do you think of yourself as an emotionally healthy person? In what ways are you healthy and in what ways could you improve?
Honestly, no, I think I'm a wreck emotionally. However, my disposition certainly doesn't contribute to my self-esteem. One of the reasons I keep writing is to learn about myself. It helps me recognize and remember the consequences of my behavior. I think the simplest thing I can do to help myself is to think positively and stop worrying about what others think (but that's the hard one for me).

19) What is the role of conflict in your life? Do you argue or fight much with the people closets to you? How does it turn out for you?
I hate conflict. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable because I fear saying the wrong things and hurting other people's feeling, embarrassing myself, or making the situation worse. Whenever I need to have a serious talk with someone, I have to think through the conversation in my mind beforehand. I've learned from past mistakes that avoiding conflict can be as bad or worse than speaking up. It's getting better.

20) What specifically would you like your closest friends to say about you at your funeral?
Hmmmm, there's a scary question. Full of knowledge, loves to help, smart, energetic, outgoing, competitive, hard on myself, capable, independent, good.

I'm not sure whether I like these answers, but this is what came to mind. The question is, what am I supposed to now do with this information? How will this help me identify a man who is suitable to date?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Vacation memories

It was pouring rain at the car rental agency - a dilapidated old house in a dirt lot, surrounded by a ring of cars. We stopped in town for lunch and ate at a restaurant that was a mix of locals and tourists trying to find a place open for lunch. It was around 11:30am. There was at least one local who was clearly intoxicated circling the bar. He looked like he was about to trip over himself, turned towards our booth, and mumbled some incoherent comment towards Chi.

This was the view on the initial drive of the vacation. We had a good two hour drive to reach our first planned stop along a lake. There was plenty of great scenery to see (when we weren't taking turns napping in the car from the exhaustion of getting up at 4am). We were even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a moose along a creek. At the lake was a Victorian style hotel. The lobby was filled with people enjoying the views and having drinks before dinner. It felt like a movie setting, like "Dirty Dancing" of "Somewhere in Time" where families take summer vacations at classy, old resort hotels.

This is just a cute picture of the soap provided at the hotels. I love the orange contrast and the wet shiny coat on the bear. By the last couple nights, we worn him down enough that he could no longer stand unless he leaned against something. (I hate wasting perfectly good soap and the accumulated environment impact, so I wrapped him up and took him to each of our hotels during the vacation.)

One of the things we got pretty lucky with was viewing the wildlife. Chi constantly commented, "it's like being on safari."After talking with other people later in the trip, we felt very fortunate to encounter the variety of animals we did. There was a bit of confusion about what we were looking at when we first spotted this herd. These are elk because of their darker necks. Deer have a more uniform color. The stag of this clan turned out to be in another clearing just behind the trees to the left.

What might not be obvious from the pictures is how cold it felt. It lightly snowed all day Saturday. It melted as soon as it hit the ground at the lower elevations (less than 7500 ft.). It certainly wasn't ideal for vacation, but it sure gave us some lovely pictures. I think it also made the animals more comfortable about exploring since the sunlight was muted by the clouds. The sight of a black bear and two cubs was engrossing. Dozens of people abandoned their cars for more than 30 minutes watching the family run through the trees. We scurried up the road more than 500 ft. to keep up with them. The ranger was limited in controlling the traffic and pedestrian congestion. I witnessed just how fast a bear can climb a tree (and now understand why that's not an effective means of escape). Mama bear climbed to the very tops of the pine trees, shook or broke off branches with her powerful arms, and the cubs would chase the freed pine cones down the hill. So cute!

On another day, we came across a different group of elk. This male was big. The ranger said that he probably measured 6 ft. from the top of his rear to the ground. Just imagine how tall the front of #10 is when you add the head and antlers. The ranger liked talking about how this particular stag was very aggressive. They've cut his antlers twice before for attacking cars. All the locals are waiting to see what happens when stag #10 and #6 meet.

Most of the park consists of beautiful valleys, hillsides and forests. Along one section of road, however, a rockslide occurred some eons ago. For about half a mile, all you see and drive through is this enormous pile of boulders trailing down from the top. Incredible.

We stayed in three different locations, but this was the most rustic. These are literally two-room log cabins that are over 80-years-old. It was also the one place where each of us had our own beds, and we gals were separated from the guy. It made getting ready in the morning much easier. The only thing missing would have been a cozy couch or game table. Definitely a great cabin for families - throw the kids in the other room for some fleeting moments of peace and quiet.

We hiked to an inspiration point on one of the warmest days of the vacation. In one day, our pictures show us in what appear to be three different outfits. That's because we kept peeling off layers as we got warmer. This was the one day both Chi and I managed to wear short-sleeve shirts for a few hours. The climb got quite rocky, but I found I actually prefer this to dry dirt because there's less chance of slipping. The rocky ledge was pretty safe though I know a couple people who would have been uncomfortable with looking down.

While we were waiting for a chance to see a moose appear, I had my one geeky moment. Doesn't this look like a Klingon battle cruiser from the original Star Trek series? ;) Tim just laughed and commented, "what are you talking about," when I suggested the idea. He was looking at a different cloud but also thought I was weird.

The interesting human story in all this was learning about some of the people who work in national parks. I observed three types: retired, young college graduates, and college students. The retired folks have what sounds like an ideal arrangement, work or volunteer at a park for the season and move onto to another park for the next season. What a great way to enjoy nature. The college graduates are the guys who want to enjoy life and just get by for now. They're young, athletic men who take simple jobs and shift to the ski resorts during the winter where they can ski for five months and get paid to give ski and snowboarding lessons. The last group is a mix. There was definitely your group of average American college student trying to pay for school. A large number of the service staff were foreign students, especially Eastern Europeans, who came here to earn some money and improve their English. It makes me wish I'd spend a couple seasons of my younger life doing something more for the location rather than the career experience.

That's my vague, non-tourist version of the trip. I have probably 400+ photos from the trip to get through. There are plenty other interesting photos, but they're easily seen in any good coffee table book. The one fun thing about the outdoors in the fall is that all the trees are starting to change color. It was nice to get a preview of the color show the trees about to display.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jumbled brains

I'm back from vacation... no phone, no computer, no Internet... what a concept. It felt bizarre entering my e-mail login and trying to recall my password. It's coming back to my fingers as I log into various accounts. There's this weird rote memory programmed into the muscles of my fingers. They know exactly how many millimeters to extend before depressing the keys below them. (Reminds me of how I could play piano notes with my eyes closed after learning the same song for over a month.)

I just enjoyed the time. Chi and Tim were on the trip too. We experienced some extremes in temperature - highs of 34F one day and 76F two days later. Layering clothes was key to comfort. I thought nothing of work and maybe a cumulative total of 45 minutes about boys [pat on the back]. If I get a chance, maybe I'll post a few curious pictures from the trip.

Reality seeped back in as I looked out the window of the airplane and starting seeing all too familiar landmarks such as freeways, mountains, farming patches, and resevoirs. I have flown so much over the past few years that it doesn't take me long to recognize landmarks. It wasn't long before the geography transitioned from dry, rolling hills to neatly organized grids of cul-de-sac neighborhoods and ant-like streams of cars moving along the freeways. The contrast between the vast empty lands of my vacation and the patterns of modern life leave me wondering how to be happy and survive.

Along with that came the reality that I must figure out what to do about Tim. But that'll have to wait because I have two more non-vacation trips to finish before the end of the month. (Yes, I realize there are only 10 days left this month.) So excuse me if my writing is erratic for a bit...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vacation time

It's vacation time!!! A week of fresh air and no thoughts of work!

Enjoy these last days of summer! Ciao! A bientot!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


All the people I work with are incredibly sharp and dedicated to our product. We're working on a new area and I have some research that will be presented this week. I've previewed the report with the product manager. Normally we work together well. There are times I am more conservative than he is. The results of the research made him uncomfortable because they don't support his project as strongly as he needs. Let's just say he was very unhappy and strongly disagreed with some of the numbers.

I have reminded him many times that research is never perfect because it can never factor all the nuances of real world behavior. He still thinks that much of the research is flawed. That's fine. I'm trying not to take it personally. I disagree with some of his attitude, and other parts I'm open to understanding better.

My issue today is that he let me know he talked with another person about the report. This is someone who will attend the meeting and will have some big influence down the line. He said that he told the other person his issues with the data and gave a specific example of where he thought the results were wrong. The other person agreed with the example and is curious to see the details.

I am upset because I am concerned that by revealing one piece of data and his opinion before the presentation that he has "poisoned the well." How is the other person supposed to look at the research in a neutral and fair manner when he already been told an opinion that the data is flawed? Am I justified in being angry? Is this a case of me taking things too personally? Do I say anything? What is the appropriate reaction?

We'll see what happens. We're all adults, and I have to hope that the other people will draw fair conclusions. (But then again, this is business... and business isn't always about what's logical.) It's unfair to the research to pre-position someone by discrediting the results - right or wrong. People should be given a chance to see things for themselves.

Now that my rant is over... time to go soothe myself with a bag of Cheetos.

Knowing myself better

Over the weekend, I pulled out this book that I've had on my shelf for three years. Admittedly, I bought one of those self-help books on dating a few years ago. I've probably skimmed it twice but never seem to remember it well. One of its teachings in helping a person know who is a good mate is to know oneself. The author encourages starting that process by answering some questions.

I thought it worth a try:

1) Who is the most important person in your life and why?
This was not as easy to answer as I thought. Of course, I think of my family, but that does not represent ONE person. Honestly, the most important person in my life right now is me. No one else will be there when I get into trouble. Ugh, I've been alone too long. Pathetic. Tim is probably close to the top. If I had a pet, I'd say it was the most important thing in my life.

2) What is the one dream for your life you look most forward to achieving?
No surprise here, I want to create a happy family.

3) Who has the capacity to make you angrier than anyone else in your life, and what does he or she do to make you angry?
Sorry Mom, that would be you. Why do you think I choose to live hundreds of miles away? We have different cultural expectations and priorities. Please stop telling me how to live my life. I know you mean well, but I will never make you happy with my choices. It hurts to know that I will always disappoint you. I hate the person I am sometimes because I know it's because of you.

4) Who has the capacity to make you feel loved more than anyone else in your life, and what does he or she do to cause you to feel so lovable?
That is most definitely Tim. No matter what stupid things I say and do, he loves me for who I am. He's always happy to see me. He's told me what makes him think I'm a good person; it's nice to hear. (I guess this will be changing.)

5) What is it like being you? More precisely, how do you feel about yourself - emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually?
Eeck, what a question. I accept that my body is not perfect; it never will be. I don't let it stop me from wearing skirts. Men find me decently attractive. I am intelligent and engaging. On the other hand, I can be very difficult to deal with when my insecurities rear up. I know I'm a good person though my negative attitude can hinder me. On the surface, people think I'm outgoing and independent, but they might be surprised to see the girly side of me at home. I'm probably a bit superstitious but not religious.

6) When do you feel inspired? Who and what contribute to your sense of inspiration?
Reading articles and seeing news stories about people who think about unique ways to help others, like this. I wish I had their ingenuity and dedication to a cause.

7) What is the most important thing in the world to you?
My journals (though pictures are a close second). They help me remember who I am, where I've been, what I've learned, and what I need to do.

8) When do you feel most afraid?
When a problem arises I have no one to turn to for help. That's when I realize how alone I am in this world. Or maybe it's when people expect big things of me, and I feel like I have to fake it. What a fraud.

9) If you had one day to live, how would you want to spend it?
If I had someone special in my life, I'd want to being outside enjoying the scenery and sharing thoughts. Otherwise, I'd choose to spend the time at a lodge, talking and playing games with my closest friends. I don't need some big thrill, just time to connect.

10) If you could accomplish one thing during the rest of your life, what would it be?
Raise some well-rounded, happy children.

Next ten questions to be continued...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Charm school for men teaches the art of the pickup, or keeping the conversation (and the kino) going

This helps explain some of the blogs I've run across in the past.

I think I kind of need the other side of this, so that I can be more clued into who's genuine and who's a player. I can't even tell the difference between someone who's flirting to be friendly versus someone's who's flirting because they want to ask you on a date.

What's Your Sign? / Charm school for men teaches the art of the pickup, or keeping the conversation (and the kino) going

- Reyhan Harmanci, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Charm School Boot Camp instructor Dan Williams -- or the Social Hitchhiker, as he's known in the pickup community, is offering the lesson of the day to a table of men at the Bamboo Hut in North Beach on a recent Friday night.

"OK guys," he says, "I don't want to see you alone. You know what we call that -- lonesome row. I don't want to see you standing alone, ever.

[Podcast: Reyhan Harmanci talks to two pickup artists.]

"Also, don't end a conversation too early. Don't end a conversation before someone, like, pushes you away and says, 'Go away,' " he says, grinning. "Seriously, you can talk to someone for much longer than you think."

The five students, ranging in age from 22 to late 40s, and ranging in career from college student to financier, nod. Their faces are tight. Each has paid $1,600 to spend two and half days learning the art of the pickup from Charisma Arts, a company founded by one of the best-known names in the pickup world, Wayne Elise, a.k.a. Juggler. They have spent most of Friday afternoon in a small room in the Westin St. Francis Hotel, getting to know each other, their instructors and the basic tenets of the Juggler method. They've learned some new words -- "kino" means touching, "PUA" means "pickup artist," "SOI" means "statement of interest," "the vacuum" is the space in conversation that happens after you ask a question. They're role-played and checked in about their feelings. They've asked many, many questions. Some have taken notes.

But now it's time to take those lessons into the field.

While the venue's atmosphere screams "party" with red lights, tiki torches and dance music, the feeling at the table is icy. The increasingly crowded bar seems miles away and a hundred feet tall from the point of view of the seated apprentices.

"OK, guys," says Chad de la Vega, another instructor, sounding like a coach firing up his team of second-stringers heading onto the field for a maiden scrimmage. "Go out there! Go!"

One by one, the men, who asked not to be identified, push themselves out of the round booth and toward the bar. Two of the students pair off and talk to each other while eyeing the crowd. One of the younger students lingers a moment alone at the end of the bar before he takes a few tentative steps toward a woman sitting alone. He straightens his shirt and then leans in toward her.

The two instructors sit back in the booth and nod approvingly. He looks awkward, fidgeting, eyes clearly focused on a spot behind the bar rather than the woman's face, but it's still a success. He's approached a stranger and started talking. He's on his way.

But as the weekend unfolds, something strange happens: The men stop talking about women. They become focused on a more distant goal, secondary to the immediate rewards of simple socializing. For these five students and countless other men who have been drawn into the "seduction community" by reading Neil Strauss' bestselling book, "The Game," social anxiety hinders more than their dating life. They have come together because, in the words of a 26-year-old seminar participant, they "suck at communication."

And at the end of the weekend, the tally of phone numbers (for the record, the group of five collected a total of three numbers and one impromptu coffee date) doesn't even figure in the final analysis, as the men go around in a circle and talk about their expectations at the start of the weekend and what they feel they accomplished. "I'm not a virgin anymore when it comes to socializing," said one happy student.

There was a lot of talk about "feeling good" and "opening up" and "learning about myself." One man spoke at length about his tendency to be selfish in his interactions, and how he needs to become more empathetic with others. Hugs abounded. The weekend's mascot seemed to be more Robert Bly than Don Juan.

The response of the students doesn't surprise the instructors. "We tell people, it's a little bit of a trick," says Williams. "They come in here to learn how to talk to women and we teach them how to talk to everyone."

Charisma Arts is more demure than most of the schools of the seduction community, or as it's known, the Community. As chronicled in "The Game," the Community got its start in the late '80s with posts on online message boards by a man named Ross Jeffries, who adopted hypnotic techniques called "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" to develop a pickup method he named "Speed Seduction." As other message boards sprung up, other names emerged over the past six years -- Mystery, Juggler, Papa, Tyler Durden -- who wrote to each other, met each other, and tried to find fail-safe ways to have success with women -- often narrowly defined as having sex with them. Strauss, a New York Times writer who abandoned his identity as Neil Strauss, taking on the moniker "Style," brought that world to the mainstream with his Times article and book, which has been optioned as a movie.

Unlike the routine-heavy Mystery method, the aggressive cocky-funny David D'Angelo method, the hypnotic Speed Seduction technique or any number of copy-cat sites, Charm School focuses on the elusive goal of "being yourself."

On the first afternoon, de la Vega laid out the fundamental rule of the Juggler method: Everyone is interesting. "It's your job to find out what's unique and special about everyone you talk to," de la Vega says, as the group stares at him. "We don't teach routines. And we don't want you to be performing all the time -- the conversation should be 50-50. You can have girls laughing and laughing but if they don't put in any effort, they're not committed. It's like a TV show -- you can always turn it off."

Once the "set" is opened, the name of the game is reward and escalate; with every step forward conversationally, there should be steps forward physically (kino!). But the emphasis remained on conversational skills that would pertain equally to men and women. It wasn't until the third and final day that flirting techniques were put forth -- the "push and pull," where positive statements are couched as negative to create humor or tension, and "sexual barriers" are introduced, as in "I want to kiss you but I'm afraid too many people are watching."

"I'm not going to lie," Williams said. "I'm a man and I want sex and I'm probably going to want it faster than the woman. But this is a respectful way of making my intentions known."

After a long Friday in the classroom, and Friday night in the field, where the group hopped to the Velvet Lounge after spending time at the Bamboo Hut, Saturday brought no relief for the guys. This is Boot Camp, after all. After the events of the night were parsed through at a coffee shop (no one did more than converse with their quarry, although all the men reported increased confidence after being forced to interact with strangers for three hours), it was time for a new lesson: daytime pickups. The troop headed over to Borders off Union Square to start chatting up book lovers.

With its structured rules, tight hierarchy and reliance on code words, the seduction game reeks of adolescent male bonding rituals. As Strauss notes in "The Game," "There is nothing more bonding than picking up girls together. It is the basis for great friendship. Because afterward, when the girls are gone, you can finally give each other the high-five you've been holding out since you met them ... It's not just the sound of skin hitting skin; it's the sound of brotherhood."

The successful professional PUAs, such as Juggler, recognize this and to some degree exploit it: all three instructors of Charm School Boot Camp were at one time customers of Charm School Boot Camp. Graduates of Boot Camp have access to private message boards where they can ask questions and tell stories of life post Boot Camp as well as a one-hour phone call with an instructor. The instructors say it's common for graduates to keep in touch and to hang out long after the seminar is over.

As for this group, it seems unlikely that any PUAs will emerge. All the participants said that the lack of routines or complicated manipulations were what attracted them to the Juggler method in the first place. But it's easy to see how one could get seduced by the seduction game. In an e-mail sent a week after the course, the 26-year-old student raves, "I went from a guy who was scared to talk to a stranger because I didn't know what to say, to a guy who is scared to talk to a stranger because the stranger is gonna start opening up and it's just so odd to me since I have never in my life had people open up to me," but ends the e-mail on a darker note.

"The only thing I'm scared of every minute of my life after the workshop, is that I will go back to being my old self," he says. The solution to that problem? He will "keep working on the method."

E-mail Reyhan Harmanci at

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Said and (will be) done

Tim came over last night. Everything seemed pretty normal. He offered to bring over food. I was running late because I had to prepare the exterior for some painting that's getting done. He watched tv while I took a quick shower.

We continued to watch "Prison Break" as we ate. We peeked at the football score during the commercials, but Tim was very adamant about not missing a minute of his show.

When the show ended, I changed the channel to watch a little more football. Tim loaded up his laundry. The game was pretty lopsided so it wasn't exactly interesting. We caught up on general stuff, sharing thoughts about work. He also told me a sad story about seeing a rabbit get hit by a car after work. :(

Finally, I asked him if we should talk for a bit. I turned off the tv. Only the drone of the washer hummed in the background.

Tim asked what there was to talk about. It seemed as if he thought we had discussed everything already. First, I apologized for bringing it up while he was driving. He didn't think that was a problem. (Nothing seems to bother him.) I told him that I wanted to know how he was feeling. His facial expression didn't change as he assured me he was fine.

"So have you decided on something?"

"I've thought a lot about it. I've considered every possible... choice there is, be it not talking at all..."

"No, I don't like that..."

"To maybe us trying to date again..."

"No, not an option."

"I'm just saying that I wanted to look at the whole spectrum."

"An what options did you like?"

"None of them."

"None? Why?"

"Because I don't know what I want."

The conversation is a blur at this point. I think I kept telling him that I want to know what he wants, what he's feeling. I felt like he was always turning the conversation back to me rather than share his feelings. He defended himself saying there's nothing for him to share since he's fine with the way things are. We broke up, he dealt with it, he's moved on. He was very non-chalant but firm about it. I've sort of known that's the answer, but somehow it was still difficult for me to hear.

There's a sense of security in knowing someone cares about me. I know it's wrong because I shouldn't use someone like that. I'm lonely, and I don't like myself. Tim has offered me some stability.

Then, I started asking stupid questions. I stated, "So you would have broken up with me eventually."

"Maybe, maybe not. We're not that compatible."

"In what way?"

"I'm a very laid back guy. You're very traditional."

[confused and shaking my head at him] "What do you mean?"

"You need someone more serious, someone Chinese, someone who cares about saving money. You like to dress nice and decorate your place in a certain way. You like to keep your place clean."

"Clean? I keep my place clean? And what's wrong with saving money?"

"I'm just saying, you need someone more traditional, although they might prefer someone more... docile."

"No, they don't want me."

"There's someone out there. You should find someone who wants to do everything with you. A guy who likes to go shopping."

"Shopping? I don't need a guy to go shopping with me. You never seemed to hate going shopping with me."

"I rarely went."

"Exactly, it's not like I'd force a guy to go shopping with me all the time. I don't need him there."

And the conversation went on. I poked more holes in his portrayal of me. While I understand his perspective, I did not agree that those things embody who I am. Is that what comes across to people? He also mentioned needing someone who wants to hear me talk about things that he doesn't care about. He said that as friends, it's okay because he doesn't have to listen to it everyday and can walk away when it gets tiring (e.g. asking which outfits look good on me). He generalized about how it's important to that people sense what other people are in the mood for and (oh, I'm not remembering this right) knowing what topics suit to the situation. Yeah, that hurt. So all this time, he's just been humoring me?

In the end, I questioned whether these were such important things to him. He acknowledged that maybe they would have worked themselves out had we stayed together. He said that perhaps we would have influenced each other. I would have mellowed, and he would have changed in other ways. But that didn't matter now. Tim made it very clear that the time has passed, and he would not date me again.

If we truly love each other, the chances of it ever being resurrected completely faded away. I started to tear up. Maybe I shouldn't have asked him what he found so incompatible. It was all true in some respects, but it still hurt. When we were dating, none of those difference seemed to bother him. It made me think that there really is no one who will want me. It felt like a break up even though we haven't dated in almost two years. I sabotaged myself all this time thinking he'd be there if I changed my mind.

Tim kept trying to encourage me to go out and spend time with other people, to try more dating things. I just shook my head. I told him that not seeing him wouldn't change anything in that I would just be at home. Sure, not seeing him changes potentially changes my mental state but not my activity choices. I pointed out to him that I haven't spent time with him for almost three weekends. He denied it at first but agreed once he recounted his weekend activities.

Later on, Tim repeated that he is fine. Comparing our social activities, he reminded me that he goes out with different people. He added that he's busy with work now but will eventually try some dating things. He assured me he does flirt with girls, at ultimate and at work. Life's all good for him.

I didn't know what to feel. Part of me desperately wanted to reach over and hug him and feel him hugging me back. The other part of me just wanted to go to sleep so I didn't have to feel or think anymore. My other negative thinking lead down a road of: being alone for the rest of my life, wanting to die, marrying the next guy that asks me, moving away, yelling at Tim, quitting work, disappearing for awhile, giving away all my belongings, etc.

Tim acted as if we'd just had a regular conversation and popped up to take care of his laundry. I pretend to be okay the rest of the night. We watched an episode of "Gilmore Girls" that I had promised would be quite funny. It cheered me up a little.

My emotions and thoughts are still simmering. I don't know what to do next. My gut reaction is to not see him at all. As painful as that sounds, it might be the only way. I'm scared, however, that it'll be more harmful than good for me. Loneliness can be very detrimental to my health (other than losing some unneeded weight ;)). I fear crashing mentally. This all seems so ironic given that I'm the one who decided to break up in the first place.

I know that our level of intimacy must change. I no longer can confide in him. It's not appropriate given our history and my feelings. I must be more guarded around him for the time being. His other comments also make me less comfortable talking to him because, now, I'll always be wondering if I'm boring him. :( It would be good if I could act a little more quiet (but that's going to be a major challenge with my mouth).

I have a few weeks to think about it. Perhaps I'll call in sick after my brother's wedding so I can have a few days of reflection and adjustment. I'm pretty uncomfortable today. My disposition might soften after vacation (of course, he'll be there too...). Regardless of what happens, things are never going to be the same.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Reliable e-mail?

Remember Hguy? The guy who started out by commenting that I was pretty. I wrote him back to start the conversation but never got a response.

Last night, I was surprised to see a new e-mail from him. He wrote that it appeared his response to me never went through and he was resending it. So is this the truth? Or, is this a clever way of saying "I was interested in someone else but since that didn't pan out I want to write you again."

It could very well be that there was a malfunction of the website or his computer. Who knows how many times this happens in cyberspace and people just assume the other person lost interest. Nowadays with spam filters, I've caught friends' e-mail ending up in the wrong place. It makes me wonder how many e-mails I've missed. Hopefully, none that were important!

Now, I can't help wonder if that's why I never heard back from Biker. He's the guy I met at speed dating in mid-August. The last he wrote he asked to reschedule a time to meet up for coffee. I replied with a couple suggestions and then he disappeared. Do you suppose my e-mail ended up lost in space or in his spam box? Oh well... seems late now to explore that one.

I know it's happened before. Entire phrases have disappeared while chatting with someone on IM. I think people take for granted the reliability of the Internet. I become more skeptical of certain technologies over time as I see how they change human behavior and expectations for the worse. It's a great convenience, but it also lends to be people avoiding others and missing out on human interaction.

It makes me think of an ex, my "love at first sight" experience, who I'll call Unagi. Things weren't going too well six months into dating. I was petrified to say anything that I thought would not be interesting to him. We weren't progressing in getting to know each other because of my speechlessness. He was this handsome and smart guy. (I'll have to tell the whole story some other time.) I was totally head over heels for him.

The previous weekend, Unagi took me out to a nice dinner for my birthday. We spent the later evening making out on my bed. Nothing happened, I wasn't in my comfort zone yet with him. The week went by with no word from him. I was devastated.

On Saturday night, sitting at home alone, I checked my work e-mail. There, dated Friday afternoon at 3pm, was an e-mail from him asking if I wanted to do something Saturday. AAARRRRRRRRGH! I was at work until 6pm that day. Somewhere between his company server and mine, the e-mail had taken more than 12 hours to arrive. (It had happened once before where an e-mail I sent him took three weeks to appear.) I didn't call him. I didn't write him back. I was frozen with sadness and disappointment. I was hurt and frustrated that he hadn't tried to follow up by calling me. (I was also sick of the last-minute dates every week.)

Months later, I talked to him, a sort of "closure" get together. I learned that he thought that when I didn't reply to that e-mail, Unagi thought I was mad at him. He just gave up on me. When I told him that I didn't received that e-mail until the end of the weekend (yes, I fudged the time a little because who checks work e-mail on the weekend? ;) ), he was pretty surprised. We failed each other. It was a sad ending to a very promising relationship.

The long and short of it is that Internet communications can be flakey. Nothing really to be done about it, just something to keep in mind.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The bracelet

About a month into dating, I invited Tim to attend my company picnic with me. We had fun eating ice cream and playing various mini-carnival games for a few hours.

Towards the end, we spent a little time at the craft tables meant more for the kids. I made myself a flower lei using pieces of cloth flower petals and cut straws. Along side the lei materials was other bracelet crafts. Tim made himself busy with something. At the end, he presented me with a bracelet he created. He had picked through the wells of beads to find all the beads with smiley faces. Between each bead he had carefully chosen words that described what was on his mind. He told me he had searched for "smile" but was unable to find it.

"I love your crazy beautiful cute bright funny laugh"

I can't tell you how much that little bracelet means to me. It is the sweetest expression of affection anyone has ever given me. While we dated, I had it pinned up in my cubicle. Now I keep it in the desk drawer. I see it whenever I reach for a clip or post-it note. It makes me feel good to have it.

I remember this as I read through the handful of entries I wrote during the time Tim and I dated. This time, two years ago, we were having a blast in Vegas and hiking in Zion. I took him to the city for his birthday. All the fun memories put a huge smile on my face. My worries and his reaction to the break up make me cry. Everything I said was in complete honesty, as much as I hated the conflict I felt.

I had forgotten how intense Tim was about me. He was thinking ahead pretty far in my opinion. Maybe that freaked me out given my reservations about relationship, in general, at that point in my life. He asked a lot of very serious questions at the time. How come it didn't freak me out more? Now, I wish I could have this kind of conversation with every guy I date. Well, not on a first date necessarily, but within the first month. Yes, it would take some of the fun out of it, but it would also save so much time and spare me so much confusion.

[sigh] I cried reading many of the old entries. He was so loving and excited about our relationship. We really enjoyed our time together. Of course, now that so much time has passed, I can't recall how strong my concerns were. I question whether the fears I have about the two of us are well-founded. Are they deal breakers or differences that we could work out if we tried or that I could live with? Am I only thinking this way because I want so much to be married and done with dating?

Friday, September 08, 2006

NPR : Stories from Sept. 11: Wives, Daughters, Mothers

I heard her personal recollection on the radio this morning during my drive to work. It was really touching. I found myself tearing up. It also reminded me that love is eternal but it doesn't necessarily guarantee together forever. What she says is not written here, you must listen to it.

NPR : Stories from Sept. 11: Wives, Daughters, Mothers: "Monique Ferrer

At 9:04 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, Monique Ferrer received a phone call from her ex-husband, Michael Trinidad. He was at work, on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower. Trinidad wanted to talk about their children.

An employee at Cantor Fitzgerald, Trinidad's building had been struck at 8:46 a.m. by the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11. At the time of his call, the South Tower was struck by United Airlines Flight 175.

Trinidad told Ferrer that he was calling to tell her that he still loved her -- and to ask her current husband to be a good father to his kids."

Lemon Ginger and Black Tea

That's what we ordered when we reached the counter. I really liked my lemon and ginger. I need to find a place to buy some of this tea. :)

He literally walked into the cafe just a dozen steps ahead of me, right at 7:30pm. I hadn't seen the guy's face, but I knew from the casual, wrinkled clothing, average body profile, and the stereotypical, plain Asian guy hair cut that it was probably Limey in front of me. As I shadowed him up the steps, I mentally rolled my eyes and questioned whether this would go well.

Limey stopped just short of the order counter, most likely looking around for me. I stood there, debating whether to tap his shoulder when he turned enough for each of us to confirm that we had found who we were looking for.

We nervously said "hello" to each other. There was a pause where we debated whether to sit first or order. He gestured towards the counter and asked what I wanted. I asked for a hot tea and he ordered two. When it was time to pay, he pulled out a weathered leather wallet. When he pulled open the section where he kept his bills, he paused as there was a lonely $100 bill tucked inside. I debated whether or not to offer to pay with smaller bills. He pulled out Ben Franklin and asked the woman whether she would accept the bill and be able to make change. In asking why he was carrying around such a big bill, I joked whether or not he had just returned from Vegas. He either missed it or didn't realize I was kidding.

The conversation flowed pretty well compared to our one phone conversation. We were both friendly, talkative, and mellow. I wouldn't say there were major sparks or animated conversation, just a pleasant, get-to-know session.

We discussed:
  • Varieties of coffees and teas
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Being EB fans
  • Cable tv
  • Travel (as a kid)
  • Favorite movies
  • Six degrees
  • Reading

These are some of the impressions of Limey I had during the conversation. I know you're all gonna shake your head at some of these comments, but it is what it is.
- clean-cut, decent looking but nothing attractive or sexy
- definitely geeky
- probably wears jeans and old t-shirts seven days a week
- very book smart
- might be somewhat immature/inexperienced socially
- sweet and honest nature
- not a go-getter?
- little brother personality

Prior to meeting, I had hoped to chat for about 45 minutes and go home. Not having a watch, I didn't pay attention to the time. I probably talked more than was good for my throat, but I had a good time (phew). I'm glad we met. Thank goodness I had eaten some chips and salsa before going out. Otherwise, my stomach would have been growling the whole time. Our conversation went 1.5 hours by the time I suggested it was time to go home.

As we exited the cafe, Limey pointed west indicating the direction of his car. My car was to the north. He thought about what to say and told me that he had a good time. I agreed. He dragged on his words as he debated what to do next. I wondered if we were going to shake or hug. Instead he simply said, "wellllll, I know you're going to be busy but how about dinner sometime?"

I told him that sounded good. He looked satisfied, and we wished each other good night.

As I wrote before, I'm not EXCITED at this point. He's a good guy and that's great, but I don't feel that intense pulse of energy that I've had when meeting people in the past. Sadly, I'm probably too jaded to let myself get anxious about anyone. He's what I would label the stereotypical Asian guy that my parents, relatives, and family friends would be pleased to see. I want to get to know him and like him for who he is. I have to be careful not to let my family's expectations sway me.

Hopefully we'll be able to meet up for dinner before I go on vacation.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I miss Tim. I haven't really talked to him since that awful car conversation. Maybe he's been busy, but he hasn't tried to communicate with me at all. I sent a couple group e-mails for various reasons, but no response from him. I tried calling last night to see if we're still on for meeting to talk more about things, but he didn't pick up the phone.

As much as I miss him, the sad thing is that I feel like I could go on alone. I don't take rejection well, so I suppose I've grown numb to the idea. Mentally, I probably assume people will eventually leave me. That way, it's not a shock when they do. It's a protection mechanism. I know I shouldn't think like that, but it's hard when you've been let down so many times. I wish that I had dated more when I was younger, maybe then I would have grown a thicker skin.

The prospect of spending my life alone becomes more real as I get older. I feel like I have to rely on myself because there won't be anyone there for me.

I wish I knew how Tim is feeling. I worry he's holding back on me, telling me what he thinks I want or need to hear rather than what's really going through his mind. Is he angry or sad or hurt, or is this just a silly girl thing to him? Maybe his thoughts really are as mellow as he is.


I talked to him just now. We were going to meet up, but, to be fair, I told him I have a sore throat. He doesn't want to get sick a week before vacation. There was a hint of awkwardness but nothing to worry about (I think). We might just talk for a little tonight by phone just to catch up but not talk about the serious stuff. So I won't see him until Monday. :(

My horoscope for today... how ironic.

Daily Overview for September 07, 2006

Turn off your phone and do something else that is best done alone. Enjoy the quiet.

You're tempted to take a stick and stir the muddy waters of the present so you can get a glimpse of the future. Put down that implement! If you stir too much, you'll make the situation even cloudier.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Who can't read here?

I received another e-mail from the online dating site. The header on the e-mail was "nice profile" - that already sounds lame to me. His profile lists his stats and a few brief sentences about "looking for a good fun woman," owning his own business, and wanting to take someone with him traveling.

"Nice profile and Pic. I would like to chat with you a bit and see if there is a connection.

Let me know if you are interested and I can email you my pic.

Talk to you soon.

Trying to be the open minded person, I wrote him back:


Honestly, I don't feel like I have much to go on given your minimal profile. I'd appreciate if you would include a picture and tell me more about yourself."

And this is the answer I received:

"Thanks so much for the email back. Can you give me your email address and i will send you my pic...and see if you like that as a start.

My email address is daxxx. I also chat online we can chat [here] if you do that?

What else you want to know about me?

Age: 39
H: 6'2"
W: 185
Hair: black
eyes: brown

What else you want to know?


DUH, I can see that on your profile!!! I have two paragraphs in my profile that share some extra information about my hobbies, interests, and the type of person I'd like to meet. Why doesn't he get that I'd like to know more? If he's thinking this is an opportunity for a casual hookup, no thanks. It's very clear from my profile that I'm looking for a relationship. Is it so hard to just start by making some conversation using the things I mentioned in my profile or talk about something he read in the paper today? What is it that caught your attention?

Am I being overly paranoid?

I'm trying to be open-minded, but some people just come off amazingly lame in online dating. If you want to meet people, there needs to be some effort put into it. I don't think I'm going to write this guy back.

Meeting Limey

I chatted with Limey by phone for a little over 30 minutes the other night. The e-mail exchanges have been packed with information and conversation. I dialed his number hoping that connection would translate into a robust and fun talk. I'm not sure that it did... it was a decent conversation thought there were several pauses where neither of us knew what to say.

Here's the resulting gray matter chatter after the conversation:

Man, he has a high-pitched, kind of effeminate voice.
You know plenty of good guys who don't have deep voices, do you really want to let that bother you?

He's never been to Europe and he's 33 years old? That just seems so sad. It sounds as if he's never been outside North America. Gosh, I hope he's been abroad somewhere... . My list must have impressed or intimidated him.
He's open to the idea, he wants to go. It's not like he some loser American who just eats McDonalds while there, perpetuates negative stereotypes by being loud and rude, and refuses to speak anything but English.

At times, I felt like I was talking to a kid. Everything from my world seemed so new to him. While he seems smart and active, he seems kind of young. I don't want to be a trainer.
Like you're Miss Manners? At least maybe then he'll be easy to boss around. ;)

We had such a nice exchange of e-mails. Now, I don't feel like as strong a connection. The conversation was so-so. What does this mean? Can we just go back to being e-mail buddies?
Nerves? Maybe it'll be better in person.

I wonder how many women he's juggling right now from online dating. It could be that I'm just a blip on the radar.
All the more reason to just be yourself and not worry about it.

Yes, he's asked me to meet up for coffee this week. We're meeting at a cafe after work (around 7:30pm). So do I eat dinner beforehand or wait and see if he invites me? To complicate matters, I wrote him an e-mail warning him that I might be getting sick and may need to make it a shorter evening.

Sadly, I don't get excited about these date things anymore. How can I when I barely know this guy? There's always this total apprehension in the hours before meeting up with a guy. I'm afraid I'll decide in the first five minutes that I don't want to be there but not leave for an hour to be nice. Ugh.

I know, that's a bad attitude to start with... I just want to go home and sleep off this sore throat...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Speaking when I'm tired

Over the weekend, my friends organized a games night. Tim and I agreed to carpool over to Hula and Drummer's house.

I had spent the morning blogging and watching the U.S. Open. (So heart breaking to see Agassi lose and then give that wonderful thank you to the fans for all the years of support.) I was reading about someone who had created a new anonymous blog to satisfy a desire to talk about personal issues without friends knowing.

When Tim picked me up, he asked how my day had been. I mentioned blogging, and he asked:

"Do you ever write mean things about me in there?"

"No, of course not. I always have nice things to say."

He seemed content with the answer. I tempted fate by continuing the conversation and asked if he would tell me if he was reading my blog. He said "yes."

I believe him when he says he hasn't read it. He knows the title of the blog; I think I had it on my computer screen when he came over once. We were silent for a moment in the car as he turned left at the light. That's when I asked, "Do you want to know what I have written in my blog about you?" What was I thinking??!

I proceeded to tell him about my thought concerning us spending too much time together alone. That I'm struggling with how to feel about the hugging and other stuff. I added that I was considering the idea of us seeing each other less often.

His immediate question was what that meant for our impending vacation. I didn't mean for this plan to start immediately. I clarified it was more a matter of us being alone but in groups and the vacation were fine.

The conversation went nowhere fast. I think I was partially agitated by his black and white reaction and his lack of emotional response. I can't remember what was said, but I just stopped talking to him as we sped down the freeway. I warmed back up later when he changed the topic.

For some reason, I recall the conversation moving to ever eating at this restaurant that's near both of us. The parking lot is always packed for dinner on weekends, and I've always wanted to try the place. He asked if I wanted to go there sometime. Where did this come from? I said that I'd like to and asked if we could dress up nice and go. Then Tim out on his silly attitude and said, "what do you mean, I'm perfectly dressed for it?" (He was wearing faded jeans, an oversized blue flannel shirt, and hiking boots.) He cautioned me that the place is expensive; a French dip sandwich is $18. I hesitated but assured him that I wanted to try the restaurant at least once. He reminded me of the price at least three times as we tried to find a time to go. Why bring up going if he thinks I don't want to pay for it?


On the way home, the conversation about spending time together resumed. It was now 1am and we had an hour car ride home. I was incredibly tired and sleepy. For half the ride, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep but gave up and started talking.

Being the character he is, I got a bit of a round-about reaction from him about taking a break from each other. The first reaction was basically, "okay, if you think you need to." Of course, I find this kind of "about me" reaction incredibly frustrating.

"Well, how do you feel about it?"

"I think it's a good idea if you feel it will help you."

"No, I want to know how this idea makes YOU feel."

"I'm fine with it. I don't have any problem with us, but you do."

"Then how do you explain liking to hold my hand, hugging, and running your hand up the back of my shirt? I've asked you in the past not to do that but we always end up going back to that."

"It's nice to hug. I didn't see any problem with it."

"Didn't you think it went beyond what's normal for two people?"

"Sure, but I thought we were both clear about things. I don't like you that way."

"I know... early on (after the break up) I didn't believe that, but now I know that's how you feel. Still... anytime you're like that with someone, of course it means something. It's confusing for me."

"Okay. I won't do that anymore."

(I always try to faithfully repeat conversations but I can't guarantee they're perfect.) He encouraged me to go date other men. He reminded me of the reasons I had once given as to why we couldn't date - cultural, lifestyle, attitudes towards money. He concluded that we'd see each other to plan for the trip and enjoy the vacation but that afterwards, he give me some space.

"This is hard for me. I'm scared that I will never find someone I get along with as well as I do with you."

There was nothing else I could say. A millions horrible thought floated in my head. I wanted to be someone else. I wanted to just start balling but kept it to a few tears and a sniffle. In a world where people fight life-threatening diseases every day, I wanted to have a disease that could kill me. I hate that I know this sweet guy but don't know what to do with him. All my pessimism about being able to love again took over. Just put me out of my misery and give me an arranged marriage. I thought about disappearing from my life come October and whether people would care. I went silent, only saying that I didn't think it necessary to share my thoughts with him at that moment because they weren't relevant.

Maybe I was a bit snappy with him. I was just frustrated that somehow none of this had occurred to him before. Sure, I'm just as guilty of wanting to touch him. Human contact is natural. In the past, I had made several comments about cutting down on the physical affection, but it wasn't taken seriously.

I didn't mean for this conversation to happen in a car where we couldn't look at each other and avoid distraction. That wasn't fair to Tim since he was driving. I wanted to be able to think through this more and understand my options. I felt like he took that all away from me and decided that my idea was the final decision. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

I talked to him briefly yesterday evening. He was standing in the checkout line at Target. We asked each other about our day. I then apologized for the unplanned discussion. Tim was easy going as always and understanding. I asked if we could continue the discussion in person sometime and decide together what next steps to take. He said we could meet some evening this week when he has time.

P.S. The other reason I feel like such a heel for bringing this up now... his birthday is in a few weeks.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A veteran friend's advice

A few weeks ago I wrote Pisces about my possible re-entry into online dating. I asked if she had any pearls of wisdom from her two dives into that world. (She married someone she met through Hrmny.)

Pisces is one of my oldest friends. We've known each other since junior high. She has always been one of the most intelligent, rational, and practical people I know. At the same time, she has the sharpest, sarcastic wit. She was the one who once commented, "men are like tissues; after you use one, another always pops up." Whenever I watch "The Simpsons" I compare Pisces to Lisa Simpson.

Her story about her experience on Hrmny surprised me. In grad school, she gained plenty of dating experience. She's such a real person that I never would have imagined that she would not be herself.

"For my first profile page, which helped me meet the sicko mommy's boy liar loser, addition to all the other guys I e-mailed but didn't meet in person...on the first round, I tried to be cute and funny. I wanted to sound attractive and cool. When I dumped sicko and then went back to Hrmny a few days later, I decided SCREW IT, I'm just going to put on my profile what I REALLY want, which is a guy without all this weird baggage--someone who knows who he is, what he wants in life, and has worked out any major issues from childhood, ex-girlfriends, etc. I knew it was risky to say that but it was what I really wanted, and I figured if a guy was offended by that, then he wouldn't be right for me. If a guy understood what I meant, then maybe there was a chance."

Pisces went on to say that when answering the multiple question about where you like to live, she debated answering with the "city" choice because she thought "suburbs" would sound lame. I am surprised that someone so accomplished and respected would consider not being herself. I'm glad she told me this; and I wish I could have been there to support her at that time.

Her perspective is very to the point. It's so challenging to be the fierce women we are in life and balance that with the traditional ideals of relationships engrained by family and culture. Perhaps if I had her wit I'd be more willing to play it tough with guys. She recommends putting down whatever I feel is important whether it's having kids soon or wanting someone who makes good money. She boiled it down to "If you're going to scare a guy, he won't be able to handle you anyway."

It's something to consider as I draft a profile. All these dating places have their good and bad points. No matter which one, there's always the challenge of sorting through the crap and knowing which ones are worth pursuing. I'll have to ask Pisces if she has some guidance on that.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Happy, busy guy

Limey wrote back within 24 hours. It was a decent e-mail, telling me more about his interest in curling and plans to sign up for the next class offered. He addressed my question about cooking saying he likes variety and has been making oven-based dishes lately. His last comment was "Cooking is much more fun with someone else though, don't you think?"

He didn't ask me any questions, however, I'm not sure what to do about that. He seems friendly enough but doesn't he want to ask me anything? I'm intelligent enough to know how to continue the conversation, but it's frustrating not to have a new topic to explore and get some insight into what he's curious to know about me.

The e-mail was signed, "Hope to hear from you soon. :-)" He gave me his call signs for AIM and YM. Guess I'll have to explain that I can't use that stuff at work.

I looked at his pictures again. He looks a bit different from photo to photo. Mostly decent looking, one goofy, and horribly old in another. It'll be interesting to see what he looks like now. Please, please let him look mostly like the two pictures I find attractive.

His IDs easily gave me his full name. Being the naturally curious detective I am, I checked up on him through various Internet means:

  • We are connected through two people on a social networking site. The only weird thing... his status lists him as "In a relationship." It would appear he hasn't logged into his profile in awhile. I can't help wonder how long he's been single.

  • He listed a link to his a blog (uh oh) ;). I browsed the entries from August. Nothing scary, nothing revealing. There's mention of yoga classes (interesting), getting more interested in coffee drinking, and hints of his obsession with poker. His geekiness shows in his analysis and detail of things. It's natural for his occupation I suppose. He'd probably fit in just fine with most of my friends.

  • I also found him posted on another dating website. The dating website shares essentially the same information I already know with added information such as religion, education, dating preferences.

I have to be careful not to spend too much time glancing at this stuff. I want to learn this all from him, not by "stalking." Now the trick is how to get beyond the easy stuff and asking him questions that tell me more about who he is rather than what he does. That's where I'm not good at relationships. I'm uncomfortable asking people what seem like personal questions. I fear I'm prying or being inappropriate or will freak them out. That's when things start going south.

Having single friends

While catching up with my cousin the other night...

Cuz: So how have you been doing?

Me: [pause] Okay, honestly, it's been a little hard lately.

Cuz: Oh, why, something wrong?

Me: Nothing really, just been feeling lately like I have no... nothing to do.

Cuz: What do you mean? You have your job, your friends.

Me: Yeah, it's all fun, but at the end of the day, I just don't feel like I've accomplished anything. Life's just kind of there.

Cuz: It's because you live in the suburbs. When I was single [she's been dating someone for six months now], it was never that bad as long as I had single friends to hang with.

Me: Uh...

Cuz: I go out to dinner with blah and blah. It figures the minute I focused on myself with exercise class and volunteering I met Truckee. Yeah... it's was just fine being single with my single friends...

Me: ...and you hit it exactly on the head - SINGLE friends. This weekend, I realized that I have no more single friends... girl friends I mean.

Cuz: Sure you do... [pause]... what about Sh?

Me: Naw, she's gone.

Cuz: Gone?

Me: Yeah, she moved.

Cuz: But I just saw her a couple weeks ago.

Me: She moved to D.C. on Tuesday.

Cuz: [pause] Hmmm... I guess as long as I have single friends it's fine. I always figured once I had no single friends that I would have to start worrying about finding someone. Blah... blah... blah...

Sigh... my cousin didn't help much. I know it seems weird but I'm just not in the mood to tell my friends about these mini-dating adventures I have embarked on lately. I desperately need their advice and support, but I don't want to talk about it and get anyone's hopes up (including my own). Am I weird?


Work was a monster today. I had a mellow Thursday that was topped off by the deal of the day. I am buying a group birthday gift for Tim. I was missing one component that has been sold out at the local stores. Miraculously, it reappeared online, I got it the last one!!! Woohoo!!!

But then, karma decided to rebalance my world and gave me a report that made some people grumpy today. I still have a bit of redressing to do to make everybody more comfortable. I admit some of the feedback was reasonable and expected. The challenge is finding a fair compromise between what is justifiable and what is requested. There's just some days it sucks trying to give people the answers they want to hear.

Hguy hasn't written back. Not surprised, not disappointed. Like I said, any guy who starts a conversation by telling me I'm attractive and pretty makes me wary. I remember once getting an e-mail in response to my pictureless profile that started, "Hey beautiful! You sound great!" Uuuuuhhhh, just gives me the hebee jebees.

Maybe I'm too serious a person, but this just doesn't read well to me coming from a total stranger. To me, it's a red flag that there's some issue of insecurity, slickness, social ineptness, or some other quality that I don't need to deal with. If someone can teach me to believe otherwise, please comment.

Ah sleep... :)