Thursday, March 29, 2007

World's Tallest Man Ties Knot

I can't help it... besides the fact that she's half his age, the height difference is baffling to me. I've often written about my own pickiness in terms of not wanting someone too short or too tall. Frankly, anyone over 6 feet just seems so inconvenient.

People don't always agree with me. Love is love. However, it would be nice to have someone who I can kiss without straining my neck and hug without hurting his back or mine. I want to be able to slow dance together comfortably.

And the biggest thing, well honestly, isn't sex going to be rather awkward?

If you look at the picture of the two of them, she's staring at his belly button. Now, if you line up their private parts, she's looking at his chest and her feet would be touching his knees. She'd be smothered in missionary position. I guess it's all about the girl on top in this case.

To each their own. Personally, (if I can remember the day when I was having sex) it's nice to kiss and be able to look into each other's eye time to time.

The dolphin story sounds interesting.

World's tallest man ties knot
Story Highlights• Bao Xishun, a 7-foot-9-inch herdsman from Inner Mongolia, marries, report says

BEIJING, China (AP) -- After searching high and low, the world's tallest man has married a woman two-thirds his height, a Chinese newspaper reported Wednesday.

Bao Xishun, a 7-foot-9-inch (2.36-meter) herdsman from Inner Mongolia, married saleswoman Xia Shujian, who was 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 meters) tall, several days ago, the Beijing New reported.

Bao's 28-year-old bride is half his age and hailed from his hometown of Chifeng, even though marriage advertisements were sent around the world, it said.

"After a long and careful selection, the effort has been finally paid off," the newspaper said.

Bao was confirmed last year by the Guinness World Records as the world's tallest person.

Bao was in the news in December after he used his long arms to save two dolphins by pulling out plastic from their stomachs.

The dolphins got sick after nibbling on plastic from the edge of their pool at an aquarium in Liaoning province.

Attempts to use surgical instruments to remove the plastic failed because the dolphins' stomachs contracted in response to the instruments, Chinese media reported.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bad apples

In my rants and raves about men who suck at dating, I tend to forget about his side of the story. Every so often I hear bits and pieces of what it's like to sit on the other side of the table. It's easy to forget that there are bad apples on both sides that leave bad impressions about dating.

Three come to mind right now.

The first one is an example of a woman on a mission. It was a speed dating event. The guy was a friend of a friend. He described hearing the bell ring and arriving at his next "date." Beside her on the table, she had a list of questions. As soon as he sat down, she start reading them off as if their date was an interview. "How old are you, have you ever been married, do you have any children, ... ."

Yikes. He tried to be a good sport about it. Needless to say, she failed to make a good impression. I was at that same event. I'm guessing it was the mid-thirties woman wearing the frumpy dress and 80s-style glasses with big lenses and plastic frame. Yeah, she needed a makeover.

Then there was DryMouth's stalker. They met through an online site; I think JDate. After a couple e-mails, they exchanged phone numbers. Everything seemed fine. She started calling every day. Mind you they'd known each other for maybe a week plus.

They met for dinner. DryMouth, by my best recollection, said she was okay but didn't sense any sparks. She continued to call every day. The less he responded, the more frequently he called. One day in the week after the date, she called him over 20 times. Yes, that's 2 0. They talked once more, but he obviously wasn't getting a good vibe. He stopped answering her e-mails and calls. He said it took another week or so for her to get the hint and for the calls to die down. Wow, she needs to get a grip.

The last story comes from a friend's husband. His buddies are mostly still single. (She noted that, alas, none of them were worth introducing me to.) One of the guys met this woman online. They decided to meet for dinner.

When he arrived, the spot they had agreed upon was closing. She looked across the street and suggested trying the restaurant there. It looked nice though she said she'd never eaten there. It turned out to be a rather upscale restaurant. They ordered with him naturally assuming that he was taking her out for a dinner date. She ordered an appetizer, a salad, and an entree.

The conversation didn't see to go well. He felt like she was always looking elsewhere and was not very engaged in the conversation. He finally called her on it and asked if she also felt that the chemistry was missing.

Her response was rather shocking. Basically, she said she always sets up dates so that they meet across the street and redirects the plan so that she and her date eat at this upscale restaurant for dinner. That way, regardless of how the date goes, she's sure to get a good meal out of it.

I can't believe someone would actually admit to such a scheme. My friend thought he should have pulled out his share for the cost of dinner and walked away. Despite what this gal did, he still paid for the meal because he felt it was his obligation. We could only guess how many times this chick has pulled this one over on guys. No wonder guys don't like to go out for dinner the first time around. I wouldn't either knowing people will take advantage of you like this.

It's just so annoying to think people pull these kinds of stunts and ruin it for the rest of us. I meet my perspective dates for coffee or for dinners at casual places where I order things under $10. If they like me, hopefully they'll plan for something more romantic.

It just goes to show that neither sex has it easy. I'm sure we could debate on this for a long time. Come on people, how about we all show each other a little more respect?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fast calculator

I joined some of my co-workers for lunch the other day. Seven lamented that our next holiday is not until Memorial Day. Sweats added that the 4th of July would be next. Then she asked everyone, "We'll get a four day weekend for that right?"

"Actually, the 4th of July is in the middle of the week this year," I corrected. "That means we'll probably only have Wednesday off."

"That's awful," Seven thought. "People want to take their kids out to play and stay up for fireworks and then you have to go to work the next day."

"Yeah, that's going to be tough."

I tried to brighten the mood by saying, "Well, next year it'll be on a Thusday so then you'll have a four-day weekend."

Everyone seemed satisfied, but then I did a split-second double-check in my head and quickly realized, "oh, sorry I'm wrong, next year will be a three day weekend since the 4th will be a Friday."

The light chatter died for a moment as people's brains attempted to register the information.

"Why is that?" Sweats asked with a dazed look.

"Because it's leap year next year," I calmly stated as a matter of fact.

Sweats looked at TallTemp while Seven gave me a curious look. They all were absolutely bewildered by my awareness of such a far away date. Their faces seem to show a slight bit of confusion mixed with a hint of "you're weird" look. Apparently, my observation came out of left field. They asked each other if they knew that.

That's when Seven said, "Pandax, this is why guys are intimidated by you. You need to let them take the lead for awhile. Don't let them see this until later."

She laughed a little. I couldn't tell how much she was joking versus being serious. The women all seemed to agree that guys would be intimidated by my grasp of facts. Are they advocating I play dumb or something? I was really stunned by their reaction and suggestion. It seemed like such a simple fact to calculate.

The two men at the table just sat there trying to be as invisible as possible during this frenzy. Sweats looked at them and said, "Come on guys, don't you agree? What do you think?"

The guys wouldn't budge. They considered this a female conversation not to get involved in. They also agreed that I'm definitely an encyclopedia of facts (hmmm, I think I got called that once in elementary school too). I was kind of disappointed that no one spoke up to say that my statement made sense.

Later I was talking with Tim and recounted the whole story to him. I asked him if what I said seemed completely out of place and well... weird. Do I calculate things in my head that much faster than most people? He immediately said, "no, that's a simple thing," with a look that expressed his thought that my co-workers were lame.

"Of course, leap year is every four years. People should know that."

I was relieved to hear that I made perfect sense to him. Tim had all the same facts and logic as me. Every year, the day of the week on which a date falls moves forward by one day. (That is, if your birthday is on a Wednesday this year, next year it will fall on a Thursday.) This is always true except with the years divisible by four, like 2008. Then you have to add another day if you're date comes after February. That's why July 4th is on a Friday next year. (And then there's the rule about when the year is divisible by 100 but not by 400... .)

Not to insult anyone, like my co-workers, but would this have been a shock to you? I know I can be a bit geeky at times, but is it that bad?

Monday, March 26, 2007

My usual paranoia

I was checking through my e-mails yesterday. I've been e-mailing Strategist for a couple weeks now. The last few made me feel like we had a good connection with interests. He paid attention to things I wrote in my profile and asked some light and serious questions.

His most recent e-mail seemed less enthusaistic. While he provided some nice detail about himself in response to questions I asked, the lightheartedness was missing. he didn't ask any questions of me. Reading it took the air out of my hope balloon. I'm sure I'm imagining things. I know that people would tell me to stop thinking so negatively.

Did I blow it with my candid response about sometimes interrupting people and trying to limit my tendency? How am I supposed to reply when he gave me nothing to talk about?

I could write back and simply add to the current conversation and the new information about himself he offered - like where he grew up and where he works. It's just hard when it doesn't seem like they want to know you. Then my wild, paranoid imagination takes over and I start looking for things wrong with me.

I also have to remember that he's probably talking to other women. How can I keep his attention? Will he ask for my phone number or to meet up for coffee?

I'm going to just continue as I would with anyone. I'm going to hope this was just a momentary distraction. Maybe he felt obligated to answer but didn't have enough time to write. Sigh. I'll give myself today to think about something good to write, a couple exploratory questions, and maybe give him my phone number... .

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Run at First Sight

I'm coming up to five years since I first met Ryan. It's been about 3.5 years since we broke up. To this day, there are thing that I avoid because they remind me of him - college basketball, John Mayer, etc.

I was reminded of this fact on a trip to town this week. In my attempt to be green and save myself the torture of driving during rush hour, I chose to use public transportation to attend a professional meeting.

My route would take me to the stop he uses to travel from work to home (or at least he still uses as far as a know). Normally, this won't be a huge concern except that I would likely arrive around the time he might leave work. I might see him as I get off and he gets one.

One stop before my street, several people got on. Out of the corner of my eye, one guy seemed to fit the profile of Ryan. I panicked as I looked up and thought he recognized me. I quicky resumed reading my magazine as he sat down across from me. I didn't have the courage to look his way. I was totally uncomfortable.

Knowing my stop was next, I stood up and went over to the door with my back to the guy. If it was Ryan, I didn't want to give him any chance to realize it was me or talk to me. I was fairly sure it was not him, but I didn't want to take any risk.

I was relieved when I stepped out and exited. The further I got down the street, the more relaxed I became. Once I calmed down, I thought back to the event and reasoned that it was not him. Besides the fact that it was the wrong stop where I saw him, the black shoulder bag the guy worn is not Ryan's style. He has a classic, leather case which he carries to work. He's not the bike messenger type.

But the point of this is not whether I bumped into Ryan. The issue is that I'm still so paranoid. It seems really... well, LAME and PATHETIC, that he can still affect me this way. I hate that I walk around in "fear" of him. I get really mad at myself for this. I worry there's something wrong with me that I am still so strong affected by an ex-boyfriend. What is my problem? Is this preventing me from having a meaningful relationship?

This one case where I wish I could have my memory erased sometimes... .

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Only Attractive Need Apply

[shaking my head and wanting to ring the neck of the man pictured in the article]

This one takes the cake. Maybe I would think differently if I were a hot movie star... geez I hope not.

Yes, we're human. Naturally, people want someone they think is nice to look at. However, I worry that one of the reasons people fail to find a partner in life is because they have unrealistic expectations about superficial qualities. Things like this website make people think it's okay to judge people on looks.

We criticize celebrities somewhat for getting plastic surgery, yet we reward them the better they look. Where's the incentive to be natural and take care of your body?

To each their own. It was bound to happen. What happens when they see each other the next morning with crusty mascara, unshaven faces, and spray tans fading? Oh, excuse me, they probably don't stay around long enough to see that. (Cranky, aren't I? ;))

It seems I'm in the minority these days. Many of my girlfriends are are starting to say they'd consider Botox or will go under the knife when things start sagging. Maybe some of them already have but are keeping it secret.

Dating site asks 'are you hot enough?'

Story Highlights
• Users vote on whether people are hot enough to join
• Almost 1,000 people have joined
• About 25 percent of applicants expected

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- Jason Pellegrino (an 8.2 on the attractiveness scale) says the problem with Internet dating services is not enough really hot-looking people.

So he and a business partner have created, a sort of online version of Studio 54, the exclusive '70s disco where gaining admission was a pitiless Darwinian exercise. is for "fit, good-looking" people.

Prospective members must submit pictures and must be rated an 8 or higher by people already in the club. Once they are in, they are permitted to e-mail other "hotties" for $9.95 a month.

"It's definitely hard to get through that rope, but once you're in, you're in and you're part of the party," Pellegrino said. "But you know there's going to be a lot of people outside waiting."

The 33-year-old said he and his partner, Sean Cohen, created the site after concluding that Internet dating sites attract a lot of brave and desperate people but not particularly attractive ones.

A few months after its launch, membership is just under 1,000, Pellegrino said. In the beginning, only 8 percent of those who applied made the grade, but now about 25 percent of applicants do, he said.

Candidates must send in three pictures, including one full-body shot. Active members rate the pictures online without knowing anything else about the people in them.

"People can say that the site is shallow, they can say it's superficial, but I think we're all a bit superficial when it comes to dating," Pellegrino said.

One of the "hotties" accepted into the club is Jimmy Ziomek, a 29-year-old from New York City who rated an 8.2. Ziomek, who said his job in real estate keeps him from going out much, has blue eyes and light brown hair and goes to the gym four to five times a week.

Using "saves time and it does the searching for you, narrows it down to the people that you are interested in meeting," he said.

Among those who did not make the cut was Jeanette Ponder, a 28-year-old Internet blogger from East Orange, New Jersey who considered herself an 8 or 9. She said she applied because she thought it would make a good story.

"I got rated at like 5.7," she said. "When you put yourself out there in any situation, even if it's one which you're not taking seriously, it's going to sting."

But she also reasoned: "You cannot make a relationship by being arm candy."

Like it or not, operates according to a principle that watchers of the singles scene have long recognized: "People tend to end up with partners who match them in physical attractiveness," said Margaret Clark, a professor of psychology at Yale University.

Pellegrino, whose day job as a project manager for a construction company in Maplewood leaves little time for dating, has brown eyes and a bright smile, goes to the gym at least three times a week and gets his stylish haircut touched up every two weeks. He was happy to make it onto his own Web site.

"I see myself more in like the 7.5 range," he said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

In the eyes of others

I had dinner with Is and PretendCousin the other night. She was talking about an art project she had for her pole dancing class. It was meant to help the class explore their erotic side. The assignment involved creating a collage of what represented their personality.

She was surprised to see how much pink, furry fabric, and glitter she incorporated into her collage. My immediate reaction was, "and why is that a surprise?"

PretendCousin immediately laughed, looked at me, and said, "that's exactly what I said. The first things that come to mind if I had to make your collage would be pink and Snuffles (stuffed bear toy)."

After sharing more thoughts about her choices, she delved into trying to guess what my might look like if I were to create one. While hers came out girlie but racy, I thought mine would be more old-fashioned feminine. They agreed that I my colors would have been a more burgundy or dark pink colors. I stopped there as I didn't feel like getting into any other detail. I think I might have chosen pretty laces and some floral elements. It was an interesting project I suppose.

Later, someone asked about siblings and birth order. I shared my recollection that oldest are theoretically supposed to pair best with the youngest and vice-versa. Middle children fare better with other non-middle children. Only children are a toss up because they are a mix of oldest and youngest behaviors.

In the course of this conversation, Is shared her thoughts on my personality. She compared me with PretendCousin because we're both first-borns. She said she could definitely tell I was the oldest.

"What tells you that?"

"Well, ..."

"Because I'm type A?"

"No, I wouldn't exactly say that, but you're a take charge kind of person. You think about other people's needs."

The conversation moved on as Is reflected about how PretendCousin isn't so much like that now. They recalled how she was more like that in college and laughed that it's now gone.

Is's comments made me think. I totally agreed with her first observation. I like to be organized and tend to step in if no one else is getting things done. The second part of her comment was quite interesting. I say that for two reasons. One, it never occurred to me to describe myself that way. Second, I was impressed that she would notice and articulate that.

People aren't always good at describing themselves. They may see only what they want to see, emphasize what seems more important to others, or picture themselves as they would like to be. In actuality, it's probably some combination of these perspectives.

It's rare to hear yourself describe from another person's point of view. I had a little taste of that when Hula helped me refine my dating profile. An idea came to mind that it would be fascinating to write five close friends and asked them to describe a couple traits of my personality. I wonder what I could learn about myself by doing that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Let me add something to your beer

Eeewwe! CRE-E-PY! Scary.

I'm so thankful that the guys I've met were relatively safe. They may have been a little weird, socially inept, or nerdy, but not outright criminals!

This makes me wonder if that poor Stanford grad student was accidentally overdosed by some date-raper... but I'm just speculating. It just bugs me that she was found in her trunk. The police think she committed suicide. Who commits suicide in a car trunk in a community college parking lot?

(I know people who want to will figure out what drugs they can use, but I'm not going to help them by listing them here. Hence why the drug names have been deleted.)

Date in jail for drugging beer
Quick-thinking S.F. pair nail man slipping his companion a mickey
Mike Weiss, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It looked for all the world as if the couple on a date -- he was darkly handsome and a little older than the pretty, petite blonde with the Russian accent -- were having a great time together.

"A really great time," their waitress, K-- Cormican, recalled thinking. "She was facing him, had one of her legs up on the bench seat." Good body language.

So it came as a shock when after the woman left the window-side table to visit the restroom, Cormican saw the man shake a white powder into the Hefeweizen beer he had ordered for his date.

"Did I really see that?" Cormican asked herself. "Why would he do that? It seemed like they were having fun."

This was in a bar in Noe Valley that draws a mostly local crowd -- early on most days, the patrons were older folks like the 93-year-old who got upset when the bar manager took a week off. Later, when the restaurants on 24th Street close for the night, a younger bunch of waitstaff and kitchen workers dropped in to watch sports on television or play pinball.

Over the years, the bar has seen a lot of incarnations. When the neighborhood was mostly blue-collar Irish and German, it was Doyle's, and then it became the Connection. As yuppies moved into what became million-dollar Victorians in the 1990s, it became Noe's Arc, and now it's Noe's Bar.

Not a place for trouble. Not the kind of place where what looked like an attempted date rape would occur. Or where a guy on a first date, like Joseph Szlamnik, at the time a 43- year-old senior management assistant for the San Francisco Unified School District, would commit a crime. Szlamnik was sentenced last week to a year in jail by Superior Court Judge Anne Bouliane on narcotic charges related to the incident.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the Department of Justice, 66 percent of sexual assaults in 2005 were committed by friends, acquaintances or other people intimately known to the victims. No tally is kept specifically of date rapes.

Rape of all kinds has dropped by more than half since 1993, said Lynn Parrish, a spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, which operates a national hot line.

Because of educational efforts, "people are aware that these drugs are used in bars by perpetrators of all ages," she said. "So these two women who saw it knew what was happening." On the night in question, Cormican, 23, quickly approached the bartender, H-- Bridgeman-Oxley, 27, and told her what she had seen. The two women hatched a plan.

Cormican returned to the table and told Szlamnik and his date, whom the court identified only as Tatiana K., then 34, that the woman's beer had come from a fermented keg and that they were going to replace it. Cormican brought her a Stella Artois.

Cormican carried the adulterated Hefeweizen to Bridgeman-Oxley and out of sight into a back room. They held it up to the light and saw, unmistakably, a white powder. At a preliminary hearing last summer, Nikolas Lemos, chief forensic toxicologist at the San Francisco medical examiner's office, identified the powder as z-------, a prescription sleeping drug sold as ------a.

After seeing the white powder, Bridgeman-Oxley said she "panicked a little bit. We had to figure out a way to keep her away from this man."

Their chance came when Tatiana went outside to smoke a cigarette. Cormican grabbed the beer with the white powder and followed her. It was a mild night in May 2005 -- the wheels of justice in this case, as one courtroom observer said, have ground exceedingly slowly.

Tatiana was stunned -- she said it was their first date, and they had met at a salsa dancing class only weeks before. Earlier, he had picked her up in his BMW after her classes at City College. "She's a trusting young lady," says David Merin, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case.

Cormican had to repeat herself several times before Tatiana absorbed what had happened. And then things got even worse.

The bartender rushed outside to tell the two women that while they had been talking, Szlamnik had dropped two pills into the new beer Tatiana had left behind on the table.

"He did it again," she said.

All three women looked through a window and saw Szlamnik trying to wipe up beer that had foamed over the edge of Tatiana's glass and was fizzing as if there were Alka-Seltzer in it.

In fact, as Dr. Lemos would later testify, the pills were a-----, commonly sold as ---x, a [drug] prescribed to relieve anxiety. "In combination with alcohol," Lemos testified at the preliminary hearing, the two drugs "are encountered frequently in drug-facilitated sexual assaults ... without giving the victim the chance ... to even realize what's going on."

On the sidewalk, Tatiana was sobbing. Bridgeman-Oxley stalked back into the bar with Tatiana following, swiped the foaming glass off the table and looked the stunned Szlamnik in the eye when he began to protest that she had served him a second bad beer.

He said to Tatiana, "Let's go."

"You're date's over, mister," the bartender told him. "She's staying with us."

After offering to buy everybody a shot of whiskey, Szlamnik fled while Bridgeman-Oxley was calling the police, who arrived quickly and took possession of the two beers.

And the quick-thinking barmaids of Noe's -- a jukebox joint that Bridgeman-Oxley describes as "pretty chill" -- became heroines.

"These were two heroic people who stopped this crime from happening," said Susan Breall, the judge at the preliminary hearing.

Lynn Parrish, the spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, agreed: "I don't remember hearing another story like this," she said. "They're heroes in my book."

Last Tuesday, Judge Bouliane sentenced Szlamnik, who had no prior criminal history, to one year in jail but suspended six months of that. Szlamnik entered jail voluntarily in January after agreeing to plead guilty to transporting and furnishing a narcotic rather than to a crime directly related to a planned sexual assault. He is due to be released in May.

At the time of his plea, he was terminated by the school district, said a spokesperson.

Cormican had arrived in San Francisco from Fargo, N.D., only six months prior to the incident and still works at Noe's. She shrugs off any attempt to call her a heroine.

"It's just the kind of place where everybody looks out for everybody," she said recently while working behind the bar. "I mean, people look out for me. I hope."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Weak threads

I'm trying to be positive and patient about this process, but there's gotta be a better way.

No surprise that I haven't heard back from ArtHawk. I know people mean well, but I really think his initial reply nothing more than a polite but empty response. I've seen him online for what seems like a couple years. He's either picky or not looking for anything serious.

My polite e-mail did get Designer's attention this time around:


I have to apologize for taking so long to get back to you. I've enjoyed getting to know you through eHarmony but I don't think I can offer you anything more than friendship at this point. I wish you luck in your search and hope you find what you're looking for,


His e-mail was as lame as his behavior at dinner. There's no need to try and placate me with an offer of friendship that he's as sincere about as the hug and phone call promise he made at the end of dinner. At least, he had the decency to reply.

While it's what I expected, I just don't understand why he couldn't have simply made the effort to close our connection. He's not going magically disappear from my list nor me from his. He didn't have to talk to me directly. I'm just asking for a little etiquette here. Once I read this, I made sure to close the connection since he seems unwillingly to take the 5 seconds to do it himself.

Now, I'm better about what happened during that dinner. There's no reason to think that I did anything wrong. In hindsight, his behavior indicated he checked out the minute he saw me. He never smiled. From the minute we sat down at dinner there was minimum effort made to talk to me.

Sure, perhaps he was nervous. I tried. Maybe he misinterpreted my initial chatter as being upset with him for being late? I had reassured him that it was no problem. Clearly, something set the wrong tone from the start. I probably just didn't look like what he expected. My freckles aren't as noticeable in my photos. ;p

The other mystery boy I've been wondering about was NeverHome. He travels for his job and seems to be around every fortnight. A week and a half ago, he asked about meeting up this past weekend. I wrote him back saying I'd be interested and provided my phone number. Knowing he was on the road, it seemed to make sense to let him call me. As the weekend neared, I wrote him another e-mail asking if he was still intending to meet me. No response.

Late Sunday, he wrote back apologizing because his schedule had changed and just then he had finally managed to hook a computer up to the Internet. Um, yeah. He works for a software company. How could you not have checked your e-mail accounts for almost two weeks? I did give you a phone number. Maybe this guy should reconsider the idea of trying to date considering his busy schedule. It doesn't seem like dating is or can be a priority for him right now. That or I'm being lied to again. His e-mail ended saying he won't have time until April sometime. Yeah, whatever. Should I tell him my membership is ending and leave him my phone number (no e-mail) to test if he's really interested?

Anyhow, I still have other projects in development at least. There's one guy; he's a little younger but seems to ask good questions and pays attention. I hope to at least meet him eventually to see if we have any chemistry. In a couple e-mails, I'll offer my phone number if he doesn't ask.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Checking for loose ends

Over the weekend, I'm doing a bit of cleaning house. Yes, I'm tidying up my place and hope to liberate some of the dust bunnies, but that's not the kind of cleaning I want to discuss here.

Instead, I'm talking about cleaning up my dating inbox. I hate dangling threads that are starting to get old. When a guy hasn't replied in awhile, one tends to think they've forgotten you or lost interest. Let's face, when you like someone, you want to talk to them, see them.

So, I went back to some question marks and threw out a last bone. Hopefully my e-mails were simple, honest, and not desperate or needy. The first one went to Design with whom I had dinner two weeks ago. You remember, the one who gave me a hug and said he'd call?

"Hi D,

It's been almost two weeks since we met up for dinner. I'm trying to guess why I haven't heard from you. I know this great weather has filled up my schedule lately. Maybe the situation wasn't ideal and perhaps we didn't talk as much as one might have expected?

All that said, I'd still like to get to know you. If you don't feel the same, I'd appreciate if you would do me the courtesy of letting me know.


Maybe when I read this later I'll say, "doh," as I smack my forehead. Right now, it seems like a fair enough request. In the system we're using, you have to provide closure in some respects, otherwise you still look like you're active on the other person's interest list.

I also went ahead and gave ArtHawk one more poke (a la DonnaK and Admin):

"Ah, yes, sounds correct. Thanks for the compliment.

It sounds as though you have many outdoor interests. How have you been taking advantage of this fantastic spring weather?"

We'll see if either of them respond. I know I should be more positive, but I'm not expecting much.

Another guy e-mailed me more than a week ago asking if I was free on Sunday to meet up. I wrote back saying that I had the day free and provided my phone number since he said he'd be traveling. I've never heard from him since about setting something up. Why am I getting all these slow, flakey guys?

In the meantime, I'm experimenting with my preference setting for the weekend. I figure I only have a couple weeks left in my membership so I might as well see what happens and chalk it up to social education.

This one guy seemed decent. I was open to the idea of replying to him until I saw his third picture. Nothing wrong with it in a censorship sense, it's just that it's too early for *me* to be looking at a torso up shot of his bare, semi-hairy chest. Maybe some women would appreciate proof that he's fit and not overweight, but I the hair part is a bit of a turn-off for me. Ugh. For now, I'll let him see my pictures... let's see if he's still interested in chatting.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Living together before marriage

I've considered writing about this many times but could never quite finish my thoughts. This headline has been sitting as a draft for months. I bring it up now more because Juan wants to discuss this idea with Chi. It's just an idea at this point. I'm guessing it will be several months before it becomes a serious consideration. She's not enthusiastic with the idea for several reasons.

When I was in my twenties, I thought living with a guy seemed like a reasonable progression towards marriage. None of my relationships, however, progressed to a point where this ever became a necessary or desired discussion.

After a few months of dating Ryan, there were hints to the idea. He lived some 30 miles away, so we spent the weekends together. The work commute made it inconvenient for me to stay with him, and he never seemed to like staying at my apartment. For whatever reason, we never discussed it directly. Once, on a Sunday night, I made the comment that I had to head home soon. He quickly said, "oh, you need to go to the bedroom, okay." I said how much I wanted to stay with him, but that I needed to get back. It probably would have been a good time to discuss his feelings, but I missed it.

At the time, I think I felt like I didn't have much choice because he was the one who owned a condo while I was a renter. It would have made sense for me to move to his place, but that would have tripled my commute, and maybe he was hesitant to bring it up knowing that. I also knew that there were only two cities he was willing to live in, the one where he currently resided and the city just north. He occasionally mentioned a desire to "someday" getting a bigger place but never was willing to consider my suggestion that he browse a few open houses to help think through the idea. It seemed like he never liked any of my ideas... but that's a whole other past I won't bother with.

Chi and Juan have been dating some eight months. They both own condos but live some 40 miles apart. She lives fairly close to her work, a very convenient commute. He lives in an popular, urban neighborhood and travels for work. Her place is a 1960s two-bedroom unit while he has a cozy, modern one-bedroom unit. Can you guess what some of their difference are about moving in together?

I mostly just listen as I don't feel it's my place to inject too many opinions. In the early discussions, Juan said he wants her to sell and move into his place. She doesn't think they could live in his small condo as there's barely enough space for his stuff. Ideally, they'd move into hers since it's two bedroom, but he doesn't like her place. She suggested buying a house halfway between their current locations, but he's unwilling to live anywhere else but in his city. The commute wouldn't be ideal, but Chi's considering living most (4-5 days) of the week with him.

Next, they talked about buying a place together to solve the space issue. Chi also likes the idea of establishing a home so they don't have to move later when there's babies to juggle. Juan's idea is that she sell her place (or both sell if necessary), and they use that equity to buy a two-bedroom condo in his area. I was impressed how she immediately pointed out that she felt it was unfair that she contribute her equity for a joint place while he retained his own property. He offered that her name get added to his title. She is also concerned that his area is expensive and that they'd have to move again in a couple of years to afford something bigger. I agreed that it seemed impractical. I told her it seems like he's hanging onto his urban pad perhaps as a way to cling to his single lifestyle a little longer.

Still, she's hesitant. It's not her ideal situation before getting engaged though it sounds like they're both pretty serious about marriage. Why do guys these days all seem to want to live together before committing? Based on the marriages I've seen in the past few years, it seems like it's the only way to get a guy to move forward. Would things have worked out with Ryan if I had lived with him? It makes me feel like I'm going to have to do this if I want a guy to marry me.

In the right relationship, I suppose it shouldn't matter. I should trust and believe that regardless, a man I'm seriously dating will have mutual feelings about getting married before living together. There's part of me that still worries that people don't take it as seriously as if they were married. I'd hate to think that a big fight would occur and the guy would bail at the first sign of difficultly rather than work through it. It's silly, I know, but it's scary. Marriage isn't a guarantee either, but it feels more secure.

I offered Chi one alternative option to consider. If they both want to keep their condos for the time being, why not find a two-bedroom place to rent for a year? That addresses several issues: 1) it allows him to stay in an area he loves while she gives it a try, 2) they don't have to buy property twice in less than three years, 3) they each get to keep their condos for the time being. She thought it might be a good idea.

It's good to hear her talk about her relationship. Of course, I care about her as a friend. I want to make sure she's being treated right and doesn't get hurt. I also use her stories and learnings to teach myself about what I could do to have a better relationship should I be that lucky. There are times I think she gives up too much up for Juan; other times I see that she has better patience than I would to work on habits that Juan needs to change.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Extending reach

I had lunch with Hula the other day. She asked me how the dating is going. I told her about my recent, dead-end dates and fruitless e-mail exchanges. While she racked her brains for suggestions about how to improve my interactions, she mentioned something that I think might have been part of the problem with my dates last week.

It's probably part of my personality. I'm a very fact-based person and probably ask question in that manner. To engage people in conversation, I need to state questions in a form that generates an opportunity for the other person to share their opinion, not just spew information. For example, rather than just discuss cars, I could ask his opinon on the attitude of American versus Japanese carmakers towards innovation and who will survive. The next skill I need to develop is how to direct those questions into answers that will tell me something about the guy's values, beliefs, and how he thinks. That's what will help both of us determine whether we're compatible.

It's a challenge for me because it's not obvious how to do this. This would be good for me to learn how to do in many social situations, not just dating. I think part of the problem is that I've built up this notion in my head that questions that probe more might be perceived as nosy or too personal.


Lately, I have received some requests for contact from guys who live outside of the state. I know I should keep an open mind, but it's just so far... .

It's one thing to decided to date someone who you've previously known through friends. At least you have a sense of them. But to start communicating with someone who is hundreds of miles away and whom you know nothing about makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps I'm just too jaded, but the back of my mind questions whether these guys are living double lives. How do I know that they're really who they say they are? How would I know if they're married or have girlfriends?

If they seem interesting and look decent, I'd probably reply. I'm just not thrilled at the idea of trying to get to know someone remotely. I considered it once but quickly realized that I wasn't comfortable with it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

L'odeur des poissons

My attitude towards dating the past week has been one of resignation and low, low expectations interlaces with brief moments of optimism and determination. When I told Chi that one of my priorities for now is dating and finding a man, she criticized me for not sounding like someone who was putting in enough effort.

At the start of last weekend, I probably had at least seven outstanding e-mails waiting to be read and replied to. Maybe two men were good bets on replying, the rest would offer odds as good as roulette.

Two that I must admit I didn't expect were from Pacer and ArtHawk.

First, let's go over the easy one.

"Hi Pandax,

You may have seen me on

You have a beautiful smile. Let us be friend. a cute name.


His profile is so well written and detailed in comparison. I suppose he's wanting me to check out his profile since I shared one with him. Still, there's not much to make of this. He used the word "friend" and made no effort at creating a conversation or asking me to meet him for coffee as the original posting offered. So... is there any reason to write back? My gut says "no," but I suppose the foolishly optimistic part of me that worries I'm being too critical and overanalyzing thinks that he deserves one more e-mail?

Now, with Pacer, because I told him how I was uncomfortable with his "questionaire", I just assumed he'd give up.

Apparently not:

Hi P,

Thanks for the making the effort to write back, especially because I'm sensing that this may not be your preferred approach in getting to know people (which is entirely understandable).

I'm sorry if I overwhelmed you with my last message. That wasn't my intent. [...] I see now that you may need more personal contact with your matches in order to develop a more intuitive first impression. There's certainly nothing wrong with that... .

Let me try and offer an analogy as to my perspective, coming from one who has become available for dating after many, many years of being "out of practice." I ran into this film just after [ending my subscription] about a young woman who places an ad in a paper and meets with all these different kinds of men at a cafe. [...] I could really empathize with this character as to what she had to put up with and how much wasted effort she had to invest. [...]

I'm not opposed to meeting you sooner, rather than later, but I do feel there
are certain things you need to know about me beforehand. And...vice versa, if
you are so inclined (but I won't insist, if you're not).


The very first thing that stood out? Not too hard to guess - "certain things you need to know about me beforehand." Yipes!!! Yeah, that's a way to start conversations that scare off people you just met. My guess? He's recently divorced or broke off an engagement? It would explain why one of the pictures he posted appears to be of a semi-formal group photo with everyone else cropped out. He's dressed nicely and it's obvious that there's someone standing next to him and a child (6-9 years old) sitting on someone's lap.

As I've gotten older, I've come to understand divorced people are not always freaks or losers as they can be portrayed. They are not that different from people who dated for many years, lived together, and then broke up for what ever reason. In this day and age, the two living situations aren't that different in some cases. But, I've had bad experiences with divorcees in the past that bias me. What is unique is the baggage like alimony and kids that complicate things. That, I'm not sure I want to deal with that.

But, I'm jumping the gun. It seems the most likely answer, but there could be a million other things he thinks he needs to say. Maybe he doesn't realize he's making this sound too serious.

Then there's his rant about the movie with the tiring dates and wasted time. Um, what does he think dating is? I don't like it any more than him, but that's how these things work. There's no magical formula that's going to spit out a ticket telling him who's door to knock on and propose. Online dating, personal ads, etc., are all channels for helping us meet other people, it's not meant to be a means to an end. Meeting people is a necessary investment which he doesn't seem to understand. I have a mind to explain this to him but is it really my responsibility to teach him?

I totally know where he's coming from. I've been there. Every few days I want to give up and accept an eternity of singledom. It's easier to not do anything than to have to spend time going out to sit with a stranger for an hour. But I got past that. I understand that hiding behind a computer screen won't get me very far.

I appreciate his honesty. In that respect, we'd probably get along very well or end up absolutely exasperated at our collective lack of tact or subtlety. I have sympathy (to a point) for his frustration. He needs to get more perspective from his friends about how dating works these days.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Little white lies

As I was searching for ArtHawk's profile, I came across another profile that is someone who I was previously communicating with through my "consultant." After one e-mail exchange, he wrote back telling me that he and a woman he had been dating for a couple of weeks had agreed to be exclusive. Okay, that's a great, honest answer. But then I find him on this other site, and his status says that he was active within the last 24 hours?

Did he tell me a little white lie? Things fell through that fast? Otherwise, why not come back and contact me (since he didn't complete the process and delete me from his connection list)? I'm not so much hurt at losing him, I was unsure about him. It just makes me think about how people choose different methods for turning others down.

Apparently some people choose to say they're pursuing other people rather than hurt you're feelings by saying "I'm not interested." It's probably another way to leave the door open in case they change their mind (or find out you've won the lottery and are now worth dating ;)). Does having options make people feel better about themselves even if they have no intention of pursuing the person?

I don't know, I'm all for straight talk and not these polite lies. Of course, there's no need to be unnecessarily cruel like, "you're unattractive and boring," but I see nothing wrong with simply saying, "we don't seem to have enough in common." Then again, there are those people who would take that as an invitation to ask "why." I've learned from experience that answering "why" can get you in a whole load of trouble.

As for the two dates I had last week, I've barely heard a peep from either of them. G sent me an e-mail thanking me for my company at dinner. I replied saying it was fun trying out a new restaurant with him. Nothing since then.

At the end of my dinner with Designer, he gave me a hug and said he'd give me a call. Well, a week has passed, and there's no sign of him. I even wrote a quick e-mail two days after the dinner saying that I enjoyed joining him for dinner. I then referenced an article I read in the paper related to his work and something he had mentioned over dinner. No reply. If you're interested in a girl, wouldn't you have called by now? Don't say you'll call if you don't mean it.

Sigh... back to the drawing table. Or is there something more I was or am supposed to do other than wait? (I don't want to look desperate or anything...)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hormones are hell

I looked on the calendar to see that I'll probably need to keep an eye out for the monthly monster. As I drove home from a brunch for my friend's birthday, it occurred to me that my underlying unhappiness was probably due to hormonal changes.

Over the past few years, I've noticed in hindsight that my most negative thoughts, my most irrational behavior, my non-life-threatening thoughts of leaving this world all tend to surface in the days before I start my period. Sometimes I realize it as it is happening, but most times it's something I recognize in hindsight.

The night before the brunch, I had a strong urge to call Tim to ask him to let everyone know that I would not attend the brunch. There was no particular person I wanted to avoid, no competing activity, no lack of interest in the food. There was simply this overwhelming sense of dread and unhappiness at the thought of sitting around dozens of couples.

My discomfort was verified by the site of TJ and his girlfriend entering the restaurant 100ft. ahead of me. He, of all people bugs me, because of his history of questionable relationships with women. I know this from personal experience and first-hand conversation from those involved. It irks me that someone whom I perceived to be an ass could be so lucky to turn around, find someone who he's totally happy with, and have it last this long. I guess I think about Karma and wonder why the f*k he deserves this happiness while I struggle with dating.

My internal thoughts can be very extreme when I'm hormonal. Of course, I'll always put on a smile and play happy and nice with everyone. It is nice to see people. Now that everyone is married and coupled, it's rarer that we all get together. Underneath my smiles and laughs, I wanted to disappear or distract myself with physical pain to forget the isolation I was experiencing.

It's times like these when I think crazy thoughts like selling off all my belongings and driving off. My mind expanded upon that idea this time and developed the story of me parking at a hiking trail and just getting myself lost. Another moment, I consider turning off my phone and not responding to any e-mails for a month. I want to see how I would feel if I were truly alone. Sometimes it seems like it'd be easier to avoid everyone because they remind so much of how alone I am. As much as I love my friends, it's days like these the peace of mind from not seeing them is greater than the fun and connection I gain from spending time with them. This not something I'd ever explain to them or expect them to understand.

This moment will pass, as have many others. Still, I need to find a better way to work through them.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mixing boredom and online ads

Every so often I browse online personal ads on Craigslist for entertainment. I hear mixed opinions about the success of such ads. It feels like the majority of the ads list men looking for flings or clandestine affairs. What a turn off, yet at the same time entertaining. Once in awhile I run across a posting that seems genuine or humorous.

I put in the criteria of 32 to 40 and hit "Search." Since I'm never serious about it, I tend to click on the postings with pictures out of curiousity to see what kinds of guys post. Nothing really grabbed my attention until I saw the headline "I love coffee, I love tea."

"Hi there,

If you like tea and coffee, would you come out drink them with me?

36 yrs old, 5 feet 9 inches tall. Financially secure. Have a good sense of mirth.

I am looking for a nice woman to hang with. Personally count."

Did he mean, "personality counts?" Along with the brief writing were two pictures - one head shot, one side profile. Both were apparently taken in front of a garage door and good looking. He looked familiar to me, and I immediately knew him to be someone I've seen in previous adventures into online dating.

I went back to the site where I last recalled running across him. It took awhile to find the right profile, but it was definitely him. One of the pictures was identical to his posting. It was very helpful to read his profile. He seems like an interesting person though I feel like his expectations of potential girlfriends may be a bit high. He must have seen my profile back when I was active on the site, so I didn't stand out to him.

My big question is whether he's looking for casual dating or something that has potential for a long-term relationship. It's always hard to tell because people aren't clear about it (often on purpose). Something about the way he desscribed himself made it sound like he wants to be an independent spirit. I like his confidence but I fear potential arrogance.

In one of my moments of questionable judgement, I threw caution to the wind and e-mailed him. I probably should have thought of something quirky to say. But that might have taken days to create knowing me. So I kept it simple. I addressed him by what I recall his handle to be:

"Dear ArtHawk,

I think I remember seeing you online somewhere. I'm not sure what you're looking for, so feel free to take a look at my profile - http://xxxxxxx.

If you're interested, drop me a line. Otherwise, good luck hunting!


Who knows. Frankly, I don't expect to hear back. Can't hurt right?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What's culturally important

For whatever reason, the question of ethnicity was really on my mind the other day. In the melting pot we call home, I often wonder how future generations of Asian-Americans will identify with the ethnic background versus their homeland. Among the first-generation people I know and have met, there are still ties to their mother countries. It manifests itself in a variety of ways - choosing to live in ethnic neighborhoods, speaking something other than English at home, going to visit country X regularly, etc.

The second generation (that includes myself) gets the best and maybe the worst of both worlds. We adapt to the freedoms that living here provides. We appreciate a variety of foods and practices. For those of us who don't naturally blend into crowd (i.e. not white) we sometimes face discrimination. When we are among people who look like us, they often expect us to understand a foreign language fluently or share the same opinions. We grow up trying to reconcile differences between our American values and the values our parents pass down from their upbringing.

What happens as the generation pass? Those who remain within ethnic enclaves such as a Chinatown or Little Saigon might be more insulated from American cultural influences. I guess my thoughts look more towards upwardly mobile families that move to the suburbs to raise their families. How well are they able to instill an understanding and appreciation for cultural heritage among their children? Is it realistic to expect the 3rd, 4th, 5th generations to be Asian?

I ask this because taking my language course strengthens my desire to expose my future children to as much Asian culture as possible. The thing is, I don't consider myself very Asian sometimes. I have friends who speak to their parent only in their native tongue, are familiar with all the traditions and superstitions around events like Lunar New Year, Red Egg and Ginger parties, and the Autumn Moon Festival, and hold tight to family traditions. In my upbringing, my dad tried as much as possible to Americanize me, and therefore did not send to extra schooling on weekends. My dad would laugh if I told him how important the idea was to me because he knows how little I could teach to my kids and that it won't really matter in the long run.

It won't matter because over time, people will mix. In this part of country, it's probably unusually apparent. Among Asians, we are cross-marrying. Overall, the melting pot will take time and will probably more influenced by Hispanics than Asians.

All this setup brings me to my ruminations. For a long time now, I have pursued dating with the thought that I would marry someone of the same ethnicity. I thought it would make things easier in terms of family and raising kids. We would share similar values and encourage each other improve our language skills. It was a big plus with Ryan and KT. It's one of the reasons I was uncomfortable dating Tim.

I get mixed opinions from my friends. Some say I'm not being fair and limiting my chances for happiness. Other people say that if it's important that I should focus there.

But now, I stop to think about some of the guys I could potentially date. I've always been open myself to meeting all Asians, though perhaps I'm trying harder these days. That means I could end up liking someone who is a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) or someone of another ethnicity who shares little background in common. How would that change what I can pass to my children? Would I really miss not being able to speak to someone in my parents' tongue?

When I go to my language class, I am reminded that there are men out there who are wanting to learn the language of their girlfriend/wife. It's a gesture I'd really admire. I don't know the reasons in each case, but I can tell you that if I had someone who learned for me (without me pushing him hard to do so), I would believe the man truly loves and understands me.

In the end, the language is not so important. I know that, but it's this feeling of familiarity, of connection that perhaps I'm afraid of losing which I associate with speaking the language. What matters is finding someone I love, who loves me, who share similar values and ideals about life and living. If I find that, maybe the rest will come naturally, and I won't have to worry about feeling like a lost soul.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Slow motion blogging

Either my blog is being bombarded in some invisible, devious fashion or it's time to get a new hit counter. At lunch time, I looked at my counts to see that only two people had seen my blog today. Normally, the East Coast folks have taken their morning morning peeks.

The two hits were for 5am PST. Okay, slow day or I've just been a huge writing disappointment lately (which wouldn't surprise me and isn't a big deal).

However, my suspicions grew when I check again after 3pm to find that only one addition hit was added. The 3rd hit has a time stamp of 7:30am. That's just not right.

So I went to my blog page just to create a hit. Let's see... it's now nearing 6pm PST and I still haven't seen my own IP appear in my counts. The newest hit on the list was from around 10:50am. What's up with that?

It's gotta be a conspiracy, I just know it. Some one in China yesterday was upset over all my tagging and has sought revenge. Okay, now I'm just talking crazy.

Anyhow, I'll have to keep an eye on this to see if it's affecting anything else. My blog looks okay. Hopefully it's just a Sitemeter glitch. And I have to add, it's unfair to taunt people with a picture of a tasty Angus burger, offer a $1 off coupon, and then, only after you've click through two pages, let you know in the fine print that it's only good in the great Los Angeles Area!!!

Applications should be completed in blue or black ink

I had been putting off replying to Pacer for more than a week. You may remember him as the one who wanted to take it slow, meaning he wanted to spend a considerable amount of time getting to know each other via e-mail.

Admittedly, I told him that I'd go along with his preference and answer some of his questions. I did that a bit with the first exchange of e-mails. It took him awhile to get back to me. He sent to successive e-mails, one full of questions, the second saying he was discontinuing his membership and to contact him via a private e-mail address.

I put off contacting him because I was honestly a bit put off by the first of the two e-mails. It was literally a list of questions with nothing about himself.

Where are you from originally? and where were you born? Where did you go to college, and what did you major in? Where is your family currently located and how often do you see them?

You seem to travel quite a bit for your job. Do you mind describing what it is you do for a living, and how long have you been in your current line of work? Do you enjoy what you do? How much time/effort to you split between home and office?

Maybe I should just attach a resume or something for him. At least that's how I felt after reading his run-on list of questions. There wasn't much else to the e-mail other than Pacer saying to take my time replying. It reminds me of filling out an application and essays for graduate school. Been there, done that. This isn't the same. I joke that dating is like looking for a job, but you can't literally treat it as such (I don't).

His approach comes across to me as very cold and impersonal. Perhaps I'm overreacting. This format feels like an arranged marriage or somethiing. Couldn't he dress it up in a more friendly, narrative form where he offers a little about himself to break up the tone? It's not that I mind answering these questions, I just think they'd be better as part of a phone call or a chat over coffee. He probably live less than 15 miles away. What's the big deal?

I don't want to be hypocritical about the process, so I felt an obligation to write him rather than just disappear and never be heard from again. I'm trying my best to express my needs in a non-demanding way to people. In response, I wrote him this:

As much as I'm curious to get to know you, this feels too impersonal to me. While I recognize that online dating can be a very tedious process, I think maintaining a conversational tone is important and this is more like filling out an application.

Hmmm, a bit harsh huh? I ended by saying that I'd be opening to exploring a compromise between his style and my preference to meet if possible. Honestly, I don't know that there is one. I know at this age it makes sense to be more efficient about the dating process. It probably partially explains his approach, but this just takes the fun out of it.

Well, I guess we'll see if he bothers to write me back. I'm sure he's been talking with a few other women so maybe he's already made his choice and I needn't worry about it.

... and then... there's this mean-spirited part of me that wants to answer his questions with wild answers to see how he reacte to a non-traditional person. But I couldn't do that.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Okay, just something weird that I notice today. In the span of about 5 minutes starting at 1:32pm PST, my site was visited by 21 IP addresses that trace back to China. It doesn't appear that anyone actually read anything in my blog, just hit the page and exited.

I usually a couple hits like this each day but they seemed totally harmless and random. This instance is much more peculiar.

Has anyone else seen this in their logs? Am I being checked by the government for censored information because I blogged a clipping about an online sitcom about 20-somethings living in China?


Update: Alert cancelled. I think it's because I was updating my tags. Still, how come all but one hit were all from China? This didn't happen the last time I updated tags.

Are we gonna make it?

When Designer first asked about having dinner, I suggested we split the difference on the distance we live from each other. I thought it a fair way to start. We decided to meet up for dinner at popular little noodle restaurant. It's such a popular place that lines are a frequent site. The hours are limited as is the seating. If you talk to anyone who frequents the place, you'll get all sorts of strategies on how to secure a seat without a long wait.

We agreed to meet up a little before they opened. Thinking I'd enjoy a bit of window shopping, I left home early. When I reached the main streets, I found I only had about 20 minutes and decided to head directly to the restaurant and wait a bit in my car. But as I pulled into a parking spot, I looked down the street to see a substantial line had already formed outside the restaurant. No one in the line looked like Designer, but I thought I'd better get in line as soon as possible. I grabbed on unread magazine from the car to pass the time in line.

A group behind me was discussing their chance at getting seated. One of them counted 26 people ahead of them. The big question was how many people could be seated inside. I knew we'd be right on the cusp of the capacity limit. I was a little nervous when it was five minutes until opening and Designer had yet to appear. Would they allow me to take two seats without the second person?

Fortunately Deisgner arrive with minutes to spare. As he approached the line, he anxiously scanned the crowd, obviously looking for me. He must have known he was a little late. Our eyes met, and he came over to me. I think he looked a little better than his photos. In his photos, he looks serious and a bit stodgy holding a wine glass dressed in a sweater over a white dress shirt. In person, Designer seemed more like a regular person. He barely felt taller than me as I was wearing two-inch heels. For a moment, with the way he looked at me, I wondered if maybe I was wearing too much makeup. It's so tough to know how girly to look for a guy. Nervous about the silence, I explained that I reasoned it best to stand in line given the line. I spoke to him as if he were a friend. He said he'd meant to get there earlier but underestimated traffic. He thanked me for getting in line.

The doors opened a couple minutes later. Everyone at our distance in the line was wondering what we'd see once we were able to lean our heads around the entrance. As we approached the door I saw the sign posted read, "Maximum Capacity: 29 persons." The hostess pointed us towards the bar. Phew! I think two more groups behind us were able to be seated. Designer made a beeline for the far end of the counter.

Service was a bit slow to start up. It seemed like everyone at the bar had been greeted with orders taken except us by the site of the cups all around. Normally when I've meet someone for dinner, the conversation tends to hinder our ability to order. This time, we seemed to sit there quietly, watching and waiting for one of the women scurrying in and out of the counter area to take our order. They didn't seem very organized. Our waitress forgot about our waters until another waitress asked if our orders had been taken yet.

Overall, the date went okay. We asked each other questions in between bites of yummy noodles. We chatted here and there about family, good eats, work (though I don't remember ever being asked about mine), and where we each have lived. There were smiles but not too many big laughs. There were a lot of pauses. At times, it made me nervous to have gaps in conversation. I felt like we were both struggling a bit to keep the conversation running. Every question was answered but never seemed to spark a more in-depth discussion. I did my best to keep calm during the pauses and not force the conversation. Things were more awkward since we weren't facing each other. I had a hard time determining what kind of mood he was in.

Unlike with G, I found nothing unappealing about Designer. He seems like a decent person. I wanted to get to know him but found myself at a loss for anything to ask that wasn't mundane or not appropriate for a first date (like what do you think of the "consultant" so far or why are you single). In that sense, you might say that my date with G went better because he kept the conversation flowing.

Designer finished his meal much faster than me. He reassured me not to rush. When the bill came, he immediately slid the tray towards him and put down his credit card. I must say that's the fastest I've ever seen any date take care of the bill. I liked that it removed any ambiguity about whether this was a date. Once he signed the bill, I thanked him for dinner. We'd been at the restaurant for a little over an hour. Given there were still people standing outside waiting to eat, we agreed that it would be impolite to linger.

The temperature was wonderfully mild as we stepped outside. There's not much immediately nearby the restaurant. The city downtown is another couple blocks down the street. I thought maybe he'd suggest we walk given the good weather and that it was barely 7pm. Designer asked where I parked my car. I pointed towards cars one block down and across the street. He said he'd walk me to my car.

Well, I guess that was a clear sign the evening was ending. Part of me wanted to go home since it was a school night, but I would have been open to a hot chocolate or dessert extension.

A car was parallel parking into a spot in front of my car. When I pointed to my car, part of me wondered what was going through his mind at the site of it. (Maybe "whoa, why the heck does she drive this?" or "I wouldn't have guessed this." You know how it's been an entertaining subject in the past.) Then there was that awkward split second when it was time to say goodnight. Out of the corner of my eye, I sensed his right arm lifting up. I moved in and completed the friendly hug. As we pulled back, he said he'd give me a call and I said, "okay." For whatever reason, it did feel nice to have my head over his shoulder. I can't even remember his face, but I think he seemed content. We both turned our separate ways, I quickly turned back and added, "have a good week."

Driving home, I assumed things ended well, though I can't be sure because of my concerns about our choppy conversation. Maybe it's just my imagination. You know how much I have a tendency to overanalyze... so here are my theories:

1) Given the hug, he had a good time but felt this hour was a good enough start given it was a school night. Reasonable explanation

2) He was totally disappointed from the beginning and was trying to speed things along so he could get out of there. The "I'll call you" was just a meaningless gesture. Sure, but why would he bother hugging me?

3) He enjoyed my company but didn't know the area well enough to think of how to follow up dinner. Maybe that's why earlier he had asked, "so what is there to do in Teo?"

4) He's shy and was as concerned as I was about whether things were going okay. A possibility... that we're both dating challenged

5) He double-booked himself and needed to meet up with his next date. He doesn't seem like the player type, but what do I really know about him?

I guess I'll just have to listen for my phone to ring. Maybe I should send him a quick e-mail saying that I had a nice time.

In the mean time, maybe I need to go pick up a book on "How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends" or "Flirting 101." I don't recall having such issues with KT or Limey. My co-worker says I need to probe more and get the guy talking about things they know to make them comfortable (e.g. ask them about their projects at work, talk about sports).

I guess somehow, somewhere, I came up with the notion that people don't want to talk about their jobs during a date. I mean, it already consumes 40+ hours of your week, why spend more time on it? But, okay, I'll give that a try next time. In regards to sports, I guess I'm worried about being perceived more as a buddy than a date if we got too much into sports. Compared to most women, I can talk about enough sports to keep up with the boys, but not enough to get into stats or strategy. I still have no clue about game play like a nickel defense, a 3-4 defense, or option offense. I suppose I fear setting some expectation that I'm going to spend every Sunday watching football. Sports are fun, but I don't need to it to be regular part of my life.

She also suggested asking "have you ever been married" or "how many long-term relationships have you had" at this stage of getting to know each other. That just seems way too personal. Aren't there better topics to bring up? Would it have been too heavy to ask him his thoughts on being a 4th-generation Asian-American? (I often wonder how different it is from being 1st or 2nd generation where you theoretically still have some connections with your ethinic origins.) What is fair game and what is too personal to ask in early dating?

Ugh, I'm so awful at dating. I just gotta keep working at it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Frozen in the middle

My potential date with V500 never matierialized. We exchanged e-mails, decided on a time over the weekend to meet for coffee, pondered where to meet. I provided a couple suggestions and a rough time that worked for both of us. At the end of my last e-mail I also felt obligated to mention there was the *tiniest* chance I might go skiing and have to cancel.

V500 wrote back and indicated which place he thought would be good for meeting up. He said he understood my interest in going skiing and understood if I needed to cancel. I read this e-mail during lunch but didn't respond as I try not to spend too much time during work hours on dating stuff.

When I went back later that night to send him an e-mail confirming the time and place for our meeting, I found that he had frozen our connection. No reason was given for this temporary situation. I was very perplexed. There was nothing I could do through the system to signal him (other than deleting him). I didn't have his real e-mail address or a phone number through which to reach him. I was left hanging. So was our date still on?

Since the date was unconfirmed, I could only assume it was not happening. A couple days passed with no change in status. Still, I decided it would be nice to go out, get some magazine reading done, and be there in case there was a miscommunication. I arrived at the cafe 30 minutes before our discussed time and ordered a milk tea. I read some articles about Club Penguin for tweens, a who's who of blogging, and runners with prosthetic techonology. A friend called, and we chatted about our vacation planning. After an hour passed, I felt satisifed with the amount of reading I had accomplished and headed home. No one ever came through the cafe door that looked like him.

Regardless of the reason, I still think it was rather rude to simply freeze me without explanation. Was he offended that I read his last e-mail but didn't immediately reply? If he had decided to get serious with one of his other dates, it would have been nice if he had simply said that. I understand that online dating requires juggling many dates at varying stages of progress. You'd think it a courtesy to write some brief message, no matter how vague. How about something like, "I'm afraid I can't make it. We'll have to reschedule." Getting an automated message saying "V500 has temporarily frozen communications" is lame. Am I wrong?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Voice impressions

I know what I say might sound bad, but once I met G, I think I figured out why he asked to meet without ever speaking to each other on the phone. He has a lisp.

I'm assuming the lisp is caused by a combination of his underbite and a gap in his teeth. Perhaps he is aware that it's distracting and avoids talking to women by phone because it doesn't make the best first impression. I must admit I found it rather distracting.

When I arrived at the restaurant, he was at the front reviewing the menu. G pretty much looks like the picture he has posted though his face seemed a little older and wider. He had a friendly smile as he greeted me.

He was very good at asking me questions. I honestly didn't know what to ask him. He asked a little about my job and the travel I do. I asked about his work. When I asked him about his activities, he described his current interest in playing poker with his friends and playing this one particular two-person board game. G went into quite a bit of detail about the game which briefly turned into the sound an adult makes when you watch a Charlie Brown cartoon.

Once we determined that we attended the same college, we talked about our experiences while there. He then proceeded to ask me if I watch any sports. I clarified whether he was talking about college sports and acknowledged that I enjoy football but not so much basketball. Somewhere in the conversation, I shared my opinion that the coach needs to be replaced. He would repeatedly ask for my reasons and counter each time with a reason to keep the coach. I really didn't want to spend so much time talking about sports, but he kept looking for angles from which to save my opinion about the coach.

The conversation wasn't bad, but it felt a bit staid and serious. There was nothing particularly exciting about the conversation - cable tv, Internet service, antennas, high school academics, his volleyball club. Maybe his lisp biased me early. I really tried to stay engaged, but part of me kept thinking about how plain he seemed.

He's a nice guy, but I just felt like I couldn't find many opinions in him. When I asked him if he cooks, he said he mostly eats out. I followed that up by inquiring whether he has favorite eats, he said, "not really." When it came to his job, he seemed content in his current position, rarely dealing with people be it customers or management. It concerns me that he's not as outgoing as I would like (not that I want a social butterfly or anything).

I have to give G credit. He did a very good job of asking questions and showing interest. I probably deserve a barely satifactory grade for my interaction. He asked me what tv shows I watch, and I should have turned it back to him. There were a couple other times I could have repeated the question for him to answer. I guess it felt a little stale to me to simply mirror every question he had of me. I let myself get preoccupied by his lisp. The combination of his lisp and soft voice make it feel like I was talking with a kid.

My gut tells me that the chemistry not as strong as I would like. There lacked an energy between us. You know what I mean? Maybe it was simply first date jitters. I want to feel some instant connection. It bothers me that I focused on something superficial like his voice, but it's the truth. I feel like a bad person.

At the same time, I have this terrible fear that I'm just not being receptive enough towards guys. Minus the obvious losers, can one really be sure after one date that it's not a connection? I've had good first dates, but in my experience this is not one of them. My therapist will undoubtedly encourage me to give him another chance, to work on being more open-minded and not prejudge. I feel I should too, but my first impression bias will be tough to overcome. We'll see if I hear from him again.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Embrace me

My horoscope today...

Daily Overview for March 01, 2007

Embrace the ambiguity of love and romance, and you'll find it in more places.

Hmmm... I feel like I just opened a fortune cookie. It just seems so appropriate given my skepticism, cluelessness, and quick to judge habits. I feel like I should write this on a piece of paper and post it above my computer.

If it's okay to say this

Cosmic forces continue to work towards something of which I am not privy. I talked with my mom to learn that people want to set me up with the older boy from that party at Uncle's last weekend.

It seems that Uncle talked with Emerald and Disorganized's father sometime after the gathering. The father expressed some concern over the fact that Emerald is 37, shy, and single. He wants his boy to meet some girls, get married, and start a family. He asked Uncle if there might be some girls Emerald could meet.

Uncle immediately thought of me and called my parents to verify whether or not I am single. Naturally, my mother is rather enthusiastic about the idea, especially since she learned they are doctors. At first, she asked me generally what I thought of the two. I told her they seemed fine. She asked how they appear, and I commented they seemed decent, nicely dressed and well-groomed. She restated her question to whether or not I thought either of them were good looking. I really didn't want to go into detail but offered that I think the younger one is slightly more attractive.

Then she inquired about their heights. I told her I wasn't sure because I never stood next to them and that we were sitting most of the time. She pressed about making an estimate. I argued that my estimate couldn't possibly be right since I was sitting more than 10 feet away when I saw them standing. Then, I teased a little and asked if she'd rather me remain single if I said they were 5' 3". She said "no, I'm just curious."

As she explored how open I was to the idea of getting set up with the boys, she clarified that the father felt more urgency around the older one. While I said I was fine with meeting up with him for coffee or lunch, I reminded her that he's had a chance to meet me. I pointed out that he may not necessarily be interested. I rambled off some potential reasons such as not being pretty enough for him or being too outgoing.

That's when my mom said something I'd been wondering but never heard before. She considered my theories about his possible disinterest and added, "Well, if I can say this to you, I think boys want to have a family and prefer to date young women. He may not want to date you because you're too old now."

Ah ha, I thought, the truth comes out. I didn't flinch. Nothing about what she said really surprised me. I've always figured that's why her friends have stopped offering to set me up. It's interesting to see how my mother thinks and know that somewhere inside she feels like my chances are dwindling.

She tried to soften the news saying, "I know you girls are getting married later and you wait to have kids, that's fine. But I still think boys like to marry younger girls. We'll talk to Uncle and see. Maybe Feminist can invite you and the boys for something."

I insisted that my mom not get Feminist involved. I don't know her, and I would feel bad if she was unwillingly dragged into this matchmaking scheme. I firmly told my mom to keep Feminist out of this if she was not a willing participant.

So, that was my conversation with Mom. My new attitude towards set up is that it's somewhat like online dating. You know less about them, but at least they're probably not stalkers or something. It can't hurt to chat once or twice. We'll see if anything comes of this.