Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gotta go with the gut

During my time away, I let a lot of worries go. It was nice to feel like I had a clear head. There was no such thing as work, no such thing as dating (well, almost if you ignore everyone refering to my friend as my husband).

However, there were enough times my mind wandered, and I worried about 1of1. I honestly dreaded the idea of him waiting to call me when I returned home. Part of it is attributable to the fact that I feel little chemistry. Part of it is discomfort from the guilt of continuing to date him knowing that he's more interested than I am.

When I look back at e-mails we've exchanged and compare them to others I've dated, one thing stands out that *may* explain the lack of connection - humor. I'm no comedian; I'm pretty slow at humor and tend to take my cues from others. One of the characteristics that draws me to people is some sign of humor or flirtation be it in their writing or conversations with me. This is true of the Strategist, KT, Tim, and others who I've dated. That just isn't here with 1of1. Sure, we laugh, but it's not... endearing. All his e-mails are interactive and factual but offer nothing playful. Our conversations are similar though maybe a little more interesting. This isn't necessarily THE reason, just an explanation that seems plausible. I simply think the two of us combined makes for one big yawn.

What it boils down to is that I'm not happy. I kept trying to ask myself whether more time would change things. Perhaps I would learn to appreciate him and grow to like him. The truth is, the idea of marrying him made me cry inside. To allow myself to surrender what I want in order to be married and make my parents happy was like dying. Relationships that don't start our with love may be okay in other cultures, but losing myself, pretending to be happy, and possibly dragging others down with me is just plain wrong.

There's no evidence that I'm right or wrong. There's no way to ever know. All I can do is got with my gut. My friends who know think I've given this a decent chance. They see that my enthusiasm is well below what I've shown in the past with other potential dates.

I'm too cowardly to talk with him. I think I'd trip over myself and say something honest but insensitive. Eventually I'll craft a polite e-mail... or, I could go out with him one last time to make sure.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tissue everywhere

The things I learned on vacation:

- Choose travel luggage that leaves you space for sourvenirs or bring an extra bag
- Don't forget your watch
- At high altitudes, move slowly and breathe deeply
- If you awake to a black tongue, it might be from the Pepto
- American movies are everywhere
- Asian tour groups are the most obnoxious people
- When you travel with a friend of the opposite sex, everyone will automatically assume you are husband and wife
- If the tap water is not drinkable, it's not for brushing your teeth either
- Carry travel-sized liquid soap or liquid sanitizer everywhere
- Always save extra napkins or tissue for public toilets

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Geeks and honesty

From the special features of the "Stranger Than Fiction" DVD:

"Geeks, if anything, are overly honest about what's true, or not. If something is true, it just has to be said."

This statement hit home for me. It reminds me of my mother's complaint that my brother are I are too honest with other people. She thinks we were raised too honest and so people take advantage of us.

It also speaks a bit to my habit of thinking aloud. I tend to inform people of facts, unsolicited, that I think are helpful to people. Unfortunately, I've learned over the years that most people who don't know me well don't appreciate my well-intentioned comments. It's a tough habit to break because my mouth moves tem times faster than my brain. Plus, it's still hard for me to sometimes understand that my "trivia" is not interesting to them.

You have no idea how hard this is for me. Everyone tells me, "say it to yourself first," or "just don't say it." It doesn't work like that. If you're used to saying, "hello" when you answer the phone, how long would it take to completely start saying something different like, "good day?" It's not the best analogy, but when you're used to something, it's tough to rewire the brain as if you're changing where you sit on the bus.

Loved this movie, by the way. The geek in me thought all the technical displays of his thoughts and counting were cool, especially in the men's restroom with the soap dispensers.

I'm off on vacation now... talk to you all after Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Endings and DOAs

Hopefully, you saw "Gilmore Girls" this week or else this might be a spoiler for you. I just have to say that my relationship gauges must be completely off because everyone was hoping for this while I wanted the opposite. Can someone please explain to me WHY everyone wanted to get rid of Logan?

Yes, they're too young. I agree that they both need more time to develop themselves (as much as a tv character can when a series ends), but I don't see the need to break them up. I thought they were great together, and I'm sad to see it end. So what if it got boring and syrupy between them, isn't that what we want in real life?


"Grey's Anatomy" was absolutely boring during that silly two-hour episode. Thank goodness I can multi-task and caught up on e-mail on the couch. That whole visit down to L.A. for Addison was an absolute waste of time. If the writers don't already realize the spin-off show will never take off, they're going to spend quite a bit of money with the pilot to learn the hard way.

It's too bad really. I like the cast members. Who can argue with Taye Diggs, Amy Brenneman and Tim Daly. But the setting is odd and the storylines were either boring or downright depressing. I felt like my life was fractured into the three women's storylines - no man, no baby, no life. Why the hell would I want to watch this when all I have to do is read my own journal?

I suppose I identified well with the female characters. My heart sank when Amy's character ran into her ex at the grocery store with his new wife, and when Addison learned that her eggs were depleted beyond possibility of fertility. It's depressing seeing what your life will become. Let me just suspend reality for a few more years. I like my bubble and pacifier. ;)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

That burning feeling

It's my psycho time of the month, so my imbalances could be manifesting in the form of illogical desperation. Bear that in mind as you read my current line of thinking.

I met up with Strategist at a local Starbucks that he suggested. I dressed in some dark jeans and a cute, white, hippie top. He texted me to let me know he was wearing a gray t-shirt and khakis. Boy, we are talking casual here. His t-shirt was some worn, dot-com logo shirt and he wasn't even clean-shaven. It just didn't give me the sense he was very serious about the meeting.

The Starbucks line was unreasonably long, so we went around the corner to a smoothie place. We sat for about two hours chatting mostly about traveling, some about work, and some about family. He was definitely curious to know what I was like. He asked if I thought I was like my parents. He asked if I ever had pets. We had a decent time, but there's something about his demeanor that was reserved or disinterested (or just out of it). I wanted this to go well, but I honestly can't say it was anything more than friendly. He didn't say anything that indicated he wanted to see me again. So, should I wait to see if he'll contact me or do I write him back with some friendly banter? How much effort do I put in going forward?

1of1, as always, was happy to see me. I sensed a hidden boyish excitement and nervousness in him when we meet up. He may have even mentioned me to his mom (he asked if she'd heard of the company where I work). We sat for awhile, just talking. He told me about a conference he had attended during the week. I was surprised at how long he went on about it even though I'd never really asked anything regarding it in the first place.

After our stroll through the park, we stopped for restroom break at a cafe. I then suggested we stay for a drink on the patio. 1of1 was a little embarrassed to realize he'd left his wallet in his car. I happily paid for our juice, it was no big deal.

As we sat on the patio and he talked about his upcoming class reunion, I thought to myself that he's not so bad a guy - he's smart, clean, attentive. I thought, "maybe he will grow on me. Would it be so bad to be cared for by a nice guy?" We did chuckle and have a fun exchange of stories.

His height and his nerdy movements still bug me. At one point, we were talking about people in their 30s who still live with their parents. He said he has a friend who is basically "owned" by his parents. He lived away from his parents for undergrad, but otherwise has lived in the same room in his parents' house since he was a child. It's so bad that one time last year, he awoke and dressed as if he were intending to bike to school... high school that is. Then, he realized that he actually needed to drive himself to work. Yeah, *BIG SIGN* that he needs to get a place of his own.

This is when I got on my soapbox and said how I will never allow my grown children to live with me (except for short-term needs to due to finances, medical emergencies, etc.). I preached about how it's unhealthy for both sides. Now, what do you suppose 1of1 was thinking when I said this given that he's been living at home for more than two years now? Here he was commenting about friends and acquaintances of his as if they were in a different world. I asked him a little about his interactions with his mom. At one point, he paused, nodding his head, and said, "yeah, I know I need to get out. Maybe next year when my dad retires." (His dad travels for his job.) His mother thinks he should buy something now. His father thinks he should rent or stay at home until he gets married. I said nothing. Frankly, I didn't know what to say because it's just not very appealing to know all this.

Four hours passed and I decided it was time to head out. 1of1 asked if I wanted to get dinner, but I declined saying I already had plans. As we said our goodbyes, he asked if anyone was giving me a ride to the airport for my upcoming vacation. "Yikes," I thought, "this is a little soon for such a gesture." I told him my brother's giving me a lift. His hug was a little tighter this time.

Honestly, I'm dumbfounded as to what to do. The word "date" or "relationship" has never even come up in conversation. I don't feel like there's anyone I can confide with because I've gotten to a point where I'm uncomfortable revealing my dating life to my friends anymore. The married gals just don't seem to understand (or maybe they know something I don't want to hear). Tim is my best friend, but this is definitely something I can't discuss with him given our history.

When I have some time alone to think, I consider my situation. On the one hand, 1of1 does not fit the image of the man I want. It's like those factory irregulars you can buy for a discounted price. They explicitly remind you that the blemishes or flaws do not affect the performance of the product in any way. But I hate feeling like I have to settle for second best. That's when I try to ignore the little superficial things and think about what I need in a husband. I could have a nice life. Maybe it wouldn't have the passion or excitement I seek, but does that matter after a awhile?

Naturally, I start comparing guy I meet with guys I've dated. In this case, I think about two guys I've dated, both good guys but relationship where I had my doubts. There are times I think I kept myself in the earlier one because I thought he was a good candidate for marriage. He won me over with his thoughtfulness and romantic gestures. We got along well. There was nothing really wrong, but in the end he got cold feet as he realized it wasn't for him. We would have made for a nice, arranged marriage.

Then there's the ultimate comparison to Tim. He was very excited when we started dated. Admittedly, it scared me a little because he was so intense. At the same time, I'm glad he was so open about discussing the potential of the relationship. I'm not good at knowing how to bring up these topics and I didn't have to worry with him. Still, there was always this nagging feeling that he wasn't the one. We weren't in the same place, and my feelings of guilt forced me to break it off. We're best friends and I can't imagine life without him. Yet, as much as yearn for the idea, I still don't we could ever successfully get back together. Damn these unexplainable things! How much do I sabotage my chances for happiness by comparing new guys to Tim?

Between my upcoming travel and his, I figure I have a few weeks to think about the situation with 1of1. My gut says that this won't make me happy in the long run. Another side of me says that 1of1 is a good man that I should get to know better because he's someone who is compatible and would marry me. How many chances do I have left? Why pass someone up who willing to accept me and likes me the way I am just because he doesn't fit the mold? I want to be loved; I don't want to be alone anymore. Could this end up working if I stick with it a little longer?

Ever heard of the corn dilemma? You're walking through a field of corn. You must pick one ear of corn by the time you come out at the other end of the field. You may pick one and *only* one. You'll see ear after ear of big, juicy corn with perfectly straight rows of yellow kernels. So the question becomes, when do you know to pick a particular ear. I feel like I passed by the good corn and am now in a patch of slightly flawed corn, be it is small kernels, missing kernels, crooked rows, or discoloration. The edge of the field is in sight. Do I take the best among what lies in front of me, or hope that there are a few good ones left up ahead before I must exit the field?

Maybe I should ask my therapist for some mind-quieting medication...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Test of like

As I've been trying to figure out what to do with my dates, some questions have come to mind. When you're unsure about someone you've met, is that in and of itself enough of a feeling to say, "this isn't going to work out?"

(And note, these are to be distinguished from answers that people could give due that are driven by underlying pretentiousness, vanity, infatuation, obsession or other things that aren't love.)

Good things to ask yourself after a few dates:

1) Would you want to introduce him to your friends?

2) How do you feel about kissing him?

3) When you see it's him calling, how do you react?

4) How far ahead do you feel comfortable including him in your plans?

Any other suggestions you have from experience that you found are good indicators for relationships?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Why I don't like talking to her

Whenever I watch television shows like Gilmore Girls, I wish I had a better relationship with my mother. Granted, the Gilmores are an ideal case which I doubt reflects the average mother-daughter relationships. I imagine most of my friends have a decent relationship with their mothers, but there's always some degree of parental antagonism.

I probably talk to my mother every two to three weeks. Usually, it's my mother calling me because they haven't heard from me in awhile. Yes, I'm a bad daughter, but it's just not fun sometimes to talk with her. For my own sanity, I tend to minimize my interactions with her. I've learned over the years to edit the personal information I share with her.


During a recent conversation, she was telling me how she's been keeping herself busy now that she has retired. Ever since she announced her retirement plans, I had been concerned about exactly what she'd do to keep herself busy. Other than work, she didn't have many hobbies or activities other than gardening, cooking, watching soap operas and sleeping. The worst thing is seeing people retire and become bored or depressed over the lack of mental activity and loss of human interaction that comes with not working.

I was happy to hear that she taken up calligraphy classes. As a child, she never worked very hard to write characters. She simply treated it as a homework assignment. Now, she wants to improve her technique and is even encouraging my father to join her in class.

Then she asked me as if she'd forgotten, "what class are you taking now?"

"I'm taking the next language class."

"Why? You aren't speaking any better since taking the last class."

A bit taken a back I responded, "I think it's helps me remember more words and understand grammar better. It's just helpful to practice speaking regularly with others. Besides, I want to learn to read and write a little."

"That's not something that's going to be very useful to you."

Yeah, this is why talking to her is just not healthy sometimes. Her incredulity about anything I do is so frustrating. Why couldn't she have me a simple question like, "What have you learned?" Even if she didn't care at all, how about just saying, "That's nice." Basically, I was told that I can't speak a darn and that I can't learn. Gee, was she this encouraging when I was growing up?

The next day, I told Tim about my conversation. He's seen me get upset before after conversation with my mother. He doesn't have the highest opinion of her. He laughed and said, "your mother's lame."

I inquired, "Am I ever like that?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do I make comments like that to people?"

"No, never."

"Okay, good. I'm worried I've picked up some of her habits."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Curious and suspicious

My mother passed this flyer along to me. On one hand, I could see that she knows I like the outdoors and is passing this along out of interest. On the other hand, when I saw that this is being marketed to children in their 30s and 40s, I couldn't help think this is some subtle way of giving me a way to meeting other potential single people (i.e. MEN).

The forwarding message reads, "One of our classmate (Jean Hsu) is volunteering her time and energy organizing a wonderful outing for our next generation.... those who are in their 30's and 40's. Please read the attached invitation."

Volunteering? They charge money for this... how is this considered volunteering?

Maybe I'm being overly suspicious. I just think is funny and peculiar. I don't think I'm the right target audience for this. Who needs someone to organize a trip like this? I'd just grab so friends and go myself. A trip to Sequoia does sound nice.


As for the dating front, I'm waiting to hear back from the last of the guys I contacted when I was going through "my consultant." Yes, I ended my subscription (for now).

My weekend dinner with 1of1 went fine. We ate so early (6:30pm) that there was no one in the restaurant. We walked through the downtown as we chatted. The evening was pleasant. I say that in a polite sort of way. It's not like I was excited to be there nor did I dread being in his presence. We get along; we probably have many similar qualities. At the same time, I wonder if our similarities are why things are a bit... boring? I feel very mellow around him. Where's the the playfulness, anticipation, a sense of energy?

I've tried to be very good about not analyzing the situation too much. He's a nice fellow and if I were simply looking for a mate, this would be something to pursue, but I'm not sure my heart's in it. He's definitely interested. During every date, I can tell he's searching for ideas to plan the next. He asked me if I ever go to museums. (Can you guess what he's proposed for this weekend?) Really, it's nice to see someone thoughtful about dating and insisting on paying for everything. It's unfortunately lost on me in his particular case.

At this point, the height issue still stands, but I think there's more to my lack of enthusiasm. I'm not finding that chemistry and connection I seek. When I think about continuing to go on dates with 1of1, I ask myself if I can imagine kissing him in the next month. Well, I can imagine him trying to kiss me, but it's not a pleasing thought. That's can't be a good sign. My gut tells me that this isn't going to work out. I'm trying to be open. People can grow on each other right? I will go on another date with him, but I need to figure things out before he gets too attached.

The Strategist has sent a couple more e-mails. He seems more interesting than 1of1, but he seems less interested than 1of1. Since our one phone call, nothing much has happened. There are long gaps in communication which I've learned naturally happen when you really purely on e-mails too long. I'm tired of just e-mailing; it's not going anywhere. So this time I wrote back and suggest we meet up for a drink or snack. His lack of interest (or indecision) makes me think it's time to answer the chemistry question. This should settle things once and for all; either we're done or we hang out more.

He wrote back saying the weekend would probably work. Okay, could you suggest a time or day? I wrote back saying my mornings were out and asked if there was another time that worked. Finally, he wrote back with two rough time slots. Do you think he'll actually be proactive enough to suggest a time and place to meet when I reply? I thought guys know they're supposed to date plans more than 24 hours ahead of time.

Peeve moment over. It's no big deal. I need to remember "just enjoy the ride." I'll survive regardless of whether or not either of these guys turn out to be anything good.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I fear her life

Awhile back, I was part of a group skip trip. While cleaning up dinner leftovers, Bear was talking with Burning Man. My ears perked up when he mentioned KR and Lenny. He emphasized how much of a big loser he thinks Lenny is and how no one could understand why KR married him. No one was too surprised they ended up divorced. He continued to mention that she is now pregnant followed by a smirkish laugh.

"She's expecting?" I interrupted. "Did she get remarried?"

"No," Bear said, "she got pregnant with some guy and is going to have the baby alone."

His tone was a bit comical and... as if he were raising his eyebrows in awe and scandal. I probably reacted with a bit of surprise.

Bear then added, "I think this will be good for her," with all seriousness and sincerity.

This information really hit home for me. I don't know why, but I could just imagine Bear saying this about me someday. In fact, I felt like he was talking about me, like it was a preview of my future.

Here's a little background on KR. I've only met her once, so I can't speak to her personality. Anything I know is second hand from people like Bear and TJ who are in her circles. Ten years ago, she was a popular woman. She was always involved with someone. There were times when she was juggling two men at the same time - one new and one kind of on the way out. I believe she has even turned down a marriage proposal or two.

Lenny was someone who had been interested in her for several years. She had always rejected his advances. People didn't see much in him. She moved away for awhile to attend business school on the East Coast. A couple years after returning to the area, everyone was stunned to learn that she was marrying Lenny.

After two years, they got divorced. I didn't hear much about it. That was maybe one or two years ago. And now, she's a single, pregnant woman.

As I said, I don't know KR. Certainly, my life was never like hers with marriage proposals and men in hot pursuit. I can only surmise her reasons for marrying Lenny. My guess? That she was 35-36 and feeling the pressure of getting hitched and listening to the tick of her biological clock. She took the sure thing in a decent man who wanted to be with her. Maybe she thought friendship was enough or that she would grow to love him. Perhaps I'm just projecting my own fears onto her.

Whatever the reason, the relationship didn't work out. On the edge of 40, she continued to date men and got pregnant. In some ways, maybe it's a good thing because this might be her last chance at having a child. I hope everything works out well for her.

This is where my parallel to her lies. I'm now 36 and single. I'm willing to bet that I no longer ovulate monthly. My guess is I skip two months each year, and that will only happen more with age. My opportunities are fading.

When I meet men, I struggle with finding what I want versus what I need. On one hand, it would be so easy to just find a nice guy and go with the flow. On the other hand, I don't know that an amiable marriage leads to a good life. The fact is I'm worn down from the years of unsuccessful dating. I'm tired, I lonely, I've lost my faith in true love.

I fear holding my standards so high that no man will ever seem like the ONE. I fear making a foolish decision out of desperation. I fear finding myself in a situation where I "accidentally" get pregnant because I'm out of options and out of time. I fear becoming fuel for gossip and whispers among my friends and acquaintances.