Touchpoint and Casual Sex

Last summer, this article popped up in my Twitter feed “I Talked To 1,400 Strangers About The Intimate Details Of Their Sex Lives. Here’s What I Learned”(I am a sucker for “I did xyz and here is what I learned” articles.)

I liked what Jared had to say and thought his Touchpoint events sounded really cool…and also really scary. In case you were too lazy to click the links or read the article:

Touchpoint is a town hall where real people
share stories from their love and sex lives.

I found this idea fascinating. I don’t have many friends who are having sex on a regular basis and/or want to talk about it.  And its not always comfortable to talk about sex with your friends, but we should talk about it!  Sex happens.  Most of us are doing it or want to do it.  And whether we do or we don’t (and how it goes if we do) has a big impact on how we feel physically and emotionally.

When I found out that these events are held in NYC every month, I added this to my “New Things in 2017” bucket list but it didn’t happen in 2017. Yeah, I think we SHOULD all talk about sex, but the idea of doing it is intimidating.  I don’t enjoy saying ANYTHING to a room full of strangers and talking about sex in a room full of strangers would definitely be a first. I was also pretty sure I would be the oldest person there.  Its hard to find group events (when I am not trying desperately to avoid them) where I don’t feel a lot older (or sometimes a lot younger) than everyone else. I am like Goldilocks in the Big City.

IMG_9433After stalking Touchpoint on Instagram for six months, I saw that “casual sex” was on the agenda for March which definitely piqued my interest. As a single woman dating in NYC in the 2010’s, its hard to avoid the topic of casual sex. In the age of dating apps, there is a perception that people can very easily “hook up” on-demand and that they do it, and like it (and that many prefer it to relationships). This is not my experience or the the experience of any single women I know, but it is the experience of many men who have come in to my life through dating apps. I was very curious to hear more perspectives on this topic.  I was also missing doing new things (since I slowed down my pace this year) and my schedule was free!

 

So, last Tuesday I showed up at The Assemblage in Nomad ready to learn more (and possibly talk) about casual sex.

I have to start with The Assemblage itself.

The Assemblage is a “coworking and coliving space that aims to nurture community and ignite consciousness and collaboration.”

I can tell you that the space is beautiful. Every person I saw there was beautiful (and probably 20 or 30 something). And it smelled amazing (like really awesome incense that is not too overpowering.) WeWork is cool, but The Assemblage is cooler.

I can also confirm the the director of vibes (as mentioned in the article) kicks ass at her/his job. The room where Touchpoint met had candles and pillows and feathers and an overall great vibe.  It was a good mix of genders and races and most of them were very attractive.

IMG_9451As we entered the room, we were asked to take off our shoes and handed a card with four questions about casual sex to help frame the discussion.  This card is part of a full deck that people can soon buy to encourage conversations among themselves on the topic of sex. I have to say that Jared is a great marketer and business man.  He got 100 people to pay $30-$40 each to sit in a room for 2 hours (30 minutes of that time just waiting) and listen to less than 10 people tell stories about their sex lives.  And now he is going to monetize his concept with cards.  Nice work.

We did have to wait a very long time on our comfy pillows before things got started. I said hello to the women sitting on either side of me who had both been to Touchpoint events before and found them “very inspiring”. (That was the only talking I did all evening).

Things kicked off with some very cool drumming and African chanting followed by a beautiful rendition of Adele’s “To Feel My Love”.  Off to a great start.

Then Jared opened it up, gave the backstory of Touchpoint (read the article if you want to know) and outlined the four rules of the evening that are also four rules of great sex (which was funny and also true). I can’t remember exactly what they were but they were something like this.

  1. Its not all about you
  2. Everyone should be allowed to finish
  3. Something about listening?
  4. What is said at Touchpoint stays at Touchpoint (I am pretty sure this was #4)

Although there is a rule about things staying at Touchpoint, this event was also recorded for the first ever Touchpoint podcast!  I will summarize for you without revealing anyone’s identity (not that I know who any of these people are) and you can also listen to the WHOLE thing on iTunes as soon as the podcast is released here.

There were a few people selected ahead of time to tell their stories so we started with those.  We heard from a woman who had casual sex with a younger man at a college alumni weekend a year after a traumatic breakup.  Then an agender man told us about his casual sex experience with a hot cop he went to high school with and ran in to on the streets of Newark. Finally, the very nice bi-sexual woman sitting next to me (surprise!) told her story about how she and her awesome, hot boyfriend (that she met on Tinder) had a threesome with a stripper in Florida (her idea). It was a long story but a good one!

After each person spoke, Jared asked them if he had permission to ask them questions (a little dramatic but intended to drill home the importance of consent). Then he asked them a couple of questions and we moved on.  The questions were not very deep, but there was a time constraint.  There were 100 people there and I am sure he wanted to give as many people as possible time to speak.

We heard from a few more people who had mostly great casual sex experiences. A couple of people (men, actually) talked about exploring casual sex after assault or to help improve body image, but in general the theme was that casual sex was empowering and fun.  The very last person to speak was a woman who said that she always has emotional expectations when she has sex with someone and she found it very hard to believe that she was the only one who felt this way.  Jared responded by saying “I say this with love…” and then went on to tell her she should “listen” and not assume that everyone’s experience was the same as hers.  To me, it felt like she was being scolded.

I get it. He is selling a safe space where people can feel free to talk about whatever their experiences are and not feel judged. So if you say your sex was fun, it was fun.  But what if your experience is that you don’t want to go to sex parties, or pick up strippers (or cops) and that casual sex leaves you feeling empty?  That perspective was not shared at all and this was the perfect opportunity to go there.  He didn’t take it. I might be projecting my own thoughts on to that exchange, so I look forward to listening to it back on the podcast and re-assessing, but it left me with a bad feeling.

In the end, I did not come away with great insights on how people feel about casual sex overall but I heard some interesting stories.  As much as I dread events where you have to “turn to the person next to you” and say anything, this event could go deeper if it there was some of that “turn to the person next to you.”  I am sure everyone in that room had something to say and 90% of them were not comfortable speaking up or needed more time to work their way up to it.  We were encouraged to stay and continue the conversation amongst ourselves but it was 10pm by then and I was tired (because I am kind of old). So maybe its on me for not mingling.

I did get confirmation that the generation after me DOES go to sex parties and have threesomes way more than people my age did back in the day.  We definitely had “casual sex” in the 80s and 90s (I think we called it “one nighters”) but I remember it being pretty traditional stuff.

So what would I have said if I had the microphone at Touchpoint?

Casual sex is a part of my life because most of the men I am attracted to can only have this kind of sex.  Some of that is on me, and some of that is on them. (Sex and attraction is complicated.) When I have the choice between casual sex or no sex, I sometimes choose casual sex.  It is not my first choice but sometimes that is all that is on the menu. Some casual sex is more casual than other casual sex.  The more connection that I have with someone, the better the sex is, always.  I can’t say that casual sex has ever served me in a meaningful way.  It is usually fun, but I know it also distracts me from looking for a deeper connection, which is ultimately what I would prefer if it were on the menu (and would also lead to better sex..for me).  To date I have not attended any sex parties or had any threesomes but I do not judge (sorry if you read this far and were hoping that was where this would go). I am not sure how fun those would be for me, but who knows what the future holds for Goldilocks in the Big City!

I have an analogy that casual sex is like eating a cookie. Some cookies taste better than others.  Sometimes the anticipation of eating the cookie is better than the actual cookie itself.  When you are eating the cookie, it might be super delicious but then its over and what do you have to show for it?  The sugar and flour cause inflammation (that mysterious condition that is killing us all) AND then you have to put in extra time at the gym to keep looking good so you have have another cookie!!!  Because after you have one cookie, you always want another one.  And so the cycle continues. I should really be eating more kale.

And that is what I would have shared if I actually had the nerve to raise my hand at Touchpoint. I wonder what Jared would have asked me?

What a Weird Fall…

It’s been forever, again, I know. Because I had a really weird fall/early winter. Before we start 2015, here is a quick summary of all of the weird stuff that happened that I never told you about! Then we can start anew…

When I last updated you, I was also having a really weird month. From there, I got my balance back (briefly). All of the weird bugs and bug bites went away. I started a daily yoga routine before work (was super proud of that) and dived back in to the online dating pool.

New  Yorker CoverI went on a couple of dates with the Tiny Jazz Musician. He was actually a very cool guy and we had a good first date and he did all of the post date follow up perfectly. But on the second date, some key personality differences were revealed, and I realized that I was not attracted to him at all. At some point during our second date, he showed me a New Yorker he had with him and pointed out that his friend said he looked like the guy on the cover (in the middle with the glasses). Bad move.  From that moment forward, all I could picture when I looked at him was this guy (who also looks like the guy on this cover, and like the Tiny Jazz Musican..but bigger.) I couldn’t recover! No third date.

Right about that time, I got called to jury duty. I ended up getting selected for a fascinating trial that lasted eight days. You can read a bit about this art forgery trial here. As a follow up, we decided the art was fake and that crazy artist Nussberg had to pay equally crazy gallery owner Tatintsian 5 dollars. (Apparently nominal damages is like 5 dollars.) What I learned from this trial experience was (1) real life court is nothing like TV. The technology in court does not work right, lawyers trip over their words, and there are tons of rules that slow everything down. (2) we are trusting very important decisions to regular people based on only what lawyers decide to share with you (or are competent enough to uncover or explain correctly). This is a bad system. (By “regular people” I mean that most are not super smart. My jury was unusually intelligent, I assume by choice, because the trial was SO complex.)  (3) this entire process would be so much more efficient (for jurors) if they recorded the whole thing before we got there and edited it down to exactly the pieces we were supposed to see and hear and play them back for us. First, it would save us tons of time and allow us to know how much time it will take. Even more importantly, we are constantly hearing things we are supposed to ignore, which we don’t, because we are human. I realize lawyers use this as a strategy but it is bullshit and just compounds the reasons why this is such a bad system. After binge listening to Serial this past week.  My theories about our jury/trial system were reconfirmed. Listen to it. It’s pretty cool….

I also learned a lot about abstract art and specifically about Kazimir Malevich (one of his pieces shown above) and the avant-garde, suprematist art movement in Russia. It was like an eight day art class. Pretty cool!

There was a bit more dating. All dating is weird. There was the Music Writer who I had an OK date with but he pushed too hard at the end of the date which ended up being really weird and was a huge turn off. No second date. Then there were a few guys I chatted with on Hinge or Tinder who I never ended up meeting. The Private Chef, Burning Man Guy, and this guy (who was the most promising of the three, but also disappeared mid conversation. Very common.)  There is one guy who is still lingering, The Jazz Musician with the Beautiful Face. We can call him JMBF for short. I will have to cut him off pretty soon (or he will just disappear), but he has been entertaining for the holidays. JMBF is hot and smart and kind of interesting when I can get him to actually speak, but he just does not do relationships. Also, very common in my dating world.

bhut pepperAnd then, just today, I spent 24 hours chatting with Hot Sauce guy on Tinder (he owns a hot sauce/hot pepper company in Brooklyn. I have illegally included his logo to the right.) Some of his comments/questions were a little weird but I was trying to keep an open mind. He wanted to Facebook me to “see more pictures” which I reluctantly agreed to figuring I could just de-friend him if he ended up confirming my weird suspicions. Then, when he offered to send me more pictures and I said, “Lets just meet in person and see if we click. Want to have a drink when you are back in town?” He responded by de-matching me on Tinder (or taking down his Tinder profile completely. I can’t tell which.) SO WEIRD. What is even weirder is that we are still Facebook friends but he has sent no follow up messages to explain the disappearance from Tinder after 24 hours of chatting.  SO WEIRD. I will be clearly be de-friending him.  SO WEIRD.

So dating is going really well (sarcasm). But I rock on…

Before Thanksgiving, I got a cold, that turned in to a sinus infection, that turned in to a double ear infection! So, I spent a lot of late fall/early winter sick. That was a huge drag. I am FINALLY better, finished traveling and celebrating the holidays, and am now regrouping before 2015 comes (in 6 hours). I am chilling out, watching TV (finally binge watching the Wire just released in HD on HBO), and catching up on tons of stuff on my to do list (who doesn’t have a vacation to do list!)

Now that we are all caught up, I hope to have some more deep thoughts and/or funny stories for you in 2015. Happy New Year!!!

Meet Market: Part Two

Last week, I left you all in suspense about my blind date with Thomas. Well, here’s how it went.

A few hours before the date, I got an email telling me where to go, the first name of my date and a few facts about him. The Post picks the location and picks up the tab (sweet!). The email told me that I would be meeting THOMAS (he put it in all caps, I assume so I would not forget it) and that he had a beard and he was a very interesting guy who made his own wine, composed music and had lived in Prague for four years. I had told Jozen I liked interesting, smart guys with beards. Clearly, he had put some thought in to this.

Coincidentally, also a few hours before the date, I started not feeling so great. I had all of a sudden come down with a stomach bug and a low grade fever. I don’t usually get nervous for first dates but I had been under a lot of stress at work, and had been going non-stop for weeks. I was exhausted. I have no idea whether it was stress or a bug of some kind, but  net-net, I was not feeling well at all going in to this date. But I couldn’t cancel!  Jozen, my matchmaker, had a column deadline to meet! So I went…

THOMAS was about 10 minutes late. I spent that 10 minutes praying he would not show up and wondering how the heck I was going to get through this. When he did show up, my first impression was that he seemed like a nice, laid back guy. There wasn’t an initial attraction but he wasn’t unattractive. We started by deciding what to order (a challenge since I did not think I could eat or drink anything.) I was trying really hard to just play through it, but I was pretty much in a fog the entire date. I could not focus.  He told me stories that I vaguely remember. I tried to think of questions to ask but I remember going blank a lot. He talked about his work which was really interesting but while he was talking I was thinking “this would be even more interesting if I did not want to go home and crawl in to my bed right now.”  I remember talking a lot about how much I work and how I have no idea what my passion is. Fun stuff! Let’s just say, I was not my best self on this date.

About half way in to the date, a photographer showed up to take pictures for part two of the article. She asked us to pose with various expressions: both enjoying the date, both hating the date, one of us miserable with the other one happy, and vice versa. This was a hilarious exercise. The entire situation was so funny that I really looked like I was having fun in those pics. I really wasn’t.

After we got the check the uncomfortable part came where we had to figure out what the other person was thinking. I finally decided to tell him him that I was not feeling well and that I had been out of it the entire date. I figured I was SUCH a bad date, he should know why. He replied “You get better?” I was very surprised by that. He wanted to exchange information and go out again but I uncomfortably said no and apologized. My gut told me that there wouldn’t have been a spark, regardless of how I was feeling. If we had clicked, I would have been able to pull off a better version of myself.

After the date, Jozen asks each person so send him a brief write up with details so he can write about the date. I was dying to know what THOMAS said about the date. Well, now I know! The article is out and you can read it here before you go on (This Week’s Couple: Sick Leave).

Apparently, I made the exact impression that I thought I did. I was REALLY not a good date that night. (I do get better!  Really! I do!) I have to assume that he was willing to go out again because he found me attractive which was overriding his gut impression that we were not clicking. Attraction does tend to make you overlook things. It is interesting what Jozen chose to include in the write up. My guess is that THOMAS’ “not even a platonic interest” was not because I don’t like oysters and would not try his fish tacos. If that was the issue, then we really are not a match. (For the record, normally, I would have tried his fish tacos. Fish tacos are the last thing you want when you feel ill.)

There is no way for me to know exactly what THOMAS was feeling (he did know this would be in the paper after all) but if he was really relieved that he did not have to go out with me again, then I know I made the right call and I clearly don’t have to feel bad about not going out with him again. This was a semi interesting experience and Jozen is not a bad match maker. The situation ended up being really odd, but it was a cool thing to try. Definitely an adventure.

Meet Market: Part One

So I had an awesome second date with the Recovering Musician and then he left town for three weeks to vacation in Asia. I hope to see him again, but if anything can happen on a second date, REALLY anything can happen in a month.  In the mean time, another opportunity presented itself to me, and when opportunity knocks…

A while back (in the middle of my July dating frenzy), I got an email from OK Cupid asking if I was interesting in being part of the Meet Market column in the NY Post. I have no idea why they picked me (maybe it was my new awesome profile!), but I figured, “Why Not?” I really didn’t think anything would actually come of it, but things progressed and I actually ended up going on a date. Now you get a behind the scenes look at how the NY Post Meet Market works. Something, I am sure you were dying to know (since most likely not one of you has ever seen this column.)

Once I opted in, I got a very nice email from Jozen, who writes the column, providing clear instructions on next steps (I love clear instructions on next steps!) These next steps involved going in to the NY Post office to get my picture taken and completing a VERY long questionnaire about who I am and what I am looking for. I happened to have some time the next day to head to midtown for a photo shoot so I got the ball rolling.

I met with Jozen for about 15 minutes pre-shoot and he explained the process. The article runs in two parts over two weeks. Part one, lists a candidate and three potential matches for the candidate.  Part two runs the following week and gives a play by play of how the date went with the person the candidate ended up going out with. What really happens (here is the inside scoop!) is that Jozen decides to set two people up and sends them on a date before he even publishes part one of the article. He then throws two other candidates in to the mix and lets people weigh in on who they THINK the candidate should go out with. I guess this is really the only way to make sure you can get a part two out of a bunch of flakey, busy, New York daters. He told me I could be the candidate or one of the matches. It would all depend on “what he has in his files.” Basically, my fate was in the hands of my new matchmaker, Jozen.

MeetMarket-OkCupid-PhilThe photo shoot was quick and painless. It is hard to look comfortable in such a weird situation. I was not born to be a super model. I completed the questionnaire that weekend, sent it off, and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

About two weeks later I got an email from Jozen saying he had someone to set me up with. Two days later, I was on a date with Thomas, a 37 year old adventurous introvert.  I knew absolutely nothing about Thomas until about 2 hours before the date when I was given a few tid bits including his name and where to go to meet him. This was the blindest date I have ever been on.

Now YOU know that I went on the date already, but the rest of the word doesn’t know. What the world does know, is that Thomas will go on a date with one of the three women listed here.  (The online version doesn’t explain very well that Thomas will go out with one of these women, but the print version does. The Post is too big to fit on my old school home scanner, but an example print version is shown to the left. This is what OK Cupid sent me as an example.)

I will leave you in suspense on how the date went.  I am actually VERY curious to hear Thomas’s side of the story. The summary will look something like this. For my 2 blog fans who are not members of my family or my closest friends, I will also leave you in suspense on which of these three women I am. My devoted fans (if I actually have any) might be able to figure it out. Until next week…

Summer Dating

After a long hiatus from dating, I somehow managed to date three different guys in the past month. I sort of fell back in to it one night when I decided to pop in to Tinder while I was hanging out with my TiVo.

Tinder led me to a really bad date with a guy who wrote an interesting book on the scientific reasons why people believe in God. This guy (The Author) warned me that he was only looking for “erotic fun” and I warned him that “casual sex” was not really my thing, but he somehow convinced me to meet him. Let’s just say that our one hour together did not end well. He was very pushy. I was not interested. He got very annoyed. The only good thing about that experience was that it inspired me to read a very interesting book about science and God.

Often, a bad date sends me back in to dating hibernation but two things inspired me to keep going:

  1. My therapist has been subtly asking me whether I thought I might be lonely when I was 60 and it would be harder to find people to date. (ok, not so subtly)
  2. When I had been complaining to a friend that you have to go on SO many bad dates to get to a good date, he reminded me that it is the same on the other side. That guy that I would eventually go on a good date with was suffering through a lot of bad dates, too. And if one of us gave up, we would never meet. Good point!

So the morning after my really bad date, buckled up and got back out there.  I had been checking out this one guy for a while but wanted to add some more kick to my profile before I wrote to him and hadn’t had time. (You may recall that my friends had helped me with my profile long ago but I was never really happy with it.) That morning, I finally came up with something that really felt like me.

With my super cool new profile up, I wrote to they guy I had my eye on (The Recovering Musician) and a back-up guy (The Filmmaker) who had been checking me out and seemed interesting. They both wrote me back and I miraculously ended up having good first dates with both of them. (I just read a whole book about a possible scientific explanation for why people believe in miracles. For the record, I don’t think this was really a miracle, but it was surprising!)

The Filmmaker wrote me back first and was available first so I went out with him first. The first date was good, but the second date was bad.  There was attraction and he was smart and interesting, but he was all about him.  He told really LONG stories about himself. LOTS of them. He was attracted to me, but not that interested in getting to know me. Huge turn off. He also had an odd sense of humor. I tried to tell myself that was no big deal, but can you really spend a lot of time with someone makes jokes that you don’t find funny, at all? Thankfully, I never heard from him after our second date. (This really did feel like a miracle.)

Then I (finally) met The Recovering Musician. It actually felt like I was meeting a famous person because I had my eye on him for so long. (As is turns out, he used to actually be a sort of semi famous singer/songwriter. He’s on Itunes. And he’s not bad.) I had originally thought of him as the Hipster but he does not think of himself as a Hipster and perhaps it is unfair of me to think everyone who lives in Williamsburg and rides a Citibike to work is a Hipster (ironic smiley face here.) I could actually call him the Meditator but that does not really roll off the tongue. We did have a very nice first date and it was actually a CONVERSATION (meaning two people exchange ideas and take turns talking and listening.)  I like conversations.  There is attraction. His sense of humor is aligned with mine, and we seem to have some core stuff in common.  Our second date is on the calendar and I look forward to it, but anything can happen on the second date. (Because I date so much now, I know these things.)

While I was getting a pedicure last week, I read an article about dating in one of those ridiculous women’s magazines that I read when I get pedicures.  The premise was that people are not really dating. They are hooking up and hanging out and watching Netflix together (because the young kids don’t actually have cable, they stream everything..crazy) but not dating.  She specifically said that getting to know people is a cool way to learn about the world outside of your own. So true. After having met an author, a filmmaker, and a recovering musician/mediator this past month, as painful as some of those moments were, it was cool to learn about them and what they do and what they think. And I survived the awkward moments and lived to tell about them.

Let the summer dating continue…

The Artist

The Artist is no more. Well he is, still, somewhere drinking and smoking organic cigarettes somewhere in Brooklyn, but the Artist and I are no more. We never made it to that fourth date. Since he and I are no more, and he will never read this blog, I can debrief you while I drink wine and eat ice cream (the wild and crazy Friday night of a recovering TVaholic in NYC!)

I walked away from my first date with The Artist, confused. I was pretty sure that he had a narcissistic personality disorder, but I still found myself drawn to him. This really confused me.

Why did I suspect that he had a narcissistic personality disorder? Well, he talked for at least 1 1/2 hours of our two hour date. He was smart and interesting, but I spent most of the time thinking “this guy is really cute, but he will not stop talking.” Near the end of the date, I asked him what his Meyers-Briggs type was (I am obsessed with Meyers-Briggs). He told me his (INTJ) and then asked me what mine was (I was shocked because that was perhaps the 3rd question he asked me in 1 1/2 hours) and when I told him (ISFJ) his only response was “My initials are right in the middle. How can I get that Meyers-Briggs type?” No joke.

I can’t explain the chemistry, but we had it. Perhaps I am only attracted to messed up, kind of vulnerable guys, with beards. (Did I mention he had a beard?) When I meet a narcissist, my thought is always, what happened to this poor guy to make him this way? I am too empathetic to be dating.

The chemistry, the beard, and me thinking maybe he was just nervous, got us to date #2. Date #2 was really fun. We went on an art crawl to some openings in Chelsea with some of his friends. We drank, we looked at art, and had a great time. He was sweet and attentive, in many ways. Lots of kissing. At dinner after the art crawl, he talked again for 75% of the time.  I did learn a lot about what happened to the poor guy that made him that way. I think I know everything about the Artist, actually. Everything. His childhood was privileged, but sad and lonely.

I agreed to date #3, but I decided I was definitely going to raise this issue about him doing all of the talking. We met at a dive bar where he spends most of his time (not alone in his studio BTW) playing pool and eating the free pizza that you get with every drink. (This is how artists survive.) After the initial 30 minutes of him talking about this frustrating thing that happened to him that day I said, “I am not going to ask you any more questions. You don’t know anything about me.” He said “That’s true.” I said, “You have to ask me questions because I am not good at talking about myself.” He asked me what my favorite color was. Then he asked me what my favorite sexual position was. Then he asked me what country I wanted to visit. It quickly became apparent that this guy had no idea how to connect with another human being. I got frustrated and said “That’s what you want to know about me? You aren’t very good at asking questions are you?” Horrible thing to say. I feel horrible about it. He then said “Well you have been alive for 44 years, what do you want me to know about you?” I gave up and changed the subject back to him.

A person who can only open up to someone who shows interest (me) can not date a person who does not know how to show interest (him). I wanted to believe that he HAD interest and just didn’t know how to show it, but who knows. I always see the best in people, even when it is not there.

I somehow found myself still agreeing to date #4. I don’t even know how it happened. But we never got that far.

At the time he was supposed to be at my house for date #4, he texted me to say that  he got sucked in to playing pool at the dive bar and did I still want him to come over AFTER finished up his game (really?)  I was pissed and told him not to come over. He called me and tried to smooth things over (he was drunk) and promised he would make it up to me when he returned from his trip (that he was leaving for the next day) but first, could he just tell me a little bit about how hard his day was? O..M…G. Of course, I listened, because that is what I do.

I never heard from him again after that night.

I wish him well. He is a good guy who is not good with people (which he did tell me on our first date). And I really like his work (which you can see yourself in this post. Those are some of his sculptures.)

The dating continues….

The Sommelier

The third date of my August dating challenge was with “the sommelier”. “The sommelier” wrote to me about a month ago on OK Cupid and I thought about writing him back, but decided not to. There was something about him that I liked (he is cute) but he is very  young and I didn’t think we would have anything in common. OK Cupid specifically said “Y’all have issues” which they put right on the screen if you are a low match (The sommelier and I are a 61% match – not great.)

Earlier this week, I met a friend for dinner at a restaurant near my office and there he was, “the sommelier”, right behind the bar. I recognized him immediately (it felt like a celebrity sighting.) I checked him out during dinner (he even stopped by our table to ask if we wanted more wine at one point,),but I was too shy to say anything. How do you say to someone “Hey, are you the guy who emailed me on OK Cupid last month?”. I did still think he was cute.

I emailed him when I got home to confirm that it was him (it was.) He was quite happy to hear from me and we decided the universe was telling us we should go out. Lucky for me, I found August date #3!!! “The sommelier” was SO excited to meet me that he proposed stopping by my office to say hello on his way to work so we could meet in person sooner than later (our schedules are not easy to coordinate). This was a random meet and greet idea that would never have occurred to me, but why not? We chatted outside my office for 15 minutes and there was chemistry. He seemed very young, but sweet, and still cute.

I have been down this much younger man path MANY times before. I know the dynamic, and it never ends well, but a fun potential summer fling that lands right in your lap is hard to resist.

Unfortunately, what I learned on my second date with “the sommelier”, is that I might have outgrown the much younger man thing and I am not sure flings are my thing. This particular younger man seems very young. He is VERY in to me, which is flattering, but it is not based on anything beyond attraction. Apparently attraction without emotional connection (or anything in common) is not really that fun for me. I am still pondering whether there is any fun to be had here and I don’t want to hurt the young, sweet, sommelier. (I have not, by the way, learned anything about wine from him yet except that I what I drank at his restaurant was apparently not good wine.)

Week #4 of the August dating challenge is upon me. What to do? What to do?

The August Dating Challenge

In late July, I challenged myself to go on one date a week in the month of August. I didn’t think I would have enough options to go on that many dates, but I started on July 31st (I decided that counts) and have miraculously been on one date a week since. I have had no luck with the OK Cupid emails I am sending, but three guys emailed me that were not so bad, so I gave them a whirl. They were all very different.

We start with British Johnny. British Johnny was 6 years older than me and sold himself as talking like the gecko in the insurance commercials (I like that gecko). He seemed like an interesting guy, but my gut told me he was to formal, serious, and geeky for me. In an attempt to determine whether I am ruling people out for the right reasons, I decided to go on the date.

The date confirmed that I would have been correct to rule out British Johnny. Nice guy, smart, and has done lots of interesting things (for example he just wrote a book on esoteric wisdom), but not a good match for me. He was visibly despondent when I told him there would be no second drink. I was surprised to learn at the end of the date that in his first week back online after many years, he had 5 dates booked from the 7 emails he sent. He also mentioned during the date that he met his first wife on his first online date ever. Go British Johnny! I am sure he is doing just fine.

The next week, I went out with “suburban Jewish guy”. I don’t usually go out with guys from the suburbs but I liked his profile and we had a bit of a banter going via email so I decided to be open to it. This date was very interesting. We had intellectual compatibility and a much deeper level of conversation than I have on most dates.

During a conversation about expectations and being open, “suburban Jewish guy” told me that I seemed very shut down at the beginning of our date and that he liked me much more after my second glass of wine. (I am definitely more fun after two glasses of wine. Who isn’t?) I explained that I was very shut down for two reasons (1) I have opened myself up twice in the past year and been hurt pretty badly (2) I don’t like hurting other people and I don’t want to seem interested and lead someone on unless I am sure I am interested. (A third reason, that I did not mention, was that he texted me from his car as he drove by looking for a parking spot to tell me he thought I looked cute. This was a bit much, so I was preparing for the worst.)

He explained that me being shut down makes the other person put up their guard and makes them not interested in me. He also theorized that I am so busy keeping my guard up, that I am not really open to seeing what may be interesting about the other person. This was all true and made me realize that if I am going to do this dating thing, I have to be more open. It was actually a very emotional conversation for me. It felt a bit like a therapy session.

Although I was not really attracted to “suburban jewish guy”, I appreciated the intellectual compatibility and his perception and self awareness so I agreed to walk with him a bit after the date. When we got to the agreed location where we would part, he asked if I wanted a second date. I responded with “yes…I think so” (this was the “not so attracted to him” and “still pondering this open thing” part of me answering). He then leaned in for a kiss which I was not feeling at all.

In the spirit of being open, I did send a follow up email the next day saying I was interested in a second date and hoped my ambivalent response did not put him off. There was some text messaging (which was actually a bit weird and made me even less interested), but I think ultimately there was ambivalence on both slides and it kind of died off.

Then I got distracted by the sommelier which turned in to date #3. I will tell you about him tomorrow…

Match vs OK Cupid

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I should cast a wider net and get myself set up on another dating site. The only sites I have heard anyone talk about lately are OK Cupid and Match so decided to add Match back to my portfolio of dating sites.  (I have been off Match for over year.)

Within an hour, I regretted this decision. Unfortunately, it was after I forked over $150 for 6 months.

Now that I have experienced OK Cupid, I definitely prefer it over Match, and here are the many reasons why.

1. The user interface on Match is horrible. People’s pictures show up squished in the search. The front page is busy and distracting and I have to look at advertisements even though I PAID for my membership.

I pulled some screen shots so you can compare the two.  Not sure if you can fully get the gist with these, but you can click on them to see the experience full size.  Match is just an eye sore.

Match 1
Match Home Page
Match 1
OK Cupid Home Page

2. The profile layout on Match is distracting so you are more focused on the section headers than the actual content. There are the ugly yellow highlights that show you the things you have in common like “coffee/conversation” and “travel”. There are cheesy icons displayed when you look at someones profile like a sneaker that says next to it “you both like running”. Woo hoo!

Here are some profile samples (hopefully they won’t sue me!).  See how OK Cupid is just much cooler?

Match 2
Match Profile (this guy blew me off)
Match 4
Match profile continued..
OK Cupid 2
OK Cupid Profile
OK Cupid 4
OK Cupid continued (its keeps going but you get the gist)

3. Match lists whether you have ever been married before right at the top of the profile. (On OK Cupid it is one of a thousand questions you can answer but you don’t have to) When I first joined OK Cupid, I wished that information was right up front, because I would be very wary of a 44 year old that has not been married . But now that I am a 44 year old woman who has never been married, I realize this does not play to my advantage.

5. Match requires an email subject when you send a message.  I never gave this much thought before, but I love how on OK Cupid, I can just write a quick note and not try to come up with something catchy in an email subject. “Hey” or “Hi there” is annoying, but coming up with something witty in the subject AND in the email is just too hard.  I have tried “Pretend I put something witty here”. I didn’t get a reply.

6. When you make an update to your Match profile, the text and the photos have to be approved before they show up (each separately.) It took almost 12 hours before my photos appeared on my profile.

7. You can hide your profile which means you can click on profiles without people seeing you clicked on them, but if you change your profile, it seems to automatically become unhidden when any  part of it is approved. I was not aware of this and went on a favoriting rampage (OK only 4 guys I found suitable) while I was waiting for approval and they all saw that I favorited them and looked at my profile before all of my super cute photos were posted. I was pissed.  UPDATE: I have since learned that you can’t really look at people without them knowing because when you un-hide yourself, you become visible in people’s visitor list, always. This had nothing to do with the profile un-hiding itself.  This feature change is not cool.

8. I think there are a lot more people on Match, which was what I was looking for in “casting a wider net,” but that also means there are more not so great profiles to wade through.  It is hard to stay positive while wading through the “not so great” profiles. Ugh.

9. There is one plus to Match over  OK Cupid.  Match emails you the whole email message someone sends you. OK Cupid only sends the first sentence or so, so you HAVE to  log in to OK Cupid read the message. This is easy since you can log in on your phone from anywhere, but then the sender knows for sure you have read it and not emailed them back.

Match has definitely made me appreciate OK Cupid more. Here are some things I realized that I really like about OK Cupid.

  • The free form questions on OK Cupid are more interesting so they make it easier to express who you are beyond just one paragraph.
  • OK Cupid has hundreds of random multiple choice questions you can answer and see people’s responses and whether you match. These tell you basic things about people that are not in their profile (it looks like they are adding some of those on Match). They also drive a match % which displays for every person on the site is actually, kind of helpful.
  • OK Cupid shows you whether someone will “reply often” or “very selectively” so you have an idea of whether this person blows everyone off, or just you.
  • All of the artists, and teachers, and creative types on OK Cupid (because it is free) make it much more interesting and it feels cooler. Match seems to have a lot more average guys from the suburbs to wade through.
  • The site is free, but I can pay an extra $15/month to view profiles invisibly. Love this feature and I don’t have to remember to hide my profile when I want to browse (that is such a pain in the but!)

Overall, Match just feels really old school compared to OK Cupid. OK Cupid is a really stupid site name, but despite that, it is definitely a better experience. As good as an online dating experience can be, I guess. Since the same company owns them both, I guess they make money either way. Extra money from me!

Another Perfectly Nice Guy

I just returned from a date with “software guy”.  Another perfectly nice guy. We chatted for two hours about various things. Within the first 5 seconds I was fairly sure there was no attraction, but there was a glimmer of possibility, so I was able to keep an open mind about it and carry on. (Wine is so super helpful in these scenarios.)

There really isn’t anything all that interesting to write about this date. I knew almost nothing about this person before we met. He seemed more two dimensional in person than his profile made him out to be. It is hard to explain, but he was more “flat” in person.

He remembered almost nothing that I told him about myself in the emails we exchanged. I didn’t tell him much! That was a turn off.

He went on slightly too long about his last relationship and why it ended.  For a first date, it was a bit odd, like he was still struggling with it, perhaps. I can certainly relate to the struggle, but not good first date conversation, especially not in this depth.

In the middle of the date I realized that his mannerisms reminded me of someone I knew but I couldn’t quite place it. I finally realized it was this guy that I worked with many years ago that we had nicknamed “the Stay Puft Marshmallow man.” We gave “Stay Puft” his nick name because he was puffy in stature, never stopped talking, was full of hot air,  and was kind of annoying. In all fairness, “Software guy” had none of these qualities but his mannerisms did remind me of “Stay Puft”. It was pretty unlikely that romantic feelings were going to set in after I realized this.

Overall, there was just no spark. Now that I think of it, he was missing both the required dry sense of humor and the required sex appeal.

The good news is, this date was not super painful, we parted with a “have a nice holiday weekend” (so there might have been mutual disinterest.. yes!!!!) and, the best part was that he gave me his perfect margarita recipe! This bodes well for July 4th signature cocktails.

Addendum: I just noticed that “software guy” checked OK Cupid while I was in the bathroom towards the end of our date. Nice move “software guy.” Confirmed mutual disinterest.