Revisiting old territory

This blog is back in town.

Kinda.  I’m going to try.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks.  Honestly, I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few months. I knew that entering a year-long master’s program while working full time would be busy, but I never could have anticipated how much of a life-suck it would be, leaving me with no time to shave my legs except once every two weeks—let alone indulge in the luxury of writing blog posts about my love life.  (Which, minus one colossal failure of a non-relationship relationship—typical—has been more like a love-less life as of late.)

I’m still doing the whole master’s/full-time job thing, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  In other words, whether it’s because this hell-year will be over in a month in a half or because it’s May and my primitive side is waking up for mating season (as Robert Frost put it, “spring is the mischief in me”…though I doubt he would have given that phrase the same connotation I do), I want to get back on the (dating) horse.  I’ve stumbled upon a little more free time, and suddenly the businessmen on my bus are cute again instead of annoying obstacles in my daily commute.  Pretending that I am a character on Gossip Girl and that Nate Archibald is my boyfriend is getting old.  I want the real deal, not a romance with WB-17.

What's not to love?

What’s not to love?

But how?  I find myself in a familiar spot: afraid to get back in the game.  Over the past month I have been guilty of the following: 1) Meeting a gorgeous English master’s degree student at a bus stop (who knew stuff like that happened in real life??), having a great conversation on the bus, and then totally chickening out when it got to my stop and I wanted to ask for his number; and 2) Meeting a cute friend-of-a-friend and immediately wanting to have at him but being too freaked out to even friend him on Facebook until days later.  I am lame!  (Slightly less lame or slightly more lame because I posted a missed connection on Craigslist after bailing on my plans for Bus Guy?)  I remember, in a hazy sort of way, a time when I had the guts to ask guys out instead of waiting for them to do the honors—a time when I felt like I had options.  A time when I was…in college.  I know I’ve asked this question before, but how does one meet people in The Real World?  And do so in a way that feels casual and safe and empowering?  Urgh.

So, here I am, back to square one and back to this blog.  Tune in next week for more awkwardness and angst.  In the meantime, wish me luck.

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Things I have learned about dating in the Real World

College was this weird little bubble where all of my potential boyfriends were pre-selected for me by a group of counselors in the Admissions Office.  My school was so small that before I got involved with anyone I pretty much knew everything about them through the combined powers of mutual friends and Facebook.  I always felt fairly confident that the guys I had my eye on were okay—they weren’t, I assumed, axe murderers in disguise.  But now that I’m in the Real World of Adulthood, there is no pre-screen for my dates other than Google.  The tiny college town where I knew everyone has been replaced by the much-bigger East Coast city where I barely know anyone.  For the past four weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out where exactly one meets men post-grad.  Here are my findings:

At the bank:
The other day as I’m walking to my new bank to complain about some error they have already made, I run into a group of people promoting Sabra Hummus by giving out free containers of their product along with bags of SunChips.  Considering my less-than-affluent status, I gladly take their offerings.  As I continue on to the bank, I run into yet another Sabra cart, and quickly stuff my first round of samples into my bag so I can collect another round.  (Yes, I am that cheap.  Hey, a girl’s gotta eat.)  Long story short, I enter the bank juggling three bags of chips and a stack of hummus containers.  As I’m waiting in the seating area to talk to someone, this dude who’s grungy but not unattractive and is also waiting there strikes up a conversation with me.  He attempts to make a joke about the huge bowl of complimentary lollipops on the table, asks me if I’m still in school (Whyyyyy do I look so young?  I’m in graduate school, man!), and tells me that he is a pianist (Did he just say he’s a penis?  What?  Oh.  I may be in grad school, but I am still immature).  When his banker comes for him, he gets up and goes to shake my hand, which is embarrassingly difficult because first I have to slowly transfer all of my free food to my non-dominant hand.  So much for smoothness.  Unsurprisingly, he does not ask me for my number.

Crossing the street:
As I’m making my way through the crosswalk, this old and I think homeless guy walks right at me, and I have to change course at the last minute to avoid crashing into him.  “Hellllllo” he says in deep voice.  I proceed to run away.

At bars:
Finally, with no success, I begin seeking advice.  “Where do you meet guys?” I ask a friend of mine who has lived in the area for a while, trying desperately not to sound desperate.  “At bars,” she says.  At bars?  I’ve always been kind of wary of that.  I don’t know why—there’s nothing wrong with meeting a guy at a bar.  I guess it’s the part of me that wants to have a really cool story about how I met my guy.  Like, I want to be able to tell people that we did meet randomly at the bank or crossing the street, or because we both reached for the same book at the same time at the bookstore, or because we were both eating alone at a restaurant and decided to share a meal.  I like the idea of meeting someone spontaneously, and somehow meeting a guy at a bar just seems so…expected.  But where, you ask, have I had the best dude turnout?  At bars, of course.  Last Saturday night I accrued two people’s phone numbers and three new Facebook friends, and those individuals were all dudes.  And one of them has been texting me, so it might actually be…promising?  We’ll see.  But you heard it here first: the bar is a den of love.  I especially recommend beer gardens; if your experience is anything like mine, your friend will buy you a huge beer and before you know it you’ll have assembled a clique out of the people you met in the bathroom line.

The (triumphant?) return of Dude, Where’s My Boyfriend

I’m baa-aaaack!

Remember that time when I said I was going to be busy with moving and wouldn’t be able to post much but would return as soon as I could?  I’m sorry that that didn’t happen.

Here’s the thing: I love writing this blog, but sometimes it’s a little intimidating.  Given that this is a dating blog, I want my posts to share anecdotes, advice, and hilarities that are about, you know, dating.  This seemingly benign aspiration is somewhat complicated by the fact that sometimes I don’t do much dating.  I mean, I pretty much think about dating all the time, but those thoughts are often relegated to “Dating—now that’s something I’d really like to do again.  Where are all the men?”  I can’t help feeling kind of bad when I don’t have any romance-related occurrences to recount.  Of course, dry spells are a natural (well, at least for me…Bueller?  Bueller?) part of dating (or date-less) life.  Especially, I would add, during weird transition times like the one I’m currently in when you’re in a new place and don’t know many people and spend most nights re-watching Dawson’s Creek alone in bed with a big bowl of ice cream.  I haven’t gone on a date since this guy.

So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to continue writing on this thing under the assumption that somehow, some way, someday soon I will have more actual dates to write about and less single-person angst.  (I met a few guys at a bar last weekend, so maybe this isn’t as far-fetched as I’ve been thinking…right?  Right.)  But I need your help.  WordPress has this handy feature that tells me how many people read my blog, and I am so happy to see that there has been consistent traffic while I’ve been away.  I know you’re out there!  And I am enlisting you to send me your funny “Dudes Say the Darndest Things” quotes, wise guest posts, stories, letters, questions, whatever.  I want to hear from you and I want Dude Where’s My Boyfriend to be more than just a place where I spill my thoughts—I want everyone who reads and comments to take part.  Because if I’ve learned anything from my dating life thus far, it’s that the friends who like to listen to your dating wins and woes are definitely keepers.  Stay tuned and get at me!

 

Don’t leave me!

Dearest readers:

I’m sorry for my less-than-regular updating on this blog.  I am sure that you’re all tired of hearing about my immiment move, but given that said move is happening within the next 24 hours, life has and will continue to be quite hectic.  I also don’t have internet set up in my apartment, and likely won’t for the next two weeks, so my updates will be a bit sporadic.

But worry not!  I will resume posting ASAP, though please bear with me as I get my bearings in a new, internet-less place.  Thanks for your loyal readership, and please don’t forget about me in the interim.

xoxo,

DWMBF

 

And now for something completely different…

Remember yesterday’s post?  Here’s a tone shift.

Last weekend I attended a cousin’s wedding on Cape Cod.  I haven’t reached the age when my friends are getting married yet, so I haven’t been to many and I’m no expert, but this one was everything a wedding should be, at least as I see it: the whole thing, the ceremony, the dinner, the dancing, reflected the couple’s personality perfectly.  The love between them was palpable; the bride screamed “Yay!” when it was all over and they were officially married.  It was moving and exuberant and everyone there felt it.

The thing about weddings that always surprises me—and perhaps this is particular to me because I’m single, though my hunch is that others must feel it too—is the strange blending of emotions.  This wasn’t the first wedding I’ve been to where the bride cried the whole way down the aisle, and both she and the groom cried during the vows and pronouncement.  Most of the guests cried, too; afterward, I think we all felt a little exhausted.  In a good way, I mean—it was a beautiful wedding, and the tears were for happiness, for the excitement of the newlyweds as they walked back down the aisle hand in hand.  And yet, I felt sadness, too.  Of course I’d feel sad—I can only aspire to the kind of love they have, and I felt shut out of something so singularly theirs.  I felt jealous.  I felt, suddenly, like my romantic future must be very bleak by comparison.  It sounds selfish, but I think I cried as much for my own sense of hurt, of left-out-ness, of disappointment, as for their touching declarations and promises.

The truth is, I have many details of my own wedding picked out already, including but not limited to the first dance and the flower arrangements.  Is that silly?  Maybe.  Sometimes when I think about the possibility that it all might happen I get just as choked up as I did at my cousin’s wedding.  [Insert readerly eyebrow-raises about my bizarre fantasy life and over-emotionality here.]  It’s hard for me to believe that I could ever find someone willing to put up with me forever, let alone proclaim me as the person he wants to be with publicly.  It seems far away and impossible.  I feel very worried that I’ll have to continue being the single one while everyone else gets married, when it’s eventually the right time for me to get married, that at every wedding I’ll have to keep changing the subject when my relatives ask why I don’t have a boyfriend.  I’d really like to meet someone, but I don’t want to rush and settle.  I feel unhappy about many of my past relationships, and it is hard to keep my chin up and continue chugging along, trying to enjoy as much of my single life as I can and hoping that one day I’ll have a partner.  It’s scary to embark on so many things alone.

The posts I’ve been writing lately seem so bipolar to me: they celebrate being single, or they condemn it.  If they’re confusing and contradictory, it’s because that’s how my dating life feels—I want to be with someone, but there’s no one at hand.  I’m in this limbo, literally in-between homes, when I’m not dating at all—can’t, really, at this juncture.  And I’ve been holding myself back from romantic encounters, too—I go on dates, I have crushes, but I’m slow to act because so many times I haven’t been, and I want my relationships to be sure and deliberate from here on out.  It feels really good to know what I want and to be waiting for it.  It also feels really frustrating.

The upshot, I guess, is that with all these Feelings, I’m going to make a great bridezilla when the time comes.

The ghost of relationships past

Being home at my parents’ house while I’m in the process of moving has brought on my usual activity of going through my millions of papers, leading me to stumble across this excellent collection of post-it notes.  I wrote these a few years ago when a guy I really, really liked told me he didn’t want to spend time together anymore.  I was devastated.  I put them all over my mirror, theoretically to remind myself that being single is okay, awesome even—but really because I couldn’t bear to see myself looking like crap (lots of crying) in addition to feeling like crap.  Now they are a hilarious relic of my dating past!  If you want to read a killer post about the merits of being single, check out this one, but I think I’ve got a few nuggets of wisdom in here too…

Dudes say the darndest things #7

“I’m not trying to f**k you, I just wanna lie down with you.”

(Thanks for letting me know.)

Has a dude ever said anything to you that was just darn unbelievable?  Email dudewheresmyboyfriend@gmail.com to have your darndest thing featured on DWMBF.

New life philosophy

Who’s with me?

We’re all dating each other

My life has been consumed by lots of “real world” things lately: dealing with realtors, packing for a move, making a budget, shopping for business casual clothing, finding a roommate, and on and on.  In this weird lull when I’m living in between homes and my belongings are stuffed into suitcases and stacked in boxes, there isn’t much time for dating.  And yet, at the same time, dating is all that I seem to be doing.

Maybe this is an obvious observation to make, but it seems like dating—if not the act of going on a date, definitely the processes/emotions involved in dating—is a part of almost every human interaction.  The same behaviors predominate.  When we go to job interviews or meet a group of our colleagues, we think hard about how to make a good, lasting first impression.  There’s a distinct pouring on of charm—dare I say flirtation?—that goes along with any conversation, formal or informal, that we have with another person.  For a relationship to work—and here I mean any relationship, be it romantic, friendly, professional, whatever—there has to be the right element of chemistry to ensure that things progress smoothly.  Inside jokes, complementary talents, trust…it seems like, when it comes down to it, we’re all dating each other, all the time.

I’ve been thinking about this frequently given the fact that I’m trying to locate a roommate.  I never considered, before, how odd it is to live with someone totally platonically.  There’s a certain element of “making Our Home” that is part and parcel of moving in with someone, whether or not you happen to be newlyweds.  There’s an intimacy to letting someone else into your space, sharing a bathroom, buying milk together.  There’s compromise and coexistence and chores to divide.  And it’s hard to find people that you can do these things with without wanting to tear your hair out.  Screening the emails I get in response to my Craigslist ad feels strangely like being a contestant on The Bachelorette.

Okay, okay, that is a slight exaggeration.  But you know what I mean, right?  Networking = dating. Kind of, anyway.

But it’s not the same!  The butterflies I get in my stomach when I send out my résumé are not the same as the ones I get when the guy I care for grabs my hand when we’re walking home.  The giddiness of having a crush is completely different from the excitement of a promotion or good feedback on your job performance.  And I’ve heard that making out isn’t suitable for the workplace.

So while I’m getting all of this practice, I suppose, it’s nothing like the real thing.  Looks like my days on the prowl are only just starting…

A poem for your thoughts

Hey guys, remember me?  I missed you.  Thanks for indulging me in a week-long (fine, week-and-a-half-long) break while I, you know, graduated from college.  It’s lovely to see that many of you continued to check in every day!

I guess I’m a real adult now, and I feel a little unmoored.  Happy to move to a city, to buy a bunch of Ikea furniture for my new digs, to date guys who don’t look and act like they’re 16. Apprehensive to leave this stage of life behind.  Here’s a poem I love by Kim Addonizio from the September/October 2011 issue of The American Poetry Review that’s just as simultaneously mature/childish/irreverent as I feel.  It’s a pretty excellent anthem for anyone who’s currently single.

Penis Blues
I miss the penis.
I feel like a word with no vowels;
no one wants to pronounce me.
Woke up this morning,
looked around for my penis.
J’ai été dévasté;
Le zizi, Je ne pouvais pas le trouver.
I would like to order a penis, please,
with dressing on the side.
This soup could use a dash of penis.
Señor Plátano: ¿dónde estás?
Mr. Defile Me, where you at?
There’s something lacking in the décor:
an artfully placed penis.
There used to be one, right over there.
Reading the paper, using a drill gun,
leaving socks on the floor.
Now there’s a hole in my heart,
penis-sized.  Ohhhhh prostate
baby you up and gone.
Those old seminal vesicles done rambled on.
Corpus cavernosum,
mmmmmm-hmm.
A penis has taken flight.
Probably gonna fly all night.
There’s a flock of penises headed south.
Their cries recede over the distant car dealerships.
Over the darkened pleather interiors
and the stoned janitor
sloshing his mop
in a bucket of dirty water.