It may have escaped your notice, but I am madly in like with you

Here’s a post by Lady L. to round out the week.  I’ll be taking a short hiatus from blogging to graduate (!) over the next several days, but then I’ll be back in full force!

*****

A few weeks ago I was discussing my latest crush with a friend and his impressive ability to remain oblivious to my feelings. This dude was hot, smart, a little bit older and, most importantly in my book, a total Harry Potter nerd. We chatted, we flirted, all was well. This continued on through the course of the semester, and as the weeks passed it became rather apparent that he was going to be making no moves on me.  I figured maybe he was shy, and hey, it’s the 21st century. I didn’t have to wait around for him to make a move on me, I’d just make a move on him!  My friend and I sat down to talk strategy, and I jokingly suggested that my next move should be to construct a large billboard outside his house with his name and following slogan in foot high letters: It may have escaped your notice, but I am madly in like with you!

You will of course be shocked to hear that I did not follow through on Operation Blatant Billboard. I did give the dude my number, and he promptly did not call me. Crush (mostly) terminated. The whole situation got me to thinking though. I definitely did have a crush on this guy, as I had on many guys before him, but even in my most delusional of fantasies I only ever saw myself being “in like” with him. Now, I don’t know about you, but  whenever I sit down to think about one of my dudes, I inevitably have to run through the list of all my dudes, reminiscing about the highlights (remember the one who carried me up the stairs?) and pitfalls (…then ignored me for a week?) of my many “relationships.” Sure, some of them were pretty great dudes, and yes I was really and truly into them, but I never more than liked them, and beyond that I never saw the potential for the big “L word”.  Maybe this speaks to the quality of lads one finds at small liberal arts colleges, or maybe it speaks to what I’m looking for in a college romance. Even the dudes that stack up to my extensive criteria (funny, smart, not already dating someone…) seem just like fun interludes, ways to pass the time between my great high school love (an epic tale of two friends who dated and then broke up… and dated and then broke up… you get the picture) and the eventual knight in shining armor I expect to sweep me off my feet and carry me off into the sunset of equality and mutual respect.

This is not, however, to imply that the time I spent crushing on, wooing, “dating,” and getting over these dudes was at all a relaxed affair.  A glance from them in the dining hall or a passing “hey!” were enough to make my head spin.  One unanswered text found me pacing the halls and moaning about where it all went wrong.  You would perhaps think, dear reader, that I should have taken the aforementioned lack of strong feelings for these dudes and translated that into a general chill-ness about our interactions.  The self-preserving pragmatist in me agrees with you.  The deeply sentimental romantic, however thinks that maybe that’s what these dudes are in my life for.  The esteemed guest-blogger from two days ago put it best: “We don’t need men. We want them.”  We want them, so why deny ourselves the fun of a new romance, or the deeply cathartic heartbreak of a lost one?

I may not have found my perfect dude yet, but I sure as hell have enjoyed the ride.  Every new crush is an experiment in hyperbole, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Parisian Crush or Why Hookup Culture Might Not Be a Bad Idea After All

A post by A Feminist on why we look for love.

*****

I recently saw Ludacris in concert (I KNOW) at my prestigious Midwestern college, and he catered to the crowd by yelling things like, “Where my educated ladies at?!  Where all my women who gonna get great jobs when they graduate?!”  We loved it.  I loved it.  We are educated, professional, women and we’re living our lives in pursuit of a dream job, an opportunity to travel, a chance to make a difference.  So why have a blog like this, and why even think about how many people I’ve slept with, or talk about romance at all?  Why bother?  Why do we even think about love or sex when we could be thinking about saving the world, or at least advancing our careers? Here’s a story.

When I was studying abroad in Paris, I met a beautiful man.  His name was [censored], he had grown up in Guadalupe, was then studying law in Paris, and he tried to kiss me before I even knew his name.  I, being the (adorably?) awkward person that I am, left him a Cape Cod postcard outside his door the next day, telling him my room number (and my name), and saying that I’d love to see him again.  He called me, and I shivered at his gorgeous voice on the phone – “Ça va?”

I didn’t kiss him that night on the dance floor, in part because I was 19 and scared, in part because I didn’t want the girls I was with to think less of me, in part because that’s just not really what I do (arguably, at this point).  But we kissed a few days later, and it was delightful.  He assembled a cheese tasting for me – I wrote in my journal afterward that “he likes sweet white wine and mild cheese.  Basically he’s 5.”  We sat on his bed and talked for a long time, him laughing at me for my mispronunciations and limited vocabulary, and me retorting that he didn’t speak English at all, so at least I was somewhat ahead.  I said “Je suis tombée amoureuse quand j’avais 16 ans” – I fell in love when I was sixteen – and he said “So young!”  He was 27, much older than me, too much older, I eventually decided, and sixteen must have seemed absurdly young to him.

A few nights later he came to my room where I was sitting with a friend and we spoke for a few minutes by the door.  After he left I was giddy with the memory of him.  I couldn’t concentrate on my reading, and kept thinking of his smile, his voice, his hands, his full lips.  My friend, who doesn’t pay much attention to men as a rule, was smiling in amusement and bemusement at me.  I said, “I’m all a-twitter!” and she said drily, “I can see that.”

My friend isn’t much for judgment, and I know that she wanted me to be happy, but I suspect that she thought I was pretty silly for being so wound up in this person who I’d just met.  For that matter, I thought I was pretty silly.  I was still fairly new to the hooking-up world, and wasn’t totally sure what I was doing.  She was outside it entirely and doubtless thought I was expending too much time and energy on something necessarily ephemeral.

I wrote in my diary at the time that our hookups were giggly and rough-and-tumble and just how I like them.  My stumbling with the language, particularly in times of arousal and excitement, meant that I had to be extremely slow and clear with what I thought and what I wanted.  He was incredibly respectful, even at the end when I told him that I didn’t think we should see each other anymore.  He told me, “We’re both adults, you don’t have to avoid me, just tell me.”  It was enlightening.  There were no assumptions about what we would do, and thinking about him gave me a little frisson of happiness all day.

And that’s why we have boyfriends and hookups.  Of course they’re also wonderful emotional supports and other things, but it’s that shiver of delight when we hear their voices, that anxious waiting for them to arrive, that wanting to touch them more than do anything else, including homework and real work, that makes it addictive.  We don’t need men.  We want them.

Liking boys who like boys

Today’s post is by M., whose Mr. Right always seems to be looking for Mr. Right, too.  And yes, she’s as hilarious in person as she is in writing.

***

It’s not that I don’t have any luck with boys.

Really, it’s not that at all. Sure, maybe when I was in middle school, boys were like, A Foreign Species (growing up in a house that is almost entirely women will do that to a girl). But I grew out of that in high school, really, I did. Talking to boys doesn’t scare me anymore. In a lot of ways, I prefer it now. And actually, more of my friends than not are guys now, which is something my middle-school brain would not have been able to comprehend.

So, no, my problem is not that I don’t have any luck talking to, getting noticed by, or forming relationships with guys.

My problem is that I happen to be a girl who likes boys…who like boys.

Colloquially known as a queer dear, a fruit fly, or a homo honey.

Or, somewhat less flatteringly, a fag hag.

This all started innocently enough. It was the summer before my senior year of high school, I had just turned 17, and I was having my first real experience living away from home (summer camp so does not count). I was in Iowa City for the summer for a two-week writing program (incidentally, where I met the writer of this blog! When it snows…). I had recently broken up with My First Boyfriend due to a mutual lack of attraction (and honestly, it counted as a relationship about as much as summer camp counts as independent living. My parents weren’t around for most of it, and that is about where the real-life similarities end).

Anyway, my first evening at this program, I sat down to dinner to do that awkward, overly-cheerful interaction with people you have just met and know absolutely nothing about. During this dinner, I managed to strike up a conversation with the boy across the table from me. He was cute, I’d noticed, and was…actually talking to me? My inexperienced brain promptly translated casual conversation to OMGFLIRTING and, well, it was all downhill from there.

Over the two-week period—and for about three months afterwards—I ran the gambit of high school angst, from misinterpreting every single possible signal to pining. Sick of this as they undoubtedly were, my friends gritted their teeth and told me repeatedly to just ask him out already. And I think I surprised everyone—myself included—when I actually did.

Or, I guess, it wasn’t so much as an invitation to a date as it was a wince-worthy true confession (I did, thankfully, edit down the original two-page love letter to a semi-casual “hey-I’m-kinda-into-you” spiel). The response, to the mortification of us both, I’m sure, was more or less, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry, I’m gay! I thought you knew!” (My gaydar is terrible). I had not seen that coming. But, as far as rejections go, it was pretty painless. And for a first attempt at, you know, Making a Move, I wasn’t burned too badly—it wasn’t me that was the problem! It was just my lack of proper anatomy! Can’t argue with that. And we’re even still friends, so more or less a happy ending.

At the end of high school, a guy I had crushed on freshman year came out. Since that had just been a minor—and passing—crush, this wasn’t a particularly devastating realization, but it was a little funny. And then college started, and it happened again.

And again.

And again.

My lab TA, a guy in my Spanish class, a guy I’d made jokes with in the hall. Gay, gay, gay. Although my gaydar itself didn’t really work for me, it did start working for other people—I had one (gay, of course) friend who would routinely send me to talk to someone at a party. When I’d come back, he’d just say, “And?” And the rule of thumb was, if I was attracted to him…he was probably gay (Which, can I just say, was really not a fun way to divvy up the male population of a party: if I was attracted to him, my gay friend got him. If I wasn’t, he was all mine. Wait…huh?).

About halfway through my freshman year, though, I snagged a gay best friend. This sounds like the perfect situation, right? A guy you can be friends with and hang out with constantly and talk to about everything—and you don’t have to worry about all that romantic or sexual stuff getting in the way because, hey, he doesn’t like girls!

And then this was how I found out the hard way that liking a boy is liking a boy, and even in a friendship that isn’t heteronormative, all that confusing When-Harry-Met-Sally stuff can still pop up. This friend of mine was, more or less, an under-the-radar gay boy—he liked men, but the average person wouldn’t necessarily pick up on that just by looking at him. And we were together all the time. He met my family. He paid for my movie tickets when I forgot my wallet. I slept in his room when my roommate was being weird. We stayed up all night talking on the floor of the laundry room. In short, he did a lot of the things that a boyfriend would do—except, you know, the physical stuff. But of course I got confused. I wasn’t particularly interested in other guys, because even though we weren’t dating, and even though I knew full well that he liked, well, men, I still felt taken in a way. There was an emotional investment there. I was attached. And it wasn’t ever going to go anywhere.

That friendship didn’t make it. It lasted a while, but in the end, it wasn’t going to go where I needed it to go, and ultimately I was better off without it. And now—well, I just graduated college. My ratio of straight boy:gay boy friends has evened out over the years, but I’m still more likely to be attracted to the gay ones. C’est la vie, I guess.

There is a boy now—he’s actually sitting next to me as I write this—who I’ve known for about a year. It’s a weird friendship—we don’t really make sense on paper, but it works—and we got very close very fast. And, as is somewhat inevitable in such cases, I started to wonder: are we just friends, or is something else going on? And then, of course, the panic set in: I’m attracted to him. He must be gay.

Cue: confusion repeat. I actually jumped the gun this time and flat-out asked him if he was gay. Surprisingly, he sighed, said, “I get that all the time. But no” and has since made a point of referring to himself as “A straight male.” But suddenly, a twist: my network of gay boys tells me he is lying. “He’s totally gay,” they tell me. “He’s the most closeted person out there, but he’s gay.” “Bi, maybe, but he definitely likes men.” “In fact, I think I heard about someone he hooked up with…” etc. So, who do you believe? Gossipy group of acquaintances all telling you the same thing, or your good friend who is pretty solidly sticking to his guns?

As far as the friendship goes, I decided it didn’t matter. He’s my friend and I will choose to believe what he tells me—but at the same time, I think it’s safe to assume that nothing romantic will happen between us. On the other hand though, it got me wondering. I mean, of course my possibility-for-the-year would turn out to be, at the very least, sexually confused. So what is it? This has happened too many times to be pure coincidence—is my gaydar actually finely tuned, and I am subconsciously only attracted to men I know are gay because it’s a safe choice? Because when they reject me, it’s not about me, which means I never really get my heart broken? Or, similarly, it means I never have to get fully invested. I don’t have to fall in love, and I don’t have to go through all those terrifying steps that come with trying new things, physically and emotionally.

But still, as much as a defense mechanism it might be, I can’t help but be slightly exasperated by the whole affair. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for gay rights. I think it is ridiculous it is taking this long to pass a marriage bill, and I believe everyone should be allowed to love whoever they love—it’s basic. But at the same time, I need a time-out from gay men. Because isn’t the dating world hard enough? When you think about it, how impossible does it seem, to find a guy (or a girl) you like who likes you, who makes you laugh, who is similar enough to you that you have common ground but different enough that you don’t get bored, that the things you want line up—of all the people in the world, how impossible is that? Not only do you have to find someone who matches up, you have to find someone who also happens to like whatever gender you are. For everyone, no matter what their sexual orientation happens to be, this has gotta be something of a roadblock.

And just for the record, I have a new rule of thumb when it comes to guys: until proven otherwise, assume he likes men.

We’ll see how that works out.

One, two, three strikes you’re out at the old…dating? game

Thanks to everyone who sent me guest posts for this week!  There’s a great line-up ahead, so be sure to check in every day for some fantastic dating stories!  First up is Miss July (read her awesome blog!), who writes about how to know when your dude is a dud.

*****

For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone on dates with pretty much one standard rule: Three Strikes and He’s Out.

A lot of people will tell you there are certain topics to avoid on first dates, such as politics or religion; that you shouldn’t kiss on a first date; or talk about your exes. I don’t know that I believe in any of those—I think you should talk about what you want and do what you feel comfortable with. However, that doesn’t mean I ignore red flags as they appear—I keep a mental list. My simple approach has always been: three strikes, and I’m calling it—the date is over.

When I was in my early twenties, I was going to switch banks, so one day on my lunch break I went to the Bank of America branch around the corner from my office. The cute guy who helped me open my account asked me out. Even though he was a complete stranger and I normally would have been wary, he worked at a bank so I figured he had to pass some pretty strict background checks… so, why not? Meet Mr. 2003, ya’ll.

He wanted to come pick me up, but I talked him into meeting me and then walking over the pedestrian bridge into downtown. I don’t like to risk being stuck with someone on a first date— always have an escape route! So we met up and walked over to the restaurant to have dinner. During dinner, he casually mentioned his previous (hard) drug use. STRIKE ONE. Later in the conversation, something came up—I don’t remember exactly what—but it either began or ended with “those damn Mexicans.” Regardless of your feelings on immigration, I won’t date a racist. STRIKE TWO. So while I was less than enamored with the guy’s personality at this point, I couldn’t write him off just yet. After all, we all make mistakes in our youth, and perhaps I could educate him on the benefits of diversity in our society. But then, as he was paying the bill, I noticed STRIKE THREE. On our $30-ish bill, he’d left $1 as a tip. One.Single.Dollar. And he was in banking, so I know the issue wasn’t the math. As a general rule, I tend to over-tip. I’d be a terrible waitress, because I’m slightly clumsy and a questionable short-term memory. (During my brief stint in food service, someone could come to my counter and order a cinnamon roll and a Mountain Dew, and by the time I got ice in the cup I was asking him again what kind of drink he ordered. Then, I’d realize I cut myself…on the ice. True story.) So, for someone to be that cheap—and a bad tipper, especially—is a definite deal-breaker.

After dinner, he suggested a horse and buggy ride around downtown (gag). I declined this offer,  probably claiming I had to be at work early the next day or something. We walked back over the bridge to our cars. “So, we should do this again sometime,” he said hopefully. “Maybe,” I squeaked out unenthusiastically (I didn’t want him to botch my bank records or anything—this guy had access to my Social Security number!). At that point, I think he realized I was not interested in a second date. “Maybe? Uh…OK then,” he said, sounding a little irritated. Gee buddy, I’m sorry you wasted $31 dollars on dinner for me, but at least I didn’t just use you for the buggy ride. We uncomfortably parted ways. I went home to my little apartment I shared with Miss November and while I don’t exactly remember what happened, I’m sure we sat on one of our beds or the kitchen floor and debriefed over ice cream or Big Macs or something. I then spent the rest of the year avoiding going inside the bank and keeping my head down whenever I sat at the drive through. Mercifully, I changed jobs after a few months and never had to avoid Mr. 2003 again.

Dudes say the darndest things #7

A redeeming DSTDT after recounting four years of, well, interesting encounters.  Sometimes they do get it right, after all.  I just couldn’t resist.

I wish I could kiss you all day!

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.

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Bar Mitzvah blues

Before I had gotten my first kiss, I looked up to a friend of mine who was much more experienced than I was.  I would sit for hours, enthralled, while she recounted her boy adventures (yes, that was a Dawson’s Creek reference, thankyouverymuch)—but there was one thing I never understood.  “It just happened,” she’d say, telling me how an innocent hang-out session in a male friend’s basement had become a make-out session.  “It just happened,” when her other friends weren’t looking; “it just happened” between her and the guy she supposedly hated; “it just happened” at school, at the mall, in someone’s car.

I couldn’t fathom, then, how physical encounters progressed from secret desire to reality—and did so naturally, without you having to make a grand declaration or even a small admission of feelings. How could one get from point A (not kissing) to point B (kissing) so smoothly?  It couldn’t be possible!

Of course, I quickly learned the truth of what my friend had said.  Sure, sometimes making moves ends up being pretty awkward, but other times it just happens.  You’re dancing with a dude and then, almost accidentally, his tongue is in your mouth and your friend is giving you a double thumbs-up over his shoulder.  (Um, that happened.)  You’re lying side-by-side on your bed having a nice conversation, but suddenly you’re not talking anymore and things are happening.  Oh, so that’s what she meant.

A few summers ago my family flew across the country for the bar mitzvah of a family friend’s son.  Their much-older son is my age, and at the reception he introduced me to his best friend, who I’ll call Phil.  I didn’t think much of Phil—he seemed like a major bro, and at the time I was trying to avoid guys who appeared too jock-like because I’d had some poor experiences dating athletes in the recent past.  Plus, this was one of those embarrassing occasions when your whole family is around—no time to flirt.

Then—I think because our family friend forced him to out of some bizarre sense of hospitality—Phil invited me and my brother to a party he was hosting at his house that night while his parents were out of town.  Since we had nothing better to do, we agreed to go.  I thought it would be a nice chance to escape the hotel and have a few beers—nothing more.

Flash forward to that night.  We start talking, and Phil doesn’t seem like too much of a bro after all. He majors in Public Health.  And he tells me that he spends his summers volunteering at a clinic in Africa.  He’s the perfect Jewish future-husband of my dreams.  On second thought, I AM IN LOVE WITH HIM.

And then, it just happened.

We were having a conversation, and suddenly he was holding my hand under the table.  (Let’s remember that my younger brother was witnessing this…eeep.  It was definitely a turning point in our siblinghood.)  Then we were kissing in his bedroom.  And yes, he was a good kisser.  Very good.  It was the most fortuitous random hook up of my career—who knew I would meet someone at a bar mitzvah?!

Everyone ended up spending the night (you can imagine the great conversation I had with my brother, who very sweetly and innocently asked, “Where did you sleep last night?”—he had slept in Phil’s sister’s empty room—I assured him that we’d kept it PG-13), which gave me enough time to decide that I really did like Phil, which was unfortunate considering that I was leaving town the next day.  Even my brother agreed that he was a really nice dude.  I felt slightly devastated about the timing of all this, but comforted by the knowledge that I would have good fantasy-fodder for at least another year.  (We could meet again at the next special occasion!)

I won’t pretend that things weren’t awkward at brunch the next morning with the other bar mitzvah guests.  My mother, because she’s my mother, was aware of the situation even without me saying anything.  (When we left she pulled me aside and said, “It was Phil, wasn’t it?”  How does that woman know?)  I hate to say it, but I guess this is one of those stories that just goes to show that you never know where or when you’ll meet someone awesome.  The take home message?  Personally, next time I go to a bar mitzvah, I’ll remember to shave my legs first.

(Un-)sexy librarian

Speaking of asking people out via anonymous note, today I’ll tell the tale of the time that I was on the receiving end of such a solicitation.

Last spring I spent the semester studying in London, but unlike many people who choose to move to a foreign country for half of the year, I was a pretty big geek about my experience.  I specifically selected a program where I could take an intensive, full course load of English classes, and I lived in the library.  Of course I traveled, did a ton of sightseeing, made friends, and drank gallons of tea, too, but my coursework was my main focus for most of the time I was there.  During my exam period, I became particularly fond of a certain spot on one of the upper floors of a library in my neighborhood and spent hours there each day.

I developed a routine: write for a few hours in the morning, take a quick lunch break, write for a few hours in the afternoon, go home for dinner.  It wasn’t very exciting.  Until the day that I returned from my mediocre sandwich, banana, and cup of tea to find a folded piece of paper waiting for me atop my tall stack of books.  I unfolded it.  In the very center of the page written in a blue spidery cursive script was a phone number and the words “Mystery number if you fancy it.”

Hmm.  I immediately narrowed down the possibilities for who the sender could be: the guy who was studying across the room from me or the guy who worked at the library shelving the books.  They were the only other two people who had seen me that day.  I guessed that it was probably the second option: I saw him daily and always scowled at him for playing loud music on his iPod—but maybe he had thought I was staring at him expectantly?  Who knows.  He’d caught my eye because of his wardrobe, which combined formal cardigans and loafers with skinny cuffed pants and bright t-shirts.  He wasn’t my type at all.  So, naturally, I had to give him a chance.  That night, we had a text exchange:

Me: It was nice to get your note today.  I think I know who you are, but I’m not sure.  Do I get a clue?

Him: Sure!  Well, um, er—[yes, he actually wrote this] my hair most needs a comb of everybody on the History floor.  But now that I think of it, I guess anyone could have picked up my note.  Clue please!

Me: I’m the one who always sits crammed in the corner doing more staring into space than actual work.  Does that sound right?

Him: Ha ha, no mistaking you!  [Creepy!]  Well, seeing as this was all just an elaborate preamble to asking you out, do you want to get a drink or something sometime?

Me: That sounds great, but I’m actually going to be traveling for the next week or so.  I can let you know when I get back if that’s okay?

Him: I suppose, but only if you promise to come back with five travelling [the Brits use an extra “l”] stories.  Name is [censored] by the way.  I guess I sort of forgot that that bit comes first…

Me: My name is [censored].  Looking forward to meeting you!

Him: Damn, your name is far cooler than mine.  Laters then!

A few weeks later we made a plan to meet up at this excellent cocktail bar in Covent Garden.  When he invited me I was flattered and excited (uh, he used the words “elaborate preamble” in a text to an English major—I was totally sold), but by the time the actual date rolled around I started feeling nervous.  I didn’t know anything about this guy, who I was meeting in a city I’d only been living in for a few months.  We were meeting in a well-lit, public place.  But still!

That’s when I decided to call in some friends for back-up.  He didn’t know anything about me either, and he definitely didn’t know my friends.  They could show up to the same bar, make sure he didn’t kill me and stuff me in a sack, and provide their opinions on how the date went.  It was a genius-like plan, if I do say so myself.

And it went off flawlessly.  We all got ready together—which cut down on nerves for me—and walked most of the way there together, too.  A few blocks away they turned a corner and I continued on alone.  I saw my mystery man—my friends had dubbed him The Librarian—and we awkwardly introduced ourselves in person and went inside.  We sat down with our drinks and started talking, and about ten minutes later my friends came in.  They played the part of random-people-who-definitely-didn’t-know-me perfectly, sitting a good distance away and taking only discreet glances at us.  They didn’t gesture or make faces, but sat there enjoying their beverages without acting suspicious in the least.

Meanwhile, over at my table, the conversation was dragging.  The Librarian told me that he’d been to Utah before, and I asked if he’d gone skiing.  He hadn’t.  Had I?

“I’m a terrible skier.  I’m very clumsy.”

“Right, yeah, so you’re kind of clumsy?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Cool.”

You get my drift.  After about an hour of zero-chemistry conversation had gone by, he asked if I wanted to leave and check out a different bar in Soho.  I made an excuse about needing to stop by a friend’s house, and we exited the bar together.

“I’m heading this way,” he said, pointing North.  “Which way are you going?”

“That way,” I said, pointing in the opposite direction.

He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and said that he’d see me soon, back at the library.  We parted, I walked around the corner, counted very slowly to ten, and walked right back into the bar to join my friends.  We began debriefing immediately.

“I could barely see what he looked like underneath all that hair!” said one of my friends.  True, he did have a curly mop and a rather unattractive mustache.

“Yeah, and I could tell from your body language that you weren’t into him,” said the other.

After an unsuccessful evening, the only thing left to do was buy another round and then go bar hopping.  And just like that, a lackluster date turned into an awesome girls night.  If only every encounter could end that way!

Asking out the waiter

I realized early in my college career that if I wanted to go on dates, I was going to have to do the asking myself.  I don’t subscribe to that whole thing about the guy having to make the first move.  It always feels good when a dude expresses interest in me, so why shouldn’t I express my interest in a dude and (potentially) make him feel good?  Also—let’s be real here—I wasn’t getting asked out by too many people, so this was a decision made mostly of necessity.

And it worked!  Ask and you shall receive, apparently.  At least three-fourths of the dates I’ve gone on over the course of this academic year were initiated by yours truly.  Some were awful, some were bearable, and others rocked.  More often than not, people would tell me that they were glad I had asked.

Of course, it’s an imperfect science.  A few months ago when I was out to brunch with a friend for her birthday, I asked out the cute guy who was serving us.  I recognized him from other times I’d eaten there—this town has like three restaurants—and he joked around with me throughout the meal.

“Don’t let me forget my umbrella,” I said to my friend as we sat down.

“The first rap I ever wrote was about an umbrella!” he interrupted, singing a few lines from it.  He was quirky—I liked that.

“So, was that rap just a one time thing or the start of a career?” I asked when he came to refill the water.

“Oh, just the beginning of a very successful career.  I’m kind of a big deal.”

“Can I buy your album?”

“You probably won’t be able to afford it—it’s quite a commodity.”

And on and on.  “I should leave my number on the bill,” I said to my friend, not seriously considering the idea.  She urged me to do it.  Impulsively, I did.  I wrote a note with my digits that said: “To the cute waiter with the blue hat: So that I can say I knew you before your album went platinum.”  Then we bolted from the restaurant.

I wondered if he’d find it beneath the stack of bills, if he’d accidentally throw it out, if he’d know it was from me, if he wasn’t into women, if he had a girlfriend—and in the midst of all this worrying, he texted me.

“Hey!  This is [censored] the server from [censored].  Sneaky little message you left on the table!  Well, now that you have my number we should grab coffee sometime.  Thanks for the fun note!”

We went back and forth for a while, and I learned that he had graduated from my school the year before and now lived in the nearest big city.  He told me that he might be back in town that weekend, and promised to let me know if he did indeed come.  I was excited that he wanted to see me again and that my random ask-out had worked.  A quick Facebook stalking session (everyone does it!) confirmed that he was as good-looking as I’d thought earlier in the day, and he was a stellar banter partner to boot.  Score.

You guessed it, though—he never got in touch.  Not that weekend, not the week following, and not the week after that.  I’ve seen him around campus a few times since, but he doesn’t seem to recognize me.  (Okay, okay, I have hidden from him every time.  I might be brave enough to ask dudes out, but I still chicken out sometimes!)  I thought it would be weird to remind him about our potential date, so I just let things fizzle…or rather, disappear.

Oh well.  You can’t blame a girl for trying.

Four years in review: a week-long retrospective

I had my last undergraduate class on Friday, and in honor of being officially done, over the course of this week I will be posting a series of dating retrospectives from the past four years.  You can expect the good, the bad, and the ugly—especially the latter two.  Let’s start off on the right foot by going directly for my most disgusting romantic encounter.

If you read my post about timing last week, you’ll know that I have an unfortunate affinity for athletic dudes.  This guy was big and brawny and muscular, but also nice and friendly and smart.  We’d taken a bunch of classes together and I thought he was interesting in addition to being nice to look at.  I believed that there was definite relationship potential between us, and wanted him to be more than an average, run-of-the-mill hook up.  But, of course, he had a girlfriend, and then when they broke up I was seeing someone—so nothing happened until about a year after we met.

I ran into him on campus and, aware that we were finally both single at the same time, casually mentioned that we should catch up sometime soon.  Phone numbers were exchanged.  We had lunch the next week.  And then, on Saturday night a few days later, I texted to see what he was up to and he told me to come by the party he was at.  I did, and we ended up going to another party after that, and it was there that we started dancing, which led to kissing, which led to us leaving together to go back to his place.  This was totally going to lead to—no, not what you’re thinking…dirty mind!—the awesome make out session I’d been looking forward to for several semesters, which was totally going to lead to the awesome relationship we were meant to have.  Cue Rocky theme.

We got to his apartment and decided to “watch a movie,” i.e. swap spit on his couch.  I was under the impression that things were going well when he excused himself to use the restroom.  I texted a few friends to update them on this dream-come-true situation.  I actually watched the movie.  I checked my phone again.  I put on some more lip gloss.  I had a breath mint.  I wondered what was taking so long.

It was only at this point that it occurred to me to listen to what was going on inside the bathroom, and that’s when I realized that he was currently regurgitating the contents of his stomach.  Yep.

I knocked on the door.  No response.  I called his name.  A weak reply.  “Do you need help in there?” I offered, not really wanting to help—as a friend of mine once put it, “I don’t do vomit”—but feeling that I should at least ask.  “No.”  Another text to my friend: Uh, I think he is puking :-/  What should I do?  (I think that that was a very apropos use of an emoticon.)  I tried the doorknob.  Locked.  “Let me in,” I demanded.

He was curled around the toilet seat, this big, brawny, muscular dude, pale and sweating on the floor.  Not to brag, but after that I kind of saved the day.  Well, first I just squatted next to him and awkwardly patted his shoulder, but then I saved the day.  I helped him up, laid him on his side on the bed, and stretched out next to him—a good distance away to prevent getting barfed on—so that I could tend to him if need be.  I stayed there until noon the next morning when he finally woke up, just so that he wouldn’t choke on his own chunder all alone.  He went in for a kiss when I left…yeah right, dude, as if I’m sticking my tongue in your mouth after what I just witnessed, and especially before any mouthwash has been introduced to the equation.  I turned my face and he got my cheek.

We weren’t really friends anymore after that.  I was disappointed for a while and even considered giving him a second chance because I had liked him a lot.  But whenever we saw each other he didn’t seem interested, which kind of pissed me off because hey, I had demonstrated that I was a very, very understanding potential girlfriend!  I had done vomit!  Just for him!  Eventually two important things sunk in: 1) Nothing was going to happen between us, and 2) I do not dig dudes who can’t be gracious.  That jerk had barely said thank you when I left the next morning.  Forget it!

Of course, we still had two more years of college together.  Oh joy.  Occasionally we say hi to each other, but mostly we just look away and pretend that the whole thing never, ever happened.  But few women can say that just kissing them caused a dude to upchuck—at least I have that.

Remember, remember the, um, 19th of May

Just a friendly reminder about (drumroll, please): The First Ever Installment of Dude, Where’s My Boyfriend Guest Posters!  Send me a story of (a) dating adventure(s) that you’ve had!  Whatever you’ve got, send it along—this is going to be fun!

  • Keep your tales appropriate (who knows who could stumble across this blog on the internetz?).
  • Try to be respectful in your language (which you would be anyway, right?).
  • Please refrain from including revealing details about your conquests, as I like to keep things on here as friendly as can be.
  • I will keep you as anonymous as you choose—please specify how you’d like me to introduce you.

The deadline is Saturday, May 19th.  That’s one week, people! Dudewheresmyboyfriend@gmail.com.

You should also include some words.