Category Archives: Online Dating

Long delayed update

For some reason, I haven’t been able to make posts from my personal computer on WordPress. It simply hangs when I go to the blog section. It works fine on my work computer but I prefer not using work resources for personal stuff. I finally decided to just write a blog post and just submit it to limit use of company property.

I visited the Montreal Comiccon for the first time in my life. I was actually a presenter at the event as I got my first professional gig as an improviser! /flex (I was paid with a free weekend pass). I took the opportunity to meet the woman I was waiting for. We both had a blast visiting the various kiosks and the video game demo floor. I was reminded by some of her qualities that originally attracted me to her.

I didn’t want to spoil the fun we were having by bringing up our past romantic relationship (and we were never in a private area to really talk about such a weighty topic). I waited for the metro ride home to lightly allude to it. We only got the opportunity to actually chat the next day. I asked how she felt about “us”, and should I continue waiting? Her response was she would really like to be friends. Despite the expected answer, it was still disheartening. I had still been holding out hope for renewed romantic interest. I agreed, as I cannot deny that we have a lot in common, great chemistry and share many interests but I needed some distance. The finality of it all, and never getting an answer to all the questions that had been swirling in my head was a much stronger blow than I expected even for such a brief romance.

Following the second piece of advice I had received, I decided to get back to dating. I met one woman with whom I had some decent chemistry but she kept giving off mixed signals. And this is saying much as I am usually horrid at detecting these. She was very curious about my past dating history and asked a lot of questions. I’ve always tried to be honest so while I didn’t go into any great length or detail of my most recent relationship, the woman questioned me for waiting so long. In her original tone I sensed a certain reproach from her and certainly implied I was foolish to wait so long for someone who I only dated briefly. I found myself becoming very defensive; however I tend to use [self-deprecating] comedy as a shield. In hindsight, I was frustrated because she was questioning the validity of my feelings; judging that my feelings weren’t justified. I was somewhat offended but at the same time I could sense that she wasn’t doing it out of malice either. She invited me to go to a singles hiking trip.

While the whole experience with her was a mixed bag, I agreed mostly because I like hiking. The event was mildly fun. I don’t enjoy being in crowds or very large groups (we were 13). By the evening, she asked me to drive her home. She wanted to explain she only saw me as a potential friend. In fact, earlier this year she had gone on break from her boyfriend because he was unable to cope with a lot of professional and legal drama in his life which was affecting the relationship severely. It had been several months and she had been so critical of my own break period because she was having second thoughts of her own. “If he (myself) was willing to wait almost 4 months for a woman he dated for two weeks, should I wait longer?” We had an earnest discussion and I will not share further details here. Nevertheless, throughout the conversation there was still a lingering element of downplaying the validity of my emotions for the woman I was attracted to based purely on the amount of time spent, without accounting for quality or rapport. In the end I counselled meeting him again to see if things have improved as she clearly had unresolved emotions for the relationship. We parted more amicably this time as I understood she may have been projecting her own situation on to me in order to justify her decisions.

The whole experience was interesting because I never really have the opportunity to talk about relationships with someone face to face. In fact, writing this post has been more difficult than I expected it to be by the somewhat public nature of it all. My mother has an uncanny knack of getting me riled up enough to actually open up but her go to response is to say that “women of my generation (and younger) don’t know what they want”. This is not constructive.

A few weeks later, I was performing at the improv theater and sent out invites to everyone I knew. With no new classes at the theater on the horizon, I figured this might be my last show for a while. My best friend and his girlfriend attended. The woman I waited for also came with two of her friends. I knew she was coming, but seeing her again left me very excited. Knowing there were at least 5 people in the audience there to see me perform was very exhilarating. I thrive under stress and it was a great inspiration. Moreso because I did want to reward them, and especially her for coming out to my show. Coupled with my usual nervousness before performing, I was a bit jittery. My best friend noticed this and suggested I sit with her in the audience. That calmed me down because a feeling of disappointment crept into my mind. Fortunately, I was scheduled to perform during the second half of the show so I was able to level myself.

The show went relatively well. Our inspiration was based on what was the audience’s favourite activity this summer. Our suggestion was finding a girlfriend. Of course. :/ On stage we chatted briefly as a group in order to generate additional ideas for scenes . I stayed relatively quiet here because I didn’t want to make things awkward but I really focused on one of the comments from the other performers. He described it was better to meet people in the winter because that’s when we are at our worst because of the weather. I wanted to say I met someone amazing this past Winter but decided against it. Instead, I used that as my inspiration.

I began myscene scene as a typical film noir private investigator. I described a woman coming in to my office, all dressed in red… parka. My best friend laughed audibly because of the subversion of the trope. In it, I would narrate the interactions between us as if to share my character’s thoughts. Each time, describing something less than stellar about her appearance (pale from lack of sunlight, a bit of a belly over Christmas, clammy hands, etc). The audience caught on and were fully into it by the end and in our second pass through with the same characters. The story ended with my character ending the romantic affair because I needed a twist ending to the story and slowly walked off the stage as the lights dimmed.

After the show, everyone was appreciative of my performance. I even had a great moment of physical comedy in another scene. The two women on stage were stuck not knowing where it was going. They kept repeating in a very sinister way “They are dropping like flies”. I stepped forward and then face planted à la Rick Flair in an effort to move things forward.

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To be the man, you got to fall like the man. WOO!

This shocked the audience from how unexpected it was. The women latched on to this (I also got a compliment from one of them on stage for having a nice ass) as well as the rest of the back line who followed suit and began also falling on stage to diminishing returns.

After the show, I wanted to talk to the woman who I waited for, but she was leaving with her friends and couldn’t wait for the post-show session with my instructor. My best friend and his girlfriend also left immediately. I got home generally satisfied with my performance but the missed opportunity to talk with her bugged me.

A few weeks later, after I felt I was ready to move on, I went on another date, which by pure coincidence was with another Brazilian woman (although she was from Rio). We had a very engrossing conversation and she invited me over to her place for “tea”. Past experiences have made me reticent to accept such invitations or make them. But this time I said fuck it and agreed. The sex was fine. She climaxed multiple times but I couldn’t get to that point. We talked until the early morning before I left. From an intellectual perspective I was very stimulated but emotionally I struggled to connect. It didn’t help she revealed she was a libertarian; a political stance I highly disagree with on many principles. When she cancelled our second date due to mass shooting in her home country, I was far more concerned with the harm done in the shooting than missing the date. A few days later I offered to reschedule but she declined. A coworker of hers she liked asked her out and she felt that was a better match. I was more bothered by how unperturbed I was by this rejection.

A week or so ago, the woman who I waited for messaged me out of the blue from Boston. She was attending a marketing conference and had just listened to a presentation about how Improv helps in the workplace. This immediately made her think of me. We caught up briefly. It was her first time there and I gave her some recommendations on what to see. She followed through with visiting Harvard with her boyfriend. I couldn’t help but double take. It stung a lot more than I thought it would after so long. She immediately felt awkward bringing it up. I told her I felt the same way. While we were dating I only wanted to make her happy. That hadn’t changed even if romance isn’t part of the equation. If he makes her happy, that’s great. Attempting to change the subject, she asked me how my romantic pursuits were going. I was very brief in my answer. I stated the first woman thought I was stupid to wait so long for her and the second date went nowhere. I just haven’t felt motivated to meet someone. She encouraged me to persevere and that the time will come. My cynical side wanted to write back that it came and passed but instead I went for the joke. I wrote my standards might be too high now after meeting someone smart, athletic, attractive and geeky. Catching my drift, she joked in turn that she and her kind are pretty rare. I added that they are like fabled mythical creatures of legend like unicorns and compared myself to Percival for having only glimpsed the elusive grail. She admitted it was a smooth line.

It was my turn to change the subject and I invited her to join a RPG campaign I want to start after my upcoming vacation to Japan. She accepted the invitation and we talked about my trip before calling it a night. The whole conversation was bittersweet. I thoroughly enjoy chatting with her and I’m happy she is doing well but the news of the boyfriend was a real kick to the balls for my self-esteem. She posted pictures of her trip and I share more than a passing resemblance with him. He is shorter, clean shaven (I personally prefer keeping some stubble) and a bit younger. It could just be a coincidence or that we fit her “type”. The bitterness is directed towards myself. Why haven’t I been able to fully move on? I feel completely unmotivated from a romantic perspective and it has occasionally bled into other aspects of my life. The rational part of my mind knows it’s just counterproductive and irrational but the emotions don’t want to completely let go. Normally, my rational mind is extremely dominant over my emotional state. It’s as if the streams have been crossed or something has been broken and I just can’t figure it out or get passed it.

 

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The waiting game

I haven’t posted in a while because emotionally, things have been complicated. It’s always strange how things work out in life. After my last post on connection turning into love, I went on dates with three different women. I had a pleasant conversation with the first, but despite similar backgrounds things didn’t “click”. I can’t really articulate why. The second date, I did feel a bit of a connection but it would be a semi-long distance relationship (she lived in Ottawa but travels every weekend to Montreal). I didn’t have much expectations though as it requires a lot of effort, more so in the early stages when you barely know each other. So I called it off.

The third was quite the revelation. We matched on Tinder on a Sunday night. She was gorgeous: feminine and athletic. As soon as I read her profile, I “super-liked” her. Instant match. She had swiped right on my profile in the past. What sealed the deal for me was a concise but witty description of herself and her intent for a serious relationship. She was also cosplaying as Chun Li in her last picture.

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Without the exaggerated proportions.

I wasted no time in messaging her. The response was almost immediate. We chatted for the rest of the evening before I asked her out. We agreed to a Wednesday night date at L’Auberge du Dragon Rouge (The Red Dragon Inn for English only readers). She had never been and was looking forward to trying it out. Over the next two days we kept in contact, moving mediums to Facebook messenger as she was constantly getting messages from other guys on Tinder and didn’t want to lose track of our conversation. Our online discussion centered almost entirely on exploring the depth of our geekdom. By Wednesday, I was thoroughly excited to meet her. It had been quite a long time since I felt that way about a first date. I had long settled into not having any expectations to avoid disappointment.

While nervous, I decided to try to keep the conversation light on our “nerdy” interests based on my previous experience. We both had a fantastic time talking about ourselves and sharing stories. The conversation moved along nicely and we had good chemistry while avoiding the typical first date “job interview questions”. We shared a moment when taking up the “dragon’s blood” challenge (a spicy alcoholic beverage where the staff required us to stand on your table and recite an oath before downing it). Once the restaurant closed, I moved in for the kiss as soon as we were alone; she reciprocated. The walk to the metro was more casual as I was looser. A second date was planned, and a more passionate kiss sent us on our way. The conversation continued for another two hours over messenger when she got home.

Over the next three days we remained in touch, chatting well until the late night alternating between casual topics to deep discussions about ourselves and our experiences. We both express ourselves better through writing than verbally. It was fascinating but also exhilarating to build a rapport and delve into deep topics and mutual feelings for one another in that format.

We went skating on our second date. As a recent immigrant to Canada, she had little experience but did own her own pair of skates. We were at the rink for about an hour, with me showing her how to skate backwards, and properly skate forwards. She only slipped once but I was able to catch her. She teasingly claimed she did so on purpose so we could get close. I was definitely not going to argue with her. Over the course of the evening, I came onto the realization that I felt I was falling for her. There were times we would finish each other’s sentences. It was surreal to be on the same wavelength. A part of me still wanted to keep the brakes on, but I did tell her for the first time in my life I felt like both aspects of my personality were working in concert. A third date was scheduled for a few days later.

My coworkers and friends couldn’t help but notice the change in my demeanour. I am usually very aloof and reserved. It was difficult for me to contain my general excitement. We continued the conversation via messenger late into the night every single day. It even delved into light sexting; something new for me. While talking about music (again we seemed to have similar tastes), she invited me to go with her to a Zelda themed symphony in December. I am someone who enjoys planning and once that invitation was made, we began mutually planning things for the Summer; another thing to bond over.

We met for our third date a full week after we first met. I invited her over to my place for a candlelit romantic dinner. I drove her back home late that night as we both had to work the next day but it didn’t stop us from chatting for about another half hour once I got back home.

We remained in touch on Thursday without missing a beat from the night before and planned to see one another on Sunday to watch Ghost in the Shell. Friday, she had a girls night out and a regularly scheduled call with her mother and my own plans kept our conversation short. The tone of her correspondence changed on the Saturday though. She was worried about her taxes as her accountant had mismanaged her account the last few years. I offered her my support if she needed but such a subject can be touchy, especially so early in a relationship. It was difficult because I wanted to be able to help but I didn’t want to overwhelm her either. On Sunday morning, I messaged her to both express I was looking forward to seeing her later that day after my improv class and also to check up on how things went with the accountant. She informed me the meeting helped put her mind at ease but she had to cancel our date and would tell me about it later. I was obviously disappointed but under the circumstances, I could definitely understand the stress she would be under.

A few minutes before my class, she broke up with me over text because she felt things were going too fast. It was like a sucker punch right to the sternum. I responded asking if we could talk about it after my class as I was already there. She agreed. Suffice it to say, I was not in a proper state of mind to practice comedy. I didn’t volunteer for any scenes and simply sat in the corner quietly torturing myself with questions. As is my nature, I began to internalize and analyze every single moment we shared, searching for any signs of what had gone wrong.  Had I come on too strong? Did I do or say anything that offended her? Was I trying too hard? If so, is it because I went too far on the other extreme due to my previous failures?

Once class was over, I asked if I could call but she wanted to keep it to text only. We conversed for some time, my chest twisted and tight. She explained she felt a lot of pressure but wrote it was nothing I had said or done. She continued to say every moment together was amazing and she appreciated my candor and honesty; a sentiment she had told me previously during our nightly chats. However, she couldn’t explain or describe the source of her feelings of pressure. The only hint left to me is she had been hurt before. I asked gently about it as I did not want to put in her in a position to relive bad experiences. I felt powerless when all I could write was I couldn’t promise I wouldn’t hurt her but I would do my best not to. Eventually, she agreed for us to go on a break. She had an upcoming trip to Cuba and wanted to use that time to re-evaluate her life.

I know time apart is more often than not doomed for failure, but I had strong feelings for her and I could not help but hope time apart might be the best remedy. We did plan to meet just before she would leave to see Ghost in the Shell and for her to return a tupper ware container (leftovers from our romantic dinner). We remained in contact despite my promise I would not initiate any messages to her in the interim to give her the space she needed. I was worried about her, but I also had somewhat selfish reasons as I worried about our relationship going forward. “Out of sight, out of mind” as the expression goes. Over that time, she had planned to do some of the activities we planned together except with her friends. Upon the news, I couldn’t help but feel the painful tightening in my chest again. My mind knows it’s her own life and she can and should do whatever she wants. Part of me was actually glad that I opened her up to these new potential activities. Nevertheless, it still stung. I tried to keep busy as well, but with mixed results. The activities served more as distractions to keep me occupied.

We met two days before her flight. A few hours before, she messaged me to say she couldn’t make the movie because she hadn’t finished packing. We would still meet over dinner though. I winced at the news but acquiesced. I picked her up at the gym. When I leaned in to greet her, we kissed on the cheek. Part of me hoped for a warmer embrace. Ever the hopeless romantic, I had baked her a heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie. I had tried a Triforce shaped one but it fell apart.

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I didn’t have a cookie cutter.

 

I joked that at worst, she could break it in two in front of me if she didn’t like it in a bit of self-deprecating humour. The evening went well but I felt awkward. In our last two encounters and part of our first date, I felt the conversation was very natural. Now, I was second-guessing myself because I didn’t want to make her feel pressured. I drove her back home and told her I still had strong feelings for her and she was someone worth waiting for. However, I would not wait forever. She nodded and said she would get back to me once she returned. We kissed on the cheeks again and that was that. I didn’t sleep that night. Instead, I stared up at the ceiling, lost in my own mind.

In the intervening time, we’ve kept in touch but the topic of romance has not come up. The few occasions she initiated communication, I felt butterflies in my stomach. It’s been two months now and while my feelings have diminished, they remain a lot stronger than I had thought they would be over this much time. While I don’t know if she has moved on or feel any romantic feelings at all for me, I can’t help but want to kick myself profusely. Sometimes I think I lied down too easily and didn’t “fight” for the relationship, as short as it was. At other times, I circle back to having come on too strong. Then there are a few occasions I just want to kick something as hard as I can due to a feeling of powerlessness. On one hand, I want to help. Other times, the powerlessness comes that there is nothing I can do and that knowledge is infuriating. I am compelled to “fix” things but here I can’t. And then there are a few rarer occasions when insecurities rear their ugly heads.

Recently, we planned to go to the Zelda themed escape room (which I will review later) with some of her friends. However, her friends cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. I was the only one who bought my ticket and went alone. I was still able to have fun but it would have been nice to see her again in person.

I don’t have many friends with whom I can talk to about relationships. All my friends have been in long term relationships since University or CEGEP, or life long bachelors with no interest in dating. The two people who I’ve confided to have tried to put me at ease by placing the blame elsewhere (usually on her) or suggest I meet someone new. The former suggestion was definitely not something I could agree with. I did try to go on a date but I found myself unable to fully let go of my emotions. It also didn’t help that my date had more than a passing resemblance to my mother which was not apparent in her photos. Something I only noticed after the date.

For now, all I can do is focus on myself and stay occupied until I receive a definitive answer or I am ready to move on. I know it’s best to let her come to her own conclusion and lead her own life no matter how much I want our lives to intertwine. I was reminded by someone of the saying: “If you truly love someone, let her go”. So I ended up watching a few Frozen music videos on youtube. Heh

 

Defining Love

I meant to write this post closer on the heels of my previous blog post. Real life has a knack of getting in the way. I also rewrote the post multiple times as I was never quite satisfied with it.

During the conversation with the woman I dated in February, we spoke about connection. In the goal of finding a long term relationship, a connection should evolve into love. Back when I first started dating, I went on numerous first dates for about 2 years. The common refrain was “you are smart, funny, and handsome… but I didn’t feel a connection.” I’ve written before about my early frustration as I never quite understood what having a connection meant. In retrospect, I concluded I mistook attraction for a connection. There were times in fact I began to question myself whether I was even capable of love. Particularly when some women would seem taken aback later on when I’d go on 2nd or third dates and would answer negatively if I watch porn or ever engaged in sexual self-gratification. It is not a matter of shame, just that if I am not stimulated intellectually and emotionally, I just can’t develop physical lust. I wouldn’t say I am asexual but I am probably somewhere on the spectrum.

On to the topic at hand, when does connection become love? How does love feel like? Can you describe it? Is it the same for everyone? The answers are all subjective. I will relate my two experiences and invite any readers to share their own.

My first love was quite intense. I’d say it wasn’t so much an obsession but I was deeply infatuated with her. Every time she would send me a text or message, I’d get excited before even reading it. I would say, it was the among the biggest “highs” in terms of emotional joy I’ve probably ever had. The intellectual and emotional connection was on a level I had never experienced before which perhaps led me to get carried away in the wave of positive emotions and dopamine. We never progressed far physically because of her religious and cultural beliefs. In fact, her previous relationship had lasted three whole years and she was still a virgin. Suffice it to say, my sex drive was fully engaged and I can confidently say I lusted for her. Knowing we couldn’t engage in sex made that feeling stronger. During our first fight, I felt like shit. Like an ulcer had developed itself instantly in the pit of my stomach. It ate at me the entire day until we made up. When she called it off in light of a job offer outside the province, I was devastated emotionally. However, the manner it was done also contributed to it.

The second time was more recent. From an emotional level, I can’t say it was as intense. A more vivid comparison would be between attending a Rammstein concert in all its pyrotechnical glory and the other to cuddling up by a fireplace reading a great book.  Both involve fire and are things I enjoy, but on different levels. I cared for her true, but it hadn’t become a constant distraction. It was definitely more healthy. It’s cliché to say you never forget your first and I can certainly see that now. My feelings for the first were new. I never explored this side of myself. The second wasn’t no less special but I was more mature. From a physical stand point, there was a bit of concern my libido could not match her own as she was liberated sexually. She remains the only woman with whom I felt a deep mutual connection physically as well. After our first time, she said it usually took her approximately 6 months to be able to achieve orgasm with a partner. When it happened the second time we had sex, it became commonplace and I felt a greater satisfaction by bringing her to climax and that led to me “breaking through” myself with her. She was the first person I truly felt comfortable with.

The first love was a raging bonfire; the second a serene sea. Only time will tell if there is a third and what form it takes. I wish anyone who reads this to have found the partner to give them whatever it is they seek, or good luck in finding that person.

 

Maturity in dating

Back in February I went on 2 dates with a woman. Everything seemed to be going very well. However, in the end she explained she was disappointed because while I check all the boxes for what she is looking for in a potential long term relationship, she expected a much stronger connection.

I won’t go into too much detail of what we exchanged. She began the conversation very wishy-washy on her desire to see one another again. Despite seemingly against my best interests, I related to her the law of fuck yes when it comes to relationships. I explained to her the important part is to ask the right question at the right time. We’re both in our mid-30s and as she said, she doesn’t have the luxury to pursue something she isn’t 100% sure. I explained to her that I felt our relationship had a lot of potential but it usually takes me some time before coming to a conclusion whether it will work or not. To me, the question was “Do I like this person? Do I see potential? Am I attracted to her?” and the answer was a definite yes. Questions like “do I see myself getting married to her?” are still premature for me but as a man I have a bit more leeway (we both want children eventually) and I don’t have the same amount of experience as many people my age.

After some further back and forth on the topic, she told me she was surprised at how mature I was throughout the process and resolved that we could go see a movie together as friends at the Fantasia film festival this summer. To which I agreed. It was her surprise at my maturity that inspired the topic of this blog post.

She had several very poor experiences breaking up and refusing to continue to pursue dating men which certainly influences her statement. Again, I won’t comment further on that, but rather than take it as a backhanded compliment I view it as a matter of pride. When I first started dating, I felt frustrated at my lack of establishing this fabled “connection” every woman I met described. It was the realization going into something with a partner who was already having doubts would potentially lead to a less than fulfilling romantic relationship. I told her she didn’t owe me anything but implied she owed it to herself to make the right decision for her. I would rather see her happy than to have to feel the need to make an effort to make me happy. I want to be with a woman who wants to be with me wholeheartedly (of course the feeling has to be mutual).

While I was disappointed things didn’t work out, I made a friend out of the experience and learned several things in our two dates. I’m also disappointed it comes as a surprise to others when myself or a man in general takes rejection with maturity. It speaks volumes of how hard the dating scene can be. My resolution is if the next woman isn’t “Ms Right” to continue to be a positive example for my gender.

Compatibility doesn’t mean chemistry

So over the early Summer I met a woman with whom I shared many interests. She was very much a geek at heart but it never truly clicked the way I had hoped. I saw her several times hoping chemistry would develop further but it never came. As I was contemplating ending the relationship on a romantic level, she seemingly began avoiding me, followed by cancelling dates, not responding to calls or text messages and removing all contacts. The first hint was she wrote she felt she was stringing me along. So perhaps she felt the same way or sensed my own apprehension. I suppose it worked out for both of us to an extent but I do feel bad it ended in that manner; I did want to remain friends.

This experience goes to show common interests doesn’t necessarily translate into chemistry. I’ve written before about attraction at various levels. While I was certainly intellectually stimulated, the other aspects never reached a crescendo. On an emotional level, I didn’t feel like I was falling for her beyond liking her as a person. From a physical level, she wasn’t my ideal body type but it’s the least important of the three for me.

Compatibility is certainly important in maintaining a long term love, but I think it’s fair to say one needs more out of a romantic relationship than just compatibility. There has to be that mutual attraction. Even so, this opens other questions: “What is love?” “Have I ever experienced it?” “How would I describe it?” I think this is a very personal question we all have to ask ourselves. We all have our own specific wants or needs. I tend to view things from the former rather than the latter. I don’t need to be in a romantic relationship. I don’t have any desire to absolutely be with my partner all the time. Instead, I view it more as wants: I want to find someone with whom I can share our lives together. I would like to start a family under the right circumstances. I feel I am someone who has a lot to offer in a relationship. I don’t need to be romantically involved because of loneliness. I view relationships as something that enhances life and experiences.

I’ve never had a truly long last relationship because of several factors, my own failings or faults included I might add. I started dating late because not so much a fear of commitment but rather fear of hurting someone I would grow to care about at a profound level. Along with low self-esteem at the time due to my physical appearance and inability to truly feel lonely, I did not try to connect at that level with others. However, going back to the subject of this post, I had not met a similarly compatible person until this Summer beyond anything platonic. I tend to be attracted to women who are very different from me. It was interesting and fun to meet someone on the other side of the spectrum even if it ultimately led to nothing but some fun memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 and counting

So I recently started dating again after the end of my last relationship. Things started on the right foot with a couple of first dates here and there. We didn’t establish good enough chemistry to pursue the relationship further but I did feel less anxious about proceedings and being more comfortable in the context. And then a streak-slump hit.

I’ve had 10 first dates in a row cancel at the last minute or plain stood me up. This was then followed by the ghosting treatment from all but a single exception. I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Now, I understand if they didn’t want to see each other again after a first date, but this is just strange behaviour. Nine out of the 10 were women I encountered over Tinder. So I’m curious if this is a “thing” common with the dating community that started sometime in December to February or limited to users of this app. Full disclaimer here, I don’t “DTF” or look for casual sex. The dates were all with women with the expressed mutual intent of finding a potential long term relationship partner.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand it’s a rejection but doesn’t carry the sting following an actual date. I can rationalize it away in thinking “her loss” or “if she acts like this, I’m better off”. A sentiment others have expressed to me when I answer questions about my romantic life. On the other, this is a trend and a big waste of time on my part and to the women in question.  It’s becoming a running gag of mine to make myself laugh at the situation. To my friends who aren’t dating, it is validation for their “bachelor 4 life” attitude. Those in couples view it as a scare tactic to stay together and not go back to dating. Either way, it’s very demotivating but you got to dust yourself off and try again.

 

How my introversion gets the best of me

My most recent relationship fell through after a little over a month. I caught the flu from her, a teacher with a much better immune system than I, which knocked me on my ass pretty hard. Nevertheless, she was very understanding and came over several times to keep me company. I really appreciated it. It was the first time I was actually able to sleep with someone else sharing the same bed. I’m an extremely light sleeper and wake up quite easily after years of being on pager duty.

When I finally recovered enough to go back to work, I was swamped to catch up and horribly behind on chores and the like. Through this all, I needed as much energy I could muster. As I am inclined to do in these situations, I “shutdown” everything else in order to recharge. Sadly, this included keeping up regular communication with her. While we did message each other twice over the span of a week, she thought I had lost interest in pursuing the relationship. This was not the case. Her doubt grew into something more. She felt she needed space and I agreed to give her all the time she needed over the Holidays except to wish her merry Xmas and happy new year. I won’t share further the why as it isn’t my place to do so. Inevitably, this original doubt led her to profound self-reflection and she regrettably found she no longer felt anything special towards me. We pledged to remain friends and even went out to see the Star Wars movie a few days later.

This isn’t the first time this bad habit of mine surfaced. I have constantly tried to work on it but sadly, this failure is on me. I make no excuses and have to accept the consequences. What troubled me most was when she expressed regret for having these feelings  (doubt and wanting to be alone). I told her she doesn’t have to apologize for her emotions. Not to me nor to anyone. She’s a grown woman. I’m unhappy with myself for having hurt her feelings.

 

Dating détente

It’s been a while since my last blog post about dating. Since that post, I’ve dated three separate women. None simultaneously obviously. I am of the mind if you want a relationship to work, you need to put your full commitment into getting to know a person and developing chemistry. Even from the initial stages. As the title implies, things never worked out as I had hoped.

The first was going very well until she learned I was a Boston Bruins fan. Now, living in Montreal this can certainly be problematic as the rivalry with the home team can be raucous at times. Now, I’d have to be pretty anal to make that a deal breaker. Not to mention short-sighted seeing as I am certainly in the minority in the city. She called it off after the fourth date (when she learned I was a Bruins fan) stating she felt it wouldn’t work long term. Obviously, my rooting interest in hockey wasn’t the only factor but it certainly played a role. Online dating offers subscribers a virtual catalog of potential suitors. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of looking for alternatives as soon as you discover something that doesn’t suit you perfectly. Que sera, sera.

I went on eight dates with the second woman. Unlike the first, this woman was a die hard Habs fan (the previous was more a casual fan). However, she did not have any issues with this and in fact invited me to a pre-season game. Hawks won 5-1! Again, things were progressing well. However, I could sense a certain discomfort from her body language. She explained she was a very nervous person in general and had seen a psychologist about it to no avail. In response, I didn’t want to make her feel pressured or awkward and so I took things slow. Eventually she texted me the day of what was to be our ninth date informing me she didn’t feel enough of a connection after so many dates.

The third was a woman who works in the same field as I and we share some tangential interests. The conversation was pleasant but I called it off after two dates. She had asked if I saw potential long term. I never felt any romantic spark. It usually takes me longer to reach that conclusion as you never quite know someone after two brief dates. Of course, there are the times you know fairly early. So I decided I rather gain a friend than just another “failed” connection.

What spurred the subject of this blog post was the most recent communication I’ve been contacted over. Now, perhaps I have developed a more discerning eye or maybe I’m too picky. In the back and forth exchange over mail I can foresee a strong possibility this won’t work. I’ve asked her in two different ways about her interests or passions and both times she downplayed these or relegated them to the mundane. This doesn’t fan the flames of excitement or generate much interest. I am a very rational person, and often described as “the calm one”. I tend to be attracted to women who tend towards the more creative or passionate side of the spectrum. I am reluctant to write “emotional” as there is a negative connotation to the word which implies the person is moody, mercurial or temperamental. Obviously, I’m not looking to be with someone emotionally unstable, but a woman with emotional strength and confidence in expressing herself.

At this point I’ve decided to spend some time focusing on my personal development and taking a “you call me, instead of I call you” approach. Improv has been an uplifting experience so far. While I was reluctant to move on while the majority of my classmates decided to remain in level three, I want to move forward. My goal in the end of all this is to evolve as an individual and perhaps eventually better partner for whomever I do end up meeting.

Red Flags

It’s been a while since I discussed my dating life. I rather not comment on something in progress, but the topic of red flags did come up. It made me think, as I am prone to do, on some of my failures on the dating scene for failing to pick up on these red flags. In essence, red flags for those who might not know, are just warning signs of behaviour or aspects which are deal breakers for someone in a relationship context.

I indirectly touched on this topic in one of my posts. However, that was just the tip of the shit iceberg. Shitberg if you prefer. So without further ado, here are some of my “learning moments” in dating.

Plan B 

This is a pretty straightforward one and which I encountered earlier this year… with 3 consecutive women. In this case, I was an alternative for the woman who didn’t seem ready to commit to a relationship. I was the “fall black plan” whether it wasn’t working out with their current love interest or “until something better showed up”. Long delays between responses or constant last minute cancellations despite apologies it would not re-occur. The most egregious case was one where after not seeing each other for two months I stupidly agreed to see the woman again. We were to meet at the Old Port near the Science Centre. About a half hour before our date, she sent me an email saying two of her friends would be along with us. Too late to back out, I still went. However, in my defense, I had intended to confront her in person about this before proceeding with the date. I didn’t appreciate being taken for granted and the parameters of the date being changed.

Due to transporation issues with the metro (subway for non-Montrealers), I was 15 minutes late. I was without my cell phone due to having to lend it to a coworker who lost hers. I have a corporate cell phone you see. A situation I had explained to my date. Anyways, I waited about 20 minutes at the agreed meeting area and she was nowhere to be found. There was an office party taking place in a reserved area and I went to the front and asked if the woman in question was an invitee. To which, the organizers confirmed she was. So, the only reason she had invited me was because it was convenient to meet after a social event. The organizers were kind enough to allow me to go into the private area but she wasn’t there either. Mildly irate, I left and met some friends I met at improv for Karaoke. Later that night, the woman sent me an email asking me where I was and so forth. When I explained I arrived, she admonished me for not getting in touch with her. She had waited a whole 20 minutes before leaving. Considering the numerous times she cancelled at the last minute, I did not deign to dignify her admonishment with a response.

The Ultimatum

The ultimatum came from the third woman with whom I had more than 1 date. She was a viola musician studying for her doctorate in music. After a pleasant first date, we agreed to meet again after my next 24/7 emergency pager duty week. Thus it came to my surprise when she called me on the Monday afternoon asking if I could give her a lift to a private concerto she was playing at. One I wouldn’t be allowed to attend. Already, being asked to be a chauffeur after a single date was not exactly polite. At the time I lived on the South Shore and her concerto was scheduled in the middle of rush hour. I ignored the warning sign though and went on to explain to her I couldn’t accommodate her request because I am obligated to respond to any emergencies within 15 minutes for work. If I’m stuck in the middle of traffic, I wouldn’t be able to do so. You see, she had never had a 9 to 5 job in her life despite being 30. Growing up, both her parents were artists as well. She did not understand the concept of a regular routine job. I chalked it up to ignorance and we saw each other twice more.

Nearly all my family members are in Europe and due to my parents eloping from Poland back in the day, I am more an acquaintance than an actual family member to my relatives. So when It was Christmas, I had volunteered to be on pager duty to allow my coworkers to spend time with their families. On the night of the 23rd, the woman called me and asked if I could come with her to her teacher’s Xmas lunch on the 25th. I explained to her once more I couldn’t and why but I would be happy to see her after my pager duty. She then told gave me the ultimatum: “If you want me to be your girlfriend, you have to quit your job.” I have yet to be unemployed.

Sugar daddy

We all have our “types”. For some reason, there’s a mutual attraction with Persian women. Those I have met in a romantic context were always well-educated and we did have good to fantastic chemistry. This woman however was not entirely fluent in English and she had recently been let go from her job. She was very preoccupied with her financial situation, which is understandable. During our first date, she would always steer the conversation back towards finances. It was difficult to maintain a positive conversation to establish rapport. I explained to her I would like to meet her again but perhaps at a time she wasn’t stressed out. She seemed to be genuinely nice person. Her reply was to accuse me of being selfish and calling my integrity in question. When that failed to persuade me, she tried to guilt me into helping support her.

As some people have told me, I am far too nice for my own good. I suggested she apply to my company and even offered a reference if she required. However, I did not want to be in a relationship with a foundation of guilt or where there is a power imbalance or dependency involved. I haven’t heard back from her since, nor do I wish to in a romantic context after the finale of the exchange. I’m hoping this doesn’t blow up in my face if she did apply over the last few months.

What men wish women knew commentary

Facebook recently suggested an interesting article on what men wish women knew [about them]. The author polled fifteen men on this topic. While it is a small sample size, articles like these are great clickbait and certainly provide inspiration for blog posts. I’ll cut out the authors commentary and offer my perspective on the answers and add a few of my own. This was quite a difficult blog post for me to share but if I shy away, this entire exercise would be pointless. So I urge you all to read on and feel free to share or comment.

We’re not always thinking about sex.

“Rule No. 1, it’s not just about the sex.” — Kris, 29

“Women assume men just want to bed them. That isn’t true. Much of the time men want to bed women in order to see whether they might enjoy it enough to continue bedding that woman for years to come.” — Jake, 29

I think age plays a significant factor. I recall sharing a video with a fellow coworker speaking on this topic. It will naturally flow into the next points from the author. Here’s the video:

The video’s demographic covers American university students. While there’s significant evidence indicating, contrary to popular myth, men do not reach their sexual peak until much later, I suspect this is a combination of testosterone and maturity (or rather the lack thereof). As a sidenote, she later punched me for doing so as she felt she couldn’t look at any of her friends the same again. Ignorance might be bliss, but I like to think I did her a service. Many of the men polled were older than the ones from the video which leads to the next answers…

We really do want platonic female friends.

“I don’t befriend women I just want to have sex with. Male-female friendships are way more nuanced than that. I just want to meet new people and make new friends. They help you gain new experiences, new perspectives, but that’s all I want. Nothing more.” — Mike, 23

“Men can befriend women just for the sake of being friends with them. I don’t need to be interested that way. It’s constantly something I think about too. There’s this expectation thrust upon men to have sex with them, but that’s not necessarily true.” — Ezra, 33

In our early 20s (and I’m not just singling out men but including women too), we are still forming our own identities which will more or less persist throughout adulthood. Anecdotal evidence based on my observations mostly confirms this to me and everyone I know. However, women tend to be more emotionally mature and I think this creates a gap in personalities and thus establishing common ground. Besides, if we find we don’t have anything in common outside or an interest outside of sex, well there’s no motivation to pursue a relationship.

Throughout my dating experience, several women have expressed their lack of interest in me as a romantic partner and instead stated they preferred to remain friends. At first, I wasn’t interested. I reasoned: “I already have friends.” At the time, my work schedule was pretty brutal and left little time for a social life. I defined friendship in a manner most people would categorize a “close friend” and everyone else as an acquaintance. All these factors along with my introversion, made me feel it wasn’t a worthwhile relationship to pursue as I wouldn’t be in a position to maintain the relationship at a meaningful level for both parties.

I’ve since realized this was a narrow-minded perspective. The last few times it has happened, I’ve agreed. Now, most don’t expect such an answer and quickly retract the offer or avoid any contact afterwards. The response indicates the woman was being disingenuous or just trying to be polite to spare my feelings. I’d like to think I’m made of sterner stuff. I grew up an anglophone with a clearly foreign name in a francophone community. I’m not a stranger to ethnic slurs so I can accept rejection. I appreciate the effort to act nice though. I’ve also offered friendship but unless it was mutual, it has so far been denied because the woman cited not needing more friends.

While there are plenty of dating horror stories, I’ve made a few friends too as I’ve gotten older and thus wiser. Humans are social creatures no matter how meek or introverted we are individually. Most of us derive some form of pleasure or comfort from companionship. I’ve been exposed to many things outside of my comfort zone or I was simply unaware of through these relationships. I am someone who enjoys helping and contributing to others and this has afforded me additional opportunities to do so.

Where problems arise is when these intentions are blurred or do not align between both the man and woman. Men, be honest in expressing your interest when approaching a woman and vice-versa. If you are the recipient of a stranger’s attention, do try to be open-minded and establish the boundaries of what types of relationships you are willing to pursue with the person in question.

My ideal is to seek companionship first. For any relationship outside of professional ones, enjoyment in each other’s company should be the first priority. My mother once told me it was pointless to try to match me with “bimbos” because I’d be intellectually bored with them very rapidly. Sometimes, mother does know best. I’m usually attracted to outgoing women I admire their social ease, engaging demeanour and outward fascinating personalities. A case of opposites attract I suppose. By getting to know the person will be what incites more intimate desires.

We’re not actually all after one body type.

“There are guys that want every body type, just like there are women who do too. Give us a bit more credit. Different people are attracted to different types of women.” — Damien, 26

“I have friends who are attracted to big girls, small girls — it’s not just one thing. I have friends who aren’t into that pretty bombshell type. Dudes have different tastes.” — Patrick, 29

“There’s pressure on men to have a body type [preference], even if it’s not the same expectation on women. Women seem to be more accepting. There are also guys that love every type of woman. There are guys that prefer every body type.” — Jackson, 27

I concur with the above statements. The misconception arises due to society, fashion or mass media’s attempts to deify or popularize certain aesthetics:

Today, I fail to understand the utter fascination with “big butts”. In the same vein, I never understood why so many men and women find Angelina Jolie to be among the most beautiful women (at least among celebrities). One of my good friends, an artist, has an obsession with women with enormously (almost cartoon-like) large breasts.

At 6’2″, height was certainly a factor once I decided to start dating. I began only approaching women 5’5″ and above until I dated a shorter woman. She listed her height as 5’0″ on her profile but she later admitted she had lied and was 4’11½”. To which I replied I’d allow her the lie of half an inch if she’d allow the same for me. Obviously, dancing would be difficult although not impossible; but it turns out I’m a horrible dancer so I don’t necessarily mind. I’ve since revised my “criteria” to 5’0″. Women, I know you might enjoy wearing heels but in the same vein you might be overlooking a great guy because of something he cannot realistically control when you state you will only date men 6’0″ and above. I say this despite it being against my own interests!

The other factor for body type can be summed up to fitness level. I used to be overweight. I did not like how I looked nor felt during that time. I don’t want to find myself in that situation again. It was a difficult process but my second proudest moment was when I got down to a “healthy” weight. Leading a healthy lifestyle is thus very important to me and it is somewhat of a deal breaker for me. That written, I don’t expect women to be supermodels. Your choices are your own! I also recognize pressuring someone to “get into shape” won’t work. The person has to want to do so of their own volition. I’ve dated overweight women, even those who weighed more than I do. What turned me off towards some physically was a lack of desire to perform any physical activity or effort to lead a healthy lifestyle. Those I did date, I tried to be as supportive as possible, offering advice from my own experiences or participating in activities together.

We’re self-conscious of our looks too.

“Guys care more about their bodies today than they used to. We know girls care about whether we’re in shape or not. Some guys think about what they eat or what they’re wearing. We need to look good now more than ever.” —Patrick, 29

“Not everyone goes as HAM as everyone else, but regardless of who it is, everyone puts some effort into their appearance.” — Ted, 26

I touched upon this in the previous entry but I can’t stress this enough and write that maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be something you do for yourself first, and for everyone else second. We only have 1 life to live (unless you follow a religion which believes in reincarnation), and you should strive to prolong it. I’m not vain in the least bit, but everyone appreciates a compliment on one’s appearance. It’s also a matter of respect. When going out to meet people whether it is on a date or with friends, do try to make an effort to show those around you are important enough to get out of your sweatpants.

We feel judged for our earning potential.

“A lot of women immediately look to what a guy does and how much they make, and it’s all superficial. It’s no better than when a guy says ‘I’ll only date a girl with a certain type of body.’ It’s judging someone based on only one thing.” — Paul, 26

“[I feel like some] women care about how much money you make. Having money makes life easier. It would be smart to want your life to be easier.” — Shawn, 27

I’ve never really felt this way. I disagree with Paul’s statement as earnings are often a reflection of one’s career or job and does indicate many things. Usually, high salary jobs are valued because of prestige or difficulty.

For better or worse, we are defined by our careers as part of a modern society. When we ask “What do you do?” it is implied we’re asking about the job. When we want to query someone on their hobbies or leisure activities we’ll articulate that or add “for fun” as if to devalue these activities. In more primitive times, this was defined as the ability to provide for a woman [and offspring] who often found herself with little sufficiency due to limited rights within society. Obviously, with women among the workforce, this has changed somewhat.

I am not a materialistic person. I view money as a safety net which enables me to pursue my interests, expand my knowledge, and obtain new experiences outside of my career and ambitions therein. Others might choose to derive satisfaction through social status through their belongings. To me, Paul’s statement might be due to his own feelings of inadequacy at pursuing his interests due to lack of finances.

Oh, and for not conforming to masculine gender roles.

“Men are often being judged through the same types of stereotypes women hate to be seen through as well. We’re told to ‘man up’ or stop ‘living that bachelor lifestyle.’ Stereotypes can be just as harmful for men. This ‘man-up’ culture is part of the reason people think men can’t emote.” — Ezra, 33

“If a man is emotional, it can be interpreted as lack of confidence, and that’s not what you want. Women love confidence.” —David, 25

Men have emotions too — especially nerves.

“When I have a date, my day can be ruined. It’d be hard for me to work, always jittery. The past year it’s been less so. I’m going to drink tonight before my date, because it’ll open me up more. It’s a form of being guarded. “ — Paul, 26 

“I get nervous before dates or meeting women. I am concerned about how I appear, or did I say the right thing. It’s completely natural. We have this awful stereotype that showing vulnerability or insecurity is not okay. Just because on the outside I’m stoic doesn’t mean we’re not really nervous on the inside.” — Ezra, 33 

“This week I cooked dinner for my wife [and] I was so anxious for my wife’s approval. Some of the most nervous I’ve ever been has been before our dates.” — Bill, 26 

“When you really like someone, you are nervous about doing something to mess it up or turn them away.” — Jake, 29

I combined both sections as I could not articulate an adequate response for one without responding to the other simultaneously. Ezra hits the nail on the head when he states we have an awful stereotype of the stoic caveman. I’ve documented before how I tend to over think or over-analyze myself or my interactions. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist in that regard. The best relationship I’ve ever had was one where I didn’t feel I was forcing myself to impress. What I wanted, was to be the best person I could be for her. I wanted to improve and mature as an individual not just for my own benefit but to see her smile or look back seductively, etc.

Yes, men do have these feelings. We all do. What matters is whether we can recognize them, what can we do to overcome them, and muster up the courage to act. This blog is my own way of overcoming some of my insecurities or flaws. I went to a karaoke bar and sang in front of a large crowd last weekend. I plan to join an improv group shortly.

We don’t actually care about your “number.”

“Sexually, guys want to know what you want, [not what you did]. Every woman is different, and we want to know what you want.” — Ben, 26

“I’ve had numerous sex partners. Why would I care if the other person did? Personally, I need someone who can handle my moves.” — Ted, 27

The only men who care about your number of previous sexual partners is if they are insecure about their own performance. They fear to come up short (figuratively and literally) in comparison to your previous partners. I waited a long time before becoming intimate with a woman. This actually led to some women feeling uncomfortable about being the “most experienced” in the relationship.

If there’s any advice I have to give to women on this topic, is to better communicate what you find enjoyable during sex. Men aren’t so proud as to spurn your requests unless their selfish pricks. One of the best compliments I’ve received was that I was a “generous lover”. We derive a sense of accomplishment and pride as a man in our ability to pleasure a woman; just as much if not more so than the act itself.

We don’t mind if you try to pay on a date, but know that you don’t have to.

“I’ve been on plenty of dates where women offer to pay. You just don’t want it to be held against you. In fact, it’s great when a girl says, ‘We both have jobs’ or ‘I can’t let you pay for all of this, you’ve already spent so much.'”— Jacob, 24 

“I don’t mind paying at all if we’re having an enjoyable time. There’s no owing for me paying for a date. All I want is to make it comfortable and enjoyable. And just because a girl lets me pay doesn’t mean I expect sex.” — Shawn, 27

I really don’t mind to pay the first dates. However, if you clearly do not want to see the person again for whatever reason, be courteous enough to offer to pay.

And yes, we’re totally down to see superhero movies with female leads.

“As long as it’s good.” — Aaron, 26

So long as Hollywood doesn’t feel compelled to have the heroine wear a chainmail bikini. Sadly, I have little faith a Wonder Woman movie will be any good because they’ll feel compelled to include a terrible romantic plot.