Tag Archives: Online Dating

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.

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.

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.









Busy week of Improv

Last week I had two grad shows to the public along with an Improv Summer camp. Originally, I had only signed up for a Narrative form but the theatre manager sent a request for more sign ups to the Harold II class as there weren’t enough people. I felt it would suck for those that wanted to pursue Harold if the class was cancelled so I volunteered to join. Mentally, it was very taxing to have two improv classes every week and having to practice with plenty of stage time. While I did enjoy the classes, it normally takes me a day or two to recharge. Two classes a week was a bit much and I had a tough time motivating myself to get out more this Summer because of it.


I skipped over detailing my experience in the Harold I class. While I really liked the class, we were 16 class members at times. Our instructor had little time to coach all of us or give sufficient stage time even with an additional 30 minutes he volunteered freely.  The first few classes we had a lot of fun but as time went on, we were tripping over ourselves. I felt our practice performances were getting worse the further we were asked to carry the ideas we originally had into the later stages of the show. To compensate for this, we were instructed to play as mundane as possible from start.

Several of us went to the Sunday workshops to get the stage time we were hoping for to mixed results. We performed two Harolds, one was well received, the other poor. Going into the grad show, everyone I spoke to in the class weren’t confident we’d have a good show. Whether the lack of practice or the mind set going in, we had a mediocre show. I am not blameless either. I felt the same way going in and did not invite any friends or my parents to watch. Harold has a very specific format and we were thrown out of whack by one of the other classmates who screwed up the sequence. This lead to some confusion and we had a hard time getting back on track.

The reduced class number for Harold II was more welcome and we had plenty of opportunity to practice. However, I found a major obstacle in the class because of crazy work hours and being told during the first class we had to start the show as mundane as possible. This led to our scenes not really going anywhere in the first segment, which gave us little to work in the later parts of the show. I experimented with trying to add interesting elements for later in the show but these were not projected well enough for later use by myself or the others.

Nevertheless, I was asked to perform as an opener for the local house team by our Harold II instructor to which I agreed. Again, our show proved mediocre in my view. With the same class mate mixing up the order as during our Harold I grad show. However, the house team had an amazing set with the same format because they did introduce comedic elements from the get go. This hearkened back to the first classes. The next week, I asked for clarification on the “mundane”. Our instructor clarified that we have to leave ourselves room to heighten the absurdity or comedy of our original scene later in the show.

Our grad show was very well received and in many ways the most rewarding of all my performances because of the challenges and initial “failure” of a bad show. Strangely enough, what made the show for me was a screw up by yours truly. I joined someone on stage who was pretending to play with LEGOs. I joined him in doing so. His face turned to the audience, he said “Dad, I really appreciate you helping me build this LEGO tower.” I didn’t hear him say “Dad” and so my response was: “I want to be an architect when I grow up”. He immediately called me out on the mistake saying “But dad, you already are a grown up!” Quickly, I flipped the scene about my character undergoing a mid-life crisis and playing with LEGOs as a way to re-capture my youth. This morphed into the theme of the show. Later scenes had my character wanting to re-live his teenage years while his son was off to his first day of work. A group game involving what to do during a mid-life crisis, a scene about the inability to relate to younger generations, another series of scenes of someone wanting to live forever, “hazing” in prison and university before mixing everything together in a hodge podge of hilarity!

It is definitely a format I enjoy despite the struggle because there are plenty of moving pieces; it feels like playing an improv chess board with every move potentially significant later on.


Our narrative class did not face the same struggles. Rather, because of summer vacations and real life our class lost three people by the time the show came around. Nevertheless, we performed a good show with few hiccups. Following the Pixar format, we alternated between hindering and helping our main protagonist Barry Pilkerton and his desire to convert his gas station in his home town of Winnipeg Manitoba to full service. His character was inspired to make the change while vacationing in Oregon.

We had some fantastic scenes and some great lines like “I find tipping morally objectionable.” and “Just get that thing out of me [referring to the gas hose]”. We struggled to raise the stakes and forced a few scenes. One of my scene partners was trying to convince someone to kill Barry and it felt very forced and out of tune with the rest of the story. This led to the story derailing into a far more violent tone than everything preceding it. My favourite scene was one where four of us were pretending to be in our cars waiting to be served with the main character struggling to keep up. We would complain or request service to make Barry feel overwhelmed, argue about how much should we tip, before gradually all of us drove off across the street to the new self-service station.

The show ended when Barry, disgruntled, attempted to blow up his rival but seeing how insane that was, he decided to simply go to Oregon to live out the rest of his days. He left the station to his former assistant who exclaimed. “First policy change, NO TIPPING!”

The show definitely impressed my [first] date. We had a great conversation but sadly, she didn’t feel enough of a spark to envision a long term romantic relationship between us. She did agree to remain friends though. While disappointed, I do feel improv has made me more open and a better conversationalist.

Improv Camp

Over the weekend, I and 35 others attended an improv summer camp. Mixed in between the regular camp activities (kayaking, archery, swimming, etc) we had improv workshops. In many ways, these were more refreshers of lessons from previous levels but with a focus of fine tuning for those of us who were at higher levels. After spending so much time learning formats and how to construct a show, it was a good reminder on scene work.

The biggest challenge for me was being surrounded by a large group of people for an extended amount of time. While I am not afraid of crowds, I find it mentally draining to be around more than 3-4 people for long periods of time. However, it never ceases to amaze me how charming and welcoming the community is. The only time I felt uncomfortable was during the dance party where I had a pounding headache from the obnoxious club music, strobe lights and packed crowd. Once about half the crowd cleared out I felt better although some IB profin definitely provided an assist.

Monday hit me like a ton of bricks though. I had resolved to do some household chores but I needed to recharge mentally. I ended up putting it off until today because I was just mentally exhausted. Nevertheless, I want to go back next year! Spending so much time around the other improvisers of the community allowed us to discuss topics more in depth and getting to know one another more than just passing acquaintances. I was still the “odd duck” of the pack but I never felt particularly excluded except of my own doing.


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.


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.

The “Law of Fuck Yes or No” to relationships

In response to my previous article, the woman I mentioned linked me another blogger’s post to further explain her feelings regarding our relationship. We shared a lengthy and insightful discussion and a better understanding of one another.

When I first started dating, I was very active on online dating sites but had very few responses. It became frustrating at times to write 20-30 lengthy and thoughtful messages over the course of a few weeks without getting any replies. However, by sheer volume I did manage to get several first dates but few follow ups. The common refrain was “you’re smart, funny, and handsome but I didn’t feel we had any chemistry” or variations of the same. As is my nature, I analyzed (and often over-analyzed) what went wrong, often laying the blame on myself. Sometimes, the fault was indeed my own (a topic for a future post) and others I should have been more cognizant to realize it was on the other person and move on. A co-worker who was also dating online suggested I read The Game. The sub-title immediately turned me off. I value my integrity and did not want to be involved in a relationship built on a foundation of emotional manipulation. However, I did research help.

The online dating industry, including matchmaking sites but also coaching, is very lucrative. The coaching focuses on attracting matches and first dates as opposed to establishing relationships. Sometimes, they might touch upon how to make sure to get that elusive second date. This is almost natural as the coaches have some financial incentive for people to never truly be successful if they keep coming back for more advice, seminars, whatever. I found Mark Manson’s article both interesting and refreshing (including his additional blog posts) because he doesn’t dwell on “techniques” or “tips” but cuts straight to the point: Do you truly want to pursue this relationship, activity, whatever? Certainly, it takes experience to recognize what you desire out of a relationship (whether romantic, platonic, professional, etc). After a first date, you might not have all this information unless you’re very thorough or really hit it off. In the former case, are you curious enough to find out more? I went through a phase of going on several dates with some women just to see if something would develop when I wasn’t really enthusiastic after the first. I rationalized it as “well, it’s not like there is someone else I am communicating with [through online dating] right now so maybe by learning more we might establish chemistry or common ground.” He refers to this as point 5 in reasons why people remain in bad relationships.

In conclusion, the article helped me better articulate to myself what I already somewhat knew but couldn’t exactly express with certainty. I don’t wholeheartedly agree with everything in the article: I’m personally uninterested in a “friends with benefits” relationship and have refused a few offers when the woman I dated offered it as an alternative. Nor am I interested in one-night stands, so while the body might say “fuck yeah” (I’m a guy after all), I’ll still say no because I value my own personal code of ethics. But one thing is certain, I’m going to sign up to that improv. group I’ve been thinking of.