Dating Story: The Networker

The Winter Blues are a real thing in my life. It is palpable how sad I can get. One year I decided it was a great idea to start a challenge to myself to break some dating habits. I decided I was going to go on 50 First Dates and write about my experiences.

I didn’t have any finite plans about what I wanted to do with this project, maybe I would turn it into a play or a book. But I really wanted to do it, so I started an online profile one January and got to work setting up dates.

In case you are wondering about the project, nothing has come of it yet. I ended up having a mild depression that winter after going on these dates that were going no where and having the same conversation over and over again- from what to do you to what are your hobbies to I’m just not feeling it. The other question I get about the project is what if I had met someone. I did not restrict myself to only going on one date with each guy. If I wanted to keep seeing him I would. The whole point was to get out of a rut and if I got out of a rut before 50 First Dates, then great.

Anyway, back to the Networker. We messaged online in the normal fashion. Nothing in particular stood out other than he was bald and was hysterical. He even made a joke about being bald forced him to develop this great sense of humor (makes sense to me). He quit his corporate job and now freelanced and finally started to turn a profit in his business. (Hence the nickname. He knew everyone in town because he had to hustle for his work)

I wouldn’t say I am attracted or turned off by bald men, I would say I am curious. I like to think I am open to it, but most of the time in person I am not really attracted. I had not figured this out yet about myself.

So we agree to go out for a glass of wine. It was February. 2010. If you were on the East Coast, you will recall that was the winter of Snowmageddon. It started sometime around midnight the night of our first date.

We knew the weather report and decided to risk it. We were just meeting for one drink after all.

The Networker was hilarious, and I really enjoyed that about him. He was pleasant to be around. So one glass of wine turned into two. I couldn’t make up my mind if I was interested in him, but I was having fun and wanted to figure it out.

I do not know why I wanted to figure it out THAT NIGHT. I do not know why I didn’t think “I am intrigued. But I will wait and figure it out another night when they are not predicting a huge snowstorm.”

But no. I didn’t think that. Instead, I suggested we go to my favorite dive bar a few doors down, play the jukebox and maybe some pool and keep hanging out. So we do. We run into a few acquaintances of mine and we hang out as a group. Lots of laughs ensue and plenty more drinks.

I cannot make up my mind about this guy, but it was probably not a good sign that I was making eyes at another guy across the bar. He was just drop dead gorgeous. I couldn’t help myself (but I know I should have).

The Networker and I decide to call it a night and parted ways with a hug and plans to meet up again for dinner the following weekend. My night did not end there, I went back to flirt some more like the idiot that had one drink too many tends to do.

But that story will be for another day.

Long story short, my car got buried in the snow. A few days later the Networker picked me up at my apartment and helped me shovel out. I was incredibly grateful but still not sure I was attracted.

The Networker and I met up for dinner. Again, the conversation was great. But I was pretty certain I was falling on the side of the fence of “Not Attracted.” He walked me to my car and finally went in for a kiss. And let me just say politely that it firmly planted me in the “Not Attracted” camp.

So I told him I wasn’t feeling it and would like to be friends. He balked at this, the way we all do when our pride is wounded, and we parted ways. I still am not sure what the right way is to end a relationship like that. I thought honesty and directness was best, but that still stings.

Who knew that he literally KNOWS EVERYONE in my city. So even now 5 years later we are consistently running into each other at events and parties thrown by mutual friends. I was really glad that the first time I saw him after that awkward ending was at the Farmer’s Market and he was with a girl, I had hoped a date.

Luckily there are no hard feelings between us and we can have a great time if we happen to both be at the same concert together, oftentimes alone because we are both confident enough to go to things alone. (which I suppose means it’s a shame I’m not romantically attracted! We have so much in common!)

I’m glad we’ve been able to be friends, despite the awkward ending.

 

I Can’t Believe I Am Actually Considering This

I hate online dating. It’s awkward and you end up spending way too much time online and the face to face time isn’t really quality.

But, to be honest, I haven’t been out on a date in a long time. And it’s totally my fault. I haven’t had time to go out and meet new people, I’m not putting the effort in.

My game feels rusty, I need to shake the dust off and get off the bench!

but that doesn’t mean that I suddenly have free time to get out there and meet new people. I need a way to meet new men in a way that will be easy, and can fit into my weird schedule.

Hm. After I get the date, how am I going to find time to actually go on dates??? I guess I can figure that out when I get there.

So for whatever reason I am drawn to How About We? Maybe because the featured daters in the column ad are always hot and have great ideas for dates. Plus you can quickly jump through people’s pictures and suggested dates and decide if you’re intrigued. That part is free, but messaging costs money.

I went on last night and just flipped through some of the Daters. Yep, there are some cute guys, that’s for sure. And some have already messages me today.

I haven’t paid for membership yet, I’m still debating the pros and cons. Yes it’s easy to meet people, and even if I go out for one date it will probably pay for the membership. But is it worth my time? I know a few people that have met their boyfriends or even husbands online.

The last time I tried online dating it ended up being a waste of time. How do I know this won’t be the same?

Obviously I am conflicted about this. Anyone ever had good online dating experiences?

Worse case scenario I might get some good stories to share with all of you!

My Problem With Online Dating, and Where I Meet Men Instead

I don’t do online dating anymore. I’ve tried. Several times. I’ve done the free sites, the pay sites, the ones that are supposed to be hip and up-and-coming. And I have the same result every time: I waste far too much time sorting through ads and the duds, then communicating with people that have potential and laboring over sounding witty by email, then the phone call to “get to know each other”, then finally meeting in person only to learn…there is no spark.

You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s not just physical attractiveness, that’s not everything. For me, it’s that excitement of seeing someone and thinking “You! I want to get to know you!” It’s the natural flow of conversation, the kind that pops with excitement.

I prefer to be out in public to sort through people, and talk to the ones that strike my interest. I am sometimes surprised by people that approach me, and I’ll talk to just about anyone. I salute the guy with the balls to approach a woman he doesn’t know and start talking.

So I get asked often where do I meet men? I made a list. And I realized that the stories connected to each of these is almost as unique as the places and the people I met, but I will save that for future posts.

HOW do I meet men, is usually the follow up question. I get out of my own way, smile, and usually lead with a question or a comment on our surroundings (but NEVER start with a complaint, it’s a downer). I tend to get a little stuck in my head, I want to say the perfect thing or I think that he should approach me. But then I just say hello. If he isn’t interested, I move on to someone else. Even if it’s making a new girl friend, she usually likes hearing my story and we can move into girl talk. If he rejects me, then I didn’t lose anything and I probably made his day. I stop looking at the risk, and think “At least this will be an interesting story later!”

Here is my list of places, not complete:

  • Swing dancing
  • The waiting room of my tax advisor’s office
  • A neighborhood block party (not my neighborhood, actually)
  • The running store
  • Sea shanty night at a bar
  • A fundraising gala
  • My roommate’s boyfriend’s roommate (say that three times fast)
  • Shuffleboard table at the bar
  • A community Race Car Derby
  • Singles Mixer
  • A wedding
  • Playing wing woman for a friend (whoops, I scored, she didn’t)
  • Starbucks
  • Volunteering at my local radio station
  • A free concert
  • Introduced by my client to her son
  • A bachelorette party (no, not the stripper)
Lucky for me my cousin had many single guy friends at her wedding. Thank you, Stephanie!

Lucky for me my cousin had many single guy friends at her wedding. Thank you, Stephanie!

These are the places I’ve been told are “great for meeting men.” I call bullshit. I’ve  never had any luck at these places:
  • Farmers Markets
  • Whole Foods, Trader Joes or any grocery store really
  • Home Depot or any hardware store
  • The bar (gag, I have met plenty of men there, but I wouldn’t really brag about most of them!)
  • Bookstores
  • Computer stores or anything having to do with computers
  • Sporting events
My point is that there are so many places to meet people. I sometimes get trapped in the story that it is hard to meet people. But then, I go out and put a little effort to make sure I look put together and approachable, and I smile. I live in Baltimore, a city that can be friendly so maybe I have that as an advantage over some places. But I still believe that people look out for each other and you can at least start a conversation just about anywhere.
No, we did not meet at the Porta-Potties. Just at the free music festival. Close enough.

No, we did not meet at the Porta-Potties. Just the music festival. Close enough. But you literally CAN meet men anywhere!