Monday, April 25, 2011

Dating Rules 4-25-11

Yes, I'm still talking about dating. It's what I spend an hour or two working on every day. I've had 25 first dates, somewhat less second dates [probably half a dozen], and one relationship lasting more than a month since my divorce in mid-2009. My ex and I were separated a little more than a year before that, so sometimes the exact date of signing papers is uncertain.

Some rules and guidelines for on-line dating:
1) It's OK not to know what you want, but better if you do know. I didn't know, and am only now realizing what I want based on repeatedly running into the things I don't want.
2) Do not argue with them. There's no point, and I've found that any early disagreement poisons the well and so you should seriously consider terminating the connection and moving on to the next profile.
3) Don't take it personnally if you don't get replies on holidays. Remember that the person you're looking for has a life that does not involve you and they're currently busy living it. Also, some people may like their routine and may not want to deviate from it too much.
4) Don't smother, stalk, or ignore the person you're trying to date. My preference for emails is respond, receive reply, respond, receive reply, repeat. Don't respond, respond, respond, and try to avoid people that make you receive receive receive. Getting two messages in a row is OK once or twice, especially if they're short [30 words or so]. Be aware that if you're doing 90% of the emailng, this person is probably NOT interested in you. Don't send long emails [more than 4 paragraphs] without a reply between.
5) Don't take it personnally if the first meeting doesn't work out for some reason, especially if it's a long distance thing. I had a long distance relationship for half a year, but we were unable to meet the first time due to weather issues. I always contact her after the first date and I usually say I'd like to see her again even if the first date didn't go well. In that case, I just don't try very hard to have a second date.
6) Don't talk only about yourself. Show genuine interest in the person you're talking to. Ask questions. Remember important dates. Look for ways to impress her with your attentiveness. I've met several biologists and I've been learing about biology. It's actually fairly interesting....
7) Bring her a gift on the first date. Nothing too large that she won't be able to carry, and nothing too expensive. Treat it like a gift and remove the price tag. Ideally, it's something small that can be fit in a purse. It must be of something that doesn't require too much explanation and must be something she'll remember talking about. One time I used gold fish animal crackers, another time I used golf balls, and another time it was a plastic bug.
8) Be complimentary when you first see her, but don't sound insincere. I have some trouble with this because I often forget that a pretty woman needs to know if you think that.
9) Vague on-line profiles generate more replies than providing specific details about likes and dislikes. I see the women with motorcycles and just pass them by. I don't have a motorcycle, so how could I relate? Also, remember that anything specific can be misunderstood. With that in mind, don't include that picture of you in a Stat Trek uniform from that one visit to a convention. Readers will assume that you're learning Klingon and non-Trekkies may feel they don't have enough in common with you.
10) Use correct grammar and spelling. Double check this and have a friend look it over before posting. I know better, but I do still tend to lower my expectations or just move on when I'm reading a profile with obvious spelling and grammar mistakes. If you don't know the difference between "your" and "you're," please go ahead and ask someone. :-)
11) Some notes on safety. Be prepared to share personal data a little at a time, but remember that you will be expected to share the same kind of information he or she shares. I keep a tracfone for the first phone call so she never has to know what my home number [or address] is if things go badly. Tracfones are $25 with 60 minutes of use built in. Obviously, first meetings should always be in public places and well lit. I like coffee shops or restaurants for that first date, but I've done the park thing as well and I met at least one at a museum.
12) Birds of a feather flock together. This kind of goes along with #9. My "feather" thing is actually learning, and I look for women that are college professors or researchers. Also, I'm not a very paternal person and I've found that science oriented women tend to share my views on children. Whatever your feather thing is, put it on your profile and see how prospective matches approach it. Ideally, you'll get at least a few that say things like "I'm the same way!"  
13) Do your home work on your date after you get his or her last name. Ideally, their last name will be something unique and therefore you will find it easy to track down relevant information. You may even get some blog posts! Be careful how [or how much] you let your date know that you know. They may be impressed by your interest, or they may decide that you must be a stalker.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dating 4-16-11

I saw a woman I liked today in an elevator at the West End Borders. It's going out of business, and so everything is 40% off. I went down there to see what might be left, and pick up a book by one of the authors I'm not very familiar with... Anyway, so I have a book and walk down the hallway before I get in the elevator to go to my car in the garage. As I'm walking, there is a woman about my age in front of me with a bag. She opens the door for me, just being polite, and I'm wondering if she's getting on the elevator as well. She does, but I'm getting off on 2 and her car's on 1. I make an offhand comment about her bag, and she says she tries not to visit bookstores because she tendst to buy too much. I hoped I could continue the conversation, but I had already hit 2 and so I got off. She started to get off with me, but I looked at her and she realized it wasn't her floor and got back on.

In the movies, we would run into each other again later, and we would eventually [after some misunderstandings] find out that we were perfect for each other. I wish it was that easy....

This kind of random encounter seems to be the only alternative to things like on-line dating sites. I didn't really expect to continue the encounter, and was only interested enough to continue the conversation after she made that comment about books. At that point, it was too late for me to do anything. I never know when that sort of thing will happen and I'm never ready when it does. That's another advantage of the on-line thing. I'm always ready when I log in. I have no idea if the elevator woman is/was married, but I do know the ones on the computer aren't supposed to be married at least. Was she looking for a man? Again, no clue.

Dating April 15

Well, it's famine again. I'm hoping that Chattanooga will get back in touch after our date last weekend, but I'm beginning to doubt it. I'm exchanging emails with a few women on eHarmony, but I'm not very eager about either one. There are some fundamental concerns with each one. One wants someone exciting and committed to marriage and family life. I'm not much of a thrill seeker and not sure if marriage is what I want out of dating right now. Another one is too eager to meet after only exchanging one or two emails and not having much in common. The other one... I forget what the thing is with that one.

On the plus side, I've been reading some informative news stories about on-line dating on CNN. That was something of a surprise. I think the current story is about long distance love and they don't just mean living in different cities in the same state. One couple lives across the country and another couple lives in different hemispheres. I've done the long distance thing in the past, and it's great for awhile. There is a kind of excitement to dates knowing that you can't be together very long and won't be seeing each other again for a week or more. I thought that would be enough, but I found myself annoyed that she wouldn't talk to me about long term issues. Now I wonder what I was thinking? I guess I thought she would move here? She probably didn't want a committment and may have thought I felt the same way.

Another news story discussed some of the etiquette [did I spell that right?] and got into things like why people will email for awhile and then disappear and the reasons for disappearing. Nobody wants conflict, so there is no point in telling someone what's wrong, especially if you're just as likely to find someone else online that is just as [or more] interesting. Some things to avoid: too clingy, too much detail too soon, or requests for financial information. I've never seen the financial thing.... I thought I would by now, but I haven't.

I told one of my dates that I hated the disappearing thing, and wished that the women I was emailing would tell me when the relationship [or whatever it's called at the "we've exchanged some emails" stage] is over. She said something like "you men and your need to always have a resolution!" Well, yes, I would like resolution. Sort of like I would have preferred that Chattanooga not say she might call me later in the week or this weekend and just tell me if she was no longer interested. Maybe we could just be friends... That's how I met my ex, after all. Friend of a friend.

I'm thinking about expanding my distance parameters on the website. I haven't done that in the past because I don't really want to get too interested in someone 600 miles away again. Even meeting halfway was a serious pain! On the other hand, I'll know going in what I'm doing and maybe I won't get too involved. The problem with that is that if I'm honest with myself, I am looking for "the one." Not for marriage, but for the next best thing, which to me is a kind of life where we can get married or not. My marriage was like that, and we got married eventually because she wanted to.

I suppose marriage is not very important to me. I mean, you're committed to that person, or you're not, and a piece of paper and an agreement in front of the shaman or magistrate doesn't change that. My parents were divorced and remarried when I was 14 and 24 [?]. They got married again to other people when I was 18 or so and then divorced again before I was 24. My ex's parents were divorced when she was 6 and didn't get remarried.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dating 4-2-11

And now there's one less. I hadn't heard from her in a few days so expected her to do the disappearing act thing they do when they've found someone else, but this one actually let me know what happened. That's courtesy, that is, and I do appreciate it. I do this sort of thing too, but it's usually not me that does the breaking up, so I don't get a chance to do it much! :-)

Her email didn't just say "I found someone else." She also continued a conversation we'd been having about daily stuff, so I did the same in my reply. Maybe we'll keep emailing as friends? Some do. We had had only one date, and exchanged 20-30 emails. She was my... 24th first date since my divorce. I think 24... Anyway, #22 told me that I was her #30, so I counted back at that point and then started counting after as well. Yes, this is the same one I gave golf balls to. Romance is not, obviously, a sure fire way to win her over.

I kind of have the impression that she was looking for someone richer [or anyway, deeper in credit card debt], but that's just a guess and not based on  her saying something like "your car is older than I expected" or similar. :-) I kind of wish they would say things like that. It would make end game negotiations easier.

Well, it's back to eHarmony and I've still got one from the last "batch" that is in occasional contact. I'm supposed to meet her next Sunday and I really prefer her to golf ball anyway. Not sure why... Maybe I saw signs of golf pulling back [emotionally] and I've been waiting for the hammer to fall? About the batches: I tend to contact five at a time. I never know how many will respond and then I don't know how many will get to the first date level. For obvious reasons, I don't sent out the "we're not dating" email to any other women I'm talking to just because I had a first date with someone else. That's more of a second or third date thing.

In other news, I'm also having lawnmower problems. It was running rough, and now it's not running at all. Looking back, I think the first problem was a bad spark plug, but the engine died in the process of me trying to let the engine burn out the bad gas [that's what I THOUGHT the first problem was] and then me cleaning out the air filter [second proposed solution] and restarting. So, then I broke the cord trying to restart it again. Yeah, I know, that seems very difficult, but that's what I thought. It got caught in something. I was in a hurry and so I yanked it anyway.... so now I replaced the cord, spark plug, and air filter; and re-attached that stupid rewinder spring.  The spring is the current holdup... maybe I can just buy a spring housing that's already put together? If I can't do that or fix it myself, there are several small engine repair places around that might not charge me TOO much. We'll see...