Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

April 28, 2007

Wine over Bud Light perhaps...

Well, McConaughey lacked the - um- "smoothness" of his namesake. Nice enough guy but every time he sort of "buddy-jabbed" me with Bud Light in hand to emphasize that he was kidding (for some reason, I could never tell when he was trying to be funny), I would flinch and think how Wine Guy might delicately swirl his glass of zinfadel, watching the colors and waiting patiently for a sip. Needless to say, the evening with McConaughey was cut short, mostly because I have been sick all week and was barely holding it together at the bar. But I was also working to hard to keep conversation going and I just didn't have it in me.

In all honesty, I would probably give McConaughey another shot. He seemed a bit nervous and, well, at least he was trying to be funny. He was very tall and I could tell he was warm in spirit, with friendly, sparkling eyes. The cute southern accent coupled with a successful career and a clear willingness to be a goofball also didn't hurt (he's part of the same sports league I am, but his "sport" is drunk skee-ball - not kidding).

But when I got home last night at the late hour of 8:45pm, slightly feverish and tipsy from two Stoli Orange and sodas (yum by the way, just don't order them in dive bars like I did. When the grouchy bartender asked me what kind of fruit I might want in a drink such as this, I said, "Um, I don't I guess?" He scowled at me and replied, "This ain't downtown lady. I guess I'll give you a lime." Nice customer service). Anyway, when I got home last night my first instinct was to write a blog entry. Instead, I picked up the phone and dialed Wine Guy who I knew was home. We talked for over two hours about subjects ranging from our most "iconic" childhood friends to detailed descriptions of sushi meals (how can you not like a guy who can gush enthusiastically about ahi?!).

By the time I hung up and got ready for bed, I finally felt like I had just concluded a terrific date.

Instead of feeling like I'm disregarding one of my primary Deal Breakers (see prior entry if you missed it), I keep thinking of a quote Wine Guy gave me: "You don't date to fall in love. You date to get to know someone better." So that's what I'm doing. How often do you meet someone you actually really want to get to know?!


April 26, 2007

Damn Those Deal Breakers

I'm feeling a bit deflated today, like a kid who just watched her freshly scooped double ice cream cone tumble to the dirty sidewalk. Although we'd only gone out twice so far, things with Wine Guy were moving along with promising speed. Emails everyday, two-hour phone conversations, enthusiastic planning for our next outing (a hike this Sunday). There was a fresh, sincere connection between us. I liked that he wasn't a "guy," but a PERSON. Big difference in my book. You can just tell he is kind, compassionate, spiritual (if not a bit "hippy dippy" at times, perhaps a red flag), smart. Not the type of man you meet in San Diego very often.

Despite this excitement, I kept true to my word of my last entry where I promised not to put all my eggs in one basket and continue to pursue other opportunities. Both were guys. One quickly ruled himself out when I asked in an email if he was free the following Monday or Tuesday to meet - only four days away - and he responded that he "can't plan that far ahead." Then he asks, "so what have you been up to?" Uh..if you can't even manage to take your calendar out and make a date for four days into the future, you don't get the privilege of casual chit chat and getting to know what I've been "up to." Sorry. guy number two seems OK. I had given him my home number (only used for telemarketers and Internet dates) and he actually called when he said he would. The conversation wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. He had a rather adorable southern accent and it helped to imagine that I was talking to Matthew McConaughey, maybe even with his shirt off. Despite feeling like I was deceiving Wine Guy, I made a date to see him this Friday.

But mostly I was really excited about my next date with Wine Guy on Sunday. Just me and him on a mountain somewhere. Maybe a good setting for our first kiss?

Back to the fallen ice cream cone...So last night Wine Guy and I were having one of our marathon phone calls. The conversation flowed as we covered every topic imaginable with a refreshing tone of mutual honesty. I told him about my tarot card reading (you remember that entry right?) that urged me to be specific about what I want and what I'm looking for. Wine Guy is kind of into astrology and tarot and all that (I know, I already said small red flag) so he asked me what it is that I want.

I tried to deflect the question but in his open, "I'm listening" sort of way, he wasn't taking no for an answer and, well, I am a Sagittarius and we do like to be heard. So I told him some of my "Deal Breakers." Height, religion, no motorcycles, must like animals, think therapy isn't a waste of time, etc (again, go back here if you need a refresher). I knew he matched all of these so it was a generally lighthearted conversation. I supposed I skipped over one of the "biggies" - must want kid or kids - but not on purpose. I had mentioned it earlier in the conversation when I said, "I know I want to get married and have a family" and didn't think it was necessary to say it again. He seemed so nurturing and kind, I just assumed he wanted the same (you know what they say about assuming....)

So I turned the tables and asked him what his Deal Breakers were. She must be left-leaning politically, no prejudices, interested in self discovery/learning. All good. For some reason, probably because it was a safe zone since I don't fall into either category, I asked him about dating divorced women and/or single moms. It was this answer that made me sit up and get a little nervous. He said he finds that single moms just don't have time for self-discovery and developing their own identity because they are so busy being "moms." That's fair enough I suppose but must have had some sort of hesitation in my voice. "Uh Oh. What are you thinking?" he asked, clearly fishing.

I stopped myself, not wanting to go there. But, whether we wanted to be or not, we were there already. I had to ask, "Would you feel that same way about the mother of your own children?"

Silence. Followed by a groan.

I watched the first scoop of ice cream begin to tumble. "You do want to have kids don't you? Because that is one of my top three Deal Breakers," thinking of the list I promised I would adhere to.

He knew it, and I knew it. We had found the problem. Granted, it was far too soon in our fledgling relationship to even be having this conversation, but when it comes up, it comes up. So here we were. He launched into a speech about not wanting to bring a kid into the world when things are so messed up and you don't know what kind of a terrible world you are leaving for him or her. Blah, blah. Heard it all before from my ex-fiance (yes, I have one of those and we didn't get married in the end because he dragged his feet on big commitment issues like marriage and kids. I am not going to waste another few years or even months for the same reasons).

I respect Wine Guy's opinions. He is a compassionate, very political man with principles. But I know I want children (at least one) and I'm not going to spend time trying to change someone's mind on the matter.I told him that when I'm on and I see a guy who answers "Not Sure" for the Want kids? question, I will pass him by. I don't have time for Not Sure.

There was no hostility. Just quiet disappointment on both ends of the phone line. We found our Deal Breaker too soon. We agreed that we want to keep getting to know each other because, well, we clearly both value the prospect of having interesting people in our lives. But whether or not we get romantic, I doubt it. Why throw myself into a situation where the end result would still be the same only it would be more painful a few months down the road than if we stopped in our tracks now?

We agreed to still go for our hike this weekend, though I won't be imagining any sweet kisses on any mountaintops. Maybe I at least got a new male friend out of this? I could use a few more of those I guess. But I'd much rather find my soul mate.

However, I am glad that I found this out before my date on Friday with McConaughey. Now I know I will at least give him my full attention and a fair shake since, yet again, my slate is clean. Damn those Deal Breakers


April 17, 2007

Marathons and Dating

Today I received a phone call from my dear friend TC. I've known him since college and he is by far the closest male friend I have. We tell each other everything, whether it's about family crises, career dilemmas or bodily functions. He's my brother and best friend. Unfortunately, he lives in Japan and it is nearly impossible to reach each other on the phone with a 16 hour time difference. Today I was lucky as he was en route from Boston back to Tokyo, having just ran the Boston Marathon (did I say overachiever too?) , and he was able to call me during his brief layover in my time zone.

When I asked him about the marathon he replied, "You know, it's all about experience. I've done it enough times now that I know what to do to keep from cramping up."

He's run six marathons to date. This one wasn't his best (it was freezing cold after all), but he was pleased that he got through it without collapsing.

As we chatted, we reached the inevitable subject of dating. Like me, TC has been fighting the battle on-and-off over the years and has suffered (and inflicted) some serious casualties along the way. I asked if he was seeing anyone and was expecting to hear one of his "crazy girl" stories. He seems to attract them like flies. But he surprised me when he calmly answered that he wasn't seeing anyone and was pretty happy about it. He mentioned a woman he had been dating for a bit, but he ended it because she was playing games. He knew they didn't have the potential to make it in the long term anyway so why bother?

I was impressed. Rather than allowing his heart, which is often vulnerable to being tugged against its owner's best interest, to follow a murky path, he said "Screw it." With his contagious giggle, he stated, "I hate to sound conceited but I finally realized, hey, I'm a pretty damn good catch!"

As usual, TC and I are on the same page as far as progress in the emotional maturity department, so I shared with him my impressions after last Sunday's date with Wine Guy. And since I promised to share with you too, here goes.

It was terrific. We met at the park near my house, checked out an exhibit at the museum(his suggestion, very nice), hit a wine bar, then had sushi and sake (yeah, baby!). We even stopped at my apartment so he could meet my cat (and I could sneak away to put on some more deodorant, it was HOT in that museum). A very jam packed 5 hours. Conversation flowed and I felt very relaxed, like he was a friend I'd known for along time. But he didn't feel like my "buddy," I promise. There were moments of flirtation, even romance. Like about 2 hours into the date when he smiled over his glass of wine and turned to me kind of embarrassed and said, " I know this sounds lame, but I already can't wait to take you out again." Now that is the kind of feedback we all should be getting!

So I told TC about my great date and how Wine Guy seems really different and quite promising. But what I continued to say even surprised me a little. It was a good date and I feel optimistic. But I'm not going to let myself get overly optimistic. When I got home Sunday night, I was all aflutter and tempted to blow off the other two guys who have entered the picture over the last week so I could focus my attention solely on WG.

A few short weeks ago, I would have done all of this with abandon. But not this time. I'm keeping my eggs in many baskets. Giving myself choices. Remembering that I have choices and that I don't have to scoop up the first guy that isn't terrible and actually likes me back. Hell, I'm a pretty damn good catch too! So I went on today and emailed both guys, moving towards that hard-to-nail down first meeting. And I'm eagerly awaiting another (as yet unplanned) date with WG.

As I was telling all of this to TC, I realized how similar dating is to the marathon. When you first start competing, you have no idea how to pace yourself. You end up quitting early, cramping up, humiliating yourself, and maybe never having the courage to run again. But once you get a few races under your belt and adjust your training accordingly, you learn the tricks, understand the pace you are comfortable with, and know that if you just keep putting one bedraggled foot in front of the other you will finish. And even if you don't "win," you will have something to be proud of. You accomplished the near impossible.

It seems like almost everyone here is training for the big Rock n Roll marathon coming up in June and they all seem to train in teams. But how else can you make it through the grueling workouts necessary to be ready for competition? And that's why I'm writing this blog, to train with my team - whether it's my friends keeping up with my adventures so I don't have to tell the same story over and over again, fellow dating bloggers around the country looking to commiserate, or some random person who stumbles onto this site. It helps to have a team to train thanks for reading.


April 15, 2007

I Swear It Was For Charity

From semi-sophisticated chats with men over fine glasses of Merlot and a snifters of bourbon, to kamikaze shots and kissing random 23-year-olds on the streets of PB (Pacific Beach for you out of towners) range of single activity over the past week has been wide to say the least.

I'd like to think that yesterday was my well-earned "vacation" from being a single 34 year old woman looking for a man to settle down with. Instead I voluntarily regressed to being the bold, 20 something I never was. Damn it was fun.

And it was for charity, I swear. A charity pub crawl with a line-up of cover bands (the Cure, U2, and everyone's favorite, a female AC/DC band), drink specials and the streets of PB crawling with drunk people on the prowl and wearing matching t-shirts.

The only way I could possibly enjoy the entire experience was because it was only a brief sojourn from my real life. God help me if I had to do that more than once every five years. And since I would rather kill myself than be almost 40 and pawing some hot guy's tattoos at an outdoor afternoon concert, this was likely my last hurrah.

It felt terrific to go back to my 20s and actually know what the hell I was doing. Back then I was convinced no guy would ever notice me and, if he did, I had no clue what to do from there. Not anymore. I could walk up to any good looking, punk-ass kid (about 95% of the crowd yesterday) and start flirting, knowing exactly what I was doing every step of the way.

Don't worry, I'm not an idiot. I didn't actually do anything with these guys. OK, one 2 second kiss with some little hottie who rode past me on bike. Don't ask me how, but in that brief stop at an intersection I managed to find out he was Jewish and before I knew it we were kissing. Then I literally patted him on his ass and pushed him along his merry way.Other than that, I had no intention of acting on these flirtations. I was merely enjoying my vacation.

Plus I kept thinking about the date I have tonight with Wine Guy, who had called me on my way out to my afternoon of debauchery to confirm a place and time and to ask me if sushi was acceptable for dinner. Well of course it is! One of the only bonuses from the tortures of dating is the good sushi, a meal I rarely treat myself to. So he scored some major points there.

So no matter how inappropriate things could have gotten yesterday while I downed Captain Morgan and Coke from my Big Gulp container and made harmless passes at every hot guy that caught my eye, I kept Wine Guy in the back of my mind. Reality awaited me the next day and, to be honest, by the time my "vacation" came to a close last night, I was more than happy to go back to it.

I just wish the local news cameras weren't there to capture my vacation for broadcast on last night's 10pm news. I've already heard from two people who saw me screaming my head off at the camera during the U2 cover band concert. Did there have to be proof?!

I meet Wine Guy in a few hours and will dutifully report back. God help me if he watches the local news.


April 11, 2007

Wine, Bourbon and Boys

OK, first off I must preface this entry by warning you that I'm kind of drunk and riding the high of good, flirty conversation with a promising man. So take this for what it's worth. But I thought it was important that I give you a taste of what I'm like when I'm raw and somewhat optimistic. But don't hold me to any of this.....

I just got home from a singles wine tasting night at a local wine shop. I'd heard this was a good scene and I've figured out this town is ridiculously small and rather narrow, so if I'm looking for what one might define as a "sophisticated" grown man (that is what I'm looking for, right?), he might frequent an event such as this.

I was tired after a long day at work and rather grueling session with the new yoga-Nazi instructor at my gym. I decided if my friend "Skinny" was up for it, I could muster the energy to shower and at least check it out. As luck would have it, she was.

We walk in to the place and it is packed full of absolutely gorgeous.....women. Seriously, I wanted to go to all the pick-up bars in town and tell all the guys that they should follow me if they're looking for a bar-full of beautiful, horny women. As far as I was concerned, we were all pretty much "tied" in the looks department, so the only way to differentiate ourselves from the pack (if we found someone worth differentiating ourselves for of course) was to start tap dancing or stripping or something.

We bumped into "Solo," a new tennis friend who told me she might be there, despite having a boyfriend. Thank God, because she invited Skinny and me to sit down with her and a few guys she met the last time she was there not picking up guys. Come to think of it, I always met great guys when I had a boyfriend too.

Fast forward a few wine glasses later, and I'm sitting next to Solo's friend Wine Guy. I find myself blushing and spinning from the blur of conversation. One of those conversations that both of you can't even keep up with. You're dying to find out the next thing about each other and keep jumping from topic to topic like there won't ever be time to talk again.

So what was it that dazzled me? Let's see. He's smart, knows a lot about things I don't but wouldn't mind knowing (wine, cooking, astrology, Pilates - NO he's not gay I swear. I always like the pseudo gay guys, I know). He went to school in New York City (like me), studied film (like me), decided the entertainment business was far too shallow to actually pursue a career in (Iike me), and he likes me (like me?). We were both equally dazzled by one another (I say this now while I'm still buzzed. Tomorrow I'll be absolutely convinced i"ll never hear from him again), and weren't too wussy to express that sentiment during our nonstop banter.

He taught me about wine without sounding like a pretentious dickwad. We talked about how small-minded San Diego can be, while both agreeing it isn't all that bad of a place to live. I told him I loved Sex and the City and he seemed willing to give it a try (OK, he was probably saying to score points here, but well done nevertheless). I told him I liked wine just fine but was much more of a liquor kind of girl. He got up and came back with a snifter of what I discovered was a very fine bourbon. A girl could get used to that.

We left with a hug, goofy grins and a promise of an imminent phone call. I drove home with a perma-smile that should have lured in an asshole cop gunning for a DUI arrest, and the music cranked so loud I think I woke my neighbors (who knew late 80's Metallica could make a girl so giddy?)

I walked in the door to my kitty chirping a greeting and my answering machine light blinking. A message from date #2 (planned for this Sunday). He sounded nervous, like the complete stranger that he is. But sincere enough, trying hard to make a good impression with his first voice communication. Goddammit, online dating is so fundamentally unnatural. Poor guy. He can't possibly compete with a buzzed girl who just met Mr. Perfect At This Very Moment - at least until the wine and bourbon wear off and I wake up to the annoyingly calm NPR announcers on my alarm clock talking over my headache and the onset of dating pessimism.


April 6, 2007

Taking One For The Team

It’s probably not a very good sign when you are on a date and all you find yourself thinking is, “I wonder who I can set him up with?” That’s pretty much the taste that my first date left in my mouth.

Nice enough guy. Decent looking, solid Midwesterner who was “taking one for the team” by going on a blind date the same night of the college basketball playoffs. A fact I didn’t realize until about 10 minutes into our meeting. Once that came to my attention I asked him sympathetically, “Why the heck are you here then?” He responded, “Taking one for the team, I guess.” Yeah, that made me feel great.

It’s not like I actually enjoy the awkward first-date conversation over a glass of wine with a virtual stranger either. Of course I would prefer a good championship game of just about any sport over that. So I offered to relocate our date to a nearby dive bar instead to watch the game and hang out. I was disappointed when he declined that offer. Perhaps it didn’t fit into his Midwestern values of what you do on a first date with a “girl.” Instead we would have to suffer through “the date” while he counted the minutes until he was released to go watch the game on his couch or with a few buddies.

So we chatted. Or more accurately, I lead the conversation – posed questions, responded to his answers to my questions, tried to make a joke and lighten things up. But I was quickly getting exhausted. I already knew there would be no date #2 so why was I trying to force this one to have at least the illusion of a good time? Screw it.

After about 45 minutes, my wine glass was empty and there wasn’t much left to say. We’d covered the jobs, the “what brought you to San Diego?”, the list of activities we like to do on the weekends, and whatever else managed to organically emerge (lots of talk about tennis). Less than an hour had ticked by and I decided to let us both off the hook.

“Why don’t I let you go watch your game then?”

I felt like a schoolteacher ringing the bell for recess. He perked up with an enthusiastic “OK” (the first flicker of sincere energy I got from him all night). We made a quick beeline for the door, through the growing crowd of friends, couples and successful daters. On the sidewalk there was an insincere mention of a future tennis game, followed by a hug, and I was turning my back for the short stroll home.

I took that walk home very slowly, savoring each step in the outdoors before I closed myself in for the night to ponder yet another failed date not worth mentioning to my mom. She tried to ask earlier that day, “So who is the guy you’re going out with tonight?” My response was a terse, “Does it matter? He will probably end up being someone we’ll both forget about by the end of the week.” She sighed, “You’re right.” And I was.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I won’t go into too much detail about the ones I actually do like. Such as the Jewish Dr. who I did go out with a second time and have not heard from again. He was probably too good to be true anyway. Man, that exit survey would come in handy right about now.

I know I'm sounding a tad bitter at the moment. I don't mean to, nor do I want to. I think I'm just a bit war weary and perhaps slightly shell shocked. That's why I've decided to take a short leave to rest up for my next tour of duty. I have been working on a few stories from past battles that should keep you folks entertained in the meantime. And you never know when or if I may get ambushed in the here and now.