Life’s A Picnic

  
Six months in and Jack* and I are going strong. 

Last night was date night. Both of us are fairly frugal so more often than not we end up at my place. I cook dinner, and we watch a movie or talk. Last night, however, we switched it up because it was just too beautiful to sit inside, and we did a picnic in the nearby park.

This is something we’ve done before, grabbing deli sandwiches from the Kroger and then taking a park walk after dinner. Last night though, Jack changed things up. He bought the sandwich fixin’s and made us dinner, for the first time.

True, he didn’t really cook, but that doesn’t matter. His skill, self-admitted, is not in the kitchen, and yet, with a simple sandwich he demonstrated the same kind of love I try to demonstrate with the complicated Pinterest recipes I make for him. He demonstrated the desire to provide, to take care of, to spoil. He demonstrated consideration and forethought (he brought a cutting board), and I loved it all. 

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and I know that’s true on some level for Jack. But last night reinforced that the best way to my heart is a simple picnic. 

*still not his real name

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It’s a Small, Small World

When I was younger my family took me to Disneyland. I was four and pretty much scared of anything that involved heights, dark places, or loud noises. Disneyland for me was cars on rails, teacups, and a little boat that travelled the “world” accompanied by the ear wormiest (and annoying after time) song ever.

I found that little ditty in my head again earlier this week when Jack announced that a friend of his knew me, he thought. He described the man, who knew the car I drive, that I like cats and just bought a house, and I recognized him as the person who lived across from me in the apartment I moved out of just a few months ago. 

This man, I’ll call him Thom, and I had lived across from each other for six years! We were friendly in that nodding, waving, chatting if needed way, but I didn’t see much of Thom, and he was kind of quiet. I never saw him have a visitor so I certainly never saw Jack, and Jack doesn’t remember seeing me. But for six years we were within feet of each other and never knew.

In trying to move on from my last relationship, my LBFF (local best friend forever) told me that when the time was right I would meet someone, but not before then. Talk about her word possibly being truer than we could have imagined. 

Jack and I have talked about the randomness of this connection. He sees a Divine intervention in it; I’m not sure. I don’t discount that, but it makes me wonder why, after all of those chances, now is the magic time for Jack and I to meet.

Official But Not Yet “Friends”

A few weeks ago I had my cousin, Meghan, and her sister-in-law, Elizabeth, over for dinner. It was a girls’ night that was long overdue, and given the newness of my relationship with Jack (which is ongoing), there was bound to be a little good natured grilling.

The question quickly arose of whether I had looked at his Facebook page. I admitted I had searched, but hadn’t found anything. Unusual perhaps in this day and age, but not unheard of. My ex didn’t have a page when we began dating because of his job, so I just assumed it was something like that, and it’s not as if I was going to tell Jack, “Hey…um, I can’t find you online. Could you friend me so I can early relationship stalk you?” Not my style.

That’s when Meghan popped up with the fact that she’d found it. His is apparently locked under the privacy feature of having to be at least a friend of a friend, and Jack and I don’t have any mutual friends…yet.

I admit it. I looked at what she could see from the friend of the friend level, but left it at that. I know now that Jack has a Facebook page, but I still haven’t asked him to friend me. That makes me wonder: When is the appropriate time to become Facebook friends when you’re already in a relationship?

Given that I’m not a jealous person (not that I think anyway), I don’t feel the need to have access to stalk him or make sure he’s on the social media up-and-up. And yes, I am curious about his life before me, but do I really want to see any photos that may include a past relationship? Not sure. (Maybe that’s a question I need to ask about my own profile, too.) So there’s no need, however you define that, for me to have access, but it seems like if you’re Facebook official, you would also be Facebook friends.

Thoughts? When did you “friend” your last relationship?

A Lot Can Change

102 days since my last blog? Wow. Time flies when you’re traveling for work, buying a house and then moving in (three months down and only three boxes to go) and, oh yeah, starting a new relationship.

Let’s skip over the business of living and get to the business of loving, or at least strong liking right now.

A few weeks ago I met a guy online. Let’s call him Jack.

Jack asked me out on my birthday (which he didn’t know), and I said yes. I wasn’t expecting much, and truly it might have been the first first date in my history that I wasn’t nervous. Lowered expectations, I guess. If it wasn’t love, at least it would be good Italian food. 

Three hours of conversation and one compliment about my eyes that made me blush and realize a whole lot about my previous relationship later, I kinda liked Jack. He asked me out again, and I said yes.

We’ve been seeing each other a few weeks, and last night we made it official, which felt really weird at 36, that we’re boyfriend/girlfriend. 

In truth Jack asked me to go steady after our third date, but I resisted. I told him that I didn’t want to run into anything too fast. Then last Sunday I went to church with him and there was a testimonial about the power of trusting in new love and a sermon about persisting in faith, even knowing you might get hurt. By the time church ended, it was like, “Ok, God. I get it.”

Still not doodling my name with his – ok, maybe once just to see what it looked like – but I’m going to enter this relationship with an open heart. We agree we only want to see each other, and tonight I hid all of my profiles.

Even though I might not be looking currently – hallelujah!! – I will do my best to keep up the blog because we all know dating can be even harder than finding someone. Wish me luck!

Milestone Or Millstone?

Three years ago today, my ex, B, and I went on our first date. He invited me to the bookstore to help him pick out some books for a training trip he was going on. When I left – him with three books, and me with five; most expensive first date ever – I was under the impression that I made a pretty good librarian, but probably wouldn’t hear from him after. But, what I didn’t realize then was how good B was at keeping a straight face, and less than an hour after I got home, he’d invited me out again, and that was our start.

Flash forward to today and I’m sitting in a hotel room in the suburbs of Seattle, on a trip that a little over a year ago we started planning, together.

I’m on this trip for a family vacation/family wedding, and I won’t lie that when B and I started planning this trip I had that little thought in my head, the one that I didn’t want to entertain but couldn’t help, that this would be a good opportunity for him to propose, given that weddings are romantic, and it coincided perfectly with our anniversary. Instead the wedding itself coincided perfectly with the anniversary of our breakup, nine months ago yesterday.

July 12th will always have a special place in my heart. No matter how devastated I was when B broke up with me, and devastated is solid word for that emotion, I will always be grateful that he asked me out for some book shopping, and every date after that. Sometimes I wish my memory wasn’t quite so good, so that some of these little (or big) things would slip away with time, but that’s not going to happen.

Instead I’ll just get through this day and then try to continue the healing tomorrow.

Marketing Makeover

I spent some time this afternoon revamping my profile on one of the dating sites. Attention-getting, and keeping, is the name of the game, so I tried a quick-hit, top-ten approach.

Thoughts?

I am quite simply a kind, intelligent, emotionally generous woman who wants a serious, long-term relationship and is looking for a similar man. 

Top Things I’m Looking for in a Man:

1. Loves to laugh

2. Equally comfortable during a night out with friends and family as staying in

3. A passion for travel (current passport is a bonus)

4. Willing to try my new recipes from the kitchen – picky eaters discouraged

5. Ability to pitch in around the house without being asked

6. Tolerable of sappy movies/ chick flicks on occasion – willing to trade for your selections as required

7. Lover of sports, particularly college football, NFL, and MLB – bonus points for fans of the AFC North and NL Central (Go Steelers and Bucs!)

8. Must love cats or at least being willing to accept mine

9. Wants to be in a loving, committed relationship and is comfortable with physical affection

10. No cheaters, players, losers, or deadbeats will be allowed. I’m worth more than that.

What You Should Expect from Me:

1. Smart conversation with sides of playfulness, sarcasm, emotion, or sass as the occasion allows.

2. Knowledge that I will always be telling the truth – I’m a terrible liar so I just don’t

3. Fiercely loyal to those who have given me love and friendship

4. A great cook – you’ll never go hungry 

5. Piles of books – they’re my addiction, and I’m always reading something

6. Someone who is equally comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt and a fancy dress with heels

7. A work in progress when it comes to keeping clutter from getting out of hand 

8. Financially independent – I’m not looking for a savior or a sugar daddy

9. Good with kids but not set on having children of my own; willing to explore what else life might have to offer

10. The kind of woman that your mom wanted you to have and you’ll only smile about when I come up in conversation with friends.

Ten things don’t really say it all, but they’re enough to get us started, don’t you think?

Too Fast, Too Familiar

Last week I started talking to this new guy, Jeff*, on one of the sites. He was ok enough that I gave him my number so we could text. (Or he could call me, but guys apparently don’t do that anymore, and more’s the pity.)

The first text I get from him is a picture of his face. The second was one of his naked torso. I was genuinely sure I was about to get a dick pick, but instead I finally got a hello, which I would have much preferred at the beginning. When I asked Jeff why he did it that way, he said he wanted to prove he was who had portrayed on the site. I opted to not point out that the pictures from either place could have been stolen, but not everyone could be a guest host on Catfish like I could.

We start moving into a conversation, and then I get this:

  
I had not asked for any comments on my body type. I was glad they’d be accepted, but it’s still a little weird to just throw into the conversation so early.

We continued to talk. Or rather, I continued to talk, and he continued to send pictures. I got these in short order after the first:

  
Again, nice idea, but, again, a little too much.

Finally I got this:

  
Crave?? We just started talking!

I wanted to give Jeff a chance, but between the meme-talk and the way he continually called me “beautiful” or “dollface” in each text, it was more than a little off-putting.

Still, I was getting ready to leave for a work conference so I said my goodbye for a week and thought, “Maybe I’ll have a different feeling when I get back.” 

I texted him today to say hello and got this:

  
Jeff doesn’t know me enough for hugs and kisses, and to even think that’s ok at this point is just creepy. 

Next!

*not his real name

Tip: Don’t Wink Unless You Mean It

All of the sites I’ve been on have some form of quick communication: a way to indicate interest be it a ‘like,” a “favorite,” or a wink.

Admittedly I have used these features without immediately sending a real message, but then if someone I’ve winked at sends me a message (theoretically indicating at least some mutual interest), I always respond.

So, guys…the reverse should be true. If you wink at a girl, and the girl sends you a message, don’t just ignore her. 

Hard to get is only cute until 20 (maybe 25 at the latest). After that it’s just lame.

Same Old (Hilarious) Same Old

There’s an old adage that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” True even in the dating world. 

Facebook has an app called “On This Day” which allows you to view your posts from that particular day for as long as you’ve been on the site. It’s the social media equivalent of going through old diaries to see where you were at a particular moment in time.

(Just me who does that? Ok.)

Frankly the whole thing is hilarious. Occasionally sentimental. Sometimes sad. But definitely hilarious.

This was one of the posts I found today.

  
When you’re coming out of a breakup, it’s really hard to remember the “before” of the relationship. You think about when you had someone, not about when you were struggling to find that someone. 

Seeing the past, though, is a reminder that the dating process has sucked before and will (and does) suck again. However, getting through the Caligula’s of life is something that you’ll look back and laugh on later.

I’m Not That Girl

You know the girl I’m talking about.

The girl who stood there in front of a boy and asked him to love her, and he did. Or the girl who made her feelings publicly clear, and got her first real kiss on the pitcher’s mound after putting five minutes on the clock. (Ok, so he was late, but he came.)

I am not either of those girls, or any of the other romantic comedy girls who stood up and asked for/fought for what they wanted and got it.

Of course real life isn’t a romantic comedy. I know that. But two weeks ago, when I sent my ex a letter telling him that I still loved him and still believed that we were something special to not give up on, I will admit there was that little bit of me holding out hope that I was that girl. Because everyone wants to be that girl.

We may not all want to be swept off our feet in a public display of love, or even want there to be a man on the other side of the gesture, but every girl I know would love to be that girl, the one who is loved so much that not pride, prejudice, time nor distance could keep the person who loves us from us. We all want to believe that if we’re just brave enough to stand up and say what we want that we will get it. That we’re enough for that simple gesture to¬†be enough.

It’s a tough lesson when we make the gesture and it doesn’t do a damn thing. When you learn that no matter how closely you’ve paid attention to the templates Hollywood has provided, or how sincerely you’ve put your words in front of someone, you’re just not that girl.

One of my favorite musicals, Wicked, puts it best…

Don’t wish/don’t start/wishing only wounds the heart