The Nondating Life

Friday, January 27, 2006

Weekend Link Love: Jan. 27

Here's an ad for Village Voice personals. I have a feeling it'll only convince people that personals are for whack-jobs. It is funny, though.

Jdaters Anonymous has a long discussion going in comments section about Friends with Benefits. I kind of disagree with everyone in that one. Too much confusing love and sex if you ask me. And the obvious answer is that these relationships don't progress because one or both don't see any long-term chance for it. But that doesn't stop 'em from enjoying one another's company.

Fish talks about the friends who help her during crushes. (Sort of reminiscent of my cheerleader/scientist post, but with real people. Funnily enough, her description of Ari seems spot on.)

And Lola's got a question about game playing. She's looking for answers.

And here's Silvia, for those of you who like something a little more risque than just relationship chatter. (Might not be quite safe for work).

Monday, January 23, 2006

Online Dating: The Discussion

I'm about halfway done with what will no-doubt be a ground-breaking, Pulitzer-worthy post regarding couple's therapy, but football playoffs and the company retreat are intervening. In the mean time, why don't we have a discussion about online dating?

Karol--who, like Dick Morris, has a great deal of knowledge but still always seems to come to the wrong conclusions--informs us in comments on the previous post that she finds the whole thing sad.

I'm not cool enough to be up on internet lingo like LMFAO but I stick to my original comment that internet dating is basically for losers. ... I agree with Autumn that a grocery list of requirements in a mate isn't the way to find true love. There's nothing romantic about online dating, it's like looking for a job. I dunno, maybe this is the one thing I'm romantic over-- that eyes should lock across a room, that friendship should suddenly develop into more, that it'll all feel like fate that you ended up in THAT bar on THAT night.

Actually, Karol makes some good points about the overall feeling of "dating." Which is suprising as in almost all of her writing prior to this post, she seemed to be about as romantic as a mechanical engineer living in a Dilbert comic strip. (And please realize that Karol and I are taking polite, friendly jabs at one another in this as well. We like each other. We respect each other. Okay, well I respect her. She might think I'm an idjit, but that's fine).

Online dating doesn't necessarily feel romantic. That could be because of the catalog-type nature of the whole ordeal. It could be because there are so many people simply looking to get laid. And, also, the sites are a refuge for people who have either temporarily or permanently given up on the spontaneous thing. But you know what else isn't romantic? Going to the Young Democrats club, not because you have a boner for Howard Dean, but simply because you have a boner and you figure anyone dumb enough to fall for his line of shit, is certainly open to yours.

But if we want to use "fate"--a bullshit concept, if you ask me--I can point out that a million little things have to happen before two people run across one another on an online forum and actually connect.

Fate, though, is a pretty stupid concept. But not nearly as stupid as our own desires and first impulses. We all know about how "smart" our first impulses are, right? We've all seen the 45-year-old guy "fall in love" with the 20-year-old. We've all seen the young woman fall in love with the "musician." We've all seen the pain.

And for every person who sees another across a crowded room and makes that connection, there are about one million others who make that same connection, go home, get laid, get crabs, get dumped. And twenty million more who THINK they make that connection only to be trapped in the Friend Zone. And thirty million more who get rejected.

And online dating is different, how? In reality, it's not all that different. People meet, they hook up, they think they make connections, they give each other sores, they break one another's hearts. I would say, though, that the Friend Zone trap happens less in online dating. And you don't meet WHILE you're a drunken ass (instead, you 'meet' online, have some faux overly witty banter THEN get drunk on the first date).

To be honest, I think it's pretty much all the same. And what makes it the same is that dating sucks. This isn't college--where a lot of people meet and get married. It's a game of odds and for those who are even the least bit romantic, those odds start to beat you down. Some people get pissy. They get desperate. They get tired of one loser after another. They get tired of their own bad instincts. They get tired in general.

Or, they just want to try something else for the hell of it. They simply want to increase their odds.

And sitting in front of a computer looking at online profiles isn't necessarily any more loserish than someone going to a bar or a party every weekend, getting drunk and making passes and getting rejected. It isn't any more sad than joining up for all sorts of social and professional events--not because you're interested in politics or books or bowling--but because you just want to meet someone, and when you show up and find a) that all the "keepers" at the even are taken which b) leaves you being chatted up with all the other folks in your position, you suddenly realize you're not all that interested in Fourth Century Roman Law or whatever.

Sure, there are some folks who have been online--and only online--for five years, using the same profile, barking up the same wrong trees in the same dark forest. But there are also people who hang out in the produce aisle. There are women who go to service every Saturday or Sunday expecting God will deliver unto them a doctor. There's a guy right now hanging out in strip clubs, convinced that Candy is really working her way through college and is interested in him as a person, not in the five dollar bills he keeps shoving in her skivvies.

Karol got lucky in the real world. I got lucky in the online world. Many of our friends are still slogging away through either or both, and making snarky comments about us when our backs are turned. ("Of course Karol can say that, she's got a boydfriend." Or, "God, Ken just makes me want to puke now that he has a 'GF.' I mean, 'GF,' what the fuck is THAT about. Like anybody cares what her name is?")

Okay. This was supposed to be a paragraph. I'm supposed to let YOU have the discussion. So. Discuss. And be nice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

For the U.K. readers

Not that I necessarily have any, but I've been asked for a link exchange by the good folks over at My Best Date which seems to be a reputable online dating site. So I've added them to the sidebar.

Online dating works people. Get on it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Christmas Story: In Which GF Meets the Parents

So the GF made what some would consider the foolish decision to fly south with me for the holidays. No, not to the islands, not to Florida, not even to the hills of Kentucky.

No she agreed to ... MEET THE FAMILY.

I’ve written before about my own fears and foibles in that regard. And I’ve often joked that the perfect woman for me would be an orphan. I'll take an emotional basket-case with daddy issues over someone with evil parents any day of the week. Nothing worse than finding a great partner--or even just a somewhat suitable one--and discovering that their family, for all intents and purposes, could be considered as the “opposing team.” I’d go deeper into the sports analogy, but there aren’t enough key family members to make up a football team and I find basketball just boring enough not to care that much. I’d imagine though, from a guy’s point of view, the opposing dad would be the center--tall, imposing, the muscle, perhaps not overly bright when it comes to matters of his offspring. The mom would be the point guard--the brains behind the outfit, the one who calls the shots, the one you have to really about. And the rest? Just random jerks who run picks and screens and generally make your life miserable.

With GF, I’ve already run that gauntlet--which turned out not to be one. Momz found me lacking only in personal hygeine (no big surprise there) and pops was impressed with my mad crab-busting skills.

So now it was her turn.

Was she nervous? I don’t know. I was entirely too selfish to ask. Besides, my family is so happy that I’m in a seemingly stable relationship with a real live human woman, I was half expecting them to roll out red carpets and throw rose petals at her head when she walked through the door.

But they did better than that. They behaved like civilized human beings.

Okay, okay. I don’t come from a family of rampaging backwoods rednecks or hard-core hillbillies. But you know how families are. One by one, the individual units are nice enough. Moms is sweet. Step-pops is sort of goofy and always ready to pour a drink. Dads is a smart-ass but funny. Step-momz means well. But put any two of them in the same room and, well, you know.

And holidays only complicate the situation.

I wasn’t worried that GF would perform miserably and fail the folks test. The only test she really had to pass was the kid test. (We don’t discuss him here on the blog so as not to emotionally cripple him, but I do have a kid back in the bayou.) GF passed that one easily--partly because she likes to play 20 Questions on long road trips and partly because she fit into the gerbil habitat at Chuck E. Cheese.

No, I was worried that the family would scar her for life. And, as I saw it, there were ample opportunities.

On the mom side, their always seems to be a great deal of intrahouse bickering and nagging. It’s bad enough with mom, stepdad and halfbrother. But this trip was going to be further complicated by sharing the house with realbrother, Brian, and his wife, stepdaughter and new-born child. That’s a lot of people in one house. Especially when most of the people involved--the adults at any rate--are the sort who do believe that there are stupid questions and plenty of stupid people to ask them and, by the way, we’ll be happy to point out said stupidity. Oh, and we’re very moody people. So even on a good day, when 90% of the clan is in a good mood, all it takes is one person to throw everything off. A simple “Where’s the sugar?” can lead to “Well, where do you THINK the sugar is?” or “You didn’t tell me we needed sugar. I just went to the store and I’m not ABOUT to go back..” Which, sooner or later leads to something along the lines of “Oh, yeah, YOU’RE so smart. ... Stoopid-ass.”

But! The presence of GF had everyone on their best behavior. It was great. There was only one moment--after driving to and from New Orleans and immediately before I had to go stand in a Catholic Church and swear I’d prove a good Catholic role model for my god-child--when the faintest hints of bickering and my tired inability to put up with other people’s shit came close to surfacing. But we tamped it all down and soldiered on.

Hell, the only problem with the mom unit of the family was that GF liked my step-dad so much that she encouraged his corny jokes and teasing.

On the dad side, I was more afraid of the culture shock. Dad lives out in the sticks in what is the equivalent of a double-wide trailer. And he and step-mom live in sort of a commune consisting of step-mom’s family, all of whom are Pentecostal (sort of born-again Christian for those of you not familiar). They’re all some of the nicest people I know on the planet, but consider you’re taking a New York born and raised Buddhist, second-generation Thai girl and plopping her down into Krotz Springs, Louisiana among folks who don’t watch TV and don’t curse. Also, they like to hunt and fish and ride dirt-bikes and four-wheelers and such. (I’ll say this much, though, no TV makes for a much more civilized lifestyle, in which people do things like ‘visit’ and even ‘talk.’)

How did GF handle this? Well, I figured everything was okay when she climbed on a dirt-bike tour of the compound (okay, it’s not really a compound, but I like to call it that) with my step-mom. There I am on one dirt-bike tearing ass around the fields, going as fast as I can, and they’re puttering along, yakking it up all the way.

Everyone liked everyone. GF is so adaptable, she a) volunteered to sleep in a camper one night and b) walked through Christmas Eve with my mom’s hardcore Cajun family like she was born to the manor.

To say everyone performed splendidly would be an understatement. They might have gotten along too well. If I remember correctly, GF talked my step-mom’s entire family into training for the NYC Marathon and coming up in November. And I’m getting veiled threats from other areas of the family that if I don’t keep this one, I’ll be taken out on a deer-hunting trip without my hunter-safety orange (if you catch my drift).

Long story short? Good times. A very merry Christmas indeed.

Also, we each gained about ten pounds.

Our next installment? My not-so-open-minded thoughts on couple’s counseling! Specifically designed for those of you who find happy-relationship-talk vomit-inducing!

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ALSO OF NOTE: A Nondating Life entry makes it into Wikipedia. In the Friend Zone entry, of course.