Archives for the month of: September, 2012

Started today at an office different from where I usually am – good to have a change of scenery and get out and see some other colleagues. Great meeting, and it ended with me walking out with a pile of Action Items.

Go me.

Struggled all day to catch up and stay on top of these things that I have to do and things that I’m behind on and tried not to be too bitter about the things that I’m being asked to do that aren’t really what I do. For example, I actually don’t keep track of people’s education days nor their education monies – we have a department for that, it is call Human Resources. And, I don’t put in suggestions to the Social Committee on your behalf – I’m not on the Social Committee anymore, put your own suggestions in.

Another day of being head down and not really coming up for air, people are starting to notice…a lot actually. Ran into one of my friends in IT and he said “bex, I’m worried about you. You are really quiet lately and I know you are working hard, but maybe you are working too hard.” When I noted to one of my managers that I was behind on minutes for a recent meeting, she remarked that it didn’t really matter that they weren’t done immediately. However I told her “The longer the delay in getting them done, the longer they sit on my desk waiting to be done.”

Near the end of the day, I finally got over to say “Good Morning” to another one of my friends and I ended up speaking with a totally different colleague. This conversation was kind of wonderful.

I should clarify something here. I take my job, I take working seriously. When I started working in an office (many years ago at this point) I wasn’t very sure about working in an office. I was actually rather afraid that I would mess up in horrible ways, so I decided that any free time I was spent learning how to be better about doing office-y type things, like sending emails, running meetings and communicating with people in general.

One department where I had this job had a bunch of departmental Best Practices for email use. These were amazing Best Practices. They suggested things like “If you want to say something very short like “thanks” or “a task is completed”, change the subject line to say “short message: thanks!” this will allow the person receiving the email to read your email without reading it and they can delete it right away which saves space in your inbox.” I really like this policy. I liked it so much, that now, years and year later, I still use it!

And.

And!

People actually notice, comment and say it saves them time!

They actually think that I know some way of formatting the subject line of an email to say “short message” before my little message.

This colleague and I talked a bit about emailing and she had a lot to say about how much she likes the way I email. So much so that she wants to “steal” the way I communicate.

Which, you have to admit, is pretty flattering.

Truth be told…I’m thrilled and flattered that someone thinks this about the way I communicate in my emails. I mean, I spent and spend a lot of time making sure that I communicate in a friendly, clear and professional way. It matters. It is part of how people know who you are and often, is the only way people know you. I think clear communication is important and I value it.

Tellingly, this same department had some suggestions that email wasn’t always the best way of communicating with people and that before you either start and email or reply to an email, you think about if email is the best way of communicating or if in person or the phone is a more appropriate mode.

I took that one especially to heart and I find that when an email to one person gets way to long, I go for an in person visit. When it is quicker to phone than to type – phone call all the way.

After work, it was a quick-change and suddenly I was ready for an evening out. I went back over to see my friend, to say “Good Morning” and she looked at me and said how much she liked my hair and how did I do it ‘cuz I wore it down all day and now it was in an up-do. I laugh at myself, I just took my hair and shoved it up and put an elastic around it. Not even 30 seconds to do…

As I raced out to the car, I ran into another couple of colleagues who wanted to know why I was “all glam-ed up” – it is amazing what wearing hair up and putting on red lipstick does.

Arrived an hour and half late to the temple and whoa – I really should have bought a sari when I thought of it. I must have been one of the only women there not wearing one,. Oh well, next time for maybe!

Stayed about 3 hours and decided to call it quits. The temple has great food, so very happy that I stayed for dinner.

And very happy too, that I can clean-up nicely after working hard all day.

 

A First Date (at the mall)

Alternative title could be: Play Along at Home and Count the Red Flags

Another first date.

When I spoke to this guy and we decided to arrange a date he said that it was “lady’s choice” to decide about where we would go and what we would do. I suggested meeting at the ROM or AGO on a Saturday morning. Which he said he didn’t want to do (Red Flag – turning down a suggestion when he clearly said it was my choice) – it was in the morning and he wanted to meet in the evening.

He then suggested we meet for an evening dinner, which was more romantic, which I replied back, “Um, you just said it was lady’s choice, I suggested something, which you didn’t want to do and now you are suggestion what you want to do. Did you mean it when you said lady’s choice or didn’t you?” He replied “Oh, true, I did say that, but don’t you think that there is room to compromise in a relationship?” (Red Flag – you said it was my choice, turned it down and then ask me to compromise on something that was my choice).

I explained that for a first date I really like to walk around and talk and get to know someone and that I would prefer to meet somewhere else other than for dinner. I also explained that the evenings he was suggesting I was unavailable and that if he wanted to meet as soon as possible, then the morning was the soonest I could do.

We went back and forth a bit and decided to meet at a mall right off the highway, which I know and he had never been to.

Then the date and time.

I agreed to see him on a Friday evening and we negotiated time. I suggested 7pm, he wanted 7:30pm and I agreed, I let him know that as a morning person it wouldn’t be a late night. He said that perhaps he could persuade me to stay up late (Red Flag – disrespect of the information I am giving about myself) and said that as it was a Friday night, perhaps I was allowed to stay up later (Red Flag – I’m an adult, no one tells me when to go bed, I decide that for myself, I like going to bed early).

This was the day I got the zombie plague, so I had to cancel, I called in him plenty of time and we didn’t talk for long as I was in the waiting room of the walk-in clinic.

A few days later, he called me and asked if we could re-schedule out date, which I agreed to do.

To make matters easy, I suggested the same plans we previously agreed on a new day, he also agreed. During our conversation he kept saying how cute and sexy and how great my hair looks straight (this is from one of the profile pics I posted on the dating site) (Red Flag – the way I look is the least interesting thing about me).

We talked for a while and I let him know that I would call him the night before and confirm our plans.

Last night I called and explained “Hey, this is a quick call, I’m just confirming our plans for tomorrow night. We still good.” After he agreed, he then wanted to know how my week-end was and what I did. Eventually I had to cut him off and say “I’m sorry, I only called to make sure we were still on, I actually have some things to do this evening and some friends to call. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night.”

Me with the nerves got to our meeting place almost half and hour early! Just as I’m settling in, this guy comes over and asks if I’m bex (I am!), we introduce ourselves in person, for real and marvel that we were both about 15 minutes early so neither of us was waiting for very long. (No Red Flags on this! This is a point – on-time or early.)

We start walking and talking.

The first things he wants to know are: How did my date on Sunday go? (It went well, thank you.) Are me and the guy seeing each other again? (Yes.) What did you guys do? (Are you sure you want to know? I mean, it isn’t really any of your business.) No, I really want to know what you did. (We went for a walk.) Was it better than coming to meet me here? (Look, it was a different circumstance, we took his dogs for a walk.) And what were his dogs like…and on and on.

After listening a couple more questions, I said: Look, if you want to talk about how my date went with someone else, that is great, but wouldn’t you rather concentrate on your date with me?

(I’m not sure exactly how many Red Flags he racked up with this exchange…quite a few!)

We walked and talked and walked and talked. Just going around and around in circles mostly, I mean…we are at a mall.

He suggests getting coffee, which I decline. I explain to him that I like to walk and talk. He suggests sitting down for a bit, which I decline and explain that I want to walk and talk. He says how he is wearing the wrong shoes that are hurting his feet ‘cuz he didn’t realize that I like to walk so much. I stop and say: When we talked about this date, I know I was very clear that I get to know people best when I walk and talk. When I said this, I did not mean sitting. I sit most of the day at work and I think and talk best when I’m walking.

He said that I did say that, but he understood that to mean that we would walk for maybe about 10 or 15 minutes and then find somewhere to sit (Red Flag – not understanding or listening to what I said, even though I explained myself, many times).

During the conversation it is revealed he has no female friends (Red Flag – only being interested in women as things to date and not as people in themselves) and nor is he interested in being friends with any women he can’t date (Red Flag – old-fashioned, out of date thinking).

Finally he talks so much about his feet hurting (Red Flag – whining) and being tired (Red Flag – out of shape, it is a mall we are walking around in, not a trail!) and says “When you went out with this other guy on Sunday did you guys sit?” (Red Flag – asking again about something that is none of his business).

We sit for a bit and then, it is time for me to walk some more.

He says we hardly sat and isn’t there room in a relationship for compromise (Red Flag – repeating himself). I once again explain how I like to walk and talk (2 Red Flags – not listening or understanding what I’m saying to you and making me repeat myself).

We chat a bit about TV shows – he is big into reality shows (Red Flag – he doesn’t mean ironically or for humour, he means he thinks they are real) and asks if when I someone don’t I want to watch a TV that they really liked. My answer isn’t very nice, first I explain for about the tenth time that I haven’t dated in a while, so his question is difficult to answer. So, he asks about if when I was in my previous relationship I watched TV shows that I didn’t like but my ex did. I answer, no, my ex and I had similar tastes, so if he liked something chances were very good that I liked it too. I explained that as an adult, I know what I like and I’m not going to spend my time watching TV shows that don’t interest me. I also said that this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t sit with someone as they watched a show they really like, I would, but I would read or write while they watched.

He wants to sit again soon after and we sit on a very cushy sofa. He comments again about how he wore the wrong shoes and his feet hurt. We sit and keep talking. He stretches out a bit on the couch and makes himself comfortable. I have to explain yet again that when I arranged the date I said “walking and talking”.

He suggests going for a game of pool, I decline. He suggests going for some fresh air, I also decline.

I have to explain me declining these suggestions. They are perfectly sound and sane suggestions. Only…look, I’m a chick living this world and sometimes, for a chick this world is a dangerous place. If you read the news or listen to the radio or talk to the women in your life, you will understand me. People rape women, they attack them, they kidnap them, they kill them, they build rooms to confine them. If are you a woman, you know exactly what I’m talking about here. I suspect that when a men decides to meet a strange woman he doesn’t think “I should meet somewhere that is well-lit and is public. I should tell at least a couple of people where I’m going and who I am with, if something happens. I need to make sure I call a certain when I am leaving and when I am home safe.” A woman does. There is no one but the woman herself who is looking after her safety.

I’m not saying that men are monsters. I’m saying that there are monsters out there. I’m not saying you can’t trust any man. I’m saying that a woman has to be careful and be responsible with the trust she gives.

I don’t know this guy at all. We met online. I don’t know his family or his friends. I don’t know if he is a decent person with morals and values.

What I do know, is that this is my risk to take and I decide not to risk at all. This is why I decline both these suggestions. Pool means a bar which may lead to drinks or food – which means someone may put something in my drink. Outside means less light and fewer people around if I need help.

Sorry, this is the world I live in.

He outweighs me by about 50 pounds and is almost a full foot taller.

I’m not going anywhere with him that I didn’t already agree to go in advance.

After I decline these suggestions he talks again about his feet hurt due to his shoes (Another Red Flag for whining! Seriously, suck it up.) I then explain one of the reasons that I like to walk when I’m first getting to know a person is because I have a lower back injury that begins to hurt if I sit too long. I answer his questions about my injury (it is really, really old) and, knowing that I’m in pain, he continues to sit (Red Flag – really? I tell you I’m in pain sitting and your solution is to continue to sit? You are continuing to put me in pain!)

The stores begin to close and we decide to make a move.

He goes to grab my hand and I move it away, he says “Can I hold your hand?” I say “No, I’m not ready to do that.” He then tries to put his arm around me, which I shrug off and say “That either.”

He says the next time we go out we should see a movie together. Then he asks if we are going to go out again.

me: Oh? I guess we are saying good night then? Well, no. It was nice meeting you, but I’m not interested in doing this again with you.

Him: Not this. Seeing a movie.

me: No, I didn’t mean, this. I mean going out on another date. I’m not interested in a second date.

Him: But, I thought we were having a good time?

me: We were, but I’m not interested in a second date.

Him: What did I do wrong? It was the sitting thing?

me: Wrong? No, I mean. It isn’t a matter of right and wrong. I just don’t think we clicked.

Him: We did click. We had a really good time. I had a really good time with you.

me: Ok. It didn’t really click for me. I’m not interested in a second date.

Him: Is it how I look?

me: What? No. Look. We didn’t really click.

Him: No. We clicked. What did I do wrong.

me: You aren’t listening to what I’m saying. It isn’t a matter of right and wrong. It is that we didn’t click.

Him: I must have done something wrong.

me: You aren’t listening to me.

Him: Tell me what I did wrong.

me: Really? I just said it isn’t a matter of right and wrong and you are asking me what you did wrong?

Him: But you are seeing that other guy again. Can’t you just do me the courtesy of going out with me again too?

me: Wow. That isn’t any of your business.

Him: But I came all the way out here to see you.

me: And I appreciate it. It was nice to meet you in person.

Him: But you don’t want to go out with me again?

me: No.

Him: Why didn’t you just leave after 10 or 15 minutes? We talked for almost two hours.

me: That wouldn’t have been fair to either of us. I wanted to get to know you.

Him: Is it how I look? What did I do wrong? If you are seeing him why can’t you see me again too?

me: Hm. I’m leaving now.

I walk away.

I’m.

Look, I’m almost shaking.

Before this exchange it was a nice enough evening with a nice enough guy that I didn’t want to go out with again. This exchange changed him into a creep.

I am paranoid on my way back to my car. I stick to the routes that have the most people. I stay in the light. I look back, frequently over my shoulder and keep my eyes peeled for the colour of the shirt he is wearing. Find my car, get in and lock the doors.

I’m.

I’m shaking.

What

was.

that?

That was.

It was.

Crazy.

Who does that?

Who asks that?

Who, upon getting the news that there won’t be a second date, doesn’t just say “Thanks for meeting me.”

I’m going to stick with my belief that the creeps are few and far between.

Sadly, tonight’s nice guy was, in fact…a creep.

The First Date (with dogs)

Alternative titles could be: Sunrise with the doggies or How to get dogs really dirty without really trying

I had this moment while I was waiting this morning, when I thought: If he stands me up, it might actually be for the best. I could just go home and go back to bed and wake up later and have a really tasty breakfast.

No such luck.

He and the dogs showed up, almost 15 minutes late. In his defense, he did call me when he knew he was going to be late, but I was already gone. And of course, we managed not to connect last night so he didn’t have my cell phone number.

The dogs were friendly and very gentle. One is a golden lab and the other is a black retriever and they took great delight in smelling and running about and yes, jumping into the lake for a swim and rolling around in the sand. By the time we ended our time this morning, the dogs were a complete smelly, filthy mess and he threatened to make them stay outside for a while and sleep in the garage. I suggested a doggie spa would be in order.

We walked and talked and watched the sunrise across the lake. I clarify here – it is Lake Ontario we are talking about here, when I was a kid I used to make-believe I was on the ocean. Funnily ‘cuz he actually said “This looks like we are on the ocean!” and said how much it reminded him of New Hampshire. I’m not talking about a lake where you can see the other side or you can walk around – this is a Great Lake. You can’t see the other side, it looks like it goes on forever. Like…the ocean.

He was impressed and enjoyed the treats I brought along – carrot 5-spice muffins and ainse-walnut-date scones with goat cheese and wildflower honey. Um, doubly impressed that I made them.

I hope that didn’t sound like bragging. As I said, last night, I was nervous!

But, yes, he enjoyed them.

We talked about a lot of things – the conversation was easy and flowed and the silences were comfortable.

All in all it was about 2 and half hours before he had to be off.

We decided that we’d like to see each other again and I was clear that I’m still doing the online dating thing and meeting people, which he seemed ok with. A place that is halfway between us – I’ve already checked the menu and it looks tasty! No dogs this time.

I think, from what I remember about dating, that this was a successful date.

Or I am doing it wrong?

Nerves

So here is me, first date in 5 years tomorrow morning. With a guy I met through online dating. We are going for a walk with his 2 dogs.

I’m nervous.

Like.

Really, really nervous.

And you know what they say: When the tough get nervous. the tough get baking!

Carrot 5-spice cupcake/muffins, anise-date-walnut scones, goat cheese blended with wild flower honey and lemon lavender shortbread.

I’m bringing some along on the date, ‘cuz I figure treats are good.

Right?

So, there I am, nervous and baking and Dad comes along.

Dad: So, what is all this? Is this for us or a party?

Me: Some of it for us. The other stuff I’m taking on a date.

Dad: A date?

Me: A date. My first date in 5 years.

Dad: 5 years?! I can’t imagine that. Whew! I thought you went out on dates all the time.

Me: What?

Dad: You are also out, going somewhere, meeting someone, doing something.

Me: No, those aren’t dates. I go out with my friends a lot. But not on dates.

Dad: Hmm. So why are you doing all this baking?

Me: *pause* I’m nervous. We are going for walk with his dogs.

Dad: Dogs? There isn’t any reason to be nervous. Unless the dogs bite you.

Which didn’t make me feel less nervous.

At all.

So. You know. Thanks, Dad.

I have a first date tomorrow morning.

I realize that it is a rather odd first date. But, I think getting along with someone’s dogs is a pretty big deal. If someone says they value time with their dogs and whoever they are with must like their dogs, then I think that is a pretty high priority – so get to know and spend time with the dogs, right?

And I know, so many other people, many of my friends even, think a proper first date is dinner. Maybe a movie. But, I’m going to go this my way and stay within my comfort zones. I figure, most of us pretty much make it up as we go anyway, so I’m just keeping within that mind-set.

Ok?

I’m nervous.

I can’t help thinking about something one of my dear friends asked me when I started this whole process. She wanted to know if I was just looking for a friend to see movies with or hang out with. I thought a lot about her question and my reply.

I told her, no, I am not looking for a friend to see movies with and hang out with. I am looking for a relationship. I am comfortable seeing movies by myself and going out by myself – actually, I really enjoy it. Being in a relationship is more than doing stuff together. Sure, you do things together, but you also have emotion invested. And build something together.

The reason that I haven’t tried in so long is because I was building a foundation and doing work on myself. I needed to put together a strong network of friends and build careful relationships with people who I love and trust. I needed to spend more time with my family and get to know them better and be able to support them in the things that they do – this means that often I’m the last resort caretaker of my mum or the last-minute babysitter for my niece. But, this is what family means, having people you can rely on – it was, it is, important to me to be someone my family can rely on. Also, I needed to nurture my happiness and make time for things that I’m interested in and spark my curiosity and passions.

I’m happy. I don’t need someone in my life.

But, knowing this, that it isn’t a need. It means, for me, that it is time to try again.

So.

One more sleep.

Online dating and not online dating

Based on the talk I had with my colleague about the stresses of online dating, it looks like her daughter has decided to try speed dating.

Which isn’t online dating.

At all.

Do I need to disclaim this? I don’t seem to be an example of how to online date successfully. In anyone’s definition.

But.

You know, I keep thinking.

There sure are a lot of lonely people out there.

And in here too. I mean, people wanting and trying to connect with each other, so much so that they will download apps to phones and ignore manners and write strange little messages to each other and try to define what they will accept using bad grammar and poor spelling.

Which isn’t speed dating.

I figure, however you want to try to get out there and find someone, however makes you happy and doesn’t make you stressed out or give you the zombie plague virus – that is the way you should try.

No, I haven’t logged back on yet. I think about all those poor people waiting or maybe not waiting to hear from me and I get upset all over again. I mean, at this point is it even worth trying to salvage this or should I just delete it and start from square one? Or, once I’m calmer should I just explain and move on from there?

I mean.

I’m ready to find someone, but whoever I find for me, has to understand that sometimes I get stressed and freak out. I over think things and sometimes I retreat from the world to process things.

Yeah, I don’t know. I think that because I’ve decided to stay off until after the upcoming date on Sunday, I will just decide then and go from there.

And whatever happens, happens.

Worst comes to worst, I can always try speed dating again, right?

 

 

The Things We Have in Common

I should clarify, right away, that I’m on a hiatus from online dating. But, being on hiatus – not logging on the website, only being in touch with people with whom I’ve already exchanged real information – doesn’t mean that the process stops.

Back to work for me today, and it is great to be back.

It also odd to be back.

My face is still having this “sensitivity” thing, so I’m naked-faced. No make-up, only a bit of moisturizer and hair is not done.

Very unprofessional.

Lucky me, though, right? I’m not vain, so delighted sharing with people my recent struggles with the mysterious zombie plague.

These people really love me, you know? Everyone complimented my hair and said they didn’t even know that I wasn’t wearing make-up – some of my colleagues even went so far as to tell me that I was very lucky that I didn’t need make-up.

And you know what, I don’t think that I do. I don’t think any woman really needs make-up, but it makes me feel professional and put together. So, I like to wear it.

But, yeah, I like not wearing make-up too.

Today, the face was naked.

Near the end of the day, I got into a conversation with one of my new colleagues and I was explaining to her about me contracting the zombie plague and how I thought it was related to the stress of online dating.

We talked a bit about that – about all those people wanting a piece of you and wanting attention and how, for some people, for me, for other introverted-types, is really painful and stressful. And that yes, when I started out I felt strongly about replying to all messages in a timely manner.

And that was stressful.

She told me about her daughter trying out online dating and having exactly the same emotional reaction – she didn’t have fun, she found it difficult and stressful and she ended up leaving the site pretty quickly.

You know what, it made me feel loads better about my experiences, feelings and thoughts about everything that happened. Knowing, that I’m not alone and that someone else there totally got destroyed by online dating.

I’m thinking that I need to start an online support group for those who tried and survived online dating. And only ended up with this lousy zombie plague.

Meeting people in the real world

All this focus and talk about online dating is making think about how we meet people the world around us. I don’t want to say “the real world” ‘cuz, to me the real world is also the online world, so I will say “the world around us”. A common physical space instead of a common head-space?

The zombie plague I’ve caught caused me to miss work today and spend most of the day in a walk-in clinic.

I waiting for almost 3 and half hours to see a doctor for maybe 5 minutes.

Let me tell you a secret – I kinda like grossing out doctors. They make such interesting faces, ‘cuz you know they are trying to be professional.

When the doc saw my zombie plague, I could tell he was trying to keep it together, but he looked pretty shocked and was trying to keep himself from making an “ew!face”.

He examined it, asked me a few questions are recent chemicals/products that I’ve switched to and said he wanted to try a couple of things for the next couple of days. If they didn’t work he wants me to see a dermatologist.

I didn’t ask if maybe he thought it was an allergic reaction to online dating. I mean, I didn’t want to seem crazy or anything….

But that in’t what was interesting about this visit.

When I arrived at the walk-in clinic I filled out my paperwork and sat down – in a waiting room, I like to sit by someone who is quieter and perhaps reading or writing. I’m not there to intrude on anyone or make demands on someone, I want to wait, quietly, I want to read and maybe get some writing in and sitting beside someone similar increases my changes of having a quiet, non-intrusive experience.

I end sitting beside this man who was doing stuff on his phone – he was maybe a bit older than me and looked busy without being restless, he looked focused.

I waited.

We both waited.

Around the two and half hour mark, two people came in, filled out their paperwork and soon were in to see the doctor.

The guy I was sitting beside and I swiveled our heads to look directly at each other and we made eye contact.

me: she came in after you.

him: she came in after you too.

me: did she?

him: you came in right after me.

me: hmm.

He went over to talk to the receptionist to find out what was going on, I listened, he was polite and respectful. He was up next.

He came and sat down and said that he really should have just gone to see his family doctor, but her thought the walk-in clinic would be faster.

His name was called and left, we exchanged good-byes and that was that.

People still connect in small ways in the real world. It is easy to meet people, however briefly. Shared experience, being aware of our surrounding – these help us reach out and bond, briefly, with strangers.

It is funny, too, how quickly we get in synch with others. I noticed that about half an hour in, this guy and I shifted in our seats the same time, leaned forward at the same time and crossed and uncrossed our legs at the same time. It was like we were listening to the same music and following the same choreography.

What does this have to do with my misadventures in online dating? Just to underline the point that it is possible, out there in the world to meet people and connect with them and maybe we all need to be a little more aware and bold about how we approach and deal with each other.

How online dating gave me the zombie plague

My clinical colleagues think it is an eczema flare up caused by stress. Eczema, being an autoimmune condition, really gets into it when a person is feeling stressed.

One summer, after a whirlwind start to a promising romance, which ended so suddenly without any warning, the leg on both my legs broke out. And we aren’t talking flakes of skin, we are talking sheets of skin. It was painful and ugly and I spent a lot of that summer avoiding my friends and trying not to think about anything.

Sometimes I get a very small patch of on my right temple, it stays for a bit, flakes up and then clears up.

This flare up is horrid.

I have a patch on my left collar-bone that creeps up my neck. Another patch on the front of my neck. Yet another section curls around my left ear and a patch on my forehead and the one on my right temple is still there as well. But, most difficult is the patch on my life eye – which is now swollen shut.

Yikes!

I guess…I think I probably took this whole online dating thing a bit too seriously.

I over though the whole thing and put far too much pressure on myself to answer and give thoughtful answers.

I wanted to be and tried to be respectful of people’s time and give credit to those who took the time to contact me and share some of their with me.

It is painful and I spent about 20 minutes sobbing in the bathroom the other night. I’m not vain, but I miss seeing the colour and texture of my skin. It isn’t like it is amazing skin, but it is mine and I hate this feeling that it has been changed against my will – my body is where I live and I don’t like anything messing with it.

I miss seeing out of my left eye.

Also, if I’ve been misdiagnosed and this is actually the zombie plague, would you mind cutting my head off?

First Phone Call

Hearing someone’s voice for the first time is a frightening prospect. I try to write the way I talk, but I know I don’t always succeed. There are things about my voice that I love and things about my voice that I dislike. I wonder how people who have never heard me speak imagine how I sound.

Knowing my background, do they imagine that I speak with an accent? Do they think because of my skin colour I may not be from around here? Does their imagination capture the way my voice rises and falls? Or the strange pauses that I sometimes have to take?

I like to stretch my imagination and try to think about all sorts of ways people sound when they speak. Accent, cadence, laugh, where their words are musical and when they are silent.

Are they a tenor or baritone? Bass, maybe? Does the “r” rrrrrrroollll? Do the words end decisively or trail off? And where are there moments of silence?

People could sound like anything.

And. Voices carry.

Very rushed first phone call – it happened at work and it ended when one of my colleagues needed my attention. We made plans for a time to call.

Which he missed, but did manage to call just before my bedtime.

So.

We chat about things, our relationship history, where we are in terms of dating, what has been our experience with online dating etc.

We negotiate plans.

First, the date – we both have lives, so this is going to have fit where it can. We find a time that is mutually acceptable and we already know that it is about taking the dogs for a walk, talking and figuring out if we think it is worth trying.

We agree, mostly on a place, to be confirmed and decide it will be in the morning.

I like his voice.

The slight accent surprises me, a bit, but I like the timbre and cadence of his voice. He doesn’t sound exactly like his written words, but close.

He gives me his email and I email him the morning to tell him that I enjoyed speaking with him and following-up on the place, especially with regard to the dogs having to be on leashes. He emails back and gives me info about a place that they like to go – I’m on the right track, where I’m thinking looks very close to where they go.

I let him know that I will call him the day before to confirm and he says that I can call anytime. Which is really nice.

I’m already excited about it.

 

Open Letter to the Men on POF:

Thank you for your interest, your response to my profile (me) has flattered and overwhelmed me.

I am sorry, but due to the sheer number of responses I am not going to be able to reply to all of you nor call you nor meet you.

As you can see from my profile, I do a lot of “stuff”, so my time is limited.

That being said, I think I need to clarify a few things.

“Hi”, “how are you”, “how you doing” and “heya” are poor first messages. We are all in this place together, trying to find someone we can connect with. We said “hi”, “how are you”, “how you doing” and “heya” the moment we joined this site. Don’t waste your chance to make a good impression by saying something that we’ve already said.

Read my profile and say something interesting to me. I’ve already given you loads of information about who I am and what I like to do. If you can’t find anything to say to me or ask me, perhaps you would tell me something interesting about yourself.

If I do decide to respond to your message, I read your profile and look at your picture.

Except for artists, poets, free-spirits, anarchists and designers, your profile should have proper spelling and grammar. I love words and language (see my profile – I read and write) and I believe facility and fluency with language is sexy. I’m intelligent, creative, literate and read at a speed of more than 400 words per minute – I want to know if you can keep up with me.

Again: artists, poets, free-spirits, anarchists and designers – you guys are perfect and lovely, keep doing what you are doing. I love your creativity, insight, sensitivity, disregard for the rules and convention and challenging of the norms. You don’t use caps, you run your words together, you use spaces in quirky ways, you pun, you make up words, use literal meanings, abstract impressions and list goes on. The trip through your head-space is exciting and fun and you make your profile a work of art for me to enjoy. You build a playground for my brain to play in and enjoy. Those rules are for the other guys.

Please keep in mind: most of you are not artists, poets, free-spirits, anarchists or designers. If you have to ask yourself if you are one of those, you aren’t. So, proper grammar and spelling is a must. Use spell check if you have to.

Profiles that say “I’m not very good talking about myself, but if you meet me in person you will really like me” miss the point. This is a site where what you write in your profile matters, make the most of it. I don’t have time to meet you and be amazed by you in person, if I did, I’d be out there meeting you already.

I’ll read your profile and then decide if we should meet and give you the chance to like you even more. I’ll remember the information on your profile when we meet. And I’m not going to say “hi” – I’m going to say something about your profile and something about what we said in our messages.

Please don’t message me to tell me I’m beautiful – I’m lucky, I’ve heard positive things about how I look every day of my life. My friends, family and colleagues tell me all the time. Strangers stop, stare and appreciate. My eyes are big and blue, my lips are full and soft, my hair is curly and bouncy, my body is curvy and womanly, my smile friendly and inviting and my skin looks tanned and glowing.

But, the thing is, I did nothing to look this way.

My parents are nice looking people and I have good genes in the looks department. If you tell me I’m beautiful, I will let my parents know as it is to their credit – they fell in love, mixed and mingled and, eventually, there was me.

You saying something I’ve heard many times before wastes your chance and my time. It also makes me think that you only care about the way I look. And none of us will look like this forever.

I hope to get more grey hair, more lines around my eyes and mouth, I hope someday my skin will get thin and my body eventually will lose tone and muscle. Things will sag as gravity has its way. Looks are fleeting and mutable, they change. My personality, however, is going to stay the same, so say something to me about my interests or how I express myself.

I’m old-fashioned about some things and revolutionary in others.

When we go out and you drive, open the door for me. I know you have an automatic door opener, but I like manners – they make me feel comfortable, secure and tell me that you care about me.

When we go out and I drive, I will open the car door for you – you are coming into my space and I care about your safety and comfort, you matter to me. And I need you not to feel emasculated by that, your sense of being male needs to be more secure than that and if it shatters with the opening of a door, I’m sorry, this isn’t going to work.

And I don’t mean this for only while we are dating, I mean this for as long as we are together, every time we go out – even if just to the grocery.

It used to be that it was considered bad manners for men to ignore women at social events – to only ask one woman to dance at event while the others watched and waited.

This place is a bit like a ball isn’t it? You express your interest, wait your turn and try to get on someone’s dance card. You’ve made me feel like the belle of the ball, my dance card is pretty full and I thank you for your attention; I’m having an excellent time.

While you are waiting for me to reply to you, why don’t you get out there and message a few other women who are wanting to meet someone?

Message like 5 to 10 women a day while you wait for me. Be polite, respectful and kind. Ask these women about themselves, what film they saw last and what they thought of it, how their day was or what book they are reading. Remember your manners and listen to what they say, if they tell you to back off, then move on and don’t message them again, not even to thank them or deal a parting shot. Welcome all these beautiful women to this place we all are, make them feel safe, secure and wanted.

(In your first message don’t say any of those things I talked about before, ok? What I said applies for all women, not just me. Give them more than “hi”.)

Maybe you will even meet someone perfect for you. Maybe you will message me back to say “Hey! Don’t bother replying to my message – I met a wonderful women and we’ve decided to fall in love. Good luck in your search!”

I’d love that.

No, I can’t meet you for a drink.

If I had the time to meet you for a drink, I’d already be there. I’m here now, so wow me with your best move right away.

Yes, I really don’t text.

Text is a fast, easy way of communicating with someone and those short sound bites are too often misunderstood and lead to hurt feelings. Texting shows me that you have a short attention span and can’t concentrate on where you or what you are doing.  It also tells me that your mind is somewhere else and you aren’t engaged in what you are doing.

I am not fast or easy.

I don’t speak or think in sound bites and I don’t want you to misunderstand me or get hurt by what I say. I want you to be in the moment and all your attention focused on me.

Make me feel like the most important person in the world while I am with you.

When I am with you, you are the most important person in the world to me.

Please take your time in replying to my messages.

I reply to you from a quiet room without distractions. I think about you, I’m curious about you, I care about you and I want to get to know you. As I write, I’m hoping you are healthy, happy and having a good time with the people you are with.

If I give you epic poetry, an essay or short story, I want more back from you than “wow what a reply!”

You are on my mind.

When I say “I’m an introvert” I don’t mean that I’m shy or not confident or I’m socially inept.

Being introverted means that a person is internally, rather than externally, focused. My locus of self, my sense of who I am, is all in my head, not how I look, not what I do, not the people I am with. About 10% of us are inverts and, to us, the world is often a loud and strange place. When people want to talk to us, sometimes it leaves us feeling tired, stressed, upset and like you are trying to rip us apart.

The most important things about me happens in my brain.

When I read your message, I think about you and I think about what I want to say to you to help you understand me. I take my time replying to you because I am doing my best to try to connect with you, to see if you understand what I am trying to say to you. For an introvert sometimes this is painful – I’m trying to express my thoughts to you and show you what I’m all about. I want to you to like me for the things I have and keep in my brain because they are important to me. I’m giving you a map to my internal landscape.

Please give me time to think and be patient with the delay in my replies.

Don’t keep messaging me while you are waiting to hear back, it makes me feel like you are pressuring me or trying to make me do something or say something that I’m not ready to do. I don’t want to be hasty or casual in my reply to you. When I see that you keep messaging me it makes me wonder how you will be in person when I need a few minutes to think during a conversation to respond to your questions or what you say.

It worries me that you are unable to be patient with me this early on in getting to know each other.

I’m not shy, socially inept and yes, I’m confident. In social situations I “swim”, a friend of mine once said about me “You can stick her in the bottom of a cold, damp well, alone for a week and she’ll come out, having made at least 5 life-long friends and having had the time of her life.”

That being said, you should know – I’m told I’m a flirt.

I flirt with men, women, old people, children, cats, dogs, lamps, plants, windows, doors, chairs, water glasses and cutlery. I’m not flirting because I’m interested in having a relationship with any of those people or things. In my mind I’m not flirting at all. I look people in the eye, smile, laugh at their jokes, make them feel welcome in talking with me. When I’m having dinner with you, waiters are going to ignore you to talk to, stare at and make jokes with me. Waitresses are going to tell me how positive my energy is and how beautiful I am, probably interrupting our conversation and our dinner.

I treat people with respect and dignity and I want them to know that they are special. People are never only a means to get what you want, they are complete within themselves. (yes, I know I’m going all Kantian, work with me, ok?)

I want to see that you treat people the same way.

What I really can’t figure out about this whole online dating thing is the amount of responses that I’ve received. I mean, I’m out in the world everyday and none of you even talks to me or gives me a second look.

You were in the restaurant the other night and you didn’t send over a drink to my friend and I. If you had, I would have invited you to join us, we could have talked. I would have given you my number.

You pass me by on the street every day and you never smile at me. I sit beside you on the train every day and you never say “Good morning” or ask me how I am. You never offer to help carry my groceries to my car. When you see me on the subway, you never offer your seat to me. You hardly ever hold the door open for me. You never say “And whatever she is having” when you are ordering coffee in the line and I’m waiting for my turn.

You never say I’m beautiful, instead you hoot and holler and yell rude things to me when you are driving too fast down the street where I am walking.

Why don’t you do any of those things?

I know it it’s scary, making the first move. Or awkward ‘cuz those things seem old-fashioned and ridiculous.

But.

They work.

This how we meet people and make connections with them.

You don’t need this site to meet me.

You’ve already met me. And you didn’t even notice.

So, thank you for your interest.

I’m happy that I came here to search, I believe in love.

I believe the search is worth it.

And, if I have to use this site to find it, then I will.

And I hope you find something real and someone who cares for and loves you. I’m wishing you all the best and holding good thoughts for you. I am thankful that you came into my life in such a strange and unusual way.

Good luck out there.

I think we all are going to need it.