Set the Tone

A couple years ago I moved to the city from a small town as a single gal ready to meet my next boyfriend. This was, of course, going to happen as he asked me out while we walked past each other on King West on our way to work, after making intense eye contact. Well, that fantasy was rudely interrupted as it turned out my walk to work was more so a hustle bustle of people taking a large intersection like Spadina with 5 seconds left on the cross walk – like waiting an extra 25 second was a make or break in getting to work. It’s no New York by any means, but still, a slow walker on a sidewalk has now become something I do not have time for anymore. The point is, people are so much in their own bubbles that I decided no one was going to stop and ask me out on the sidewalk because they have to make this intersection, and there is now only 4 seconds remaining.

Once this was deemed a failure, I thought I would dabble in this “online dating” that was so successful for so many people. Once I held my finger to the lips of shame and told it to “shhhh”, I signed up for my first online dating experience. The most popular one I had heard of was Plenty of Fish, POF, and was one of the free online dating sites, so I decided this would be the beginning, let’s open the flood gates. After a relatively quick survey and the creation of an account, my ego was immediately boosted from the incoming messages. In all seriousness though, if you do need to up the counts on the ego chalkboard, just sign on for the messages. Some may be me copied and pasted to every girl by that same guy while he fishes with dynamite, but hey, even a one liner of “You’re beautiful” is uplifting!

So after sifting through dozens of messages I narrowed down my top three candidates, which is how the Manport came in creation. The ladies at work, who were mostly middle aged and married with kids for over a decade, were always asking for updates on my dating life. I then because coined the professional dater. I would send out a weekly Manport via email with their pictures and a brief description of basic this likes height and age, a summary of our date(s), and then rank in terms of everyone I was currently dating.

When I switched jobs the Manport was sadly put to rest. I still consider myself to be a frequent dater. I actually do enjoy dating. Most people find it an uncomfortable process, however I love meeting new people and creating new experiences. Not only does each date help me learn more about other people, but also what I truly need in a man and relationship. I thought that blogging was the perfect opportunity to revive this report and instead elaborate on all of my dating experiences. The funny, the petrifying, the success, the disappointment, you name it. Stay tuned for my first Manport – “The Shoe Guy” “The Jew” and “Blue Eyes”.

 

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XXX – The American Psycho

Apologies avid blog readers for being late; I use the word “avid” loosely due to my small following. So not all of my POF dates were as seamless as the ones I talked about. I did break one of my rules by meeting up with someone who I had barely spoken to – sorry Mom. We chatted briefly for a few days, but by this point it was nearing the end of my online dating experience with POF, and I was probably exhausted from the “correspondence” in between, I threw my hands up and said “fuck it” I may find out I don’t like him faster. Whoa, that was cynical. So this gent had a three letter name, that when you say it out loud you gets looks from your girlfriends like “really? You went out with someone named XXX?”. Aside from the looks I got, he was very attractive in his pictures but barely met the height requirement. He was 5”10, or so said his profile, and was successful, so all in all it seemed harmless. He also wanted to meet at BarChef on Queen West where I had been dying to go, so again, harmless.

I went to meet XXX outside his apartment, since it was along the way, to go for only a couple drinks since this time I really did have a Plan B already set up. XXX popped down to the front doors of the building to greet me but he didn’t have a coat on; it was dead of winter so no coat was not even an option. This was also the point in time that I discovered XXX was not 5”10. More like 5”9 but “I’m going to up myself to 5”10 to reach double digits”. I know that sounds silly, but an inch is detrimental when you are a tall lady. “Hey sweetie, come on up I just have to grab my coat” he said when I stepped inside. Okay well first off, please don’t call me sweetie, you’re not my gay best friend, and second of all, why didn’t you grab your coat on your way out the door? What a red flag, but somehow I got suckered into going up just so we could grab his jacket.

Cut to me stepping inside his stark white apartment. XXX will now be known form here on out as American Psycho. I’m talking white carpet, white walls, white furniture, countertops, the works. I could feel a lump in my throat instantly. My Dad who used to be a cop would not be proud of me, all of his words of wisdom gone down the drain from my naiveté.  Everything was way too tidy. He was clearly going to need to lay out plastic before he axed me to death. Now that I’ve set the scene for you let me tell you how I somehow got roped into having a glass of wine with him at his place. I started to feel a little more at ease, especially when he came across as gay, or maybe it was the wine. I made sure to tell him numerous times that I was meeting my girlfriend down the road to go see a friend DJ and she knew where I was. I ended up making it out alive and to boot, he even walked me to meet my friend saying “you must be super friend” and embracing her like we’ve all known each other for years.

Taking that first gasp of air when I left that building was like coming out of the womb; my first ever. There were times during that date I did not think I would make it out alive. Thank goodness I had met up with my girlfriend so I could tell her about my horrible experience, and embrace life again with some pitchers of beer. We ended up at Czehoski on Queen to watch a friend DJ and was joined by one of his friends who sat with us. I ended up being so captivated by his down-to-earth personality I scribbled him my number on the back of my receipt before I left. This actually turned out to be morse code that he had to decipher by going through a string of friends before I heard from him – so much for discreet. He ended up being, I’m sorry to coin the same term, but my “Big”, the second love of my life. Who knew that after such a horrible date I would meet this next someone. Just when you think you’ve rock bottom in dating right? Let me also emphasize, it always seems to be these nights, those unexpected, no expectation nights. When you’re drowning in exhaustion from endless disappointing dates, take a break. Go out with your girlfriends and have zero expectations. It’s like a shark smelling blood, men can sense when women are not interested or not desperate.

Tip Page

Tip #1: Do not rush into meeting someone. Wait a couple of weeks chatting with them online, or at least a substantial amount of conversation depending on how frequently you talk. One of my girlfriends was telling me about a teacher she met online and she wasn’t sure if she should meet up with him yet. I asked if it was because she wasn’t ready to get back into dating, or if she was still undecided if she liked the guy or not. She then proceeded to go into further detail of how he lived a little too far and mentioned she only knew his screen name….whoop there it is. If you do not know the basics, this is a sign of too soon – don’t become a victim that makes the front page of a newspaper. She also mentioned that during the initial conversation of him telling her what he does for a living, he said “don’t worry, I’m not one of those creepy teachers!” Hm, if you have to mention it, that’s kind of a red flag that your very well could be, and it’s all I’m going to think about now, goodbye.

Tip #2: Always have a Plan B on your first date. Ah the first date. It’s always nice to have those butterflies again and you can fantisize that “maybe he’s the one”, but let’s be realistic for a moment shall we? There is a very good chance the guy you are about to meet is not exactly what you envisioned him to be. This may sound silly, but even things like voice and mannerisms can change someone’s character. I once dated a shorter guy with this booming politician-like voice that made him incredibly attractive. It ended up being an attribute that contributed to why I ended up dating that short, handsome, little pocket lover. It lasted a beautiful two months. I’ll never date short again. Anyway, tell your date before you meet him so you are not stuck there wondering “how the hell can I abort this mission?” If you end up liking him, let him know you set it up just in case it didn’t go well. Like I mention in  The Shoe Guy, The Jew and Blue Eyes, this is a win-win.

Tip #3: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Date around; multiple people at once. You don’t want to get too invested in one person because the odds are, they are dating multiple people as well. You can compare traits that you like and dislike among them and figure out what you really like. Women can get too ahead of themselves, it will lessen the blow when you have your feelings invested in someone else, God for bid you break up, until it becomes a mutual agreement to date each other exclusively.

Tip #4: Listen to your gut. I tend to be too nice and feel guilty, so I see people again thinking that maybe the next time will be better, especially if the person is very good looking. Don’t. Do. It. If your gut is telling you something is missing, it’s because something is missing. I once came up with an incredibly embarrassing excuse to escape a date when we met up 6 months later. I thought “Why not? Maybe I’ll notice something this time, or the timing is better”. Nope. The minute he walked in the door, I was like “Oh God, it’s all coming back why I did not want to see you again the first time around”. It’s okay to have dating low periods, don’t become dependant on having men around. The time in between is for you, and to be honest, that is when I’ll end up meeting amazing people, because I’m not looking.

The Shoe Guy, The Jew and Blue Eyes

I hope I did not leave you sweating because all week you were waiting in suspense to hear about “The Shoe Guy”, “The Jew” and “Blue Eyes”. All three who made my top three list during my initial adventure with POF. The Shoe guy had, to date, the best profile I have ever read. It was so witty that I in fact copy and pasted it so I could read it to my friends because it was so funny. I like to think myself to be a little witty, so he had my heart when I discovered he was as well. Sharing a love for nachos, and being completely honest that he would never give up football Sundays with his bros for a woman made me further intrigued by his… brutal honesty. I’ll admit now that I’m not a huge fan of any man that is so obsessed with sports that he’s leaning to the side while you’re on a date to catch the score of ‘the game’, but maybe it was a combination of his honesty and the projection of manliness that did it for me?

Before I go ontip #1I should advise that it is the best idea to chat with people for a couple weeks before going on a date. Some people suggested a phone call, so retro. Who chats on the phone anymore? (I actually dated someone who brought back the “retro phone call” and I forgot how much fun it was to chat on the phone like you did with your high school crush). In this case, I did not. Too risky unless you have already met someone. Keep in mind people have countless hours to cultivate an extremely great reply that could be edited by a charismatic friend of theirs before it’s sent, so a phone call with awkward silences makes me shift in my seat just writing about it. Believe me, I’ve been the charismatic friend, it happens frequently.

Anywho, Shoe Guy turned out to be as great as his profile after a couple weeks of chatting, that I decided to meet him in person. He took me to Spirit House which is just on Portland and Adelaide. Great place by the way if you are in to swanky cocktails and have a love for brown liquor like myself. He looked just like his picture—thank goodnessand tall. Being a tall female, this is a must. I don’t want to be shallow, I’ve tried to date shorter, once, never again. I don’t want to feel like I’m ‘in charge’. I’m dating men for a reason people, there are plenty of other short fish in the sea gents. To all my tall females out there though, can we talk about where all the tall men have gone? I feel like my pool has gotten even smaller that I even have a hard time wearing heels anymore. We’ll save that chat for une autre blog. For now back to Shoe Guy. Conversation was great, just like our message, another thank goodness. He reminded me a lot of Vince Vaughn in looks and personality. I also found it very intriguing that he got into the female shoe industry as a distributor. Obviously this will never be a dying industry but given his masculinity this would not have been my first guess. But hey, if the shoe fits… There were no real red flags popping up and he kept me interested, my eyes did not glaze over once.

After  about 5 cocktails we headed out, because I had plans later on. At $15 a pop, it was such a treat for a first date. Let me clarify this is not a prerequisite, I am more than okay for just going out for a simple coffee, you do not have to break the bank men. I am still a strong believer in that men should pay for the first date, this should not change with the times. Yes, I understand that roles are changing, people are dating a lot more and for a lot longer than recent generationsbut courting a woman should never completely die. Showing dominance and that you can take care of a woman is still apart of our human nature. For example, an engagement ring is supposed to be representative of how a man will be able to take care of a woman; purchasing something expensive that is not necessarily useful or consumable. I compare this with the first date. Obviously you may not be spending the rest of your life with this womanbut from a human nature perspectivebuying her first meal/drink is similar in relation.

Tip #2, always have a plan B for the first date. If you meet up with somebody after meeting them online, there is a good chance they will not at all be who you fantasized they will be. You need a plan B so you are not stuck there and have a quick escape – let me tell you this has be extremely useful in the past. If they date is amazing, be shameless, admit that you had a plan B in case it was awkward and didn’t work out. Either way he a) either thinks you legitimately have plans and are leaving to attend them or b) you think he’s attractive, the date is going really well and you want to stay and get to know him better. It’s a win-win.

Shoe Guy walked me about half the way until we broke off into different directions. We clearly had chemistry, and with the help of alcohol, he leaned in for a kiss on the corner. We then parted ways but the lights turned red and I couldn’t walk just yet, so he turned around and said “well I can’t just leave you alone on the corner like this”, and came sweeping me into his arms for a longer make-out on the corner. A first kiss, let alone a good one is rare encounter for the first date, especially when you met them online. I was clearly off to a good start and was onto this online dating business of mine. I left with butterflies in my stomach – great sign.

A few days later I made plans with “The Jew”. I’m sorry for the derogatory remark, but I need nicknames, and he’s Jewish…sufficient? The Jew was an actorwhich now after dating two actors though online dating I probably will not put myself through this again, unless it’s his “Plan B” and not his “Plan A”. He took time in the messages he wrote to me, so they were long and showed that he was actually interested in getting to know each other, and not just getting into my pants. After a few weeks as well and within the same week as Shoe Guy, I met up with The Jew for a coffee date at Chapters at John and Richmond (R.I.P). This was such a  great date location during Christmas time when everything is festive. You could have coffee and chat without it being so quiet that everyone around you knew you were on a first date and met online. Also you could walk around and have conversational material around you, browsing at books so it’s not as awkward as sitting there one on one.

Tip #3, never put all your eggs in one basket. It’s online dating, everyone is seeing multiple people majority of the time, and will probably be using more than one site/app. Don’t invest too much into one person, you will only end up disappointed. Some people find this more difficult in others, but women are the worst (sorry for the stereotype) at fantasizing right away. One of my best friends is so neurotic she was getting all anxious and sparkly eyed on my ass asking if she should message a guy on Tinder. OK well first off, it’s Tinder. You swipe left if you think someone is not attractive and right if you do. So it’s shallow and now notorious for being known as a hook-up appthe new POF of fishing with dynamite if you willbut less leg work in chatting with someone. Keep expectations low and you’ll always come out high. Having a comparable is great because it will highlight things and traits that you like in one person and dislike in another. We’re dating here. A huge part of this is learning what you need from a partner in a relationship.

So “The Jew”, unlike his messages, was not as conversational in person. It certainly wasn’t the worst date I’ve ever been on, but he lacked the confidence I thought he had. I was border-line working my ass off to keep things going. He was very attractive and well dressed though which I really liked. The red flag moment— he was in his early thirties and living at home as an aspiring actor. I used to aspire to be a Victoria Secret model but by the time I was 20 and that wasn’t happeningthe jig is uptry something else or at least don’t make it your sole existence. Also, considering I moved away from home when I was 18 and have yet to return, it’s a turnoff for me when kids are milking the parent teet—especially at 30and because you’re poor and you’re trying to pursue your acting career. He mentioned he was looking for places and getting ready to fly the coop but you’re early 30’s, how long have you been saying this? Talk is cheap, let’s put some runners on you and make this a sprint not a marathon.

It was a breath of fresh air when the date was over, I met up with my girlfriends who were waiting for me in a coffee shop around the corner; plan B. I know sometimes first dates are awkward so it’s tough to be judgemental right up front. It’s kind of like a job interview. People aren’t going to be 100% themselves, but if you are that’s really hot. Here comes tip #4, if your gut is telling you you’re not into him, cut your losses and run. I have been that “nice person” TOO many times and made myself go out with a person multiple times to give them the benefit of the doubtbut hey at least they were easy on the eyes. However I am telling you now—like a multiple choice questiongo with your gut. It’s clearly something instinctual and don’t waste your own time or theirs anymore. A lot of people like to let things fizzle out, which I think is pretty cowardly. So here comes tip #5, if you’re not into someone, tell them straight up. “Look I think you’re great, but something is missing for me, I wish you all the best”. If they respond like a child because they’re offended and think they’re God’s gift, it only further validates your decision. This person is a child. We’re adults at this point, so hurting someone’s feelings should no longer be as big of an issue. We’ve all lived enough to know that life doesn’t always give you what you want, it’s nothing personal, it’s life, move on. If you are worried about hurting someone’s feelings, I at least give them some excuse and do not just cut them off. A classic one is “my ex and I have decided to work things out”. This excuse is great because it’s a) something typical that happens all the time and people can relate, and b) you’ve broken up with someone without making it about “them”. It’s not them that you do not like so they’re ego is less damaged and they are less likely to react in a defensive way.

So this blog post is getting out of control, I’ll skip on next to “Blue Eyes”. Blue Eyes was very good looking in his pictures, he was smart and driven which is what really drew me to him. I love a man with motivation. We met up at Bar Wellington, which is Portland and Adelaide. They have a great patio for the summer time, but also a great dark pub-like setting inside. Given that it was winter, we sat inside. He was tall and just as good looking in person, except those blue eyes were much more intense in person. They opened up so wide there were times I thought I should reach out to spontaneously catch them if they flew out. I tried to look past that, you see how hard that is given that typically what one should look at on a date, because we bonded a lot more on that values and livelihood level. He had worked very hard for everything he had to date, where I did as well and could relate. Coming from hardship and being with someone who has also endured can be a must. I also find this very attractive because failures and struggles make someone more confident and driven than people who have had life handed to them on a platter.

One beer turned into 3, which was promising, but I had to pop down to the washroom and unfortunately “break the seal”. Given a lady of height I have long legs, and Toronto has taught be to be a fast walker. So the combination of a long stride and speed going up the stairs caused my pencil skirt (I came from work), to rip all the way up to my ass. The sound, everything I thought it would be, made me turn around and re-enter the washroom so I could investigate the damages. Yep. There it is. There’s my lower ass cheeks. I contemplated what I should do in this situation. Since the pub wasn’t packed and we were sitting relatively near the top of the stairs from the washroom, I bravely (and slowly might I add) walked back up the stairs. Scoping out the situation when I was at the top, I speedily quick-stepped back to my chair without anyone noticing. Thank goodness it was winter and I have a long jacket that goes to my knees so it would not be an issue getting up and leaving without having to face this issue again. Trying to act cool as a cucumber, I managed to finish my date without the need to bring it up. Blue Eyes, regardless of his at times bulging blue eyes, was a successful date. We hugged outside and went our separate ways with the interest in meeting again for a second date.

Overall the first three dates with my first three POF men were a relative success. No crazies, no wild red flags, only three interesting men who I’m sure we know the ranking of. Shoe Guy was clearly top of the list at this point. He had the looks, height, personality and a great first date impression. Blue Eyes came second with still a high score of attractiveness and relating a lot in terms of life and values. The Jew obviously came up last given his lack-lustre conversation, any sort of hardship, and lack of drive. Right away, I had already discovered traits that were clearly important for me. All three men I continue to date, but to bring up Tip #4, I should have just let The Jew gobut alas, I was still an “amateur” at that point.