Shut Up And Dance

by Kelly under Relationships

There’s that moment when you’re dating when you realize that if you hold on just a little bit longer, it might take off and become something more. Something significant. Something notable. Something to write home about. When this happens, you can’t help but feel inflated with excitement, passion, joy, and if you’re anything like me, a large amount of fear. That’s right. The girl who is the JDate blogger, the one who has been going on dates for the last three years, in and out of short relationships, only one of which wound up in a head over heels kind of love, and wants more than anything to  find Mr. Right, is afraid of relationships.

When I got into my last relationship early last winter, I remember falling asleep one night laying next to my ex as he stroked my hair until my eyes finally closed. He kissed me gently before turning over to fall asleep himself, and all I could think was that this was everything I had wished for… and I am scared out of my freaking mind. I knew that from that very moment, I could no longer pull back my feelings or keep my walls up. It was all hanging out. Every piece of who I am was revealed and extremely vulnerable. And if that’s not scary, I honestly don’t know what is. Okay, horror movies are scary. I can’t even watch scary movie trailers without covering my eyes, but that’s a totally different story. But I’ve realized that this fear is the most difficult thing to overcome. You can be a serial dater, or in my case a serial first dater, if you’re always dressed in your suit of armor. No one can hurt you, disrupt your daily routine, or embed themselves in your life when they’re standing at arm’s length.

That’s what happens when you date the way I have, recently had your heart broken, or don’t have much experience in dating at all. You learn to keep your distance as a defense mechanism. You might go to the dance, but that doesn’t mean you will actually dance. It means you’re thinking about dancing. Then when the moment finally comes when someone offers to take your hand and lead you to the dance floor, you have two options. You can say, “It was nice of you to ask, but no thank you.” Or you can let it all go and shut up and dance.


Dating Don’t: The After Date Facebook Poke

by Kelly under Relationships

He poked me on Facebook. Twice. Was one poke just not enough? We had only gone on one date, and it was just a cup of coffee in Gramercy on a Saturday afternoon. And immediately after he texted me that he had a good time. That’s it. And then a week later, when I had not texted back, he thinks about all the ways he could get in touch with me – phone, email, text, singing telegram, fax – and decides after much consideration I imagine, nope let’s go with a poke. That’ll get her heart. So when I didn’t answer him back, hoping he’d get the point, this guy throws the Hail Mary of Facebook communication and pokes me again.

Now that we were two pokes in, I knew I had to officially let him down. This might come as a surprise, but up until this moment I’ve only had the experience of telling guys I’m not interested after very ordinary interactions. None of my mother’s lessons in etiquette even remotely prepared me for post-JDate Facebook poking. I never even dreamed Facebook poking would be something I’d have to deal with. So I was completely on my own when I sat down to write him back and convey that I wasn’t interested and while I know he meant well, Facebook poking after a date is just wrong. So, so wrong.

Hi D—,

I really was hoping I didn’t have to write this message. I think you’re a great guy, however, I don’t think we clicked when we met for coffee. I don’t know how to say what I am about to tell you without sounding harsh. I’ve thought of a ZILLION ways to say this nicely, and this is the best I can come up with: Poking someone on Facebook, especially after an interaction like ours, doesn’t come off charming. It was really awkward – both times – and I didn’t know how to react. I’m only saying this because I think other girls might have the same reaction as I did. A message is much nicer and more upfront than a poke (I’m sorry if that sounded as mean as I think it does. I just really wanted to let you know for the future).

Take care,
Kelly

I thought about this recently when I told a guy I wasn’t interested in him after 3 dates. I was shocked when he asked me where he went wrong. He said I could think of it as a favor, as he wanted to learn from this experience. I gave him a little feedback, and I think he genuinely appreciated my honesty. You know, maybe it wasn’t my place to tell the Facebook poker that poking is creepy, but part of me wanted to save him. What if no girl ever had the chutzpah to break it to him that poking is socially unacceptable? Would he still be Facebook poking girls innocently thinking that he was flirting? I really believe that all of the guys I’ve gone out with – well, at least for the most of them – deserve a fair shot. And besides, if you can’t learn from your dating mistakes after a JDate, when can you?


Yep, I Think I’m Ready For A Dowry

by Kelly under Relationships

When you take your new boyfriend or girlfriend home to meet your parents, you might as well hold up a big sign that says, “Sh*t just got real.”  Because if you’re introducing someone to your parents, it is real. You’re making a conscious choice to test the waters of a real future with someone. But back in the days of arranged marriages, a man would search for a wife, meet with a prospective father-in-law who would offer a dowry on behalf of his daughter, hands would shake, Heineken bottles would clink, and happily ever after would be off to an amicable start. Okay, maybe there was no Heineken, but if my dad were involved there would be. It’s now totally backwards. These days we are expected to go out into the wild and successfully find not only a mate, but our soul mate. And on top of that we are expected to trust our own judgment. We can’t just go blaming our parents if it ends up badly. It’s all up to us.

Only two guys have ever had the opportunity to shake my dad’s hand, and let’s just say they both later screwed up on catastrophic levels. Now I won’t even entertain introducing a guy to my family until I’m very confident in our future. This guy will not only have to meet (and hopefully exceed) my expectations, he will have to be able to keep up with my dad and brother. He will have to endure their lengthy discussions about law and politics, the NFL and MLB, the Beatles and Dylan, nine irons and wedges. And then, of course, he will have to pass the Jewish mother test with flying colors. And while my mom passed away when I was in high school, I know without a doubt that the first question she would ask is, “When was the last time you spoke to your mother?”, the right answer being “today.” The next question: when was your last haircut?

Just getting to this point in a relationship is a feat in itself, and I can’t even make it to the checkpoint where meeting the fam is a topic of discussion. So I’m thinking, why don’t we take the whole soul mate search and go back to the days of yore? I’m confident that my dad, who is amazing, would put together a pretty outstanding dowry and then I’d have a good selection of possible husbands to choose from. It would include high end guitars (acoustic and electric), TaylorMade golf clubs, Jack Daniels, and not to mention, season tickets to Marlins games (don’t blame the man – we’re from Florida). Seriously, what guy wouldn’t love that? Then my dad and I would discuss who is Mr. Right, the men would shake hands, I’d call my dating shenanigans quits. Boom. I’d get my happily-ever-something. Any takers? I just have one more question. When was the last time you talked to your mother?


The Incomplete Eclipse Of The Heart

by Kelly under Relationships

They say that age is just a number. Well, whoever “they” is has clearly not been on many dates. There was a time when I was really frustrated dating guys in their 20s. None of them seem to have the attention span to keep a girlfriend. So I decided to give dating older guys a shot. And then I realized that they were just a little too old for me, a little too figured out. I would hear myself complain about it and I sounded like the Goldilocks of men’s ages. This one’s too old. This one’s too young. Does anyone have markers so I can make a sign saying, “Wanted: JUST RIGHT”?

I’ve even developed a test to measure a guy’s age to his maturity level. It started when I was on a sixth date with someone who was almost 9 years older than me. I liked everything about him. He was nice, smart, hard working, and our families had a lot in common, but I couldn’t put my finger on one thing. What did he do for fun? I finally asked him this very question and he without missing a beat goes, “I don’t really know.” How does a person not know what they do for fun? Seriously. And then I asked THE question. The most important question for me to determine just how much one can let loose, not give a damn, and just enjoy life.

Me: Okay… but when was the last time you had like a fun drunk karaoke night?
Him: (long, long pause) 1998.
Me: That was the last time you really had fun like that?
Him: (shrug) Yeah.

Do I even need to tell you that this was the last date? It wasn’t the karaoke thing that was the deal-breaker. It was the fact that it had been 14 years(!) since he had a let-your-hair-down-Facebook-picture-worthy night. FOURTEEN years! Titanic was still in theaters the last time he had fun. Britney Spears was still a virgin. There was no such thing as an iPhone. I had a Tama-freakin-gatchi. I mean, this was a long, long time ago. When was my last fun drunk karaoke night? Two weeks ago to the day. But I have fun nights where I find myself smiling as if I have a hanger stuck in my mouth pretty often. And that’s a requirement for any guy I date. I instantly knew it was time to reel in the gap and date guys closer to my own age, even if they might not be as ready for a relationship as I am. I want to find someone to grow up with, not grow into. That poor guy though. He will never know that he was just one Livin’ On a Prayer away from a Total Eclipse of The Heart.


The Call Me Maybe Effect

by Kelly under Relationships

This one is for Call Me Maybe. This one is for the best pop song to come along since Britney apologized because oops, she did it again. I truly believe that Call Me Maybe is the most brilliant song I’ve heard in years. Can I get an Amen? Seriously, this song is more infectious than the zombie plague. It instantly makes you want to sing along, dance a-fool, and put on repeat when you’re at home getting ready for a night out (oh don’t roll your eyes, you’ve done it, too). This song is hypnotic. It essentially has the same effect as a tequila shot when you’re already a couple of drinks in. It makes you shake your inhibitions, look at a person in the corner of the bar and do something you wouldn’t do without a little liquid courage. So you think what the hell. You grab a bar napkin or tear off the bottom of a receipt, borrow a pen from a friend, and quote the most inspiring poet since Shakespeare.

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my number,
(Insert 10-digit phone number here)
Call me maybe?

For all you doubters out there, I want to assure you that I have seen this happen. Some of my best friends pull the Call Me Maybe, and I promise you they are not usually this forward. We are the type of girls who go out and wait until we are presented the opportunity to flirt with a guy and hand out our numbers at the end of the night. And some nights it never happens. But that’s all changed thanks to Miss Carly Rae Jepsen. We no longer have to sit on the sidelines of dating until we are asked to dance. We can get up and shell our digits on our own accord, without having to feel bashful about it. And it’s all because of a #1 hit. So here’s to you Carly Rae and the song that inspires us all.


Groundhog’s Date

by Kelly under Relationships

I’ve been on a lot of first dates. I’m not sure the number will phase many of you – over 35 – but that’s in just 3 years with a few mini-relationships here and there. And the sad thing is, after a while, all these dates start to blur together. Sometimes I can’t tell apart the JP Morgans from the Morgan Stanleys. The Adams from the Davids. The Murray Hill boys from the Upper East Siders. Everyone loves their family, football, movies, and a good Sunday brunch. They frequent bars on the Lower East Side and watch The Office and Parks and Rec. And beer. All guys love their beer.

To be fair, I’m sure guys who date a lot would say the same about the female dating pool. I bet we all have similar names, work in media, marketing, or fashion, and live in Murray Hill or the East Village. And wait, don’t tell me. We all like sushi. Right?

This my friends, is what I call Groundhog’s Date. It’s just like the movie, except no guy is ever as funny as Bill Murray, and instead of “I’ve Got You Babe” all I have in my head is “Call Me Maybe.” 75% of the time the first date goes something like this. We meet at a bar at agreed time/date. The conversation starts off with the basics: our jobs, where we live, where we are from. I order a vodka soda with lime. We share our stories about how we landed in NYC. We order a second round of drinks. Discuss the fun topics like movies/TV, vacation plans, hobbies, yada, yada, yada. Then the check comes. I offer to pay my share, but he politely declines. We say goodnight and part ways…

Guy after guy, date after date, it all ends up becoming a hazy memory. When I go on a sequence of first dates it’s like I’m operating in autopilot, knowing exactly what to expect, what to say, which outfit to wear. But every once in awhile, I’ll find myself on a date halfway through my first drink and I suddenly realize I’m waking up. Maybe I’m laughing, smiling, flipping my hair. And hell, I might even be having fun. And maybe, at least for a little while, it feels like I’m not stuck in Groundhog’s Day.


The Jack Johnson Effect

by Kelly under Relationships

I don’t like Jack Johnson. Wait, that’s putting it lightly. I hate Jack Johnson (except for maybe two songs, but I hate those most of the time too). Personally, I think his music is so lame and lacks real grit. It’s hippy dippy. Melodic to the point of boredom. And really, what’s with him not wearing shoes? He’s a grown man. Contrary to popular belief, “No shirt, no shoes, no problem,” is not the rule of thumb outside of beach resorts and Senor Frogs.

I know I sound very content in my disdain for Jack. But trust me, I’m not. My hate waivers the second I start falling for a guy. Seriously, why does every guy I date love Jack? Every time I pitch my argument against Jack to a new guy, I am met with this response, “Who hates Jack Johnson?” Good question, I ponder. And before you know it, he has Jack streaming from his iPod while we hang out and I’m humming that God-awful song, “Banana Pancakes.” Instantly, my loathing vanishes into a warm tingly feeling, and I am transfixed by the acoustic melodies of my boy Jack. And then he serenades me singing, “Maybe we can sleep in. I’ll make you banana pancakes. Pretend like it’s the weekend now.” That’s it. I’m a goner. Did I mention I don’t even eat banana pancakes?

Fast forward to the end of the relationship. Jack suddenly pops up on my iPhone (because I, of course, added him back onto my playlist at this point) and I find myself riding the subway and tearing up to “Sitting, Wishing, Waiting.” And if you can believe it, I hate Jack even more than I did to begin with.

Jack, if you’re listening, it’s really not your fault (even though your music sucks). It’s the fact that love has this way of making little things we usually don’t like – or, in this case, hate – seem absolutely wonderful. In my last relationship, I ate new foods, rooted for football teams I had no previous association with, and even liked his cat when I’m a total dog person. And not to mention, I gave into Sir Jack. I have to ask, why must all 20-something guys in NYC love Jack? And can someone please tell me, why do I keep falling for them?


Slow Learner

by AndyCowan under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

There is no greater freedom than the kind you return to at the end of a mercifully short first (and last) date that in no way, shape, or form matched your pre-conceived notions of what she’d be like.

What’s the recipe for letting these pre-conceived notions bamboozle you yet again?  Mix one part of her phone voice and reasonably flattering isolated moment in time her pic captured, with the subconscious essences of women you were drawn to in the past you’re thinking this total stranger looks and sounds like, simmer for a day or two and voila – your goose is cooked!

Why do I keep running for the football, expecting “Lucy” not to grab it away this time?  I’m done with cooked goose.  From now on, I’m Mr. Chicken.


Picking the Place

by JeremySpoke under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

Picking the place to eat is a sensitive game. Never, ever pick a place that you like. This is for several reasons. First, if you like a place, then the staff there might recognize you and end up saying really stupid things to you on a first date like “Hey, why pants all of a sudden?” or “Your girlfriend has put on some weight.” Second, because a date can be a very anxiety-filled experience, you don’t want to have to be nervous when enjoying your favorite food. Third, if you take a girl to a place you like, she will know of this secret place too, and you will always be nervous that she will be there in the future when you just want to gorge yourself alone.

Also, always suggest a place where she wants to go, even if you’re violently allergic to the food. Suggest a place close to her home as well, because, while it’s nice of you to ask to pick her up for a first date, she will never say ‘yes’ because she’s never met you before. If she’s indecisive, which she will be, just tell her to let you know when she decides. Put the food ball in her restaurant court. Now, the burden is off you in terms of venue and it’s off of you to be the person to initiate the next call.

Now, all you have to do is sit back and wait for her to eventually not want to see you again. If you’re pessimistic like me, postpone the date as much as possible. In this way, you can not only delay inevitable heartbreak, but you will also come off as cool and not quite as desperate. Rejection has a silver lining. It makes you not as eager to put yourself out there, thus projecting a nonchalant disposition, when, really, you just need some time to recover.

Right now, the best part of my day is the one-and-a-half hours after my shower, but before bed. This doesn’t have anything to do with the post, but this is about to happen, and I’m not about to stop it.


Catching A Wavelength

by AndyCowan under Relationships,Single Life

I believe there’s one cardinal rule when it comes to dating: Whatever you think she’s thinking, she’s thinking something else.

It’s why you wonder why they’re mad. It’s why you wonder why they sent you a Dear John email after you thought they had a great time. I had an inkling it was coming when My AOL mailman cheerily announced: “You got dumped!” Yeah, I’m still on AOL. At this rate, I’ll be getting my first smart phone when a phone is actually smart enough to tell me why Anderson Cooper has nine jobs.

Relationships may be about sharing, but wavelengths are about not sharing. I tried to share her wavelength. Turns out I had the wrong wavelength. It was my wavelength. If she’d tried to share my wavelength, maybe she would’ve understood what I’m talking about here.

She doesn’t even need to share my wavelength. What good’s it doing me? She can have it all to herself.