The Confessions of a [Newbie] Online Dater

online dating experience

Okay, I did it — I joined an online dating site.

And pigs aren’t flying? Well, that’s a relief.

People Do This?

I realize it’s 2013 and a confession about indulging in the online dating scene isn’t as groundbreaking as it seems, but apparently I was left off the memo that this is the “new thing to do.” No, really! Apparently people — my age — do this, and it’s totally normal.

I know, I know. Half of you are thinking that I’m some judgmental ignoramus, who has been sitting in her apartment watching Netflix alone on nights when others were out on dates wondering why it’s so hard to just meet a freakin’ guy but refusing to do anything out of the norm for it to happen. Well…I’m not even going to lie — you’re kind of right. It’s just that I really didn’t know that online dating had somehow erupted into something that people just do and didn’t resort to — although I know those reasons aren’t mutually exclusive either.

Big Apple, Big Disappointment

Let’s start from the beginning. When I moved to New York City last year, I was about a year out of college and excited for my new life as a city girl working and frolicking in The Big Apple. All Carrie Bradshaw clichés aside, the thought of being single and ready to mingle in a city where you literally can’t walk a block without running into an attractive guy was pretty exciting. A potential relationship was exciting — all those guys I’d be meeting and dating — oh, la, la!

Except, I didn’t.

How is that even logistically possible in the largest city in the US? I know, everyone and their mom has asked me this. All I can say is that you really need to stop watching Sex and The City because that show is a freakin’ lie if there ever was one.

Dorothy, We’re Not in College Anymore

So over a year later, I’m wondering why in the world it’s so hard to meet normal guys or even PEOPLE to hang out with post-college, and it hit me — I’m not in college anymore. This isn’t a little Utopia, where life is contained in perfect harmony between your work/education and social lives. There aren’t frat parties or campus events where you can run into a cutie and know that you at least have that one thing in common. No, in the real world, you have to do this thing called “making effort.” Damnit.

So, more than a year and a few frogs later, I was convinced to try online dating. Maybe it’s more common on the East Coast, but as much as I’d had my impression that people resorted to online dating because of whatever reason, I realized none were  as dramatic as I’d assumed. I have more than a friend — hell, I have a club of friends my age with whom I talk about my online dating adventures. In some sense, we all did “resort” to online dating but not because we’re spinsters, a bunch of crazies or desperate to get married. We just couldn’t freakin’ meet cool singles living in the city with similar interests who wanted to just date.

I’m a couple months in to this new club, and I have to say it’s pretty fun. I have my own rules on meeting a potential date, and to whom I respond and why. More or less, it’s just like normal dating with a few obvious differences. I won’t divulge too much, but if you are wondering what it’s like, I’ll give you the unofficial Cliff Notes version.

The Confessions of an Online Dater

Take these with a grain of salt, and please, just please remember — I can be really awkward when it comes to dating and relationships (like middle school awkward). It might be of interest to take that into consideration first.

  1. The first message is 10x harder than an opening line at a bar, party, wherever. My rule of thumb in determining whether the guy is a total creep or weirdo is to ask myself this: Did he actually say something weird? If the answer is no, then give him the benefit of the doubt. The first time a guy messaged me, “Hey, how’s it going?” I literally wanted to think he was a creep just because it felt so weird getting a message like that from someone I didn’t know, until I realized that this whole thing was an unnatural process to begin with. This is where it’s definitely not like normal dating. If he or she doesn’t say something weird, then it’s a good sign!
  2. I really hate ignoring messages — like I really hate ignoring messages. I just feel like a bitch not responding to or acknowledging this human being trying to show interest in me. But then I think — he gets it. There’s some understood social etiquette to online dating, and an unanswered message probably means: I looked at your profile and your pictures, and you didn’t interest me — or your message was freakin’ weird (see #1). He’s throwing out a fishnet into the ocean; he’s expecting to catch one or two, and he’s probably not going to take this that personally if his first message isn’t answered. Just don’t be such a girl when your fishnet only comes back with a few swimmers too…(So, I tell myself.)
  3. Okay, I’m glad this site has a nifty messaging service, but I’m going to need to know you’re a real person at some point. My thing with online dating is that I want to use it as a means to be introduced to a guy — not to get to know him. Some people are okay with online messaging for a significant amount of time, but I’d rather not. A handful of messages is fine, but I’d like to actually see you in person sooner than later because, let’s face it, that’s really going to be what I’m going to judge you on. That also means no long-distance. If I can’t meet you, then I don’t want to talk to you — simple as that!
  4. The most important thing about online dating is being comfortable with doing it. It’s different, new and a little intimidating, but if you can’t jump in and just do it with 100% confidence, then don’t do it. It’s a means to meet people; you’re not signing your soul away! (Unless you join the site where they do that…) Don’t feel ashamed to do it, and definitely don’t feel ashamed if you meet someone great from it. Embrace it, and enjoy it!

Have you done online dating? I want to know your thoughts about it and/or experiences!


Stroke of Midnight: Welcome 2013

Welcome to the Future

Welcome to the Future

Wow, is it really 2013 today? When I was younger, growing up in the 90’s (the good old days), I used to refer to the far-away future by saying something like “…yeah, maybe in 2013” as if it was unimaginable to even think I’d be alive to see a year that far away. Realistically, it wasn’t that far away because I’m only still in my early 20’s, but it still feels pretty futuristic to be living in a year like 2013. But here it is: 2-0-1-3.

People always put pressure on what they’ll be doing at midnight every New Year’s Eve, and it’s a bit silly when you think about it. Time is ongoing, cyclical — and the beginning of a new year is more symbolic than anything else. Still, it’s a memorable time — to remember exactly what you were doing and where you were at the beginning of a new chapter.

12:00 a.m., January 1, 2013 for me was already memorable because I was in my favorite city: New York City. Not the friendliest to the passerby, but a soulmate to those living here, NYC had given me some great memories in the last year. I was spending New Year’s with a few friends at one of their apartments in the city, and the night was expected to be a great time ringing in 2013 with drinks, foods and general merriment. The hilarity and memorable ridiculousness that ensued wasn’t anything that we thought would happen, but it will definitely stay in my mind as one of the most memorable New Year’s I’ve had so far.

I was with just a few friends having snacks, playing drinking games and enjoying each other’s company on New Year’s Eve. We had a great view of the New York City skyline from the apartment we were in, and we had been debating for over an hour whether to head up to the rooftop to make an attempt to the see the fireworks that would be going off all around the city at midnight. Finally at 11:58, we decided to make a dash for it. There seemed to be an issue communicating to half of the 5 of us to walk out of the apartment and get into the elevator quickly before we missed midnight altogether. By the time we all made it in, there was less than 30 secs left before the stroke of midnight…

Then the elevator got stuck.

The rooftop had been closed off so the elevator made an attempt to go back down the 3 floors it needed to for us to be back on our floor. With 10 seconds left, we couldn’t believe our ridiculous predicament and resolved to begin the countdown. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Happy New Year!

In all our vain to make our New Year’s spectacular with fireworks and an amazing view, we had missed everything altogether. We didn’t see the ball drop; we didn’t see any fireworks — we just spent it together laughing at the superb mess and perfect ridiculousness stuck in an elevator.

A minute later, we realized our elevator doors were only opening a few inches and closing up again. We really were stuck.

One of the brave in our party decided to try and pry the doors open, hoping the censors would kick in simultaneously. We got the drama we had wanted of beginning the New Year with something to remember as we literally scrambled out of the elevator hoping we wouldn’t be crushed by the steel doors.

And back in the apartment we went, only a few minutes after we had left. So, the first moment of 2013 was spent stuck in an elevator of a very nice apartment building in one of the most wonderful cities in the world. Not quite what I expected, but memorable it was nonetheless. Perhaps it was just the beginning of many circumstances this year that will play out in the same wonderful chaos into something better than expected?  Who knows!

Happy 2013 to you all, and may this year finally bring us what 2012 didn’t and more of what it did.

Growing Up Sucks: 7 Reasons Why I Miss College Like Crazy

Ladder stile in SnowdoniaIn my head I’ve always pictured school as this tentative ladder we were all climbing — it started from Pre-k and went up to college (for the general population). Some people’s ladders broke before the end, and some people’s got more rungs added as time went on, but for the most part — this was the time line that you grew up expecting to follow.

So, what came after we reached the top of the ladders? My mental picture showed an open, weightless space into which we all took a giant leap and gracefully floated off to our separate ways to take our places in the “Real World.”  (I guess I was a pretty visual kid)

Well, I reached the top of my ladder last year, and I took the big leap into the weightless space. I hate to say that I was right all these years about what the metaphor of school and life would be like: I floated off into my separate way just like my friends did, and honestly — it sucks. But truthfully, it wasn’t that literal;  it’s not that I lost touch with everyone that makes me miss college like crazy.

It’s more like these 7 reasons here:

  1. I actually miss learning. Don’t get me wrong — I  will never miss studying or taking another test again, but when you’ve been mentally stimulated for 17 years of your life, you miss learning something and running home to your parents/roommates/friends and telling them, “Did you know…?” or “Guess what I learned today…”
  2. Going out needs an expense account, and partying will never be the same again. There’s no more conglomeration of 300 people in one huge house party or bar district, and forget about “college town prices.” Everything requires a cab, DD, and/or  triple the amount of money as it did in college.
  3. Everyone is getting married and having kids left and right — or is it just my friends? People still think I’m 15, and yet 90% of my high school friends (and I’m sure soon to be followed by college friends)  are domesticated. I just want to be in college again, when people were too busy hooking up and recovering from hangovers to care about wedding dresses and diapers.
  4. There’s no sense of intense camaraderie or pride anymore. Being in NYC is an exception, I guess, because New Yorkers are hardcore about their city, but even so — I just miss the football games, pep rallies, parades and college events that brought the entire university together. This is when I really feel like I’m floating off in my own space.
  5. The “future” is the present, now. I used to talk about “what I wanted to do when I grow up” and “what kind of guy I hope to marry ” and blah, blah, blah, but all of that is staring me in the face now, and sometimes it’s just too much! The transition between college graduate and adulthood is a nanosecond, and I really think we should send around a petition to make it longer.
  6. The weekends got shorter — by an entire day… They don’t start at noon on Friday when classes are out; they start at 7 or 8pm when you’re finished with work, and even then  — you’re tired as hell and barely want to do anything. By the time you make plans and follow through with them, it’s Saturday — which is the only day working people get to call a “day off” because Sunday means laundry, groceries and chores galore. Apparently, Fridays get cut with the rest of your paycheck…
  7. My friends were my family. There’s just nothing like walking down the hall of your dorm or the street and seeing anyone you want, and once you’re out of college, you realize how much you miss the accessibility of seeing your friends — who literally become family for that very reason. No matter how close you are, the Real World means you have to try that much harder to see each other — and floating around in your own space doesn’t make it that easy to do so…

Honestly, I would never trade in my college years for anything. I had some of the best and worst times, and they were absolutely, ridiculously, phenomenally the BEST 4 years of my life.

If you’re about to start college, take my advice: enjoy every. single. moment. of. it. Even if you’re not the party girl/guy, find your niche and do something that makes your college years some of the most memorable times of  your life because after these times, you’ll be like me — just floating in open space and missing it like crazy.

Tell me, do you miss your college years?

5 Things I Want You to Know About Me Now

Dance 1948 Shore Club

In recent years I’ve come to realize that people are a little surprised when they meet me because I get very comfortable with them — and very quickly. It’s just the way I always have been — a personality quirk — you could call it. But, alas, it’s the way I am and how I’ll most likely always be. I have very few formalities with people and that’s just how I like things to be.

Since I just uprooted myself to a new city, I’ve been meeting people by the hoards. And on that note — while I might not have many formalities with strangers — I often forget that normal people have a natural phase that they go through with people they meet before they  let their guard down and reveal their real personalities. It’s not that I strive to be best friends with everyone I meet; it’s more that I  naturally connect very easily with people.

In the spirit of opening up today (as if my blog wasn’t enough of an open book), here are 5 more things you should know about me right away — whether we’ve met, will meet, or know each other really well already:

  1. I care what people think about me but only in selective situations. I am who I am, so if you judge me because I’m weird, honest, and because I talk a lot (yes, I do — sorry) or for any other stupid thing, then I really won’t care. If you have a bad opinion of me because of a misunderstanding — or, worse — something that’s not even true, then it’ll probably eat me alive.
  2. One of my favorite things to do to go out and dance — and I mean actually dance — not get groped and wedged in the middle of a half-clothed orgy. It’s just not fun for me. What’s more is that I don’t like turning  guys down when they ask because it makes me feel like a bitch. I’m not trying to be, but I just want to dance. I’m sorry — don’t hate me! (See, refer to #1.)
  3. My relationships are really important to me, and it really offends me when people give me stupid reasons like, “I’m bad at keeping in touch,” or something equally childish and think they’re acceptable excuses for being absent. I take it personally because I work hard at my relationships, and I’m not bad at keeping in touch. Oh, that also goes for canceling plans on me last-minute and thinking that’s okay — it’s not. (If I’m ever guilty of this, you’ll probably have to tell me to stop apologizing.)
  4. Deep down I really do think things fall into place a certain way for a reason, but I think I lost sight of that for a while and hindsight really helps me put things into perspective a lot.
  5. People call me bossy, but I would prefer to say that I’m a delegator…or a leader sounds good, too…

What would you tell people right away if you had the chance to give them a disclaimer?

Are We Dating the Employer?

English: Depiction of frustration

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been a rough few years for those in the job market. Finding a job is more like winning the lottery, and those who have won have no idea how lucky they are. Being qualified, working hard, and being proactive are almost blanket adjectives to describe the thousands out there still working to find work. Trust me – I know.

It’s been almost a year, and I’ve never felt more consumed or overwhelmed by a single thought for so long. Ironically, all I ever hear from advisors, friends and family is, “But you’re so qualified! And you’ve done so much – how are you still unemployed?”

My question exactly. Then it hit me – I’m dating the employers. No, not literally (would have probably landed a job faster if I was, though), but in some sense – the process of finding a job is like a sick dating game. And I’m really ready to sever this relationship. Step back and think about it; you may just be sailing this ship with me.

Saying the Right Thing

How many times have you found a job and struggled over what exactly to say in the cover letter? For me, every time. Every time I see a job that I know I’m extremely qualified for and also seems a perfect fit for me, I feel a little thrill. It’s a lot like meeting someone you know you could click with. But then – the tension begins.

What do I say? How do I talk about myself without going on and on – and sounding super fake, for that matter? Am I talking too much? Am I being myself too much?  Do I use big words to sound smarter? I should just go with my instinct…right?

The whole process is bananas! It’s one thing to be nervous in either situation when you’re looking at it as something to gain, but to have to sew together a costume of the perfect person you probably aren’t is ridiculous. Personal life aside, I value professionalism immensely. But how are we supposed to know what each employer wants? Do your research online, and you’ll find hundreds of guides on writing a perfect cover letter written by recruiters, employers and career experts. Each one has a different piece of advice: be yourself; don’t be stiff; don’t be too casual; don’t exceed a page; talk about your accomplishments; don’t repeat your resume; etc., etc,etc.

Am I crazy, or do relationship “experts” (if there ever was such a thing) say a lot of the same things? There’s no simple way to impress an employer, and it’s not fair to lose out on a job because of stupid technicalities on your first introduction. If dating is about reading between the lines of who a person is, then finding a job shouldn’t be any different.

Following Up

Once you’ve gotten over the first hurdle of sending out your comprehensive written package of “who you are,” it’s a waiting game from there. A lot like battling over making the next move in a relationship, it’s a torturous process of wondering who should take the next step. And the stress begins again.

Should I talk to him/her first? Is it too soon? What do I say? I don’t want to sound too desperate, but I really want this to go somewhere. This is exactly what I want, but I don’t know if I gave off that impression the first time around. How long should I wait?

If you thought these were the questions that belong in the dating world – you’d be right. These are also, however, the exact questions I battle with after I’ve applied for a job, too. There’s a time and a place for rules, but if something feels right and it’s something you want – why can’t you pursue it? If you like someone, go after him/her. If you want a job – go after it. But again, we deal with the “etiquette” of landing a job. Some employers like the persistence, while some want you to leave them the hell alone. Again, I ask: How. Do. We. Know. What. You. Want?! By no means am I big rule breaker so if you tell me to leave you alone then I will. But then my only hope is that a stupid letter will hopefully have said exactly what it is that you wanted. If not, then I lose. How is this fair?

Respect is Two-Way Street

So you’ve got the job (and the guy/gal), now what? As with every step of the dating game, someone brilliant out there decided there should be a set of rules. You put in your part, and I’ll put in mine. This sounds fair, right? Alas, this is where dating the employer seems a lot like being in a passively abusive relationship. After the torture and groveling, you land the job. Now it’s a process of being on your toes and never messing up.

I’m not sure about what I was just instructed on – should I ask? Will that make me sound stupid? Maybe it’s best to take charge and step up. I’m here because I’m worthy. But if I mess up, I could ruin this whole thing! But if I don’t ask, I might be in trouble. I can’t mess this up – I worked so hard!

Who is capable of this life? Boyfriends and girlfriends aren’t, and neither are bosses. Everyone screws up, but if you’ve had to be “cutthroat” and “promise to be hardworking and do whatever you have to do to get the job,” then most likely you’re going to be and you’ll bust your butt along the way. But isn’t there some point after getting the job that you can relax and feel like you shouldn’t be scared? It’s ridiculous that many employers treat their new employees as second-rate citizens and expect them to be okay with it. “That’s how it is,” say the experts. “Everyone has to pay their dues.” But if you shouldn’t stay in a relationship in which you always feel you should be impressing the other person, and are constantly scared to disappoint — then why is it acceptable for a work environment? Yes, you need that job to move up in your career, but not necessarily a relationship. Although try telling that to some teenager who “can’t live without him/her,” and you’ll question which is the relationship and which is the job.

This Has to End

I know there are thousands out there who can relate to my opinion on this, and every one of you is sick of this confusing process of “how to land a job.” If we have to be in this dating game with the employer, then employers need to meet us halfway. Read between the lines and understand that all those cover letters, emails, phone calls and resumes are from people who are in the shoes you were in years ago. Appreciate the professionalism even if you think a cover letter seems “boring and stiff.” No one really talks like that, and someone out there told us this is what employers expect. If it’s too casual for your needs, someone probably told us to “be ourselves” along the way, too. Look at the effort and judge someone on their actual qualifications and willingness to step up. Get to know someone before you deem them worthless, and please lower your expectations just a little. You want the best that’s out there, but that doesn’t mean you want the same thing every other employer wants. Please, oh please, stop dating us! We just want to work and do a great job – at a job!

Those Dirty Brits

A recent study by The Wellcome Trust had me reeling the other day. We all know the countless germs we pass on from our hands to objects that we touch on a minutely basis (and vice versa): doorknobs, keyboards, remotes, and of course — our phones. But, can you think of something else very dirty you may be touching in between all the rest?

Ahh — yes, it is gasp-worthy dirty, but probably not THAT which you are thinking…

One in six cell phones in this study was found with something very dirty on it. Watch below to find out what it is. You’ll be saying, “Shame, shame!” to those jolly, ol’ chaps.

I Was Born This Way…So Stop Trying to Change Me!

Lady Gaga singing "Born This Way" wi...

Everyone has felt that feeling when someone says the same thing to you over and over again about a personality trait or characteristic that you should “work on” and you feel like screaming, “I can’t help it!” But isn’t it funny that we pass this attack onto the next person until it becomes a vicious cycle of constant nit-picking on one thing or another?

I once read a Chinese proverb that instructed, “Deal with others faults as gently as with your own,” and it was one of those moments that I had a light bulb go off in my head. I jotted the lesson down — both mentally and in my book of quotes I spoke about in a previous post. I did this to remind myself that just like I often feel like shaking some people (somewhat violently, at times) and enunciating every syllable of, “I. CAN’T. HELP. IT.” — that feeling isn’t a unique one. Everyone feels criticized at some point for having some annoying quality that they just seemed to have been born with. If it’s not directly harming someone you – is it worth hurting that person’s feelings to constantly nag and criticize? In a moment like that, even I want to bust out some Lady Gaga and shout from a mountain top, “Baby, I was born this way!”

I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours…

Clumsy Beyond Help

I truly, absolutely, positively believe that some people in this world are born clumsy. I can’t explain how many times I’ve literally astounded even myself by my ungraceful tactics. And here I am: 22-years-old and still getting chastised by my parents every single time I run into a wall in front of me or turn around and knock down an entire glass of water in my lap. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t even react with outrage or stress out — because seriously — I CAN’T HELP IT! I am not the type of person who is careless or unmindful of her surroundings. I mean, what kind of normal human being trips on her own pants (skinny jeans, at that) because a toe got caught in one leg? Does a regular person often go to change a shirt and maims herself by scratching her face in the process? Is it common for a graceful person to bend down to wash her face only to pull an entire group of muscles from neck to shoulder blade rendering her partially paralyzed for days? Perhaps a normal child trips during hopscotch and chips half her tooth off? No! But a gal of the clumsy trait is likely to do all these things —so PLEASE, can we stop with the lectures about being “more careful” and to “watch where I’m going”?! I’m just naturally clumsy!!

Chatty Kathy

Okay, please just spare me the “Wow,  you talk a lot” crap. Again, I am so very sorry if this has caused a superb burden in your life, but I have tried again and again to remedy this “problem” to no avail. And I have to say — this is one of those things that I have to admit offends me when I hear it so often. I put up with a lot of people’s quirks and somewhat annoying traits, and this is one of mine! So, before you tell someone behind my back or jokingly tell it to my face — there’s really no need. I have no bitterness or resentment to those who have commented on my nature to speak 100 mph and 1000 words a minute because I know it’s the truth. But you know what? I have a tendency to speak as fast as I think, and it’s a lot harder not to do so when it’s a natural feeling. I think I’ve become more aware of the issue in social situations, and try to work at it — but, if you’re hoping the chattiness will go away — it’s not going to! Because truly, it’s something I was born with. Why do others mumble, or talk slowly, or whatever else? You already know the answer…

The Dumped

This will probably be the craziest sounding quality on this list, but I swear on my life it’s true and I really do believe there are just people in this world who are born with this tendency (although there probably has to be something to do with destiny or cosmic powers, or whatever). I have ALWAYS had this tendency to be stood up, and I don’t mean just by boys. I mean friends, boys, even employers! And no, I’m really not asking for sympathy or your “Awww” reaction. I do not forget to return a call or follow up with someone, and if I do — it’s rare. And even then, you can expect an overdose of apologies and genuine remorse. But for SOME reason, people really just have a tendency to (genuinely or not) forget to call or follow up, or whatever with me. It just happens — always has! It doesn’t even surprise me anymore — frustrates, yes — but not really a surprise factor anymore.

And yes, I’ve gotten the whole “Stop hanging out with the wrong crowd,” but most people in my life are really great people. It would be one thing if it was a personal thing, but I have literally been approached a million times by employers or people in professional settings to work for them, etc. and then when I am the one to follow up — poof! Nothing! It makes absolutely no sense, but I have to tell myself: I was just born this way. What can someone like me do, but hope for better next time and reap through the flaky? No point in wallowing!

So there you go, I’ve spilled about things I am absolutely certain I was born with/as. Your turn!