Monday, April 30, 2007

Pre and Post-Date Wrap Up, Candidate #1

Candidate 1: 34 year old former IT professional who created his own business in the recent past. Single, but shared custody of a dog from his last relationship of 3-years that did not lead to marriage.

First Impression: A nice, well-spoken gentlemanly type. Well educated, and shares several of my interests in common. Appears good-looking and confident with a great smile from his profile pictures, however these can be deceiving.

Second impression (from brief msn chats):
Repeats the following phrases a little too often- “I have a good feeling about you,” and “ Are you very affectionate, because I love being affectionate.” Our online conversations are a little stilted and short, and he also has a bad habit of saying he’ll be right back only to disappear for the remainder of the evening.

The Plan:
A 7pm meeting at a Starbucks. Our first attempt was cancelled just hours before hand for a “business meeting with an important client at 7 pm”. Our second attempt the following week was for afternoon coffee at Starbucks, which I cancelled last minute because I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind and I wanted to give him a fair chance. The third time the following week actually happens.

Pre-date feelings: Apprehensive. Candidate #1 is a little older than I’d prefer and I’m picking up some strange vibes from his comments and behaviour. I’m trying to remain open minded, but wouldn’t be surprised if he is the “touchy-feely” type and a little on the creepy side. I expect a civil date, but no sparks and most likely no second date.

The Date: He is pretty nervous, understandably, but looks like his picture, which is always a good thing. The only minor difference is I detect faint, but distinct features/scars from a cleft-palate, but it’s no big deal. The barista’s all know him and later he admits to coming to Starbucks 3-5 times a week and hanging out, which I find a bit yuppie, but each to his own, right? The first hour of conversation is a little more awkward than normal for a first date, and he is definitely your typical IT geek, but not in the “dungeon’s & dragon’s” sense- more like he spends too much time at work and hasn’t fully developed his social skills, as well as harbouring a few personality quirks. By the third hour he’s more relaxed and comfortable and I have a relatively good time. Thankfully he refrains from touching me or encroaching on my personal space and doesn't come across as creepy.

Prior to the date I had, for the first time in my dating life, developed an exit strategy with my roommates. Someone was going to call my cell phone just after 8 o’clock. If I wasn’t desperate to get out of there after an hour I wouldn’t pick up, but if I wasn’t feeling it at all I would answer and the story would be that my house mate just got off work, her car wouldn’t start and I needed to go pick her up since I was the only other housemate with a car. She called at just after 8 and I didn’t even hear the phone. Had I heard it I probably would have answered, not because I was having a horrible time, but more so because I was getting tired and I had to pull out the side-show of witty anecdotes and odd but interesting tidbits from my life since the conversation was flagging a bit and he wasn’t giving me anything to work with. When necessary I can really “market” myself well, but it's exhausting. It’s funny because at one point he said that he thought I was the type that could sell ice to Eskimos.

Oddities of the date:

- At one point he offered me a job in his friends business. They company was looking for someone to sell the product, something I know nothing about, not to mention that I’ve never done sales before.

- He discussed the “custody dispute” ongoing with the dog he bought with his former live-in girlfriend. It was a bit weird and he was obviously bitter and upset over it still. In January she cut off all contact and wouldn’t allow him weekends with the dog because she believed he was using the dog to get back together with her. I have no way to corroborate this, however he adamantly states that it was the dog he wanted to see, not her since it was his idea to buy the dog and he picked her out, cared for her and had a greater attachment to her.

- He brought up “the site” in a whisper that I didn’t catch at first, and asked how long I’d been online for and why I decided to go try a dating site.

- We discussed the myriad of coffee shops in our city and the pro’s and con’s of several, including those that have free wireless. He then proposed that one day we go to the free-wireless spot to work together since he could pick up his stuff and work outside the office whenever. He thought it would be great to work across from each other on our laptops, occasionally gazing over the screen at each other. While this seems cute, it was a bit quick for me to be envisioning any sort of long-term relationship that would have matured to the point where we work together at a coffee shop for a “date”.

The Verdict: It wasn’t horrible, but there weren't sparks everywhere either. However, I’d be willing to commit to a second date to see if there is any potential since first dates, especially blind ones, are not the easiest for seeing if the other individual is really compatible. My only caveat is the distinct impression I have that he's looking for a wife and chasing the white picket fence dream pretty hard right now. In the end I came home I fired off an email, thanking him for a good time and leaving the door open if he was interested in a second date.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Exam Hijinks

The course I'm a teaching assistant in had its final exam recently. My students wrote in a large auditorium that also had a science course writing at the same time in the front section of the room. As with any exam, we have to escort our students to the bathroom to ensure that no one is in there cheating, should they actually need to use the restroom. With 30 minutes left in the 2 hour exam a student on the far side of the room raised his hand and I headed over with the expectation that it was another bathroom run.

"Um, my cell phone is buzzing in my pocket and I just wanted to let you know that I'm turning it off, and not cheating."

"Ok, that's fine, " I said, as I watched him take out the offending cell phone and power it down.

"Oh, and I was wondering if I could have some extra time? I'm feeling really rushed on the last section of the exam and want some extra time." He said as he looked at me like I owed him something.

My left eyebrow raised slightly and I must have given him a look of contemptuous amusement when I replied. I had to hold back from laughing as I told him absolutely not in no uncertain terms. Clearly my answer left him unsatisfied as I heard the student bitching loudly to his friends as I picked up the papers after the exam how it was "bullshit" and we should have given him extra time.

Yeah son, I'll give you and none of the other 250 students in our course extra time because you haven't learned how to time manage during an exam. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Candidate #1

I had a date last night with someone from the online dating thing I signed up for. We met for coffee at the local Starbucks. Candidate #1 is a 34-year old, former IT guy who now owns his own business, has never been married and has no children.

My students write an exam tonight and my own deadlines are breathing down my neck so there will be more details to follow when I get a minute.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yogic Achievements

Today in Yoga I was able to touch my head to my knees- a pretty impressive feat if you ask me. Mind you it wasn't a comfortable stretch/pose, but that will take a little more time to achieve. I'm enjoying the yoga more than I thought I would, and I'm constantly amazed at how flexible I am and how much I'm improving in that area. The only downside is that in 6 weeks my study will end and if I want to continue doing yoga I'm going to have to find a studio. I've been looking around and it's pretty expensive on a students budget. I'll have to really think about whether or not this is something I want to pursue in the future given the high fees.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Small Town Success

The pinnacle of achievement in my hometown seems to be marrying young and settling down to connubial bliss. It’s the same in every small town on the North American continent. I had a hard time in high school, and really disliked a lot of the people I was forced to see on a regular basis. I never fit in anywhere in particular and had a small set of friends. My main goal was get out of town as fast as I could and academics were the perfect conduit. By maintaining high grades I guaranteed myself a spot in a University away from the hometown, and perhaps some scholarships or bursaries to help me out. I was pretty serious about my education and focused on getting the marks. In the end I graduated with a 93% average, was accepted into every university I applied to and netted some scholarships upon graduation. When I left that September in 2000 I was ecstatic and so excited to start fresh in a place where no one knew me and where I could be who I wanted to be and do anything I desired. I never really looked back.

Not too long ago I joined Facebook, and started looking back. Almost all my roommates were on it, as well as a lot of my friends and a few of my siblings and cousin’s. I joined out of sheer curiousity and boredom. Facebook really is the perfect place to spy on old housemates, classmates, friends you don’t talk to anymore and anyone else you feel like. I have mixed feelings about this “social networking site”. While it provides some good laughs between my close friends and I, it has also confronted me full on with the same people I’ve avoided since graduation 7 years ago. Discovering who’s married, who’s dating whom, who’s engaged or having/had a baby is disconcerting to say the least.

The downside of all this is that I have started torturing myself with this information. It doesn’t help that I know I would be married now had Mr. Intellectual and I stayed together. We had plans to get engaged during our Master’s and married shortly after the completion of our respective degrees. Instead I chose to pursue a Doctorate and a partner that would help create an awesome marriage, and not just an ok marriage. I didn’t want to settle for decent, I wanted extraordinary. So here I am three years later, alone and embarking on my Ph.d. He’s chasing that white picket-fence dream with some other girl and they’ve been together for almost 2 years now.

Intellectually I know how utterly ridiculous this is, but I feel like a failure. Like I’ve dropped the proverbial brass ring. I never cared about getting married and settling down immediately. Those small town objectives were never part of my persona or priorities. I was quite content to be on my own and if need be spend my life alone- I love what I’m doing, I have some great friends and my family is more than I could have ever asked for. While marriage and kids are a desire, I would still feel complete and blessed without them. I think it would be awesome to be “that Aunt”. The one who spoils her nieces and nephews and adopts them as her own, taking them on trips, indulging them on special occasions and when ever I feel like it, just because I can.

From the outside all these old classmates seem happy and stable with their lives. Who knows if that’s the truth or just the public fa├žade. Some of the pairings seem odd, and I have to wonder if the fear of being alone has forced some of their hands into an early marriage with whatever was available in the home town, instead of waiting. The girls who became baby-momma’s, while smiling and beautiful with their dimple-faced angels, give me a moment of pause. Children are a blessing, but their unexpected arrival and the complications that creates cannot be easy. As deeply sad as it makes me to look back and see what I don’t have, I know I am infinitely better off where I am. I’m following my dreams and passion’s with my doctorate. I’m unencumbered and free to do as I please and be as selfish as I have to be to get to where I want to be in the next few years. As much as I desire someone to share my journey with I understand the value of my freedom.

One of Vladimir Lenin’s famous quotes comes to mind:
“Liberty is precious; so precious that it must be rationed carefully.”
It is easy to take it for granted when you have lots, but for those who don’t have as many freedoms it becomes so important. The irony is that in my final year of high school, in the graduation yearbook, I used that quote in my profile. I also said that my future plans were to become a Doctor, and on some level I knew that what I was embarking on would be the path less traveled. Its also good to remind myself to take advantage of my liberty now and enjoy it to the fullest since soon enough I will have a lot less of it when mortgages, family, career worries and real life comes marching in.

So while I may have failed the litmus test of my small town, and I let it bring me down, in the end I wouldn’t change a thing with my life. I just need to keep looking forward.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Online Dating- Take 3

There's nothing quite as depressing as being rebuffed by a guy on an online dating site. It's awesome!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jane on Relationships & Sex

Over the last few years since Mr. Intellectual and I went our separate ways I’ve dated quite a few men, and started up semi-serious relationships with a few. Over time I’ve noticed some interesting things about myself when dating or in a relationship:

  • If I split the cheque on the first date or pay for everything on the first date, there is no second date. I hate having obligations towards people I’d rather not spend time with, even if it’s something this subtle. So if I'm paying, it's not going well. Exceptions are for the rare first dates I initiate and expect to pay for, like drinks etc.
  • If I don’t want to kiss you after the first date, there will be no second date.
  • If I can’t look my partner in the eyes during sex and hold his gaze, the relationship is not for keeps and will only last a few months. To date, the only man I could have sex with and look at during the act was Mr. Intellectual.
  • If I can hold your gaze I prefer missionary or woman on top. Doggie style is the position of choice for every one else.
  • If I stop giving blow jobs and make a concerted effort to avoid going down on you, the relationship is over and I will leave shortly after realizing the change.
  • I won’t tell my siblings or parents about a person I’m dating, even if it’s for a few months, if I don’t think they’re worth the trouble. This type of relationship is relatively short lived and inconsequential.

I’m in a rut, so I have once again signed up for lavalife in the absurd hopes of finding someone compatible. This time I’m approaching it a little differently in order to not waste as much time. I’m actually going to put out some of my own cold hard cash for credits, post a picture of myself on my profile and not just in the back stage and I'll be a little more selective in who I’ll agree to meet with. This is the third time I’ll have tried using an online dating service since breaking off my relationship with Mr. Intellectual 3 years ago. To date I have never had more than a lot of first dates and only a couple of second dates from online men. The exception is the Jock, who was a “friends with benefits” turned relationship disaster.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Does 26 = Old Maid?

I'm still here, still depressed and still struggling to keep my head above water academically. I don't know what to write about these days without sounding like a broken record.

For the last week and a bit I've been having almost nightly dreams of Mr. Intellectual, which is a bit odd. I think I just miss being in a relationship with someone I love and who understands me. I'm frustrated and becoming increasingly sad over my current relationship status. I think it has to do with the fact that my 26th birthday is around the corner and in cliched girl fashion I'm fretting over the possability of a lifetime of spinsterhood.