Guess Who, Boulder Edition

At one of the numerous happy hours my company has hosted for its employees this year, my teammates and I stood by a fence, surveying the array of pale, hirsute faces. The scene prompted one of my coworkers (who is also white and bearded) to point out that our office is a real life game of Guess Who. Remember that game? Twenty-four faces on the game board, most of them white men? Your first question was always “Is your person a man?” and your next was “Is the person white?” If your secret person was one of the only four women, the only black person, or one of the other three people of indeterminate ethnicity, you were setting yourself up to lose. You always had to choose a white man.

Continue reading →

When A Writer Dates

The number one rule of being a writer is that you have to write. This is the same in any pursuit (say, dating). If you want to be good at it, you have to do it regularly. You need to write a lot of crappy words to come up with the good ones and you need to go on dates with a lot of duds to find the right one.

Writing and dating intersect in the online world. A blank profile is useless. You must be able to write one that attracts the type of person you are looking for, and when you match, you must be able to carry on a decent written conversation long enough to get to the in-person date. And if the person you want to date is a writer, well, you had better have some serious writing skills. Because we’re judging. It’s inevitable. In addition to physical attraction, my willingness to meet someone is based largely on how well they abide by the rules of good writing. Continue reading →

Small Town Strikes Again

When I rejoined the single life at the beginning of last year, all the gals in my usual group, except one, were right there with me, or about to be, and that was a lot of fun. A gaggle of thirty-something women with money to burn and time to spare? Plenty of opportunity for getting into shenanigans! Naturally, over the last thirteen months, our relationship statuses have diverged, merged, and diverged some more through summer flings, painful breakups, unhealthy obsessions, and genuine connections. Now, at the time of writing this, three of us are in long distance relationships (how odd is that?), one is in a rekindled local relationship, and one is swiping left and right to make plans for the upcoming weekend.

So, although I’ve officially been out of the dating pool for over five months now, there are still dating stories I could share, and one recent event involving a friend’s date reminded me so much of my post about all my coincidental run-ins, good and bad, in Boulder that I had to. Continue reading →

The Real C Word

The real C word has eight letters, not four.

Children.

Children are the ultimate make or break point of any relationship. They aren’t something you can negotiate on. Or, at least, you really, really shouldn’t. Either you want them or you don’t, and giving in to a partner’s preference is asking for a lot of trouble.

I realize that in my dating age range (35-47 is my comfort zone), it’s difficult to find men who don’t have children and even more difficult to find mature, stable men who don’t have children. In most urban areas, it’s probably a little easier to find these unicorns but in Colorado cities, it’s probably a little harder because people who move here tend to be those attracted to the adventuresome life of rock climbing and backcountry skiing and spending an entire summer hiking peak-to-peak across the state. Those who remain unfettered by paternity tend to be afflicted by Peter Pan Syndrome, which I find most unattractive. So, when I started dating again, I had to ask myself if I could date someone with kids. Continue reading →

On the Laws of Attraction

I don’t waste time dating. I know within five seconds, at the most, whether I’m going to like the guy in a romantic way. If not, I stay long enough to be polite, get a good mental image of his personality, and hopefully learn about life experiences he has had that will never be part of my life or that I could never dream up, so I can perhaps include a fictionalized version of him in a short story someday. Everyone has some unique stories to share, and I take dating as an opportunity to draw those out and add to my creative idea catalog. Sorry guys, that’s the risk of dating a wannabe novelist. And then I end the date with an unequivocal statement about how I had a good time but, unfortunately, there’s nothing more between us. However, a little while back when I told a date that I wasn’t feeling a connection, his response was, “Well, I guess I date differently.”

I brushed this comment off because its sentiment seemed aligned with my impression of him as someone who had given up on life and was satisfied with mediocrity. I’ve never found value in going on a second date with someone I’m not immediately sexually attracted to. The few times I have, I knew as soon as I showed up for the second date that I was wasting both our time. But a few weeks after the date with this depressing fellow, I began to wonder if maybe he was on to something. Do I too quickly reject guys? Might I ultimately find a deep connection to one of them if I gave him more than two hours? Continue reading →

Missed Connection: Found and Relinquished

When I posted last week about things I had never done before, I deliberately omitted one experience because it deserves a post all its own. Here it is.

Around 11:30 AM on February 11th, I was standing in the 15th Street post office in Boulder. I was the seventh or eighth person in line, there was one cashier, and everyone in front of me had so many packages to send that you would have thought it was Christmas. Clearly I was going to be there for awhile, but I was too exhausted and distracted to care. I was ten days into a breakup from a horrible relationship and, while I was relieved to be out of it, I was still in that emotionally bewildered state that accompanies such drastic life changes. I hadn’t slept more than five hours or eaten more than the equivalent of three meals that entire week, I hadn’t showered that morning, or for several previous, and I was singularly focused on surviving the day. That very morning, after leaving the post office, I was going to pick up the keys for my new house and then go immediately to the UHaul place to pick up a truck and meet my friends at my ex’s place to grab all my belongings, which I had packed up the weekend before. Continue reading →

Raining (and Evaporating) Men

I’m back out there for dating round two. In case you missed it, here’s the recap of round one. I took a little time to clear my head, my heart, my emotions, my everything. I got back into my old routines and habits, the solo activities that I love doing and that are important to me, and I picked up some new ones. And then I started browsing around the dating sites again in quite a different mindset, much more my normal, independent self. I haven’t found anyone to write home about yet, only to write about here briefly and then forget, but I believe that’s as it should be.

The Energy-Efficient Homes Consultant: I caught this one in the wild (that is, not online). I have never been so 50/50 about a person after a first date. Literally for every point that attracted me to him, there was a counterpoint of equal weight that repelled me. I couldn’t figure him out. We went out on a Sunday and I agreed to go on a second date with him the following weekend, but over the course of the week, I changed my mind. I kept going over the good and the bad, and it ultimately came down to one nebulous bad point – a gut feeling. There wasn’t anything I can point to that he said or did, but I had a feeling that something was off. I have to listen to my gut. If there’s one thing I learned from the terrible relationship I recently left, it’s listen to that feeling and do what my brain tells me I need to, no matter how much I might be attracted to someone. Had I learned that lesson well when I was 32, I never would have gone out with my ex-partner past date number three and would have saved myself years of frustration. So, from now on I’m listening, and I cancelled the second date with this guy.

The Communications Account Manager: BORING. Continue reading →

OK, Cupid, But Not Quite Yet

Online dating isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. Words and how someone uses them play a big role in my life. Before I spend time in the real world meeting someone, I want to see how they communicate. I want to see that they are willing to put the energy into a well-written profile. I want to exchange quite a few messages with the person over several days or a week to see what they like to talk about and gauge how interesting they are. I rarely agree to meet someone unless they enthusiastically participate in this process. I’m not saying that makes the date more likely to be successful; I’ve had as much hit or miss as anyone else. It’s just my style.

Upon declaring myself a single person on February 2 this year, I thought all men were gross. The thought of even looking at or talking to a man sickened me. I couldn’t imagine ever getting close to one again. And then, suddenly, I changed my mind. Nothing in particular did it for me. It just happened. Well, almost. I opened a Bumble account and then closed it five minutes later. The next day, I opened a Tinder account and closed it five minutes later. A few days later, I built an OK Cupid profile and then immediately disabled it for a week. And then I reactivated it and actually started talking to people. And just like last time I was single, I realized it was fun. Everyone has a story to tell and I enjoy uncovering those stories and learning about lives that aren’t mine. And, let’s be honest, the attention and flirting helps the healing process. Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: Re-Engaging the Senses

I recently starting rereading Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses, which I read for the first time approximately two years ago. The book is an exquisite and vivid journey through our five senses and how they guide and influence our interactions with the world around us. It’s a beautiful piece of writing that serves as a reminder of the importance of literally stopping to smell the roses. Today, I did that. IMG_6411After a morning session of restorative yoga in the planetarium that left me with an almost unbearable desire to pack up the car and drive straight to the Badlands or Moab to be alone with my senses, I settled for a three hour solo hike into the forest and canyons at the base of the Flatirons. The air, earth, and plants were still damp with the heavy spring rain that soaked the whole region on Friday. Such a rich humidity on a rainless day is rare treat in Boulder, as is the sound of rushing water and a nearly empty hiking trail only 15 minutes outside town. The luxury of the experience filled me with emotion and also got me to thinking about how my own senses have been heightened and tantalized since I removed myself from a relationship that was breaking my soul and forcing me to suppress a desire for rich experiences in order to simply get by from day to day. Restorative yoga helps you be present in your sense of self, but the other five senses are every bit as important. Here is what has been influencing mine lately. Continue reading →

The Boy and the Bridge

I am deep in the abyss of NaNoWriMo, busily writing a terrible draft of the next (eventually) great American novel, so please enjoy this piece that I prepared and performed for Truth Be Told, Boulder in April 2016.

If you want to read more, the Miah I talked about is also featured in this blog entry from the same month.