Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hiding From the Exes....

Datus Hiatus still in full effect. Well for me anyway. Across town, my friend Alexis is having her own personal man revival. "The drought is over!" she exclaimed as she ran blissfully a muck in the city's downpour of eligible men. One man she is seeing is a young hottie who plays in a rock band (this means the lucky girl gets a song written about her). Another is a martial arts god ("pin me to the floor, baby"), and the third is into Michelin star rated food as he picked her up at Range last night. When it rains men, it pours! Alexis is making us all proud by perfecting the art of juggling. Maybe I'll take lessons. In the meantime I seem to need to deal with some lingering issues from the past before I jump back in.

It seems as if ex boyfriends or ex datees (you know, the guy you had a few dates before one of you hastily disappeared) have come out from fog hibernation. The past drama of how these short little relationships ended has come back to haunt me. You can't hide from the immaturity of your past.......

Last week while walking down Chestnut minding my own business I had my first spotting. Ex datee Chris was rounding the corner. Why did I start to sprint away in mortification? Well, I had ended a few weeks of dating Chris with some lame excuse that I had illness. Hey, you never know about those moles! In all honesty I was very hypochondriac like at the time. My doctor found a suspicious looking spot. It was my first suspicious looking spot and worthy of a panic. And Chris was so nice and wonderful I couldn't think of any other reason than a terminal illness to end it. I know I know, bad, bad, TERRIBLE form and I am paying the price with years of dating misery as penance.

Ex datee Paul was spotted in Whole Foods. I never really ended any dating session with Paul. Rather he ended it for me as I caught myself saying over a fancy California style dinner 'I cannot believe we are allowing ourselves to spend so much money on this food. I mean how can you enjoy your fois gras with the situation in Dafur right now? You do know what's happening in Dafur, don't you?" I remember shaking my head in dismay. Why did I say that? Please, someone tell me? It's been years since I watched one of those Ethiopia infomercials. And it wasn't all that long ago that I wrote a review on Yelp for French Laundry. I hid in the produce aisle til he left.

Ex Datee John was the worst. I spotted him in a plane ride back from a work engagement. There was no where to hide and he was sitting across the aisle. John and I stopped dating after on date #3 (that annoyingly meaningful date). I insisted on bringing my friend Mazz along for the ride. I had overbooked myself and in all honesty wasn't sure if I could handle the man alone. It was a menage a trois dinner and totally uncomfortable. Even more uncomfortable when he and Mazz got in a heated political discussion. The meal ended with tempers flaring and a huge bill. So when I saw John on United flight 070, I decided to pretend to be very engrossed in my book.

Yes, I have the dating maturity of a 12 year old. Not only should I have ended those dates with more finesse and honesty, but I also should be diplomatic enough to say hello when I see them again. Why does hiding always seem like a good option? Why do I have a collection of fake wigs and glasses in my closet? Ugh. Time to be real. I am hoping my datus hiatus will give me the reflection time I need to act in my age category. I may also enroll in finishing school....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Datus Hiatus

It's been a week since I started my datus hiatus and I already feel better. The pressure to mitigate the rat's nest of my emotions is gone. The need to make decisions about so-so men (he's nice but....) on the fly absent. The constant bar scanning while out with my friends has been replaced with actual listening sessions. And naturally my free time has increased exponentially. I think men had accounted for 95% of my brain's clutter. Now my mind has time to think about more important issues such as work projects, SF's summer concert schedule, and finding a fashionable triathalon suit. (no small feat). Thinking about chocolate, oddly, has also started to occupy more of my mind.

I did indeed meet up with the herbalist/poker dealer/snowboarder /life coach (the last attribute was discovered in our 'meet-up') but in the spirit of hiatus I decided to play the "let's be friends" card. After all, engaging conversations and shared hobbies (um snowboarding, not herbs) don't have to lead up to a whirlwind romance. It seemed to work...after my "friendship" bomb was dropped, he still wanted to do social activities pals. But much to my dismay, my male audience scoffed at this development.

Women always seem to want men as friends (less drama, more adventure)....but do men in their 30s really want to seek out new feminine buddies? My good male friend CB explained it to me this way. "If friendships grow gradually over time (usually with friends in common), sure. But any guy that wants to leap into a new friendship with a hot chick is only trying to sleep with her. He'll play the nice friend card for a while but is hoping that she'll change her mind after a few too many dirty martinis....."

Remind my to lay off the olive juice while out with my male compadres.

Sigh. Why can't we all go back to college where everyone was friends first? Back in the university days I had more male counterparts than females. Oh the fun weekends spent rock climbing and guitar playing in platonic bliss!! Of course in those days I also wore birkenstocks and thought chapstick was makeup. Hmmmm...Well, no matter. I am determined to remain platonic while in Jimmy Choos and a fresh blow out. Hopefully my datus hiatus spirit will take over the city and we'll all revert back to college like attitudes..minus the birkenstocks.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Raining Men and I am Drowning

So as it turns out the mysterious Herbalist/snowboarder/poker player from last week’s post also put a yes by my name. We are meeting tomorrow for coffee. Perfectly coordinated in-between my triathlon swim practice and a group happy hour. Sports, Dates and Drinking. Seems like a wonderfully San Franciscan balanced day but I am second-guessing this whole thing (the dating thing, certainly not the happy hour thing). I had no idea that jumping into dating would be so exhausting. There is a hurricane of single men out there and I do not even have time to sort through them and breathe. I must have a classified ad taped to my forehead as everyone is aware of my new single status. In addition to the Speed Dating fiasco and two dates last week, TWO different (married) friends have approached me about setting me up with someone they deem….equally um “single”. Does ‘single’ mean ‘desperate’ in the eyes of the coupled? “Oh George would be PERFECT for you…..he really is looking to meet someone special….he’s great...let’s see, I would say he is funny, tall…has most of his hair…..he likes the color blue….oh and he is on a champion kickball team!” They smile and give me that knowing “he could be the one” smile. Ack.

Why do married/committed people always feel a need to do that? Do we single people really seem that lonely on our own that we will take any kickball player with hair that comes our way?

My dear friends “Mazz” and “Alexis” (The A in Alexis for type A) told me that I am getting flustered and overwhelmed and need a break. Break? Aren’t I just getting started? I always thought dating was a numbers game…..and the more you got out there the better the chance of success. Success to me right now is easy—just meeting someone I actually like and can visualize kissing (or better yet naked) without losing my dinner. But perhaps Mazz and A were right. Maybe it’s better to not force it, focus on my training plan, and just enjoy the summer with friends. Being patience pays off…so okay…no more forced dating, set ups, or anything that seems to be as tiring as triathlon training. Well after my coffee date tomorrow that is.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Love at First Gong

In efforts to get caught up with this fast city I decided to do two things. #1: Crank up my efforts on triathlon training by joining a performance spin class and #2: Try Speed Dating.

J's performance class is not for those who want to "dabble" in cycling. It is for those who are serious about the sport and have ambitions to develop ham size thighs. I am the obvious newbie in the class as my legs resemble toothpicks for children. I desperately try to keep up with the cycling maniacs, but I cannot shake the feeling to vomit after every hill repetition. Apparently vomiting in class is encouraged. J tells us that the more we feel we have to vomit, the better we will do in the "naked mirror" test.

Speed Dating is more daunting that standing naked in the mirror resembling a pear on toothpicks. Women are situated around a room (with cocktails, thank God) as men play musical chairs to chat with them for eight minutes each. After the eight minutes is up a gong sounds and the men switch to meet the next woman. A gong could very well steer away the love of your life just as you were about to tell him everything you had in common. Or it could finally put an end to an eight minute uncomfortable silence. After it's all over (and hopefully we are all still sober) we write down a "yes" next to the names of the people we want to meet again. Love at first gong? We'll see....

I entered the selected venue skeptically. I was wearing heels and bright red. (This was a tip given to me by a Speed Dating website. Apparently men are like bulls and viciously attracted to the color. In that case, Ole Ole). I had a few moments before the event started and joined the other women hanging around the bar with glasses of wine. Many of them were wearing red too; everyone must have ravaged the internet for tips. Hmmppf...competition? But no, they were all pleasantly attractive and friendly. We all nervously joked around about the event and wished each other luck as the starting gong...well..gonged.

I eyed the room as I took my seat. Unlike all the beautiful women around, the men sadly seemed to have lost the gene pool lottery. Every male specimen was some form of an overeager software engineer. Welcome to the Bay Area. Now I am not anti software geeks-I love them like the rest and especially when they fix my router. But there is a certain breed of them that still wear pleated khaki pants, play video games until 2 am, and drool every time they see a woman. Yes, I forgot to add the socially inept tech guy to my previous man type listing. Apparently, the dorkier side of Silicon Valley had braved the drive to take over the Speed Dating event. In eight minute intervals, I heard about C + coding, republicans, the Wii, passion for science fiction novels, and terrible luck at skiing. Sigh. Although I cannot put all the blame on their conversation skills. When one man asked me what the greatest risk I ever took was, I answered with the first thing that popped into my head. Unfortunately, the first thing that popped was Neddi--a type of nose cleaning I practiced in India. I watched the poor man's face transform into a disgust as I described putting a pipe cleaner up my nasal passageway. "That really was not a very sexy image," he said with revulsion. Why did I say that? Why didn't I just say my greatest risk was entering a triathlon and going to vomit class twice a week?? Or coming to Speed Dating in a matador costume?

At last one non-engineer came to my table. He was a herbalist/poker dealer/kite boarder. And strangely, much more my type. When the gong sounded and he moved away I felt remorse instead of relief. Ok, so maybe he was in untraditional careers. And perhaps he was five years younger than me. But he made me laugh, he was intriguing, and more than five feet tall. Keeping up the guise of opened minded I put a yes next to his name. It wasn't love....but at least he passed the gong test.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Re-entering the Scene

San Francisco-the scene of leftism politics, startup billionaires, metrosexual triathletes, and fantastic parties for the well-heeled. I had left my scene, and my entire wardrobe for that matter, to take a personal sabbatical around the world. I hopped from developing country to developing country and even spent some time Ohming in an ashram. I felt changed, at peace, and utterly ready to return to San Francisco as a new person. A BETTER person. And, after months of celibacy, this better person was ready to hit the dating scene full on.

Sadly, I think I spent too much time in the ashram. I re-entered the city lost and confused. It was moving too fast. Dating was cyber, cocktails always doubles (where did my tolerance go?), and everyone was training for some kind of race (either a marathon or speed dating). Determined not to be a fish out of water in my own pond, I decided to re-learn and re-claim my city. Out with my Ohm chanting books. I fumbled through my closet, re-located the Jimmy Choos, my black dress collection, and my eyeliner and leaped outside into the foggy air.....

This was NOT as easy as I expected. Especially anything resembling dating.

As I recall from my pre-ashram days the men of San Francisco came in four types:

1. The wealthy dot-commer athlete
2. The sensitive ponytail man
3. The sensitive pony tail man trying to achieve wealthy dot-commer athlete status
4. Gay

Not a lot of options, are there?

Outing A: First Saturday night out in a dress! A motley group of us headed out to the trendy Tenderloin bars. One male seemed to my dress. He was in a typical Type 1. Sadly, Type 1 guys know they are in high demand and act like oversized 5 year olds used to getting whatever they want. I could feel myself being honed in on. Ack! I couldn't deal with the dialed up attention. Especially after months of celibate chanting. My girlfriend Alexis watched me pulled to the dance floor, recognized my signature "yes no yes no yes no" dance and asked me if I wanted to stay or go. I was confused. What ever happened to old fashioned courting when a guy kisses your hand and then discreetly asks for your phone number? Why now is it acceptable for a man to grab your ass in a club as a sign of endearment? Sigh.

Outing B: A date. Yes I had a date. Not with Type 1 mentioned above but with a more discreet chatty man. Very chatty. For two hours we spoke about his new start up venture. Somehow we agreed that I could help him with some sales leads and branding efforts. The date ended not with a kiss but rather with a handshake and a contract. What I thought was a date had ended as a business deal. Do I look like Hillary Clinton? I know we all say we want a guy to like us for our brains...but really... What's the point of me slaving away in spin class if they don't notice attributes as well?

Obviously I was doing something wrong. I had been out of the SF scene for too long. I needed to make changes and fast. Attitude, style....bras?? On my way to look at new bikes to purchase for an upcoming triathalon (what better way to meet muscled men than by joining this activity?) I spotted a sale at a French Lingerie store. "Bastille Day celebration- 30% off until the 16th." The 16th?! Why this was tomorrow! I would save myself money if I shopped now. I hastily spent a portion of my bike money on undergarments. Afterall, I have always been a believer in "It's not what's on the outside, but what is on the inside that counts." And now feeling indeed beautiful on the inside, attitude changing, I strut off again in the fog....hoping for a bit more success as the week unfolds.