Dating - The One Year of Divorce Anniversary Edition | Do Try This at Home: Dating - The One Year of Divorce Anniversary Edition

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dating - The One Year of Divorce Anniversary Edition

If the countless hours I've spent with girlfriends this summer over-analyzing the nuances of each date any of us have ever been on doesn't qualify me as an expert, perhaps the handful of actual dates I've been on over the past the year will. I'm sure there have been a good four or five, maybe more depending on how one defines the word date.

I haven't consulted ole' Webster on what exactly constitutes a date. But I think a traditional date might go something like this:

Guy contacts girl to set up date in hopes of eventually convincing girl to remove all her clothing. We'll just say this happens by phone, though it could just as easily be by email, text message, or smoke signals. Guy feels anxiety and fear of rejection, or so I've been told numerous times over the years.

Girl agrees to date for some reason she can't quite fathom. Girl wonders if this will be the father to her children and whether she will eventually be interested in removing all her clothing. Girl spends the hours or days between phone call and date dissecting every part of the call with any and every available girlfriend. Girl attempts to discover and inspect all hidden subliminal meaning from the words, "Would Italian food be okay?"

Girl considers excuses for canceling date and runs them past her girlfriends for validity. Girl wonders if there will be alcohol available on the date to help dissipate awkwardness and anxiety...or no wait, maybe it's the guy that wonders that. It might be both.

Somewhere between 24 hours and thirty minutes before the date, girl realizes she has nothing to wear. Girl considers canceling date due to lack of appropriate clothing.

Girl and guy go out to eat, they have a nice time or have a boring time. Guy says he'll call girl. Girl doesn't believe him.

Guy attempts to determine optimum number of days or hours to wait before calling girl in order to increase chance that girl will take off all her clothing as soon as possible. Or, guy calls at a random time using the time in between to look cool as a cucumber or to pursue others in case girl never takes off all her clothing, or because he hasn't given girl another thought.

Girl spends next three days over-analyzing the meal with girlfriends. Girl tries to determine whether the words "I like alfredo sauce better than marinara" means guy was secretly turned off by a zit on her ankle. Girl tries to determine whether guy's attempt to kiss her or lack of attempt to kiss her means he was secretly planning never to call her again.

Girl decides to wash her hands of the entire situation, vowing never to give the guy another spare thought just at the exact moment the guy picks up the phone to call her.

Or something like that. I'm sure I have some of the details wrong or that they vary and I for one have never had Italian food on a date. (Or a zit on my ankle for that matter.)

This much I've figured out for certain: "fun" relationships have been mis-named. As far as I can tell, it goes like this:
  • If two people enter into a relationship they enjoy, are having fun, and the relationship has some chance of lasting a good, long time, it is considered "serious."
  • On the other hand, if both people enter into a relationship already certain that it can't or won't work out and that one or more hearts have a strong chance of breaking into little tiny pieces, then the relationship is considered "fun."
I'm not sure who invented this rule, perhaps the same person who decided men get to look more handsome once their hair begins to gray while women just end up looking old.

I've received my share of dating advice, some of it in the form of encouragement to try online dating. I figure it makes sense to try, but I've chickened out each and every time I start to click.

Finally I decided that an obscure, starter dating site would be the way to go. As a person hesitant about dating, my experiment worked quite well. In fact, it worked SO well that almost every last man who emailed me through the site was Turkish. I'm not talking American of Turkish descent. I'm talking living on the soil of the country of Turkey. I don't know how many miles there are between Istanbul and Houston, but I'm thinking I'm relatively safe.

My dad gave my girlfriends and me some dating advice not long ago, although at the time he thought he was giving my daughter advice on how to get her cousin to accompany us to a museum:
Dad - How do you get a dog to come?
Cassie - You call him?
Dad - Right! You call him!
How do you get a cat to come?
Cassie - (confused look, while probably thinking something along the lines of "You don't")
Dad - (using her silence to support his argument)
Right! You ignore him!
And you've got to figure out if you're dealing with a dog or a cat.
Without further explanation my daughter promptly began ignoring her cousin. Not many moments thereafter he jumped into the car as if going to the museum had been his idea in the first place. For what it's worth, I've also found it interesting to think about whether I'm playing the part of a cat or a dog when over-analyzing dates. Not that it makes any difference of course, but a little introspection never hurt anyone.

This is some totally unsolicited dating advice I once gave to a friend who will remain unnamed. I'll also refrain from mentioning whether I know this to be true from personal experience:
If you find yourself saying to yourself or anyone else, "Oh good! He DID have a good excuse for not calling me! He was in jail!" it's time to (at a minimum) reevaluate your stake in the relationship.
I mean, not that any of it matters. It's not like my girlfriends or me actually follow any of our own advice much less each other's, but if we did...

well, I'm not exactly sure where we'd be with men, but our collective emotional health would probably be right up there with the best of them.


Debbi (no 'e' on the end) said...

This is a great post & confirms my belief that I never want to be single again to have to go thru any of this ever. Good luck to you.

Colleen said...

It's the dating world a "fun" and curious place. It would be so nice if someone knew if there were some rules that we could all play by! I finally went the online dating route after not meeting people and not having and friends with single friends. I dated some good and some bad, but thankfully found a keeper in the end (about the time I had given up to be honest!)... Best of luck in that crazy upside down world of dating!

Anonymous said...

That quote from your dad about dogs and cats is good! I had never even thought of it. Now whether that works in the dating world remains to be seen.

Instead of Turkey, you might want to move out west a little bit more? (see map of single people in u.s. to understand why)

Unknown said...

Meowww woffff meowww woffff

Oh I am so confused.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jill. After my divorce (I was married 9 years), I was so damn confused about dating, I just did everything how I wanted and ignored the advice. It didn't always work, but at least I did what I wanted. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post! Very well thought out, funny and self-deprecating and well-written! I really enjoyed it (probably enhanced by some of our off-blog "girl talk" which was really "girl write" but you know what I mean).

I love the entire "remove all her clothes" thing. There's not only the "what to wear" question for dating, but the "what to wear..under there" question! Like, "Egads! Should I wear cute panties or granny panties" which might go into, "YIKES! I can't fit into/don't have any cute panties!"

I do some date-dissection but usually run it by a very good male friend.

I don't worry too much about the call/not call thing and have done my share of calling and asking for dates and getting rejected. I have also made the first move and told a guy that I would like a 2nd date if HE were up for it (when it comes to online dating).

My male friends tell me that I am "not like regular girls"

Probably why I'm having such a big problem dating as I don't want to date a "regular guy."

What's a regular guy? You say, "You know, I had a great time and would like to see you again. How do you feel? I understand if you're not interested."

He says (knowing that he is not attracted to you), "Oh! I had a great time, too! Let me call you in a few days."

This hasn't happened to me in a long time, though. My profile is such that by the time I actually have a date with a man, we know that if anything, we can be open in our communication. I don't have many dates but all of them were with really great guys.

I have to admit that when I finally get to the date stage I am hoping that it's someone I want to take my clothes off for!

toners said...

Excellent post :) I would have a tough time being out in the dating world again...

Anonymous said... and your friends must spend hours on end analyzing this wonder you go nights with only two hours of sleep..:)

So why can't a women call and ask a guy out???

Levi Kaufman said...

Don't worry, dating is easily four times as puzzling for men because if we try to discuss it with our friends we either face ridicule or a barrage of anatomical questions.

It's a wonder I ever convinced my wife to marry me after experiencing my unique dating style, awkward moves, and inept communication skills.

At any rate, a good date should consist of a fair amount of listening on both fronts, which hopefully results in piqued interest, laughter, (successful) flirting, mild frottage, and perhaps some light snogging. Don't worry about the kiss, it might have been delayed in an effort to build more interest so the whole enterprise won't go all Hindenburg by trying at the wrong juncture.

Do what you like and hopefully someone that "fits" will be doing that too. I was actually doing something I hate...Yahoo chat, because it was my first couple of months I worked here and I couldn't stand the people I worked with. Looking back, it was mostly dumb luck and all of my wife's wonderful qualities that made things even out (not the least of which was her forbearance).

Being divorced makes dating so much harder, I can't say there was no collateral damage in the wake of mine. Oh the horror.

Good luck.

PS-Is Sitemeter something you pay for or an element you can add to your blog? Hmm...maybe I'm better off not knowing how few people read my blog.

Jill said...

Debbi, colleen, toners - it's not too very awful most of the time. Well, sometimes it's kind of really awful...I think y'just gotta sport a thicker skin than I generally tend wear.

Derek - Seems I'm doing ok in Houston then! :-)

SJ - You do seem confused. Let's hope you're spoken for! :-)

Jeff - thanks and nine, really? And then how long divorced? I'd make some joke about you not seeming old enough, but I don't think those are terribly well received. I guess it does seem like forever and a half ago since B.'s divorce though and he's not that old either...I don't think he was married that long though.

Ms.Q - Thanks! And yeah, I tend to do ok at that self-depreciating thing, don't I? That sneaky voice can have it's uses don't'cha know!

John - Girls can ask out all the guys they want!!!! I was just outlining a "typical" date. I would avoid doing so myself though, since I actually fulfill my quota for anxiety and rejection just by going the traditional route.

On the Turkish guys - TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike - wow so you guys get it from all sides I guess. Rest assured though - the female conversations include all manner of anatomy discussions. :-0

I like that Hindenburg reference. I could have used it today when I was explaining to a girlfriend how futile the stress over a particular text message was. I guess maybe the trick is to actually get to know one another before the whole Hindenburg thing...

Sitemeter is free the way I use it. You can pay for more services & it looks pretty cool when you do. I think those map things you see on some blogs where the last kajillion visits are all over the map are a paid service from that same site. I'm not sure though. I'm still trying to figure out how to subscribe to blogs so I can continue reading once school starts up.

Anonymous said...

Jill.... considering you came by my blog, I had to return the favor. Not only are you funny and charming, but you're a nifty writer too. Been a crazy week at KPFT, and your note and blog were welcome respites from my last 48 hours. Thank you so much! I hope you are well.

Disa said...

this reinforces my preference for dogs over cats, and why all single women cat owners should have gov't health warnings stamped on their foreheads. i want a codependent animal that will come and throw itself at me without me even having to open my mouth. your dad is a genius.

Anonymous said...

According to Derek's map, you should be dating up a storm in Houston! Of course, I have no idea of the age demographics.

Do your dates know you have a blog? That they can find photos of you in a bikini on your blog?

I only told one guy I met via online personals that I had a blog after our 2nd date and I actually gave him the URL. Guess it was TMI as I never heard from him again.

To use my mom's all-purpose phrase, "Such are the wages of sin."

Melissa said...

this made me LOL!-so very true ;)

love the quote from your dad

DJ Kirkby said...

What a great post. I can sense your frustration but this post made me laugh all the same...

EquineSpirit said...

GREAT entry! Love the association between dating and cats and dogs! That was AWESOME!!

Debbie said...

Jill, you're a female Dave Barry! I was cracking up reading this!

Unknown said...

Spoken for? Me? Not a word.

Kinda funny the older generation seems to like me better - parents more than the ladies themselves want me in the family :) Good news is I just have to wait till I am 60 to start oozing sex appeal!!!!

Noelia said...

Good luck to you in your dating adventures, hopefully you'll find Mr. Nice guy within reasonable distance ;)
And I too like your dad's quote.

Drunk Mummy said...

I love your analysis of 'fun' relationships - you have got it spot on there!
I often think that those people who use the phrase 'looking for fun' in personal ads, when they really mean 'looking for sex' are likely to be those with whom you would have the most miserable sex of your life.

Jill said...

Ernesto - Thanks so much!!! Yes, I imagine is ***has*** been crazy up there. :-( :-( :-( Don't people know ***children*** hang out up there?!?!?! :-) :-) :-) I mean, generally not at one in the morning but STILL!!!! I am up to my ears in "beginning of the school year crazies" but well! :-)

Disa - me too. Who needs just a pet when you could have a neurotic animal in need of therapy. :-)

Ms.Q - I would actually prefer that potential dates read my blog. That way they know what they're in for before wasting a bunch of time. :-) :-) :-)

Debbie, Melissa, DJ Kirkby, Noela, Sabrina - Thanks!!!!

SJ - Maybe you'll go prematurely gray. Kidding!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sure you ooze all kinds of sex appeal. :-) :-) :-) After all, don't you have an entire blog dedicated to your greatness & good looks?!?!?

Drunk Mummy - Yes, I may be a little more serious about having fun than most people over the age of six would care to withstand. :-) That would be *actual* fun, not the kind of fun that causes heartbreak & crying. :-) :-) :-)

Debbi said...

And people wonder why I choose to be single and not date anymore. If it is my time to be in a relationship God is going to drop him on my doorstep wether I like it or not.

Brown English Muffin said...

That conversation between your dad and cassie is priceless!!!

Ingrid said...

Wow. The dog/cat thing. Where was I when THAT information was handed out in Dating 101? So simple, and yet, genius!

Lara Neves said...

K, my favorite part of your whole post is the fun vs. serious part. So insightful (and funny) and true.

And, BTW, you should try out's what I do to subscribe to my blogs I read. Tells you who's updated, so you just have to go to one place a day instead of checking out a million bookmarks. My problem is that with all of my vacationing this last bit i have 1200 blog posts to catch up on. Never gonna happen. Sigh.

Jill said...

Debbi - You might want to warn the UPS guy!!!!!!!

B.E. Muffin & Lara & Ingrid - Thanks!!!!

Lara - Yes, I'm trying the bloglines & so far it seems really easy! This having to actually wake up and go to work and stuff sort of interferes with my blog reading... :-)

Maureen said...

...and yet another reason I am glad I don't date anymore.

The first being I'm still married, of course.

Anonymous said...

Korean Version:

1. Go on date.
2. Get married (irrespective of how date went).
3. Have children (ideally one boy and one girl)

Jill said...

Maureen - Yeah, if you need a valid reason not to date, being married ranks right up there I'm pretty sure. :-)

TS - So I should be expecting a birth announcement or two via airmail any ole' day now, right?!?! :-0 :-0 The women of Cambodia are going to be ****crushed**** I tell 'ya!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) :-) :-)

David Bedsole said...

I think you've got it about right.

Anonymous said...

well you're defiantly think about thoroughly... you know falling in love really isn't nearly as difficult as that if you're ready and open to it. too bad the thinking part feels so much safer huh?

Julie said...

Okay, I seriously love this post, because I have also never had a zit on my ankle. Wait, that wasn't it, its because I'm single and this whole dating thing just sucks.

Arizaphale said...

I am loving this blog more and more! I actually met my husband through internet dating although I am still unsure as to whether that constitutes a recommendation for the whole internet thing.


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