Monday, January 30, 2012


The past week, as I've been getting to know Monkeyboy better through the steady stream of hilarious texts he's been sending plus a long ice skating/Chinese food/beers date on Saturday, I've been comparing my current list of must-have qualities in a boyfriend to what my priorities were five or six years ago. I had recently broken up with my long-term boyfriend, l'Artista, and was hoping to find someone similar to him but without the commitment issues. My list of non-negotiable qualities would probably have looked something like this:
  • Smart
  • Good-looking
  • Has his life together (although at the time if I'd met a cutie whose life was a mess I might have been willing to compromise on this one)
  • Funny
  • Wants to get married and have a family

Unfortunately, I ended up with La Moustache, who met (or seemed to meet) all the requirements. I like to think I've learned a thing or two in the meantime. The list hasn't completely changed -- some of the items are identical, and a few are only slightly adjusted -- but here's the current list with new items in bold:

  • Smart and thoughtful
  • Has his life together and a job he is passionate about
  • I'm attracted to him ( how objectively handsome he is is immaterial)
  • He thinks I'm awesome
  • Funny
  • Willing to talk about his feelings
  • Wants to get married and have a family

So far, Monkeyboy is doing well in all categories. His biggest selling point (other than the fact that he's the funniest guy I've ever dated) is that he's really excelling in the "He thinks I'm awesome" section. Which is maybe the most important quality of all.

Anyone have any different qualities on their lists, or suggestions for additions to mine?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Enter Monkeyboy

As of last night, I have a new love interest who has rapidly set a number of dating records for me, including:
  • Most excitement (on my end) for a first date
  • Funniest guy I've gone out with
  • Best follow-up (texted to thank me for being the "best thing since sliced bread" immediately after the date, picked up hat I forgot at the restaurant the following day, already asked me out on date #2)
  • Closest resemblance to the husband of a friend (he looks a lot like my friend Miami Nice's hubby, Mr. Miami)
  • Most eco-friendly guy I've ever dated (he drives a Prius!!!)
  • Most observant (he complimented me on my nailpolish; my nail guru, Slinky, says that means he's a keeper)
  • First guy I've dated who owns a kayak
Overall, Monkeyboy seems really great so far. But the aspect I feel most positive about is something I've been thinking about ever since I noticed Doctor O back on OkCupid a couple of days ago, which is that it feels like Monkeyboy and I are in really similar places in life. We both moved from other cities a year or two ago after big breakups; we both live alone with a pet or two for company, and have careers we're happy with; we both go on lots of vacations with our parents. Differences can be interesting, too, but in my last few relationships it's felt like there's an inequality between us that makes things difficult long-term. Actually, let me change that: there's been inequality in ALL my relationships, on one side or the other. And I definitely felt that inequality with Doctor O -- I was flattered by the attention from such an accomplished man, a bit intimidated by the grown-up life he lives, and didn't quite feel like I was at the same level as him.

I'm not sure what I'll do if Doctor O does get in touch, but I think it's probably best if he doesn't. It would be nice for him to remain a strange, interesting little anecdote in my dating history.

Friday, January 20, 2012

You can find anything on the Internet

A few weeks ago, a friend who's a somewhat recent transplant to Boston and I were chatting about dating in Beantown.

"A lot of people have offered to set me up with different guys," she said. "I'm not sure I even need to use the Internet. What do you think?"

I told her that personally I would have a very empty date book if it weren't for the Internet. But when I thought about it more, I realized that even if I did have friends who wanted to set me up right and left, I'd still want to meet guys from the Internet.

The last guy I dated before Moustache, in my pre-Internet days, was a banker named White Pants who funded open-top mines. He made a good living in an incredibly boring and even (in my opinion) immoral way. Without revealing too many details, here are some of the guys I've met from the Internet:

  • An artist who made futuristic machines and participated in lots of international exhibits
  • A man who was famous for winning several hundred thousand dollars on a TV gameshow
  • A comedian who worked for one of the most well-known comedy troupes in the country
  • A writer who quoted the New York Times review of his book on his OkCupid profile (it was negative)
  • A lawyer who specializes in welfare cases
  • A painter who teaches underprivileged kids at a local university and hunts for mushrooms in his spare time
  • A musician who was named one of the country's most promising young songwriters
  • A scientist who studies the importance of play
  • A man who trained people all over the world in mediation

Plus a whole slew of other guys with only slightly less interesting jobs. Moreover, all of these people (with just one exception) were really nice guys. I met all of them on OkCupid, which you don't even have to pay for. And when I briefly tried a paid site -- Match -- the guys I met were far less interesting.

Why would I want to be set up with my friends' boring accountant friends and lawyer cousins when there's the Internet? Seriously, it's a no-brainer.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


So far during this round of dating, I feel good about my stats. Until last Monday, I had gone out on ten dates with four guys, all of whose company I enjoyed, and all of whom wanted to go on second dates with me. It didn't work out with any of them (mostly because the only one I was really interested in was Doctor O), but still, I enjoyed most of the dates and felt like they were a worthwhile use of my time.

On Monday, though, the inevitable happened: I went out with a guy who wasn't into me. After four enthusiastic suitors, it came as a bit of a shock, and it took me a while to clue in to his disinterestedness. At the end of the date, though, it became crystal clear. We walked out of the bar, I turned to my date and started to say, "That was fun!"

He interrupted me when "fun!" was halfway out of my mouth. "Nice meeting you. Good night," he said, turned, and walked away.

I was hurt and a bit horrified by his rudeness. I've gone out with many guys I'm not into, but I'm always polite to them and pretend like I had a good time -- mostly because usually I did have a good time, I just knew I didn't want to see them again. My strategy in this situation is to pretend I'm into them, then when they contact me I send them a polite breakup email (composed by my sister, Ms. Swamp) that goes something like this:

It was great to meet you the other day. You seem like a smart, thoughtful, outdoorsy guy, and a great teacher. I didn't, however, really feel a spark, whatever that means -- the more I do this, the more I trust my gut instinct on this stuff. I don't want to keep taking up your time if I don't feel that potential, but good luck with everything.

They usually take it very well, and I feel that this approach makes the situation as pleasant as possible for everyone involved. In fact, I half considered letting my Monday date know that the experience of going out with him was unpleasant for me, and suggesting he take an approach closer to mine.

On the same night as my date, my friend Surfer Girl went out on a first date, too. She texted me afterwards: "My date was awesome!!! How was yours?"

Unfortunately, it turned out that her date was, in fact, adopting my approach. He wasn't into her either, but while he was with her he pretended to be. By the end of the week, Surfer Girl was obsessively checking her email every five minutes and questioning what she had done wrong.

Hearing Surfer Girl's sad tale, which so many of us have experienced at one point or another, made me wonder if my date's approach wasn't so bad after all. I wasn't that into him, so in this case I wouldn't have minded in the least not hearing from him. But if I had been into him, I would have found out right away that the feeling wasn't reciprocated, and avoided those torturous days of waiting.

In any case, I'm pretty sure I don't have the cojones to reject someone to their face, so I'm going to stick with my approach. Which reminds me, I need to send the breakup email to my date from last weekend.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Opening doors

Last spring, shortly after I found out I was getting laid off from my job, a colleague came to offer her condolences. "I know it's probably not much comfort," she told me in her heavily accented French, "but sometimes, when one door closes, another door opens."

She was right -- it wasn't much comfort. At the time, I couldn't conceive of another door opening. And when I was passed over (several times over) for the job I was hoping for in favor of an internal candidate over the summer, my feelings were confirmed. But eventually another door did open, when my friend M invited me to participate in a craft fair at her house this fall, where I sold my knitting and pottery. Sales were a bit slow, but one craft fair led to another, and before long I had sold all my remaining pieces of pottery.

Suddenly, I'm glad to have a job that leaves me several hours free each afternoon, because those hours are kept busy filling orders -- $250 worth so far in 2012, including six sales and two (yet-to-be-filled) commissions. And it's not as tough as I thought it would be getting by on my meagre pay; it's actually been fun much of the time. It turns out I need way less money than I thought I did, I'm using more of my farm share than ever before, and dinner parties with friends are both fun AND cheap.

All of this is making me question what I really want and where I should put my energy. I know I absolutely love kids, and I can't imagine a life that doesn't involve spending time with children in some form. But do I really love teaching? I certainly don't love the stress and long hours. I do like being challenged and feeling busy and useful, which I don't always feel at work these days. And I've been surprised by how fulfilling it feels to sell my work and to spend lots of time being creative.

And now, I'm off to fill my first Etsy order and to decide how to spend my earnings. A fancy art deco iphone case, perhaps? A Missed Connections print to go with the awesome new Missed Connections book Slinky got me for Christmas? Or should I wait and when I've sold more get a beautiful hat?

Hmmm, Etsy might not be good for my austerity measures...