Friday, May 30, 2008

Cyncism run amok...

This week, two old flames from previous days have resurfaced.

1) Marathon Mikey. A business-class teacher from Dedham who has run some 22 marathons, with whom I swapped running stories over e-mail in October. We had a few phone conversations without making a date. Soon after he wrote to apologize....but he had started dating someone and wished me well.

Fast-forward 7 months to my e-mail inbox, last Thursday:
MM: "Remember me? How about a reunion?"
Here's me, taken aback:
K: "Curious to see you back here again. What gives?"
MM: "What gives? I don't know, just putting my energy back into the dating world. How about you? Honestly, I needed a break from dating so that's why I kinda vanished. Do you want to talk?"
K: Yes, I guess I am putting some energy back into it also. I had a winter involving a relationship that went south and took a lot of energy out of it.... Now I'm picking up my writing again, and am talking some about my dating in a blog....which has been an adventure. How have you been?
MM: "I have kinda had a similar experience with dating. However, I learn from each experience and become all that much better:)"
K: "So what, now, are you looking for?"

2) The Editor:

Perhaps the most polite gentleman alive. Recently relocated from New Jersey, edits reading curriculum textbooks. We made 2 dates in January---both Sunday nights at swanky Davio's for wine and pizza, both three-hour conversations on politics, family, our jobs. There was minimal spark, but it was agreeable talk. During the course of Date #2 the temperature outside dropped 30 degrees and I shivered as we prepared to leave. The Editor took off his lengthy multi-colored scarf and handed it over:
"My mother has made me a dozen of these. Use it. Keep it."
The Editor's bad luck was timing. Those of you in the single world know: dating success comes in waves and droughts. I was under a tsunami.

The same day as Date #1, I had met Another Man in the flesh....who could not have been more different... with whom there was noticeable romantic spark. We e-mailed every day between my dates with The Editor. The same day as Date #2, I had spent the afternoon flirting over lunch and coffee with Another Man. I really wanted to date Another Man.

So after several unsuccessful attempts to get him in person, I broke things off with The Editor via e-mail. He responded, again, with utmost politeness. He rebuffed my offer to return his scarf.

As you will gather from this blog's primary quest, Another Man will go down in history as a short-lived romance, ended a number of months ago. And I bring this up because The Editor has been viewing my profile this week, on several occasions.

I'm in MM's shoes, reversed, and sheepish that The Editor is again seeing me single after turning him down.

3) Meanwhile, in response to my recent argument w/MRothko35 over Instant Messager status, once-upon-a-time girl herself -- A -- posted, in part, this comment, which has rightfully given me pause:
"i am stubborn and if someone told me that not liking to IM was a dealbreaker, that--the dealbreaker threat--would be MY dealbreaker. but you are right, maybe he was trying to be cheeky and cute and flirt with you into talking online. hell, maybe he's shy."
Summary of Cynical Behavoir:
1) I was curt with a man who liked me enough to recontact me after 7 months.
2) I desperately want to avoid a man with whom I hit it off because I don't want to admit another relationship's failure.
3) I took the online flirting of IM man as lame, despite being tempted, and found his copious :-) :-) :-) :-) distracting.

Why the blatant cynicism? I'm offended by flirtation when my purpose being online is, I don't know, to flirt? I find this attitude troubling, my judgment of fellow daters harsh. It seemed right at the times. Today, on a sunny spring Friday, it seems uncalled for and self-defeating.
Perhaps I'll drop all three all notes of mea culpa?

To be continued....

Lame excuse

The true mark of this woman's scintillating existence:

She didn't post to blog the last two nights because--while contemplating possible topics--fell asleep on the sofa and woke up at 5:30 a.m., uncovered by blanket, fully dressed, still gripping the laptop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Depths, perhaps...

It's a testament to your taste, dear readers....the number of you who questioned why I was conversing with a man who insisted that my lack of Instant Messenger was grounds for a divorce. Several wondered if he was for real. One longtime friend, with whom I mainly communicate online said:

"When did we suddenly become reliant on text messages, instant messenger and e-mail to "get to know" someone? Thats ridiculous. I can e-mail you all day, but we've met and we really got to know each other in person."

The conversation continued another round last night:

From: karin
To: MRothko35
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2008 9:55 PM
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: hi

That's an interesting deal-breaker.

From: MRothko35
To: Karin
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: hi
Date: Monday, May 26, 2008, 9:59 PM

I know. I’m quirky. Other people have their deal breakers. Mine is IM. :) If you accept mine, I’ll accept one of your's later. ;)

The funny thing is that it’s free. :)

And this from a man who co-opted one of last century's great abstract painters as his moniker.

I'd do well to thank one of the FwaBs, Michael, for locating yet again a prescient link (published yesterday!) on date-site men who insist on Instant Messenger. Is this the sign of a married man fronting single? The flirt looking for sex-only conversation....gratification with no additional goal? A writer who relies on emoticons to say what he can't with words?

Could just be a guy who likes IM. Who am I to judge? I like Dunkin' Donuts Turbo Ice dark with cream and 2 Equals every morning.

For awhile in bed, I brainstormed about what quirk I could use as blackmail of my own.....ability to down a box of GoLean cereal in a single sitting? Chronic tardiness? Perfect musical pitch? By the time I was in the shower this morning, I knew none would do. To acquiesce to a lame request was just that....lame.

But if I find out later MRothko35 actually could channel his namesake artistically.... :-) :-) :-)

Nonetheless. It was early in our relationship for him not to sacrifice for my sake. As R.W. Emerson once said, "Why should one regret if the receiver is not equally generous?"

The article Michael sent was titled "How to navigate online dating's depths." It's a crapshoot sometimes on whether those depths imply a huge pool of choices....or more simply suggest that the pool might be filled with bottom-feeders.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Love in the Time of Messenger: A true story

From: MRothko35
To: Karin

Date Received: May 11, 1:32 a.m.
Subject: hi

What are you doing up so late?

To: MRothko35
From: Karin
Date Sent: May 11, 9:20 p.m.
Subject: RE: hi

You asked me what I was doing up. What were you?

From: MRothko35
Date Received: May 11, 10:06 p.m.
Subject: RE: RE: hi

I was thinking about you is all. ;)

To: MRothko35
Date Sent: May 11, 11:07 p.m.
Subject: RE: RE: RE: hi

That's kind. I thought you might have been reading Judy Blume.

From: MRothko35
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: hi
Date: Monday, May 19, 2008, 11:52 PM

Hey there. How have you been over the last week? I was in Portland (ME) over the weekend, and my mother is currently visiting. She hadn’t seen my new condo so wanted to come see it and visit for fun.

P.S. Do you have Yahoo or AOL or MSN instant messenger?

To: MRothko35
Date Sent: May 20, 5:59 PM
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: hi

Not on AIM, sorry. It's been a good week.

What was in Portland?

From: MRothko35
Date Received: May 26, 10:06 a.m
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: hi

I just went to Portland for fun. Too bad you’re not on any sort of instant messenger. I guess that means we can’t get to know each other. Bumma! ;)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Round One: TKO

Sorry for not explaining the Reeses Pieces inhalation in fuller detail. (And a shout-out to my college buddy KLK for wondering about the inadvertant shout-out to E.T.....following the candy home.) I know some are awaiting with breathless anticipation.

My date Wednesday with the gentleman from New Hampshire revived a constant self-debate: whether a man's writing personality is crucial to my relationship success. In the two weeks we corresponded via e-mail, this man's style was friendly and reserved. He asked questions about the interests on my profile, and responded to my questions in full details. There was no hint of in turn, there was no real excitement. But as I've theorized.....some folks are writers, some are not, and that doesn't mean a more dynamic personality does not lie within.

As we shared a couple drinks and buffalo wings (messy, lip-burning and awkward to eat gracefully), said gentleman was friendly and reserved. He asked questions about my interests on my profile and responded to my questions with full detail. There was no hint of in turn, there was no real excitement.

I knew it and thought it about five minutes into the conversation. Waiting for a table, I commented on the day's big news: Mass Senator Ted Kennedy's malignant brain tumor. Start out by talking about current events, or the weather, to break the ice.

"Oh, I really don't pay attention to all that Kennedy stuff," he responded.

Not rudely. But closing off the subject. Either inexperienced at social gracefulness, or not interested in political debate. Both of these qualities, if not crucial, are at least a bonus....and immediately he was two points in the hole.

Later, I told him about my church social life and engineering friends there-in. (His field of study in college, although he now works in computers.) Turns out he's agnostic and dislikes engineering, would never get a job in it....and said both of these things in response. Again closing off the subject without introducing a new one.

At that point I was not unhappy, but knew we had nothing in common. However, we were only halfway through the chicken wings.....spicy, messy foods having to be eaten slowly.

Meanwhile, I learned a lesson about the effectiveness, and inherent misleading nature, of social niceities....such as a friendly goodbye handshake. I was under the impression that all arrows pointed to our incompability. Yet, did I I not convey.....? My gentleman e-mailed me Thursday morning: nice to meet you, look forward to catching up with you next week.

I sent him the unfortunate, unamibiguous brush-off e-mail today.

Onto the next round!

Birthday Shout-Out: The Professor

Today we celebrate 30 years of Joshua. It's been a big week for our man. On Sunday he received a snazzy hood and hat from Boston University....the stuff they give you when you complete a PhD in religion and literature. Today he completes a metamorphosis: from the skinny Michigan grad, spiky-haired and poked full of earrings, who walked down Peterborough Street and into my sublet that July day in a fellow thirty-something with job worries and a teaching and publishing career to manage.

To my relief, in eight years Joshua hasn't lost most of what makes him Joshua. (Or Josh, to his pre-Boston buddies.) He teaches me five new vocabulary words every time we talk, without trying. He still is stylish in his clothes found at the Salvation Army secondhand store, enough so that I could spot a non-thrift shirt (at his dissertation defense) in an instant. He'll still join me in a jumbo tequila shot at the Courtside if the situation warrants. Still prefers to keep the peace instead of arguing, but will debate anyone on the Democratic hopefuls.

We still play frisbee once a summer and promise that we might one more time head to the Big Cheesy for some overly-inebriated dancing.....although he was still well in his 20s the last time we tried, and failed, to enjoy such an outing. Mostly because we felt too old, and weren't afraid to admit it... (also, because the place has since closed!)

Despite living in Ithaca NY this year, he has been constant to my version of Boston. Constant in his sweetness while trying to prove he's a tough. In having the singing voice of Tony Bennett, Chris Isaak and Al Jarreau rolled into one. And he is a constant friend.

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bad date cure

Eaten while walking the 2.3 miles home to assuage caloric guilt.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Double Date....

So it has come to this: I have a date this evening. With a computer systems gentleman from New Hampshire, recently relocated to Cambridge. He likes travel and scuba diving. We're meeting after work for a drink, at his suggestion, at the Silvertone on Bromfield Street.

(Note: this revelation is not license for everyone to come and view the festivities. Although I score my date points for choosing this particular bar.....a place often passed but never visited....mostly because I didn't have any one to take me there....)

Equally important is the date in the late morning w/my podiatrist, Dr. Coen at Mass General Downtown. I don't know if he'll cure what ails the foot ache, but I'm hoping at the very least for clarification on what the problem itself is. It would be pleasant if his recommendation was to rid myself of the orthopedic walking flats I recently purchased.....and trade them in for shoes that actually look like shoes a girl would wear on a date with a boy.
Like my patent-leather open-toed heels.

The doctor's office is located one long block away from the Silvertone. Maybe I'll ask Dr. Coen if he thinks that I should stay off my feet, if there's any real need to walk the 12 blocks back to the office between Date 1 and Date that maybe I'll just spend the day at the bar....just me and my stylin' shoes....
Wednesday morning update: The girl in front of me getting on the bus this morning was wearing these exact shoes! So at least two pairs of Merrells are doing the business-commuter crowd from Southie...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Double Birthday Shout-Out

I suppose at some point in life I would be blessed with enough friends that they would--in addition to sharing a common link through me--start doubling up on birthdays.

Today we celebrate 60 fabulous years of Claudia. She's on the left in this photo, taken at a Barack Obama rally on the Boston Common last October. She came along despite a former home in Little Rock and one-time social relationship with the Clintons. Which is enough of a reason to celebrate her as a devoted confidant. (As I should middle friend Beth....a Texan and decidedly non-Democrat....)

My acquaintance with Claudia dates back to 1999 and our first semester at Emerson class....the classy Canadian ex-pat with the most superb enunciation, who slipped a bottle of wine into our final class. She currently maintains one of the most lovely properties in Truro, Mass. I could create a list of her top 200 qualities and it wouldn't scratch the surface of her essence. But to say she loves beauty in all things....and chooses to share it with all people through her writing, photography and other artistic gestures....might be a start. Someday I will write a book and she will be the main course.

Today we celebrate 28 fabulous years of Dave. He may work for a nursing home company, but he is singer. Of live-band karaoke. Of musical theater power ballads. Of eight-part a capella arrangements. Of Bobby Darin and Jason Robert Brown and "O Holy Night" and the entire Beatles catalogue.

He loves his friends and his home state of Delaware, plays passable guitar covers, and as one of my FwaBs (he's the bare-chested tights dancer), gives me rides home when I ask. But I daresay he might love singing more than Delaware. And yes, he works for a nursing home company, but he should be a full-time baritone.

Luckily, Dave likes to sing while I play the piano, so we've begun practicing together. Last night we hung out and ate pizza, drank 16-oz PBRs, and trolled YouTube for our favorite songs to try....and then played and sang them for many hours. I do appreciate a friend who has the chops to be a rock star and makes me feel like one too.

Happy birthday, y'all marvelous folks.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Loose ends, late in the weekend

1) The Friday-night Common debacle:

Both duck and girl are fine. Thank you, all.

(The most tangible after-effect was the $9 I had to shell out for the cab ride.....that, and I certainly have figured out how to get y'all's attention!)

Having another day to mull, I regret I wasn't a cooler customer. More Bette Davis in my disdain for this insignificant insect deigning to touch my coat. "Why am I so good at playing b*#$%s?" Ms. Davis once said. "I think it's because I'm not a b*#$%."

Man, when I replay the scene I could have been a great b*#$%! "Out of my way, you uncouth slug!" and all that, slinking past without a second look after slapping him on the jaw. Not that I regret having worn my tennis shoes and screaming at the top of my lungs. Or carrying the duck. But in a movie replay....would have been a total cliche....

I also can see the guy more clearly: a junkie trying to bum cash like those who troll outside of nightclubs after closing, bumming cigarettes off drunk college students. He wanted ME to be cool about it, slip him a bill, "yeah man," all that. He didn't realize he was existing in an alternative universe where women don't take well to strangers pretending they're carrying a gun.

2) The stand-up comedian conversation

Suffice to say, it went ok Thursday night. He's a local boy with a wicked Bahstan accent.

AND a Republican who is convinced that after 20 minutes and a couple beers, he will convince me to take a walk on the dark side.

Now that was funny!

He also is working up a Rick Astley imitation.

It took only 3.5 minutes into the conversation before I confessed that I was writing a blog on my dating experience. And that he'd probaby feature on it. Strangely, we just kept talking. He told me that I sound really smart.

Next up: he's supposed to call me some night to go out for a beer. Hopefully not one of THOSE beers.

3) Days gone c. 2007

This is not my first time on I spent some time in October talking alternatively to a) "marathon mikey", a community college professor who has run 20-odd marathons and, in the voice of a motivational speaker, told me to go for my dream of running Boston; b) a personal trainer/former chef 100 miles away in Wellfleet, celebrating his 40th birthday, who wanted to take a chance on a long-distance relationship and thought I had the best legs on match.

MM and I tried one phone conversation. It was a Sunday afternoon, I was walking to Brookline. He was listening to a NASCAR race and grading papers and I hadn't slept the night before. You can imagine the un-scintillating back-and-forth. About a week later he wrote to say he was exclusively dating someone else.

But it wasn't a huge loss, because I had started a much more flirtatious exchange with the PT/Chef and liked him.....dreaming of how fit I was going to be, while at the same time eating grilled salmon like a queen and getting to be on the outer cape with free housing! He and I had planned a date in Boston for a Saturday afternoon....meeting in a neighborhood neither of us knew and exploring until we found the perfect spot for dinner.

Four nights before said date, I phoned PT/Chef to set the plan. He never responded. I e-mailed him the day before. He wrote back within the hour....on the night of my call, a tragic event rocked his world so deeply he could not remotely think about entertaining a long-distance relationship. But he was SO glad we had a chance to talk.

Yeah, right.

Both of these gentlemen have showed up on my "I've viewed your profile" list in the last two days. Their bologna has a first name: it's r-e-g-r-e-t.....:-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Duck umbrellas rule!

I've lived in Boston for going on nine years. Other than lack of ability to find a long-term relationship with a significant other, I pride myself on a certain level of boldness that might be summed up as such:

1) If there is something I want to do, I'll do it. I know from stupid.

2) If that something is walking home alone, at night, I'll do it because my confident stride will repel all evil-doers.

Of course, on one occasion in 2005, such chutzpah was no help. 12:30 a.m., two blocks from my Dorchester home, I was coming from the train after a late dinner in Cambridge. I'd walked that street, easily, a thousand times at all hour. But on that October morning, a man ran at me from behind and pulled my backpack from my shoulder.....which I fought for with great screaming, and ultimately lost when he ripped it away and I hit the pavement palms first, breaking several fingers.

That was the last time I've walked home wearing high heels and a skirt....major surgery and four months of OT will do that. Since then I've walked a lot of places, and it is all tennis shoes all the time. It also triggered my attacker-awareness-sensors....which had, before that, laid untested.

Last night found me in the Boston Common testing the reaction, once again. These things seem to always happen on nights where I'm ruminating on how nice it is to live in a city such as ours. A friend and I had just come from a French comedy at the Kendall Square Cinema, strolling and swinging our umbrellas in spite of the drizzle, across the Longfellow Bridge and back into Boston. At the point of the park he went his way, I went mine....and I was so filled with contentment and confidence that I kept on through the near-empty park, forgetting the hour and the reputation of the place.

Is it because my right foot is gimpy that my stride no longer has repellent-evildoer qualities?Seemingly. I was nearly across to Tremont Street when a fine gentleman--small in stature, hunched and wearing a beige windbreaker--crossed in front of me at a path intersection and began walking in step.

"Where's Washington Street?" he said.

"Straight ahead," I replied, still walking. This usually works.

"How far ahead?" he said, also still walking.

I pointed up the sidewalk. "About a block." My eyes started to dart, looking for other walkers.

"Say, miss, do you have some money I could have?" Now he had turned and was walking backwards in front of me.


"No sir, not," I still hadn't broke stride. But he did, cutting me off.

"Oh, come on."
"Sir, please, leave me alone. No." He grabbed my right arm.

"Hey there, hands off!" I jerked away and began backing up. And started yelling for help.

"Don't do that!" he screamed back, whiny, as if insulted. He grabbed my arm again.

I batted his grip with my hot-pink duck umbrella. This made him let go, only to shove his hands into his coat pockets and fumble his elbows in circles. Still demanded my attention.

"Stop that! I have a gun!"

"You do not!" Backing away more now, I yelled. (I did? This I can't believe.)

He came back at me, again grabbing on.

"Stop that yelling! Come back here!"


Two more swift whacks with the duck head to his arm, and I pulled away. Other voices asserted themselves in the distance behind me. Bad foot or not, I sprinted towards Tremont Street, to the relative safety of the traffic and the pedestrians coming out of the movie theater. He didn't follow, but called after me to rectify this wrong--as if I had embarassed him by creating a scene. For the next 30 seconds as I stood at the curb, heart about to come out of my chest, I could hear it "come back! hey! come back here!"

I crossed the street and hailed a taxi. I thanked my umbrella. Thanked God. And cursed my boldness.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mood: not entirely conversational

This girl's psyche has been tried today.

On April 21, I ran the Boston Marathon... six weeks after being diagnosed with everyone's favorite over-training injury: plantar fasciitis, a severe inflammation of the foot tendons. The only cure for this is rest. At the time I visited a podiatrist who said...."ok, so you're still going to run the marathon. But keep in mind if you leg through it.....think of if you want to run or not after April 21."

So I legged through it and, I thought, went on with my life.

But the arch pain in my right foot has returned with a vengeance this week. General walking is not comfortable. This resulted in another chat today about it, this time with a sports medicine doctor, about what to do. He decreed: to heal the tendon, put the kibosh on nearly every impact or stretching activity you currently do. No yoga. No biking. No running. No walking at any great length. And no high heels. Probably for two months.

At the same time, all other components of life felt disturbingly unresolved.

The monthly paycheck arrived in the bank account today, but it is already spent. Tried to book a ticket to Minneapolis in June, but held off because the price has gone up $100 in the last week. Can't figure out how to get to D.C. for Memorial Day weekend without spending as much as a plane ticket. Pants feel tight around the waist.

The last straw was when some twerp newby from one of our clients' offices called at 5:30 demanding vague asset allocation information for the rep of a rep of the client. We snapped at each other.

In a perfect world, I would now like to visit a potato field 5 miles south of my hometown in North Dakota.... sink cross-legged into the dirt, and let the wind blow over me until the sun goes down. But I'm in Boston. And I should really go to the gym. To do time on the recumbent bicycle (allowed, yes!) to offset the calories contained in a drown-my-woes Frappucino from a couple hours ago.

Am I allowed to cancel my scheduled phone conversation with the comedian tonight because I've been in a foul mood most of the day?

(No, you say. You are not allowed to wimp out. )

Perhaps I should be thankful that he might, just possibly, make me laugh. Which of course is the entire point.

(Thank God for! you say.)

One can hope.

So appropos of nothing, here is my absolute favorite YouTube video, which DOES happen to be a comedy routine. ...a couple of kiwis from New Zealand singing rap-style folk songs. (4.7 milion hits in the last year can't be wrong.)

In case the conversation falls through later, I'll need something on hand to come back to later tonight and laugh at.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A decent day on the slopes....

So the noon tally since we last spoke is 51 profile views. And the only modification to my profile in the interim was to the category "Last Thing You Read."

Which in my case was "phone number of a respected foot doctor."

I also in the last 24 heard back from the comedian. He apologized for the delay; he was--where else--in Vegas for a long weekend. He also noted he hadn't been on stage for a number of months, since he broke his ankle and was recovering.

Perhaps the continuing quest to cure my resilient plantar fasciitis was just that spark that turned his corner?

Additional helpful conclusion: it pays to troll around viewing profiles, which I did for a half-hour after work last night. Not surprisingly, those who are viewed like to view back.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Friends who are Boys: The Educator

I have a lot of friends who are boys.

Funny, they're like friends who are girls. But instead they are boys. Or men, of course, at this age.

They're talented. They play organ brilliantly, pursue doctoral degrees in literature or geography, and still woo co-eds at dive bars with success. They dance bare-chested in tights on stages and sing at piano bars. One runs races in 6-minute miles and doesn't brag about it. A few have egos.....but will still walk me to the bus after-hours, use Starbucks discount numbers to buy me coffee, and give me countless rides home when it is clearly out of the way.

They're like girlfriends....mostly because we don't date each other. But we hang out. We go for beer precisely so I can ask what some other boy who isn't returning my e-mails could POSSIBLY be thinking. They tell me to chill.

In return, we discuss the the Democratic presidential primary. And sometimes talk about their love lives. But they are uniformly good-hearted to let me go on....and on....and on.... about mine.

These are the guys my grandma has to wonder why I don't date. I try to tell her it is complicated.

One friend who is a boy, Michael, is a singer and violinist who, at the same time, writes computer code and is beginning his PhD in educational statistics at the University of Illinois. He's a thinker.....witness his blog with his observations on science, philosophy, and theology, sometimes all at once. He's relentlessly problem-solving....that person in the raucous party of church musicians (yes!) who makes sure the check gets paid with 5 separate debit cards.

Above all, he is an educator. Not only as a tutor in classrooms, which he is, but in our friendship. I often leave our conversations knowing he's asked me to newly consider how I think about a situation....and that because of something he said, I'm doing so.

Here is link to a video from this weekend's New York Times Michael sent along. He thought I might want to use it to compare against my own observations of It contains interviews on the Manhattan street, asking pedestrians:

"What do online daters lie about?"

Again, educating.

Thanks Michael.

24 hours, 53 profile views

Heartening, although I think I should be able to best this....I mean come on! I'm offering:

a) a sassy collarbone

b) opportunity to be famous among my dear readers

c) chance to meet one of only 10 North Dakotans in Boston....maybe even the most skilled piano-playing North Dakotan in the city.

d) the chutzpah of someone who for five years has worked in a field she still knows nothing about, and who is willing to admit it. (About as bold as traveling to Egypt, eh?)

Although to be fair---I haven't written anyone myself.

So I promise that in the next 24 hours I will:

aa) Write sassy, pertinent, flattering notes (not about my collarbone) to at least 3 individuals.

bb) Somehow, in some way, up the ante.

Suggestions on how to do that are welcome.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Change in tactics

Heeding my friend's advice, the new headline on my profile reads:

"You too could be the next contestant....
So I'm writing a blog about this thing....creative weigh-ins on this profile could gain you a featured moment...! Or maybe just a shout back from me...."

Whether or not this causes my one current correspondent to blanch and retreat is yet to be seen.

In the meantime, I've reset the "profile views" counter to track the before- and after-effect.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Dear sir...."

A week in on and I'm realizing how much it is like a job search.

*Profiles are the resumes.

Except that every guy likes to pretend they are "driven", while at the same time, "pretty laid-back." And no one does not like to "hit the bar with friends." Which would never cut it on a cover letter.

*Sometimes you have to send 20 e-mails to receive one response.

It's easy to read that a person is considerate to his mother, subscribes to The New Yorker, likes to run on the Charles and reads the Sunday paper for four hours over coffee and believe that you, and no one but you, must be his soulmate. Any 30-something female in the greater Boston area would want to snag this guy and I am, most likely, one of 50 people writing him daily. Like how every high school student with a 4.0 g.p.a. applies to Harvard.

I'm still waiting on a response from my witty and enthusiastic e-mail to the stand-up comedian. And working on the other 19 I should send out today.

*A profile should be tailored not only to your strengths, but to your audience.

Originally I didn't think mentioning my love of The New Yorker and piano bars was tailored to attract 47-year-old divorced truck drivers from Worcester. I thought it might attract men from Boston who read The New Yorker and liked piano bars.

Still learning, here.

One of my better male friends, today, suggested that a smart, literate guy from Cambridge who runs, boats and owns his gorgeously-renovated triple-decker might be snagged with irony-drenched wit. That I might do this snagging by telling him up front that my searching is part of the larger social experiment of my life. That I'm writing a blog about it.

And asking him, do you want to be a part of it?


Friday, May 9, 2008


The stand-up comedian had an energizing profile. Which inspired something that felt witty, the easiest writing I've done all week.

What a relief.

Meanwhile, I'm dying for chocolate. Which has about 200 more calories than a quality piece of prose. (But the same effect?)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Short (finally!) as a good quality...

Note to self:

Write blog entry prior to pizza, riesling, two hours of gossip, and a trip to the gym. Oh, and a hectic day at the office.

There used to be a night where I still had energy at 10:30 p.m. (In fact my pizza friend and I just revisited some of those memories tonight....we have a history of visiting dance clubs with martinis in hand...places where you don't dare show up until after 11....)

Right now, I'm exhausted just sitting on the couch, marveling at how my cats can so effortlessly leap up and down from the counters.

Good news tonight, on multiple fronts. Two match messages to buck up and respond to. Two men much closer to the desired target age (within 6 years...!). One is a stand-up comedian. The other in computer systems tech. One north, one south.

And they are wisely written. Yes.


Responding while at this level of tired is going to take some creativity which, I'm afraid if I stay here too much longer, will all be poured out.

See ya later!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

You never take me to DeLux anymore....

There needs to be some pill I could swallow in between periods of dating. I have a great weakness: To constantly ruminate about my most-recent failed or unworkable relationship.....even if I'm totally over it....even if sufficient time has passed....until something with Promise replaces it. If we went for a drink, I see that bar and am instantly sad. If we once listened to a song and he exclaimed, "I love these guys", I need to change the radio for the next six months whenever it comes on.

In the meantime, a girl sighing and whining with regret is hardly an attractive prospect. So nothing with Promise ever takes over. And the rumination just goes on. It's an ugly cycle.

The "move-on" pill, I would call it. (Bio-engineer-types get on it, stat, and with chocolate-coating, please!)

The good news today, as you know, is that I'm actively on the prowl. So perhaps this time of Promise will be soon.

In the meantime.

Some new rules, going forward. If I ever, ever, ever think the person charming me over a latte on a Sunday afternoon is at some point going to NOT want to go out with me....even if only for a nanosecond....I won't take him to my everyday coffee shop. Or my favorite dive bar in the South End, with Boston's tastiest grilled cheese, that I bike by on the way home from work. Or even THINK about discussing musical tastes that are going to show up daily on WERS. I'm weary of changing the radio.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Where are the fellow writing majors....?

Obviously, not wooing me on

It's been a couple days now. I'm doing a lot of scoping and, not yet, a lot of writing. Working on the confidence for that.

One conversation is percolating, avid outdoor athlete from south of the city "winked", I thought he was physically attractive and winked back. Within 10 minutes he asked if I wanted to go for a run. I demurred out of necessity, filling him in on my post-marathon running break to rest the foot. Now his profile speaks confidently of a love of skiing, running, biking, travel and camping, and how he wants his match to enjoy those things too, but says very little in the way of job, other likes, etc. Thus, I queried....

Me: So what do you do?

Him: I pretty much like to run, bike, travel, ski and camp.

Your turn.

Me: I like music, etc etc (imagine about 5-6 lines of prose on this line, including a recent project involving piano bars.).

So if you're not from Boston, what brought you here?

Him: I moved here and got a job.

(Full stop.)

So my initial interest in this gentlemen, while still slightly active because he's lanky with great hair and smile, has waned. After merely a day, the thought of writing back sadly seems a chore. I'm not asking for Jonathan Franzen-style tales of childhood whimsy and detail. Just slightly interesting sentence structure. A play on words. Some creativity. A return leading question.


Back in 2004 I took my dating, or lack-there-of, game to the craigslist
scene. (Hint: it's free! And as a classified-ad repository, a lot more casual.) And, I eventually came to believe, a place where no altogether woman posts personals....because every third male on the planet responds. I posted at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday, using my office computer before leaving for the weekend. An impulse move born out of some anxiety I had about being single...go figure...and I hadn't attached a photo or went into any great detail.

The next morning I logged onto my Yahoo! account to discover an inbox so overfull it had crashed. The night before at 6:30. Some 140 messages made it through before the fall. The majority had photo attachments. The majority of those featured pectoral muscles, both clothed and unclothed. Some had terrifically graphic headlines.

After scraping my jaw off the keyboard, I started scrolling, overwhelmed by how or what I was going to respond to any of them.....and picked a few at random. The threads mostly trailed off after a post or two....except for one conversation that perked up with one very sassy gentleman. Who ended up being two weeks-worth of scintillating conversation and, eventually, a pretty decent night out. Our chat was so clever I still think about it. And it still resides in my archives.
A sample:

"I was going to stay in with my cat Saturday night, so even just meeting you is a vast improvement on what I had planned. I live in the North End with two female roommates. Call me
Jack Tripper. I often wish I lived alone, but would probably miss the company. Cats don't speak, as you know." (Full disclosure: this man has an awesome blog......which I still, surreptiously, read, and will not post here for any amount of money. But you can ask to see it.)

End of Tangent

So the killer creative force and I lasted one date. But it set my wits so high that simple yes and no responses to match questions are enough to make me run in the opposite direction.

Ah. If I could subsume my writing snobbery. So difficult.

One of my dearest friends is married to one of the dearest men on earth, with whom I am also friends. He is hands-down one of the least accomplished writers I know. Had he ever tried to woo me via e-mail, I would have fallen asleep before replying. Yet...if he weren't married to her, I would want him to be married to me. He's that awesome.

I'll try to remember that.

Note: I am not on this earth to publicly make fun of anyone who thinks I'm worth starting a conversation with. Hey, I'm on match too. I guarantee that in some alternative universe in Quincy MA, a man blogs away about some witless point I've made. Nevertheless, dear readers, do call me out if anything on this site approaches cruel and unusual punishment to the psyche of others.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Safe until Thursday....

Out of several thousand dwellings in this here hood, I'm guessing there are about eight with off-street parking. Renters definitely don't live in any of these places. Parallel parking and block-circling is a competitive sport, with rules.

For nine years I laughed at those who were required to worry about such things as parking stickers and the vagaries of April-to-November: street-cleaning season. In last month, I have been forced to eat that laughter with a butter knife:

Rule #1) If you easily find a parking spot at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday night, it is probably too good to be true. Chances are 99.8 percent you are on a street that gets cleaned at 8 a.m. the next morning.

Rule #2) When parking at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday night and you find a spacious spot only a block from your place, you should probably end the phone conversation you're having with your father and look at surrounding signage.

Rule #3) After you have disregarded the above-two rules, get out of your house prior to 8 a.m. the next morning.

Today at 8:10, as I made my way on foot towards my morning coffee and bus, I came upon an idling street cleaner at the nearest corner. In front of it, two tow trucks. In front of that, a long empty row of parking spots all the way to F Street, with the exception of my white Mazda 626. As for that: a man in a dirty work shirt was circling it, looking for a tow hold.

I sprinted. I kow-towed to the tow man. He let both me and my car go.

The upshot is because everyone on my block had already gone to work, I then found a spot right in front of my apartment......where the sweepers don't come until Thursday.....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Must be the exposed collarbone....

So I'm not married.

Meanwhile I'm 35, have two cats and don't own the dwelling I live in. These are some serious strikes in a city full of overachieving financiers, engineers and architects.

Boston has provided me with a random selection of dating options: guys sitting in the pews behind me in church; craigslist trollers responding to my posts for apartment roommates; the buffsters in polo shirts, met without verbal intro on dance floors after 12 or so "courage" martinis; the very occasional straight man in community theatre productions; the even rarer single man among the suburbanites in my office.

(The good news is that it is tremendously easier to be single in a city of this size. Easier to blend in, that is. I spent many years in small town in the Midwest and when you are 35 and not married, you are a constant object of speculation. Or perhaps you just think that folks are speculating. Or just wish they were and/or were providing you with dinner dates when inviting you over, rather than leaving you as the only single person in a room full of couples and kids.)

All these roads have led me to, or rather back to, After trying it last fall, then taking a 4-month hiatus, I'm back at it. Re-posted the profile and loaded-in a new picture....the one from my 34th birthday dinner with my sisters, showing a little collarbone and shoulder. (Hint: It's the photo attached to my profile here.) Added a tidbit about having run the Boston Marathon last month (working not to sound boastful) and how nothing is more satisfying than a long, hard yoga class.

So that was Thursday night.

One of the most fun features of is the counter that shows how many people have viewed your profile. Since then, I'm up to 171 views. Plus 6 "winks", or simply "hi, I'm here!" notices, and 3 straight-out e-mail messages. This is a huge rise in volume of views over last fall -- so I'm trying to figure now what caused the uptick. Must be the exposed collarbone.

But I knew I had to make the subject of the inaugural post of this blog yesterday afternoon, when a message popped up in my e-mail inbox with the title: "New Hampshire Calling." Woo-hoo! I opened it to find the following: my potential suitor is 73 years old. He likes to garden. He once studied at Harvard. He said I have nice legs.

My first thought was: wonder if he's rich.