Archive for March 28, 2010

Running With The Foxes

Ever get one of those messages that leave you at a complete loss for words?

Like you open your email, read it, stare at it for about five minutes, and then close your laptop and put it aside as if that will somehow avoid the very idea of the note.

I feel like the past month has involved day after day (or at least week after week) of these notes.  I got a note from my ex (whom I cared for far more than I would have ever let him know,) Facebook decided to shove my crush’s new relationship in my face, online dating sites made me feel like I had to create some computer-generated perfect image of myself, and Twitter reminded me that I just can’t run with the pretty young girls in the industry.

As Drew Barrymore said in He’s Just Not That Into You “I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home,
and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell,
and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals
just to get rejected by seven different technologies.”

Or at least that’s how I felt until Thursday night when I received notice that someone had sent me a question on a site called Formspring.  I logged onto the site only to read the question:

What gives? Is there any reason you refuse to acknowledge that you’re kinda hot?”

Young woman with an apple
Photo Credit: Getty Images – Karan Kapoor

As one friend I asked for an opinion on how to respond told me, “Oh god, I read that and started blushing FOR you.” Another friend gushed about how adorable it was, and yet another tried to help me craft a response exactly like a hot mutual friend of ours would “except as Elisa.”  Great, that’s helpful.

I mean, someone asks you something like that anonymously and how do you respond?  Especially when everyone knows that hot is Megan Fox not Helen Mirren.

My blushing friend, however, was the person who really helped me put it in perspective.  And we realized that whoever asked must be someone who knows or interacts with me.

Because Megan Fox I am not.

But I’m AM pretty darn cute.  This is not only a personal opinion, but one that has been shared by at least a couple people in the course of my life (who are not members of my immediate family and thus required to tell me I’m cute.)  Add to that some intellect, personality and gumption and my market value rises.

That’s the way it is with most people.  We’ll never be the idyllic picture of Hollywood gorgeousness we imagine, but when you start factoring in everything else that makes someone attractive, the package is often better than the wrap.

So Megan Fox I’ll never be.  And I’m kind of ok with that.

What sort of things boost a person’s “hotness” level for you?

When Did I Become A Sim?

I’m told that online dating is THE new way to meet people for dating.  In fact, it has grown to quite possibly be the most used industry online, surpassing even porn.  And let’s face it.  Since the internet became more popular in the 90’s porn has been leading the pack in terms of trafficked sites.

As Mashable notes, however, this online dating world seems to be one laced with white lies and truth-bending all directed at making yourself “better” online.  On these sites you have to write your profiles a certain way and choose the statistics that attract.  Apparently men lie most about their age, height and income.  Women choose to lie about their weight, build and age.

Which I find very interesting.

Men lie about details which are pretty unchangeable.  You are your age and height, regardless of how must gingko you take or how long you hang from a door frame to “stretch.”  Women lie about details that CAN be changed but are also painfully obvious in a first meeting.   For women, online dating seems to become all about what you look like and if you are attractive or not.

Girl looking at laughing reflections in the mirror
Photo Credit: Getty Images – WIN Initiative

As I struggled with trying to figure out how to navigate the online dating world I heard again and again the suggestion “Maybe if you just updated your photos.”  It was the number one way to “fix the problem.”  I’m sure that no one who said it meant any harm by it.  Just trying to help.

But on a Friday night when I was in an exceptionally bad mood I checked these sites to see if I had any messages.  Cause when you are in an exceptionally bad mood it’s always a good idea to seek out ways to make yourself angrier.  Course, as I opened each inbox the moths came flying out and essentially b*tch-slapped me with their digital mocking.

After a marathon phone call with my girl friend across the country, I almost had myself convinced that it really was the stupid caliber of the stupid boys on the stupid websites that were the problem.  But the reality is that for many guys really do base a woman’s dating worth on their physical appearance.  And I’ve gotta say, I’m thinking it’s just foolish to try to convince yourself otherwise.

Now now, I know this isn’t ALL guys.  And I have friends that have met online or even *gasp* in person “the old fashioned way,” and they are beautiful in their own way but probably not landing a Ford contract anytime soon.  And it seems that in the online dating world, appearance is the biggest part of it for women.

But when you only have a static bio and bullet points to describe yourself and a couple photos to “sell yourself” the whole dating game becomes a cheap knock-off version of Chutes and Ladders that I’m not sure I like playing.

I do have plans to update my photos, see if that really does make a difference.  Or if online dating is just not going to be a medium that works well for me.  I met a great guy online once before.

And a couple very creepy individuals.

But those are stories for another day.  🙂

Walking The Walk

I used to go to this coffee shop that made sub-par chai latte’s and totally overcharged for a plain large coffee.  Even though I worked at a job where I constantly preached the importance of money management (including giving up your daily $3 latte which, by the by, will save you over $750 a year!) I still went to that coffee shop religiously each morning on my way to work.

It was for the boy who worked in the coffee shop.

I’m naturally a flirt.  I don’t even realize when I’m flirting cause I fall into the habit so quickly.  And I had so much fun going in and for 10 minutes flirting my little heart out with Barista Boy.  The best part about it was that there was no strings attached, there were no expectations of what was going to come with the flirting.  It was just healthy, daily morning flirting.  Kinda like going for a run but without the sweat and messed up hair.

There were no strings attached because I am so darn shy there is no way I was ever asking him out.  And for some reason, boys don’t really ask me out either.

Shy girl
Photo Credit: Getty Images – Thomas Northcut

Fast forward to this past weekend hanging out with a couple gals at the Portland Pirates game.  Standing around waiting to meet up with some other people, a very cute boy started talking to me.  Dark hair, much taller than me (not that it takes a lot,) super nice and smiled a lot.  He was one of the folks we had to meet up with, so it totally made sense.

I could hear my voice getting very giggly and I knew I was tucking my hair behind my ear like I was a method actor.  I mean, this boy was quite adorable.

He left to get something and one of the women I was with tugged at my arm exclaiming “He’s cute and he’s flirting with you.  You should go for it!”

I continued with the flirting.  I even asked Twitter’s opinion of whether I should be so forward as to ask out this guy I barely know.  Resoundingly the best response was to just do it – like ripping off a band-aid, anticipation is the hardest part.

But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  To put myself out there.  I’m not even sure what the problem was.  I worked for years in sales, rejection is like old hat to me.  It’s the awkwardness, the trying to be cool enough for someone to want to go on a date with.  Figuring out if your flirting is actual flirting or just human interaction flirting. Wondering if he feels it back or if you are just being totally silly.

Sure I can talk a mean flirty talk, but to date I’ve only been able to walk that “asking out/more serious than an eye-bat” walk a handful of times.

How about you?  Have you had those situations where you really wanted to ask someone out, but couldn’t muster the awesomeness to do it?

Being More “Girl-Like”

About two weeks into my foray in online dating, the well was still running pretty dry.  I had emailed out notes, I had winked, I had poked, I had Quivered, I had done as much as I could to put myself out there and was STILL having zero response.

So I did what any red-blooded young woman would do.  I sent an email to my friend whining that I was going to die a crazy-cat-lady-except-I-don’t-own-cats-oh-dear-god-I’m-really-pathetic.

You think I’m kidding.

Ever pragmatic, she called me later that night, furious that I would even consider buying a kitten so I would at least be a bit more socially adaptable in my role as spinster.  And she decided that we needed to “girl up” my profile.

See, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really all that “good” at the girl thing.  In fact, quick side story.  Once, when I was standing in a room with a group of guys, we were looking at some paint samples trying to figure out what color to put on the wall.  One of them turned to look at me, and uttered what has become a hilarious phrase for me.  “Elisa, since you are the closest thing we have to a girl, what do you think.”

Yeah, I’m cool.

We analyzed my current profile write-up and found that maybe, just maybe, it was written more as a girl who hangs out with boys, not a girl who dates boys.  And let’s be real, while I love (LOVE) my guy friends, I’m trying to date boys now.  Before you ask, no, that would not involve thus dating my guy friends (I know too much about the skeletons in their closets, and vice versa!)

Here’s the original post:

I’m a fun, goofy, laid back girl who is at her best sipping a Shipyard with friends watching the Sox game or curled up with a book on the couch listening to jazz.  I’m frequently “accused” of being a work-a-holic and temper that time with hikes and spontaneous road trips to keep myself grounded.  I really do believe every problem in the world can be solved with a game of rock, paper, scissors.

I’m looking for someone who can go from an afternoon of hiking to a business event to hanging out in pj’s watching movies under the covers in one weekend.  Words hard at whatever you do whether it be your career, a hardcore Scattergories game, or Sunday night dinner consisting of pizza and a six-pack.  Intellect is a huge turn-on, and discussions of politics, the newest book you read, current events and artsy stuff over weekend coffee will be a frequent occurrence.  Finds my “couch coaching” of any televised sporting event endearing and will chime in with an analysis of a bad offsides call or ball vs. strike pitch.  A somewhat dorky side to match mine, who enjoys th History or Discovery Channel, would be a good deal, too.

Just one of the boys
Photo Credit: Getty Images – Comstock

To confirm my deepest suspicion, I sent this along to about 10 guy and girl friends to ask their opinions.  Resoundingly the responses came back, “Yep, you’re putting yourself in the friend zone.”  So I asked instead, “What can I do to make my profile more girly?”

After some back and forth with a few loyal friends, I ended up editing and posting a new profile.  Same stuff, a little more girly in speak.

The Updated Profile:

I’m a fun, laid back brunette who enjoys a great glass of wine, heading out on the town for dinner, sipping Shipyard at Sox games with friends, or curling up with a book on the couch.  I spend my downtime doing yoga, going for a run along the Boulevard or taking spontaneous road trips to keep myself grounded.  And when I’m super tired I’ll fall asleep standing up or giggle like a giddy girl with my head on your shoulder

I really do believe every problem in the world can be solved with a game of rock, paper, scissors.

I’m looking for someone who can go from an afternoon of hiking to a business event to watching movies under the covers in one weekend.  Works hard at whatever you do whether it be your career, a Scattergories game, or Sunday night dinner consisting of pizza and a six-pack. Intellect is a huge turn-on.  Most importantly, you’ll find my slight dorkiness adorable, and dare I say pretty darn hot.

So, what do you think?  Is my new profile setting me up more in the datable-zone, or am I still “just friends?”

I Don’t Have Mail

It became obvious to me in the month of February that for me to actually write about dating and relationships I should be actively involved in the process of at least the former and eventually the latter.

There’s a problem though.  According to a recent Harvard Temperament Test I’m a green and red personality.  This means I am agressive, determind, results-oriented, detail driven, analytical, and very logical.  It also means I am more socially awkward than 90% of the people taking this test (MIT and Harvard graduate students.)  Now I know some VERY socially adjusted people from both those school’s programs.  I also know a fair share of socially mal-adjusted folks in the program.  So even if the mix is 60%/40%, I’m still behind the 8 Ball.

Picking up a guy at a bar or chatting him up at a friend’s party is not really in the cards for me.  I mean, I try, but approaching conversations like that are just not my forte.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  So, knowing this I consulted with some dating advice folks, and the resounding suggestion was to edge myself into the dating arena through online dating.

This made me break out in hives.

But for the good of all your readers, I sucked it up and put a profile up on match.com.  I’d heard some mixed reviews from other people who had been on match, but had heard worse things about Yahoo! and a weird little site called “Plenty of Fish.”  My profile hit February 27th, and as of this morning I’ve had the following interests: 3 “winks” from men over 43, 2 requests for “casual flings” from men under 25 and 1 genuine email from a guy in his early 30’s that never responded to my reply.

I was talking to my friend yesterday, and had absolutely concluded that the only thing that online dating had done for me was take my usually solid self-confidence and Mexican Hat Dance all over it.  “I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I whined to her. “I’m cute, I’m intelligent, I’m witty…I’m effing adorable why don’t boys like me?!”  It was one of my better moments.

My ever rock solid slumber party friend listened and then, in a friendly manner, verbally slapped me back to reality.  She asked how much I had reached out to others, if I had tried any other sites besides match.com (she had heard some horror stories about the site) and also made me think about the sampling of available people in Greater Portland, Maine.

So I took advice from another friend and posted the same profile on a site called okcupid.com, which kind of makes online dating a game.  They send you these little graphs and charts and results based on data you have entered on their site (results AND details…my little red-green heart is pitter-patting!)  My most recent told me where the men most “likely to match me” lived.

Likely matches across the country from OKCupid

Ugh…this is gonna be a challenge.  But I’m going out to San Francisco in April and Boston is but a two hour ride away.  Any boys wanna meet up…apparently we will get along swimmingly!

Have any of you tried the online dating thing before? Any suggestions for someone starting out?