eDating Fun – Used Fish

For today’s eDating story, I’m temporarily abandoning my shoe analogy for the worn-in maritime “many fish in the sea” analogy.  It appears that though there may be many fish in the sea, there aren’t quite so many in the eHarmony dating pool.

Twice Hooked:

The inevitable day finally came when Sassy Pants and I were set up with the same fellow.  We made this discovery while she and I were enjoying a sunny rooftop lunch together, discussing work, friends, and of course, dating.  Sassy Pants mentioned that she had a date scheduled for the following evening and began describing the man she was going to meet.  After comparing notes, we determined without doubt that he was the same person I went out with a few times a couple months earlier.

My Encounter:

The fellow, who will quasi-affectionately be referred to as Mr. Collins (a not-so-subtle Pride and Prejudice allusion), seemed to be nice enough.  He was decent-looking, creative, articulate, and I enjoyed exchanging emails and IMs with him.  In theory, he should have been a great fit for me.  However, in practice, I just didn’t feel…anything.  Conversing with Mr. Collins in person bored me out of my mind.  I went out with him multiple times, hoping that perhaps chemistry would appear over time, but it just never did.  Finally, I had to tell Mr. Collins “thanks, but no thanks” and I wished him all the best. He, unfortunately, didn’t share my desire to call it a day and this led to some bitter exchanges.

The Dilemma:

Bitter exchanges alone would be no reason for Sassy Pants to not go out with Mr. Collins.  Hesitation only came when it dawned on us that I was in a photo she used on her profile and she even directly referred to me in her profile text.  What was this guy up to? Did he honestly just not notice? Was he playing some psychotic game?  A far kinder person than I, Sassy Pants decided to send him an email telling him what we discovered.  (I had been leaning more towards an elaborate and hysterical plot.)  It turned out that he completely overlooked Sassy Pants’ connection to me and it was just an honest coincidence.  The date was still on!

Her Encounter:

Sassy Pants found Mr. Collins to be far more interesting and engaging than I did, and liked him well enough to be open to another date.  As far as I’m aware, they’re still talking to each other and will go out again in the near future.

The Wisdom:

Dating and attraction are funny things.  Sassy Pants and I are similar in so many ways, which means we should be attracted to the same kind of man, but it just isn’t so – and that’s probably a good thing!  Mercifully, a situation that could have been painfully awkward was merely amusing.  We eDaters are all looking for something (even if we don’t know what that “something” is) and just because Mr. Collins couldn’t provide that something for me doesn’t mean he couldn’t provide it for someone else.

My new maritime analogy: One girl’s blow-fish is another girl’s salmon.

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eDating Fun – Awkward First Phone Calls

In my opinion, the phone conversation is an archaic and annoying form of communication.  It still has its uses in the business world or when one wants to have an in-depth conversation with someone who lives far away, but if I want to talk to someone locally, I’d much rather meet that person for coffee and have a face-to-face conversation.  Unfortunately, in the world of eDating, the “first phone call” is an expected part of the progression before one gets to the actual date.  Among my friends who also eDate, there are a lot of good reasons to have the phone call:

  • You can get better sense of someone by the sound of his voice and how he talks.  This especially applies to people who need to love the sound of someone’s voice in order to be attracted.
  • You can learn more about a person faster via phone call than by exchanging a lot of emails.
  • Sometimes it’s a faster way of making plans to meet up than emails or text messages.
  • Multitasking is possible while on the phone.  You can enjoy the first awkward phone conversation during your long commute home from work.

These are all very valid reasons for the phone call, but no matter how good the reasons are for doing it, it doesn’t make the actual phone call any less awkward.  One of my eDating buddies, who’s blog alias will be Charlotte, said that one of the biggest let downs on the phone is when the person on the other end is bad at holding up his end of the conversation.  It’s laborious and exhausting if you have to do all the work – ask all the questions, create ways to make the phone conversation flow from one topic to another, provide information about yourself that he didn’t ask for just in the interest of keeping the conversation going, etc…

Mugsy (an alias for another friend who eDates) finds it irritating when he asks stupid questions he already knows the answer to. “I love it when the guys call and ask you what you are doing? What the fuck do you think I’m doing…? I’m talking to you! I think what they want to hear is, ‘I’m lying on the bed naked, rubbing my clit and dreaming of your hard pulsing cock inside me’. Why can’t it be ‘hi’?!”  I agree with Mugsy. The silly filler questions are really pointless. “So, how’s it going?”, “What are you up to?”, “What’s new?”.  These are all questions people ask when they don’t know what else to say.

Even though the first phone call can be a painful ordeal, through talking to Sassy Pants, Mugsy, and Charlotte, as well as a few other friends who are more experienced eDaters than me, I managed to compile some strategies to make that first call suck less:

  • Try to schedule the phone call so that you’re not cold-called and taken buy surprise at an inconvenient moment.
  • Do a little research before the call – review his profile, re-read any emails you exchanged – just so that you can remember more about him and be in a better mental state to have the first call.
  • Jot down a few questions you want to ask him so you have some back up if there are any awkward silences.
  • Have an exit strategy.  If the phone call becomes too painfully awkward or too long, have a graceful and polite way to get off the phone.  My favorite is, “Hey, so it was really great talking to you, but I’ve got to go walk my dog now.”  I like using that one because it’s generally true.

These strategies have definitely helped and improved my first phone call experiences, but I still would rather skip it and just meet him.  I’ve always felt I can learn so much more about a person when actually spending time in the same space with him. How attentive is he? What are his mannerisms like? Is he aware of other people around him? Does he make eye contact? Etc…

So, dear reader, what do you think?  Do you prefer to have a first phone call? Are there any strategies we could add to the list?  Please feel free to share any stories or tips in the comments!  (You can post anonymously, if you’d like, or email me at meghan.s.shaw@gmail.com with your comments and I’ll post them with an alias of your choosing.)

eDating Fun – Rejection, Phase I

Until recently, I considered eDating to be a strangely solitary activity.  I never wanted to try it because I envisioned millions of people alone on a Friday night, in pajamas, faces lit by the dim glow of the monitor, furiously typing to strangers who could be nothing other than soul mates.  Thankfully, the experience has been quite different for me – I started eDating with two of my girlfriends and having a support group through the whole ordeal has definitely been helpful!

When first setting up our profiles, one of my afore-mentioned friends (who, upon her request, shall henceforth be referred to in my blog as “Sassy Pants”) came over to my house where we enjoyed food, wine, and a little activity we like to call “eHarmonizing”. EHarmonizing consists of reviewing each others photos and profiles and helping one another to portray ourselves in a way that is both positive and accurate.

The next order of business in the eHarmonizing process is rejection.  Yep, that’s right: REJECTION.  In eDating, and on eHarmony specifically, there are ways to reject and be rejected at every phase of communication – even pre-communication!  Though it seems pretty harsh, we soon discovered that the best way to get rid of the guys we didn’t want to talk to was to close out the match before they had an opportunity to communicate.  End it before it begins!!!  These are some of the criteria for closing out a match:

  • Too short
  • Too fat
  • Too bald
  • Too boring
  • Too cheesy
  • Too sensitive
  • Too damaged
  • Too many spelling errors
  • Not enough information in the profile
  • Too much information in the profile
  • (I also tend to close out anyone who doesn’t fill out the question about a book he enjoyed.  I need a reader.)

Yes…we glean all this information and pass all these judgments just from a cursory glance at a profile.  Sassy Pants and I often joke that if the boys knew what we say about them, they’d probably cry.  That first evening of eHarmonizing was heavily punctuated with Sassy Pants shouting “No shorties!” and my exclamations of “No fatties!”

What a thrill I thought it was to be able to coldly dismiss men without remorse!  It was literally like shopping for shoes!  Then I learned what it was like to be closed out immediately.  No problem when it was someone I wasn’t even interested in, but when a good-looking, successful, active, well-educated man closed me out for no apparent reason, I immediately felt indignant – and maybe even a little bit hurt. “But you don’t even know me!” I said to my monitor.  Once my embarrassment for talking to my computer faded, I realized that it was true he didn’t know me – and I didn’t know him either.  What the hell do I care what one stranger thinks of my profile?  Not a bit. Bring on the next!  That’s a great thing about this whole process – there’s always a “next”.  For every good-looking, successful, active, well-educated man who doesn’t like my profile, there are another two who do like it.

eDating Fun – A New Series

I’ve found, shockingly, that dating at work might not be the best idea.  Now I’m not implying that office dating is an absolutely horrible idea, I’m just saying in general, there may be better ideas out there… So in search of a better idea, I took up eDating as a new hobby, and quickly discovered that all kinds of interesting and amusing things happen online and off. Now, in addition to the Chronicles of a Crazy Cat Lady, I’ll be maintaining this new series of eDating Fun in an attempt to catalog some of the awkward hilarity.

Why do people eDate?  Since I’ve begun this little endeavor, I’ve asked around among my friends to find out if they eDate and why. The reasons are varied. Some do it because they’re actively trying to meet someone to marry.  Others do it just to increase the chances of getting laid on a Saturday night.  And then there are people like me who aren’t entirely sure what they’re looking for, but still feel compelled to try it anyhow.  Imagine all these people with drastically different motives rummaging through profiles in hopes of finding a person who can fill whatever needs are as yet unsatisfied – that’s what we’re dealing with here.

The best analogy I have come up with for the whole experience is that shopping for men online is like shopping for shoes online.  Based on appearance and description, they may be exactly what you’re looking for, but you don’t really know if they’ll fit until they show up at your door and you get to try them on.  It’s always disappointing to discover what you thought were dream shoes actually pinch your toes and make your ankles look fat.  Play it safe and make it a numbers game: the more shoes you order, the more likely you’ll find at least ONE pair that works.

Now if I were smart, I’d heed my own analogy and realize that I have NEVER purchased a pair of shoes online that actually fit.  I’ve always ended up having to send them back.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) for my proliferations, I’m not smart, and will proceed with this experiment destined to fail, if only to meet interesting new people and gain a wealth of ridiculous stories to tell.

Disclaimer: Names will be changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.  If you’re someone I’m eDating and have come across this blog because you Googled, Facebooked, MySpaced, or Twittered me, you’ve hit the stalker’s jackpot. Enjoy.

Chronicles of a Crazy Cat Lady – Goodbye, Dear Friend

The Universe’s greatest cruelty is that we outlive our animals.

That’s what Jamie said to me at the vet clinic on Thursday as we watched Fatty quietly take his last few breaths.  In that cold, empty moment, his statement echoed in my head and the sterile room seemed to spin. The blood rushed from my face and my knees started to give out from under me – I know I would have fallen had Jamie not been there to lend me the strength I didn’t have.

The day had started like most others: morning kitty snuggles, a groggy cup of coffee, fumble into my shoes, and then a walk for Percival.  When Percy and I returned from our morning jaunt and reentered the house, we were met with the overwhelming stench of sickness.  Fatty was very, very ill and I could no longer allow myself to rationalize all his symptoms as his usual ailments.  My poor, old cat was nearly seventeen years old and had been ill for the past five. He’d been to the vet countless times for endless tests and a whole mess of remedies.  I had a decision to make…

Sardonically, the most enfeebling feeling, I believe, comes from the realization that one has the power to decide if another being lives or dies. What a wretched hell for me, as it was not just any being: it was my sweet Fatty.  My soft, moldable, literary friend who snuggled with me through many a book.  My gentle, lovable old man who loyally slept by my side every night and woke me with his loud purrs every morning.

So many questions and so many shades of gray!  Should I do everything in my power to keep him with me longer? Or would the vet visits and the medications just make him miserable and only temporarily fend off the inevitable?  And no matter which decision I made, how would I know if it was a selfish one? By letting him go now, would I merely be saving myself the heartache and financial impracticality that comes with maintaining an ailing pet?  On the other hand, would prolonging his life merely be for my own benefit and cause nothing but suffering for Fatty?

After several tearful phone calls to my parents, one to Jamie, and one to John (the vet), the decision was made and so was Fatty’s final appointment.  Jamie and John carried me through the entire dreadful ordeal, and I’m so thankful they did because I can’t see how I’d have survived it without their kindness.  So proud of myself, I’ve been of late, for standing on my own two feet and being on my own in more ways than I knew to be possible – but that all disappeared as I became once again a little girl losing one of my closest friends and one of the few consistencies in my life.

The Universe’s greatest cruelty is that we outlive our animals. This crazy cat lady couldn’t agree more. When Fatty came into my life, he and I needed the same thing: reliable love and devotion.  He gave me that a hundred times over – I just hope I always gave him the same in return.

Chronicles of a Crazy Cat Lady – Introduction

I am a twenty six year old female and I live alone.  Well, that’s not entirely true: I live with three cats.  How is it, you might ask, that someone who is only twenty six has already succumbed to this cliché lifestyle?  Glad you asked.  That is exactly what this blog is designed to figure out.  Over the next several weeks, I will supply glimpses into my cat-filled life to explore exactly why it is that I’m a walking, breathing stereotype.  These coming weeks are very important as I am in a rare and lucky position where I get to start my entire life over again.  I am my own social experiment to see how it is that a crazy cat lady socializes, dates, and copes with providing for three demanding animals alone.

So let’s get started by introducing the main characters of this story.

Meg

First, I will introduce myself.  I am moderately attractive, of average intelligence, and have a better-than average sense of fashion.  Here is a picture of me at my hottest, smartest, and best dressed.

Just kidding…

Alright, so the above only half accurate.  It’s true that I’m moderately attractive and of average intelligence, but I have no sense of fashion. Also this is what I really look like.

Things I Like: Reading, writing, hiking, rainstorms, female vocalists, old movies, dancing, men, Disneyland, singing in my car, and my cats.

Things I Dislike: Tomatoes, spiders, weather hotter than 85 F, cigarette smoke, people who do not speak plainly and to the point, and people who hate cats.

Fatty

His real name is Midnight, but I rarely refer to him as such.  Fatty has been with me for a little over five years now.  He was my uncle’s cat, but for social reasons I still don’t entirely understand, I was able to adopt the big guy. Fatty is old and sick and has a tendency to cause me much embarrassment when I have guests over.  But he’s a loveable fellow and I’m doing my best to keep him around a while longer, regardless of his charming talent for puking in my shoes.



Things Fatty Likes: Food, sleeping, ear-rubs, playing in his water dish, and alternately screaming at the fridge or bathtub.

Things Fatty Dislikes: His medications and shots, Min, getting out of bed in the morning, being ignored when he wants his belly rubbed.

Min

She’s a Turkish Angora. My parents gave her to me when one of my other cats died, leaving poor Fatty lonely.  It amazes me how much personality fits inside that tiny little body.



Things Min Likes: Treats, guests, being a bitch, beating up Fatty, running outside whenever I open the front door, talking, being held, and SHOES.

Things Min Dislikes: Sharing anything (but mostly attention), things that offend her delicate sense of smell, and Fatty.

Roxie

Roxie’s name is short for Rocket Butt, because she spastically sprints around my house for no apparent reason.  Roxie joined my little entourage when it became apparent that Min and Fatty were never going to get along.  I asked Min’s breeder what I could possibly do to create some peace, and she told me to get Min a kitten to play with…hence my third cat.



Things Roxie Likes: Having her butt scratched, toy mice, sleeping under the covers, and chasing laser pointers.

Things Roxie Dislikes: Guests coming to the house.

I like to complain about having three cats, but the truth of the matter is that I love them all dearly.  I prefer my cats to most people.  But regardless of the affection I have for them, I cannot pretend I’m unaware of the social stigma they come with.  Please sit back and enjoy the future installations of my auto-ethnography, “Chronicles of a Crazy Cat Lady”, where I will attempt to accurately describe how I stumble, blunder and generally muddle through seemingly simple, everyday situations while laden with three cats and the stereotype they lend.