Dating sucks. Unlike Ms Daphne here who seems to relish or even enjoy the act of dating, I for one can’t stand the dating game. Although I’ve gotten somewhat good at it, its almost always a painfully annoying exercise involving forced conversation, hiding of nerves and most commonly subjection of both participants to an activity that at least one party would avoid given the chance. I’ve dated enough girls in my time to know which hoops to jump through correctly, but its still a completely ponderous ritual.
My dating history is rather expansive, I’ve tried dating both students and professionals, girls with serious commitment issues, girls with serious rejection issues, blondes, brunettes, Americans, Europeans and there’s only one think that I’ve found consistently through it all. Dating really, really sucks, especially for guys. Nowhere have I heard it explained why so succinctly than in the classic U.K. sitcom Coupling. The main reason, as explained by the character Steve on his date with Susan, is that for men, the outcome of the night is an unknown. The whole time, we simply have the question bouncing around in our heads, are we going to get any? For women, they already know, they hold the cards.
A male of friend of mine (whom I’ll call Ghandi) may or may not be something of a genius in that he simply doesn’t date women. No, he’s not gay, he simply doesn’t bother with it. He never goes to movies, doesn’t invite women out to dinner and would never subject himself to any theater-based activity. He’s a fairly typical alpha-male and quite a successful one at that. If he wants to sleep with a girl, he’ll tell her directly that’s what he wants and if she’s not interested, he doesn’t waste time pursuing her. If he meets a new girl for the first time and he’s interested in sleeping with her, he’ll invite her out for some drinks in a group setting. Somehow girls seem to go for this and from all reports he currently has enough leads in his phone to sleep with a different woman every night of the week, should he so desire.
I acknowledge that dating is a necessity for those of us wishing to find a suitable partner (as opposed to those of us like Ghandi who simply want to screw everything female out there with a heartbeat), but aren’t there any ways we could make it more bearable for all concerned? Although I am no longer a single man I have a stock of enough stories of successes and failures to share and perhaps by doing so here those still playing this ludicrous game can garner some insight. Many are painful, embarrassing and frustrating even to think about, but hopefully their re-telling can provide some value. And who knows, maybe once I’ve finished recounting them all, those of you who’ve bothered to digest them will reach the same conclusion that I have. . . dating always has and always will suck.
It’s no secret that boys like girls in sundresses, and I’ve always worn dresses on pretty much every date I’ve ever had. For years and years, my favorite source for pretty date frocks was Anthropologie. Sure, they were expensive, but the dresses were always beautiful and well-made with unique little touches, like pockets and lace-trimmed linings. These investment pieces are still gorgeous years later and remain among my favorite items in my closet—for date nights and otherwise.
It used to be that I couldn’t walk into an Anthropologie store without buying something (and drooling over practically everything else). But all that changed a couple years ago (circa 2010), when suddenly Anthropologie’s style seemed to take a major U-turn away from “pretty and vintage” to “ugly and unflattering.” Since then, there’s hardly been a single pretty, much-have dress in the entire catalog, which is now filled with shapeless sacks and ugly grandma clothes.
At first, I was kinda relieved since I was no longer dropping a huge chunk of every paycheck in the store. But as the months and years wore on, I became increasingly disenchanted by Anthropologie. I rarely even look on the website anymore, since it’s become an exercise in futility. It’s just rack after rack of ugliness, with nary a silk sash or nipped-in waistline in sight.
What gives, Anthropologie? Please bring back the pretty dresses so I have something new to wear on my dates!
I have a feeling I’m about to get blasted in the comments here, since interracial dating is such a taboo topic. Let me begin by assuring you that I’m not racist at all; I have friends of all enthnicities, and I fervently believe that everyone should have equal rights and opportunities. In the dating world, however, this gets tricky because personal preferences come into play. In theory, I’m open to the idea of dating men from all different races. But in reality, I’ve only ever found myself attracted to white men.
Why is that, I’ve often wondered. As a blonde, blue-eyed white woman, I suppose it makes sense that I would be most attracted to men who look like me. Studies show that people tend to choose mates with similar genes as themselves. Yes, interracial marriages are on the rise (and it’s great that they’re becoming more universally accepted by society). And I know some people dream of a future where all races will eventually blend together into one multi-race. A one-race world would be nice in a lot of ways (the end of racism!), but I really think it would just be boring if we all looked alike. Certain traits, such as blonde hair and blue eyes (being recessive), would disappear completely. In fact, natural blonds are expected to go extinct by 2202. If I want little blond, blue-eyed children who look just like me, then I need a mate with similar genes. It’s just biology.
I often feel guilty that I only date white guys, but it turns out I’m not alone. Statistically, white women are the most race-conscious daters in America, with the majority indicating on online dating sites that they only date white men. In contrast, white men are less likely to indicate any racial preference, and when they do, it’s typically to exclude a particular race (not the entire non-white spectrum). White women are less likely to interracial marry than white men are, but when they do, the odds are stacked against them. The divorce stats are striking: white men married to non-whites have the standard divorce rate. But white women married non-whites have a far higher rate of divorce. This effect is especially pronounced in white-woman-with-Asian-man marriages, which have a 60% higher rate of divorce than whites who marry whites.
Statistics and genes aside, I really would like to try dating men of different races. I’ve been pursued by Blacks, Indians, Pacific Islanders, and many ambiguously ethnic guys, but I’ve just never met one I’m attracted to. However, I’m always on the lookout for a particularly sexy specimen that will prove to me that I CAN be attracted to non-white men. It just hasn’t happened yet.
A while back I blogged about the “Pretend Period”—a little red lie we girls tell to guys when we want to avoid getting busy. But what about the opposite scenario, when you really do want to have sex but the crimson tide is in full swing?
True, most guys (especially a boyfriend) are fine having sex during a girl’s period; they just throw down a towel and have at it. But some dudes can be a bit squeamish, and the whole thing can be awkward if you’re not that close to the guy yet (for example, if it’s your first time sleeping together). But you can’t just pretend the blood isn’t there… or can you?
Allow me to introduce a little piece of technology known as the “menstrual cup”—a device that consists of a flexible ring with a little plastic bag attached. It works similarly to a diaphram (if you even know what those are, as they’re a somewhat archaic birth control method today). To use one, the woman squeezes the cup and slides it all the way up into her vagina, until it cups over her cervix, catching the blood as it drips out. Although somewhat difficult to insert and remove (you really gotta stick your fingers all the way up there), you can’t feel the cup at all while it’s in place. Menstrual cups have a lot of advantages over tampons: you can wear them for 12 hours, there’s no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and they’re less likely to leak. And most importantly, you can wear them during sex.
I had my first chance to try this out a couple weeks ago, when an out-of-town lover happened to come for a visit—on precisely the day my period was due. That afternoon, my period still hadn’t started, but I slipped in the cup “just in case.” By that evening, I started to *feel* like I was getting my period, but there was still no sign of blood, so I wasn’t sure. As we started having sex, I was surprised to realize that it did not feel any different: I couldn’t feel the cup at all! No blood, but all the usual lubrication was flowing. The sex was great. I asked Mark if he felt anything different. “I can definitely feel there’s something up there,” he replied, “but it doesn’t hurt or anything.” Afterward, I went into the bathroom to remove the cup, and discovered a big pool of blood hiding inside. So yes, they really work!
A few tips if you want to try this at home:
1. The brand of cup you use matters, since some of them sit lower in the vagina. I used the Instead softcup, which fits snugly up against your cervix.
2. Insert the cup well before you actually have sex (ideally, before the bleeding even starts). If you’ve already got blood dripping down, then it’s going to take a while for it to completely clear out of your vagina.
3. Warn the guy ahead of time. Unless he’s got a tiny penis or you have an extra-long vagina, chances are he’s going to feel something plastic up there, so do him a favor and let him know it’s not vagina dentata.
I’ll admit it: I have sometimes been known to cancel dates at the last minute. One of my favorite excuses in these cases is to blame it on a “girlfriend emergency”–i.e., one of the girls has just gotten her heart broken and it’s all hands on deck! Guys never question this excuse. Since I have a huge network of single girlfriends, and none of us is terribly lucky in love, it’s a pretty good excuse. I end up looking like a loyal, caring friend (instead of a flake), and the guy never suspects that I canceled the date simply because I just didn’t really feel like seeing him.
Well, karma finally caught up with me (as it always does), and last week a guy canceled a date with me at the last minute by blaming his friends. Luckily, I wasn’t overly excited about seeing this guy anyway, since he had sort of seemed like a douche at Liberty Hotel when he approached me. (And there are a lot of douches at Liberty). Also, there was the clue provided by the very first text he sent:
“Hey girl nice to meet you – Brad aka MIT douche”
At least he’s a self-aware douche. Anyway, cut to the evening of our date, and I have a nagging suspicion that he has possibly forgotten, since I haven’t heard from him all day. We had agreed to meet at 8:15. At 8:20, I’m still at home and pretty sure I’m getting stood up, but I decide to send him a “Sorry running late” message, just in case he is waiting for me at the bar.
You have to give Brad credit for creativity here. Instead of admitting that he completely forgot the date, he first tries to act like he’s on his way, stuck in traffic. Then, 2 seconds later, the cancellation. His friend’s in the hospital. Yeah, right.
To no one’s surprise, Brad did not text back to let me know how his friend had fared. I simply never heard from him again. Two weeks later, I decided to have a little fun with Brad, so I texted him to ask about his friend’s condition.
So, there you have it. Brad admits the whole “friend in the hospital” story was a complete fabrication. And THEN he has the audacity to ask me out again. Naturally, I do not respond. Brad persists.
That’s right, Brad: I do think you’re a douche. And, no, I’m not going to go out with you.
When preparing for a date, I never forget to shave my legs. Everyone knows that hairy legs on a girl are a big turnoff for guys, so we make sure we are always smooth and soft. But why is it that men do not extend the same courtesy to us? I’m talking about scratchy stubble–the sharp regrowth that sprouts on the face of a guy who hasn’t shaved for a day (or three).
When I go out on a date, more often than not, I will discover the dude is sporting this prickly stubble when he leans in to kiss me–and proceeds to sandblast my face. Waking up the next day with a red, dry, flaky chin is par for the course in these cases. Oftentimes this damage takes a couple days to heal before my chin stops flaking off like a dandruff commercial. In the meantime, I have to try to camouflage the flaky mess so that I can kiss other boys. (Hey, no damaging the merchandise, buddy. You break it, you buy it). In one extreme case, the guy’s stubble was so bad that my raw chin actually pussed and scabbed over for a week!
Are men completely oblivious to how painful this condition can be? Or do they just think the stubble makes them look rugged and tough? Girls have softer, more sensitive skin than men (thanks to estrogen), and maybe men just don’t get that they are hurting us. So, male readers, let’s do a little demonstration. Close your eyes. Lightly stroke the inside of your wrist. Imagine this soft patch of skin is your girlfriend’s face. Now, vigorously rub your wrist up against your stubbly face. (Ouch, right?)
The good news, boys, is that this condition is easily fixable with a 99-cent razor. Buy one and use it. In fact, the geniuses over at Dollar Shave Club will be happy to send you all the blades you need for just a few dollars a month. If a guy shows up for a date with me with a prickly face, I will generally ignore it once, but I will definitely cut short any makeout sessions to save my complexion. When the guy does arrive clean-shaven, I’ll make a big point of complimenting him and telling him how smooth his face is (Men are like dogs, you have to reward good behavior). On the other hand, if showing up with stubble becomes a pattern, I will call you out on it (nicely). I might say something like “I really like it when you shave for me. Will you please shave next time?”
Last night I went out on a first date with a guy that I thought I really liked (from meeting him the previous weekend). And I had a great time–right up until the end of the night when he kissed me and revealed a bad case of chin stubble. Within minutes of making out, I could feel my face and neck being scraped raw. I pulled away and started to say goodnight. Apparently the damage was quite visible, because the guy asked me with alarm, “Do you have sensitive skin?” Well, yes, I do have quite delicate porcelain skin. He gestured at my now-bright-red neck and chest. “Is that a sunburn, or is that from me?”
“It’s from you,” I said gently.
“Wow, sorry about that, I’ll be sure to shave next time,” he promised. He did seem genuinely aggrieved.
So, maybe that’s it? Men don’t want to hurt us, but they just don’t know that they are because we girls are queens at zipping our lips and suffering in silence. So, boys, here’s your memo from girls everywhere. Please shave before you kiss us because you destroy our faces when you don’t. (Not to mention the extreme pain inflicted down south if you try to kiss us DOWN THERE with stubble on your face). Ouch.
by Elton Zoolander
Note from Daphne: This is a guest post, penned by none other than Matt-Steve (our beloved texting douchebag from LA). I, of course, love my loyal group of girlfriends and consider them to be vital allies in the War of Love between the sexes. Although, I will concede that “The Girls” can sometimes get in the way of a blossoming romance. Let’s see what a guy has to say about it…
Let’s talk about Facebook profile photos and chicks. Then, being a man, I’ll offer you a little Insight circa 2012 about what we really think about girls and their army of girlfriends, a peak behind the curtain, if you dare…
OK, Facebook. What a stupid platform. It’s full of ranting lunatics with status updates–aka famous quotations, emotions and self-promoting. The ones that spend the most time bragging are the ones that need a therapist, not a digital personal-public journal outlet. But I regress… let’s talk about what we dudes see when we see a profile picture of a group of girls.
If the chick is over age 25 and her profile picture is posing with a group of girlfriends, then a dumb guy (or “boy”) says to himself, “Cool, she has some girl friends, my buddies will come out to hang, looks like she is fun, party on.” However, a smart guy (or “man”) says, “Yep she is dying to find a boyfriend” [*if single] or “She is just broken up with a dude and wants to show how much better off she is now.” This can also be interpreted as marketing for “I’m not desperate, I have friends to hang out with that fulfill my needs, I’ll be a cool girlfriend and go to sports games!”
If she is over 30 and posing with one or more girlfriends, we interpret it as, “Boy do I have my work cut out for me with this one, she still isn’t a woman.” Or we might think it’s a marketing campaign–i.e., “Just had a girls weekend, found the best picture where I look good and they look like shit” (*doesn’t matter if she is single or not, women are competitive). Women in their 20’s or as they progress into their 30’s, when viewed by a smart guy, it’s like dating a team. There are 3 or 4 levels of management working for that department in the corporation. There are chains of command, approval processes etc… Just so many different opinions to account for.
And then you have to know your audience. Unfortunately, a guy’s success with a woman/girl/chick rides on the happiness level of her friends, as well as the fickle woman being we are attempting to “woo.”
If her friends are losers or having a rough go of it, good luck with that, buddy. Imagine if they are all on the same cycle and you wander into that tornado, unaware?? In general, if they aren’t a really successful, happy, healthy bunch, unless you are Ryan Gosling in the notebook, YOU ARE FUCKED trying to get past the lions den. Even still, if you DO make it past level one and things go well, don’t forget the “sabotage” aka the jealousy factor. No friend wants her friend to be happy if she isn’t, and they don’t want to lose the musical chairs game. You won’t know what hit you but you did something, either too right or stepped into a bear trap. A GUY CANNOT WIN without luck, so they play the odds. Women drive that train… Just need to slow down the crazy. Combine all this and the outside pressures on an aging man, tired and weary from the Indiana Jones world of trying to save the princess, and there you go.
Next up, the second wife – secretary syndrome.
Six months after writing “Texts from Douchebags: LA edition,” I’m still texting with Matt-Steve. So, I finally decided the time had come to tell him about the blog. Naturally, Matt-Steve loved it, charmingly egocentric as he is.
However, he has taken issue with the word “douchebag” to describe himself. Here is Matt-Steve’s response:
In response to “texts from douchebags” I was going to clear up some misconceptions, but it made good literature so all is good. Matt Z is the name, I work in advertising, had a music client.
I was trying to think of the right word to describe myself. Douchebag? Nah too defined by clothes, aesthetic and cliche. Asshole? I mean yes and no. Masshole is too commonly used and Tucker max coined “Hi i’m Tucker Max and I’m an asshole”. Dennis Leary wrote a song about it. Jerk? Nah I’m actually not mean deep down. Dickhead? That’s kind of douchebag meets asshole. Punk! No, that’s not it, Ashton Kutcher ruined that word and he’s a douchebag. I tote the line so to speak, sometimes I cross it and sometimes I don’t. I’m playful yet can be annoying, mildly offensive depending on context but somehow still have all my teeth. I’m a bit of an agitator, in what I believe is in a charming way. I can be a nuisance, I can also whine if I don’t get my way (see texts). I’m a provocateur (or “pro voka”) in massholian. Instigator or Instigata? One of the two. Pick a card, any card.
So, what do you think, dear readers? Douchebag, asshole, or what? You don’t have to decide right away. For your reading pleasure, Matt-Steve has also generously provided us with a guest blog post, to be published shortly. (Update: Matt-Steve’s blog post is posted here.)
I may still not entirely know what I’m looking for in a man, but over my years of dating, I have discovered a lot of things I’m definitely NOT looking for! And so, as a public service to men everywhere, I’m going to share what some of those Dating Dealbreakers are. Today’s installment is about the dreaded Cheapskate.
First, let’s lay out some ground rules. Who pays for the date, anyway? I’m rather old-fashioned, and I believe that whoever asks for the date should pay. As a Rules Girl, I never ask men out on dates, and therefore THE MAN SHOULD ALWAYS PAY. Period. I will always offer to pay half and halfheartedly reach for my wallet, but if the man actually takes me up on my offer, then God help him. If we split the check on the first date, I’m actually pretty cool with that and will chalk it up to “Well I guess he didn’t like me that much.” If he asks me out again after that, I might give him another chance, but if splitting the check becomes a pattern, then that’s a dealbreaker.
Why? Well, splitting the check is a big red flag that the guy is probably just a cheapskate in general. And nobody likes a cheapskate. If you continue to date this dude, you can look forward to lots of cheap dates and squabbling over amounts (“I had a slice of cheese pizza, but you had the pepperoni, so you owe an extra 50 cents.”) On your honeymoon, you’ll probably find yourself strapped to the top of a bus in India, since the air-conditioned compartment was “too expensive” at $2. And once you have kids, well, snaggle-toothed little Jenny doesn’t really need those braces, anyway. (“Do you think money grows on trees?”)
They say that money troubles are the #1 cause of divorce, so it’s important to find a guy with similar financial values to your own. As for me, I’m generally responsible with money and save for the future, but at the same time, I do enjoy the finer things in life and am willing to pay for them. So, I need a guy who does too. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for:
Top Red Flags that the dude is a cheapskate:
1. Splitting the check. Or (worse) letting the girl pick up the tab. The man should always pay for the first 10 dates–up until the point when you’re in an official relationship, and then it’s fine to begin to split things more evenly. But during the courtship process, the man needs to be the man and pick up the damn check. No exceptions.
2. Complaining about how much things cost. I know, it’s ridiculous that cocktails are $18 here. But you picked the place, and I don’t want to hear a word of complaint about how much anything costs on the date. Major turnoff.
3. Picking cheap dates. This one is tricky because since the man is paying, he obviously should pick only dates that he can afford. And actually, some of the funnest dates I’ve ever been on cost next to nothing. A picnic in the park is ultra cheap and a great romantic date. What I’m talking about here as the red flag, though, are the dudes who always want to meet for “drinks” without ever buying you dinner. Presumably because dinner is too expensive, and really he’s just trying to get you drunk, anyway. We’re onto you, cheapskates.
At this point, I’m sure the men reading this blog are annoyed (“Is she just looking for a free meal ticket?”) The answer is no. I have a job and my own money and am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. But, it’s nice to let a guy take care of me for the evening. It’s a test run for the whole relationship: how does it feel to let this guy take care of me? That’s really the whole point of the dating process, isn’t it?
There’s probably an evolutionary component to all this–i.e., women are looking for providers for themselves and their children. I have a male friend who says he makes a point of always buying dinner for a woman on a date. “Feeding a woman makes her trust you,” he says. Something to keep in mind, boys, the next time you’re tempted to split the check.
It seems that even Match.com got the memo that sifting through online profiles and photos is a highly inefficient way to find a mate. So, they have shamelessly ripped off my “Open Office Hours” concept and introduced real-life mixer events they call “The Stir.” Curious, I signed up for my first Stir event last night in Cambridge. I figure, if Match is going to do all the work for me and set up Open Office Hours, then I’d be a fool not to go!
Before going, I did have some reservations. My biggest fear was that the venue would be full of my old Match rejects–the guys I had already dated and shot down. After nearly a year of dating on Match.com, this is getting to be a populous demographic. Luckily, this fear turned out to be mostly unfounded: I only ran into one guy I knew–the cheapskate known as the Guy Who Splits the Check. We pretended not to know each other.
When I first walked into the venue, I was struck by the fact that it mostly felt like going to any other bar. It was hard to tell who was there for the Match event and who was there just because their office is across the street. People were mingling, drinking, and talking.
Having gone by myself (being unable to blackmail any of the girls into accompanying me), I got myself a glass of wine at the bar and immediately realized my conundrum as a solo woman at a Stir event. You see, I’m a fervent believer in The Rules and never, under any circumstances, do I approach a man first. Normally in bars, I hang out with my girlfriends and wait for men to approach us. However, when you’re a “Solo Lurker” this is difficult. You can either sit at the bar, nursing your drink, looking lonely and pathetic, or you can grab the bull by the balls and just start talking to men yourself. Actually, the latter is pretty easy at Stir events. You already know everyone there is single and looking to meet strangers, so simply making eye contact is enough to spark a conversation with most people.
Some observations from the evening:
1. As you might expect, the girl-to-guy ratio was highly skewed. I’d estimate there were 3-4 girls for every guy in attendance.
2. The men are all lame. And short. (Basically, it’s a representative subsection of the pathetic male selection available online). I did not meet a single guy who piqued my interest. I wish I could say I was surprised.
However, the evening was not a total loss because:
3. There were some really awesome girls in attendance. I exchanged numbers with two really friendly [straight] women and made some new friends to go out hunting for men with!
This just goes to support my growing belief that there is no shortage of amazing women in Boston, but the men are all duds.