Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I am kayak; hear me roar

I don't always think of this blog as a chronological sort of thing with an ongoing story line, so when 3carnations mentioned in my comments the other day that she was still pulling for Index Card Guy, I wasn't sure whether that was worthy of an in-post update or not. In case anyone else is curious, the story is thus: after a relatively sincere and enthusiastic request for a second date (at the end of our first date), Index Card Guy waited a full week to call. In the voicemail he left, he explained all the reasons he would not be able to get together in the next few days, but said he wanted to call to say hello anyway. Calling on a Thursday (immediately pre-weekend) I think puts a little crimp in the usually acceptable time frame for a callback, so I'll admit I did not return his call until Sunday night. By Tuesday, I decided that, should he call again, I would not be home. I was tired of the ridiculous game of phone tag and wholly underwhelmed by his non-efforts to woo me. Either he wasn't particularly interested or he's just plain bad at dating. Whichever the case, I felt writing him off was no great loss. Judging by the comments some of you left on my date recap post, you won't be too appalled by that decision. "Index Card Guy needs to be shown the door," Darren wrote. Well OK then. As you wish. Moving on.

Truth be told, I have quickly grown tired of the ridiculous dating game yet again. I honestly am fine on my own, so I don't know why I feel compelled to go through the absurd social experiment that is meMarmony. On tonight's Gilmore Girls, Emily shocked both Lorelei and me by acknowledging that Lorelei doesn't really need a husband at all. Emily is in a canoe, paddling wildly on only one side and getting exhausted and dizzy without a partner, while Lorelei is in a kayak, balanced and productive all on her own. I'm in a kayak, too, I think. As Lorelei responded, "I am kayak; hear me roar."

I keep thinking of a Josh Ritter song containing a line that's always resonated with me. "I'm alone, but I'm not lonely," he sings in California. I relate completely. Still, I can't help feeling it would be, at times, better, to have a partner. Trips are being planned--"couple" trips where I will be the odd woman out. Before I know it, summer will be here, and the canoe metaphor will be a reality: I'll find myself on camping excursions, paddling partner nowhere in sight. Or worse, it will be December again, and I'll be back at my company's holiday party, dateless once more, watching my ex-boyfriend with not only a new girlfriend this time, but a fiance'--even worse. Yes, last week my ex-boyfriend (the ex-boyfriend, the only one who's really mattered thus far, the one where, upon our breakup, I rightly predicted, "That one's gonna leave a mark") got engaged. I have been mentally preparing for this news for a while now, and yet I still fully expected it would unhinge me when it became real. I am sort of still waiting for the knot in my stomach to form, the breakdown to begin. But as yet, I am somehow thankfully in large part unaffected. I rolled my eyes and recalled all the reasons his new relationship annoys and confounds me and all the things I'd like to say to him, but I realized also that holding on to all of that serves no purpose, that I somehow need to learn how to let go. I told my friends that I reserve the right to have a breakdown a bit later (healing and moving on is seldom a linear process, after all), but for now, I am pushing it out of my brain and holding fast to the knowledge that we were not right together, that we broke up for a reason, and that it doesn't really matter what he's doing with his life now. And also that the ring he purchased is hideous and that I'm better off without someone with such poor taste. (What? I am a bitter spinster! I have the right to an unfair comment every now and then, have I not?)

Regardless, the meMarmony game grows more depressing with each day. There are exactly two men in my list at the moment who look remotely appealing to me at all, and neither one seems interested in responding to me right now. Meanwhile, the matches who are showing some degree of interest are either wholly unattractive or seemingly just plain weird. Consider this example from one guy's "The one thing I am most passionate about" box:

Life! Wine, passion, the thrill of speed, and travel to trails that are crooked, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. mountains that rise into and above the clouds. rivers that flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys past temples and castles and poet's towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers & monkeys howl, down into deserts of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, deep vast ancient unknown chasms where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, places where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning crashed overhead.

I have no idea where this guy lives, as his city says "Null" on the profile, but I know of no place in the greater metropolitan area where tigers and monkeys howl in primeval forests. Most guys write something like "travel," "friends," or "family" in that box. This guy's into crooked, lonesome trails and unknown chasms alongside cliffs. I suppose it could be worse. He's not confessing a love for cross-dressing, after all. Still, a bit of normalcy (with a healthy and appealing side of quirky) would be refreshing at this point.

I do realize, by the way, that the problem could quite likely be me. A good friend told me the other night that her sort-of boyfriend mentioned, in conversation, that I'm probably compatible with only a fraction of the number of people with whom most women could be happy. If the average person could be comfortably matched with approximately 25,000 people in the world, I'm well suited for only 2,500 of those, he said. I'm not sure what he's basing this on, but considering this guy said most men would like only about 70% of who I am, he may be on to something, I guess. (That guy, by the way, tried to counter that statement by saying he liked 90% of who I am, but considering his goal was to work on and improve the 10% he was not OK with, I wasn't particularly flattered by that claim.)

I'm not sure what is so fundamentally unmatchable about me, but even Dr. Warren (the mysterious wizard behind the curtain at meMarmony) seems baffled at this point. The past few days, I've been repeatedly unable to log in, due to the supposed "recent membership surge" that's bogging down their site. And yet? No new matches for me. It's as though Dr. Warren and his band of yentas have thrown up their hands and said, "Sorry; you're on your own. I can't help you anymore." I've heard tales of people being rejected from meMarmony from the start because the system felt it could find no one worth matching them with at all. Me they happily accepted, but apparently I worked my way through their few prospects all too quick.

I am trying to maintain a sense of humor, as with all things in life. A meMarmony match recently asked me what five songs would be on the soundtrack for the movie of my life, and, unable to commit to five solid and meaningful selections, I actually included the Dresden Dolls' Coin-Operated Boy as my final song, with the explanation that "I totally want one of those." The man for me would understand that was a joke and appreciate the snark behind the lie. This guy? Time will tell if he's amused, I suppose.

Even my behavior on dates has been a bit questionable of late. I've often chided men for their lack of social skills, and yet, on my last date (Date #4 in my ElimiDATE game, the one date I didn't include in my recap that week), I was the one who'd seemingly not been let out in public in some time. I don't even remember all of the details at this point, but I may or may not have responded to a comment about his body size with the line, "Well, you are sort of burly, I suppose." I attribute the big ball of awkwardness that was that night to the fact that my date was a mute; he was entirely too comfortable with uncomfortable silence, which led me to fill the silence with any rambling thought that entered my head. Since I have, as I've mentioned before, no mental goalie whatsoever, at the end of that date, I actually said out loud, "I have been on four dates this week, and this is the first one where I've felt like the freak." I am not shocked that he closed the match two days later. I am only shocked I did not do so myself first to save my dignity.

All of this is telling me that perhaps it's time for a break from this nonsense yet again. Of course, I haven't yet told that to the guy I'm supposed to meet this weekend. I'd like to think that, just like in the movies, it's when you've written off all hope for love that the right one comes into view, but I'm far too cynical to truly believe that yet, I guess. As such, I'll likely have another awkward coffee date to relay come Sunday evening. I'm sure you're looking forward to it, right?


metalia said...

I'm sorry, Stefanie. As much as I hate platitudes like "the right one is out there," it is true; you will find the right guy (though preferably not in a primeval forest...really, WTF?!).

I hope Sunday's date goes well!

3carnations said...

"...you've written off all hope for love that the right one comes into view..."

Believe it or not, I actually lived that one. I had been on quite a dating "streak", meaning I had been seeing several new guys once or twice. I was actually enjoying it. In the midst of that, I found one that seemed compatible. Unfortunately, I was way off, and the disaster that ensued left me jaded to say the least. I had no interest in dating or much of anything else, when a friend insisted that I be fixed up with hubby, since we were soooo alike. I grudgingly accepted. I was not interested. I tried to make it clear to hubby that I was not interested. He persisted, eventually I softened up a little...6 and a half years later here we are.

My situation was a bit extreme. I guess my point was, if I met someone in the place I was then, you can certainly meet someone in the place you are now.

Why you have trouble with compatibility is beyond me. Their loss.

Noelle said...

I wish I knew a straight guy for you in Minneapolis. If you want to meet one of the greatest gay guys ever, I can hook you up, no problem!

I wish meMarmony would match you up with someone who doesn't share your interests so much. Because on paper, my guy and I are no match at all. However, making fun of his crappy taste in music has been one of my favorite bonding activities. I like the kayack metaphor, because it's so true, sometimes it is nice to balance on your own. But I think you should keep at it, because sometimes it's also nice to share a canoe with someone.

Darren McLikeshimself said...

Wow! I had no idea I had the power to make you do things! Um, okay... Send me booze and snacks!

Perhaps what your friend's sort-of-boyfriend was trying to say is that you have standards.

And from a guy point of view? I'd remove "Coin-operated Boy." I'd read that and assume you were also the type of woman who had a keychain that gloated in her PMS-induced bitchiness or reads "Men are like diapers: Full of shit and always on my ass."

lizgwiz said...

I think I'm a kayak, too. That's a great analogy. I'm surprised the current writers of Gilmore Girls came up with it. ;)

That "forest primeval" guy? No. Just no. "Grottos of endless stone?" In a dating profile? Hell to the no. (Thanks, Whitney.)

But, I know exactly where you're coming from--even though I'm a kayak, I still wouldn't mind the occasional canoe trip, you know? Sometimes it's just nice having someone to go to dinner with. I will continue to believe that there's someone great out there waiting for both of us!

The Other Girl said...

I think maybe you do need someone who seems wrong for you on paper. It's often the ones you think you won't like who turn out to the (good) surprises. I know that when I go out with guys who I have too many things in common with, it just reminds me of everything I hate about myself. Heh. Of course, that's probably just me.

What's that book about the woman who decided to go out with everyone who asked to see what happened? A Year of Yes, I think. She ended up marrying one of the guys. Although I think she had to date a lot of lunatics along the way.

guinness girl said...

Oh Stefanie, I know all of those feelings and I hate that you are having them. Did I tell you that, when I was doing match.com, I took a test that ended up telling me I'm compatible with a mere 3% of the world's male population? At the time, I felt totally bereft at this result. In retrospect, I still wonder if it's true - but at the same time, I want to call a big BULLSHIT to it.

Anyway. I ramble. I also stand by my original conviction that it's time to ditch meMarmony and try match or yahoo personals. And, more importantly, I internet hug you.

L Sass said...

Argh... dating is frustrating. There's no two ways about it. My experience (and what I've observed), for what it's worth, is that there really is always somewhere else out there to meet, just when you least expect it.

Keep the faith--and keep entertaining us!

Paisley said...

I think you should shun that weird-ass monkey and tiger guy not just because he's a freak, but because of his rambly description and misuse of commas.

Don't fret. I know it sucks when you are there. I didn't have one single date for FIVE YEARS. I sent out such a vibe that nobody even approached me. (Cray to the Z! ex-boyfriend) I pretended I was a lesbian when I went out with my friends.

And still, when I was kinda ready to date again and had no idea how to do it or where to find a guy, I found one. The Universe sent him to me at just the right time. I wasn't looking and I was OK with me. I was ready for him. I almost met him 3 years prior, but it wouldn't have worked then.

So you never know. Just keep swimming. Don't lose the high standards. He's out there.

The best part? He was my date to my first love's wedding. (MY first one that mattered). :) Oh, yeah - the marriage and the baby thing ain't bad either.

Sorry so long.

Peace out, yo!

stefanie said...

Metalia--Thanks. You're right; I hate lines like that, too, but the reason people keep saying them is probably because they often ring true, right? (I hope?)

3Cs--See, stories like that make me wonder if I actually am writing some of these guys off too quickly. When I have no interest whatsoever in spending further time with someone, however, it is hard to ignore that instinct.

Noelle--Aw, thanks. Does the greatest gay guy ever have any eligible straight friends in Minneapolis? ;-) Also, meMarmony doesn't necessarily match based on interests; it's a whole realm of "dimensions of compatibility." Still, I do wonder who might be in that database who they deem me NOT compatible with!

Darren--Wait. So you're saying that it is not a good idea to wear my "I suffer from PMS: Putting up with Mens' Shit" t-shirt on a date?? So that's what I've been doing wrong! OK, no, seriously, you raise a valid point, but what I'll say in reply was that I think I made it clear that I was kidding and also that the other four songs I listed were wholly unoffensive.

Liz--Yay for the kayak contingency! Yes, an occasional canoe trip would be nice, but I don't want just any partner, and I know you don't, either.

TOG--Yes, I actually read that book last year. I sort of feel like that's what I'm already doing, trying to keep an open mind about damn-near any guy. I don't always go into it with the best attitude or optimism, however, so maybe my mind isn't as open as I thought.

GG--Yes, I remember you telling me that. I thought of that story when that creep I went out with last summer made the remark about the percentages. As for Match, the last time I looked, it was a lot of the same guys who were already in my list at meMarmony, but I suppose I could split my chances just like they are. One of these days.

L Sass--Thanks. I will try. :-)

Paisley--OK, consensus seems to be "NO" on the monkey guy. Thank you all for the advice. And thanks for the words of hope from your own experience, too. As for the ex-boyfriend's wedding, I commend you for going to that. I don't know that I could do it, no matter how "over" him I am.

3carnations said...

The thing is, there wasn't anything in particular about him that had me not interested. I was simply not interested in being interested, if that makes any sense.

I remember exactly when he melted my heart, though. We had plans one evening after work, and I canceled on him because it had snowed a lot and I had to shovel (not trying to give him the brush off - we had gotten about 8 inches of snow during the day. I REALLY needed to shovel). He showed up while I was shoveling, straight from work in dress shoes, and helped me. I made him dinner afterwards. Most of the guys I had dated would be more likely to put more snow in my driveway than to help me remove it. He's a keeper. :)

Babs said...

Just a shout out that I love your blog, and totally get where you're coming from. I've been struggling with this idea that I need to tell the universe that I'm ready for Mr. Wonderful to stumble into my life... but online dating just doesn't seem to be the right path. I did my 3 months on meMarmony last Fall, and was equally unimpressed.

So yeah, if you figure it all out and blog about it, I'm so totally gonna copy you. Just saying. :)

don't call me MA'AM said...

My husband and I often joke that we would never have met each other if someone thought of matching us up... because we don't match. At. All. Yet it works.

All those lovey-dovey couples on the commercials for meMarmony just make me want to hurl.

I think you're fine exactly the way you are. And be sure to run like hell if monkey/tiger guy ever comes calling. Yikes!

Red said...

Well-put, all of it. Couple things: That profile is hysterical, and your friend's sort of boyfriend sounds sort of like a jerk. I could be wrong... it could've also been a well-intentioned compliment that somehow went haywire.

Keep the date this weekend and then take a break if you need one. Dating shouldn't always have to be like having a second job, in my humble opinion. And I know it's trite but, better to be alone than settle. But you already knew that.

nabbalicious said...

Blargh. I really don't know what to say other than: don't give up hope! I don't really blame you for your frustration, though. Who are these guys? Is Jim Morrison back from the dead or something?

Good luck on Sunday!

LC said...


I just had a man told me that, the whole 'I don't agree with you but I still like you so we will work on that' speech also.
It's the same guy who also told me that I wasn't 'as intelligent as I pretended to be, not that I was dumb, but just not that intelligent'

So...there's a lot of crazies out there. I've also came up to the point where I am in quarantine of dating. And when one does, things happen. Whether if by then you'll meet 'the one' is not for one to know, but I do notice that it keeps the crazies away for a little while, since they are put off by some vibe we might send.

This is me rambling. I wish I were a kayak. I hope I am.

Jasclo said...

Actually, yeah! GO! And let us know how it was. I'll be sending you good vibes.

You know, I have way too many awesome girl friends who have trouble finding guys. I guess, yes, you guys are kayaks and don't want to deal with someone who isn't up to par. Who could blame you?

Jasclo said...

oh and p.s., people should be required to take a writing test or something before they write up profiles of themselves. perhaps if forest man had, he wouldn't sound so... awful and impressed with himself. that's one of the worst combos!

stefanie said...

3Cs--That is a sweet story. I agree: he sounds like a keeper.

Babs--Thanks. And if I figure it all out and somehow solve some mystery of the universe, I'm sure I will, in fact, write about it. Hopefully, at that point, someone would PAY me to write about it! :-)

DCMM--I agree that there doesn't seem to be any magic formula for what always works. It's all a crapshoot, I keep saying. And those commercials drive me nuts, too. Every time I log in, I see those same damn happy couples there, too. I wonder how much meMarmony paid them... and if they're even real.

Red--I don't think Friend's sort-of boyfriend is a jerk; he's always been nothing but nice when I've been around. So I'll have to assume it was some compliment gone awry, or just an observation meant without judgment. As for dating feeling like a second job, I totally feel that sometimes. (Particularly when I have four dates in one week. Seriously, do not go on four dates in one week. No good can come of it.)

Nabb--Heh. Good theory. I actually wondered if Googling that passage would turn up any results, and yet, I didn't try.

LC--"I wish I were a kayak. I hope I am." I love that statement, mainly because, out of context, it sounds wholly absurd. You know, sort of like much about the dating process is wholly absurd. :-)

Jasclo--What's weird is I used to think that meeting someone online would be perfect for me, since I'm so written-word-oriented. I never stopped to consider that likely the majority of men out there don't express themselves very well via email or text-based profile, so finding someone word-savvy enough to catch my attention would be tough. Live and learn.

Also, to EVERYONE... You guys are awesome. Really I wasn't even feeling that down when I wrote that post; it just sort of came out that way, but your words of support and encouragement were so, so nice. Thank you. Really. You guys are the best.