Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Your Not-So-Burning Questions, Parte Dos

Friends, it is time for the second half of my much-belated response to the dating questions you kindly asked. It took me a full three weeks to post Part 1 and merely another week to follow up with Part 2. Let's call that progress, shall we?

I'm going to start with a question that wasn't actually in the original list, but that a commenter named Heidi asked in response to my Ridiculous Theories post last week. Theory #5 involved a bar that I refuse to visit with prospective dates because I am convinced that it is cursed. Apparently whether or not this theory is ridiculous depends upon the evidence. So here it is.

  1. The first time I visited said bar, it was with my then-boyfriend, and we went there basically to break up. Not a good start; wouldn't you agree?

  2. A few months later, I went to said bar with another date, a date who admittedly didn't do anything so awful except I suppose bore me a bit. (Oh, and plagiarize my "I'm just not into you" e-mail in order to brush off someone else.) A mildly bad date maybe doesn't lend a whole lot of credence to the curse theory, but I'm building evidence; stick with me, OK?

  3. A year after that, I went to said bar again with an early meMarmony match. It was a rare third date, and we had a fine time... many laughs, good conversation, plenty of compliments from him onto me... Before the night was through we were making out under a disco ball in his nearby office and talking quite convincingly about a fourth date. A few days later, he told me there would be no fourth date. He'd be dating someone else, apparently, instead. As if that weren't frustrating and ego-blowing enough, he boomeranged back into my Inbox several months later, having broken up with the girl who was at one point "better" than me. An innocent invitation for drinks turned into something that felt pretty date-like, at the end of which he asked me on that long-delayed fourth (or perhaps, fifth, depending on which ones you count) date after all... And then sent continually evasive and noncommittal e-mails until finally saying, "Sorry; I shouldn't have asked you that. I'm just not feelin' it, I guess." Score three (four?) for the jaded burlesque lady; she got me again with that guy.

  4. Around the time of the disco ball, no-fourth-date incident, a friend of mine went to this bar with a date, too. Just as with my date, things went rather well. There was good conversation and much enthusiastic pawing at each other in a car later on, as well as seemingly sincere talk of another date. She never heard from the guy again. Not only that, but another friend who it turned out worked with the guy later told us that he seemingly vanished entirely--quit his job unexpectedly and without explanation and was never seen by anyone there again. Mysterious? Yes. I am telling you, something's not right with this place.

  5. And finally, I have to point out perhaps the most innocent victim of all in this curse. Shortly after events #3 and 4, I was walking with some friends to breakfast at a nearby coffee shop when I saw a sweet-looking elderly couple hobble quietly past the bar in question. Directly in front of the door, for no discernible reason and with no advance warning at all, the old woman's legs gave out and she toppled quickly to the ground. Since then, I can't help but wonder if it's not enough just to avoid entering this bar with a man; I have to avoid even walking past it with one as well.

So. That's the bulk of the evidence. Tell me... bar curse: real or fake? You know my vote, of course.

OK, on to the rest of your questions. I didn't really mean for that first one to be a whole post in itself.

Liz wants to know... What's the age range you've dated? How many years older, and how many years younger than you?
I had one date several years ago with a guy nine years my senior, and twice I've gone out with guys four years younger than I. I'm sure it's all situational and depends on the individual, but in all three cases, I felt like the age range was too wide. The nine-years-older guy was 34 when I was 25. I was losing all my single friends to marriages at the time, and he was starting to gain his back due to divorce. It was just one of several examples proving we were at different places in life. Same goes for dating twenty-somethings now. I just don't see myself relating to most of them. It's fun to step back into that life for a little while, but long-term relationship potential would be tough. (For me, I mean. And with my limited experience dating younger men. Please don't send me hate mail if you're rocking an Ashton-and-Demi thing that works for you.)

Incidentally, the nine-years-older guy was listed as "Steve" in this post; the first four-years-younger guy was Aaron (and was the date on which I wore the shirt mentioned in BeingMcCrary's question for Part 1); and the second four-years-younger guy was the scary one who inspired the majority of this post last summer. (Man, it's fun having my whole dating life chronicled online for quick and easy reference.)

Married Jen wants to know... Do you believe in "dating karma"? Like if you don't like a guy who is obviously interested in you, that it will happen to you the next time?
I don't know that I believe in dating karma from that perspective, but I do wonder what I did to men in a past life to make me so unlucky in love this time around. I'm sure I was some sort of player or heart-breaker; I just hope I had fun while it lasted.

Married Jen also asked... What's the most creatively planned date you've ever been on?
You know, I should really have an answer to this by now, given how much time I've had to think about it. Unfortunately, the best I can come up with is the small dinner party that my first pseudo-boyfriend (in high school) and one of his best friends planned for me and the other friend's girlfriend. I wish I could remember the odd mix of foods they made. It surely wasn't a cohesive menu, but it was a very sweet 16-year-old gesture nonetheless. Slightly more recently, I also remember being about five months into my last "real" relationship and realizing I'd never really had a first date with my boyfriend. We'd started as friends and segued into more than that over time, so we never had an official first date. The day after our conversation about that, he sent me an e-mail asking, "May I take you on a date?" He made a reservation at a fancy restaurant we'd never been to; he picked me up bearing flowers and wearing a button-up shirt that was tucked in; and then he got really romantic and took me to see The Matrix Reloaded after dinner. (OK, so it may not have been totally romantic, but it was a good "first date," anyway.) And since I don't put out on a first date, he didn't even stay over that night. All right; in truth, I think the not-staying-over part was due actually to an early morning golf game; after all, if there's ever a time to be a slut, it's when you're on a first date with your boyfriend of five months.

LC wants to know... How do you feel about dating someone younger than you, nevertheless he shows he is a mature individual?
I know it all depends on the person, so I'm not saying there'd be no exception to my general feeling on this, but... see the response to Liz's question above. Also, I think Red said it best when she proclaimed, "If your age starts with 2, I won't date you." Seems a pretty good rule to me these days.

Metalia wants to know... Do you have an emergency plan to fall back upon (possibly involving friends, and code words) should the date turn out to be a bust from the get-go?
Perhaps I should (I do love a good code word), but luckily I've never really felt it all that necessarily. I rarely schedule a first date on a Friday or Saturday, and when you're meeting for drinks or coffee on a weeknight, it's not too hard to beg off with an early exit. Yes, I've had some painful dates, but generally I figure I can survive anything for two hours. I sat through Jersey Girl, after all. (And even most of From Justin to Kelly.) I do, however, wonder, any time I see a guy glance at his cell phone on a date, whether he might have some sort of emergency plan worked out.

And finally, Poppy, overriding her first comment that she didn't have an "appropriate" question for me, decided to ask this "inappropriate" one... Do you you respect the 3 date rule, wait a lot longer, or go for it on the first date if you feel like it?
I think Poppy's already gotten her answer to this, seeing as I wrote about it in comments on a few other blogs lately. (Apparently I'm hesitant to spill dirty details on my own blog, but have few qualms publishing them elsewhere on the Internet.) Let me start by saying there is a difference between a date and a bit of mostly meaningless action. If I said I have never had my Mildreds off* the first (and in most cases, only) night I've known a guy, I would, I'll admit, be lying. But if it's a real and proper date with a man I'm hoping to date again, I see no need to rush things along so quickly. Call me old fashioned, but can we not retain a bit of mystery, save some things for later, let anticipation build a little bit? Personally, I think the three-date rule is absurd, and not because I want to "go for it" earlier, but because I think less than ten hours into an acquaintance with a potential boyfriend is just too soon for certain things. Yes, I am a prude. Selectively, anyway. And that's all I probably need to say about that.

* I did say I enjoy a good
code word!

Thanks again for complying with my request for questions (and for humoring me as I thereafter neglected to answer them for weeks on end). Got anything else you want to know? Perhaps I'll answer it sometime next year. Perhaps.


3carnations said...

Speaking of age differences, I overheard this from a clerk at the ags station this week: "The last guy I dated was 18, and now I'm dating a 30 year old." I immediately looked at her, and played the game I'm worst at, "Guess her age". I would have put her close to 30. Let's try 28. That seems too young to date an 18 year old. I guess if she's 22 she might be somewhat fair game to either age group...

The three date rule is crazy. Does anyone really say "It's date #3...I'd better be ready." Maybe guys...Same as you, any meaningful relationship I've ever had always went well past the three date rule. It's funny how everyone instinctively knows if things are headed somewhere real and takes their time...and how odd that when things AREN'T headed somewhere real, somehow we speed things along sometimes...Like people know they don't have much time to work with or something.

Noelle said...

I dated a much older guy once. It was like he had lived a whole life that I missed out on. Not for me. I love the story about the made up first date with transition boy. That's the kind of stuff that makes romance fun.

NancyPearlWannabe said...

I'm with you- I would never go back to that bar. There's this place near my apartment that I used to love, it has an awesome view of the skyline, but then a friend told me she uses it as a breakup spot and it ruined it for me. It's like it's jinxed.

3carnations said...

Oh, yeah, and the bar - Too many weird things to be a coincidence. I would feel like I should stay away, too!

lizgwiz said...

I've dated a couple of guys who were quite a bit older than me, and that seemed to work better than the couple of times I've gone a few years younger. Although lately I've noticed the guys on match.com, etc. who are my age are starting to look a bit...old. It can't be that I'm starting to be a bit aged as well, can it? Surely not. Maybe I SHOULD be looking for my own little Ashton.

The emergency exit/code word thing always reminds me of the episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte's on a bad date and makes Carrie call her so she can say "Something bad happened?" and leave. Hee.

Oh, and yes...you should stay away from that bar. ;)

L Sass said...

Bar curses are totally real! There is a bar here that I went to with my ex-boyfriend right before we broke up. Then, during the period between ex-boyf and AS, it was a really popular first date drinks spot. So popular, in fact, that it came to represent the epitome of didn't-put-a-lot-of-thought-into-it generic, stupid dates. Hate.

Poppy Cede said...

You answered my question on your blog. :) I hope you don't feel icky now. And I do appreciate that you spilled the beans on (Kim's, I think?) blog first.

Poppy Cede said...

And that's all I'll say. :)

stefanie said...

3Cs--Yeah, I think I'm definitely too old for an 18-year-old at this point. ;-) Even at 22, I think I was too old for an 18-year-old.

Noelle--Exactly. The ex-boyfriend who took me on the "fake" first date is now engaged to a woman 12 years younger than him. When they met, she was two-thirds his age. When he graduated from high school, she was six. I don't get it. How they have anything in common is beyond me, but I guess to each their own.

NPW (and 3Cs)--Thank you for confirming my fear about that place. People seem to think I'm crazy when I mention the curse!

Liz--That's funny. I've always had a hard time thinking of any older men as attractive, simply because, hello, they're old. ;-) (Obviously I do not share the Ben Kingsley crush lots of people shared on Metalia's post the other day.) I'm just hoping as I get older, old men won't look so old to me. Even when I was a teenager, I remember not thinking "real men" were attractive (e.g., Mark Harmon was too old; I was still looking at Corey Haim). I think I'm just wired to be attracted only to guys in my own age group. (Man, that was a long comment reply. Sorry.)

L Sass--Yay; yet another vote saying I'm not insane for believing in this curse! :-)

Poppy--Yep, Kim's blog and also FunkyBrownChick's. Apparently I was all about spilling dirty details elsewhere last week.

Shesabigstar said...

Bar curse is for real! Stay away!

It's kind of like my curse of nail polish...never used to wear nail polish in high school, then randomly one day, I painted my nails, and that night my boyfriend broke up with me. Hence, the curse of nail polish. There's other evidence to back this up as well, but this is where it all started! Btw, French is ok, as is polish on acryllic nails...just not on my real nails!

If you stay away from that bar, and I stay away from the nail polish, I think we'll be all set!

melissa said...

Oh the vanishing act. I once dated a coworker for a couple months, who did not show up one Friday night for our date. There was a snow storm, and he lives out of town, so I blamed the snow, and worried he was in an accident. I called, no answer. He did not call back all weekend, and then he didn't show up to work on Monday. By this point, I had been both angry and a touch worried. So I called him on Monday, no answer. Then he calls in to work to say he won't be in for a bit. Randomly shows up at work one day, smiles at me and makes the 'call me' gesture as he walks by my desk. And he has not been seen or heard from since. WHAT A WEIRDO!! On one hand, I hope something serious was going down with his family and that is why he disappeared, but on the other...I think he's just a wank. Damn the vanishing act.

Anniina said...

Heheh, you had me at Jersey Girl - I got coffee on my keyboard. Yeah I'm with you and Red on the "if your age starts with 2" - I'd prefer to date a guy who has the same lexicon of tv-shows, books, and movies, without having to translate all the time. "Mildreds" got me again! Although they sound like the granny pants Bridget Jones wore for that book launch :)

whiskeymarie said...

I think I know the location of the "Bad Karma Bar".

If I am correct, I concur.
I have had no good experiences there.

I curse thee, bad bar!

Though I did have a good sandwich there once.

stefanie said...

BigStar--OK, I would say that the nail polish thing is just silly, but clearly I'm in no position to judge. I am glad to know we all have our little slices of lunacy.

Melissa--I think that's one of those situations where you just have to figure you dodged a bullet. Also, I love that you used the word "Wank." :-)

Anniina--I do try to avoid wearing the granny pants when I have any inkling that they might be coming off in someone else's presence, but really, by the time you're in that situation, I think most men don't care. Um, have I shared too much again? ;-) Methinks I have.

WhiskeyMarie--If we're talking about the same bar, I have to ask if it was the turkey burger you found so tasty. At least five people have mentioned that place to me in the context of proclaiming how fabulous the turkey burger is. I finally had it. Eh. Nothin' to write home about.

metalia said...

Thanks for answering my burning question. :) Nice job, working in two of the WORST MOVIES EVER.

What's that? From Justin to Kelly? No, I most certainly never saw that. No sirree.

stefanie said...

Metalia--OK, I have to admit something. I actually WANTED TO SEE From Justin to Kelly, solely because I wanted to know just how awful it might actually be. (I am still determined to watch Crossroads someday, for the same reason.) But the day it was on some cable station, I was actually disappointed that something better was on at the same time. DISAPPOINTED that there was something better on that From Justin to Kelly. I kept meaning to flip back to witness the full extent of the awfulness, but whatever I started watching instead sucked me in.

Crazy, I know.

metalia said...

Come to New York. We will rent Crossroads. And we will DRINK. It's the most unintentionally hilarious movie ever.

Heidi said...

Each of those incidents individually is clearly a sign of the bar's curse. Together, though? It's like that place is a warp in the relationship continuum. Only go there when you're ready for the unexpected.

I actually have a friend whose parties are the warp in the dating continuum. Even though I know most of his circle, every new event will draw one new guy I've never met before who seems pretty interesting and spends the whole evening trying to impress me. At the same time, a tried and true FRIEND-friend will suddenly declare his wish for me to be his one and only. By the end of the evening, though, the truth will out and both prospects are gone, leaving me to help with the ashtray dumping and lampshade straightening.

Every time.

stefanie said...

Metalia--I think watching Crossroads REQUIRES drinking; don't you?

Heidi--Wow. I can't decide if a track record like that would make me never want to miss one of those parties or just say NO from now on.