Dating in Dublin …and sometimes elsewhere!

Archive for January, 2013

Dating maverick: AAA, would date again

Strolling through the wonderful landscape that’s okcupid, I ran into this priceless jewel and had to share.

It’s not everyday you see someone who’s been reviewed as a date. The guy in all honesty is not that bad, I’d go out with him, if the mood struck, but I just HAD to share this specific part of his profile, where he publishes several reviews of girls who went on dates with him. There are so many more where these came from. I swear to you, he’s got tens of reviews as a first date. Apparently he’s dating material. Relationship, maybe not so much. I don’t see any repeat customers.

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I’m torn between giving away his profile link and not doing so. Not that my blog is that powerful as a tool for sharing information, but I’d hate for him to become a laughing stock and be receiving disrespectful messages because of me. Let’s just make fun on him in private. It’s between you and me, alright, Internet?

Dating a downer

I read today a great (albeit old) post on It’s not OK, Cupid. The blog seems to be gone, but there are some good stories in there.

She talks about how some people doing online dating seem to think that everyone there is automatically a loser who could not succeed in meeting people during the course of “real life”, and that includes themselves.
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I was wondering if I thought that too at some point, and I realized I didn’t. I grew up on the internet, online dating seems natural. The world is huge, maybe my better half is somewhere I’d never have access to if it wasn’t for the internet. I’ve made so many amazing friends online that I’ll always be the poster girl for meeting people online.

But back to the self-loathing daters. There indeed is a part of the population that thinks they need to state right out of the bat all that’s wrong with them, and let every potential match know they’re broken and aware of that. It’s the defense mechanism: if I let you know right away what I think is wrong, you can’t pin it on my when it affects you, and then I don’t have to change.

How many times have you gone to a person in a social situation and in the course of a 30 minute conversation told them all that you thought was wrong with you? It doesn’t work offline, and won’t work online. 

A dating profile is not a marriage proposal. Everyone has many, many flaws and they’ll become apparent through the course of having a relationship. Some will be deal breakers, some won’t. Of course you shouldn’t hide anything that you consider relevant to finding a good match, but you shouldn’t also play against yourself. Lay the cards in your favor, tell people about what’s good in you, and hope for the best. Maybe you think you’re desperate for looking at online dating. It may just be that you’re tired of going to clubs and not being able to even listen to the other person.

And then there’s a category I consider just as worse: the downers. These are the people who would rather tell everyone what they hate, what they’re not into, what they won’t accept, instead of focusing on the positive. Nice way to start a relationship.

I’ve read so many “don’t want any…” or “if you’re into <add any sort of entertainment thing> don’t bother writing” or even worse “If you like <particular thing the guy doesn’t like>, maybe you should reflect on where your life is going”. Seriously? Let’s save the hurtful talk for when we are married and begin to hate each other, shall we? 

“I’m tired of playing games and don’t want to meet you if you’re do this sort of sick thing”, said no one ever, in a social environment. So don’t do it online. 

And then there are the victimizers. The ones that state somewhere in their profile that women must be dumb bitches who probably love to be emotionally abused because he’s such a nice guy and he’s still single. They don’t use these words, but may as well, because there’s nothing short of “poor me” syndrome in there. 

It may be that Dublin is different. For a country in such an economical depression, I’d expect to find the saddest types around here. But no. They’re actually very upbeat, forward-looking and positive about life. What I read most is “I’m happy”, “I’m doing something I love”, “I’m looking for someone to share fun times”, and so on. No dramatic life-has-been-harsh-on-me-and-you-should-love-me-because-I’m-one-of-the-few-decent-guys-around. Irish guys are generally happy in my experience, even when things are not going so well. This attitude is what draws me towards them more often than other nationalities.

Dating should always be about having fun and meeting new and interesting people. It’s not a desperation move. If you’re getting into this with a depressing perspective, you won’t go far. You’ll run into abusive types who prey on lack of self-respect, or you’ll end up bitter because you don’t meet anyone. Like so many people have said before, if you don’t love yourself, no one will. 

Learn to have fun by yourself, then go looking for someone to share the good times.

 

I go on a date with the Topper

Sometimes I have really bad judgement. Ok, it’s not sometimes, it’s most of the time.

Take this guy I met online, for example. Seemed a nice enough guy, we had some interesting chats, he likes the same stuff I do, same books, same games and TV shows (plus the guy was hot!). He was going away on long vacations, so we decided to go for a date.

He asked if I was into Thai food (I am) and if I was free on Saturday (I was). So it was a deal, he was going to show me this little but wonderful restaurant in Ballsbridge and we would have a great time. Perfect, maybe I would even get to actually kiss someone, finally. Or more. But I wasn’t counting on it. I’d say European men are different, but I may be wrong. I don’t know every nationality yet. Yet.

So we agreed to meet and I was hoping to get lucky. All our conversations were loaded with innuendo, a charming repartee I was hoping would translate as sexual tension in the live version.

The restaurant was a short walk from the DART in Lansdowne Road. Always loved Ballsbridge, such a fancy neighborhood. I’m not fancy at all, but the architecture is just wonderful to my eyes.  There was no rain that day and the winds were calm, so my flowy dark purple dress was not flying all over. I felt hot and irresistible.

When I approached the place I didn’t see him in front, but given the cold, I decided to wait inside. I then realized this was no small Thai restaurant. It was big and fancy, and completely full. At least I was dressed for it.

Someone called me and I looked. It was him, guy from internet. Took me a moment to realize it was him, because the person standing there was NOTHING like the picture. Did he use his college pics on his profile? Well, the hair was the same. But even the face was different. I wonder if people use photoshop for random online dating profile photos these days…

“Hi… John?” (let’s say his name was John, for the sake of nome calling him guy from the internet all the time)

“Hey, how are you? We have a reservation, they’ll call us in a minute.” Nice, a guy who actually can plan ahead. Not too bad, even if he doesn’t look like the picture. He’s good looking, just not the guy on the pic.

We sat at the bar and I noted to him how busy it was and how loud as well. It was a fancy, but not the sort of couple’s place, and given the holidays, you could see that half of the tables were filled with groups doing end of the year work things. Not sure if people here do Secret Santa as well, but that’s a guaranteed way of ruining the meal for everyone else in a restaurant, with the noise and everything.

We got the menus and he gave me some tips. Apparently, he was friends with the owner and had been there several times. So I’m not the first date he takes there, huh. That was my first thought. I was going to voice it, but then again, why ruin it so early in the night?

So far, so good. He gave me some ideas of nice dishes he had tried, we ordered a bottle of wine and in a few minutes our table was ready. We sat, and started removing our coats. Here in Dublin you need at least two of them, sometimes more. Once we were properly sitting I noticed what he had on: a company shirt. A black shirt, with his company’s logo embroidered on the pocket. A work shirt? Seriously? I dressed up for this? These small things really get me worked up. At least put on a shirt that doesn’t look like your work uniform, come on. I never wear dresses, I don’t go to work like this, I went into the trouble of even wearing heels for this. I expect the other person to make a similar effort. Call me superficial if you want, but if you invite me to a fancy restaurant, dress for the occasion. Men, take note. If you’re going on a date right after work and can’t stop at home to change, take a fresh shirt with you, some nice shoes, show that you care. You’re supposed to make a good first impression, and a man that knows which clothes are appropriate to each occasion goes a long way.

I had to say something. I could not go through the whole night without asking. So I did.

“You have shirts from your company.” I pointed at the logo.

“Yeah, isn’t it amazing? They gave us a lot of shirts a while ago, so I hardly ever have to buy clothes. Such a money saver.”

Saving money is a great idea. I am very careful with my finances, because one: I hate being in debt, and two: I hate owing people money. But I buy my own clothes, even if my company would give me some, I don’t want to be a walking billboard. Especially on a date.

I may be sounding like a complete idiot to some people out there.

Anyway, so I continued from there: “I take it you’re very proud of working there.” It’s a good thing that people love their work, I like it. Spin to the positive. I learned this at work.

“No, it’s just a job you know? They pay me a lot of money, I obviously like this part. But I don’t like it, but it’s hard to find someone with my expertise, so they’ll pay as much as I ask. Not a lot of people in Dublin who can code like me.”

Trying hard not to judge, let’s move on.

“That’s nice. What do you do in your spare time, if you’re not into your job?”

“Well, I travel a lot.”

Now we were getting somewhere. The guy liked to travel, liked to explore. And so did I. We already knew we had stuff in common, but it was normal stuff: books, TV shows, etc. When it comes to travel you have two basic types: the traveller and the tourist. I could not bear to date another tourist. My last serious boyfriend was one of those and that made things really difficult.

“Cool, I love travelling too. I once went to Greece for the Olympics…”

“Oh, I’ve been to so many incredible places it’s hard to pick. Every year I go to a small beach near <name of a city in Laos>, where I end up every New Year’s eve.”

He kept on describing the beach, and how everything there was so incredibly cheap that some of his friends moved there for an early retirement. And how he had found the most amazing places. And how all his friends always commented on how he was the best at finding amazing places. And how he was always very well regarded by everyone there as one of the most adventurous guys, because he would take a small boat into the sea no matter what. And how there he was considered very good looking, because he was blonde and had green eyes, and there were so many women from the region who were always after him, and still he was here with me in Dublin. Wasn’t that lucky?

Then it dawned on me. He was a topper. I was out on a date with a topper. Not matter how I tried, I could not get a word edgewise.

A topper, if you’re unfamiliar, and have never read any Dilbert comics, is someone who, no matter what you say, has done it better than you. He’ll top you.

Boss - Dilbert, meet Topper. He's amazing. No matter what you say about yourself, he'll top it. Dilbert - How are you? Topper - I can't go first. It ruins my system.

So there, none of this came out when we were talking online. Not the slightest impression of Topper-related behavior. And I have dealt with this before, I have been through my share of toppers in life. You think I’d be able to recognize one.

There was no stopping the guy. Whenever I could say something, I was rudely interrupted by his story, which was way better than mine, of course. Way more dangerous, and way more absurd. At some point I was sure he would end up telling me he had tea with the Queen in a wet bar in Bora Bora.

By the half of the first wine bottle I knew I’d need to drink more to endure the night. The food was delicious and the restaurant was amazing, and the loud noise actually ended up helping not have to pay attention the whole time. At some point, I just start talking and pretended I didn’t know he hadn’t finished saying something yet.

When the meal was over, after dessert and everything (can’t say no to dessert, no matter the situation), I offered vehemently to split the bill. He refused and wouldn’t even let me look at the bill. Said I “could get it next time”. Exactly what I was afraid of. I hate to owe people money, and this kind of situation just eats into my brain until I settle it.

For me it was obvious that nothing was EVER happening. For him, the date seemed like a very successful endeavour. So he leaned in to see if anything would happen. Oh, dude, so not happening… I said I had an early meeting and needed to go home, and that, hey, it was nice, maybe we’ll do it again. Slowly increased the space between us until I was out of range of his lips. I’m not that desperate. Can you imagine this guy in bed, trying to outdo you? You had an orgasm? That’s nothing, I once made a girl reach three orgasms. At the same time. Oh, the nightmare…

He said he’d walk with me up to a point because he was meeting with friends. Yes, make it clear that, if I won’t take you home with me, you’ve got better things to do. I just wanted to get away from there.

The worst part is that he’s still going after me all the time. He either is really unaware of how bad it was or thinks that he may win me over through sheer exhaustion. And the worst worst part is that the other day I was so bored at home that I actually considered calling him.

But then I found a bottle of wine and some popcorn and all was under control again.

On the transactional nature of dating

You know something is wrong when you’re actively search for people to date, instead of people to meet.

That’s, of course, my take on the thing. You don’t have to agree, but I find it inherently f*ed up when we stop looking for people to be friends and acquaintances that may develop into that something else we need, and move to looking at people for their dating qualities. It may be our basic instinct to just look for the most eligible mate to perpetuate our genes, but haven’t we evolved as a species, as a society? Apparently not.

You may call me a hypocrite, but I’ve been dating like crazy lately. And not just dating like crazy lately. The fact that I’m dating at all is a novel item. I’ve never dated. And just to be sure, what I mean is going out with people you’ve hardly know anything about, which you either met through friends or online, in order to define if you’re a possible match.

Where I come from there’s no “dating” in this American movie, match.com/okcupid sense. We meet people casually, sometimes even accidentally, and then proceed to a complicate dance of flirting and “let’s go to the movies with friends” or “there’s this party I’m going with these common acquaintances”. Then it’s followed by the very popular “I may be coming on to you, but then again I may just be a really caring person”, or the in your face approach of simply kissing someone you’re talking with and seems interested. It might go well and end up in someone’s bed. And it may not, and they’ll perhaps punch you, call you a bastard, tell you you got it all wrong and they just want to be friends, but hey, that’s what happens when dating is not explicitly on the plate.

So I’m learning to accept that dating is a necessary evil for people like me, who are not in college or in any sort of larger group activity that will allow them to enlarge their social circle in an organic way. I work, and I’m trying to steer away from work dating given some previous developments in the field of my personal life.

For me, dating is a business transaction. Two people meet, one of them is usually trying hard to impress and sell their product, while the other maintains a buyer position, analyzing everything and trying to balance pros and cons. This, of course, all behind a veil of just having some fun and eating out or seeing a play. It’s never just a dinner or a play. The whole point is evaluating the match and defining if you’d be willing to give them another three-hour slot of your life and perhaps a one-night slot of your bed. Not romantic, not exciting, just transactional.

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