Not My Kid

151-01One of my favorite things guys post on their online dating profiles are photos of themselves with babies and small children, with the caption, “That’s my niece!” or, more directly, “Not my kid!” Since I can’t see the other side of things, I don’t know if women are doing the same thing, but it always makes me laugh, especially when most of their other photos are bachelor party shots 30 guys deep. Yea, you really strike me as someone who parties hard…and also nurtures a child. I just assumed that you kept the crib in the common room of your apartment you share with four other people, so definitely happy you cleared that up!

I definitely can’t imagine having a child right now–I can’t even imagine holding a child and having passerby (or random people on the internet) assume it belongs to me! But I’m 28 years old…no one would look at me funny if I suddenly announced I was going to have a baby. (Although, considering I’m currently single, maybe there’d be questions…) But age-wise it would be within normal parameters. So I suppose I can understand why using a child to get that “awww” reaction should be followed up with a quick clarification. No crossed wires…no baggage (or baby bjorns) in sight!

What I’m most curious about is what prompted them to post the caption in the first place. If I posted a picture of myself with a baby, I don’t think I would write, THIS DOES NOT BELONG TO ME. Were they getting messages from women asking, “Is that your kid?” Or, “What a cute child, whose is it?” Are all of their other hard-partying friends dealing with intense custody battles that have these guys taking extra care? I need to know the facts! …Or at least the name of that little munchkin!

What’s My Age: Definitely not old enough to be responsible for a precious human life. 

Profile Lock Down

148-01An online dating profile can be a treasure trove of information, wrung dry in attempts to keep a conversation going. Hey, I like Korean food too! Let’s talk about it! Oh wow, what a coincidence, I’m also totally into “all music.” Can’t wait for your recs! Looks like you took a nice photo in a cool place, and wouldn’t you know, I did the same! Where is your cool place? Want to know mine? …Isn’t learning about someone from absolute zero just the greatest?!

But if you get off the app and move to that next big relationship touchstone–texting each other–is the profile now off-limits? The weird thing about certain dating apps is that the person gets an alert when you visit their profile, so I think it’s weird once you’re texting to go back for a peek. In my head, I feel like once you’re off the app, you’re shedding a level of sleuth and sleaze, in exchange for the more normal ritual of texting. But hey, who makes these rules anyway? Maybe I’m just letting my disdain for this modern dating process cloud an otherwise innocent act. Plus, I have to confirm that they actually do like Korean food before I make a date! Priorities!

Of course, my policy of cutting myself off from further profile views gets tricky when it does come time to meet in person, because between exchanging numbers and meeting face-to-face, a week or more could have passed. I don’t know about your facial recognition skills for people you’ve never met before, but mine are horrible. So now my options are: A.) Creep on the profile 10 minutes before the date. B.) Creep around the bar looking for people who seem to be into dating me. Options, options…..

What’s My Age: 27, when I went on a date with someone who looking NOTHING like their profile (or what I remembered of it…), and I walked in and out of the bar 5 times before he finally saw me. 

Outdoor Prescription

149-01A perk (the only perk?) of my job is its proximity to Central Park, arguably the most beautiful area of New York City. I’ve been working in the same office building since college, so I’ve become spoiled with my options for fresh air. In one of my (many) job hunts, I was offered a job in midtown, and while there were other, more professionally-related reasons for turning it down, the fact that there wasn’t a single tree (or leaf) within a 10-block radius was a major turn off!

Every day I try to take a half-hour walk, and this has become less of a pleasant interlude and more of a ritualistic necessity.  But there’s just no way I could get through the day without taking a half hour to breathe, call my sister in a work-rage and reset for part 2. By 3 PM, my eyes are already burning from endless computer use and my coping mechanisms are seriously frayed. It’s either daily walks or daily pill-popping…take your pick! Even my friends on gchat can tell when it’s time for me to take a breather, gently encouraging me to get some fresh air. It’s a group effort to keep me on the other side of the line these days…

Last week, one of my coworkers said to me, “You’re the only person here that actually leaves this building during the day.” So now I’ve dubbed myself an advocate for workplace walking, and I enthusiastically encouraged him to do the same! Get out there pal! The rotating doors go both ways! Release yourself from the imaginary handcuffs that chain you unnecessarily to a desk all day and explore the greatness of the world. I’ll be here to cure you…right after I get back!

What’s My Age: 23, when I was offered an Adderall by my parents’ friend and #justsaidno. 

 

 

Dating Hero?

146-01The other night, I was chatting with a friend of mine, and just like every other time I have a conversation with any human being these days, it quickly turned to dating and how hopeless and horrible it is. I was rattling off a list of my dating fails, bemoaning the flakiness of literally every single guy I have interacted with in the last month, and was, in general, soaking in the bath of self-pity that’s been getting fuller and fuller over the past few months.

While I was busy working myself up and internally talking myself down, my friend said, “You’re so brave to be putting yourself out there!” This made me pause (and inflated my ego back to its normal proportions…) but I can’t really say I’ve ever looked at it that way! I don’t really see online dating as a brave, empowering act, but just the road that’s offered if you’re interested in finding a relationship. And because I have yet to be proven otherwise, to me, online dating is a frustrating cycle of accepting that this is how dating works, couching my expectations on a regular basis, and then managing the feelings that come when those expectations are forced to be couched some more.

Now of course, occasionally, there are good experiences and nice connections and the excitement and fun that come along with getting to know someone new. But as much as I try to find the fun in it and have gotten much better at approaching dating in a less emotional way, it’s still hard for me to accept that the solution is also the problem: more dating!

But I suppose there is a bit of bravery in flinging yourself out there to be sized up by random strangers on the internet, both of you taking that leap in an attempt to make a human connection. And of course it’s not going to work out every time. Every time I miss the mark, the urge to give up, delete the apps and accept my fate as a permanent third wheel rears its ugly head and the last thing I want to do is start from square one. But instead, I shed a few tears, vent in my journal and dive right back in. Does that make me brave, or just batty? I’ll let you know how the next one pans out and you can decide….

What’s My Age: 12, when I donned a super hero cape for Halloween, and people kept asking me if I was a Christmas elf. #justmissingthemark 

A Mid-Morning Person

147-01Once or twice a month, I have to stay until 10 PM at work, and the upside is that I get a few extra morning hours before I need to report to the office. Of course, I always have such grand plans for these mornings! I imagine I’d wake feeling rested, and then rise without any difficulty to prepare a freshly-brewed cup of coffee and a well-balanced breakfast. I’d sit in my chair and listen to the birds chirp while contemplating the beauty of life, before lacing up my running shoes for a refreshing jaunt around the neighborhood. So filled with energy and zest for life, I’d beat my mile time handily. Then, I’d make a healthy lunch, take a shower, choose the perfect outfit, and leave my apartment with everything packed in my purse, ready to start the day.

But instead, what happens is that I use those extra hours to continue sleeping. Then, waking with a start, I do manage to make coffee, but instead of contemplating life, I crawl back into bed and scroll through my Instagram for 45 minutes. Now back on my morning time frame of “never enough of it,” I find myself rushing around, flinging clothes, my lunch half-made, my face half-done, and my purse half-packed. So much for that.

Sigh. What will it take for me to become the morning person I so desire to be? And on days like this, I don’t even need to be a straight-up morning person–I could settle on being a solid “mid-morning person.” All that’s required is a B+ effort, and with my extra time, all I do is waste it! I guess some things just aren’t meant to be…at least until next month when I try it once again!

What’s My Age: 13-18, waking up at 5:30 for 7th grade, before hitting snooze so many times that my mom had to physically drag me from my bed…several times a week. 

 

Hey.

144-01I put a lot of effort (probably too much…) into crafting messages to guys I’m interested in on online dating, mostly because I put a lot of effort (again, probably too much…) into everything I do. But if you’ve gotten to the point of being interested enough to actually message someone, the assumption is that you’d like to get to know them past the point of aimless scrolling. And in order to make that connection, you need to start with a basic level of human interaction.

Usually, the way an online message works is that you’ll say something related to their profile, and then ask a question about one of their hobbies, presumably moving the conversation forward. Then they would respond, answering the question, and then comment back, so you find common likenesses. Sounds simple enough, right? I try, you try, we see what happens! We all get A+’s in “Human Conversations: 101.”

Well….I think I need to be teaching a remedial course, because more often than not, the messages I receive are of a much….simpler variety. I’ve selected a few to analyze, just to highlight the foresight and thought that apparently go into an interaction with a potential mate:

“Hey.” “Hi.” “Hey there.” “Hey.” “Hey you.” “Hi you.” “Hey.” “Hi.” “Hey.”

Wow, good job guys! I wonder what went into that thought process for you. “Yea, this is a good message, can’t wait to see what she says!” In my case, I say nothing. Because if I counter back with the same amount of effort this person has shown, my response would be “Hey,” which is the virtual equivalent of a head nod in the hall to a coworker you can barely stand, and not the way to kick-start a potential match!

What’s My Age: 12 months, emitting the first and simplest words of my vocabulary.