Monday, March 28, 2011

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match...

Last weekend I overheard a woman in a cafe say, "My dating stories are just ridiculous. I really should start a blog. I think I could get a pretty good following!" As I am not open to sharing readership with a blog of a similar nature, my first thought was, "Back off, sistah friend!" I then heard her say, "Of course, I never tell them that I'm single!" My female intuition told me she was no longer referring to dates. Her friend then left and my currently single, potential blog competition was soon joined by a gentleman that she was clearly meeting for the first time. It quickly became apparent when she began asking questions such as "How do you react when you first meet a woman?" and "Have you tried on-line dating?" that this woman was a matchmaker. I decided to eavesdrop on her conversation, though I hardly consider it eavesdropping as she was sitting two tables away from me and talking at a volume that facilitated easy listening-in. She also asked: "When do you go out to meet new people?" and "What is your social outlet?" and "Do you like to be challenged in a relationship?"

The matchmaker I was observing was in her late 20s and cute, not the babushka grandmother I usually envision when imagining a matchmaker (though I suppose Patti Stanger has already done the legwork on putting that stereotype to bed). Patti Stanger, the Millionairre Matchmaker herself, is also single. Her viewers went nuts when her six year relationship with fiance Andy Friedman fizzled. With all of these single matchmakers running around, it does cause one to wonder whether or not they are qualified for their jobs. It's slightly disconcerting to think of someone who has failed to find a successful relationship for herself getting paid to find successful relationships for her clients.  Would I trust that type of person to find a match for me? Are matchmakers too busy finding love for others to find it for themselves? Do they simply put work before their personal lives? Are they living vicariously through their clients while searching for something they have thus far been unable to find on their own? So many questions! However, my roommate made an excellent observation when she pointed out that plenty of music producers are terrible musicians, but know how to create amazing hits. Something to think about.

Matchmaking is still a common practice in many cultures and I have to admit that I have often thought that life would be much easier if I lived in such a culture. No messy dating world! Far fewer broken hearts! The downside to this is that I once asked my mother who she would choose if she were to arrange a marriage for me. Her response was a close friend of mine whom I adore, but who is gay, so I'm pretty sure that marriage would have ended fairly quickly. And still, it's something I think of from time to time. I recently saw a news piece in which a young Muslim woman living in the United States elected of her own free will, by no coercion of her parents, to have a matchmaker find her a husband. You find someone suitable, you get married, and over the years you fall in love. Who doesn't tear up in Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye and Golde realize that after twenty-five years of marriage, they are in love? In a way, I am envious that the young Muslim woman was raised in a culture where such marriages are acceptable. Yes, I live in America, the land of the free and the brave, but I no longer enjoy the dating freedom and by no means do I feel brave.

Meanwhile, back at the cafe, I overheard Little Miss Matchmaker say that there are three rules that make for a successful relationship:

1.) Internal validation. One must be emotionally stable.

2.) Full life outside of couple-dom. Oh god, yes.

3.) Be the best that you can be.

Nice advice; but really, these items are common sense. Do I need to pay a matchmaker to tell me such things? I think not. And yet, I was torn between deciding if this woman was a total nut or if I wanted to ask for her business card.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tending to the Bartender

Once upon a time, in a bar far, far away, there worked a dashing bartender named Roger. I first encountered Roger in March 2009 and was immediately struck by his charm and flirtations. Enchanted though I was, I did not allow myself to be swept away by his dreamy demeanor; it is a bartender's job, after all, to be alluring and charismatic. That's how they make the dolla dolla bills, y'all. Still, when I paid my tab and noticed a night of free drinks had come my way, I was thrilled. Not only was my purse happy, but I had succeeded in scoring several rounds of drinks on the house and all I'd had to do was smile my winning smile. This was new territory to me, and I liked it.

Roger's establishment became my favorite bar, not only due to the free drinks and the hot as hell bartender who flirted with me, but also because I really enjoyed the vibe of the place and its close proximity to my apartment. I went back many times and was always greeted with a big smile and a bear hug from Roger and left with another huge bear hug from Roger after paying for far less drinks than were consumed. The hug was usually followed by a kiss on the cheek as well.

Sometimes weeks would go by between my visits and it was so nice to see Roger's face light up when I returned. It just felt good to frequent a bar where I was known and appreciated and where the service kicked ass. I stopped in for Happy Hour one night with a friend and Roger was really on fire with his flirting and making various innuendos. At one point I overheard him talking to a girl on the other side of the bar who was trying to get him to take off his clothes This was an extremely reasonable request, considering Roger is a total Adonis whose biceps are bigger than my head, yet Roger declined. The next time he sauntered over to me as I was casually playing Photo Hunt, I remarked that I had overheard the girl telling Roger to take off his clothes. Roger snickered and said, "Yeah right, like I would take my clothes off for her? I'm tired of obnoxious drunk girls. But you... I would get naked for you."

Whereas I generally responded to Roger's lines with a blush and a giggle, this time I decided to challenge him. "Oh, you would not."

"I totally would! I would get naked for you. Because you're different; you're not like those girls. Follow me."

And with that, Roger stepped out from behind the bar (leaving it completely unattended) and walked toward a door in the back, only glancing over his shoulder to see if I had followed him once he reached the door. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was definitely curious to see what was going to happen and so, taking solace in the fact that my friend knew exactly where I was going I said, "If I'm not back in five minutes, call the police."

I followed Roger through the door into a courtyard area stacked with empty beverage crates. After he shut the door behind us, I just stood there staring at him, not really sure how the scenario was going to play out. "So, you didn't think I'd get naked for you?" he asked. "I still don't believe you," I replied. And with that, Roger took off his shirt, unzipped his fly and pulled his pants down. And his underwear, too.

Roger did not require anything from me; he apparently just wanted to stand up to my challenge. And stand up, he did. We made out for a couple minutes: he naked, me fully clothed. At one point I commented, "I bet you take all the girls back here," to which he replied, "Nope. You're actually the first." Then we went back inside and he returned to the bar as though nothing had transpired.

I'm not sure whether or not I really believe I was the only girl he had taken out back up to that point, but it didn't matter to me either way. I didn't have any romantic feelings for Roger or wish the relationship to progress past "bartender/favored patron" status. It was just nice to be desired and sure, I continued to get free drinks when I went there. Icing on the cake.

But the story is not over.

A couple months after that happened, I found myself with a boyfriend... who made me happy most of the time, but who is ever happy all of the time in a relationship? On this particular night, I was not happy. I was, in fact, very upset. And I just wanted to be with someone who made me feel sexy and wanted, so on my way home I decided to swing by Roger's bar for a little chit chatty confidence boost. I couldn't find Roger, though... in fact, no one was behind the bar at all. Highly suspicious. As I was turning around to leave, I saw Roger come in from the back door... with a girl. So I just left.

I told him months afterward that I had seen him come in with her and he just laughed and said she was a friend who was upset after a breakup and needed to talk. He assured me I was still the only girl he'd made out with in the courtyard. I assume that is probably not true, but again, it doesn't really matter. Sometimes you just need to make out with a hot bartender! ...And I did make out with Roger on one other occasion, but only those two times. It was fun, and I don't regret it, but I'm looking for more than a roll among the crates with Mr. Bartender. I still go to Roger's fine drinking establishment, however. Just last night I went to see him and had a few beers. He still gives me a round on the house.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How many more do I have to weed through? How many steps are there, anyway?

“It’s a process of elimination and I’m one step closer.”  So says Oona, the protagonist searching for her soul mate in the 2009 romantic comedy Timer.  Oona is, of course, optimistically commenting on the end of a relationship, for though upset that a certain man is now out of her life, she knows he is not "the one" and can continue her search.  My sister said something very similar to me during my recent breakup: “At least now you know he isn’t 'the one' and you have one less asshole to weed through."  And brothers and sisters of the internet, ain’t it the truth!  These hopeful expressions do succeed in making me feel better about my experiences with lameass douche bags, but also begs to ask the questions: Just how many more will I have to weed through?  Yes, I’m one step closer, but how many steps are there, anyway?

Alas, it is true; yours truly was dumped about three weeks ago.  So while I should be mature enough to be held accountable for my own actions without making excuses, I am going to blame my lack of recent posts on him.  Not because I’ve been crying into my pillow every night for the past month, but because writing a dating blog wasn’t at the top of my agenda while so freshly removed from the dating scene.  However, I am now ready to soldier through and provide myself with a little therapeutic blogging.  No, my heart was not completely ripped apart by this one; we had dated for only two and a half months so definitely not the worst heartbreak I’ve ever experienced… but yes, it was the cause of some very bitter disappointment.  I’m not sure if you’ve picked up on this, but not a lot of guys have stuck around me long enough to reach the two-and-a-half month mark, so this dude was kind of a big deal for me.  And he was normal.  (Though, as my sister pointed out, “Obviously I don’t think he’s normal, considering he broke up with you.”  She always knows what to say).

And while we’re on the topic of insightful proverbs from wise women in my family, my mother keeps telling me to stop saying I was “dumped” because I am “not some piece of garbage that someone just tossed to the curb.”  But that’s exactly what I am, is it not?  After nearly three months of spending time with someone who appreciated my straight-forward manner and said my intelligence was a turn on and told me I was pretty and totally adorable, who eagerly met my friends and introduced me to his, who wanted to simply spend time with me even if it meant just sitting on my sofa wrapped in my Slanket writing math tests for fifth graders while I sat beside him and played Scrabble on Facebook… after nearly three months of spending time with such a person, all I got was, “I don’t see this going anywhere… sometimes people just don’t click.  I’ll pick up the tab for dinner.”  Yup.  Trash.  Rubbish.  Refuse.  Debris.  Tossed to the curb to be picked up by burly men in a big, smelly truck.  And though I respect his manner of breakup because he didn’t feed me any crap lines or, worse, ask if we could still be friends, I’m still forced to think him an asshole for dicking around for over two months when he clearly knew we didn’t “click” (which is a point of contention I would like to argue, but really, why bother?).

So yeah, I cried.  And drank a lot of margaritas.  And danced around the bar to “Single Ladies” by my girl Beyonce.  But yeah, I got over it.  It may not sound that way, but remember this was nearly a month ago and I’m catching up on lost time here.  I’m over him.  Another fisher lady can have that one because I’ve thrown that guppy back in the pond and am waiting for my swordfish to come along.  Or my sperm whale, tee hee hee.  Maybe all this time I’ve just been using the wrong bait.