Getting Back on the Horse

I went on a date last week. It was my first date since the Teacher. Since I am dating again, you can probably conclude that the Teacher is no more. It was awesome for a while, and then things got complicated. The good news is…you get to read about my online dating adventures again!

I turned my OK Cupid profile back on a few weeks ago when I decided it was time to “get back on the horse.” I emailed a couple of guys. My new and improved profile seems to still be yielding better results because I got a quick response from this guy who seemed very normal and cute (and he actually was very normal and cute.) His profile said he was a planner. I, of course, was digging that. We quickly and efficiently made a plan. He did not disappear after a couple of emails. He communicated with me the completely appropriate amount and seemed genuinely excited (at an appropriate level) to meet me. I was somewhere between indifferent and nervous (this being my first time back on the horse in a while.)

We met for a drink near where we both (serendipitously) work. I was pretty sure within the first 2 minutes that there was not a connection between “the planner” and I, but I tried to stay open. Such a nice guy, and attractive, just no connection. We made conversation, but there were many awkward pauses. It got a little bit easier after I finished my first glass of wine. Just as I was finishing that up, he told me this was his FIRST online dating experience ever and almost his first date since his divorce. This confession put a lot of pressure on me to show him the ropes and give him a good experience. He even asked me to let him know if he was doing anything wrong (sweet guy).

After our first drink, he asked me if I wanted to grab dinner. I was trying so hard to have an open mind and not disappoint him on his first online date ever (and I had just finished a full glass of wine) so I said yes. I also wanted to postpone that moment when you reveal to someone, in a nice way, that you are just not that in to them.  I hate that moment. I might hate it even more than the moment when someone reveals to you, in a nice way, that THEY are just not into YOU. I guess they both suck. Given my martyr personality, it is often easier for me to take this hit myself. These moments make dating hard for a super nice person like myself.

Anyway, we had dinner and it was pleasant enough. (My burger was amazing.) We had some things in common but he was missing two very important things: a dry/sarcastic sense of humor and sex appeal.  These are deal breakers for me.  People without these two things will not work for me. Those might be the only two things that I need.  OK, maybe I need more than that, but they are really important.

At one point during dinner I started to try to explain why I hate dating. I can’t even remember how that came up (somewhere in the middle of my second drink.) The words ” I just don’t really like meeting new people” came out of my mouth (What was I saying?? Although this is kind of true.) I think I was trying to explain that I don’t have any interest in just finding someone to do stuff with. If I don’t genuinely like hanging out with you, I would rather be by myself.  And I was thinking that he fell in this category but I was still not ready to reveal that because we were mid-dinner and I wanted to finish my fries. That line of discussion ended with an awkward pause.

I also remember saying “This isn’t too painful, right?” To that, he said something like “painful is not what I was thinking at all”. Another awkward moment. I was not my best self on this date. (Although he did seem pretty impressed that a person who does juice cleanses would also eat a burger and fries. That does make me pretty awesome.)

The date finally ended with him finding me a cab in the rain (such a nice guy), then trying to kiss my on the lips while I quickly turned to go for the cheek, and him saying “we should talk soon” and me saying “yeah, sure” and avoiding eye contact. (The final awkward moment of the night.)

I guess he got the hint because I did not hear from him again, but I wanted to write to him and say “You did a perfect job on your first online date ever.  You did everything right and you are a great catch for most other women.”  Of course it is totally possible that he was not that in to me either. Reflecting on my lack of interest in asking him questions and the stupid things that did come out of my mouth, this is quite likely.

I officially saddled up the horse and took her out for a ride. I am currently in the process of scheduling a date with “software guy” who actually wrote to me. The horse is out of the stable.

I am going to try to become a person who likes meeting new people. I like people!  People like me! I know there are many interesting people out there besides my fabulous friends and family and the guys I used to date and keep accumulating as Facebook friends. I live in the greatest city in the world, full of fabulous people.  I will find them and enjoy every minute of it! Here I go…

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Something Changed…

IMG_1213A couple of weeks ago I told you that I was headed to Hawaii, I had taken my revised online profile out for a spin, I was chatting on OK Cupid with a teacher, and I was planning to have a bevvy of dates when I got back from my trip.

Hawaii was fabulous. My sister and I relaxed in the sun (more often in the shade) and shared many beautiful sunsets together that  even I (a horrible photographer) managed to capture in a photograph.

While I was enjoying the view with my sister, I continued to chat with the teacher and it became very clear that he is pretty awesome. The OK cupid chatting turned in to a lot of e-mails which progressed to phone calls and text messages, and two dates….so far. The first date, was the best first date I’ve ever had.

You might be interested to know that OK Cupid scored us a 95% match. He thinks we might be closer to 97.8%. Even though he is not a math guy, I think he got this one right.

Did I connect with the teacher because my profile got an overhaul or was it just online serendipity?  I do know that I would not have bumped in to him at the JCC Shabbat dinner (even though he is Jewish.)

Suffice it to say, that if things continue on this way, I am not planing on writing about online dating again any time soon. (Please note my glass half full optimism.)

Disappearing Dude #2

I revealed my new profile to the OK Cupid world last week, but I was still not happy with it. I perused some other profiles that I liked and used them to inspire some changes. I think my new version shows a bit more style in the writing while still keeping it short and light? It got the thumbs up from two of my biggest fans! Because I got you all involved, I think you should know what I ended up with. There is more to the profile that says more about me. Think of this as just the intro..

Last week’s “after” Self Summary that I still didn’t love:  I’ve been a New Yorker since college and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Although I am a city girl at heart, I do like to explore far-away places with friends or that special someone. Last year I traveled to Bali (amazing!) and Istanbul is on the top of my list for 2013. I own my own place with easy access to runs on the river and my favorite spots in the East Village. I am a bit of an entertainment junky so I challenge you to keep up with my knowledge of pop culture. My friends and family are a big part of my life, especially my adorable nieces. If the right man were to find his way in to my heart, I hope he would be up for and princess birthday party or family visits in the big city from time to time…

New version with more personality: Caring, curious, and down to earth. I’m a long-time New Yorker who prefers downtown to uptown and loves people watching, laughing, and learning new things. I am a bit of an entertainment junky so I challenge you to keep up with my knowledge of pop culture. A former jet-setting consultant, I now use my passport for fun adventures to far-away places like Bali and Marrakesh. Yoga, runs on the east river, and my morning coffee keep me balanced and sane on my daily quest to make the most out of life and keep it real. 

So how did it go?

disappear from search enginesI emailed two guys. One guy was, according to his profile, THE perfect guy for me. He works in technology, recent widow, volunteered at a orphanage as part of a year off he took traveling around the world, runs marathons AND does Pilates, and has cute pics that showed personality. Except for the fact that he likes Coldplay, he really seemed perfect. I also emailed a back-up guy who seemed cool but not THE perfect guy.

The perfect guy never replied (not so perfect!)  The back-up guy did reply, two days later after checking out my profile a few times. (Clearly ambivalent.) We exchanged a couple of short emails and then he asked me if I wanted to have a drink sometime.  I said “sure, what are you up to this weekend?”  No word since.  That was Wednesday morning. It’s now Saturday. He disappeared. With OK Cupid I can see how often he logs in and if he looks at my profile. He has logged in every day and has not checked my profile since. He clearly found something that seemed more interesting.  You may recall this happened to only other guy that initially replied to me. He asked for my number and never called.

That’s the update. I guess I should send out more emails. I am fighting the longest cold in the history of the world (I hear this is going around) but I should still send some emails. The show must go on!

Profile Simplification

rewriting-articles-for-resultsI was out the other night with five friends who actually date people they meet online. Five of them. One friend rarely dates and is very picky. She has a profile with maybe three sentences in it and two pictures (she is very pretty) and dated two guys within a month on being on Match. She is current still dating one of them. Another friend is going on 5 dates a week with women he meets on line. I have read his profile. It is kind of blah. The ladies don’t seem to care. He has cute pics (I actually helped him pick them out). Another friend just broke up with the third guy she has dated for a period of months that she met online. OK, they are all still single and dating, but they are DATING! I am not dating.  I should be dating.

I made them read my profile immediately in the bar and tell me what my problem was. The pictures were approved. The profile was wildly rejected. They said it was too long (I was told that men don’t have a long attention span. This sounds ridiculous to me, but they are  dating and I am not.) They also said it made me sound to serious and up tight. They said I should only reveal a few things about myself and not try to be funny. Hmmm….

A couple of weeks ago, my sister sent me this CNN article about a woman who did some experimenting with online dating. It’s a good read. The key takeaway I got from the article was that your online profile should be short and kind of vague. Interesting. The same things my friends were saying. This is also the exact opposite from the advice I got from Evan Marc Katz in Finding the One Online. Well, that has not been going so well…

I gave in an let them re-write my profile for me.  Their re-write seemed a little plain and boring to me so I tried to inject a tiny bit of personality back in there within their guidelines and just re-posted it. Here is a before and after of one of the sections..

My Self Summary…(before):  I have been lucky enough to practice yoga in Bali and Marrakech but I have a hard time making it to class in NYC. My day job in software keeps me busy and is a great conversation topic at cocktail parties. I own a cozy apartment with a great view of my neighbor’s television and easy access to the East River running path. I love the convenience of downtown Manhattan but have some serious Brooklyn envy. I am quite proud of my new found, daily meditation habit. (It’s often more like 20 minutes of non-stop thinking, but I keep plugging away at trying to quiet my mind.) I have a blog about my quest to watch less television and do things like see the Book of Mormon, explore Greenpoint, and try rock climbing. I have the cutest nieces on the planet that have expanded my cultural tastes to include Elmo birthday parties and Barney songs. I am the kind of girlfriend who will save a show on TiVo if I know you want to watch it and make sure I try to keep your favorite foods in my fridge. I love being up early and enjoying the quiet of the city but am also very happy to cuddle in bed in a little longer with the perfect guy.

My Self Summary..(after): I’ve been a New Yorker since college and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Although I am a city girl at heart, I do like to explore far-away places with friends or that special someone. Last year I traveled to Bali (amazing!) and Istanbul is on the top of my list for 2013. I own my own place with easy access to runs on the river and my favorite spots in the East Village. I am a bit of an entertainment junky so I challenge you to keep up with my knowledge of pop culture. My friends and family are a big part of my life, especially my adorable nieces. If the right man were to find his way in to my heart, I hope he would be up for and princess birthday party or family visits in the big city from time to time…

I am going to give this shorter, simpler, more generic profile a whirl…..I could not possibly do any worse!

I Did It

You may be wondering what is going on in my on-line dating life.  Well, not a whole heck of a lot.

I wrote to a few more guys who did not write me back and I continued to be frustrated and flabbergasted. (Which is why you have heard more about entertainment, than online dating lately.)

I started debating whether I should spend money on professional photos and a whole weekend completely overhauling my profile, AGAIN, and thought…maybe it’s time to try this whole “getting feedback from people who blew me off” idea.

I sent the following e-mail to four guys about a week after not hearing back from them:

“Listen, it’s totally cool that you are not in to me, but I am curious to know what it is about my profile that turns off the guys I find attractive and interesting. I think I might be a horrible marketer! Whatever it is, I can take it..”you’re too old”, “I got emails from way more attractive women”, “totally turned off that you listen to Justin Beiber”, “I hate the Mets, it will never work”

I promise I am not staking you like a crazy person and you will not hear from me again. (I HATE getting follow up emails from the many guys I blow off so I am sure you are not super psyched about this) Just thought I would try to get feedback from strangers who don’t know how awesome I am and only have my profile to go on…

Either way, I wish you luck on your quest for love…”

One of them wrote me back. I almost fell off my chair.

To understand his response, you need to know that OK Cupid has hundreds of questions that members can answer and your responses are used to determine a match % with other people on the site. These questions range from “Are you allergic to cats” to “Would you consider having sex in a graveyard?” (Real questions. I said no to both.) Once you answer 500 questions, you can submit your own (so you can imagine there is some ridiculous stuff out there.) You can chose which questions you answer and how many you answer.

So this dude who wrote me back said that my profile was great and I was clearly very attractive and my email was witty BUT we were only a 71% match and he has a rule that he only dates women with an 87% match or higher.  He went on to explain that he does not have much time to date, and that in his experience, the women he is over  an 87% match with have been more successful. My email made him wrestle with his rule, he said, but he decided to stick with it. His reply was actually funny and cool and made me want to date him more! (even though he lives in NJ and has two cats.  See, I can be flexible for someone cool!)

I was, of course, curious about this matching conundrum and started to explore the questions where we did not match.  I first noticed that he had answered about 100 more questions than I had.  I quickly answered about 50 more questions and we bumped up to 82%. Now, I promised I would leave him alone, but I could not let this go. I sent a witty email back calling this out and explaining why I am not really in to talking about my sexual preferences on the internet (which is why I don’t answer a lot of those questions), but he still was a no go. He encouraged me to go out with guys that I am a 90% match with or higher. This made him a lot less cool.

Then I went back and looked at some of our question responses again. You can see what the other person has answered and compare it to what you have answered.  And if either person has answered in a way that the other has said is “unacceptable”, it shows up in RED. For some reason he wants to date a woman who can not run more than a mile, likes to go to amusement parks (even though he doesn’t like amusement parks), and is only “somewhat content” or “not content” with the way she looks (even though he is “very content”,  as am I.)  He is also not sure if he would break up with someone  if they expressed interest in children sexually and it was not cool with him that I said I would. (OK, I have done the younger man thing but not CHILDREN!) Maybe there is something to this matching…

What were my key takeaways? My profile might not be a disaster, but people are weird and you never know what excuse they will use to avoid going on a date.  I am the master of this, so I do understand.  I am really not sure what my next steps will be on this, but I do know that I am not going out with this guy, who is a 90% match with me….. (Shoot!  I really wanted to put a link to a profile here, but I can’t do it because it just seemed to mean!!!  Just imagine what this probably really nice but really unattractive and boring guy’s profile looks like.)

I Got A Nibble

Someone wrote me back! Before I even got a chance to send out any “I’m not a stalker, but can you give me feedback on why you are not in to me” emails I got a reply from one of the (seemingly) cute, cool guys I wrote to last week.

It took him almost 24 hours to write me back so I assumed he was ambivalent.  His reply was funny and short but he asked me a question about myself. A good sign. I waited an appropriate amount of time and replied with another middle of the road, humorous, but short email and asked him another question about himself. Then I didn’t hear back for a while so I thought I lost him.  This happens a lot with online dating. Guys just drop out of sight. I assume they find something more interesting to keep their attention or get nervous about actually dating.

In the mean time, my boss set me up on a blind date with her “diamond guy”, a friend of her husband’s who she recently bought a new diamond ring from. I might be the one woman in NYC who almost never wears jewelery, so if we had hit it off, it would have almost been a waste!  He was a nice guy, but no romantic connection. I think the feeling was mutual. (I hope!)

When I got back from the date with the “diamond guy”, I had another email from the (seemingly) cute, cool guy from batch #2! He told me he was having a really busy week but that I seemed interesting and like a good conversationalist (so true) and asked to take it to the next level….the phone call. I gave him my number and said I was totally up for a chat.

Blog Making Phone CallI don’t think I have ever gotten past a phone screen to a date. My choice both times. I remember one guy got really pissed when I decided after talking to him that I didn’t want to go on a date. I think I made the right choice. I usually like to jump right to the drink date, but Evan Marc Katz suggests a phone screen and I am going by the book, especially since this guy suggested it.

So, maybe I will have a phone screen some time this week or maybe he will drop off the radar. In the mean time, I have lots of presents to wrap. I am feeling like my profile is slightly more desirable since I got a nibble, so I am going to hold off on the “I’m not a stalker but can you give me feedback on why you are not in to me” emails for now and see how this goes.

Am I Too Picky?

Here is where I am with online dating. I have been very busy with work. Emails keep rolling in. I have popped in now and again to scan profiles, but find very few of interest. No interest in the men who reach out to me.

Which brings me to the theme of this post, “am I too picky”?

I fret about this a lot, almost as much as I tweak my profile.

I got an email this weekend from a guy who is 6 years older than me. Not bad in theory but he looks kind of old. He runs multiple marathons a year so he is in good shape. He seems smart and interesting, but maybe also weird, and not good way. He wrote me a very LONG email. It is weird to go on and on to someone in an initial introduction. He did use proper English and correct spelling, which is a plus. He does performance art. He is also a biochemist and runs a non profit, but that music/poetry thing is a little weird.  I felt like I maybe SHOULD give him a try, but my gut was dreading it. Does that seem like a good way to go in to a date? I decided, no.

I have to be excited and looking forward to a date because dating sucks. It is uncomfortable and the chances of two total strangers connecting is slim. And I don’t have a lot of time. I have done the so-so dates in the past and none have surprisingly turned in to a love connection. Have I done 100 of them, no. Do I have to? There should be some level of interest, right?

I pulled out “Finding the One Online” and re-read the part about being picky. Evan Marc Katz pointed out that if I am more selective than Harvard (which I have to admit that I am, and I should be, I am better than Harvard), I should be able to pick over 30 people I am interested in out of 500. (Full disclosure: Harvard rejected my business school application. I’m not bitter.)

I have looked at a lot of profiles but probably not 500.  I do have 27 people on my “favorites” list. I guess I am not THAT picky.  But, I do like to be precise, so this task clearly requires a spreadsheet. I am going to record every profile I look at and whether I am interested or not. If I continue to like at least 6% of the profiles I see, according to an online dating expert, I am not too picky.

I did get an email from a very cute guy almost 20 years younger than me who has a law degree from Stanford, a Jersey accent (so he says), and beautiful abs. Always flattering to have a good looking man tell you that you are “absolutely beautiful” and that they “really enjoyed your profile”, but probably not a good distraction. And he probably sent that same email to 100 women today.

I ignored the well educated, cute, Jersey boy for the moment and buckled down and sent out three more emails to age appropriate men who seem attractive and cool. The e-mails were middle of the line humorous but not over the top crazy. This approach feels the most “me” so I have to go with that. So far, no response.

Maybe I should send this to my rejectors. “Listen, it’s totally cool if you are not in to me, but I would love some feedback on what it is about my profile that turns you off, because clearly, it is not giving the right impression.  I’m awesome. I assure you. I promise I am not staking you like a crazy person. Just curious.” 

What do you think?  Should I give that a try?

While we ponder that, I will keep looking and recording and calculating my rate of pickiness.