SDGoldilocks

Lately my dating life has felt like a fairy tale. And not the sort where Prince Charming appears and whisks me off my feet.

Instead, it’s one of those stories where you wish for something and your wish is granted, but so excessively that you’re worse off than you started.

You remember how I went on the date with the guy who didn’t talk? Well, shortly after that, I found myself out to dinner with a guy who only paused for breath. I’m serious– he had to get a doggy bag because he hadn’t had time to chew. I learned about the annoying habits of his company’s HR department, even the continuing education opportunities offered by the grad school he attended. When he asked for a second date (he liked the conversation), I declined.

Instead, I made plans with another guy who had been pestering me to go out with him. Yes, pestering. Before we had met in person, one night I told him I would probably be available after 9 to discuss plans for a date on the phone. By the time I got home at 10, I had two texts and a phone message from him.

Could have been a warning sign, but I thought after dating a couple guys who mysteriously disappeared, this could be a pleasant change. The change part was right, the pleasant not so much. In two weeks of dating, he sent me NINETY-FIVE text messages.

I developed a big phone bill and an even bigger aversion to my phone’s text alert. BZZZZ. What would be this time? Checking again to make sure I got home safely, or some more discussion of whether our relationship should be exclusive? Did I mention that we only went on two dates?

I told him I wasn’t into constant communication. I tried ignoring the texts. So naturally (and by that I mean, natural for a crazy stalker), he started resending the unanswered texts.

I saw no other option but to send one of my infamous dumping texts. Then I turned my phone off and went to heat my bowl of porridge to just the right temperature.

(Getting) lucky lines– another SDG contest!

There are many painfully awkward and scary moments in dating, but one of the worst might be the first post-date invitation inside. In movies, it looks so simple. “Hey, you want to come in for a drink?” But what if you don’t have a drink to offer? (One of my friends has an answer: “Carry a small bottle of bourbon with you at all times.” Of course, that might send some other messages, too.)

Anyway, I’m almost totally incapable of pulling this off, and my experiences and friends’ reports indicate that a lot of guys are, too. (It’s a wonder we’re not all hooking up on the sidewalk.) There was the guy I dated who ended so many dates with long makeout sessions in the car parked in front of his house that I finally went with the oh-so-subtle “You know, some people kiss inside buildings. That might be nice.” And it worked!

Less likely to work, but a popular choice nonetheless, is the “You should come inside and see…” I recently spent a first date hearing all about how the guy had just moved into his new apartment the day before. “Yeah, it’s just a bed and a whole bunch of boxes,” he said, describing the place. Flash-forward a half hour to when we left the restaurant. “Hey, so what are you doing now?” he said. “You should come up to my place and see the view.” I could just imagine what would come next. “Sorry about not having any chairs. Why don’t you just climb into bed?”

Some guys aren’t lucky enough to have a view to promote. A friend traveling in Southeast Asia met a guy who invited her up to his room to “enjoy the air conditioning.” Another met an artist in a bar who invited her over to “see his work.”

I’m betting you, loyal readers, have also heard your share of these ridiculous lines. Seems like it’s about time for another Speed Dating Girl contest. Email me at speeddatinggirl@yahoo.com to share the thinnest excuse a date’s ever given to get you inside. I’ll think up another fabulous mystery prize for the winner.

Talking to brick wall, or a flat screen

For the past several years, my job has involved interviewing people over the phone. The upshot is that I’ve become pretty skilled at pulling conversation out of anyone who is not entirely comatose (and one doctor who called me after a night shift almost crossed that barrier).

But this first date was testing my ability. Clearly, he was alive, or had been when he asked me out that afternoon. Yet he had nothing to say. His answers were monosyllabic and he offered almost no questions. I had gotten to the point of stream-of-consciousness babbling (really– I was talking about my old roommate’s boyfriend’s dirty socks) when I discovered the problem.

“Whoa, what was that score?” he asked.

“Hunh?” I said.

“Oh, I was just checking out the game on that TV over there,” he explained.

“I didn’t even know there was a TV here,” I said.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t go to a bar without a TV,” he said. “It would be too boring.”

Over the hill

The upside of dating manthers is that at least I seem young by comparison. Recent events have conspired to make me feel like the grandma of the speed dating circuit.

First there was the college guy, who proved that not only am I chronologically too old date college kids, but also conversationally.

The young dude asked what I like to do. I offered up some answers that I no longer remember, but at the time thought were reasonably cool. In other words, I definitely didn’t mention my interest in gardening, cats or reading. Oh, and he asked where I live, and I explained that my house is near the art museum.

In response, he pointedly told me about how he lives with five of his college buddies. “I don’t do too many mature things,” he said. “We’re not going to the art museum anytime soon.” Ouch. Was that pain coming from my pride or my creaky, old-lady hip?

Then there was the questionner.

Him: How old are you?

Me: 31.

Him: Wow, I thought you were older.

Me: Um, thanks. [And the really sad part is that I wasn’t being sarcastic. My aging ears couldn’t quite hear him, so I assumed that he said “younger” until he elaborated.]

Him: ‘Cause, you know, all the women here seem to be like older, like 35.

Me: [Finally getting that I’ve been insulted.] Oh.

Me and the manthers

Older women who date younger men have become pretty well-known as cougars. But what do you call older men who date younger women (other than “ex-husbands”)? They’re manthers, I learned from a recent speed dating event.

My manther encounters started as soon as I entered the bar. As I searched the drink menu for a beverage under $10 (manther habitats tend to be expensive), a gray-haired man eating a large plate of sushi struck up a conversation. He explained his line of work: buying depressed or foreclosed properties in Florida and flipping them for a profit. But it wasn’t until another gray-haired, pin-striped manther prowled up that I learned the slang for this industry. “I’m in vulture capital,” he said.

Not being ready to date a scavenger, I focused on the newcomer. But, although he claimed to be “happily divorced,” he didn’t seem to have fully adapted to the manther role. After a little small talk about speed dating, he started offering me dating advice. “I’ll tell you what I tell my daughter, who says it’s hard to find guys. Go to standing room section of Phillies game. Or an Eagles game. They’re full of guys,” he said.

It seemed like a clear signal that I wasn’t manther bait. (Wouldn’t they spring for seats at the game to rest their aging bones?) I thought about asking for his daughter’s number so we could go man-hunting together. But I was late to meet my dad– the only older man who would be buying my dinner.