Four hundred and ninety-nine

It’s almost five hundred days since I started this project.  Well, that’s not counting the couple of months of prep time I needed before Day One.  It’s definitely been quite the ride!  The past week has been one of reflection and creativity.  And when the creative juices flow freely, I tend to neglect everything else and focus on my writing.  All you writers or painters or any other kind of artistic people understand.  My friends tend to make fun of me during these times – in a loving manner, of course.  “You’re always writing” said in a whiny voice, or “there’s no point inviting Lindsay to anything right now, she’s in her own world.”  They laugh about it, but they understand.  Besides it makes me a better person to be around when I’ve purged myself onto the page and they know this.  Although for a bit they have to deal with me walking around in a daze.

I love these times because I get tons of work done and I feel great about myself.  There no feeling quite like accomplishment.  I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when I finish the book.  I already have some ideas for the next one, so I guess I’ll just throw myself into the next project.

Online dating – a revelation

With reflection and writing comes me talking a lot about the topics on my mind (when I’m not sequestering myself in my apartment, of course).  Often other people who first find out about the project are most curious about my dating month, where I went on 32 dates in 31 days for those of you who haven’t been following along the whole time.  I set out to discover why dating was so hard in the city, examining online dating, set-ups, speed dating, etc., and finished the month completely exhausted.  This bring me to the conversation I had with a woman customer at the pub a couple of days ago.  She just finished writing a book about dating, written in Japanese.  This became a rousing discussion amongst the five people at the table and I about online dating.  Which finally brings me to a huge topic about online dating that I never discovered during my month on dating: you can be rejected from some online dating sites before you even start!  I had no idea.

Two of the men at the table had been rejected from eHarmony, both of which seem like lovely men, and one of which I have known for at least a year coming into the pub.  I did some research and apparently as many at 20% of the applicants are rejected.  “Unable to match you at this time” is the response those “rejects” get after filling out eHarmony’s complex questionnaire.  From what I could find, these are the reasons you can be rejected:

  • You are married
  • You are below 21
  • You are under 60 and have been married more than four times
  • You are gay or lesbian (they have a separate site called Compatible Partners for gay and lesbian matches)
  • You answered the questions in what eHarmony thinks is inconsistent
  • You answered the questions in a way that suggests you are depressed
  • You scored low on the following traits:
    • Self-Concept (how you perceive yourself)
    • Emotional Status (feeling happy, fulfilled and hopeful)
    • Character (honesty and trustworthiness)
    • Obstreperousness (refers to a person’s tendency to find fault, to attribute blame to someone else, to make other persons wrong, and to portray them self as always right. The obstreperous person is someone who has a consistently critical attitude. The more pessimistic a person is, the more likely they are to be obstreperous.)
    • Character (honesty and trustworthiness)
    • Emotion Management: Anger (expressing negative emotions constructively)
    • Conflict Resolution (resolving issues).
    • Family Background (happy childhood and supportiveness of your parents)
  • eHarmony is unsure how to match you

One of the men at the table said he went in and took the test again, just changing the questions that referred to physical appearance being important and he was accepted, but then decided not to do it.  He ranted about how “of course physical appearance is very important to me!”

In any case, this is fascinating to me.  I can’t think it would be good for your self-esteem if you are looking for love and end up being rejected by a website claiming to be able to find you love after you took their personality test.  If I wasn’t dating anyone right now I would definitely take the test just to see what happens.  Happily, though, I don’t have to use online dating (and probably never will again, no matter what happens with my man right now).

More information:

“They Met Online, but Definitely Didn’t Click”, The Washington Post, May 13, 2007.

Why People are Rejected by eHarmony“, Little Red Rails Online Dating Guide & Blog.

“Your question answered: Why eHarmony rejected you”, eHarmonyBlog.com.

Day eighty-eight

The social experiment date

Tea with The Dater

I am almost at a loss for words.  I don’t really know how to describe my date with The Dater. I was so perplexed I completely forgot to take a photo during our date, so his photo is off of the David’s Tea website (one of our many stops in the evening, and so yummy).  It was either one of the best dates of the month, or one of the worst.  I should start from the beginning…

I met him on OkCupid, there were three messages, then I told him about the blog/book and what I am doing with the dating.  He responded with: “wow, what a douchebag move”, that he’s offended it’s not on my profile and that I’m just using him for an experiment (surprisingly the first guy to respond negatively). But, then said he’d still go on a date.  We went back and forth.  Him assuming all guys would be pissed off at me and the ones that agree are guys who can’t get dates anyhow, and me explaining that actually most guys are interested in what I’m doing, and the ones I chose to go out with are successful men who can get dates and are interesting in dating me for me.  I told him he could go on a date with me if he wanted to, but I didn’t want or need a ‘charity’ date with someone who would be angry with me the whole time.  I’m not sure what made me keep responding, but there was something about him I found challenging and interesting.  Then he said he was busy until the end of the month and I figured I’d never hear from him again.

Well, I did and we set up the date for last night.  He offered to pick me up from my house.  I was already weary of the date, so there was no way I was going to give him my address.  I even told a friend where we were going, just in case he ended up going crazy on me and I needed someone to rescue me.  I don’t really know what it was about him, though, but I still wanted to find out what he was about.

We ended up spending just under four hours together, talking the whole time – Indian food at King Palace (amazing food on Church, east of Yonge), walking to the Cameron House (we got there between sets of live music, so just had a drink), walked to David’s Tea, people watched, then ended the night with a final drink at the Elephant & Castle pub.  The Dater (he is an active dater, even admitting to needing cheat sheets when he dated a lot years ago to keep the girls straight – he has recently broken up with a long-term partner, so is back to dating) told me tons about his life and I also shared more than I normally do on a first date.  He has a sarcastic, dry sense of humour that makes for really interesting conversations paired with my gullible nature.  He made me laugh a lot (especially when he said I was very innocent – little does he know…).  I think we grew on each other, considering we were both a little weary of the situation at first.

The weird thing is, I felt a bit like I was in a social experiment of his own.  He is definitely an expert in dating and had ways to ask questions to get the responses he wanted to assess me.  And his paranoia about my experiment started to make me paranoid – was this a game for him?

At the same time, he challenges and intrigues me.  I had a lot of fun.  And he’s pretty cute.  He was definitely one of the most interesting dates I’ve had.  I want to hang out with him again to figure him out a bit more.  And I feel like he could teach me a thing or two about the art of dating (a skill I’m not sure I’ve learned, even after twenty-six days of dating – but then, maybe being genuine and the ability to connect with people are the only skills I need).

Tonight

Priorities… (will explain more tomorrow)

Day eighty-five

The ‘finally’ date

The Philosopher

Sometimes there are people who you keep trying to meet up with, but life gets in the way.  Then you finally have your date.  This is what happened with The Philosopher and I.  Last month, at a friend’s birthday party, a bunch of us were talking about my upcoming month of dating.  The Philosopher (my friend’s best friend) told me that he would love to be one of my dates, even though we had barely spoken to each other.  He picked the 7th and the 17th as our two date times (or at least one of them).  Well, I had to work the 7th and he had to work then played baseball on the 17th.  Fate was keeping us apart, but amazingly enough we were both free yesterday afternoon for lunch and a chat and it actually happened.

Even though we hadn’t spoken that much at the party last month, we had made it through the initial meeting, so getting together this time was very comfortable.  He picked me up in his car (he’s my friend’s friend, so I trust him), got out to open my door, held the restaurant door open for me, insisted on paying the bill.

We talked about lots of taboo topics.  I love this.  I feel like we should talk about religion (he’s Jewish, so it was a totally appropriate topic of conversation, considering I’m not), ex-partners, his date the day before, my dates the days before, philosophy (not sure if this is really a taboo topic, but we did talk about it as he went to school for philosophy before changing into finance and philosophy was the only class in university I really didn’t understand), real estate.  I’m all about being open and I like a date who isn’t uncomfortable with speaking about all sorts of things.

We also talked about cool traveling we’ve done, which is always a favourite topic of mine.  He was born in South Africa, so it was interesting to hear about his childhood there.  He also did an awesome back-country ski trip that sounded amazing!

I had a really nice lunch with him, despite the fact that he really only asked me out for the blog.  I have no idea if he thought I was cute and wanted to take me out, or because he was doing me a favour, but either way, I had a great time.  I’m sure the religion factor (his mom wants him to marry a nice Jewish girl) will keep us from another date (unfortunately – but religion is one of those deal breaking factors that usually can’t be compromised around), but it’ll be great to chat again at the next party we’re at together.

Your Target Market 

Speaking of being Jewish, there are a many dating websites that are specific to a demographic (and not my demographic), that I want to mention:

And there are many more, if there’s a specific demographic you’re into that I didn’t mention.

Tonight

Another concert!  With the ex-boyfriend…


Day eighty-four

Another OKCupid date

Me through the app designed by Shiny Shoes

He’s been sky diving a couple of times, white water rafting, hiking with black bears, and exploring Alaska.  He can’t wait to visit New Zealand to bungee jump.  He was born in India, lived in New York for years, but loves Toronto.  And he didn’t read the blog before coming on the date with me!  Shiny Shoes is an adventurous man.

I love inside jokes.  They instantly make a first date comfortable.  It’s an easy thing to bring up to remember the banter (online, over the phone or by text) that made you excited about the date in the first place.  We had a running gag involving him shining his shoes to get ready for the date, and sure enough he showed up with shiny shoes!  I loved it!

Brunch together was fun, although it turns out I didn’t explain my year as much as I thought I had online, so I spent a lot of time explaining what I’m doing.

He was really great and I loved hearing about his adventures.  So, I’m not sure whether it was the tired thing (from my day of dates the day before), or chemistry, but I didn’t feel a romantic match.  That happens – a lot, I’ve found out.  Even if you like the person on paper, the conversation is good, they are an attractive person with good manners, and you have things in common, doesn’t make for a romantic spark.  It’s as much about timing and a feeling you get that makes them someone you want to date further.

More in online dating…

There are a few things happening in the online dating world that I haven’t talked about yet and thought I’d touch on, as I’m not sure they will turn into dates.  I’ve met a couple of great people who I thought I had a connection with, but once I mentioned the blog, they backed right off.  Even one who dates bloggers on a regular basis (although he said to call him for home-made perogies next month, if I didn’t find a love match).  I’ve had a few who seem keen to go on a date with me, but then keep putting it off because they are busy or away.  I’m not sure whether they are getting cold feet, lost interest or are actually busy, but I do hear this happens a lot in the dating world (although now I’m close to being booked up for the rest of the month).

I’ve also met one really interesting man who is in a 10-year open relationship with his wife and mother of his children.  I’ve told him that I couldn’t be “the other woman”, even if his wife is into it, but I am fascinated by the concept and he agreed to answer a bunch of my questions about the lifestyle.  If I can get his permission, I will post some of his answers by the end of the month.  He did steer me towards a couple of swingers websites, though, so if anyone is interested (I’m warning you, these are rated-r websites): Fling in the City (hosted by Wicked, Toronto’s first hedonistic on-premise club) and Ontario Couples.  This is a huge section of dating that I probably won’t get the chance to explore this month, but I thought should be mentioned.

Today

Lunch with a friend of a friend I met at a party last month who volunteered to be one of my dates without hearing much about the project.  I’m looking forward to this one, as this is our third attempt to get together.

Day seventy-four

The high-school-crush date

The Suit

I had the biggest crush in high school on The Suit – well, back then he was far from a suit: goatee, hawaiian shirts, jeans.  A grade niner crushing after a grade twelver.  When we almost bumped into each other at my pub a few weeks ago, we were both a bit stunned.  His crazy shirts have been traded for a dress shirt, a nine-to-five job, and a love of cruise ship vacations.  We are completely opposite from each other.  He loves rules, I love freedom.  But there’s something about an absolute gentleman that you have to love.  He insists on paying for everything (“I invited you out, so I pay” and “If a guy can’t afford to take a girl out to dinner, he can’t afford to have a girlfriend” – quotes from The Suit), he walks on the side of the sidewalk closest to the road to protect me from the cars should one jump up onto the sidewalk (although, wouldn’t that mean I’d break his fall, if that ever did happen…), he always plans for everything so all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the evening.

He chose a wine bar in Yorkville for dinner, knowing my love of wine.  He wore his suit and his pointy shoes (see below for photo) and I wore a dress and heels.  It’s my first fancy date this month.  It was fun to get dressed up and be among the dyed-blond, thousand-dollar-dress-wearing ladies of Yorkville.  We shared all the courses – a lovely plate of prosciutto, cheeses, olives, fruit and bread to start; pizza as main; and cannoli as dessert.  And a nice bottle of Ripasso Italian red wine.

After dinner, we headed to Milagro on Queen Street where my friend was having a going away party because he’s moving back to Nova Scotia.  I was a bit worried bringing The Suit into a room full of already tipsy restaurant workers, but he held his own.  He joined in on every round of tequila shots or sangria someone in the group ordered for the table.  He was lovely when one of the glasses of sangria came splashing across the table towards him by an excited hand-talker’s accident.  As the group went off to sing Karaoke down the street, it was our cue to part ways with them.  But not after lots of hugs and goodbye to my friend.

As the evening came to a close and as we said goodbye I thought of how funny it is that we are so different now, considering we came from basically the same place.  Yet, despite our differences, we get along quite well.  I’m fascinated by his rules (he has rules for everything) and he is fascinated by my lack of them.  I guess it’s true that opposites sometime do attract.  But I’m not sure how long before those opposites would drive each other insane!

The Suit's pointy shoes

Speaking of paying for dates…

The Suit sent me this article from the Toronto Sun this morning because he thought I’d get a kick out of it: “Website matches suitors and dream dates – for a price”.  A totally different way of paying for a date.  Whatsyourprice.com is an online dating site where less attractive people offer more attractive people money to go on a date with them.

What’s Your Price users are divided into two camps – “generous” users and “attractive” users. The attractive users – beauty being their currency – post photos and name a price they think a generous user should pay in order to garner the privilege of taking them out on a date. When a generous user stumbles upon someone that he (or she – but according to Wade, the vast majority of generous users are male) is interested in, they make a monetary offer for their time and the transaction begins.

Wow.  I’m almost speechless.  Read the full article for more information and the problems with starting a relationship by paying for it.  And read the blog section of their website (here).  Shocking.

Tonight

Clubbing.  Oh boy…