Day sixty-nine

The online date

The Intellectual (well, his shoe and my shoe together)

My first online date of the month and such a positive experience.  I’m going to have to try to set-up bad dates for the drama of it! The Intellectual was absolutely lovely.  Kissed me on the cheek when we met, had a whole day planned of seeing exhibits from the Contact Photography Festival (including a route plan – what TTC to take and addresses of galleries), and even bought me ice cream from an ice cream truck on the side of the road (where the older Italian man selling the ice cream told him he couldn’t have the ice cream cookie that he wanted because it was messy, winked at me, and instead gave him vanilla.  I, on the other hand, could have whatever I wanted!).  We had some great discussions about sustainability (he runs a blog to increase discussion about sustainability), human suffering, social behaviours, unions in America in the 1970’s (brought on by a film he just watched), and silly things we used to do as children.  He reminded me so much of an old friend of mine that I instantly felt at ease.

Meeting someone for the first time is always a little hard.  What do you talk about?  Can you reveal too much about yourself?  Or too little?  We seemed to fill the time quite well.  He has some fascinating viewpoints on the world and I enjoyed asking him questions to get in-depth responses.  It was definitely a getting-to-know each other day, and hard to tell whether there was a romantic spark or a friendship one, but I enjoyed the day and didn’t want to leave to go to work.

More about online dating, for your info…

There are many online dating sites that one can use in Toronto.  Some of them you need to pay to use: eHarmony, Lavalife, match.com.  Some are free (which are the ones I have used): PlentyOfFish, OkCupid.  I signed up for PlentyOfFish a few months ago to try it out and do some pre-research.  The reputation of PlentyOfFish is that it is used for sexual hook-ups.  Although I did find some decent guys on there (one who I went on two dates with and decided he would be great for my best friend), my first experience with online dating was crazy.  I kept a journal while I was starting out and here is an excerpt of how I was feeling during the time:

It’s the morning after I signed up for online dating and I already have 5 messages and 5 other people who “want to meet me” (one of which is named “let me eat that asssss”!).  In all honesty, I’m not sure I’m ready for this.  Maybe online dating should be a last resort, not a first.  But I have to give it a fair shot.  What is it with the messages that only say “hi, how are you?” or “hi how r u”?  Why do I want to respond to those?  Is that what people do on this thing?  And my favourite message so far: “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh hey to cold for u i am stack here what would u DO ON the first date>>>>>>>>>>” What does that even mean?!

I signed up to OkCupid at the beginning of this month and I’ve had way more success with that.  The guys seem more genuine and I’ve been messaging with some really interesting people so far.  I love really unique intros too.  One guy sent me a recipe.  Another corrected a spelling mistake in my profile (every writer needs a good editor).  A few have asked about certain bands I wrote in my profile, or photography, or theatre.  At first I tried to respond to everyone who sent me a message, but now that’s getting hard.  It’s so time consuming, I don’t know how people do the online dating thing and still are able to work and have a life.

Tonight

My first ever boyfriend and first kiss.

Day sixty-eight

The blind date

Stan Smith

Blind dates are rare.  If you can’t look someone up on Facebook to see a photo, there’s My Space, Google, e-mail, or a friend’s photos.  In the online dating world, rarely will you get a response without a photo (according to OkTrends – the online dating site OkCupid’s dating research – the photo is the most important part of the online profile (more on OkTrends another day)).  So showing up to meet someone who I have no idea what they look like was exciting.  I saw Stan Smith (a nickname, named after his Stan Smith Adidas he’s so proud of – see photo above) texting as I approach our meeting point on my bike, then felt my phone vibrate.  “We11 eye here” said the text, decoding necessary because of the five keys broken on his phone – making all texts from him a fun puzzle to decipher.  I was hoping he was my date, because my other choices in the area were a couple of homeless men and one guy either really drunk or really high at our 3:30pm meeting time.  Luckily the cute, tall guy in the Stan Smith Adidas was my man!

We are a surprisingly good match (thanks to my friend from work for the set-up!).  We’re both writers and love to learn.  I could see us challenging each other with random facts and who can research the fastest about bizarre topics.  He said he’d look up more things than I did during our conversation.  A rarity for me, as I’m always the one writing down things to Google.  He writes for TV and film, and is a written poet and a slam poet (performance poetry).  We chatted over beers, went to see an amazing photography exhibit by Lucia Graca of music venues from across the world (through the Contact Festival), and went for a walk to see graffiti art and loading docks in an alleyway (yes, mom, I trusted him enough to go into an alleyway with him).

Sometimes, though, we talked more about being on the date, then actually being on the date.  He joked that we’re like characters in a play talking about being in a play.  It was almost a pre-date, and if we go out again that will be an actual first date.  I told my friend who dates a lot that and she said most first meetings tend to end up being pre-dates to see if you actually want to go on a date with them – especially with online guys.  I guess I’m going to have to start setting up second dates, so I can go on real first dates.  Wow, the world of dating is confusing!

It’s also a problem with doing this project.  Everyone is interested in what I’m doing, which is fantastic, but then we end up talking about it too much.  And then all the big questions come up.  What if you meet someone you like?  Can this be authentic if you must go on dates every day?  What happens if you only want to date one person?  What if you meet more than one person you like?

One date is not enough time to really get to know someone.  Real dating involves the development of a relationship, and I worry that I’m putting the novelty of the 31 dates over the chance to really find someone I care about.  I will see how it goes, but I might allow more than two dates if a second date goes really well.

On a positive, but extremely bizarre note, this is the message I got e-mailed to me from OkCupid (the online dating site I’ve been using):

We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid’s most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you’d like to know.

How can we say this with confidence? We’ve tracked click-thrus on your photo and analyzed other people’s reactions to you in Quickmatch and Quiver.

. . .

Your new elite status comes with one important privilege:

You will now see more attractive people in your match results.

This new status won’t affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match’s answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You’ll be shown to more attractive people in their match results.

. . .

Suddenly, the world is your oyster.  Login now and reap the rewards. And, no, we didn’t just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see.

Not to brag or anything!  I’m still so perplexed by the dating world – so completely about looks and less about personality or genuine connections.  I really dislike it.

Today

My first online date.  This better be good.  Or really bad, so it’s good writing!

Day sixty-five

The we-met-at-a-party-and-got-along-so-lets-go-out date

The Motorcycle Man (I've decided to try and take a photo of one body part from each of my dates, if they are up for it.)

Unfortunately the rain kept away the actual motorcycle, but not The Motorcycle Man.  And he even wore his boots, just so I could have a little taste of what I was missing!  I met The Motorcycle Man at a friend’s birthday party last year and have run into him a few times since (sometimes while serving beer in my kilt).  We get along,  he’s really calm, soft-spoken, quite witty and up-for-anything (obviously a quality I look for, considering my enjoyment of my date on Monday).  He’s also thirteen years older – both a good and a bad trait, considering from my experience older men can be either stuck in their ways and not willing to change, or can act and feel young and have a wise outlook on the world.

Dating someone you already know, even just a little, puts you in a different position than a blind date.  You already feel comfortable with them.  You’ve been through the initial stages of meeting someone and you know you like them as a person.  You trust them a little (especially if you have mutual friends).  But you aren’t long-time friends, so you aren’t risking losing a great friendship if it doesn’t work out.  I was not nervous at all for this date, unlike yesterday, and could be myself right from the start.

Sharing different menu items and a couple of beers at a bar I never knew about on Queen Street (bonus points for introducing me to somewhere new that I’ll definitely go back to), we chatted about life and goals.  He’s so calm, it just puts me at ease.  We went for a walk and ended up at the Bovine Sex Club (it’s a bar, mom, don’t start hyperventilating…) and watched a couple of punk bands, including the amazingly named Corgasm (see photo below – The Motorcycle Man could not stop laughing about the name!) with a drummer who loved what he was doing so much, on his face was a giant smile the whole time.  Once again, I am running for the streetcar at the end of the date (this seems to be a trend).  But not until after a trip to ride his motorcycle to Cornwall to sketch (a passion he is trying to get back into, but can’t seem to find the time) has been agreed upon.  Really, I’m just using him for the motorcycle ride… (that was a joke, just in case anyone couldn’t pick that up).

Corgasm at the Bovine Sex Club

I’ve got to start having some bad dates, or this is going to get really boring to read!

Bad Experiences

Speaking of bad experiences, I’m just going to give a sneak peak at few of the interesting times I’ve had trying to do the online dating thing (which I will talk in more detail for my first online date later in the week):

  1. A pasted form letter introducing yourself and what you want is not a way to make a girl feel special.  And when she responds that she is not interested because she doesn’t like that you sent her a form letter, “Go f__k yourself with a cucumber, you stupid b___h”, says more about your personality than hers.
  2. Telling me you’d like to lick my bum – also not a great introduction.
  3. I respect if you know what you are looking for (especially if you’ve had bad experiences in the past), but having a list with twenty criteria is pretty intense.  It’ll be pretty hard to find someone who fits all of them.
  4. “how r u” is not going to attract anyone’s attention.  At least make some effort.
I sound really jaded, but I’m actually not that bad.  I’ve met some really cool people online so far, who are willing to take the leap and go on a date, knowing that I’m doing this experiment.  I think it’s only fair I tell them about it, but the argument has been made that it taints the experiment.  I’d rather it be a little tainted than have someone really hurt if they found out later.  And anyone who isn’t willing to accept what I’m doing isn’t going to work out anyways, as I’m doing these kinds of things for the rest of the year.  There has also been the suggestion that I should tell people up front (post it on my online profile) that I’m doing this (I tell them once I feel there’s a little bit of a connection made).  I don’t know what the best way is, but I definitely don’t want to hurt anyone, so I’ll try this out and see how it goes and adapt as the month goes on.

Today

Today I had a lunch date with a man I had dated in the past.  An actor and server, we were meeting for lunch straight after an audition of his.  Tomorrow: more on why people tend to go back to their exes and why that’s not always the best idea…