Category Archives: Figuring Out This Dating Shit

The Pump and Dump – Worst Thing EVER or Blessing in Disguise?

Step away from the phone. It's not gonna ring.

Based on what I’m reading out there in the blogosphere and what I’m hearing from my lady friends, getting pumped and dumped is the very worst thing that can happen to a woman.  What is a pump and dump you ask?  Well, it’s when a lady and a gentleman go out on a date (or two, or three or however many it takes) and get down to the sexy time and then the gentleman fails to call the lady back.  Or fades out.  They never see each other again, no more sexy time happens and the lady runs to her friends/the internet to cry FOUL.

Obviously this happens to men as well.  I am ashamed to admit that I am guilty of perpetrating a few pump and dumps in my time.  (Why?  Well that’s a whole post on its own.  I’ll give you a hint:  It rhymes with “Rad Mex”).  It’s not something I’m proud of because EVERYONE deserves at least the courtesy of a “thanks, but no thanks” text/call.  However I don’t see a lot of men, either online or in real-life, complaining quite as vocally as women do about this phenomenon.  So this post is mostly aimed at the ladies.

So ladies – I’ll let you in on something.  This is so, SO far from the worst thing that can happen to you.  I don’t need to go into all of the various disasters and calamities that life throws our way, but in the grand scheme of things, having someone not call you back after sex is just not a big deal.  In fact, it’s a GOOD thing.  A good thing?  What?  No I’m not high.  Lemme explain…

This guy did you a FAVOR.  He did you a huge solid.  Because this was not the dude for you.  And aren’t you glad that you found this out early rather than 6 months down the line when you’ve become all attached and lovey-dovey with him?  You are now free to roam about the country to seek another victim.  Uh…man.  Of course I meant man.

It doesn’t even really matter WHY he never called back.  He just didn’t.  And that is perfectly OK.  You can’t control the actions of others.  There is no strategy, no trickery or magic you can use to make the dude call you back.  In fact you don’t WANT a call back, not from someone who is not the right fit for you!

What you can, and should do (yes I am going to tell you what to do) is ask yourself one question – WHY am I so upset about this?   Why is this person, that you have known for maybe a couple of weeks, that has invested NOTHING in you, having such a profound effect on you?  Why are you letting this virtual stranger dictate the way you feel about yourself and your worth as a human being?  STOP.  You don’t have to do this to yourself.  Be disappointed.  Joke around with your friends, complain a little bit.  But then realize that you are mourning the loss of something that was never there. This guy was never real.  He owes you nothing.  But guess what – you don’t owe him anything either!  Not a thought, not a word, not a text.  Forget closure.  His not calling back is all the closure you need.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before…

Today I am feeling nostalgic.  I want to look back at the  fine young gentleman that I spent time with over the past year-and-a-half.  You were all so very lovely and I will remember each and every one of you fondly.  This is my love letter to all of you.  

The French Boy

You taught me exactly what NOT to put  up with in a relationship, and how to stand up for myself and what I need.  Self-respect was a stranger to me the entire time we were together but I have found it once again by remembering how low I felt when I was with you.  You taught me the importance of letting go when something is not working, of paying attention when one’s words and actions contradict each other, of honoring the little voice inside that is screaming that things just ain’t right.

However, there was also so much good that came out my time with you.  Being with you showed me that I have the capacity to open up and love someone, even if I didn’t choose very wisely when I gave that love to you.  Your feedback that I was too cool, too detached and too busy protecting myself was spot-on.  Allowing myself to be vulnerable, to let a man know how I’m feeling  has brought me to the wonderful, peaceful place I find myself in today.

You are truly how I got my groove back!  You reminded me that I wasn’t just a mom – I was a woman.  A fucking sexy one.

The Body

I imagine that this is what you look like right now

While our time together was cut short by the fact that you accidentally got your ex-girlfriend pregnant right before we met, I still enjoyed you.  Sneaking into your house, where you lived with your parents was exhilarating and made me feel like I was back in high school again.  You had a rockin’ ass body and I hope you’re enjoying fatherhood!

Soldier Boy

God Bless the USA!

Supporting the troops took on a whole new meaning when you allowed me to buy you several Jack and Cokes and then take you home for a 21-gun salute.  I learned more about the war in Afghanistan and Iraq from spending a few nights with you than I did from reading countless news articles over the years.  I saw the pain and the haunted look in your eyes when you spoke about your time there, a pain I knew existed in abstract but never saw so up-close.  You were also the first Republican I ever went on a date with.  You taught me that I can never, ever again go on a date with a Republican.  I thank you for your service, both at home an abroad.  You made me feel so very patriotic and proud of the fine young men and women representing us around the world.

Big C (and Not-So-Little C)

I think I will miss you most of all.  Your charm, your wit and way with words, your amazing cat, your amateur gangster rap (which was actually quite good) and of course, the ridiculously mind-altering sex.  Had you been a few years older, I would have seriously considered trying to turn our once-a-month marathon sessions into something more.  You are more talented that you realize, and it makes me more than a little sad to know that we have eaten our last basket of french fries at 1 o’clock in the morning.  You taught me that casual does not have to be disconnected and disrespectful.  You put the “Friends” in Friends with Benefits.  But please – do not EVER grow back that horrific mustache.  That thing almost prevented you from getting laid once and it will prevent you from getting laid in the future. Trust.

Baby C

I will never look at my backseat the same way

Thank you for giving me the experience of being aggressively pursued.  Nobody in the history of all the men I’ve known has come  at me with as much swagger, confidence and persistence as you.   No matter how many times I told you that you were “too young” for me, you wouldn’t give up and you made a great case for the old adage that age really doesn’t matter.  You showed me that a mini-van, although dowdy on the outside, can be turned into a first-class shag-wagon with the flip of a switch.  You’ve got some serious game little man.  Now go forth into the wilderness and use it!

The Last Boy (for the foreseeable future, that is)

Hope it's not too awkward running into each other in the futureThank you for giving me the chance to be the pursuer and to fully live out the cougar fantasy.  You resisted me for months and right when I was about to give up, you finally gave in to my advances.  The way you looked at me – a mixture of fear, fascination and lust, was intoxicating.  Never have I felt so powerful, so in control.  You handled me in bed with a skill and tenderness that was astounding for someone as young as you are.  I felt like a total goddess in your hands!  Our time together was short, and I bet you’re kicking yourself for not surrendering to my many attempts at seduction much sooner than you did.  You’re gorgeous, sweet, and musically gifted.  I’m so very glad that you were my last stop on the cougar express.  What a fantastic way to close out this chapter in my life!  I know we’ll be running into each other many times in the future, but I have no doubt that you will handle things with maturity and respect.


The Reluctant Monogamist

This looks nice and all, but is this really the ONLY option?

My last foray into normal, society-approved monogamy ran concurrently with the 2010 baseball playoffs, in which my SF Giants were, at long last, victorious in the World Series.  For those that don’t feel like doing the math, this means that my last traditional, exclusive relationship lasted all of 6 weeks.  It happened in the usual way – girl sees cute boy in bar, goes up to him and tells him he looks like Matt Damon.  Boy tells girl she looks like Christina Ricci and buys her a few drinks.  They end up back at boy’s apartment where, shirtless (because he works out obsessively and wants to show it off), he serenades her with alternative music from the 90’s with his beat-up but gorgeous acoustic guitar while she lounges on a balance ball in just her underwear until the wee hours of the morning.   Sex happens.  Several times.  Boy drops girl off at the front door of her hotel, so she doesn’t have to participate in a pre-dawn walk of shame and promises to call.  Girl is indifferent because while the sex was fairly good, the 9-11 conspiracy theories were not.

A mere 6 months had passed since the end of my decade-long marriage and I had absolutely no intention of getting into a relationship.  Turns out, he was in the same boat.  Just a few months out of a serious relationship in which he had been living with someone.  This thing had rebound written all over it – for both of us.  So why, in the name off all that is holy, did I say yes when he proposed we start seeing each other exclusively?  Looking back I realize the following:

  • He asked the question while were laying in bed, having just completed the pole vaulting portion of that evening’s bedroom Olympics.  I was in a good mood, full of hormones and dopamine and all kinds of nice orgasm-y feelings.
  • We had only been dating a week or two.  I was caught completely off-guard and thought for sure that he wouldn’t bring it up that quickly.  And I had no plans to have the DTR talk.
  • It was so damn nice to have someone in my life again, even if I felt the timing was off and that there were things about him that gave me pause.

So when he asked me if I was seeing anyone else, I lied and said no.  Be honest dear reader – you would have done the same thing!  Who the hell wants to tell the sweet, naked man lying next to them that less than 24 hours ago some other dude had zambonied the ice rink?  You know, the one that is telling you how amazing you are and that he doesn’t have any desire to see anyone else?  We became a couple right then and there.  Yet there was so much reluctance in my acceptance of his offer.

The legitimacy of having a significant other that is conferred upon you by society is a heady thing.  I was wrestling with feelings of guilt, shame and just plain feeling like a failure from my marriage breaking apart and this was an easy way to say “see – I’m not a loser after all!”  This made all those bad feelings go away.  The cute little back-and-forth messages that we posted on each other’s Facebook walls, the good morning email that was always waiting for me when I got to work, the goodnight call if I wasn’t staying at his place, the little shelf that he cleared out for my stuff – all of this felt so familiar and affirming.

Let me out!

Not so nice – the suffocating, frantic feeling that I was trapped.  TRAPPED!  The one weekend during our short relationship that we didn’t spend together (he went out-of-town), I literally had to have a girlfriend cock block me when we went out that night.  She had to confiscate my phone so I didn’t text the French Boy or the Tortured Artist.  If she found me at the bar talking to a man, she would come right up between us and pull me away.  She did all of this at my behest because I just didn’t trust myself not to cheat.  I didn’t even have the balls to tell the others that I was seeing someone, you know, just in case.  I knew there was something terribly wrong.  I knew that he was not a good match for me and I also knew that I didn’t want to be in a relationship.

He dropped the bomb on me right after the World Series ended.  It’s almost as if we were under some kind of spell, and once all the excitement was over, the fog was lifted.  That and his ex-girlfriend had called him to “congratulate” him on the win.  I wasn’t with him that night.  Not that it would have mattered.  The call would have come at some point and it would have made him pause and think about what he was doing.

There were so many reasons that he was wrong for me.  He was an addict that had a few years prior, lost everything due to his addiction.  He had anger issues and would punch and throw things.  He regularly trashed his ex-girlfriend.  He was a lawyer.  All of these things and more were revealed to me in the short time we were together.  But despite all this, I was still devastated when the call came.  I had seen it coming.  Sensed him pulling away.  It didn’t make the blow any easier to take.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and I was feeling mostly OK about things.  Never gave in to the temptation to send just one little text, or email.  Didn’t check his Facebook page or check if he was on IM.  Just when I started to feel balanced again, he emailed me to invite me out to dinner and a show.  Just as friends.  Stupidly (and I knew it at the time) I agreed.  That’s when the flirty drunk texts started.  Again, stupidly, I played along.  Dinner turned into sex of course.  Only this time, I made it clear that I had the right to date other guys and vice versa.  He agreed.  What he didn’t know is that I already was.

The next month or so I spent chasing the dragon, trying to get back to that high I experienced when we first met.  Trying to get the cute good morning emails started again.  Trying to get my stuff back on that shelf.  All the while I’m banging the French Boy again.  Everything came to a head one night when he, drunk again and alone  (which I think is probably a terrible idea for someone with a past addiction to drugs) he texts me, telling me to come over.  I tried to be discreet, really I did.  But he wouldn’t let up.  I finally had to be blunt with him.  “I am at another man’s apartment right now.  I can’t come over.” He was furious.  I never heard from him again.

I have since come to realize that I had always been in relationships for the wrong reasons, not just this one.  For validation.  For status.  For feeling like I was “worth” something.  I would completely give up myself, ignore what I needed, and accept any and all faults in the other person just to keep that precious thing alive.  No wonder when around the 2 year mark (which seems to be the magic point in time when all of my relationships start to fail) I would start to feel restless, and resentful and unhappy.  You can’t pretend forever. You can’t sit by with your needs un-met and expect a relationship to last.

It’s not easy to navigate in a world that values and supports a lifestyle that hasn’t ever worked for you.  So I have two

You can get with this...or you can get with that

choices – 1) Figure out how to operate within the existing system of monogamy in a way that  doesn’t completely crush my spirit and make me feel trapped or 2) Define my own way of being –  of loving and living that allows me to be myself.  And no, I don’t mean allows me to fuck whoever I want at the expense of someone else’s feelings.  The past 2 years has been my attempt at following the 2nd path, the one where there is no guidebook, no support from society at large, no “rules”.  As you have read, I’ve stumbled along this path.  I’ve gotten hurt.  I’m sure I have hurt others, although it was never my intention.  But I just don’t know if I can see myself taking that time-worn and well-traveled route.  Can’t see myself stepping in line again and giving up all that makes me unique just so that I don’t make people uncomfortable.

For now, as I encounter situations that Emily Post certainly can’t help me with, I stumble along, always trying to behave ethically and always trying to be up-front with the men that share my time and space with me.  And maybe – just maybe, I can find someone who understands me and shares my worldview.  I know it won’t be easy.  But I’ll continue to search.  And have amazing, awesome sexy experiences while I do.


Taking a Dump – The Ethical Way

Today I officially and, leaving absolutely no room for interpretation, gave the old heave-ho to this guy and this guy.  How do I feel?  Relieved?  Empowered?  Smug?  No.  I feel totally shitty and kind of shaken.  I mean, as exasperating as these two were, they were, at the core, truly nice human beings.  I dated each of them for roughly 2 months a piece, although in retrospect I let things go on for about a  month too long.  Why is it that I give so much latitude, benefit of the doubt and graciousness to those that dump me, but I have no such charitable feelings about myself when I do it to others?

Let’s face it – nobody wants to give out bad news to another person.  I HATE confrontation.  But I realized recently that I had stayed far too long in many situations, not just relationships that were doing nothing for me, or were even damaging me in some way simply because I was too afraid to speak up and assert myself.  Because I was so, so afraid of someone being mad at me or not liking me.  How in the world has it taken me almost 35 years to start getting over this mindset?  How have I been so deeply programmed by bullshit traditional gender narratives that I didn’t even realize I was doing this?  Am I not a kick-ass feminist?  It’s time I started acting like one for fuck’s sake!

It would have been pretty easy to pull the fade on these dudes.  I mean, even the most thick-headed and socially clueless person figures out after a few weeks of unanswered texts that the other person is just no longer interested.  Pulling the fade just isn’t my style.  It’s been done to me PLENTY of times and while the prevailing wisdom out there in the murky swamp of internet dating advice is that this is a perfectly acceptable way to end things, I just can’t bring myself to do that.  I may be a slut, but I try to practice my sluttery in ethical ways.  These fine gentleman, while ultimately not the right fit for me, gave to me their time, their hospitality, and occasional use of their lovely cocks.  It’s the least I can do to end things cleanly and without question, right?  It’s what I would want.  (You listening Karma?  I’m doing the right thing over here.  Throw some good shit my way you bitch!  Just kidding.  I love you).

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to repeat this wretched process 2 or 3 more times before I lose my nerve!


Shit or Get Off the Pot

This cat has clearly chosen the "shit" option. I respect that.

This is one of my mother’s favorite sayings.  Along with “Life isn’t fair” and “If you wear too much lipstick your lips will fall off” (hey – they can’t all be gems) I heard this a lot growing up.  It means, in short, be decisive.  When faced with too many options, I get anxious and completely indecisive.  But what do you do with someone who, when faced with only 1 option, still can’t pull the trigger?

I met Mr. Indecisive off of OK Cupid earlier this year.  He came at me pretty hard with the whole “hey sexy” thing, but I was fairly certain, based on the type of humor in his profile, that he was being ironic/funny.  We had a pretty fantastic first date.  I took him to my favorite bar downtown and we furiously made out while 90’s hip-hop played in the background (like you are so in control of yourself that you don’t automatically make out with whoever you’re with when Hypnotize comes on).  Fast-forward a few hours and we’re doing pretty much everything you can do while horizontal and in an alley doorway.  Date 2 and we’re off to the races and it’s GOOD.  Great technique and as ironic as it seems now – totally decisive.  In the bedroom this man was so take-charge. Outside of the bedroom – eh, not so much.

What followed was a 2 month exercise in frustration and futility.  We were in contact every day, either by text or IM or the occasional phone call.  We saw each other once or twice a week.  Sounds promising, right? Wrong.  Although he was the one to initiate most of the contact, I was the one that had to set up all the dates/times we would get together.  And by get together I mean bang.  Only twice in the 2 months we dated did we see the outside of his bedroom, and one of those times was the bar/alley on our first date.  Getting him to go out to dinner with me that one time was no easy task.  It was like negotiating with someone in another language, without the benefit of a translator.  I may have even come out and said “we are going to dinner before we fuck” or something like that.  When I invited him out to watch me perform at a bar just 3 blocks from his house, he “cancelled” at the last-minute due to illness (he later confessed that he wasn’t really sick).  Any and all attempts that I made to move this thing outside of those 4 walls was summarily shut down.

Well at least her robot cuddles!

Despite a few flashes of jealousy and ham-handed attempts at tenderness, it was pretty clear that this thing was just about sex for him.  I didn’t mind that too terribly, because the sex freaking rocked the casbah.  But there was something really robotic about this dude.  I wondered if he had feelings.  Was I fucking the terminator?  Was he agoraphobic?  Either way, the orgasms were plentiful, he seemed to be all about my pleasure even if it meant he didn’t get off, and he was always down for the last-minute booty call (hell – if parking was easier in his neighborhood, I might still be fucking him).

But after 2 months of playing cruise ship director and setting everything up EVERY SINGLE TIME, I started getting bored.  Dear reader, you know how much I delight in the pleasures of the flesh, but even a depraved sex maniac such as myself likes to get out into the world every once in a while and see a movie, eat a meal, look at some art, make fun of strangers in the street, etc. etc. Add in the fact that he was so closed off I wasn’t sure he had human emotion and his outright admission that he was “emotionally unavailable” and I was ready to bail.  For as awesome as the dicking was, I like my casual sex with a side of humanity.  I decided to release him back into the wild.

I did something that I had never, ever attempted with a man – I was honest.  Shocking, I know.  But when the words “This just isn’t enough for me” left my lips something very strange happened.  Like when the Grinch’s heart grew 2 (or was it 3) sizes, this dude turned into Mr. Emo.  We then had full-on, emotionally connected yet still dirty (come on, I still like what I like) sex.  I left feeling a bit confused.  Who the hell did I just fuck and where did he keep the robot in that tiny apartment?  But still, I was happy with my decision to end it and sincerely hoped that I had made a good friend for life. After all, I already had a new victim…er…man in my sight.

Truth be told, I never really stopped dating other dudes while we were seeing each other so I was able to fill up all my new free time with no problem.  And as friends do, he started asking me about how my love life was going.  But as friends usually don’t do, he got crazy jealous and demanded I stop talking about my love life.  I then got accused of being insensitive to his feelings.  WTF?

The next week or two he spent texting me, IM’ing me, calling me to talk about things, to see if we could start over, to give him another chance.  I’ll be honest – I was conflicted.  The only reason I let him go was because he seemed so uninterested in getting to know me, so closed-off.  And the whole never-leave-the-house thing.  Now here he was, being all sensitive and shit and talking about his feelings and about how much he wanted to be with me.  And I couldn’t stop thinking about the sex.  The awesome, awesome, sex.  So I made him a deal.  I told him I’d give him another chance and that we could start at square one and go out on dates and see what happens.  One little caveat – no sex.  No, it’s wasn’t meant to be a shit test.  I wasn’t sure that I felt anything for him beyond sex either, so I wanted to take that out of the equation.  Plus I didn’t trust that this change of heart was sincere.  The timing was pretty suspect, no?

Well as soon as I said “no sex” and agreed to give him another chance, we have landed right where we started.  Me as cruise ship director.  Well guess what?  The Love Boat has left the dock and no matter how fast he swims, he’ll never catch it.  Wait – is that delicious 23-year old I see in the Karaoke Lounge?  Hold my drink for me, I’m going in…


You seem like “fun”

A little too much fun

Lately, I’ve had several messages from gentleman on Match.com (yes, I bit the bullet and ponied up the dough for a one-month membership.  Just tired of the same old faces on OKCupid) that reference the fact that I seem like fun.  Ruh-roh.  Do we have a problem here?  Am I fun in the “you look like you would be down for some sex with minimal effort on my part” or “you seem witty and I would like to enjoy some activities with you. Which may or may not include sex based on whether or not you like me” kind of way?

Perception is everything, and you only have so much room to present yourself in an online dating profile.  You want to come off as fun, but not too much of a good time.  Assertive but not aggressive. Funny but not too sarcastic.  Interesting but not dramatic.  Well-rounded but not into so many goddamn activities that reading your profile makes the reader tired.  Casual but not emotionally unavailable.  Your profile needs to weed out the bad while attracting the good.  When you think of it this way, it’s a bloody miracle that anybody is able to pull their shit together enough to actually get a date.

So, what do you think?  Is coming off as “fun” a good thing, or a bad thing in the online dating world?


Eliminate the Positive

Step away from the hot guy and listen...hear the flapping of all those red flags in the breeze?

Even cool-head, unflappable me is susceptible to developing crushes. You know – that giddy, giggly junior high feeling you get when you meet someone new and hit it off. You try like hell to play it cool and keep the proper perspective (because dear, you just met this guy a few weeks ago and know nothing about him) but instead find yourself gushing to your (annoyed) friends about how cute he is and that sweet thing he did on your date and how you slow-danced to “We Are the World” unironically and how ohmigodheissoperfect!

Slow. Your. Roll. Getting all caught up in a virtual stranger is a colossally bad idea. While you’re busy imagining what your children will look like or what shade of green you will paint your future master bedroom you may be missing things. Important things. Red flag things. Like the fact that he didn’t call when he said he would. Or the lame text asking to “hang” tonight. Or the unwillingness to do anything other than just lay there while you do all the work. And yes I mean in bed.

Now if I focused on the fact that he is ridiculously good looking and likes to hold hands I would probably miss those glaringly obvious signs of trouble mentioned above. If I think about those broad, amazing shoulders and pecs I would miss the fact that I’ve been the one to initiate over half of our dates. If I remember how rock hard those biceps are I might overlook the fact that in all the time we’ve spent in each other’s company he has never once complimented me on how I look, smell, and that I bring alcohol.

The next time we meet and he flashes me his fiercest Blue Steel, I pray for the strength to remember all that I’ve seen and say thanks, but no thanks.