The Universe Is a Lie… (and other unfortunate truths)

universe

This is the universe and it lies. 

 

 

The Mr. Universe blog was not supposed to be next. As a matter of fact, I fancied a much different version of this story. For once, I thought, for once this will be something good.

There are people in the world who don’t care. They don’t’ care about, your feelings, or integrity. At all. They will be all willy-nilly with your emotions, dangle your time at the end of their fishing line—they will do whatever it takes so that they get what they want. They. Are. Reckless.

They are manipulative. Diabolical even. This is a story about Mr. Universe.

Mr. Universe…I thought for a brief second that maybe he was the lobster. Turned out that he was just a liar. He said things that should be sacred…

I am only talking to you

We super click and I trust my gut always

Me: what do you want from me? Him: everything

You gotta trust your feelings and the universe.

The UNIVERSE? Really? That was a new one and I gotta say, I was bamboozled.

Damn right I believe in the universe….but what was the universe trying to tell me? Did we click, yes…but what did MY gut say? Proceed with caution!!

Unfortunately I was right, but it’s still disappointing.

I recounted the series of events to my friend who responded with “gosh, is anyone genuine??”

I don’t know universe, you tell me….

The lesson learned is that yes, trust your gut. Trust your gut and not what the other person is saying to you. But don’t be closed off. I decided to jump in and it was the wrong choice, but maybe it was better than being closed to everything. Experiences teach us, mold us and shape us. I can only hope I am smarter and stronger each time I am a party to someone else’s faults and failings. My gut also gave me a nudge of warning, and I listened to that too.

The lesson learned is that it’s still not about me! I can control who I am, what I do and what I think. I can’t control the universe, or Mr. Universe. If he wants to lead his life as a manipulator and a liar, than he will attract much of the same. I am not wishing that on him, but we get what put out there.

The lesson learned is that I still need to work on being cool at the beginning. That’s the worst for me because I want to know where I stand immediately. Are we doing this or not? That’s not the best approach and I will have to work on chilling out or I will sabotage everything!

So, my question remains that if we do really get what we put out there, and I am putting out genuine and honesty….why am I still wading through the garbage?

I still believe in magic. I still trust my gut.

Come on universe, be kind.

Next: I’m not giving up! And the Dirty Boy

I am blue, he is gray….I am bamboozled….

Mr. Universe 1Mr. Universe 2

P.S. Dear Mr. Universe,

You don’t know what’s good. You think you do, what you are wrong. Good luck out there.

Dear Readers….a day after writing this I am wondering if I could have handled things better. Actually, I know I could have. This incident has revealed some important points that I need to work on…trusting people (whether they are trustworthy or not I suppose) instead having distrust on auto-pilot….confrontation…I already know I need to wait until I think something through I before send the text or say the words but I didn’t do that, and I often don’t, and it’s always a wrecking ball. I also realized that I need a person to be my deflector. The beginnings of a date-lationship always makes me a twisted knot of self-doubt, urgency and crazy. I need someone to help me be cool. So, in hindsight, yes, he lied. Does that make him terrible? I don’t know. Maybe I jumped the gun or maybe I did myself a favor, either way, I could have done it with more grace. I sent an apology text. Now I can live with myself.

Lesson learned….

 

 

Back in Beesness (??)

Bumble

What’s up blogosphere?

I live in an urban area, but I commute to a small town for work. I am not a fan of small towns. They have their charm in small doses, and are probably good for raising families and good ol’ American values and all that. But there’s not even a Target there. Or a Panera. Sometimes I am tired of the drive, so I stay in a little cabin—a tiny house in a small town. I don’t like to stay there though, I told my tribe that it feels lonely there, and I am not usually a lonely-feeler.

After several lonely evenings at my small town tiny house, I decided to jump back into Bumble without giving it much thought at all. It was really hot that week. I think my brain was melted a little.

A New Plan!

This time, I had a new plan. I’ve been really thinking over this whole do I want to be independent and free or in a relationship thing. Before, I was dating for the long game. Now I’m just there for the whatever game. This may or may not be a good idea but you can’t even control the outcome of what happens anyway. It’s all a chaotic, swirling mess that has potential for awesome or disaster, like the universe, you know.

Two New Ideas

Now, I have a different filter for things when they go sideways. One day I was frustrated about the things that people do and I asked my friend, “why do dudes do blah blah??” He said, ‘goodness, in life we are all dealing. Some of us want someone but are cautiously waiting.”

pushing-a-rock-up-a-hill (LIFE)

He’s right….we are all dealing with life as it is. Never mind all the dating stuff and its array of crap. These guys are people, just like me. Maybe struggling, maybe insecure too, maybe afraid, maybe have too much on their plate, maybe have wounds and scars and baggage…I’m not on the bottom rung of the ladder and neither are they. I am going to sabotage everything I attempt to build if I don’t remember that fact. We are all just humans, as my other friend says….don’t be surprised when humans act human. I have to let go of some of the negative expectation I project on men just because of my negative experiences.

chance-the-rapper-grammy-ad-billboard

The second new idea is that I am faking the hell out of being confident. I am BELIEVING (faking it) that I am a great catch. I have a lot to offer someone (that is true) and I am acting like it. No more giving them the upper hand because I think I am fortunate to have their attention at all. I am following self-positive Instagrams and taking those positive messages to heart. I am enough. I am good, I can be someone’s something that they are looking for.

You would think that after 40ish years on Earth I could conquer that whole self-confidence thing, but I guess it just ebbs and flows just like everything else in this life. It’s like the Chumbawamba song. “I get knocked down, but I get up again!” (And sometimes pissing the night away too.)

So far, I have met two new potentials. Right after that, I deleted my account again. I don’t know why I do that….it’s just feels like wading through garbage to have to deal with the swipes and the small talk and the are they interested or aren’t they.

Are They or Aren’t They….

This is the part I hate. I don’t know how to like it better.

 

In Unrelated News….You must Watch This!

It’s a train wreck and you cannot look away. I promise you! Set your DVRs for Spouse House on TLC. Its Big Brother meets the Bachelor meets crazy-town. The put 14 singles, matched by professionals, in a house together and are all very serious about getting married. So much so, that they actually have weekly engagement ceremonies where singles propose to each other and WEDDINGS! I’m not ashamed to say that I watch it immediately when there is a new episode. Sunday nights. Trust me, you will be too flabbergasted to be disappointed!

Cries Ohhhh Ashley….you have all the feels.

Spouse-House-Missy Missy’s not leaving without a husband!

Until next time!

Buzz buzz!

Next time…The Dirty Boys and Chaste Dating and Mr. Universe—Can You Trust That Swirling Mess?

P.S. Dear RUN DMC T-shirt Guy,

Every single time I go back on Bumble we match and chat, only for me to disappear with no warning or explanation. Thank you for talking to me EVERYTIME. I am sorry I am so indecisive. If I come back and you swipe right on me again, hurry up and ask me out already! Your art is cool.

 

 

Slumming

“You can take the girl out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the girl.”

 

That can be translated one of two ways; either it means that the girl will always be a little bit ghetto or the girl will always feel a little bit ghetto. One is a little bit bad ass, and the other is a little bit sad.

When you have grown up with lack or lackluster circumstances, you might always feel a little bit beneath other people–even if you aren’t–even if you “make good” in life. That feeling is always still there, just beneath the surface though you might try to squash it, have forgotten it or pretend it’s not there.

There has been a time or two (or three or four) when I have felt like the lesser person in the pair. It could have been because they had more money than me, or because they actually thought they were better than me, or sometimes because they actually were better than me.

It’s been a little while since I have had that feeling. That cold ball in the pit of the stomach, like fear except different. It was shame. And disappointment. But mostly shame.

I don’t feel like I usually have a shame problem. I have done a lot of work in the area of giving myself a break. If you feel like you want to work on that, I highly recommend Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown. That book has been an amazing tool and I have gone back to it several times for a refresher on being okay with my level of achievement and accomplishment in life.

But today,  I felt the feeling sneak itself right into my rib cage. I shared something with an old friend. Something I felt a little proud about. They took a look around and didn’t say anything negative, but I saw the look flicker across their face. I thought to myself, oh yeah, they are fancy now, they like and expect nice things. The moment passed in real-time but continued simmering in my mind, until I no longer felt proud of my accomplishment. What I considered an accomplishment, they thought an expense. What I considered independence, they considered lacking. Like they had poop on their shoe. My cool thing was poop.

What does this have to do with dating, you might be thinking a you read this. Well, I’ll tell you, it has everything to do with dating. If an encounter with someone leaves you feeling lesser in any way, don’t bother with it. It will lead to shame, heartache and a destruction of your self-esteem.  You will find yourself constantly striving to be good enough for them, when you really only need to be good enough for you. The right person will see you as good enough no matter where you are on your journey. If dating them makes you think they are slumming, walk away.

Now if you want to go slumming, that can be fun. Just make sure to be kind.

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I might be here (my actual feet)

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But feel like I am here

           

The Guy With All the Ghosts

Brad* (not his real name) was is one haunted man. He lives with the Ghost of Relationship Past. It happens to be a ghost of marriage past, turned into ex-wife present, with equals him being chained to her and it’s a big ol’ mess. But he was non-judgmental, and a painter, and truthful to a fault, things I like. So…..I gave it a shot.

I met Brad in the early days of Snatch.com. He was socially awkward, not at all charming, but adorably rumpled, artsy, and weirdly interesting. In my phone, he was listed as Adorably Rumbled Brad, inspired by one of my go-to chick flicks, My Best Friend’s Wedding.

I met ARB at a downtown restaurant one warm, April Sunday. I had tried to lure him out the night before at a very cool author reading, but he was too nervous and was adamant that he was terrible in social situations. In fact, he was so nervous about our pending date that I called him the night before so we could get comfortable with each other. By the end of the call, we were both less nervous.

But next day, I arrived at the restaurant first and called my friend. I was so nervous. The most nervous I have been on almost any date. I saw him drive up and got out to meet him. Ugh I was so nervous, but he clearly was too. We had lunch, the conversation was nice and flowed easily. We walked around downtown for bit afterwards. It went well.

We chatted a for a few weeks or so. He said I was pushy so I backed off. Then he said he didn’t think he should be dating right now, (he was right) but he wanted to be friends. (Friend zoned for $100 Alex!!) I agreed. I wasn’t terribly hurt or upset. I was pretty sure being his friend was the right move. He was interesting and spontaneous and comfortable, but I didn’t dare let my guard down knowing that he was still tangled up in the past, so there was no chemistry.  We remained in touch and met up a few more times. Then, he disappeared.

Fast forward a couple of months. I hear from him. He has been going through some stuff (with her, the ex-wife.) It would be cool if we hung out. Okay, I say. We make plans, we hang out, we chat a bit, then he’s gone again.

Fast forward a couple of months. Repeat previous paragraph. Do that a couple more times.

At this point I back all the way off. No Instagram likes, no texts, not anything. Then out of the blue, I hear from him again. It would be cool to hang out, he was wondering how I’ve been. So we work on plans but due to busy schedules they don’t happen right away. Then, within two weeks, she’s back again…… Damn Brad!!

I back off. We’ll see what happens next.

Ghost  Actual photo of ARB…..

65e4e363c57ac48c159aea5c5267185b--daring-greatly-brené-brown

I am a huge fan of vulnerability. I know, I know…..

 

 

 

 

 

Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really Want)

This weekend I spent some time with a friend who is excellent at creating extra deep conversations. Afterwards as I mulled,  I again addressed the question I often ask myself in relation to the dating thing- what do I really want?

Not who. I’m not writing a recipe for my fairy godmother.  Sure, I have a list,  but that thing would be forgotten faster than the last Ariana Grande song if things clicked in that magical way. 

I mean what. Bare bones, down to the bottom of my heart-midnight-whisper-prayer want. Then I question it again, is that really what I want?

It’s not the same as what I think I want, what I think I need, after another exhausting week when I felt like I never stop hustling, those weak  moments when I just want to be in this with someone, or need a shoulder to rest my head for a moment while I catch my breath. And it’s not the same as what I think I want, after my head has been on the pillow for hours,  and the only sounds are ticking clocks and my own breathing, surrounded by extra pillows and the night streaked with the heaviness of feeling alone. Those aren’t real, in the realm of wants. Those are gaps. Gaps that can be filled- should be filled- by other things rather than trying to fit someone into my world like the corner piece that finishes a jigsaw puzzle. 

So what is it then?

Some of my favorite friends are great models for relationship goals. When I figure out what I want, I hope it’s like their marriage. They get on each other’s nerves, but they love each other crazy. When one makes a mistake, the grace is quick and automatic. They are a team,  and without a doubt, they know that they have each other’s backs no matter what. You can tell they are each other’s favorites. 

I want something like that. Not  just something to fill the gaps, but someone on my team, no matter what. And I have to wonder,  am I running out of time? Do things like that even exist anymore? And perhaps the biggest question of all, what would I have to give up to get it and am I willing to do that?

Now that you’ve stuck with me through all those unanswered questions,  I promised a review of Bumble, so here it is!

I discovered Bumble after reading an Upworthy article about how the dating app banned a guy who sent hate mail to a gal. I decided to see what it was, downloaded it, and promptly met the meatball man. (Haha)

Dubbed as the ‘feminist Tindr,’ Bumble’  is set up much the same way-swipe right if you like, left if you don’t- but if you match, the gal communicates first,  and you only have 24 hours to do it before the match disappears. 

There are some premium features you can pay for,  like unlimited time extensions and sneak peeks of right swipes. 

I liked Bumble because it seemed like there were more men who were serious about dating and relationships,  not just hookups. The drawback was related to my location. Not many people in my city (or maybe my age demographic) had heard of it yet, but I think in bigger cities it would work well. It’s also connected to your Facebook account and location so it’s harder to make fake profiles. I would probably try it again when I make up my mind. 

Until next time!

A Brief Hiatus

I have to start by apologizing for not publishing a blog for two months. I was distracted by fifteen page essays and finals, but alas, I have completed my first semester of graduate school. Yay!

Also, I have to admit that my last experience left me slightly bitter. Since I have always been loathe to become one of “those” bitter women, I was letting that vaporize before I accidentally smeared some of that nastiness on my blog.

In addition, I haven’t been on a date since the house of cards thing but I still have stories that I said I would tell, and I promised my cousin a blog, so, here it is!

In this episode I will tell one of the most infamous stories of my brief dating life- the one about the guy who cried. I also really want to talk about the paradigm of choice like I mentioned before, as I have thought a lot about that.

(I know I’m going out of order but I will tell all of the tales eventually….my brain works in flow charts, not straight lines)

Crying Is So Ganster

So, the guy who cried. I’ll call him Pac, because in my mind he reminded me a bit of Tupac. When you look at me– then you look at him–he would be the last person most people would have expected to see me with.

Pac was a smart guy, but he was a little rough around the edges. Despite his struggles, he was a really hard worker, and he was busting his ass to make something of his life. That was some of the first things I liked about him – his intelligence and his work ethic. He was the first guy I dated from Match. We talked for a long time, but obviously nothing came of it.

He liked my poetry and often asked me to send him a poem at the end of the day. Our first date was on a rainy night in the Plaza after we had been talking and texting for a few weeks.

He was obsessed with a certain football team. OB. SESSED. He also loved 90’s hip hop, and was a good father. We went for a drink. He had lots of tattoos, including one on his neck. He was a pretty good looking guy, and frankly I was surprised that he was interested in me.

When we met, he had told me that it was recently the anniversary of his best friend’s death. Not long after, his cousin passed away. About five years prior, he had lost his father–a loss that clearly left a huge hole. After a couple of drinks (him, not me) he opened up about the losses. And, he cried. Despite the Hennessy, he was embarrassed for showing vulnerability. I thought it was endearing.

We went out two more times over the course of several months and continued talking. I liked him, but knew he and I wouldn’t be the kind of thing I was looking for. We wanted different things. Plus, he was so damn flaky.  We don’t talk anymore but I often wonder how he’s doing. Not enough to open that all back up, but still, I hope he has accomplished his goals.

The Paradigm of Choice

My dating assessment–“nobody wants to get caught up with the hot dog just in case the steak walks by,” is a very simplistic summary of the paradigm of choice. This is explored more in the book I mentioned a few blogs ago, Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. In short, back in the day most people ended up with someone who lived close to them or who they were around for some reason. Now, we have more options because of the distance eliminating internet–or so we think. Also, back in the day, women couldn’t really make it on their own. They had to pair up in order to leave their parents’ house, so marriage was the logical choice. Now, we need each other less, so we think. We can make it on our own for the most part.

We wait for the perfect person to come along and complete us like Jerry completed Dorothy—or so we think! Because Jerry was a hot mess, and Dorothy was taking a huge chance on him. As a matter of fact, Dorothy was too good for Jerry, but she was vulnerable, and a hopeless romantic, and she overlook his shortcomings to accept him for the man that he almost was.

Or……maybe Dorothy had it right after all. See, now, we are under the illusion that we have sooooo many options that no one wants to ‘settle.” No one wants to take a chance on anyone who isn’t everything they had planned and prayed and visioned for. It’s like eating at a restaurant. You’re reading the menu and everything looks really appetizing and you have a hard time making a choice, a commitment, but then eventually you do. Then maybe you are satisfied, until you are hungry again, or maybe you are disappointed because the dish you chose didn’t live up to your expectations.

So, too many options equals no choices. How do we work around that? Lower standards? Settling? Continuing to wait? Continuing to take chances, forget expectations, and see what happens? I think the last one will be my choice, when I decide I want to try this crap again. But honestly, I don’t know when that will be. I’m good here….

Next time, the guy with all the ghosts. I wasn’t going to write about him, but now I will. And, a review of Bumble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loose Ends 

In dating, nothing is ever secure or on a firm foundation. It’s like we are all building houses of cards instead of pouring concrete. The end result remains the same, cards fall down. Why can’t people understand that building anything substantial requires concrete?

In the right time and place, of course. Maybe if your cards hold up, you can build with straw, then sticks, then eventually bricks if the big bad wolves of the world don’t blow your house down.

In the meantime, toughen up sweetheart, because one wrong text and you are dropped like a cigarette butt out of the window during red alert fire season.  One wrong text…this has happened to me more than once. This is why actual conversations, like on the telephone, are a must! But even when those have been happening, a wrong text can still bring the whole house down.

I’m on the throes of that faux paus now. I sent a wrong text at the wrong time, but I stand by it. I have to be me, he has to like me for me, so I consider it part of the process. As I feel the cards slowly tumbling, I am reminded that we are all entitled to pursue our own happiness. That includes me.

(Update, the house of has fallen down! I repeat,  we have cards down….)

Another observation: People often have loose ends. I have tried to tie up all of mine before getting out there and inviting someone in to share my life but a lot of people don’t do that. I have a loose end detector and it makes me want to run away. I’m not sure if this is good- for protection- or bad, and causing me to miss out.

Now for some fun….

Stan, the Mostly Mute Man

The mostly mute man, I’ll call him Stan, lived in a teeny tiny town. He was 44, no kids, no ex-wives, decent job, seemed legit. I met up with him on a busy Sunday evening at a local burger bar after an out of town trip. We had drinks and things went ok. We agreed to meet again. We had coffee on a Tuesday and this is where things got a little off track.

He didn’t talk much. I was having a hard time keeping the conversation going, but chalked it up to nerves and shyness, which he claimed to have. But then, something else happened. He had an itch on the bottom of his foot. We were outside at a patio table. It was a nice fall evening. He kept trying to get at that itch on his foot.

I think feet are gross. Putting your fingers inside your shoe at the table is even grosser. But worst of all, taking off your shoe and sock to scratch your foot at the table….herp!

But, Shannon, my dating guru said to give it three dates before you decide you aren’t interested. If you think about it, that’s not much time. If each date is about 2 hours, you are summing up the entirety of a person in about 6 hours.

So we actually had 2 more dates. One was a group date, nothing much to report there. But the final date, that was the worst. We planned lunch and a movie. There was a couple of hours in between the meal and the film so we had some time to spend together. Not talking. I mean seriously, I would try to make conversation and he would answer in one word. It was the most boring date of my life. I considered phoning a friend for a rescue text.

Needless to say, there was no conversation which meant there was no chemistry.  At the end of it all, I politely thanked him and went on my way. I didn’t hear from him again until a few weeks later when he told me he was super shy, and he also discovered that he had ‘white knight syndrome.’ The way he described this syndrome was that he felt the need to rescue women in financial peril. He asked for another chance. Sorry man, you got your three.  That’s not the kind of thing I am looking for. That, and the foot thing. I can’t….(and I didn’t mention the whole thing about the 20 year old he dated before me….ummmm, gross, my son is almost 20. Nasty.) He was my last Snatch.com candidate. Thank goodness. I deleted that whack app and never looked back.

Next time, navigating communication when you don’t know what kind of thing you are in, this cool thing called Bumble, and the Guy Who Cried.

I wrecked it. Crazy.

The Small, Small World That Only Looks Big

So, I mentioned last time that I deleted my profiles. Then, I started listening to the audio book Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari. He reads it himself, which makes it amazing. But, he calls his audiobook listeners lazy asses for not reading, and that’s not nice. Aziz, I am driving, ok!?!

Anyway, this book is hilarious, and it tackled all of the interesting online dating questions I had related to the social sciences and psychology, and why people are so reluctant to make a choice with all those options!

In the book he talks about THE app, the one the revolutionized the online dating world. It has a really bad rap, so I have never tried it. One of my friends did and she met her match there, but I won’t say who. That online gateway to love is Tindr. The little flame icon promises hot lovin’ at your fingertips! I decided to see what all the fuss is about.

 So far, it’s not so bad. I haven’t had much time to explore it, but I did talk to one guy. Ironically, he works close to my neighborhood, we know some of the same people, and we both lived in the same horrible town when we were growing up! I said, it’s crazy that it takes an online dating site to meet someone who works a block away from you. Wild!

Anyway….last time I promised to tell the story about the man who ate the whole meatball. It’s my officemate’s favorite dating tale.

The Man Who Ate the Whole Meatball

My son dubbed this date “The Pool Boy.” My son never met this guy, but because of his name, he decided that he sounded like a pool boy. I only wish he had been an actual pool boy. That might have been a lot more fun.

Not to say he wasn’t fun…he was ….pleasant. But there was no fire! When we dated (for about six weeks) I wrote poetry about starting fires! I was waiting for inspiration….but, you know, I thought, I could make this work.

(Instagram #phoetry inspired by The Pool Boy)

So the Pool Boy was a perfectly nice man. He was responsible, had his own home, a good job, which he left to start his own business when we were dating. He had a schmancy car, which I could care less about and actually didn’t like but I’m weird like that.

We had a fun first date at my favorite coffee place. Incidentally, there was an open mic that night. I didn’t know that, but it made the date more fun and we ended up staying for the whole thing. It wasn’t even good open mic, which I think helped us bond.

On the third-ish date, we met at a popular pizza place after work on a Tuesday. I have a long commute, so I headed to the restaurant straight from work. He had secured a nice table on the patio by the time I arrived. We ordered an appetizer…a meatball. A giant, one pound meatball. The humongous meatball arrived, we both had a sliver, and then I excused myself to the ladies room.

When I came back, the meatball was gone. The whole damn thing! I tried really hard to make my face neutral, but inside I was like “Damn! He ate the whole meatball! A one pound meatball!”

I didn’t say anything. Our giant pizza came, and he was too full for more than one slice. He sent the rest of the pie home with me, saying he had shown that meatball who was boss! Mmmmhmmm, I bet you did. When it ended with The Pool Boy, I said, and I quote, “This feels really lukewarm, and I don’t want lukewarm. I want a Celine-Dion-Drive-All-Night-to-Get-to-You kind of thing.” To be clear, he ghosted me, not the other way around. I was still willing to give it a shot….

Next week:

The Paradigm of Choice, and The Mostly Mute Man

 

How hard is it to make a plan? For real!

He’s right. Flakes galore…