Monday, January 4, 2010

First Dates using "The Rules": A Cautionary Tale

PHOTO: Stacy Laureyssens
Hello Dear Reader and Welcome to the New Year and beginning of a New Decade.
I have looked back at the previous decade and realized that despite a lot of crying, lying and two broken hearts, I have not achieved my goal of becoming a happy wife and mother. Something has got to change and that change begins with me.
I will begin by outlining my intention. I will go on as many dates as I can this year through POF or, the old fashioned way. Initially this sounds daunting but I will choose my potential mates by using a book I found at the library - "The Rules for Online Dating" by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, published in 1995. At first blush, this book seemed draconian in its' rigidity but in practice the method is most scientific. I will abide by the strict code of conduct outlined on those pages and I will not deviate, but if I do I will certainly tell you about it.
The Rules - in brief - require that the man initiate contact, the method of contact and that he chooses the date, time and venue for "Date Zero" i.e. a quick drinks date. Finally, he must do all this in 4 messages or less.
Wish me Luck, Dear Reader, I will need it.

Date#1 - January 2
This fellow asked me out on a Wednesday and firmed up plans on the Friday. We spent less then 10 minutes on the phone and his plan was a fancy bar downtown at 4pm on Saturday. All good indicators.
He arrived (four minutes late) wearing a T-shirt and jeans, he threw a $20 at the bartender and ordered a drink. He did not offer me one. He had bad teeth and adult ADD; either that, or he was a meth addict. I will never know. He asked me a lot of questions:
"Do you have plans tomorrow?"
"What are you doing later?"
"What are you doing tonight?"
"What is your passion?"
"Are you a go go go person?"
I had no answers and he wasn't listening anyway.
I was out of there in 30 minutes.

Date#2 - January 7
This date was planned at least 3 weeks in advance. He chose the date, the time and the extremely expensive restaurant with a secluded table. He was funny and engaging as he ordered the wine. He was interesting and expressive as we dined. Then he tried to stick me with the bill. For once, I was grateful I only had $10 in my purse. Narrow escape!
Full disclosure: I accidentally mentioned The Rules. Whoops. No big deal, he didn't get it anyway, BUT this date was an Epic Fail for a lot of reasons; it went on waaaaay too long and since it was a meal, I could not end it first. Note to self: Only drinks for "date zero"!

Date#3 - January 9
This was a textbook rules date and clocking in at 65 minutes, it was also executed perfectly. The energy of this man was very low to begin. I got the feeling that he thought I was pretty but stupid until he was actually rude to me, at which point I made sure to let my eyes drift to other men in the restaurant. He tried a lot harder from that point on but it was too little, too late. However, I have to admit, this man kept the conversation clean, the chosen venue was beautiful and over all he was a positive and well balanced individual. I think this is the first "Real Man" I have dated so far and he has the potential to make some woman very happy.

Date#4 - January 14
This man was difficult to pin down. He wanted to meet in a Starbucks in a bookstore, but never gave me more than 2 days notice. After three invitations, he wore me down and I met with him.
He ordered us a couple of coffees but by the time he had reached the table where I was sitting, his coffee was half gone.
This man was rude, insensitive and emotionally abusive.
He wanted me to believe that he was a successful single professional but I think he was an angry little boy who lived vicariously through comic books. He became angry with me when I failed to understand the philosophical significance of specific superpowers of The Green Lantern. He became upset and shouted (twice), "It's a metaphor, and I don't think you understand the meaning of metaphor".
I certainly understood that he was a little bitch.
He asked me what I was reading and when I answered it was dream analysis using Jungian archetypes - specifically the Black Madonna - he responded, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar".
To recap: He was allowed to have his superheroes, but I was not.
Enjoy your cartoons, little man; I remain the heroine of my own life.
Full Disclosure: This man wrote me again a full six months later (on July 8). From his message, it wasn't clear if he remembered me. I deleted it.
Reader's Note: At this point, I realized that I am having trouble with the correct planning of Thursday night dates. I am clear that I do not accept a Saturday date anytime after Wednesday but ... What is the cut off date for Thursday night dates? Gratefully, the Rules are not silent. Three days advance notice.

Date#5 - January 16
This date was planned well in advance for a quick drink at 4pm on a Saturday. This is by far my favorite kind of date. The man I met was very good-looking and well-dressed. I asked what industry he worked in and 15 minutes later I was still waiting for an answer...
This man had a broken engagement 5 years ago and still was not over the fact that the girl had rejected him. He had turned to a business advancement cult that promises fame, fortune and -of course- women if you realized that all your problems were related to your choices in life. He recommended that I take one of the cult's "courses".
He admitted that before this "program" he used to carry a knife when he visited his father.
I made my excuses and left shortly thereafter.
Full disclosure: This date was a Fail because it turned into a therapy session (for the guy!). He was so clearly emotionally wounded that I got momentarily caught up in it. I left exactly at the 60 minute mark, but I should have left sooner.

Date#6 - January 21
This date was planned a week in advance, at the same fancy downtown bar as Date#1. I think I recognized the bartender, a very sweet older gent named Joe. *kiss to you, Joe*
Sadly, I was stood up.
I waited for 5 minutes after the appointed time and then decided to use the bathroom before I left. I woman my own age was on the cell phone in the elegant bathroom, crying her eyes out. I knew it was a man on the phone, probably feeding her the gears. I thanked my lucky stars and asked if she was alright. She gave me a sarcastic thumbs up with red-rimmed eyes and I ducked my head and left.
But that was not the end of it, Dear Reader, that is never the end of it...
As I exited the lobby of the hotel, the man I was there to meet was just entering. I stopped him and introduced myself and then stopped... I was completely frozen in place.
He said, "Would you like to have a drink?"
I said, very softly, "You are late."
He said, "Yeah, I'm sorry, I was coming from [insert name of suitably distant place]"
I looked very closely at him. He had a weasely chin and he was jumpy, I figured he had been drinking somewhere close by before he got there.
Very softly, I said, "No." I turned on my heel and was gone.
Gratefully, The Rules are quite clear on this point:
"If a man is late or forgets your date, he may just be late or forget your wedding day. Next!"
I have also heard it said like this, "Do not ruin an apology with an excuse."

Date#7 - January 28
This man suggested a Thursday night date, one week in advance, but gave no further details until 8 hours before the scheduled time (!). He chose a romantic venue that was very far from where I lived (50 minutes drive through downtown). I was late by the time I got there and I could not find parking, despite circling two city blocks and two public parking lots. It was late and I had a negative gut instinct.
I took it as a sign and went home.

Date#8 - January 29
This date was planned a week in advance by a man that actually called me on the telephone. This habit is very rare. The Rules say to treat an email the same as a phone call, but every girl knows a phone call is better.
For the record, I have been on four dates at the venue he chose; very popular with single men.
This man was a lifelong student, finishing his undergrad at the age of 33. He was wearing the same grunge outfit that university students were wearing back when I was still a student. He was like an extra from "Reality Bites" with his flannel shirt, goatee and earrings in both ears.
He talked steadily in a brilliant stream of consciousness for 90 minutes. I felt bludgeoned by his intelligence. He called me "Sweetie" the whole time and told me I was "special" when I left.
He was very nice, but maybe not for me.

Funny Message (Mind games) from January:
Men ask me for a drink and I accept.
Then they ask "When are you free?" or "Let me know what your schedule is like?”
I delete these because it would be breaking The Rules to:
-Plan Date Zero and/or Tell him what to do. (He should know how a date works.)
-Give my number. (He did not ask.)
-Be rude. (Because- in truth- he is not really that interested)
They ask twice and then give me the ironic kiss off: "I guess you're not interested... Good Luck". These are the same men who always write "no head games" in their online profiles. Be Warned!

February has been very slow...
With Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, the long weekend and Chinese New Year, there has really been no time. But! This is always a good opportunity to review "The Rules" and wait...

Date#9 - February 19
This man hovered on the edge for several weeks, calling me on Friday nights to see what I "was up to". I hardly answered, of course, I know better...
Finally he called on a Tuesday night for a Friday night date, but when he called he had no plan!...he expected me to supply the where and the when. Therefore, the conversation had lots of long pauses in it from my end.
He managed to blunder through it and we met at a Jack Astor's (EW!) in the bar (double EW!).
In person, this man was very real. He was actively trying to get to know me, find similarities between us and enjoyed my company. He was building bridges. It has been a long time since a man has done anything more than fight and ignore me. He even asked me to stay for dinner but a Rules girl always ends Date Zero first.
He had a sad story: ten years prior he had initiated divorce against his wife because he didn't believe her when she said that he snored. She even moved into the spare bedroom, and he blamed her. His next girlfriends finally convinced him of his problem and he had a simple operation to cure it. Now he sleeps silently, but alone. About that decision he claims he has "a lot of regrets". He told me his ex-wife is now happily married with children (to a man who is less of an asshole?). I figure he is not over it...
Full Disclosure: This man approached me several times on POF to get together but was never able to follow through with an actual plan. How did he get married the first time?

Fuller Disclosure: In mid-August this man approaches me again. He says that he was dating someone when we met, the relationship has since ended, and would I like to date him now that he is single? This explains so much! He was not chasing me because he was chasing someone else! I am so grateful I followed The Rules and did not get hurt by this man.

Funny Message (Mind games) from February:
Men introduce the idea of meeting early on, even in the first email, and I accept. Then they begin the negotiations and write, "Let me know when you are free/ what your schedule is like/ call me" or just leave their phone number. Or keep writing their phone numbers over and over and over again with no words. The unspoken message is that I have to do all the work, that I have to date them. Question up for discussion, Dear Reader: Why do these men-children want to be asked out on dates like a woman?

Date#10 - March 18
This man asked me to meet him a local pub on a Thursday night at 7pm. I am sure about this, Dear Reader, because I have it in writing. Instead, he stood me up. He wrote a silly message the following day, saying he was sorry he missed me and asking if I would like to try again. The poor fool is kidding, right? He must adore his mother's basement.

Date#11 - March 27
Dear Reader, you are never going to believe this but: I met a man in real life! Yes! I attended a Burlesque Show and half way through a man walked up and introduced himself. The Rules advise basically ignoring and avoiding a man in this scenario (go figure) and sure enough! He asked for my email address as I was leaving. He wrote that he wanted to go for a walk for our first date but I put the kibosh on that, saying I would prefer to meet for a quick drink.
Full Disclosure: I have already been on a "Walking Date". It was long, boring and brutally cold.
He picked a great brunch place on a Saturday afternoon (as you know, my fav time) and I had my first meal with a man since Date#3, which, according to The Rules, is okay for a second date when you meet a man in real life. Sadly, I was exquisitely hung over and after downing espresso, I talked waaaay too much about my opinion of men and their reliance on text messages for courting the opposite sex.
Did you want to know anything about him? I would love to tell you but I simply do not know. I talked too much. I think he said he wrote a book about toy soldiers and it was so successful he is writing a second, but I could be wrong.
Full disclosure: He has called me twice since then. I missed the call both times (because I was busy! as The Rules advise) and since - according to The Rules - I can not call him back, that leaves me with no date this weekend. However, he did leave a message both times saying...nothing. He wasn't asking me out, he was "seeing what I was doing". Boring! So, who cares? I am not here to entertain you.
Fuller Disclosure: In mid-July I attended the Burlesque Festival and ran into this man. He was beautifully dressed, very polite and said "Hello". He was there with another woman. But no hard feelings, Dear Reader; I'm still skinnier.
Fullest Disclosure: Later in the year, this man asked to be my Facebook friend. I deleted it.

Funny Mind games from March (my own!):
OMG, Dear Reader, there is a discrepancy in The Rules! According to "All the Rules" you never give your number to a man without being specifically asked BUT in the "The Rules for Online Dating", when a man gives you his number online, you are supposed to simply write "Thanks" and provide yours but do not call him.
How did I miss that? (Do I even like that idea?) Hmmm...Here I was thinking I was a Grand Master Rules Playa and now this....Better Luck in April.
Full Disclosure: OH MY DIZZLE, Dear Reader, it has happened. I have met an honest-to-goodness Internet Psycho - IP for short. Here's how it happened, Dear Reader, and prepare yourself...

XDate#1 The Internet Psycho- April 8-12
An extremely handsome guy had been shadowing me from the sidelines, never quite making a complete approach, so I had to delete his initial messages. When he offered my number, I jumped on the whole "Reply with your number" bit and within hours he was calling me. And calling me again. And calling me again... Leaving long-winded messages about why I wasn't calling him back (it was a work day) and telling me that I was a good-looking girl but it was either "fish or cut bait". Not to be outdone by silly nautical come-ons (Ahoy Sailor!), my instincts knew pretty quickly that something was up. Gorgeous guys do not become psychotic harpies in real life. The guy loved to fight with girls. This makes him a coward.
Then it really began...dirty, pathetic texting (i.e. sexting) written by a sixth grader, hilarious in its absurdity: "I'm thinkin bout running my hand up your stockings mmm hmmmm"
I told him he was way too intense for someone I had never met and to never contact me again, and again, and again. He called me every name in the book. I matched him word for word. Please note: Dear Reader, I did nothing wrong to deserve this, and neither did you if it happen(s)/ed to you.
Full Disclosure: In mid-July, this man contacted me again. All he said was, "Absolutely beautiful!” I deleted it.

Date#12 - April 23
This is your typical nightmare internet date.
He called and was overly aggressive, fighting with me about whether or not I would have more than a quick drink with him. (Answer: No.) But... he had a plan and called me well before Wednesday for a Friday night date, and since the Rules advocate going "even when you don't feel like it", I said yes.
Full disclosure: Always trust your instincts.
He looked nothing like his photo. For a young man, he was bald as an egg; though, there was a quarter inch of think black fur that began at his ears and covered every square inch of his body except for the top of his head. He had not thought to shave. He asked if he looked like his photo and I was speechless.
He began to speak (i.e. argue) with me incessantly. He listed every famous couple where the men had affairs and why it was okay; Tiger, Letterman, King, Roethlisberger, whoever Sandra Bullock's husband is... (poor thing, did she do The Rules?) Since he liked this subject, I asked if he had been unfaithful and he admitted that he had. He said he wanted companionship (cooking, cleaning, fucking), but not a wife (financial security, social status, adult emotional connection).
Then, he asked me if I remembered Wrestlemania 4.
At that point, (minute 55 for you soccer fans) I got up to use the bathroom and when I returned he was gone. He remembered to clear the cheque, though; I remembered to thank my lucky stars.

Date#13 – April 24
Very straight forward: He wrote, he texted, we met on a Saturday afternoon close to home at a place of his choosing. We had a drink in the Bloor West Village on a warm spring afternoon. Ideal right?
He was – by far – the most fit man I have met online. Turns out there is a reason, a reason he wasn’t so forthcoming about… he was a police officer. (Why do they keep this a secret? It’s like a silly no-girls-allowed club)
My grandmother used to have a saying. She used to say “Ya gotta have somethin’ in the bank, Frank”. She didn’t mean money, although that helps, she had a different saying about money. She meant that a man has to bring something to the table, he can’t just sit there.
This man had nothing in the bank. By his own admission, he “fell” into both the military and then the police service, and then he fell into and out of a marriage. He was the father of a very young child. Sadly, I know nothing else about him. He arrived with a fear in his eyes that never left. He didn’t want any silences but he didn’t want to do any talking either. When he did talk, it was far too low to be heard and since I am not going to lean forward to hear a grown man speak, we left it at that. He was like a piece of granite; gorgeous to look at, cold to touch. After 58 minutes I was literally exhausted with the effort of trying to (entertain?) him.
On my way home, he sent a text asking what I thought of him. I figure he wanted a ranking; I have experience with military men, I have been down this same road before. I did not respond. Although, in retrospect, I should have just written “Yes”. I think that would have answered the question he was actually asking, don’t you?

XDate#2 The Last Minute Guy– April 24
Uhm… do I hate men yet? Here’s a big shout out to you “Matt Willson”.
Matt Willson left a lot of messages, identifying himself as Matt Willson. He had to leave messages because I do not answer blocked numbers. Matt Willson knew this and still did not do me the courtesy of unblocking his phone. He said it was a work phone (who cares?), like that should make it okay. Matt Willson lives in a rural area but always had some “business” reason to come to Toronto on the weekends. Matt Willson never made these plans with me ahead of time; it was always a last-minute frantic call. Matt Willson made it clear that I was the last thing on his list. Matt Willson is likely married. I have never met Matt Willson, and I hope I never hear from him again.

I have forgotten the fourth rule of Internet dating…

Rule #4: If he does not ask you out within 4 messages, Delete! Next!
Looking back I have let some guys send as many as 7 messages, all without really saying anything. No wonder I am exhausted. This leads us to an important chapter...

XDate#3 The Backtracker
The Backtracker is a healthy red blooded male with a great pic and easy nature who gets your number, calls you and ... Then goes back to email. Not for ease of date making, but writes nonsense like "how was your day?" He talked about a date on the phone, now he's not talking at all. He is writing from the safety of his mother’s basement and you are... What?
The Backtracker is a coward in a grown man's body. Do not take him seriously; He is not coming back. You would be waiting for him for the rest of your life. Tell him he's a clown. This will prompt a bit of fireworks. How exciting! but I still won't have a date this Saturday night. He'll say the bit that makes my skin crawl: "I really WAS interested in meeting you". This is a lie.
It's actually the sound of his relief escaping his lips. He's glad you figured out he was a coward. He didn't have the courage to tell you.

Burlesque Hall of Fame, Las Vegas - June 3-6
It's 109 F as the sun sets and my every panting breathe is cooler than the surrounding air. The wind is blowing gusts of white hot air off the surrounding desert that feel like heat waves from the glory hole of a kiln. I am dressed to the nines in corset and leopard print stilettos hauling a 20 lb garment bag full of costume for Saturday night's performance. If I didn't love it so much, the 2010 Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas would be ... a bit of a drag.
As a proud Canadian, I attended the event largely to support the talent of Scarlett James, Coco Framboise and the newly crowned Queen of Burlesque Roxi D'lite and it was fantastic! I have never felt so beautiful, or so normal...
"Think Mud flap!"
The truly attractive thing about burlesque is the emphasis on exaggeration of the natural attributes of the female body. This aesthetic does the man-grabbing for you. One's attitude may remain demure as an unopened rose, fetching behind a fan of false lashes. There were sequined evening gowns, platform heels, wigs of every hue pinned with bright flowers, costume jewelry that went "bling" louder than the slots and enough alcohol to launch a small ship.
But every rose has its thorn. It has become annoying to read the answer's given by famous burlesque stars when that all consuming question is asked: "Do you consider yourself a feminist?"...
(Note to self: Stock answer is always "Yes!" with a beautific smile)
...In the same way it becomes annoying when you have to re-introduce yourself to a certain burlesque producer for the third time when logic suggests she should remember you.
That is why it was so refreshing to hear Miss Astrid begin the event with a quick definition of feminism ("equal rights between the sexes") and - this being the States - a custom-designed Oath of Allegiance to Burlesque which said, in part,
"I [insert stage name here] promise to say everything to your face and not behind your talentless ass".
Let the good times roll!

XDate#4 - The Fantasy Relationship June 1-20
I was getting over a break up.
He was getting over a worse one.
We decided on coffee and ended up eating four courses.
He gave me earphones for my iPod, laughter and constant attention.
He wanted to come over, meet my ... everything.
He was perfect.
But I wasn't totally settled.
I didn't have the heart to work it out with him.
The truth was I was still in love with someone else.
I was in an impossible situation and I did what I could.
I did not leave suddenly. I stated my reasons.
He had only ever said this was purely a physical relationship.
I just ran. I figured I had mitigated his damages. But maybe not...
Before you judge me too harshly, ask yourself what you would have done?
I acted as responsibly as I could. I declared myself, as my mother told me too.
(Maybe it was bad advice. Maybe those married girls keep all their secrets to the grave)
God knows, they have a lot of them.

18 months later...

He wrote to me on a dating website. (A dating website - holy mixed messages, Batman!)
We started talking.
I apologized.
He said, Don't sweat the small stuff.
I wrote long, hot and bothered stories to him like old times.
I asked if he would meet me.
He said, No.
I kept writing and he kept answering but... I could sense it wasn't the same.
I was really bummed and wondered if I was in love with him.
I had a fantasy relationship.
Then he disappeared.
He stopped writing all together.
He left the province (?) just like the other one.
Gosh, I am so tired of this.
The Rules describe a fantasy relationship as a complete waste of time; and they are correct.
It has occurred to me that he has done this on purpose, to get back at me.

Date#14 - June 24
It's been a while, Dear Reader, and I thought I would be rusty but when three dates happened on the same weekend, I knew the Universe was telling me something.
This man planned the date well in advance because he was visiting family in town. Normally he lives on a ship off the coast of BC. That's right, Dear Reader, he was a sailor.
Ahoy, me matey!
The Coast Guard, to be specific. And man, did he love his job! He was committed to becoming the Captain of his own ship - an existential argument if I ever heard one - and spoke at length about it.
Ah! The romance of the sea!
He picked a small elegant bar that he remembered from his youth.
Sadly, it was under renovation but the atmosphere was great, it was a perfect night in a hot city and I enjoyed myself.
He was very clear that he never wanted to get married or have children and that's when I said my goodbyes. He asked if when we could do this again and I told him to call me. He never did.

Date#15 - June 26
I met a very nice (con) man. He arranged to have me meet him on his boat (oh la la) for a quick drink, but the day dawned dank and rainy. We met at a small elegant place near me instead.
He was older, in excellent shape and was applying to be a cop... or intended to someday. He hid his nervousness by trying to "teach" me things rather than asking questions that would have gotten to know me. This is a massive pet peeve of mine; he likely walked away from that meeting not knowing a thing about me. In fact, he seemed to be telling me tales to impress me.
He said he would call, he talked a lot about meeting me again but somehow I do not think he will.
I was dangerously close to ordering a second drink, but he seemed in a hurry to leave, so we left. I did not trust him for some reason.
That's the truth.
Full Disclosure: This man was a classic backtracker. He contacted me exactly 3 days later by POF message...saying nothing... as usual... No mention of meeting again, just a casual goodbye. He contacted me again a week later and I said "Goodbye and Good Luck". He wrote back a bitter little message saying that he agreed we weren't a match. This brings me to...

The Every Girl's Best Friend Guy
This is an asexual man in a heterosexual man's body.
This man will be older, good looking in the standard way and have all the trappings of a catch: a car, a home, no wife or children - perhaps an amicable divorce in the distant past.
He will talk endlessly about his great group of friends- female friends; the generous favours he is known for, etc. If you are in trouble, or pain, he will likely be that shoulder.
But only for a minute, only from a distance.
The clue here is that there is no room in his life for you. He is full up. He will talk about the fantastic things he will plan for you. You feel lucky to be included in trips on his boat, etc. It's the most elegant lie you will ever be told. Don't fall for it, my darlings!
He really has nothing to offer. He does not want to be a husband or a father. Not to you, not to anyone. Smile and move on. He's destined to be the old guy at the bar or yacht club, with a bevy of suspiciously young women, still talking about that ex-wife. And no one will care.

Date #16 - July 2
This man called on Monday for a Friday night date. He told me that I "sounded hot!"
He called from a blocked number. There is your first clue...
He wrote a strange email mid-week talking about email addresses but he didn't leave his own. I shook my head and deleted the message.
He called on the Friday to firm up details. This is well within The Rules, which say that as long as he has confirmed the date and time 3 days in advance, the where is less important.
He called from blocked number and advised of the perfect patio to meet after work.
I asked if I could get his number.
He said "What?"
I knew that very instant that something was up.
I repeated the question (like an idiot).
He said "Yeah, sure..."
Then he pretended like the phone was going dead. "Hello?...Hello?"
And then he hung up. I heard him press the button.
Full Disclosure: Never accept a call from Blocked number. It means he has something to hide.

Date #17 - June 3
I met a very nice man and he made me laugh *sigh*

Date#18 / XDate#5 - The Mad Texter
Every girl has met a guy like this.
The new millennium equivalent of passing notes in class.
The most annoying, nonsensical, illiterate, grammatically-incorrect notes ever written. Repeatedly.
With a force of effort that- had he chosen to court you with calls- would prompt you to change your number. He literally blows up your phone; a truer hip hop statement has never been coined.
Yes, every girl is familiar with The Mad Texter.
Texting is a delicate art because it is a slippery slope to sexting.
And sexting is giving too much away, in my humble opinion.
Sadly, The Rules are silent on texting but we can use common sense and assume that responding to any communication from a man requires 24 hours and a bare minimum of words.

Keep it short, single girl.
Behold the infuriating texts from potential Date#18 "Sean":
Hey it's Sean When are you free?
When you plan it
When do you want to go out for a drink?
When do you work?
Next week is good for me
I work shift work... lots of free time...I work Mon and Wed but I'm free on Tuesday
What are you doing Tuesday?
Going out with you?
You certainly are!
*two days later, on Sunday*
Are you free today?
For a drink.
*the following day*
When are you free?
(I did not answer)
Are you working today?
Do you know when your free?
(I did not answer)
*the next day, on Tuesday*
how's your week looking?
I thought you said we were meeting today.
I wasn't sure we left it open for today and wed lol (Note: No, we didn't)
Just tell me the plan
What time are you free?
After work, after 5
Okay it'll have to be after8 cus I work to then
I thought you said you didn't work today
Not true I own my own construction company. Is that a prob? (Note: No, he doesn't)
*end of transmission*

Date #19 - July 10
The Rules say that it's not a real date until you see the whites of his eyes.
Well colour me happy because XDate#4 is a Fantasy Relationship no more.
My biggest mistake with this one was giving too much info way too soon. The minute he contacted me I was happy to chatter away like a fool all day long. Then his messages came less frequently, then not at all. For 5 days, I was hysterical. But I kept it to myself. I was so tempted to broadcast it to the world but I concentrated on only loving those who love me.
So I put it out of my mind. Slowly the sense of abandonment eased off. Relief!
The he contacted me. A short message.
I did not respond. It wasn't necessary.
Then he contacted me again. A short message.
No response from my end.
Then it happened. The one The Rules told me would come ... a long wordy email with a request for my number and email. Asking me how I was, what I was up to, when could he see me?
Now I kind of blew it by agreeing to see him on Saturday night without any notice but... I can work on perfection next time...

Full Disclosure: I broke The Rules. I should title this: Mistakes I Made This Summer.
I talked too much, mentioned love and marriage casually in conversation (strictly forbidden!), didn't hold out
for a proper date, slept with him too soon and tried to force togetherness through chatty emails. I should literally wear a scarlet letter (maybe an R with a line through it?) as I am a Rules-breaker. The only thing I did correctly was not call him. However, I am truly embarrassed because I know better. I respectfully bow out of contention. I wish him the best of luck with whomever he finds. I laughingly know I have no chance now. Such a shame, really. I thought he was a catch.
Fuller Disclosure: The man contacted me by email in November. Just a few words. I waited 24 hours and replied to his question. He sent a follow up email that did not require a response. I am being patient.

Date#20 - The Existential Date - July 15 "A Man votes with his feet..."
This is actually funny.
This man asked on Tuesday for a Thursday night date. He had a place and a time so I said, Yes.
He called the day of with a blocked number. Uh-oh.
But I know better so I didn't answer.
He called back on a landline and we firmed up plans. Good Boy.
I arrived and sat down and waited. And waited. Uh-oh.
One minute past the appointed hour a strange man in a loud Hawaiian shirt and old dirty jeans walked through the door, stared at me and then walked away. Uh- oh!
I waited a minute more and then I got up and left. Good girl.
Out in the parking lot he texted me, advising me that he was in the bar.
WTF? Did he expect that I would walk up to him? What kind of man is that? I was there on time and He walked away from me! It is extremely bad form to leaving a woman waiting in a restaurant.
Then he called. Uh-oh.
Then he texted again. Uh-oh.
He said he was sorry, that he would like to meet up.
Well, son, we all want things...

On another note...
May I take moment and have a word, Dear Reader, about an issue that has come up recently? May I discuss with you -ironically- the subject of talking during sex?
I'm not sure where this gets started actually.
Where do we learn to repeat the habitual statements that we end up repeating?
I - myself - am not a talker. It reminds me of Voice-Over narration.
Like how you tell a bedtime story, or begin a fairytale.
It's childlike and as such it never occurs to me to speak during sex.
I've giggled, I've moaned, I've screamed and sighed and gasped...but I've never had anything interesting to say.
And so it goes that recently when laying back I was surprised and amused to her the man say "your mouth feels nice"...
What does one respond?
It's not that serious.
That is an easy one to ignore.
There was another man who, when reaching climax, exclaimed "F--- Me, Elle!”
Again, what is the correct response here?
I am!
Or, will do!
Or, I'm trying!
Cause it's not really the girl's job to do the f-------, is it?
I mean I always saw my role as more a vessel, a receiver, not the giver.
(But I'm happy to Give'r!)
My point is these thoughts- and the words that prompt them- have no place in my pretty little head.
Shut up!
Stop Talking!
The unsexiest part is that you've yelled that before, with other girls, probably lots of other girls ... *sigh* ...I think I have a headache.
But I still want to have sex with you... So pass me those earplugs, will you, Baby?

Date #21 - July 31
Dear Reader, we have reached a milestone moment. Date # 21 read my blog - this blog - before our date. The whole bloody thing (or so he said). He was actually kind of pumped about it. He called meeting me "the science experiment". I wasn't put off because he said it was good writing. This should have been a red flag. He just wanted to get mentioned on this blog. Enjoy it!
But first, the details: He wrote me, he called me; he talked for 7 minutes and didn't really say anything so I got off the phone. He got discouraged and told me so. I told him that if he picked a time and a place I would say yes. He did, I did and ... I get a giant fail for being an hour late.
I mixed up the time, plus who wants to be interrupted while watching Blue Crush? Anyway, silly surfer girl makes it big storylines aside; this was the only date where I got to have two drinks. Luckily he lived across the street from the bar he suggested and next to a funeral home. We talked about dating and whether men should expect sex on the third date (I say: Yes). He was intense, energetic and better-looking than his pic. He said he was gonna call and he did. We'll see... But if I had to help him ask me out, it's prolly because his genes don't want to carry on.
Error: Should not have talked about sex during Date Zero.
Full Disclosure: He called and I made the mistake of prompting him into asking me out. I agreed to watch a movie but he decorated it into going for dinner. I was excited but then he canceled a few hours prior to the appointed time. He texted that he had diarrhea. Disgusting!
But this is my fault. A real man would not have needed prompting.
Fuller Disclosure: I fear this blog may have driven him insane. He has written such bizarre lovelorn messages that I eventually had to block him on POF. Very rare.

Entr'acte - What kind of man is he?
The Rules advise keeping your mouth shut so that you may listen, and as importantly, observe. Observe his behavior as you listen to what he says. People tell you who they are, quickly, loudly and with no mistake. This is very true in men. It is you who must hear it. You are capable of this. Only sociopaths are able to pull the wool over people's eyes. All men are not sociopaths.
This year-long journey of dating has given me hope. The reliance on myself to observe quickly and accurately is a challenge to which I have risen quite admirably. I have cast aside all judgment except the smallest and most necessary: Do I want to spend another moment with this person? This question has infiltrated every aspect of social situations. I have made better decisions everyday because of it. I have left parties under the excuse of heading to the bathroom, I have said no to committees and events and still more parties because deep inside I didn't want to go. I have abandoned conversations sweetly because they are boring and never cared for a moment. I am not selfish. This process has taught me the value of time, my own precious time. It is not to be wasted, as this would be the true sin.
What kind of man is he? Is he kind, does he have good manners and breeding or does he ask bold questions that are argumentative? Is he asking valid questions or does he love the sound of his own voice? Does he call you? Does he leave a message? Is it just texts? Does he ask you out, or just tease you with the possibility? Does he follow through on plans? Does he give excuses? Are they believable? Is he trying to be a blessing in your life?

A good woman is a blessing in a man's life. I am a good woman. This is my hope-filled journey.

Date #22 - August 19
This man did (almost) everything right.
He picked a great little place in Yorkville, chose the time, called the day of to confirm and promised to have my drink waiting. Very sweet!
This man had been divorced for over 3 years. He was energetic, interesting and better-looking than his picture. (I am on a roll!)
It was a crowded bar on a hot night and we covered a lot of ground. I had to keep remembering to sit back, slow down and smile so that I could observe. I needed to separate the man I was seeing from the stories I was hearing. He kept in clean - but in truth, my head was spinning. (Chemistry?)
What was I hearing?
He told a story that did not frame him in the best light, about leaving a date at a wedding who needed his help. Something about this story made me think he had a girlfriend, or was unfaithful or something... It's like he was telling me that he wasn't a good guy; that he would abandon a person who needed him, for no good reason.
He said he would call, that he was "intrigued" but he did not walk me to my car (not a great sign).
The Rules advise: We only love those who love us.
Full Disclosure: This man did send out a non-specific email asking if I "would like to go out again". I said "Yes". He wrote more but didn't plan a date. Sadly, I had an extra ticket to the CNE and made the fatal mistake of asking of he wanted to go. Huge mistake. He made up a laughably feeble excuse and I never heard from him again. I did have fun with my friends at the CNE, though, and he missed a great party. Lesson learned? Never, ever be the Social Director of the relationship.
Fuller Disclosure: He contacted me again in November, but despite asking for my number, he did not call me. Instead he insisted that I call him. When I did not, he kept saying he "lost" my number and, could he have it again? I deleted him. I figure he is already in a relationship and simply playing games.

Funny Mind games: Annoying non-sentences that men write on dating websites
These are not conversation. Do not respond to them.
Would you like to chat?
What about? But actually, no, I don't chat with strangers and I am too busy
Here is the kicker. No matter what I respond, the other person has already lost interest. You will never hear from this person again.
Write back if interested.
Interested in what?! They all write this. Stop expecting me to be the interesting one. I can't plan the date for you. Let me repeat this: I CAN NOT PLAN THE DATE FOR YOU. You have to want to do this all on your own. That's how this works.
I am intrigued. You have peaked my interest.
No, you illiterate fool, it's "piqued" my interest. Look it up.
Never mind, you have confirmed that you are far too stupid to father children.

Date # 9A - September 9 The First SECOND Date
(Note for the Dear Reader: Please review Date # 9)
In July (five months after I had my first date with him) I got an email message from this man that was honest and straight to the point.
To paraphrase: "I was dating someone else when we met and now we broke up. Would you like to go out with me?"
I have no good reason for saying "No", so I said "Yes."
This is in line with The Rules which advise to go even when you don't necessarily want to.
He stalled a bit and initially asked me to drive myself (!) to Wasaga Beach to watch him jet-ski. Since my mother didn't raise a fool, I told him I had plans. He then asked me out for a dinner date, a week in advance.
The Rules assume that on a second date, you allow a man to pick you up from home; that as long as he carves out his piece of time in your schedule three days in advance, then the WHERE is not your concern. This can be difficult for girls who voluntarily social direct the men in their life, like me. I never want to be the one thinking up plans; it's just that the men I met never had a clue.
Now I know why: They weren't that into me.
Having the guy show up outside my door was scary, and youthful and exciting and ...above all... relaxing.
I just concentrated on breathing, looking good and observing. Things go so much more smoothly.
We went out. He ordered. He chose the wine. He talked. I let him be the man and he was.
I enjoyed myself. I really feel that I know something about him now.
And I have learned a valuable lesson...
When this man initially called me back in February, he always called at the last minute on Friday nights and the conversation was excruciatingly slow and boring. He hardly spoke, he asked weak open-ended questions, he never asked me out and I ended up getting off the phone in less than 5 minutes. I kept wondering why he called me at all. I was confounded.
When he called me in August, he was so full of energy and life, that I seriously wondered if I had confused names and questioned whether I was speaking to the same person.
I believe in my heart that with those first calls he was trying to see if I would pursue him; because clearly he already had a girlfriend:
i.e. would I fill in the blank spaces in the conversation? Would I prompt a meeting? Would I ask him out?
Viewed in this way, it is the perfect explanation. The best part is: I did not fall for it.

Without The Rules, I might have over-extended and exhausted myself trying to entertain a non-single man.
Gratefully, that didn't happen and I can hold my head up high.
I would like to introduce my own Rule: "If a Man is not making sense, Don't Worry; He Already Has a Girlfriend who Understands Him".

7 minutes to clarity
I got a call last night.
This man has called before.
At 8pm on a Friday
a text on Sunday
saying he would like to take me out for a drink
I said yes.
Last night he called.
The conversation was 7 minutes in length.
Here's what he said:
He had a good day interviewing for a job
(unemployed? He said no.)
He admitted he was a commitmentphobe
He talked about another girlfriend
He said he found women too intense
He wondered where all the "18-year-old fun" had gone
(he was 37)
I asked if he was married or if he had kids.
He replied that he didn't like the "interview" quality of dates
He said no.
There was seething rage beneath the surface, barely contained.
He was daring me to disagree with him,
to say something to eliminate myself from contention.
I told him I was busy and had to go.
He told me to call him if I wanted to go for that drink.
I said yes,
and hung up.
I do not want to go for that drink.
Do you know why?
Because here is what he was really saying:
Will I have to do any real work to get you?
I said yes.
Full Disclosure: This man left a message on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks later from a Blocked number. He told me to call him back but he did not leave his phone number. How stupid is that?

Date#23 - September 10
This man asked me out twice. I said yes the second time.
He asked me to meet him at 6pm on Friday at The Drake.
I waited 5 minutes and left.
His profile picture showed an exceedingly attractive man.
He was likely lying or not single.
He did send a text saying that he was stuck in traffic.
I sent one back offering my sympathies and that I had to run.
Morale of the Story: He picked the time. He should know how long it takes to get there. In truth, he was actually 20 minutes late because he should have been 15 minutes early. The End.
Full Disclosure: I got a message the following day from a different person, with a different (read: much uglier) picture that quoted this missed date at The Drake. He wrote "I won't be late this time". I wonder if he has two profiles and was playing a "bait and switch". I never heard from either of them again.

Date#24 - September 18 "Cold Peas, Cold Plate"
This man wrote me a lot of text messages, calling me pretty lady.
He sent a foolishly artsy picture of himself on a BMX bike.
Since he was wearing a helmet and grimacing, I didn't really know what to expect.
He sent a message asking if I had a "rugular" picture of myself.
I felt like writing, "No. Do you?"
Dear Reader, are you sensing an emphasis on the physical?
The BMX bike should have tipped me off that I was dealing with a child.
The reliance on texts rather than a phone call should have alerted me that he was a coward.
Once a day I replied "Sure" to whatever stack of texts he had written and suddenly I was meeting him on a Sat night. I should have paid more attention.
This is the first man that I am actually embarrassed to have wasted time having a drink with.
On the day of the date he wrote that he would give me his apartment code so I could just park and we could "cuddle", thereby forgoing the cost of the agreed-upon drink.
How convenient!
Sex on delivery! For free!
I bet he thought he was a fuckn genius...
When I wrote that I was still okay with meeting at the original location, he demurred... (can't blame a man for trying) And then wrote that he had some great cheese in case I got hungry.
Did I read that correctly? I asked him to call to clarify...
He did. He laughed it off, saying he didn't really know me.
Something of an understatement considering I am a perfect stranger.
We met and he was one of those skinny artist types, with beads of sweat on his forehead lurching around in an ugly coat.
The stench of cologne singed my nostril hairs and rendered me speechless.
As a result, there was perfect silence.
In real life he had nothing to say.
I am funny, and bright and accomplished and we have nothing in common because he is none of these things. Mark my words, Dear Reader; I will never go on a date with someone like him again. Ever.

Date#25 - September 24
This man asked me out a week in advance, and named the time and place. Woo-whee! I arranged to meet after work but when I arrived the place turned out to be a dingy old house converted into a cafe, but not in a good way. It was unseasonably warm and I waited in the foyer rather than sit down at a sticky table. He walked up the stairs and I stared right at me for what felt like a full minute. I knew who he was, he knew who I was. Then walked he walked right by me and stood with his back to me, leaning against the bar. Rather than speak to me like an adult, he text me like a coward with his back to me: "I'm at the bar". I guess he didn't realize his fatal error: Leaving the exit wide open!
My instinct said "Run!" and I followed it.
As I was halfway down the street I received another text: "I'm now on the patio". There is something I am not telling you, Dear Reader. He was the first guy that I physically did not like. You may not that thus far, I have not been that specific about what they look like, but I need chemistry as much as the next person and this guy did not cut it. It could have been the greasy skin and short stature. I could have been his troll-like height and perfectly square head with giant ears. It was probably the grey hair (way older than he listed!) and dirty, shapeless sweat clothes. I showed up in business casual and he should have too. By text I responded, "We are not a compatible match. I'm sorry". He wrote a long-winded text about "something bad must have happened to [me] in the past to make [me] think that this was a good way to roll". He is a long way from the cast of Entourage. Let's NOT hug it out, Bitch!

Date#26 - October 1
This man called me a couple of times with nervous trepidation and I did not really think he was capable of asking anyone out on a date. You can imagine my surprise when he asked me out and offered to pick me up! I'm not really sure why I said yes, and upon further reflection I can confirm there is both a pro and a con to the blind-date pick-up.
Pro: You have set the right president for the future if you hit it off.
Con: He knows where you live if you do not.
Sadly, I did not have to worry about either because he did not show up. He called to get my address earlier in the day and then I did not hear a thing. I figured it was a bad sign and you always have to trust those ol' instincts. The appointed hour came and went. At 4 minutes after, I got a text saying he was "running late"
(a text! Dear Reader, will they never learn?!). I guess he thought I was the type of girl who was okay with that. I guess he got a big surprise when I wrote that I was cancelling.
Suddenly all those hours of silence I endured blew right up in his face. Suddenly I had his full attention and he could not dial my number fast enough! I took the first call, but he started to get angry. Bad sign. So I answered the rest and then left the phone in a different room. Let this be a lesson to all those men to do not take into account the time and energy I invest in being ready on time.
Moral of the story: He could have called, but he didn't; and poor is the man who wants to call, but can't.

Date #27 - October 6
Dear Reader, I have reached the end of the Internet! The internet is officially too small for my search for Love! I got a call from a man that I had been out with once before (before I was a Rules Girl!), but he did not remember me. My picture had changed (of course, a Rules Girl always keeps an updated picture) and he simply approached me in the usual way: an email, a text, a call ...and it wasn't until he named his profession that I recognized his voice. I told him that we had met before, and he said "Oh! And we didn't keep in touch..."
If - by that - you mean you never called me again, then Yes! You are exactly right.
He asked if I would like to meet for dinner, I agreed.
It's funny about those instincts, though, because the morning of the appointed day he texted that he had a sore throat and I asked if he wanted to cancel. He said, yes. I was kind of relieved myself actually... not sure why. Maybe there was no chemistry? But if he gets lonely again this time next year, I urge him to try again. He clearly is attracted to my picture and the irony of a red-haired Greek seeking a dark-haired Irish girl is too much to ignore. If the Gods are crazy, then this surely would please them.
But having to urge him is exactly the problem. Without a hunter instinct, by insisting on cancelling the date with a silly excuse, he isn't for me. We would both be bored. He made the right choice for both of us.
Full Disclosure: I have learned something about men: They claim some silly illness when they want to cancel a date. It's like they are telling you that they are weak, so that you will be turned off. (i.e. the Animal Kingdom approach to choosing a capable male). Trust me fellas, it totally works!

The one thing The Rules did not cover was texting. Texting is the reason people are single. It requires no effort on the part of the man and makes the woman constantly available; which is the exact opposite effect The Rules are intending to master. For good or ill, texting's implicit message is always "I didn't want to call you". Personally I have always been insulted by text messages from grown men. Either he is keeping me at arm's length or trying to get something for nothing. Tapping sex into a little computer for a stranger to read seems like dry masturbation; it leads to chafing of the emotional kind. And without a directive from The Rules about proper text etiquette, I was a little lost.
The Rules say to only answer email once a day.
Once I decided to treat texts like email messages and only answer once a day, I noticed that a couple of interesting things began to happen consistently. The first was that late-night texts stopped bugging me because I could deal with them in the morning- I do despise a rutting male- and if it was still irritating in the morning, I just deleted it. The second was that if he was going to ask me out by text, he was going to have to get his request in by Wednesday. This almost never happened and most - sensing an error on the play- finally picked up the phone too late only to be sweetly told that I already had plans.
Lastly, it weeded out the needy/ crazies who somehow managed to pass the initial four message stage. These are the Mad Texters who send messages hourly if you do not respond, starting with the over familiar "hunni, babee, sweetie" then get progressively meaner and insulting until by midafternoon they are calling from blocked number leaving raging voicemails. Phew!
In short, it relieved me of the obligation of answering. Never forget that until you meet him, he is a stone-cold stranger. A man's behaviour by text can be a good indicator of his breeding:
Is he texting at a reasonable hour? Is he respectful of your time?
Is he pumping you for information that has no logical purpose?
Is he taking advantage of the private nature of texting and sending inappropriate messages?
Ask yourself, what kind of man is he?

Date#28 and Date#29 - October 8 "I guess something better came up"
This man wrote, he called, he named a time and place. Then he texted the day of advising that he had to "work" during the start time of the date he had just planned.
Short term memory loss? No. Hockey Season has officially started in Canada. *pout*; instead, he "bookmarked" that he was available "after that".
According to The Rules, bookmarking is when a man makes non-specific reference to a date that he has no intention of following through on. Real life example...
Man: "I would love to go for a quick drink! What are your hobbies/ interests?"
Do you see what he did there, Dear Reader? It was subtle.
Like I said, I guess something better came up... but I still felt like the poor squid on the ice.
Some better came up for me because that same night I was gratefully reminded that I had another date planned at 8 pm. At this point, I am so mixed up that I literally had no idea who I was meeting.
Dear Reader, I do not recommend this kind of excitement.
But like the gentleman he was, he was waiting for me outside the restaurant and ordered a half carafe of white wine. This man was great but there was no chemistry. Whenever I stopped speaking there were long uncomfortable silences. He didn't have anything to say. That didn't stop him from giving me a good, old-fashioned manhandling when he walked me to my car. First he kissed my hair, my cheek and then my
lips; which would have been great if he hadn't then tried to insert his sour tongue between my clenched teeth. Never say die!
I broke free from the wrestling match and sat in my car to think things over. He was the first guy in 29 who made the attempt.
Full Disclosure: I am starting to think that when it comes to sex, there is more talk then action.

Date #30 - October 15
What a milestone! 30 Dates! Well, Dear Reader, I was pleasantly surprised. This man emailed, called and scheduled a VQD for 8 on a Friday night. The location was very convenient and he met me at the door on time. Right away, I liked him. He was better-looking than his picture and he told me I was beautiful. Chemistry! I had a glass of wine and he insisted on nibblies... and prepared a little plate for me! Adorable.
His eyes kept darting to the hockey game and we eventually ended up just turned toward the TV. I didn't mind, though, since he was a little intense on being a gentleman and kind of humorless. He complained as he walked me to my car that he still really didn't know anything about me.
Well, whose fault is that, LeafsNation?
Men take note: If you want to interact with a woman on a date, put yourself in a hockey-free zone. As I sat in the bar and watched other couples engage in the ritual of dating, I was grateful The Rules advocate a simple drinks date. No pressure.

Date#29 (second attempt) - October 18
After the abject failure of asking me out last week, this man took another stab at it. He started texting on a Friday afternoon (as if I was waiting around!) but I cut him short with a sweet "Sadly I already have plans". Not to be deterred, he called on Saturday and scheduled a Monday night date.
Actually he talked for five minutes and when I told him I had to go, he suddenly asked where we should meet. I mentioned a bar that is beside the place I get my nails done on Monday night so I had nothing to lose.
Well I should not have worried. What showed up was a short man with more than enough personality to make up for it. He actually texted that he wanted me to walk out to the parking lot and meet me at his car so that "we could walk in together".
The reason? I imagine it was because he drove a top-of-the-line Audi and wanted me to see it. I did not do what he asked and I recommend that you never walk out into a dark parking lot when a total stranger asks you, Dear Reader, not even if he drives a top-of-the-line F18. But it was adorable that he wanted to impress me. Like I said, I enjoyed his company. He was a hard-drinking, humorous ex-semi pro hockey player with the requisite crooked grin and multitude of stories.
He started every sentence with my first name and a touch on the arm like a salesman making his pitch. For a few moments I really liked him, until the pitch "I want to have sex" became painfully clear. He offered drinks, food, tequila shots, a future golf game...
I had 2 drinks and asked if he wanted to walk me to my car. He could sense it was crunch time. He asked if I lived close by, as if I was going to ask him over. He said: "I was hoping we could do something fun". I reminded him it was a Monday night in the suburbs. I asked what he thought was going to happen.
Well that shut him up. It's no fun if you have to tell the girl you wanted to screw her and never see her again. He kissed me goodbye instead.
Full Disclosure: He texted me on a Wednesday for a Saturday night date. I stand corrected.

Date#29A - October 23
Like I said, this man asked me out by text message. When I accepted, he then complained by text message that I did not sound excited. I conducted an office survey as to how one indicates excitement via text message. Apparently, it's the use of a happy face...
He picked me up on a Saturday night in the aforementioned silver Audi and off we sped into the rainy night to... a sports bar. After two glasses of the world's worst white wine (I dislike beer, shoulda switched to whisky) and no food offered because he was a "very picky eater" I was tired, hungry, cranky and cold. He whined that he did not want the date to end. I asked what he wanted to do. After all, he had a week to plan this. It could have been anything... I will give you 3 guesses about what he wanted to do.
He suggested watching a movie at my home. (Let me repeat this: He invited himself into my home). I looked him square in the eye and said "No". This was followed by several minutes of silence. We started talking again and finally headed home. He asked if I wanted to "park somewhere". I said he could park in my driveway. He could sense I was losing interest and used his Trump card: "I am really good at sex", he whispered.
Is that like being good at math? Had he scored well on a sex exam? If you are so good at sex, why are you single?
I asked him how he knew this. He answered that everyone he had sex with had said so.
(Gah! Talking during sex?!? Dear Reader please see my thoughts on talking during sex under "On Another Note", above)
At this point, I began to giggle. He asked why I was laughing at him. I countered with a question of my own: Where did he plan to do this? He said he usually just did it in the back seat of his car. Playing along, I asked why we couldn't go to his house. He admitted that he still lived at home and thought it was "disrespectful". Please note, this man is 35 years old.
"But you were willing to come into my house, and behave disrespectfully?” I asked. He said, Yes and shrugged. "And you don't think it's disrespectful to the girl to fuck her in the back seat of your car?" He admitted he had not thought about it.
Undeterred by my apparent total lack of interest and/or increasing hostility, he inquired if there was a "hotel around here". I said that was not really where my head was at. He pulled into my driveway and asked if I wanted to "sit in the back seat". I escaped from the car and ran away.
Full Disclosure: No happy faces were hurt in the production of this blog.
Fuller Disclosure: I think that an important distinction needs to be made here. I do not have any hang-ups about sex. I am always open to the possibility of being swept away. But that would include dinner, chemistry and a bed. What was being offered was no dinner and no bed, rather something base and inhuman that removed my dignity and reduced us both. As a result, I did not have chemistry for this person. He wanted to get naked in a cramped sports car on leather seats on a cold night. I was simply saying no to what was being offered.

Never Call A Man...
There are 2 reasons why you should never call a man. The first is obvious: a call is the equivalent of chasing a man. If he likes you, he can call you. He is doing you a favour not calling if he doesn't like you because then he is not leading you on. But if you call him, then you are leading yourself on. He may talk to you for a bit, but you will feel dumb afterwards and there will be no mystery. The second reason is a little scarier. Up to 50% of the men on the Internet are already in a relationship or married. Every man knows that calling a woman is cheating but it's a different story if he can get a second woman to call him on the side. Any man that insists a woman call him is not the kind of man you want in your life. Remember, he has carefully chosen his woman knowing she will be so full of fear and denial over losing her man that she will only see that another is calling and not acknowledge his personal responsibility to her. He has carefully chosen his woman knowing she is that kind of fool. Do not let him groom you as well. Do not be that kind of fool.

Date#31 - November 6 "This little piggy had roast beef..."
This man emailed, called and we tried to talk but he either spoke too slowly while driving or I was too busy and we never made a real connection. He surprised me by returning back to email and asking me out to dinner in a straightforward manner. I accepted. He called and suggested The Keg near my home.
I love The Keg
He was very respectful of my time, showed up early and was excited when I got there. He was a 6' 2" self described hick who spoke slowly but wasn't half as dumb as he let on. Here is a man who needed a very strong woman. He accused me of having a "'tude" on the phone the first time we spoke. I should have been way more alert when he said this. He was trying to intimidate me and put me at a disadvantage.
He was trying to test boundaries like a child.
I admitted that I did not remember our first phone conversation. This did not please him and I had that awful sinking feeling you have when you are trapped on a date going bad. I bit back and he seemed to enjoy my pluck. I spent the rest of my time making fun of him and he seemed to enjoy it. He gave the waitress a big tip and as he walked me to my car, he very politely asked me if I would go out again. I said, Yes. I felt fine until the following afternoon when I sensed that same sinking feeling and knew I would never hear from him again. And I didn't.

Date#32 - November 13 "...and this little piggy had none."
This man got my number within 4 emails, but did not call. He re-appeared online weeks later, gave a bunch of ill-advised excuses and asked if I wanted to try again. I agreed, but that still wasn’t enough hand-holding for him. He then wanted me to interpret the exact meaning of my response: "Sure". He thought I was being sarcastic. WTF!
I figured the guy was a joke and stopped responding. He texted before Wednesday to clear some time and then called to schedule the date. I had to suggest the location because he was coming from a great distance. But still. One can not plan the date for a man and still expect him to feel like one.
He showed a bit of humor on the phone, which I like. I arrived one minute before the hour and quel surprise! he wasn't there. In his defense he walked in a minute later. Everything about his appearance indicated he was doing this against his will. He had a stunning photo online but what materialized was a short, unshaved, unkempt man wearing a hoodie. This man was very sharp, hysterically funny and had absolutely no self esteem. He kept me at arms length with humor so that I could find out almost nothing about him. He asked nothing about me. He wanted to talk more about the meaning of "Sure", and showed a sense of entitlement when he complained when I didn't laugh at all his jokes.
With his mind, there are no limits to what he could achieve but instead he his a 37 year old man who lives with his mother while the world passes him by. Furthermore, he had a good heart with a great sense of humor but his trepidation was so acute that he hid his wallet under the table when he paid the bill. He wants the safety of a sure thing, but if he was really interested in that he would be married by now. In truth, he exhausted me. We talked too much. It was such a waste and his window of opportunity was so rapidly closing that it made me angry; I wonder, who failed him? Why, with so much potential, is he so weak? He over-thought everything, saw insult and negativity everywhere and so he had no game. I had to extricate myself and he half-heartedly walked me to my car, never knowing why he came out in the first place.

Date#32A - November 17
I was surprised when he asked me to lunch at a local sushi restaurant the following Wednesday by text. I am annoyingly punctual (unless there is a movie on TV!) and I was there a stupid 15 minutes early.
Do not do this, Dear Reader.
The day was grey and I took a cab to save my precious feet in my precious heels. Initially, a wise choice. The walk back was brutal, of course. The meal itself went well, but only after we had broken the ice again. I found myself staring at the top of his head as he peered at his food for 45 minutes. His hands shook when he was burdened with speaking to me. He did not recognize the word "Dolt" when I used it. Oh, the irony... I found myself slightly bored but also very grateful that it was happening at all. A lunch date! I have arrived! Maybe this lack of drama and slow getting to know each other is how adults behave. Who knows?
Full Disclosure: He contacted me online to advise that he had discovered I have 2 profiles. Since no answer was required, I deleted it. I considered writing, "I love that you are stalking me" but it would have been in poor taste. The Rules advise to NEVER have 2 profiles on the same site, but I have my reasons...
Fuller Disclosure: 10 days later this guy got a Blackberry and asked me out (by text) for sake after work the following Friday. I waited 24 hours and then I agreed. Sadly, he stood me up. The following day, while getting ready for my next date, he texted this: "Elle...sorry bout the sake thing last busy and completely forgot...hopefully u'll let me make it up 2 u...". I felt like writing back "This is why you're single, motherfucker!” His text was basically saying that dating me was way too much work and he would much rather treat me like shit. It simply wasn't how you behave if you want to make a good impression, and no response is ever necessary. The Rules are crystal clear on this point: If a man forgets your date, he may "forget" your wedding day. Next!

Date#33 - November 26
I honestly can not remember how this date came about.
I know that he took several attempts to schedule, we agreed on a place after he asked me to suggest something and 30 minutes before the appointed hour he texted to cancel. He missed out because I was ready and I looked stunning. He gave a very plausible excuse but my funny bone was twitching.
Of course, he wanted to reschedule right away... but, of course, I had plans. He insisted that we try to meet "for the third and final time". The ominous foreboding of a text like that left me cold.
Then I never heard from him again.
It seemed like he was trying to keep me off balance and that he needed to invent obstacles for things to be exciting. In short, he played hard to get and I lost interest.
Full Disclosure: This man texted during the Christmas season. He wanted to make plans and I told him to call me. He said that he couldn't because he was with his child. Dear Reader, I am not against having a drink with a man with a child, as long as I am not expected to cater to the vicissitudes of parenthood before we have even met. He never called and that was it.

Date#34 - November 27
initially, this man did not ask for my number but made vague plans online. He suggested meeting for a drink on a Saturday (time unknown) and listed an intersection as the meeting place.
Even taxis do not take phone reservations that list only intersections, so why would I?
Saturday night came and he texted asking if we were still on and I politely explained that in the absence of definite plans, I had accepted another invitation. He tried again the following week and this time he got it right. He had me meet him at a hip little dive with tables lit by large church candles, pics of tattooed folks from the turn of the century and metal thrash on the stereo. I loved it. He was there early, very fit and a little older than his picture but still handsome. His face was very smooth like a Botoxed housewife, and all could have gone well if he hadn't opened his mouth.
This man had no idea who he was, what he wanted or what he was doing. By turns, he was arrogant, insincere and deliberately trying to be an asshole. He told me that he was still hung over from last night, that he had never been in a relationship longer than 6 months, he said that he had trouble maintaining sexual compatibility with women (read: he was impotent) and by minute 23 he made it clear that he would never, ever want to be in a relationship. Occasionally his plastic face twisted into a grimace that was supposed to be a smile. It was obvious that this method had worked to get a certain reaction from women in the past, but I remained still and beautiful in the candlelight and he was confounded.
I asked a few questions to change the subject but he was dull and boring. He wanted to talk about sex, yet he had trouble saying the word itself; which got to be hilarious when I had to keep asking, "What's the question?" He circled back to relationships. He repeated that he did not want a relationship.
Of course not, to have a relationship, he would have to behave like a human being first.
I looked him dead in the eye and said: "I am never going to ask you for a relationship". The meeting was pretty much over; I couldn't possibly call it a date. He shook my hand like a pussy with just the tips of his fingers and said he'd be in touch. Not a chance in Hell.

Date #35 - December 4
This man wrote me a note suggesting a quick drinks date and included his email address. He had the name of a famous magician from English literature. I responded with my phone number and he called me on a Tuesday at work. The moment I said hello, he was looking for a reason to get off the phone.
Was this a good time?
Was I on lunch?
When should he call back?
Warning, Dear Reader, I should have let him get off the phone. Initial phone conversations are so delicate that you can not answer the phone unless you are in a quiet space with a clear head for the entire required 5-10 minutes. Instead, I picked up my cell in full Alpha Office mode -and with not an ounce of softness -barked at him. His total lack of game, which may have otherwise seemed endearing, did nothing but infuriate me. He falteringly asked where I lived and then suggested that I meet him near his fitness centre for a walk (read: nowhere near where I live).
As I've said before, walking is not a date but rather proof positive that he does not have an ounce of testosterone in his blood. A suggestion to go for walk is not romantic; it's how a cheapskate or eunuch tries to date. I was silent and then said I preferred to meet at a location. He sighed with frustration and mumbled that this was hard. (Certainly harder than waving a magic wand, I'll bet). Alpha Office Me readily agreed. Then he suggested meeting at a Starbucks at 3pm on a Saturday.
My profile clear states that I want to have a quick drinks date. So Alpha Office Me basically strong-armed this poor man into meeting at 8 on Saturday and charged him with the further task of finding a bar to take me to. Right before I cut the call short he said "Are you always so succinct?”
Dear Reader, this is a perfect example of not listening to a man (or wizard). This man did not want to date me. He wanted to go for a walk at 3 o'clock in the afternoon like an old person. When pressed, he could hardly manage coffee. He gave me his email address, not his phone number so I should never have responded with mine. So when Saturday rolled around and he texted (at 3:30!) that he need to cancel, I wasn't surprised. I was relieved. I was very grateful that he didn't tell me he had diarrhea (see Date# 21). He probably already had Saturday night plans with his actual girlfriend (or collection of magical dancing brooms). But this is a good lesson to re-enforce only good Rules habits because - thanks to my lack of listening skills - I ended up missing out on another date and spent a rare Saturday alone.

Date#36 - Mimic His Body Language
This man called on a Wednesday night to schedule a Friday night date. He called me, spoke clearly, arranged the date and got off the phone like a grown up. Since he was coming out to see me, I suggested the location. Right away I was excited! Even through the phone I could sense that we had chemistry. He showed up at 1 minute after the hour. He was charming and keen to detail.
While he sat across from me I decided to try mirroring his body language. For example, if he crossed his arms, I would delicately do it too. If he rested his hand on his chin, I would do the same. Immediately the conversation turned warmer, slower, more open and relaxed. He told me about his hobbies, his family, and his business all without arguing or ignoring me. The sudden shift in tone was shocking. I have never had something so easy work so well, so quickly. At 1 hour 41 minutes it was my longest drinks date, owing to him ordering a second drink while I sipped water. Unfortunately, he was so relaxed that he started talking about his ex-girlfriend... who he was still in love with. It turns out that he had been married and divorce once before and was stalling about taking that step with this next woman. She wanted a proposal and he wanted her to "move in".
The most touching moment came when told me with sadness that he had visited a psychic and she had mistakenly told him the relationship would work out. Then he seemed to remember where he was and said firmly that the relationship was over. I said "Well, you're not dead yet." I finally had to force the date to end and he walked me to my car... at which point he said brightly "Well Good Luck with everything!" I felt like I had been slapped in the face! I humbly retreated to my car. Boy, did I misread that.

Date#37 - The Artist
I knew this was a mistake the moment I laid eyes on him.
He was yet another 38 year old man-child with a desire to hear his own voice when in the presence of a female, totally incapable of form a coherent thought. He arrived before me but did not approach me; rather he stood stock still and stared liked something scared making a perfect spectacle of his gangly 6 foot frame until I waved him over. A wave of irritation bordering on homicidal rage washed through me. Not a good start. He was dark, with frantic hair and appalling teeth. I wasn't sure anyone in my generation had escaped orthodontia but here was a living exile. He also had bad breath. He mentioned what he had for dinner more than once and I was made ill by the thought.
He asked a bunch of questions and every single answer I gave was a bald-faced lie until I got bored of answering. In my fantasy life I lived in an apartment with room mates like Friends. I thought he would pick up on this - being a director by profession- but he didn't. Then he began to speak words.
There was no logical flow or point but it was important that I was drowned out and that I was rendered silent. I prayed it would end. After an agonizing eternity where my life flashed in front of my eyes he suddenly said a word I recognized: bed frame.
I interjected with "I bought a bed frame".
He said, What?
I bought a bed frame
He said, What do you mean?
I. Bought. A. Bedframe. This Summer.
He said, You mean a mattress?
Never mind.
The waitress brought the bill that he asked for and then he took a long time before he touched it. I think he was expecting me to offer. As a Rules Girl, I did not look or touch the bill. After an intense pocket search he eventually managed to fish out a crumpled $20 and asked for change?!?
Outside the restaurant I thought I had ditched him as I crossed the street but his scarecrow legs got there before me. He thought we were going somewhere! Together!
He said, What are you doing now?
I said Home.
He said, So you finished with me?
I asked, What's the question?
Now here words failed him.
He said "Did you know you have snow in your hair?"
(Readers Note: Children always answer questions with questions.)
Then he actually touched me with his skeleton fingers. I ran away. The snow was falling thickly, making city streets silent. It was the kind of near-Christmas night that makes you long to be couple.
Full Disclosure: This man wanted something for nothing. He asked a lot of questions but that is not real communication. He wanted to remain a child and be pampered and adored for his existence rather than form a meaningful relationship as a grown up because that requires work.

Date #38 - December 21 "Wear Something White"
AND the dating year ended with the grandest date of all!
This man wrote an initial email choosing a place day and time close to my home. He said he would wear a white flower and that I should wear something white, so we would recognize each other. It was so easy and straightforward that he didn't need to ask for my number. I thought It was too good to be true and so on a cold Tuesday, three days before Christmas, I was pleasantly surprised to see a good-looking man already waiting at the door with a perfect white orchid on his lapel. He wore a perfectly pressed dress shirt with his initials embroidered on the cuffs and he asked if I would like to have dinner. As every Rules girl knows, Dinner is Romance. I was absolutely thrilled. We were almost exactly the same age but there the similarities end; we had lived very different lives.
Here is what he told me:
He was married to a stripper at age 18.
He had a 7 year old child from another relationship.
He was a fiddle prodigy as a child and had travelled the world with Yo Yo Ma.
He had an IQ of 163.
He was asked to join Mensa and he turned them down.
He built his own motorcycle.
He had done Base Camp Everest.
His brother was a cocaine dealer looking at 30 years in prison.
In short, he was a pathological liar. After two hours, I admit I was entertained but entirely exhausted. He was addicted to excitement, completely insecure of himself. It was way too heavy. I looked at the time, smiled sweetly and said I had to go. He seemed surprised but got the bill effortlessly and walked me to my car. He did not ask for my number and I didn't push it. The Rules advise not to force a relationship from email to phone. A well-meaning friend advised me to give my number to men and say "Call Me!" at the end of dates. This is the same kind of friend who says that men are intimidated by smart/ strong/ beautiful women. It sounds like good advice - and I would be the first to do it - IF I believed it worked, but I do not.
Full grown men aren't scared of full grown women.
And a man has to like you enough to call you all by himself or the rest won't fall into place.

December 25 - Christmas Day
The Rules advise that you observe a man during major holidays.
Does he include you? Buy a thoughtful gift?
Or does he stop calling the week before and hope it passes without you noticing his absence?
Without a boyfriend during the holidays, I was still pleased to receive 4 texts wishing me a Merry Christmas, one of which came from a man who was now clearly in a relationship; it was a group text signed with his and her name. Three came on Christmas morning and one the day after. All four were from men who had asked for my number but whom- for one reason or another- I had never met.

Dear Reader, you are welcome to post comments.