The other day, I was listening to the radio while driving, and "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith came on. I absolutely love that song and want to include it here. So thanks to YouTube, enjoy a nice rendition with lyrics, no less:
I actually have an emotional history associated with this song. The song was quite popular on the radio back in 1998, thanks to Armageddon. At the time, I was also involved with a young man name Zech. It was actually my first relationship, providing you don't count the friend I experimented with in high school. The song meant a lot to me back then. Every time I heard it, I thought of Zech.
The other day when I heard the same song, it made me think of another guy. I'll call this guy D (until he tells me he's ready for me to talk about him by name. D and I have been talking, hanging out, and otherwise enjoying each other's company. We're not actually dating, though I hope that changes some day in the not-too-distant future.
What I find interesting is that while similar, the reaction the song evokes in me regarding D now and the reaction I had back when I was involved with Zech. In both cases, the theme of the song -- the desire to be with that special someone as much as possible -- resonated deeply with me. However, the emotional undercurrents are worlds apart.
As I mentioned, Zech was my first boyfriend (though come to think of it, we never officially dated). We were both young and immature, and I was only recently out (I had only finally accepted my sexuality two years earlier). This meant that I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil, and tended to cling to Zech in a sense of desperation. And that desperation came through back then as I'd listen to the song. I didn't want to miss a thing, because I was terrified that things would end. Part of me wanted to squeeze as much out of the relationship before the horrible ending came, and part of me foolishly believed that simply by being ever-present, ever-vigilant, and ever-suffocating, I could actually prevent the horrible ending from coming.
I've grown up a great deal in the intervening twelve years, and I now listen to that song again with a new guy in mind. And once again, I find myself nodding along with the song. But rather than a nagging sense of desperation, my heart is filled with a sense of peace and contentment.
The funny thing is, there area few parallels. There's no guarantee that things will work out between D and I. (Is there ever really any such guarantee?) I don't know how long I have with him or even if we'll ever become a couple like I'm hoping for. I think it's likely though.
But in the end, it doesn't matter. I have this time now, and I want to make the most of it. Not out of fear or desperation, but out of hope and joy.
People often talk about how music can evoke powerful emotions and we can associate specific memories and feelings with a song. However, I sometimes think that people forget that new connections and associations can be made with old songs that replace or overpower the old ones. I know from personal experience that this is true, because I enjoy "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" far more today than I did back in 1998.
In fact, I think I'm going to go listen to it again.
Recently in Dating Category
The other day, I was listening to the radio while driving, and "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith came on. I absolutely love that song and want to include it here. So thanks to YouTube, enjoy a nice rendition with lyrics, no less:
Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr
Every now and then, though, I get a reply like the following one:
hiya - thanks for you message - I hate to write this - makes me sound shallow, but its important to be honest - I'm into thinner, twinky guys. Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch. Good luck!
Now, let me say up front that I totally get that guys are attracted to certain kinds of guys and might choose not to get involved with a guy because of a lack of attraction. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that (unless a narrow definition of what you consider physically attractive is the only factor in your decision-making process). In fact, I've been known to turn down a few guys who expressed interest because I didn't find them physically appealing as well. (This is especially true if they come looking for sex rather than expressing an interest in friendship or relationship building.)
However, my advice is that if you're going to turn a guy down because you don't find him attractive, do not reply with a message like the one above. To be perfectly blunt, such a message makes you look like a complete douchebag. Allow me to explain my reasoning there by going through the email as a writer and a witch piece by piece, offering my own interpretation.
I hate to write this
This is a phrase that I find completely disingenuous. I don't know about you, but as a rule, I don't do things that I hate doing. To be blunt, if you start a message to me by saying "I hate to say this," finishing that message makes you a liar in my book. Harsh? You bet. But try and argue with my logic.
makes me sound shallow
So you're worried about sounding shallow? But are you worried about being shallow? Let's face it, if you feel like what you're saying or doing might make you appear shallow, maybe it's time to re-evaluate what you're saying or doing and acting less shallow. But no, your actions make it clear you're only worried about how you're being perceived, not whether you actually need to do some uncomfortable soul-searching and attitude changes.
Again, I don't mind if you turn me down because you don't find me attractive. But don't insult me by then worrying that I'll think less of you because of it. Quit thinking about yourself for five seconds.
but its important to be honest
I agree. Too bad I haven't found you to be very honest. Sure, you're being up front about not being into me and that's quite cool of you. But I find the whole "please understand that I'm still a nice guy so I'm going to say all kinds of things to make myself feel better about shooting you down" less than honest. So you might want to work on being more fully honest in the future. (I'd recommend starting by learning to be more honest with yourself.)
- I'm into thinner, twinky guys.
This is probably the most direct and honest part of the entire message. If you said exactly this and left out the other "trying to be nice" bullshit, I'd probably respect you more.
Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch.
These kinds of statements always drive me nuts, because there's an implied phrase missing from the statement that you hope I'll forget about. Let me rewrite the full sentence for you:
Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch, as long as you're someone else's catch.
Telling me I'm a great guy who would be a great catch while you're turning me down is again disingenuous. What you're really trying to do here is make sure that I still feel good about myself and continue to think that you're really a nice guy, rather than that shallow guy you're worried about sounding like (but not worried about so much that you give me a shot). Let's face it, even when you're throwing me a compliment, it's really all about you in the back of your mind.
But thanks for the compliment. And I know I'm a quality catch. But I'm certainly wondering about you.
Now don't worry, if you're actually dumb enough to send me a message like this, I will just reply with a "thanks" and move on. So you can go on patting yourself on the back for being such a "nice guy." You'll probably even never know that I'm actually shaking my head and smiling over what a douchebag you are. Because quite frankly, after reading your message, you being "shallow" for turning me down is the least of my criticisms of you.
So yeah, we're definitely not a good match. I deserve better than you. Thank you for making that so obvious so quickly. :)
Image by assbach via Flickr
One such person, a thirty year old man in Niagara Falls named Marty, expressed interest in return on Tuesday, March 2. So the two of us each spent a bit of time that day running through the process that particular dating site requires to members to go through before having direct email communications. So I sent Marty my relationship essentials, received his in return, compared them, submitted my list of short answer questions I'd like him to answer, and answered the list he sent me in return. I then went around the rest of my day and took care of personal business.
That evening, I finished my tax returns, submitted them, and ran over to Chemistry.com. I discovered that Marty had not only answered my questions, but had sent two emails to me. I read through his answers and read the emails. I was formulating my answers to the first one in my head while I opened the second one. He included his phone number and indicated he was normally up late. I glanced at the clock, noted that it was only 8:30pm (several hours before his stated bedtime), and grabbed the phone. What the heck.
Marty proved to be a delightful, charming, and funny guy, and we seemed to hit it off real well. In fact, he asked me multiple times when I'd be in Niagara Falls the next time. After the third time, I simply pointed out that I don't really have any other reason to come to Niagara Falls, but I could make a trip any time. He suggested we meet halfway instead, and I suggested we meet in Buffalo. Buffalo is actually closer to him by half an hour, but I'd prefer to drive the extra distance just to ensure there's something to do! So we set up an afternoon date for that Saturday. We also set up plans to talk on the phone again Thursday night.
We ended up talking that Wednesday night as well, since my plans to go to game night didn't work out so well and I decided it'd be more fun to go home and talk to the funny and charming guy from Niagara Falls. So that week, we had three wonderful phone conversations, and we were both looking forward to our date that Saturday.
That's when things started falling apart. In hindsight, I can also say that it's probably the point when I should have bailed out of the whole situation. (We'll get to the lessons learned portion in a bit.) Saturday arrives and I drive to Buffalo. I find Allen Street and Q Bar and I go in to have a drink while I wait for Marty to arrive. He doesn't.
I spent the next half hour or so waiting and making the occasional phone call or sending the occasional text message (all spaced at least ten minutes apart) to try and find out what happened. Being the kind of person who likes to give people the benefit of the doubt, I expressed concern that something came up and repeatedly asked if he's okay.
After going to eat at the Falafel Bar (fantastic food, by the way), I headed back to my car. I tried calling Marty one last time, and he answered. He sounded tired, confused and out of it. He explained that he had gotten a nasty stomach bug (possibly food poisoning) and didn't fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. As a result, he slept through our date. I said okay and we agreed to talk in a bit. I drove home.
He contacted me both on Facebook (he may consider it an act of mercy on my part that I don't publish a link to his profile) and via phone, apologizing profusely. Again, being the kind of person who gives people the benefit of the doubt (though that may be changing soon), I let it slide and agreed to his suggestion that we try again. After all, he'd been quite anxious days before. (And besides, I have this bizarre history of first dates that fall through, only to meet on a second attempt.) He suggested he might here to Rochester the following weekend, since I had driven to Buffalo this past attempt. I indicated that would be fine, though I wouldn't mind driving again. He told me I was such an awesome person and wondered aloud where I had been all his life.
Sunday evening he calls me and we talk for five or ten minutes. He told me about the day he spent with his neighbor, Wendy, who is going through some terrible stuff in her life. Then he got a beep from Wendy and he asked if he can call me right back. As someone who understands what it's like when a friend is in crisis, I told him okay and let him go. He never called me back that day.
That set the pattern for the next week. He'd eventually call me in the evening. After about five or ten minutes, he would tell me he needed to go for one reason or another and promise to call me back either "right away" or "in five or ten minutes." The second call would never come. He also quit responding to texts during the day (something he had been quite good about and even initiated the previous week). I became concerned and asked him about it. On numerous occasions, I asked him if I needed to back off because I was bothering him. Each time, he assured me I was okay. I also made numerous inquiries about making plans to try meeting again, which he ignored.
On Friday, I decided to lay it on the line. I left him a voice message informing him that I thought he was a great guy, but that I couldn't keep putting myself out there if he wasn't going to be responsive. I told him that it seemed like his life was too chaotic to really pursue anything. So I told him that I was still interested, but that the ball was in his court and I was going to go away until such time as he decided to lob it back in my direction. I figured this would give him the perfect out. If I never heard from him again, that would be that.
He didn't take the out. The next day, he called me, once again all apologetic. He assured me that he was usually better and more responsible than this. (I must say at this point that the preponderance of the evidence I am aware of is in direct contradiction to this claim.) He promised to do a better job, and even did a better (if imperfect) job of keeping that promise that night. He also told me more about the situation with his neighbor Wendy, and I expressed both understanding and a clear message that while I understand and sympathize with her situation, he needed to set boundaries with her and still manage to keep his commitments to me. (I pointed out that this was not only about what's fair to me, but what's ultimately healthy for both him and Wendy as well.) He agreed with all of this and went on talking via phone through Monday night.
Our last phone call ended much the same way as previous phone calls. Wendy tried calling him, and he promised to call me right back. He got a bit defense (but also sounded rather guilty) when I responded to his promise to call me right back with a skeptical sounding "okay." He never called back that night. I sent him a couple texts later that night and even left a voice message expressing my hopes that everything was okay.
The next morning (that would be yesterday, for those trying to keep track), I got a text from Marty apologizing about not getting back to me and promising we'd talk later in the day. I texted him back and told him I was looking forward to it. I also suggested I could come up to meet him after work (I had made the same offer Monday). That's the last text I got from Marty.
I worked all day Tuesday and got out of work at 4:30. I grabbed my stuff, went to my car, and started it. I then called Marty and got his voicemail. As I was leaving a message, I got a call waiting beep and checked the caller ID to see a Minnesota number. I shrugged, finished my message and hung up, only to immediately get another call from the Minnesota number. I answered and the conversation went something like this:
Gravely voice: Is this Jarred?
GV: This is _____. You know Marty?
GV: I'm calling to tell you that he wants you to stop calling him.
J: Why isn't Marty telling me this himself?
GV: Look, Marty's going through a lot of stuff right now. And I'm calling you on his behalf to tell you that you need to stop calling him.
J: I understand what you're saying, but you still haven't answered my question as to why Marty isn't telling me this himself.
GV: Look, the fact that you would even ask that question means that you're calling Marty's motivations and his character into question. You need to leave him alone.
J: I see. Well, you've given me something to think about. Have a good day.
Call me crazy, but I'm not the kind of person who takes the word of a perfect stranger (presumably) calling from several states away about the desires of someone else. This is especially true since Marty had already told me about at least two other guys who allegedly turned into creepy stalker types on him. For all I knew, this guy was just a trouble maker. So I called Marty and left a voicemail:
Hey Marty. This is Jarred. The weirdest thing just happened to me. I got a call from someone from Saint Paul, Minnesota telling me that you don't want to talk to me anymore. I'd appreciate it if you'd call me and tell me what's up with that. Bye.
While I was leaving that message, I got a beep. It was Marty's number, but I didn't get to it in time. However, within seconds after hanging up from my message, I get another call from Marty's number. Imagine my surprise when I answer, only to be greeted by Gravelly Voice (again, a paraphrase):
GV: Jarred, I just got done telling you not to call Marty again, and you turn right around and call him anyway.At that point, I begin to shout "shut up" to try to break through his obvious attempts to intimidate me and speak my peace. When it quickly becomes apparent that he's only interested in acting like a bully and a goon, I just hang up on the asshole.
J: Well, yeah hon. You see, when I get messages through someone using a Saint Paul, Minnesota number, I tend to verify them with the alleged source.
GV: Well, you'll note this call isn't from Saint Paul Minnesota.
J: Yeah, I saw.
GV: Look, I tried to be nice last time...
GV: You don't know who you're dealing with. I used to live and Brooklyn and I'm not the kind of person you want to play games with...
J: Excuse me? You think I'm the one playing games right now?
GV: Well, if you call him again after this conversation...
So there you have it. In two weeks, this guy went from telling me I was a great guy and practically begging to meet me ASAP to not wanting to talk to me at all. After passing up multiple opportunities to call the whole thing quits that I explicitly offered to him, he calls on some Gravelly Voice to tell me to fuck off and threaten me if I don't do exactly that.
Well, no worries there. If someone doesn't have the basic human dignity to deliver the "I don't think this is going to work out" to me in person, then they are too much of a coward and an asshole for me to deal with. Quite frankly, I haven't even processed through the hurt of being told to go away because I'm still dealing with the rage and disbelief of the callous, thoughtless, and honor-less way in which that message was delivered. In my mind, Marty is nothing more than a tease, a game-player, and a Grade A Jackass. So yes, a message was received loud and clear. I just doubt it was the message he intended to send. But the end result is the same, so I guess it's all good.
I think what gets me is that due to this game-playing and this duplicity, I find myself wondering how much of what he ever told me was true. Were the guys who allegedly turned creepy stalkers really bad guys? Or were they just decent guys who, like me, got played and then tossed away. Or maybe they acted less than honorably simply because they finally reacted badly to the psychotic mind-fuck that is the experience of interacting with Marty. Granted, that wouldn't excuse inappropriate or creepy behavior, but it certainly would make me at least a little more sympathetic towards them.
In the end, I find myself wondering if Marty is just some weak-willed guy who can't deal with his own issues without involving others or whether he's a truly nasty game player that likes to fuck with other people's heads. I suppose I'll never know. In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter, either. Either way, it's best to take this out he's now offered me and be thankful for it.
But as the title of this post says, I think I've learned a few lessons. I think I give people the benefit of the doubt way too much and for way too long. That needs to change. I think new people in my life should only get one "mistake." After they make that mistake and make their apologies, they shouldn't get a "third chance" until they prove themselves. If they fuck up again, I think they need to be shown the door. No excuses. No apologies. Once is a mistake. Twice is a pattern. The third time is a lifestyle, and I don't even care to know about it.
I also think that if they start sounding like a liar or that they live in an alternate reality (and in hindsight, I admit I should have seen the signs of that with Marty), I'm going to assume it's because they are a liar and/or live in an alternative reality. And that means walking away fast, because I need people who live in plain old normal reality.
Hopefully, it's a lesson well learned that will turn into a lesson well applied. Actually, I take that back. I hope I never have another reason to apply that lesson. But if I do, I pray I'm ready.
I absolutely love the caption for this LOLCat picture! I totally agree with it, too.
It reminds me of my days of volunteering at Lollypop Farm. I and another volunteer would often go around the room together reading the paperwork for each cat and comment together on the reasons the cat was surrendered for the shelter. I remember the one time we found a paper with the reason, "New boyfriend is allergic to cats." The other volunteer and I looked at each other and said almost in unison, "So get rid of the new boyfriend!"
That's still my attitude. While I'm sympathetic to people with allergies, I'm also sympathetic to cats and animals in general. I've had cats all my life and I can't imagine ever not having a cat in my life. And I'd have a hard time making things work -- or even wanting to make them work -- with a guy who had a problem with cats -- even a medical problem like being allergic. My honest answer would be, "Look, the cats were here first. And quite frankly, I know for a fact they'll stick around. I doubt I can be quite as sure about you. So guess where my loyalties are going to stay?"
If that means I end up being a crazy cat lady, I think I can live with that. It's more appealing than the alternative at this point.
One of the projects I worked on today was to describe what I would want to do on a first date if I was planning it. I decided to post it here and see what my readers thought.
For me, the first date is all about getting to know each other and making that first connection. It sets the first stone in the foundation of the rest of the relationship.
For me, that means going someplace quiet and somewhat intimate where we can have either coffee or a full meal. Atmosphere is of the utmost importance, so someplace like Boulder Coffee Company or The Old Toad (before the rush sets in) would be ideal. We would sit and chat for an hour or so as we sipped at our coffee or savored our meals, allowing the thread of conversation to flit to whatever topics came naturally.
If things went well and it was warm enough outside, we would then take a short walk, perhaps a Schoen place or in one of the parks around the city. Ideally we would hold hands or walk arm-in-arm, enjoying the time outdoors and each other's company.
Conversation would continue during the walk, but it would be a little more sparse than it was at dinner. There would also be some comfortable silences as we walked along, taking in our surroundings. After all, such moments are important, and a good couple knows how to appreciate them without filling them with too much chatter.
If bad weather made walking infeasible, then we would take in a nice concert or play. Again, this would be a time to enjoy some quiet moments one another, becoming comfortable with and enjoying one another's presence.
In either case, we would eventually end the date, preferably with a quiet moment where we could exchange our goodbyes and a hug, if not a tender kiss.
So, what do you think? Would you enjoy such a date?