Love on the Pretzel Train

Because I never really dated that much in the past, I was looking forward to finding out what it was going to be like. I joked about wanting to juggle men. I pictured myself being cool, casual, carefree. “Date like a man” my friend Neal told me. But I’ve started to notice that I’m looking for that connection, that recognition of oh, hello…yesI feel what’s possible with you. Does that happen? Is that too much to ask? Maybe all those romantic, meet-cute comedies I used to watch have twisted my brain into an over-salted, unrealistic pretzel.

I’m not looking for the perfect, fantasy man. I know he doesn’t exist. At my high school reunion, one of my former classmates nodded knowingly when I shared that strange men tend to be attracted to me. “I hear ya,” She said. “But it only takes one.” He could be anywhere. Mae, is it true? Could he be with another woman right now? Take your hands off my future man, you hussy!!

I only want to discover the one who is perfect for me and I for them. It’s possible, right? Or am I on the Pretzel Train and every stop is SingleTown?

It’s also possible that I could drop dead tomorrow. Or the next day. I would be dead without ever having found love again. That pisses me off. But if I’m dead, I won’t know how to get upset – I won’t even know I’m dead, so I guess it’s a moot point.

Life doesn’t follow a straight line (like this post), so I have no idea what it has in store for me. Before I don’t know I’m dead, I would like to accomplish the following things this year and the next:

1) find a new job
2) move
3) travel to Italy and/or Spain
4) keep

— my mom just informed me that my face looks really round: “You look round here [cups her cheeks with her palms]. I wonder why…you exercise enough. Maybe I just don’t look at your face that often.”

1) move
2) exercise more
3) find a job that keeps me moving
4) travel
5) continue to date
6) continue being open to possibility
7) keep…keep what?? (I have no clue what I was about to write.) keep on truckin’? keep my head up, my spirits high and hope to love again before I die?

That train stop at my reunion must have done a number on me.  I thought I had chased away the dark clouds that my mom the inner critic brought in a few days ago, but some of them still linger.

Next stop?

Not sure. Think I need to catch that transfer out of CheekFat Town, so I’d better start running.

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The Chihuahua Effect

I didn’t expect to get picked up during my double date last weekend.

And then he literally lifted me straight off the ground and pretended to abduct me into a windowless van.

This happens every so often – the lifting part, that is. Not a very dignified thing to happen at my age, unless you count the time I needed to be carried across a rushing river.  But that was based on survival.

The Librarian wasn’t the one who picked me up – it was the husband-portion of the double-date. He totally upstaged The Librarian with his enthusiastic, open personality. I’m friends with his wife, but this is only the second time I’ve met him – the first time being very brief. He hugged me after I joked about my personal space, he lifted me up, and in general, he seemed to like me a lot. My friend was nonplussed. My own biased opinion is that I believe other women find me completely non-threatening. You can totally trust me with your husband or boyfriend. Seriously. Hand him over.

Why do I sound so creepy? I might as well have a windowless van, too.

Before you think what you’re thinking, I have to explain that The Husband’s reaction towards me is what I call the “Chihuahua Effect”. I never had a term for it before, but it seems fitting since I seem to like referring to Chihuahuas. If for some reason you think they’re cute, and they do something you think is cute, as in: “Did you see the Chihuahua? She has an underbite!  Haha! That’s so cute – I gotta take a picture of her!”, then the Chihuahua Effect is taking place.

I don’t know why I can’t find a single man that I find attractive to react this way. I wouldn’t have to work so hard. I’d simply flash my underbite at him and I’d be golden.

Different but the Same Match #2: The Motorcycle Chef

I know. I was beginning to exit through the dating door and leave The Chef behind because I didn’t think he was attracted to me. I swear to you, he had given me no signs whatsoever on our first date. No obvious body language, no touching me anywhere (I actually wanted him to touch my elbow), no walking me to my car. The last time I heard from him was through a late-night text apologizing for not calling. All I thought was, oh, he didn’t have to do that – he could have simply faded quietly away into the woodwork. Four days after the text, I got a phone call and we set up Date #2. I can’t believe I made #2! (this poo poo joke is dedicated to my more sophisticated reader. I love you bunches, you one person reading this post.) Two days after that, I got another call to change the time of our date. We ended up talking for over an hour. But I’m hesitant to take this as a sign. I think we just get along, you know, buddybuddy-like. It’s not my place to understand the minds of men, so I’m not even going to try. I say that, but since I’m a woman, the urge to know what they’re thinking is incredibly seductive.

“How about a hike?” He asks after telling me he can’t get together for dinner.

“Hiking makes me grumpy.” Every hike I’ve been on has been hot, dusty, and strenuous.

“How about a walk in the woods?”

I take this as a completely different suggestion and happily say yes. He laughs. Wait – did he just trick me?

“Or we could go for a ride.” He offers.

“Ride?”

“On my motorcycle.”

“M-motorcycle?” My voice cracks. YesNoYesNoYesNo! Good Japanese girls don’t get on the backs of motorcycles! 

But I’m not a girl anymore and good is a relative term, isn’t it?

“Ever been on one?”

Now I have.  

I didn’t become Asian roadkill like I thought I would. Images of me tumbling off the back of his bike flashed through my mind during the first few 45 minutes of the ride, and I wondered if I would be able to tumble onto concrete skillfully enough to survive. He told me I could hold on to the rack behind me or hold on to him. Uh, yeah, like I’m going to sit away from you and reach back to hold on to two skinny little handles while we’re going 50 mph? I prefer to hold on to your handles, thank you very much. As soon as we sped up the hill from his place, I was like a suckerfish. A suckerfish using a Thighmaster. I haven’t been that scared since…well, I can’t remember. I don’t verbally freak out when I get frightened. I get quiet. And I was very quiet.

After a while, I realized that it seemed wrong goodjapanesegirl to be clinging to him like a baby chimp. My thighs and crotchal-area had become way too neighborly with this new man’s behind. I didn’t even know his last name. But what a thrilling, beautiful ride. We had a nice lunch at an outdoor cafe with a spectacular view, and we lingered there for a few hours before we had to head back. I was much better on the ride back. Less chimp-like, but my legs refused to stop clamping on to his no matter how much I told them to relax. I proudly call this “survival flirting”. Did I see any signs from him? No, unless I’m incredibly dense. I clung to him like brown on rice and he didn’t touch me once, although I suppose I did enough touching for the both of us. No flirting from him, no innuendo, nada. I thought I felt him looking at me when I was glancing at the menu, but he could have been looking at my chin hairs or thinking about Chihuahuas. How am I to know? And how can I compete with an adorable Chihuahua??!!

When we got back to his place, we stood on the sidewalk talking. I told him that I had to go to the local farmers’ market for work the next day and he said he would drop by. We made more small talk, and I started to get the distinct feeling that we were eyeing each other like two gun slingers – who was going to move first? How were we going to end this date? I finally went in for a hug, he kissed my cheek, and then HE over hugged ME.

Finally. A sign I can sink my teeth into. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Postscript: I texted him from the farmers’ market. He wasn’t coming. He didn’t want to fight the cold, windy weather to get there.

I’m beginning to hate signs.

“Dear Mr. Golden Heart…”

Im nice person dear, golden heart and generous. Im confident can be good friends. It would be honor. Please can you respond me if interested? All the best

Uh oh.

I’m not sure if he’s calling me dear or himself. No matter, because I don’t have the confidence that he has in our future friendship. By the way, that’s the second email he’s written to me. The first one was also grammar-challenged and equally troubling. I had taken a friend’s advice with his first email:  “If you’re not interested at all, don’t write back. Even a friendly rejection could give him some hope.” But maybe saying nothing still leaves the door open?

I’ve learned something from my date with The Chef. I think my nervous energy took over and I tried too hard. I really just need to calm the hell down. Perhaps I will meditate before my next date, assuming there will be another one. With someone. Anyone. During my post-date analysis, I thought about the fact that even if I had been the perfect amount of me, it still doesn’t mean The Chef would have been attracted to me.

Dating sure can play with your self-confidence. No wonder those Bachelorettes weep, go mad, turn on each other. They’re like lab rats in a Hollywood maze designed to make their insecurities bubble and rise to the surface. I’m surprised they don’t eat each others’ faces off. In my own very quiet reality, I tell myself that I have to learn from whatever I experience and keep moving. Besides, The Chef isn’t the only Bachelor out there to show interest in me. There is a guy in Chicago who has contacted me. That’s not too far from CA, right? I’m perfect for him because I fit into the age range of women he’s searching:  21-63 years old.

My love affair with Match isn’t looking so good.

Match #1: The Chef

I’m in love!!!  

Not really.  I haven’t been on the date yet.  This is the pre-date portion of the program (I’ll be adding my post-date thoughts below).  I wanted to know what it felt like to be one of those women – I’m convinced they’re a different species – on “The Bachelor”.  You know, already in love with the idea of falling in love and then getting their heart broken by a guy they hardly know.  I loved him and I thought he kinda liked me!weep, weep, feelings of despair…  Girl, get it together.  He’s dumber than a rock.  Join me on Match.com – we’ll find a guy for you that’s as smart as or even smarter than a rock!

You know, maybe I should get a job counseling these women.  Or work as a Marketing Strategist for Match.  I’ve found my new careers.

This is my first date through Match.  I’m trying to be optimistic by starting a numbering system, but that didn’t seem to work too well with Wine Guy.  One date, the possibility of another, and then he fell into the Bermuda Triangle of Missing/Non-Responsive Men.

My profile had been public for a few days when I was IM’ed by The Chef.  I was on the site, trying to figure out how to edit something in my profile:  how do you…but I just changed it…let me try!!PING!! [IM window popping up]ack!!  what the hell?!  I nearly jumped out of my skin.  When I peered at the small message box, I recognized the photo that came along with it.  He had viewed my profile earlier.  I thought he was kind of cute and more importantly, he appeared to be normal.  With shaking hands (I know, pathetic), I decided to respond.  And what do you know…our senses of humor were kind of the same.  Sarcastic?  Check.  Self-deprecating?  Check.  Age?  Oops.  He’s 41 years old.  I’m…older.  But that’s the good thing about Match.  He knew my age, height and hm, what else could have scared him off – oh, yes, the profile itself.  He read it and still contacted me.  He’s a brave man.  I have no idea what other women are writing, but I started my profile with sarcasm.  Isn’t that the way to a man’s heart?

Post-date Analysis  

Great date.  Fun, relaxed (well, he was), easy.  A guy’s guy, not a dude.  There’s a difference.  My ex was overly sensitive and emotional, so it was nice to be with someone who seemed at ease with himself and his guyness.  Not only is he a chef, he’s an Executive Chef, which I have to admit is kinda sexy.  Not the title itself, but the fact that he is in charge and has to know how to manage people.  Our sensibilities and senses of humor matched, and I thought he was cute, so I would definitely go out with him again.  The mystery question is whether he was attracted to me or not.  I have absolutely no idea, which is probably not a good sign.  I can’t think of anything positive said in my direction except he said I was tiny, he liked my boots, and that I eat slowly, which is the healthy way.  Like I said, nothing to go on.  I made him laugh, but so could a Chihuahua with an underbite, so that doesn’t say much either.  We hugged at the end of the date – don’t worry, I didn’t overhug him – and he said he would call me.  My first generic “I’ll call you”!!  I’ve officially joined the ranks of the dating masses!

By the way, I guess the sarcasm in my profile is not the way to a man’s heart like I thought.  I was talking about my profile when The Chef said, “Guys just look at the pictures.”  But I put a lot of thought into my profile and – “We’re guys – we just look at the pictures.”  Oh.  So much for that ‘A’ I was going for in creative writing.

I sent him a message today thanking him for the date.  If I don’t hear from him again I’ll have to chalk it up to his non-attraction of my 3-D self.  There’s nothing I can do about that.  I’ll simply have to go on *weep weep despair* and try to find a date that finds me more funny and charming than that damn Chihuahua.