Oh Hello!

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Hello? Is it me you’re looking for? I hope so because I’ve been gone for quite a long time. Last time I was on here I was just as socially awkward but younger, single, and much more unsure of myself. I was trying to find out who I was amidst the twenties New York dating scene, which pretty much dwindled down to: lonely, frustrated, confused, and mildly depressed. Well…A LOT has changed. I’m no longer lonely or confused and I’m only slightly frustrated and depressed. Oh and I’m gay and married. So… how did I get here from swiping hard lefts on weird men? Let me share.

Well before there was the “spectrum of sexuality” we feel so comfortable in now, I had definitely been attracted to women but it wasn’t as accepted as it is today. I had just pushed those feelings aside because I was afraid of being gay because it meant you were different and I desperately tried to fit in even though I just never really did. I didn’t need something additional to put me on the outside looking in. So the closet became my safe space. I was afraid I would have no friends in high school, I was afraid the friends in college that I did have would stop being friends with me, and then by the time I was in my twenties I felt I missed my “college experience” to mess around with girls and now had to find myself a serious boyfriend who was husband material. I had to stay on track so to speak.

This isn’t to say the relationships I had were fake. I had genuine feelings for the men I have dated. The hardest part about meeting a woman I truly loved and coming out was wrapping my head around the fact that I could love a woman and could have loved a man too. I had a hard time validating that my feelings in the past were real. But they were. My first boyfriend was amazing. Was he kind of like a woman? Yes. He had long hair, he gardened, he was sensitive, he played folk guitar, and was a soft passionate lover. But he also had a penis. He looked like a more feminine version of Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. I learned a lot from that relationship and I can’t just disregard it because I married a woman. He helped me understand that I am lovable and deserve to be treated with respect. Before him I was just hooking up with guys who would use me and he showed me that I didn’t need to just give people my body in order for them to pay attention to me and that attention didn’t mean love. But the best thing he did for me was let me go. When I graduated college he was still attending. I wanted to stay in the relationship because…naive me…I thought I was going to marry him (he was my first boyfriend!). I remember him telling me that I couldn’t stay in Delaware especially for him. I had to move to New York and meet other people and live my life. I am so thankful to this day that he did that…even if he was just trying to get rid of me. Love can be so blinding and I couldn’t see that I would have been miserable in Delaware and we probably wouldn’t have ended up together because we didn’t know each other that well and he doesn’t have a vagina.

So I serial dated my twenties away. Babbling with Bev was a testimony to my experiences. They were pretty much horrific. You can go back and read but overall it was not pleasant. The people I met were not quality people but I did come out with some pretty good stories. I also had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. I was following a path someone else laid out for me and that’s why I was constantly disappointed and so angry and frustrated. I was dating guys in search of finding a husband because that’s just what you did. I was working at a 9 to 5 job in an office because that’s what you did. I was so unhappy with these choices and never thought to think for myself. Eventually I got so depressed I just stopped doing everything…except visiting Burger King. In my late twenties I went into a deep depression, smoked a lot of pot, and ate a lot of fast food, which makes for a very lonely and sad life. I could barely work let alone meet anyone and as my brother would say, “I looked dead in the eyes”. I was on antidepressants, which weren’t helping, and felt so stuck. I needed change, a kick in the ass, I didn’t know what but something! I’m not sure what it was but celebrating 30 was a turning point and something clicked and my perception shifted. I decided to try a new integrative doctor who combines holistic and western medicine which changed my life. I got diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome (sounds just as awesome as it is), IBS, PCOS, an inability to absorb nutrients from food (super), multiple food allergies/sensitivities including gluten and dairy, all which exacerbate depression and anxiety. So I guess you could say I had a lot going on. Working with the doctor to figure out a nutrition plan, supplements, and exercise plan helped me to feel better and be able to function but I still felt like something was missing.

I started to get back out there and get my life back. Figuring out what I wanted to do for work was priority number one. I tried comedy, writing, working at a temple, a whole bunch of random things but everything led me back to social work. I felt more myself than I had in a while when I got into private practice. This was a great step but I wanted to share my life with someone. So the swiping commenced…again. This time was different though. When I was setting up my profile and preferences I wasn’t on autopilot. For some reason I paused when it came to, “Looking for”. You had three choices: men, women, or men and women (which now I know would not be PC). So I chose both. Why not widen the pool and see what’s out there. What happened next was a huge regression. I began to treat myself as I had before my first boyfriend. I thought all people wanted from me was sex. I was so new in the gay world. I had no idea how to approach women besides in a sexual way. I went on a date with one girl and we hooked up even though we had nothing in common and I swore off women forever. I remember being at my friend’s birthday party and telling my friends the news. I was proud of my experience and excited to tell them which was progress for me. But I was also still uncomfortable with it and spoke about it in a bragging way almost like it was a conquest… like talking about it the way an ahole guy would. Like, “Yo I hooked up with a hot girl last night”. Not cool. I remember complaining though that it wasn’t good and I felt uncomfortable and that it wasn’t for me. One of my friends, the genius that she is, said, “Well why don’t you give someone else a try? Maybe she wasn’t for you?”. The thought hadn’t occurred to me. I thought I had given it a shot so now I could go back to being straight and just file it as one of my crazy sex stories. It took me a month, but after a few more awful dates with guys and feeling like I was just not connecting I started searching again for women.

It was a Sunday morning when I mustered up the courage to contact a cute girl I had matched with on Tinder. It took all my brain power but I managed to come up with the witty message of, “Hey Lauren!” Worked like a charm. Within minutes she asked if I wanted to switch from the app to texting on our phones. From that day on we have texted every single day and four years later we are married. Definitely not without our ups ands downs but for better or worse I found my person. We aren’t perfect. We fight, we are moody, we annoy each other, we see each other at our worst, but we still want to be around and there for each other and love each other more every day. Everything I wanted in a partner was always in front of me but I wasn’t looking for it. I’m so happy I got out of my own way and stopped caring more about what other people thought and cared more about what makes me happy. Even though going through depression and dark times suck, it showed me how resilient I am and led me to the place I am now. It’s not perfect but it’s good and has room to get even better. I’m excited to see where life takes me and excited to be on this journey with my partner in crime.

I guess what I got out of all those bad dates and awkward moments is that it can all lead to a good place. Don’t give up and when you feel stuck then try something new. Until the next babble.

Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover…Unless It’s “Mein Kampf”

Mein Kampf

We’re always told, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and I’m here to tell you to judge it.  Yes, when you are literally talking about a book maybe that advice applies but when referring to people the proverb doesn’t quite hold water.  The famous phrase isn’t “Love at first good conversation” for a reason.  As shallow as it sounds, attraction is the initial driving force in a relationship.  I’m not saying someone’s personality can’t help or be a deal breaker, but looks are definitely important, especially in the beginning.

A picture says a thousand words and they’re not all necessarily benevolent.  There is a creep factor that seems to seep through pictures if you are in fact a creep.  It’s this little thing we like to call intuition.  If someone looks off, they most likely are off.  However, I grew up being told to give people chances regardless of looks because attraction is something that can develop.  Yes, maybe if you were friends first or met in person, but online it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I have already given a few examples of my tumultuous relationship with dating, but here’s another one that supports my argument:

For this round of online dating I have really been trying to find someone with similar interests and what can be perceived as a good personality (from the little information you have on a website) and a good match for me.  This guy contacted me and my first reaction to his pictures was a weird feeling in my gut.  I decided that I needed to be open minded and look at the whole profile and to my surprise I was actually laughing out loud.  *Side note: If you can make me laugh, it’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll give you a shot.*  I replied and we had some good banter back and forth.  Some questionable areas of conversation arose about family and upbringing.  The only person he has a relationship with is his Dad and he moved around his whole life (a ton in recent years) so he did not have a huge family or social circle.  That should have been my second red flag after my gut reaction.

Despite the fact that my creep alarm was on high alert, I agreed to meet him.  My rationalization was that I am looking for a relationship so being open to different people and situations is part of the deal.  Much to my dismay, the date didn’t go well from the very beginning.

I was pulling up to the restaurant in my car trying to find parking when I saw this really short guy flipping his hair, like Justin Beiber, in a full Adidas sweatsuit and what looked like K Swiss sneakers.  I, of course, knew this was my date and again my stomach sank a little.  I found parking and walked up to him as he kept doing the hair flip.  As he turned toward me, it was like I was staring at the poster child for the Aryan race with what appeared to be a boil on his face the size of a walnut.  Awesome.  Off to another great start!

So we sit down to dinner in an overly crowded but, thankfully, dimly lit area of the restaurant.  For a few minutes we did have a good conversation and some laughs (if a third party came along they would think we were having a great date).  We started talking about holidays with the family and how he had missed that growing up.  I actually felt bad and thought maybe he was a good person with a bad sense of style and skin problems.  Wrong, I began to talk about one of my family’s Passover seders when he asked what a seder was.  I explained that I’m Jewish and on Passover we have a seder and gave him a quick history behind it.  He then replied, “Oh you’re Jewish?”.  After that things went downhill.  I kept staring at the boil as he spoke of his family roots.  Immediately after I declared my Jew status, he informed me that his grandparents were most likely Nazis in Germany, and said this while smiling.  The creep vibe started to spread through out my body as the conversation spiraled to a crashing stop.  I thought, am I really desperate enough to be taking dates with Hitler Youth?

Love may be blind but unfortunately so is desperation. All the signs were there to begin with.  Had I just trusted my intuition, I could have avoided this confusing/alarming date with the boiled faced anti-semite.  He had the appearance of a German Men’s Junior soccer player and the essence of a rapist.  Combine that with the Nazi ancestry and I was pretty much in hell.  I now have a rule that if I have a gag reflex to your picture, for any reason, I’m moving onto the next contestant.

Dating should be mostly fun and giving everyone under the sun a chance does not do you any good.  It’s admirable to not be shallow or materialistic but I rather not have to deal with a neo Nazi with a penchant for nomadic living.  I’m starting to theorize that his moving around was not a coincidence!  Let’s just say the FBI’s most wanted list now has more meaning in my life.

Basically, if the picture is not up to par then the person probably isn’t either.  It’s good to take pride in how you look and present yourself, even in a profile.  It says a lot about you and is a good way to separate the possible mates from the improbable.  Plus if you’re attracted from just a picture and profile…that’s not a bad sign.  Use caution when: A person has only one picture that is a self pic, far away shots, mug shots (or anything resembling), or has a picture that causes a physical reaction.  Those are warning signs to stay away.  Ignoring them does not make you a better person and will most likely involve an awkward or uncomfortable situation that leaves you right where you started.  Maybe a little bit more disturbed but still single and looking.

So the decision is up to you.  Judge a book by it’s cover or don’t.  But ask yourself this, do you really want to be the face on the milk carton?

Until the next charmer,

Bev

Online Blind Dating: Adding Insult to Injury

gup020

What happens when a dating site blocks all pictures?  CHAOS!!!  And probably a major decline in traffic.  Let’s be honest.  Most people on dating websites are there to find people they’re attracted to, at least initially.  The profile serves as a supplement but many users don’t even take a glimpse at your efforts to be witty, sexy, and attractive through the written word.  Recently, one of these dating sites implemented a “Crazy Blind Dating” app and blocked all pictures for a whole day.  People went nuts and were writing really hostile statuses while probably 1% of the site was ok with it.  Newsflash- That 1% probably never shows a picture.  Personally, I think they should implement a day when you HAVE to show a picture…and one that’s not a decade old. My assumption is that this new app is not a huge hit and someone is probably jobless.

Why would you choose to go on a blind date when you can see what they look like?  Blind dates served a purpose when you were unable to show a picture but we’re not in 1989 or in North Korea.  Dating online is awkward enough, I don’t think it needs blind dating to add another element of surprise.  And from personal experience, they are usually shocking and not in a good way.

My friends and parents (ahem MOTHER) try to set me up all the time.  My grandma is the worst though.  She always tries to set me up with an orthodox cousin at some family function.  Brings a new meaning to “keeping it in the family”.  Flattered, but not interested.  I did however go on a few blind dates that support my stance on the subject.

My top three blind date stories:

1.  I was set up with a friend of a friend’s brother because we were both single in New York.  Usually that is a starting off point for commonalities but that’s all the information I got about him besides his age and location.  We were off to a great stop, but I agreed to go because hey, you never know!  Plus I figured my friend knows me enough to judge if I’d be a good fit with someone.  So, I got to the bar early and got a bar table.  All of a sudden a surge of men came in, one better looking than the next.  Some would glance at me and I’d get excited but they would either walk by or wave to someone they know.  Then a short potbelly guy with an acid washed shirt and fleece vest walks in and my stomach sank.  I was thinking, “Please don’t be my date, please don’t be my date”.  Then I hear, “Bev?”.  Despite every instinct I had to walk out, I stayed and gave him a chance.  Maybe he had a really good personality or was really funny?  Nope, the only thing good about him was his appetite.  I had to sit through an entire dinner with him, having only ordered a salad while he ordered the left side of the menu.  When the check comes I always offer to pay but before I had the chance to he asked if we could split it.  Then the check came back and there were $3.00 to split.  He pocketed the $2.00 and was like, “Here you want this?” and slid the dollar over to me.  Thanks for your generosity but you definitely need that more than I do.  Needless to say, we never spoke again.

2.  I get a call from my Mom and had no idea what I was getting myself into by picking up the phone.  She was standing with her friend’s son and his fiance and asked me in front of them if I wanted to get set up with the girl’s brother.  I got the whole pitch and got cornered into saying yes.  The girl was standing next to my mother describing her brother and could probably hear our phone conversation.  I couldn’t say no!  So I agree to meet him and again go to a bar to meet.  I had a hard day so needed a drink before he came.  When he showed up he said hi and then went straight to the bar.  Despite noticing my empty glass he did not offer to order me a drink.  Strike 1.  Then he sits down and I immediately notice his wandering eye (maybe he didn’t notice the empty glass after all).  It might have been nice to have mentioned that minor detail.  I had no idea where he was looking the entire time.  What was more off putting was that he was cocky and had an attitude.  Strike 2.  He had his phone out the entire time and was texting.  Then after he finished his drink (which was probably 10 minutes later) he picks his phone up- it didn’t ring or buzz- and tells me he has to leave for a work emergency.  Before I could get my coat on and look up he was halfway across the street running like his ass was on fire.  Strike 3!!

3.  The Ukrainian.  This was right after I had a bad break up with someone I had dated from Jdate.  So I immediately went back online to try and get my mind off of him by dating right away.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying enough attention to who I was actually agreeing to meet.  With the Ukrainian, there were so many red flags that I chose to ignore and they bit me in the ass.  First, he barely wrote anything in his two emails and had a sparse profile.  Second, he lived with his parents in Brooklyn (at age 29).  Third, his picture was about 500 feet away standing next to an American Flag pole.  That should have deterred me off the bat.  But I go to meet him outside Barnes and Noble in Union Square and see a guy with a striking resemblance to Sloth from The Goonies and, of course, that was my date.  I had that familiar sinking feeling in my stomach but I couldn’t just leave him there so I went and introduced myself.  We decided to go to a bar as opposed to dinner.  I could not understand a word he was saying because he spoke broken English with a thick Ukrainian accent.  So the conversation was a lot of “sorry what?” and dead silence.  The bar was loud and crowded which didn’t help.  What I could tell was that we had nothing in common and a lack of conversation.  We get to the bar and I order a Kettle One and club soda.  He goes, “Thank god, I thought you were going to order vodka”.  That was my cue to go.

I saved the Ukrainian for last because that was the closest thing to an online blind date.  It was the worst date I’ve ever had and probably will ever have.  Now thinking back, that flagpole picture was probably when he literally got off the boat to Ellis Island.  If that was any indicator of what online blind dates would be like, then count me out.

Lesson learned: Photos, a profile, and an email are barely enough to know someone before a regular date.  Taking the picture away only lessens the chance that you will have a successful meeting.

If you are into uncomfortable situations then by all means try the Crazy Blind Dating app.  I prefer to keep the element of surprise strictly to presents…you can always return and exchange.  What I can’t get back is my time and the permanent image of Urkainian Sloth out of my head.

Thank you blind dates for the memories…and the nightmares.

-Bev