Friday, December 29, 2006

Shoop, Shoop... That's Where It Is

Kissing is an art form.

I mean, just about everybody kisses, and most people are pretty good at it, but how often do you meet someone who can make you feel like you've just been hit by lightning with just one? I'm a huge kissing fan, and I've kissed a lot of girls, but I can count the ones who really get it on one hand, with a couple fingers left over.

For some people, it's a style thing... everyone seems to have their own styles, and if you match up well, it can be pretty great. But that only goes so far, and I think it's much more applicable to good skills than to genius. The truly great ones just have it, no matter who they're kissing or what their style is -- it's innate. They somehow know exactly what to do, when, and how to do it without thinking about it. They listen to their partner's body on instinct and react without concious thought.

And if you're anything like me, how a person kisses is one of the major factors in deciding whether or not you want to sleep with them. Horrendous kissers tend to be pretty bad in the sack, while the really talented ones usually blow you away there, too. It's a much more accurate indicator than how well they dance or pretty much any other theory I've heard, mostly because the key concepts are the same -- paying attention to your partner, reading their signals, and using that information to put them through the roof.

So what do I like? Well, every mood is different. Sometimes soft and sweet really lights me up. Others times, it's primal, animalistic, and so powerful that you're more devouring each other than you are kissing. In general, like Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) in Bull Durham, "I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days." I believe in making out like horny teenagers. I believe in the power of that connection that makes everything else melt away. That stops time so that nothing matters but you, them, and the intermingling of your lips and/or tongue. Your hands on their face, in their hair, or maybe (if you're kissing me and I'm in that kinda mood) pinned to the wall they threw you up against or the bed they just carried you to.

Wow... I just got a little worked up there thinking about it. Deep breath.

While I generally put less than zero stock in things like horoscopes, I've definitely noticed an interesting statistical trend in how they relate to this particular skill. The best kissers I've had are virtually always Aries, Sagittarius, or Leo signs. Supposedly, those people are fiery and passionate (much like myself). On the other hand, there's an exception to every rule, and I recently met a Scorpio who made quite an impression. I honestly can't believe I even take note of it, but the correlation has been so ridiculously accurate that I actually find out (if I can) what a girl's sign is just to see if it still rings true. It usually does.

Much like my post about music, this is something I'd really like to expand on further, but there really aren't good words for it. Kissing is about emotion, passion, and sensations that, while one can attempt to describe them, really just don't quite fit right into the English language. You just know it when you feel it. Anyone else care to try?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Non Negotiables -- Part 1

Last night, someone asked me (hi! It was fun :-)) what my non negotiables are in a relationship -- you know, those things that are vital to you, the absolute must-haves in a person you date. After pondering for a minute, I came up with the one I think is the most important to a good partnership (but there are a few others, hence the "Part 1" in the title):

She's got to be able to argue productively.

I mean, you can't have a long term relationship with absolutely no conflict. People don't always agree, and if they did, it would be boooo-ring. There are some couples out there that never argue, but every one I've known has broken up at some point, usually out of the blue -- the relationship just can't handle the strain of so much repressed emotion. I mean, let's face it, you just can't be on the same page all the time. While it may be ideal, it's not a realistic expectation.

I'm not advocating expressing and arguing about every little percieved slight, either. Nobody's perfect, people make mistakes, and some things are better off if you just let them go. You've got to pick and choose your battles (hey, could I have used any more cliches in the last few sentences? Yeah, didn't think so). But when something is really a big deal to one or the other of you, I think it's pretty vital to get it out in the open and deal with it.

So what do I consider to be "productive" arguing? Well, there are a few key points.

Stick to the subject -- The past is the past, and the discussion you're having now is the present. They're two different things. Unless the disagreement is on a set pattern you have that you've discussed before, there's absolutely no reason to bring past arguments or slights into the conversation. So leave out the stuff about how he forgot your anniversary or that she was flirting with a guy at that happy hour last month. It has no bearing on what's important right now, and hopefully you've already resolved those issues.

Don't play dirty -- Every once in a while, we all blurt out something that's not the nicest when the heat is on. You know, that thing you said that really served no purpose except to evoke an emotional reaction or hurt someone's feelings. When you're upset, it's really easy to lash out with a "you're just like your mother," or "if you really loved me..." Keep it to a minimum. Obviously we aren't always in control, and we can't eliminate this kind of thing completely, but the less of it you do, the better. If your partner slips and you're on the recieving end of this type of comment, recognize it for what it is, ignore it, and stay on topic. Fighting back with a similar barb will do nothing but prolong the argument and hurt your partner.

Remember you're on the same team -- A good relationship is pretty clearly "us against the world," not "you against me." If you're fighting, it's because you both want the same thing -- to be happy together. You're simply disagreeing on how best to do that. Your partner is not the enemy, but someone you care about enough to deal with a little unpleasantness in hopes of having a relationship that works better for both of you. In the long run, a good disagreement will improve the way you interact with each other. So try not to be adversarial. If you resolve the conflict together, you both win, and if you don't, you both lose. You're allies, and you love (or if you're not there yet, really like) each other.

Have the right goals -- All too often, arguing couples think that the goal is to win. That you're wrong and I'm right and you need to agree with me. What you really want is to thoroughly understand each other's positions and come to some sort of resolution that works for both of you with the least unpleasantness possible. The faster you get from point A (I'm upset) to point B (I really understand your position, you understand mine, and we're cool again) the better. Sometimes the resolution is "I see what you're saying and I was wrong. I'm sorry it hurt you and I'll watch out for this type of thing in the future." On the other hand, sometimes it's "we disagree on this, but it's cool. We can agree to disagree and we still love each other anyway." Like I said before, if anyone truly wins an argument, it's both of you. You now have a better understanding of each other and what's important to the relationship.

Be clear about how you feel and what you want -- Don't get upset and give the other person the silent treatment. Don't do the "nothing's wrong" and sulk. Make sure the other person knows exactly what's going on. I'm a big fan of "here's what happened, here's how it made me feel, and here's why it's unacceptable to me." There's nothing worse than trying to figure out where you screwed up and trying to make amends without knowing what you're making amends for. Get things out in the open, try to put yourself in the other person's head, and make sure they have enough information to get into yours. This is HUGE to keeping conflicts short and sweet.

Don't hold a grudge -- Once you've come to some sort of understanding, you're done. It's not cool to leave someone in the doghouse when they've made a genuine effort to make things right. If you need a minute to collect yourself, that's fine, but when an argument is over, it's OVER. That's the end. It doesn't come up again later (unless the same offense is committed again) and you don't sulk for the next few hours. It's just not fair to your partner.

Kiss and make up -- It's important to reconnect and reconfirm your good feelings for each other, and make-up sex is some of the best there is. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


...somehow I don't think this online dating site would attract the type of woman I like.

I mean, I'm pretty damn cute, and like most guys, am quite a fan of attractive women, but I have yet to meet an INTERESTING person who's number one trait is their looks. Not to mention, we get old, and old gets ugly. Personality, on the other hand, doesn't degrade over time.

What is this world coming to?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Only Thing I Didn't Get For Christmas

Nobody's perfect, and I wouldn't want to date anyone who thought she was. Who would I want to date? Well, in a perfect world, she'd probably be a lot like this.

The right girl for me is strong, independent, and self-assured. Although she's perfectly capable of opening jars/reaching objects on the top shelf/killing spiders/assembling that dresser she just bought at Ikea, she asks me for help with these types of things because she knows it makes me feel like a big strong protector who's taking good care of her, and she likes to be taken care of. In return, I'll happily open/reach/kill/assemble and pretend she actually needs my help, without acting like she's incompetent... and I'll probably kiss her when I'm done.

She groans and rolls her eyes when I drop an awful pun or cheesy joke, but secretly thinks it's the cutest thing. Most of the time, she's a little kid in a grown-up's body -- she gets excited over things like putt-putt and roller coasters, and thinks making a pillow fort or a snowman would be an excellent way to spend a day. Tickle fights and play wrestling are common occurences. She loves playful teasing, flirting, and witty banter and can give as good as she gets. On the other hand, she's quite a fan of more... ahem... adult pursuits. She's a ridiculously good kisser who's comfortable enough in her own skin to be an adventurous and talented lover, and laughs in the bedroom. She loves romantic surprises, but knows that if they happen too often they lose their excitement.

She loves (like really really loves) music of all flavors and dances in her underwear when she thinks nobody's watching. Her iPod is her best friend. She knows how to throw down on occasion, but is past the "party all the time" stage, and wants more out life than getting drunk and making out in "da club." She'll pull over to help a turtle cross the road without getting run over, and her exterminator knows better than to put out lethal mousetraps. She loves dogs, but doesn't have one because she's not home enough to give it the attention it needs and deserves (or does have one because she is). She likes dinner parties with a few friends, can pick out a great cabernet, and makes killer lasagna, but thinks it's more fun to cook something together, cause I'm a pretty badass cook myself. She's a giver, but so am I, and she sees the fact that it's mutual as a major plus.

She's cute most of the time, drop dead sexy at others, and I think she's always gorgeous, although not necessarily in the most traditional style. She probably hates the gym as much as I do, but goes anyway to stay in shape because she'd hate needing her own zip code even more. She's more of a jeans and t-shirt girl who cleans up well when the need arises. She's geographically desirable -- either she lives in the Tyson's/Reston/Herndon/Chantilly/Ashburn/Sterling/
Loudoun/Dulles region or she's willing to share the burden of making the trip back and forth relatively equally. She likes to spoon and sleeps better in my arms than out of them, but knows that it's better to both have lives than to try to spend every night that way. She's a social butterfly, fits in well with most groups, and has a wide range of friends.

She believes in sleeping in on Saturdays, doing the right thing, and that a good relationship can last forever with proper care and feeding. She knows a great guy when she finds him and treats him like the best thing that ever happened to her, because he just might be. She believes there's three parties in a relationship -- you, me, and us -- and makes the "us" a priority. She knows that nothing is perfect and good things take work, but thinks we're worth it. She'd like to get married one day, but only wants to do it once, and sees kids somewhere down the road, although not in the immediate future. In other words, she's a good wholesome girl with a naughty streak, and she's ready to date someone with the possibility of a future together.

Now, obviously, it takes months to years to learn all these things about a person, and I don't want or expect to know if someone's right on the first date. On the other hand, it's pretty easy to see if someone's NOT the right person. Sometimes it seems like single girls with this kind of potential are an endangered species. Do they really exist?

Oh, one more thing: if she's reading this, she knows my email is in my blogger profile, knows how to send one, and isn't opposed to drinks with a stranger who happens to have a great blog. ;-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Give Me a First Date...

So you're popular. You get (or give out) a lot of phone numbers. You date a lot. In fact, you have coffee with a new potential romantic prospect once or twice a week, but strangely enough, things never seem to go any farther. There just never seems to be that magical spark that makes you want to do all sorts of naughty things to them. Why? Well, it's probably because you're doing the wrong things.

The "Coffee Date" has pretty much become the standard first date, at least in this area among the people I know. Guys love it because it's cheap, and everyone loves that it's low pressure and open ended. If you're having a great time, coffee can easily be extended, and if you're not, you can down your mocha-frappa-pumpkin-pie-latte-whatever and get the hell outta there.

Sounds perfect, right? NO FRIGGIN' WAY!!! I wouldn't be caught dead on a coffee date. It's probably got about a 0.03% success rate. I mean, hello? It's boring! And as much as its advocates swear otherwise, I personally think it's too high pressure. I mean, picture it -- form an image in your mind here. You're sitting at a table, in a brightly lit room, in the middle of the afternoon, staring down a stranger and trying to think of something to talk about. When the conversation starts, most likely it's all "what do you do," "where do you live," and "so what do you do for fun?" That's a job interview, not a date. I don't think there's a single environment where you're more guaranteed NOT to have chemistry. Ok, maybe there is, but I don't usually pick up girls in funeral homes or the intensive care wing of the hospital.

The whole point of a first date, as I mentioned here, is to figure out if this is someone you'd like to spend time with. See if you click. What makes it happen? Well, first of all, you have fun together. That's my biggest requirement. A first date should be spent laughing, flirting, teasing, horsing around, and having the time of your life. So the best first dates, in my opinion, are activities that are actually fun, and spark the kind of vibes that make flirting and playing easy. I hate to say this, gentlemen, but you may actually have to get creative. Show her how you like to have fun.

I aim this at the guys simply because of the basic differences between the masculine and femine roles in a relationship. While I don't believe that a woman's place is in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, I do think that women love a guy who can take charge. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love a confident, independent, assertive woman, and I wouldn't date a girl who isn't all of those things, but I'm planning the first few dates. That's my job. I know how and when to take charge. Being a man means never saying "I dunno, what do you want to do?"

I always have a main plan and a plan B. That way, I can say "let's get together -- here's what I'm thinking," and if it's not her cup of tea, I've got a backup plan, but I'm still leading the interaction, and I know we'll end up doing something where I'll have fun, whether I like her or not.

So next time you're setting up a date, do something interesting. Play pool, sing karaoke, rock the putt-putt, hit a batting cage. Have a drink scavenger hunt -- make a list of favorite drinks together and great bars that are close to each other geographically, then hit each bar for one drink on the list. Check out the Air & Space museum. Walk the monuments at midnight (they're open all night). Get a picture of yourselves at several different local landmarks (or get on the metro and snap a shot at every stop on the line). Go to the Church of Scientology and take their personality test together (but don't join the cult... that would be a turnoff). Just please, for the love of god, be creative. The better an event you plan, the more fun you're likely to have, and the more fun you have, the better the chances you hit it off and get that second date.

P.S. -- My absolute favorite date is cooking something together with a great bottle of red wine, but it's usually better left for the second date, third, or beyond. Ever made sushi? Awesome.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Do You Hear What I Hear?

As a guitar player, singer, songwriter, and general sound junkie, music is very tightly intertwined with who I am and how I define myself. There are hundreds of songs for every mood, and simply hearing certain records can bring up vivid memories of past moments in time, complete with the emotions, scents, sights, and sensations that were originally there. The right piece can change your mood, provide insight into a situation that's troubling you, or make a great experience an unforgettable one.

And dammit, music is sexy.

I mean obviously, everyone has some understanding of its erotic potential, or Barry White wouldn't have a career. But the people who really get it, who dig deep and explore how different and unexpected types of music can change a romantic or sexual experience, have exponentially better sex lives full of undiscovered emotional nuance that those who dabble will only ever scratch the surface of. The best sonic works inject an explosive power, almost a third entity, into a tryst... a passion that can completely take over both parties. It almost reminds me of the difference between the black & white and color worlds in The Wizard of Oz.

So I'd like to discuss some of my favorite off-the-beaten-mattress sexy music. But first, let me give you a little bit of context. I'm into slow, powerful, sometimes subtle foreplay that builds anticipation until the top blows off. I enjoy exploring every inch of a woman's body, from the gentle contours of her ankles to the soft undersides of her breasts to that spot behind her ears where neck meets her jawline. I like to softly graze sensitive areas, hint at what's coming, and make good on my implied promises when you almost can't handle any more teasing. And yes ladies, I love to travel south. Most of the music I like during romantic liasons tends to enhance that vibe, although obviously, that's not always the mood I'm going for. So here comes LMNt's top several audio-sexual choices.

Fiona Apple, Tidal -- With her powerful, sultry voice, this whole album absolutely drips with sensuality. She is VERY aware of her sexuality, and manipulates it to the fullest in her voice. Seriously, if you've never played this one in bed, you've probably never lived.

A Perfect Circle, Mer de Noms & Chevelle, Wonder What's Next -- These two have similar feels. They're very loud and aggressive, but tantalizing. They don't give it to you all at once. They slowly let it build and back off when you think the big part's coming. The juxtaposition of heavy instrumentalism with slow, teasing vocals make the anticipation almost uncontrollable. This is great for hair pulling, neck biting, rhythmic, primal sex, where you slowly work each other into a frenzy.

House, Trance, or Electronica, pretty much any decent stuff -- This whole genre of music is all about manipulating and exploiting strong emotions. I can't really put into words the kind of effects they can have, because they're so varied. Any type of atmosphere you're in the mood for, there's an album that will make it stronger and sexier. Promise.

Depeche Mode, Violator -- Late 80s/Early 90s dance club alterna-techno-pop. Pounding, rhythmic bass, ethereal vocal stylings, REALLY gets me in the going. This is, again, great for animalistic passion.

Crowded House, "Fall At Your Feet" & "All I Ask" -- Very romantic. Perfect for slow dancing by candlelight, drinking champagne, and deep emotional lovemaking. If you've ever dreamed of doing it in a bed sprinkled with rose petals, this is the one for you.

Death Cab for Cutie, The Photo Album and Something About Airplanes -- I don't really have much to say here, because I'm not sure what it is about these that seems to work so well. You'll just have to try it.

Enya, Shepard Moons & Watermark -- I know, I'm actually saying good things about Enya. I checked, and my balls are still attached. But try one of these in a new context sometime. You'll thank me.

REM "Turn You Inside-Out" -- Ok, so REM is not sexy... most of the time. This particular song though, off their '88 album Green, is like REM on ecstasy. There's a powerful sexuality and dominant control vibe that really will turn you inside out.

And finally, my #1 sex album of all time is Buckethead, Colma -- this is not your average, heavy Buckethead album. Instead, it's a calming, ethereal, sonic landscape that's a mix of jazz, rock, and even flamenco. It's kind of an ambient, atmospheric thing that really makes you forget everything that may have been in your mind before you started playing it.

I really wish I could tell you more about these and why they mean so much to me (and I could probably keep writing this list for the next ten years), but music is all about emotion. Trying to explain the vibe these things create is a lot like trying to tell a blind man what blue looks like. There just aren't words for it. Hopefully, you'll check some of them out yourself and experience what I'm talking about. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section -- I always love to discover new stuff.

Oh, and if you choose to throw one of these albums on for your next romantic interlude, make sure you put the disc (or iPod or whatever) on repeat -- with the passion this stuff inspires, you'll most likely be going longer than the disc is, and losing the music mid-coitus is a bummer.

Btw, this post had an inspiration. Here's the credit where it's due. Thanks for starting this train of thought.

Random notes:

Had another First Phone Call last night, and this one was almost as good as the last was bad. She's not perfect, but definitely interesting, and I'm looking forward to the date we set up. I'll keep you informed.

Also, let's have a moment of silence for KathrynOn and Circle V. Today was a very bad day for DC Blogs.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Too Nice or Not Nice Enough?

Let's talk about the dreaded "Nice Guy Syndrome". This is something I've been fascinated with for quite a while, and I don't have the standard misogynistic "you have to be an asshole" take on the subject that seems to be plastered all over the internet.

You see, I am a nice guy, and I'm proud of it. I'm also pretty darn successful in the dating department. The keys to being both, my friends, are two things: self respect, and a genuine interest in getting to know what makes a girl unique. When you have both, and can incorporate them into your dating life, you magically become that "really great guy" that almost every single woman is looking for. Let's look at a couple common dating situations and how both of these gentlemen handle them.

Seeing a pretty girl:

The NiceGuy admires her from afar. He doesn't want to approach a stranger, because he doesn't want to offend her, and he's afraid of being percieved as his archnemesis The AssholePlayaGuy. So what does he do? If they have friends in common, he wrangles an introduction, fawns over her, and hopes she'll be impressed by his niceness. What she sees is a pathetic man who throws himself at her without having the guts to make a move, who knows little to nothing about who she really is, yet has already decided they're perfect for each other without giving her any reasons to believe that herself. If they don't have a mutual contact, he stares at her for extended periods of time, earning himself the title among her friends of "That Creepy Guy Who's Been Checking You Out All Night". In other words, no matter which course of action he takes, The NiceGuy is creepy, and doesn't get a date, although he does occasionally luck out with his female equivalent.

The GreatGuy, on the other hand, understands that not everyone is perfect for him, and has enough going on in his life that he doesn't need to date or hookup with someone who's not a good option. Because he thinks she's attractive and he wants to see if they'd be a good match, he has a genuine interest in learning what makes her different. The self-respect gives him perspective -- if she's not interested, it doesn't mean he's a bad guy. He may not be her type, she may be having a bad day, she may have a boyfriend, etc etc etc. On the other hand, he agrees with Hitch that "no woman wakes up saying 'God, I hope I don't get swept off my feet today!'" So he approaches, keeps it low pressure, starts a fun, casual conversation, and tries to learn enough about her to decide if he'd like a date. If he does, and she seems interested as well, he'll get her number and they'll make plans to see each other again. By being confident, fun, and discerning, he doesn't immediately demonstrate (as The NiceGuy does) that he's not good enough for her. He has something to offer and she usually wants to know more.

The First Date:

The NiceGuy shows up with flowers, tells her several times how gorgeous she is, and spends the date discussing his plans for their future. What he doesn't realize is that he's objectifying her just as much as if he came to use her for sex. He (still) knows virtually nothing about her. He doesn't really know if she deserves this kind of treatment, yet he's already decided he wants to be with her because she's a woman and because of her looks. He's sacrificing himself on the altar of her beauty. At the end of the date, if he managed to find his balls before he presented them to her on a silver platter, he goes in for a kiss, and most likely gets the infamous cheek turn. He goes home and beats himself up for "screwing it up" with such a great girl. He just doesn't get it.

The GreatGuy is polite, upbeat, and happy. He shows up on time, tells her she looks great (once, because he probably at one point in his life was The NiceGuy and knows better than to prostrate himself), opens doors, and picks up the tab. He spends the evening alternating between learning more about her and sharing information about himself, because he knows that if she's a great girl, she's interested in learning about him and still deciding if they're a good fit, too. Because he's still making up his mind, he hasn't put a lot of pressure on himself. Since he's not nervous, he flirts well, and the sparks probably fly. If he likes her, he's open to whatever may happen -- he'll definitely kiss her at some point because that's the best way to tell if she likes him too, and he's not going to think she's a slut if the chemistry explodes and they end up in bed together. He's not going to take it as a negative if they don't either, because different people have different speeds, and she may still be deciding. He's a great guy, so there's no doubt in his mind about what decision she'll come to in the end. As long as she kisses him back and he has a good time, he sees potential and will call for a second date.

I'd give more examples here, but sadly, this is usually where the story ends for The NiceGuy. For The GreatGuy, on the other hand, it's usually just the beginning, if he wants it to be.

No woman wants to date an asshole, and no asshole will be able to snare a great girl for the long term, because eventually she'll see him for what he is. They don't want a pussy either, though, and that is why the "nice guys" have a hard time. The really great guy, being a rare find and an awesome significant other, will have all the choice he ever wants with the right women, just as great girls have all the choice they want in men. And honestly, that's how it should be.

Just a little insight into my dating philosophy. Right? Wrong? I'd love to hear comments from the girls here (guys, feel free to chime in, too), but this is what has always worked for me.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What Not To Wear... umm, I mean "say"

I had a very interesting phone conversation last night with an internet girl. This was the big First Phone Call, and lasted about 20 minutes. I'm usually pretty good at these -- I banter well and tend to draw people out of their shell relatively easily. Most First Phone Calls with LMNt flow... easy, fun conversations where we feel like we've known each other a while already.

This one, however, was different.

First of all, she gave me almost nothing to work with. Very short answers and little input in the direction of the conversation. Okay, no biggie. I did my usual thing, flirted a little bit, and she opened right up. Which is when things got really interesting.

Ladies of the internet world, I'd like to take this opportunity to offer a few tips on dealing with potential dates. When you're just getting to know someone new, you should make every effort to highlight the positive and minimize the negative. Granted, if we're going to date, the negative things will come out in time, and the best partnerships are the ones where you know each other intimately, good and bad, your strengths compliment their weaknesses and vice versa. But don't throw out all the weaknesses right up front. I don't have enough good vibes about you to counterbalance a wealth of negative ones. Instead of starting out with "I bite my nails," or "my battle to quit smoking is the bane of my existence," I'm going to tell you stories about the good times I've had with my friends, say you're fiesty and I like that, and get those good vibes rolling. Once we're hooked on each other, my less impressive traits will come out at a slow trickle, but never enough to even come close to overwhelming the positive feelings you've begun to associate with me.

So here's a list of actual examples from last night's phone call you may want to stay away from:

1) Please don't tell me in our first conversation how much you make. I don't care, and while that will probably come up in time, I'm not telling you how much I make. I'd like to think you are cautious enough to keep that information to yourself.

2) After telling me exactly how much you make hourly and exactly how many hours you work (including overtime), please refrain from saying "yeah, so I make $XXX a month and my bills come to $YYY (which is $XXX + 20%) a month."

3) Don't tell me you have a problem with large amounts of "unsecured debt" and then explain to me like I'm a moron that it means credit cards.

4) After painting me a vivid picture of (exactly) how far beyond broke you are, if you tell me how you go out drinking and play poker once a week, you went snowboarding last weekend, and you'll never NOT have cable, don't expect me to be too enthusiastic about meeting up. Yes, I like to have fun and enjoy life, but I also like to live within my means. Spending money you don't have on non-essentials and extravagances when you're already in debt is retarded, and I don't date retards. Sorry.

5) If you tell me "I always seem to date losers who don't have jobs and take advantage of me or guys with chemical imbalances who are pretty crazy and don't take their medication," I'm going to wonder what's wrong with you that attracts these men, and what's wrong with your judgement to date them, even though I have the tact not to say it out loud.

6) That massive "unsecured debt" is because you dated the wrong guy who fucked your finances? Well, it's not completely unheard of, but it is a BIG RED FLAG. Thanks.

7) Your sister attracts the same types of men? And your mom distrusts your taste so much that she "practically runs a credit check on any guy I date now"?? Wow, count me in! (This, my friends, is sarcasm)

8) If you tell me that you've gone on dates with rich guys and they're all boring, but the losers seem so much more interesting and fun at first, I'm going to wonder why you've recognized this pattern but haven't attempted to change it.

9) Your apartment has two doors that have been knocked off their hinges and three holes in the walls because you date the wrong guys? Man, wonder how you're gonna pay those charges when you move out (see aforementioned financial situation).

10) Don't tell me you just spent 4 hours on myspace. I'm a grown-up. That's juvenile.

11) If your myspace page is private and only your approved friends can view it, it's probably best to keep the reasons to yourself instead of telling me about the psycho stalker guy. My life is awesome -- I'd like to keep it for a while. Which usually means not dating girls who have jealous psycho stalker guys hanging around.

12) Please refrain from explaining to me how you like to work guys you're not interested in for free drinks. I understand you're broke, but it makes you sound manipulative and dishonest, which, surprisingly, are not traits I personally find desirable.

13) If you're busy being mommy 4 nights a week and you have a weekly event on the one night you can wrangle babysitting, you don't have time to date. I'm not giving up a weekend night for someone I don't know who may very well end up being an awful date (which is appearing more and more certain as this conversation goes on). You've got to earn those.

14) That story about how you went on vacation with your 4 year old and have pictures of the two of you taking shots together in a bar which is sooo cute b/c his shots were Sprite? Has Child Protective Services seen those?

15) And finally, (not because there's not more, but because 15 is probably enough for now) don't tell me that your son is the most important thing in the world when everything else you've told me about (see numbers 1-14) demonstrates that you're doing everything in your power NOT to set him up for success in life. I pity the girls he dates when he gets older.

Obviously, she shouldn't hold her breath for another call from me. Where do these people come from?

Unrelated Notes:

Got the picture thing fixed, and although my main pic is now the one I find the most unattractive, I still got winked at (albeit from a girl in Delaware) within 2 hours of posting it (oh, and she was pretty hot). Sent out three emails last night -- since this subject was discussed so thoroughly yesterday, I'll mention that one girl was "Slender," one was "Athletic and Toned" (but from her pictures appeared to actually be that way), and one was "About Average". They were all quite attractive, although in different ways. I'll keep you up to date.

Oh, and Kathryn is my new best friend. Thank you, gorgeous. I owe you tasty adult beverages.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Word or Two on Honesty (Eye Candy Alert for the Ladies)

Ok, so as I've mentioned, I go to the gym three times a week. I'm in pretty decent shape -- not like an underwear model or anything, but I'm 5'10" and 160 lbs. I have about 13% body fat, which means I'm built a good deal like this guy:

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I don't have abs; I have a little, tiny, only-visible-with-my-shirt-off-and-women-tell-me-it's-adorable mini-gut. With a shirt on, I look pretty much exactly like the guy in the picture. I don't consider that to be "Athletic and Toned," but more like "About Average". When I think "Athletic and Toned," I think RIPPED. Nice abs, big pecs... pretty darn muscular. Something like this nice gentleman:

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That's not me. Keeping the physique I have now is enough of a challenge with my schedule that it probably won't ever be. So I have myself listed as "About Average" in online dating world. In the part where I specify who I'm looking for, I've listed "Slender," "About Average," "A Few Extra Pounds," "Athletic and Toned," or "Curvy" to all be acceptable sizes for me (and by "Curvy" I generally mean multiple curves -- a standard womanly figure, not what is sometimes referred to as a "BBW," which is quite often "Big," but rarely "Beautiful" when used as self-description).

The problem lies in how "Athletic and Toned" seems to be interpreted by women online. Apparently in internetland, it can be used to describe anything from this:

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to this:

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And since it apparently can mean anything from "a sandwich? What's that? Never heard of it" to "I looked at a treadmill once and I think I've figured out how it works" to them, of course the only acceptable option for a potential partner is "Athletic and Toned". This means that yours truly, honest guy that I am, won't come up in any of their searches, when I'd probably be quite acceptable (and maybe even hot) to most of them.

Here's what I think is missing: realism and realistic expectations. "Athletic and Toned" for a woman is something like Kim Lyons, the trainer from The Biggest Loser:

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As a woman, if you're not in that kind of shape, but you work out on a regular basis, you probably fall under "Slender," "Curvy," or "About Average". And that's fine -- you can be totally gorgeous and fit into those categories. But be honest about it.

In other news, it's probably not a good idea to limit your options only to one category in a significant other. Some of the men you're looking for may be equally honest. At the same time, if you're the "I did a pushup two months ago and those beer lifts I do every couple of days are a great workout for my biceps" type of "Athletic and Toned," maybe it's not in the cards for you to expect a man who practically lives in the gym and is built like Arnold in his prime to want to date you. I'm not trying to insult anyone here, but realistic expectations can make a world of difference in one's dating life.

Can anyone give me a female perspective here?

In other news...

I'm pretty grumpy right now at my online dating service of choice. You see, I've uploaded somewhere north of ten pictures with them. They're all pretty clear pictures, show my face, and look pretty good. That said, NOT A SINGLE ONE has been approved as a main profile picture somehow. They can all be used in my profile as extra pics, though. I really don't understand why, because they're good quality, good size, and good looking, so I'm very frustrated. GRRRRR!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

They're ALL My Soulmates

So you're looking for someone who's smart, attractive, funny, caring, athletic, sweet, witty, down-to-earth, adventurous, and confident? Wow, what an amazing coincidence -- me too! And you're all those things as well? I gotta tell you, I'm pretty excited that everyone on here seems to be perfect for me.

In fact, all these women tell me how they're "equally comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt or a little black coctail dress," they "love to laugh," and their "friends put [them] up to this". They like movies, music, and travel, and they're looking for a "partner in crime". They "love to go out, but enjoy a good night in, too." And, like me, they're "tired of the bar scene".

I'm a huge fan of girls who have "alot" of friends, love "they're" pets so much they put seventeen photos of them in their profiles, and take so much pride in assuring me that "your definately not gong to be disepointed!" And on the subject of pictures, it's soooo cute that every one of yours is with the same 8 girlfriends and you're all out double-fisting it at the club. Pulling you away from that clique and hanging out sober won't be any problem at all. The fact that you have 12 microscopic pics of your face and none that show anything below the neck? Adorable. I don't really need to know what you look like. I mean, just because I torture myself at the gym three times a week doesn't mean I care what kind of shape you're in. To be honest, I totally lust after "curvy" girls... especially now that I know that it means one large, round curve. Maybe I should edit my profile to point out that I have one visible (albeit slightly round and not 100% muscle) ab.

That half-picture you cut your ex-boyfriend out of really shows me how much fun you'll be in a relationship. I'm especially looking forward to fulfilling my secret Tammy Faye Baker fantasy, but you'll need to recreate the look you've got in the glamour shot from the mall you're using as your main pic -- HOTT!!! The ones from your webcam where you don't seem to be wearing any clothes? That's exactly what I'm looking for in a girl... let's meet. Great tattoo, btw. And of course, I'm especially fond of the beautiful sunrise and scenery pictures you took with no people in them. You've got talent.

To LonelyHearted47 from Iowa who's 20 years older than me and wrote me to tell me how perfect I am, I'm working on that plane ticket and I'll see you soon. I'm already in love with you, too.

Ukraine4U, of course I'll marry you and help you come to the states. You are my soulmate, after all.

Oh, and BustyBecky6969 -- I found the "racier pics I can't post here" on your geocities site, and I put in my credit card number, but I can't seem to find your phone number on the last page like you said? Call me. I'm not sure what NSA means, but I'm sure we'll have lots of fun together.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dr Prologue...

Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Internet

So where do I look?

Well, I'm over the "party all the time" thing. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I don't like to hang out at clubs, and I really only hit bars these days for the occasional happy hour. In the course of my regular daily life? That'd be great, but public places in my little corner of civilization are pretty lean pickins most of the time. I've met girls pretty much everywhere before, but for the most part, clubs attract people with different goals and lifestyles than mine these days, and I'd meet one girl every six months in the grocery store, in a good year. Oh, and work? Completely out of the question.

So I've turned to another resource I've used successfully in the past -- the good ole internets (i.e. zany blog-fodder generator extraodinaire). If the past is any indicator, I doubt it's the only place I'll meet new prospects, but where I think I'll focus for now. I'm keeping it low key -- no need to go on 6 coffee-interviews a week (interesting reading that would be though, huh?). I'm looking for quality over quantity, and it's hard to dig deep enough to find that when you're rushed and/or juggling 12 different email contacts simultaneously.

I think that brings you up to speed.

Getting to Know You

First post of my first blogging attempt. What am I doing here? Let's start with some background:

I've had a few really amazing relationships. I've had a few terrible ones. I've done the casual dating thing, and I've done serious. I'm a pretty decent looking guy, and I'm a hell of a catch. At the risk of sounding like a braggart, I'll say that I'm pretty much never at a loss for a date.

When 2006 rolled in, I thought there'd be a rock on my girlfriend's finger by the next time the ball dropped in Times Square. Unfortunately, that's not quite how it worked out. I'd never met a woman like her, and when it ended early this year, I wondered if I ever would again. There are no hard feelings there -- no one did anything wrong -- just a classic case of bad timing and different goals for the near future. But it did create a problem... I'd had a taste of what a true companion, that cliched idea of the best friend, lover, and partner in life, was. And one taste turned me into a junkie.

Since then, I've met and dated some great girls, but nothing with the potential to turn into the relationship that I want. After a lot of careful consideration, I've decided to find one. To make it my main focus. And, via this blog, to invite any interested specators along for the ride. I don't want to get married tomorrow. Hell, I don't even know if I ever want to get married. What I want is to find buried treasure -- a girl so perfect for me that she makes me want a future together. It's not going to be easy, and it's not going to be quick, but it will happen. I won't stop looking until it does.

So this is (yet another) dating blog. Enjoy.