Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holding Out Hope for Handsome Honey

Handsome Honey is still around. And I *hope* it stays that way. Still, I hate to say it, but it's not looking good.

While we started off great with that 7-hour initial phone conversation, we've since diminished into talking on the phone maybe once a week, with an occasional text message in between.

I tried to write it off the last few weeks as him being busy. Finishing up final exams for his classes, demolishing and re-building his home, work commitments, etc. But let's face it: No one is that busy. And that's becoming more and more apparent now that he's on winter break from school and no longer has that excuse.

Don't get me wrong, I do like HH. Very much so. But we rarely talk at this point, so my interest is waning. I refuse to be the only one reaching out, so I'm basically just waiting to see if/when he calls me. The last time I saw him was the Sunday before Christmas. Then he texted me on Christmas day to wish me a happy holiday. I returned to town on the Sunday after Christmas after a visit with my family out of state and that evening, I received a text message from HH, asking when I'd be back in town. "I am back" was my reply. He replied soon after that, sounding annoyed that I hadn't let him know my whereabouts, saying he wanted to go to dinner with me that night.

But if you really wanted to take me to dinner, would you have waited until 7 p.m. that day to ask me? Really? Not to mention that we hadn't had an actual conversation in a week.

Nonetheless, I keep reminding myself that this isn't necessarily a dealbreaker if -- and that's a big IF -- he gets it together. If he doesn't, I will have to assume he's just not that into me and move on.

Meanwhile, Mr. Serious has thrown his hat back into the ring, and there's a new guy from my hometown who we'll refer to as Home Boy. He's headed to town this evening to have drinks with me. Never a dull moment for FabFem. More on that later.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My DC Snowpocolyse Survival Story

I don't know why and I don't know who, but *someone* cleared the mountain of snow from atop my car after the DC Snowpocolyse this weekend.

We got nearly two feet of snow. It literally snowed for more than 24 hours straight. I watched from my window as my car disappeared beneath the snow, and I began to wish I still lived in a former apartment building where an overly friendly neighbor routinely cleared snow from my car.

As it snowed, I realized I'd be clearing the snow myself this time -- or so I thought. When I looked out the window again at nearly 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, my mouth dropped: My car had NO snow on it. I rushed outside to ask the few people out shoveling if they knew who had been nice enough to clean my car off. No one knew. It was an angel, I surmised, and I thank him or her wholeheartedly.

I still had work to do, though. The plow had my car trapped something awful with snow piled as high as its hood, and it took an hour's worth of shoveling just to dig myself out. And you know how I hate manual labor.

Still, I knew someone had done me a huge favor, so when I heard a friend needed a shovel to dig her own car out, I headed to her place next to help her dig out.

About an hour later, her car was freed and I headed home ... To rest my aching back.

TALK BACK: Were you snowed in this weekend? What did you do to pass the time?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Gift Giving for the Man in Your Life

It's been a long while since there was a guy around who I actually wanted to buy a Christmas gift for.

Handsome Honey has changed that. We've been seeing each other just over a month, and not getting him something just doesn't feel right.

Nearly two weeks ago, HH surprised me with a very cute pair of nice heels. Not stripper heels, not ugly shoes, but fly heels that I know I'll rock. He has great taste! I'm not sure if the shoes are my Christmas gift, or if something else is coming, but either way, I know he deserves a good gift.

Thus the search began in my mind for the right Christmas gift. What could I get him without doing too much, given that we haven't been seeing each other that long? I wanted my gift to be thoughtful, but not overdone. And I didn't want to get him something useless, since he seems to have everything he might want/need already.

So I settled on two things: a bottle of his favorite cologne and a giftcard from Home Depot. Why? Because HH is in the midst of a major home renovation, so a giftcard to a home improvement store is something I know he'll appreciate and will put to good use.

It feels good to actually want to buy a guy a gift. And knowing it's something he'll enjoy is a bonus.

TALK BACK: What are you getting for Christmas for the man in your life? How did you settle on that gift?

This Text Message Won't Help You Get the Girl

If you're a guy who likes me, thinks you might like me, or have any interest in me whatsoever, sending me the following text message is probably a bad idea:

"If a fat man snatches u up & throws u in a bag, don't be afraid. It's just Santa collecting his hoes for Christmas. I'm texting you from the bag."

That's a message I received from Mr. Serious at about 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, the first I'd heard from him since Thanksgiving. A few seconds later, he sent another text: "Hello! Good morning!"

Really, dude?

Still recovering from my recent swine flu attack, I was easily annoyed by Mr. Serious's text. He interrupted my much needed bed rest for that?

Still, I guess it's not surprising for a guy whose Thanksgiving greeting to me (by text, of course, because they always text) was, "Happy Thanksgiving and shit." Classy, ain't he?

If I expressed my dismay at these messages to him directly, he would say I'm being stuck up, I'm sure. So rather than rock the boat, I just didn't reply at all to the Santa message he sent on Saturday. I mean seriously, WTF?!?

Now, don't get me wrong -- I think I have a good sense of humor. In fact, a guy who makes me laugh is one of the qualities I look for in men I date. But you also need to respect me. Mr. Serious clearly didn't think of that before he hit the send button.

TALK BACK: Has a guy ever sent you a text that was a total dealbreaker? What did it say?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Could Your 'Homepage' Face Scare Away Your Dream Guy?

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

Sometimes to amuse myself, I like to look at people's faces and wonder, or even make up, what might be on their minds.

I do it on the sneak tip, and I try not to linger. But I can't help but be interested in the way people "hold" their face when they are just going about their daily lives, not talking to anyone, just living while no one is noticing-- or so they think.

I call it the "homepage face." Simply put, it's just that general face you wear when you aren't running your mouth and more often than not the one you wear when you are all alone in public. You aren't smiling, yet you aren't scowling. You're just at, well, your homepage. It may be even better to call it a facial screensaver, because you pop right out of it when someone addresses you.  

Anyway, I've read that when it comes to dating or even in your professional life, what your face looks like when you think people aren't looking can say a lot about you and whether or not you are the kind of person folks want to deal with.

Even the annoying guy in the street who passes you saying, "Smile," might actually have a point. Sometimes.

When trying to get from point A to point B, we tend to put on a protective "don't approach me" face to rid ourselves of Mr. Undesirable-Pushy-Street guy. But are we possibly eliminating the kind of men we actually want in the process? Have you ever considered that Mr. Right might have been steps away, noticed you, got interested, but changed his mind once he observed your frosty encounter with Mr. Undesirable?

It's not far-fetched. I have close male friends (solid catches in their own rights), who say they tend to wait it out and observe a woman for a little while before they approach. If she's got a permanent stank grill, they immediately abort mission, regardless of how beautiful she is.
One day, I was walking down the street on my lunch break. I had on a great work-appropriate outfit, which accented my legs (heeeey) and for some reason, I couldn't ignore what a gorgeous day it was. The warmth of the sun, the flowers and the stately buildings surrounding me were commanding me to take notice and appreciate their beauty. 

TIMEOUT: It sounds sappy, but I was especially appreciative of that moment because at the time, misery was a regular companion. I was questioning myself workwise, and I had recently ended a rough relationship. TIME IN.

So, I walked into a fast food restaurant and ordered my lunch. I was patient and smiled and grabbed my food when it was my turn and rolled out. Now, I wasn't smiling like some idiot or skipping, but I was just naturally feeling pleasant. Apparently, my homepage reflected that.

I was taking the long way back to the office when a handsome, well-dressed man ran up behind me, begging my pardon. He startled me, but I stopped and noticed he was actually cute!

He gave the, "I'm not a stalker," disclaimer and told me he noticed me moments ago while standing in line ordering his food, too. (Well dressed, lunch break=has a job. Whoo hoo!) Then he apologized for sounding corny, but he said it seemed like I had some kind of glow. He continued that it was rather unusual to see a busy, professional woman seem so pleasant in the midst of a hungry mob and it didn't seem forced or fake. At first he said that he thought there was no way I could be that happy, but after watching me awhile, he had to meet me and see what I was really about.

Like my male friends, he obviously watched me for a good while to see if the stereotypical stank grill would surface. He was sizing me up once he realized he was physically attracted and followed up with observing how I carried myself.

I wasn't impatiently patting my foot, or huffing and puffing, or angrily looking at my watch or yacking on a cell phone or texting in line. I cracked a smile when placing and picking up my order, but still managed to not go to the default stank homepage face when I walked out. 

He was an engineer, never been married, no kids and ran marathons. A good catch. I just wasn't ready for anything at the time.

TALK BACK: Do you unconsciously keep a stank face when going about your daily business? And is it possible that your "homepage" face could scare away the men you actually want?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Representative Has Left the Building

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

Comedian Chris Rock once said that when we are initially dating, we are not our real selves, but instead we send our "representatives" out on the dates for us. This representative is kind of like the person we become on a job interview-- just with a lower cut blouse and higher heels--who help to make us look and sound good to help us seal the deal. (But at least on a date you can have a cocktail to calm your nerves.)

I know of people who are transitioning from their representatives to their real selves, and it's not only been a revelation to the people these folks are dating, but it's been a revelation of self when the mask comes off.

If you are fortunate enough to find someone special enough to let down your guard, it can be both a great relief, yet extremely scary. You've put in the work, you've snatched up the person of your dreams, the representative has done her job and now that she's left, it's just you and him. For real. So he knows that sometimes you are terribly forgetful or that you always leave the cap off of the toothpaste, and eek, he even knows you own a couple pairs of granny panties.

So my question is... are we liars out the gate? And do we adjust our bad habits or try to hide them according to the likes and dislikes of the people we like, in order to get them to stay?

I know women who started cooking more often because a guy they liked loved a home-cooked meal. But during a usual week, hidden cameras would probably catch them eating out breakfast, lunch and dinner, five out of seven days in the week.

"But I don't want him to think I'm not wife material," she says, trying to keep up the lie.  

I know men who aren't necessarily neat freaks and don't mind clutter as long as it's not pizza boxes and beer bottles piling up throughout the house, who find themselves scrambling to powerwash their entire homes because a neat freak gal they are interested in is stopping by in an hour to watch a movie.

"I don't want her to think I'm nasty," he says.

The prevailing theme in all these examples is fear. Folks are afraid of their faults, and folks are afraid that the people they've worked so hard to get to see them in a really great light will realize the gig is up, you are a fraud, leading them to walk out of your life forever. But a good question is, did these two misrepresent themselves in the first place? Or are they trying to adjust to what their significant other likes?

I don't like smoking.

But I even dated a smoker once who declined to share upfront that he was a smoker. He kept up the facade for a couple months before I confronted him about the pack of cigarettes I found in his car. Then he assured me that he only smoked when he went out for a drink or after a meal. I continued to date that person for a long time (I really liked him), yet I reminded him every so often (trying not to nag) about how smoking is a nasty, unhealthy habit, and I hoped he would give it up one day soon. To his credit, he constantly kept mints on hand, and he never smoked around me. Obviously, he wanted to keep me.  So I see how the other side works, too.

Believe it or not, smoking didn't end that relationship. Even though I didn't like his smoking, I liked him more. And he liked me enough to smoke on his porch when I visited (even in the winter). So was it fair of me to want him to quit? Was it fair of him to fight his urge after we've had a nice meal out, knowing he's trying to get through dessert while jonsing for a cig? Or were we both just making "reasonable" sacrifices to make it work?

TALK BACK: Will individual bad habits (we aren't talking drug abuse, porn addiction or other obvious bad, bad stuff here) eventually break a relationship? Or can people find a compromise? In other words, if you know it's something your partner struggles with, will you try to work past it as long as you see some effort on his end?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Deciding When to Have Sex With a New Guy

You're seeing a new guy and you hit it off really well. Soon, you're facing the age-old question: Is it too soon to have sex with him?

If you listen to comedian/self-proclaimed relationship expert Steve Harvey, a 90-day rule is the best approach. Give the guy a probationary period, Harvey advises in his book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Joan on the TV show Girlfriends had a similar rule--no sex before the three-month mark.

And on the VH1 reality show, Tough Love, last week--a show about teaching perpetually single women skills to help them develop healthy dating relationships--there was a brief discussion of how quickly to have sex with men you're dating. One contestant said she usually has sex by/on the first date. Not a good move, advised Tough Love host/matchmaker Steven Ward. 

I asked three guys about this topic--one single, one engaged, and one married man. The overall consensus? Men know after a conversation or two whether a woman is, in their eyes, girlfriend material or a potential jumpoff. And there's not much, if anything, that a woman can do to change that.

Wow, ladies, definitely something to keep in mind.

Engaged Guy says, "It's always going to come down to who a woman actually is and how she carries herself." In other words, the guy feels you out and knows whether you have the potential to be his girlfriend before you even know he's doing it. (READ: So don't waste your time on a guy who is just not that into you.)

Single Guy says that a woman who has sex very early on after meeting a man could still be girlfriend material. And, he says, the quality of sex matters, too. "The girl could be boring in bed," he says, "and that could ruin everything." (READ: So make sure that when you do have sex that you're actually into it--because if you're not, the guy may lose interest anyway.)

Married Guy says he's in favor of some sort of timetable--a 30-, 60-, or 90-day rule. "I think guys lose interest sometimes the earlier it happens," he says. (READ: So play it by ear. Your mileage may vary.)

Another issue I've heard guys complain about is women who tease. So if you're not ready to have sex with a guy, they'd prefer you just say no. Don't get his engine revved up and then back out. One guy told me that he gets annoyed enough by such flip flopping that he's stopped dating women because of it.

As for me, I don't have a "rule" that governs when/if I'll have sex with a man. I trust my instincts, my mind and my gut instead.

TALK BACK: Do you think there is a such thing as having sex with a man too soon? Do you have a "rule" that dictates when you'll have sex?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why This Picky Lady is Glad I Tried Online Dating

Friends who know me well know that I'm a little picky... OK, maybe a LOT picky.

I don't have a checklist of requirements for Mr. FabFem. But I do know what I like, and more importantly, what I don't like. I like tall guys, not short ones. I like guys with a little edge, but not so much that they're thugs. I like guys with careers, not just a job. A sense of humor, a car and his own roof over his head are a must. Any man who wants to be in my life must at least tolerate my little dog, and he has to want kids. It's OK if he already has a child, but more than one is pushing it. He should dress for the occasion and keep himself looking clean, put together and nice. Pretty teeth, fresh breath, and nice shoes are much appreciated. He should be caring, supportive, family oriented, and confident (maybe even a little cocky). And he can't be possessive or scary or crazy.

So with all of those requirements, many guys get ruled out quickly. But somehow, Handsome Honey is meeting all of them. He's 6'1 with a sexy bald head, a career, a pretty smile, the ability to make me laugh, a house, a nice car, and no kids. He plays with my little poodle, who seems to like him, too (a far cry from Cutie With Attitude, who suggested I get rid of my dog because he doesn't like animals. Ha, not gonna happen). So I'm not complaining... so far. It's still very early, so let's hope it stays that way.

I met Handsome Honey via eHarmony a couple of weeks ago now. We see each other a few times a week. And oddly, I don't even mind hanging out in the house with him on occasion, watching TV or playing Guitar Hero. Strange, because you know that's my pet peeve when it comes to these other random dudes who I wasn't feeling like that.

After meeting Handsome Honey on the cusp of deciding whether to give up online dating, I ultimately decided to take a break after a month of paid membership on eHarmony. But I didn't cancel my subscription because I hated it. On the contrary, I'd say it was worthwhile.

In fact, I think there may be something to eHarmony's claim that it matches you with people with compatible personalities. What else can explain the 7-hour phone conversation Handsome Honey and I had on the very first day we talked? (Yes, I said *seven* hours straight. Crazy, right?) Or the fact that we spent hours together on the first day we met in person? Or that we find each other finishing each other's sentences because we think so much alike?

It's funny to say that now because I was so hesitant to try online dating in the first place. Remember that?

But I gave in, and I'm glad I tried it. I met a crazy (Weed Smoker), a weirdo (E-mail Man) and a loser (Southern Gentleman). But I also met Handsome Honey.

So, um....why didn't someone put me onto this online dating thing a little sooner?

TALK BACK: Are you a picky dater? What is on your list of requirements?