Tag Archives: dating is hard

The Just Fine First Date Conversation Guide

12 Jun

Well, it’s official: Betty’s no longer an online dating virgin. I went on a date last week via Coffee Meets Bagel, a Stacie-endorsed online dating app, and I survived. Go me.

The date itself was okay. Really, there was nothing wrong with it – the guy looked like he did in his profile, he had all his teeth, he had a job, and conversation flowed fine.

But if I’ve learned anything from the professional schmoozers that run this city, it’s that making conversation isn’t that high of a bar. Indeed, anyone can make conversation in #thistown. It doesn’t mean there’s a spark, and it doesn’t mean the date was a home run.

In fact, it feels like conversation on these just-fine-but-that’s-it dates is sadly predictable. And if you’re not into it, it’s really easy to just converse at the lowest acceptable level – even if you’re the best of conversationalists. If your date is just fine and neither of you give a fuck, here’s what you’ll almost definitely talk about:

Whether you’ve been here before. It’s a great harmless opener. You look around appreciatively. “I’ve never been here before but my friend Jim loves it! Great suggestion!” [Alternative: “Oh wow I’ve only ever been here for brunch! I’m so excited to try it!]

How you got here. This is also another safe conversation starter. I am guilty of employing it as an awkward way to ease into the conversation. It’s literally the most boring thing you could bring up so no wonder I’m single.

Token metro complaint. 

You waited TWELVE MINUTES for the red line???

Where you live. This will allow you to make all of the conversation about your favorite bars and restaurants in that area, your coworker who lives there and you went to a party there once, on and on. The sky’s the limit. Just don’t make a face when you find out it’s Gaithersburg. Or do.

How you got here. Nope, not a repeat of above. I mean how you got to DC. How you made it big in #thistown, if you will. Note that you’ve gotten this far with only purely surface conversations. I bet you’re halfway done with your beer by now! You almost get to leave!

What you do. I mean obviously because #DC, but actually I have a lot of respect for people who don’t ask about this in the first five minutes. My recent date was one of those people, so props to him – although that was admittedly preempted by the fact that Coffee Meets Bagel profiles include your employer because they know that we’re all job snobs. Sigh.

College. Now I realize why no one shuts the fuck up about college. It’s because a) it’s the last time any of us was interesting and b) (relatedly) it’s the perfect safe conversation topic. You went to college? Oh thank god me too. Tell me about it! Tell me about your late night food adventures and all nighters in the library and your spring break trip. I’ll just listen. It’s easier that way. Keep talking!

Do we have to talk about it?

Running and/or fitness. Seriously, fuck this town for being so fucking fit and making me feel like I always need to be on an intense fitness regime or at least planning on starting one. The upside of that is that your date probably feels the same way so you can probably find some common ground talking about how you really want to run a half marathon but you just weren’t sure if you could do it and then sigh your knee got fucked up. NO WAY! ME TOO! [Side note: my Coffee Meets Bagel date was totally intense and was modestly talking about 50 mile runs or some shit. GOOD. BYE.]

 

There you have it. I hope to God at least one of those generated some conversational detours along the way, but I guarantee you you hit most or all of those between gulps of G&T as you attempt to figure out if you can see yourself ever sharing your life – or at least your bed – with this person.

DISCLAIMER: I am not advocating that these are things that should be discussed on a date. What I have provided is a literal recipe for a mediocre date. WE CAN DO BETTER! On the best first date I can recall, we talked about everything from celebrity crushes to favorite Mexican restaurants to stupid movies we liked. Be the change you wish to see in your dates, ladies. But just know that they can’t all be winners. And remember that at the end of even the most boring date, you always – always! – get to go home.

 

 

 

Lifecycle of a One Night Stand

4 Apr

The weather’s getting warm again. Which means, as SR’s Anne so eloquently put it: it’s Betty hook up season again. 

Loyal readers will recall that Betty recently swore off one-night stands. Whatever.

From someone who’s been there, here’s the modern one-night stand, broken down into its constituent parts. It’s a timeless classic.

1. The Realization: “Wait, this is real. I could totally go home with this guy. He, like, WANTS to sleep with me. I’m getting lucky tonight?!?!!?” Yeah gurl. That guy who’s been chatting you up – and you’ve totally been reciprocating – wants to go home with you. Remember how you looked at the mirror earlier tonight and vaguely thought “that shirt’s kinda low cut”? Well there it is. Actions have consequences. Great and sexual consequences.

2. Fake Coyness: This is where you realize that this is totally gratuitous at best, and irresponsible at worst. There is NO REASON to go home with a guy you’ve just met. What if he’s awful? W hat if he has a disease or lives in Crystal City? Home is ten minutes away, and all you have to do is walk away to make this into nothing more than a mildly funny brunch recollection. You smile apologetically and start to shake your head and make excuses…

And yet.

3. Resignation: But then, the voice in your head whispers, what do you really have to lose? Just the credibility of the blog post in which you said you weren’t doing this anymore. And he’s cute. And his friends already left him (poor guy). Why not?

#YOLO

4. Anticipation: You get in the cab. You make some small talk that makes you think maybe this person is actually a worthy human being. I mean, we like had a conversation, right? You pull up and go up the elevator/stairs/whatever. Maybe you pass some roommates getting high on the couch. This is actually kind of exciting. Who knows what awaits you on the other side of his door?

I know. A gross room with clothes everywhere, a few old Rolling Stones in the nasty bathroom, and some books he read in college that make you think, once again, that this person is a real human worth having a conversation with. Hey, a girl can dream.

5. Sexy and you know it: Ok, no matter who the person is, having someone rip your clothes off is ALWAYS going to make you feel amazing and turn you on like none other. It is a truth universally acknowledged.

You will feel like this.

6. The main event: This is where you have sex. It’s probably not that good because (with some important exceptions) foreplay during one-night stands is kind of not a thing. But with any luck, it won’t be actively bad. It will probably feel pretty decent. And hopefully you’re not actually thinking this many thoughts during the actual act, but keep in mind that it’s better than falling asleep alone with a half-eaten burrito bowl and Parks and Rec on Netflix.

7. Sleep. You’re drunk and so fucking tired.

6. The badass hangover: I don’t know about you guys, but I think there’s very little truth to the trope of waking up and being horrified at where you are and what you have done. For me, that comes later. At the moment I wake up, my head is pounding and my stomach’s churning, but other than that, I honestly feel triumphant. Good fucking JOB, Betty. This is going to make a great blog post – and besides, he’s not that unattractive.

6a. [optional] Round 2: This one really depends. In many cases, there will be morning sex, and in some, people are just so tired/hung over/embarrassed/over it that this doesn’t happen. In my experience, morning sex is inferior to The Main Event, but hey, choose your own adventure.

7. Delusion: Okay, time for a moment of real talk. As much as we complain, as douchey as the guys we hook up with are, one thing remains true: with a few exceptions, we will almost always hold out hope that this could go somewhere. Even if ‘somewhere’ is just this grimy apartment, again, at 2 am next Saturday. Hence the awkward departure, pregnant (HAHA SORRY) with possibilities and awkwardness and ambiguity. From exchanging numbers to wondering whether to say “this was fun, let’s do it again” (is that too clingy??!?!) to the great question of our time – DO YOU KISS GOODBYE? – this is where it really becomes clear how weird it is that you don’t really know each other but you know each other. Biblically.

8. Departure. Get the fuck out. Extra awkwardness points if he has to get out of bed and come undo all the locks for you. Not that this has ever happened to me. Ever.

9. The shame shower. Some people talk about the walk of shame (or, let’s be real, the Uber of shame). I would posit that the trip home is for introspection on what just happened – and texting your friends. It is only once you get home and you get into the shower to wash off all the bodily fluids and irresponsibility (seriously, how did my hair get this bad in one night did that guy GREASE HIS SHEETS or something?) that you realize you’re an idiot and it’s probably time to stop being so damn single. But let’s face it, pretty soon you’ll be wasted at a bar unable to find your friends, and you’ll strike up a conversation with some guy and have The Realization. And so, you realize as you attempt to loofah your regrets away, it shall begin again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The Real Villain

21 Mar

Doesn’t everybody lovehate Carrie Bradshaw? I do. I like a lot of things about Carrie – her shoes, her hair (I know), her cute little run across the street. But there are also many many things I dislike about Carrie. How mean she is to Aiden, her sober chain smoking habit, and the fact that she can’t help but wonder about every damn thing.

It’s been ingrained in our heads since circa age 14 that we should strive to be one of the SATC girls; nobody wants to be Miranda, nobody wants to admit they’re not as sexually active as Samantha and pretends her behavior is appalling, and not everybody can be Charlotte, so most of us become a self-proclaimed Carrie-Charlotte hybrid. One trait of Carrie we all seemed to inherit was the whole overdramatic thinking thing.

The 21 Most Melodramatic Things Carrie Bradshaw Ever Said

Alright ladies, let’s all admit it. We can be a little crazy. Mainly when it comes to men. Some of us more than others. And those of us that are extra crazy give those of us that are less crazy a bad name…….

Oh who am I kidding we’re all pretty batshit.

23 Problems Only Kids Of Immigrant Parents Will Understand

I’ve done  some downright psychotic things to get a boy to pay attention to me/come over at 2am/be forced to refer to me as his girlfriend/ask me to formal/etc. Some of these things I am not proud of. Some of them terrify me. Some of them are hilarious. Some of them should have branded me a stalker. WHATEVER. (Kidding y’all – I wasn’t that bad. But I did once burst into tears in a bar when the boy I was hooking up with said hi to my friend and not me. He had to escort me out of the bar and to my bed…which he obviously got in. They’re shameless too.)

So I’m pretty familiar with my friends being crazy with guys and all. A very preppy/upper middle class/predominantly white university in the Midwest will [to nobody’s surprise] surround you with some pretty crazy bitches. As I’ve mentioned before, when “He’s Just Not That Into You” came out as a movie, I quoted that to my friends all day every day. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the psycho shit we did in college has followed us to our postgrad years. As we enter our mid-twenties, the stakes are higher and our former typical sorority girl habits have reared their ugly heads, morphed, and are back with a vengeance.

How many girls have I watched go on a few great dates with a guy, imagined monogramming their future towels, only to be told “next week’s not gonna work for me – I’m out of town….indefinitely.”? Far too many. How many girls have I watched get right back on their feet and say “Meh. His loss!”? Not many. How many girls have I watched eat too many carbs, drink too much vodka, and wind up in the bed of a hairy, dirty fingernailed, cargo pant wearing boy in god knows where Virginia? Way, way, WAY too many (myself included).

Listen. I’m all about getting over someone by getting under someone else (thanks Gossip Girl). But please ladies, do not lower your standards. Do not beat yourself up. I promise you, life does go on. I have had my heart broken. I have been so earth shatteringly upset over a breakup that I didn’t think it was possible to go on. When I broke up with my boyfriend from high school, I thought my life was O V E R. Looking back now – WHAT IN GOD’S NAME WAS WRONG WITH ME? Let’s not get into the winners I picked in college or even after.

And. I love you girls, but why are we always turning the guy into a villain? Read this ThoughtCatalog article I stumbled upon earlier this week. The writer asked a bunch of guys why they rejected her. And man, the truth can hurt, but the truth shall also set you free, right? As our hero learned, maybe you didn’t DO anything wrong! Maybe you weren’t responsive to his texts while trying not to appear desperate, so he thought you weren’t into it. Maybe he is a strict vegetarian and you’re a meat lover. Maybe it even comes down to the simple trait we often find in the District, you’re a card carrying member of the GOP and he worked for the Obama campaign, and he just  literally can’t with that. Sure, men can be skeezy, rude, smelly, and sometimes downright mean. But not always. Just like those crazy chicks who give us all a bad name, guys can get a bad rep too. I love a good Southern gentleman to coddle me and treat me like a lady. I appreciate the truth. If he’s not into it, sure I’d like to be told. But what if, like you, he’s not good at communicating? What if he’s embarrassed? Shy? Scared of being hurt? What if he’s NOT mean and just  says he’s busy, slowly goes off the map, and you finally realize he’s not into it after 2 dates?

Should you be heartbroken? I’m not going to tell you yes or no. But I am going to tell you to stop beating yourself, and the guy up. Things happen. Relationships work. Relationships don’t work. It’s trial and error. It’s science. Dating is science! I’m also going to tell you that if he pulls this behavior after 15 dates and sleepovers, he’s a commitmentphobe, and he may be a little bit of a jackass. But he doesn’t necessarily deserve a scarlet letter. Take a look at what happened. Maybe he is a jackass. Maybe you’re a control freak. History repeats itself, and you don’t want crazy creeping in to every potential relationship that comes down the pike.

Am I making sense? Am I rambling? Here’s my point: don’t be that girl. The girl that dwells and cries herself to sleep and goes on an anti male tirade because your monogram was perfect and he has a twin so maybe you’ll have twins, just because you didn’t hear from him again after your second date. Don’t do it to yourself, don’t do it to your friends, and don’t do it to your future.

There are exceptions to the statements I’m making. I love to fantasize about monograms. I love that he’s a twin and that maybe that increases the chances that I’ll have twins. It’s only natural to think about these things as, like I said earlier, the stakes to our dating games are getting higher. But if there’s no spark? Why force it? Besides, aren’t we all holding out for Ryan Gosling anyway?

Boys, Sometimes a Girl Just Needs One (But Sometimes Not).

11 Mar

by Stacie Smack

It’s always been a common known fact that I am going to be the 60 year old in the leopard leggings, sequin top, and a 27 year old boy toy. My friends love to joke about how I will be the one who’s always up to take a ladies trip somewhere fun, who’ll have the ultimate bachelorette* apartment fully stocked with wine, chips, and hummus, so that they can come and take a load off from their presumably married family lives.

Honestly, I’m just flattered that they think that I’ll be rich enough to afford wine and a penthouse, that I’ll still have my fabulous looks and oh-so great curves, and that I’ll still have my amazing flirtation and seduction skills (and humility?) that will lead me to have a solid rotation of 2 or 3 men that will obviously be eternally devoted and in love with me, without expecting me to love them in return.

Right?

Despite the pride I take in my reputation, I spend an awful lot of time whining about how much I hate single life. I mean, just look at every single blog post I’ve ever written (hint: they’re all about boys and dating).

And let’s be real, it is definitely not just me. I actually have this terrible tendency of eavesdropping on conversations whenever I see two or three 20-something women walking by me (and no, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ll adjust my pace so that I can listen for longer). And my rigorous statistical analysis has shown that approximately 89.4% of the time, the conversations that these women are having are about boys.

So why do we let this subject matter take up 76.8% of our mental space? What if instead of spending the last 2 hours looking at my phone to see if “he” texted me back, I had read another chapter of Lean In? What if I had worked on my blog post ahead of time?

Why is the subject of relationships such a time suck?

Well, duh Stacie. Because there are all sorts of pressures all around us! Family, friends, TV shows. BIOLOGY! All of these things are like little voices inside of our womanly heads  saying “find a man before you shrivel up all alone!”

Scenario 1: Some of your closest friends are in relationships. Obviously you crave one too! They’re doing all the gross couple-y stuff you want to be doing that you used to do with your friend before she got herself a date. You become hyper aware of how alone you are because not only do you see your friend enjoying her relationship, you also mourn the loss of the 24/7 hour friend. And this may be a tad dramatic (not at all), but I don’t care (I love it). Not all women ditch their friends once in a relationship, but they now have a new person to make time for and yet, the amount of available time in a day hasn’t changed! Something’s gotta give.

Scenario 2: Your older sister was married when she was your age now! And you’re still single trying to make assholes in law school fall in love with you. Something must be wrong with you. Except it’s not, and please don’t ask me that question again. Your sister (or cousin, or mom) was just different. It’s not that she got lucky, or that she’s the exception. Her life just happened in a different order.

So yeah, this is all easier said than done. These pressures are not going away. And let’s face it, we LOVE talking about “BOYZ”. Otherwise, why would we do it so much? So I say, let’s embrace the boy-talk. Let’s over-analyze every text. Relieve every minute of that first hook up outside the AdMo McDonald’s. Stay in bed a little longer after he lives because you can still smell his shirt on your bed. Spend 5 hours at brunch recounting last night’s shenanigans and planning your future wedding with “Rando #2”. Let’s open our arms and accept the boy psychosis.

But let’s be aware that it is a bit of a psychosis – it’s an exaggerated hyper reality. Let’s be constantly aware that we are definitely over analyzing a text,a word, a gesture. Let’s enjoy the emotional ride for a bit, but let’s remember that it shouldn’t define our state of being. Yes, a partner can make you “happy”, but so can best friends, professional satisfaction, family, or tequila. More importantly, you can make you happy! Don’t let the male gender control you. We already have a gigantic glass ceiling to break through, let’s not also create glass walls.

Say yes to love, dates, romance, hook ups, adventures!

But say yes to moving on, being young, having opportunities, appreciating your independence!

*Google Chrome doesn’t recognize the word bachelorette and wants me to correct it to bachelor. GOOD BYE.

Excuse Me… What?

4 Mar

I think I’ve written about it before, but to refresh your memory: I, Stacie Smack, am dating a man [mostly] monogamously. And no, his name is not Chuck Bass. It’s been an interesting process, the whole having someone still in your apartment after 7am on any given day.

One thing I’ve been less than successful at is figuring out when, why, and how to incorporate him into group activities, such as a happy hour or a Saturday night at the Brixton. My current MO is to just have him show up places without giving my friends advance notice. In theory, it makes sense. In practice, not the most successful strategy.

This is all a whole bunch of lead up to something only marginally related. By now, several of my friends have met him and interacted with him, if at all briefly. I was pretty nervous of all of this happening because I live in fear of people judging my choices (of people judging the guy I’ve allowed to keep me from sleeping with other men). Generally speaking, the interactions were fine. Except for a tiny point:

“He’s SO not your type!”

That is what some of my friends choose to tell me every time the topic comes up. They say it with smiles plastered on, but I can’t help but be offended at the comments. What does it mean? Who fits your expectation of the type of man that Stacie dates? Why is he not my type? Why do you think that’s an appropriate thing to say to someone who obviously has insecurity issues when it comes to men?

So please, don’t describe people that way. It’s really not helping anyone. It only heightens the insecurity I feel. It’s judgmental and not helpful. It comes off as condescending, and can you really not come up with anything better to say? Because it’s not even honest. I’d prefer you tell me that you don’t like him, or that he’s rude or that he’s too pushy rather than tell me that he’s not my type…

I see it as one of two things. One, he doesn’t meet the expectations that I’ve set for the men I date. Meaning he’s not a 6’2” UVA graduate that works in finance. He stands below the expectations. The alternative, two, is that he exceeds your expectations. In which case why don’t you say that? Why don’t you say that he is so much better than other guys I’ve dated? That he seems like a good guy? What’s that you say?

“He’s quite likable”

Thanks, pal.