Category Archives: Scarlett O’Casual

Upon Further Examination….

A lot has happened while I’ve been offline. It’s really just a hazard of being  Scarlett O’Casual—I get super involved in a project at the beginning, fail to do the hard and most important work in the middle, and then leave a bunch of loose ends dangling. Also, I’ve repeated the same mistake I’ve made so many times before that this dating/self-improvement project was supposed to help me avoid—I fell head over heels for Lawrence. Well, anyway, at least this time I made a better judgment and I do think that might be half the battle. In the past, I would repeat the pattern of getting quickly involved with someone who was incredibly wrong, wrong, wrong; while this time I got quickly involved with someone who could’ve been very right.  This occurred in the interim of the two months when I haven’t been posting. I’ve felt so low and conflicted by the whole situation that I didn’t want to write about it, so I let myself off the hook.

Also about two months ago, I started reading date or soul mate? how to know if someone is worth pursuing in two dates or less? by Neil Clark Warren. I was immediately (and perhaps unfairly) annoyed by the book. I’ve seen Warren advertising and both he and it seemed cheesy. The cover of the book is unbelievably bad. Everything is in lower case letters, which unless you’re e.e. cummings, is probably not acceptable.  From an aesthetic standpoint, there is way too much white space on the left side of the cover. And there’s the fact that the couple on the front look vaguely incestuous. This did not surprise me since many of the couples in the eharmony commercials look like cousins; to the organization’s credit, they have recently updated with more diverse-looking couples, but for a long-time I was opposed to trying out eharmony myself because as I kept telling everyone, “I don’t want to meet my soul mate who’s also my third cousin.” I’m not even going to go into tearing apart the poor guy on the front cover of the book who was (I hope) forced to pose with such an expression on his face.

The reason I even found this book in the first place is because I went to the library to seek out corny dating books that I could enjoy reading and making fun of in this blog. I guess I thought I was so smarty-pants that no dating book could ever give me advice but I was wrong. At first, I had a hard time getting advice from an old, white, Christian guy, the type I would usually distrust (I’m not claiming that this is a fair judgment). But when I started actually paying attention to the book, I realized that it gave me an answer to what I am actually looking for.  It has the reader make lists and do assessments about one’s deepest self, and then think about the ideal person who could be your match based on this information. Then, and this is he really fun part for us OCD-ers, you get to make two lists, respectively, of the top ten characteristics you “must have” and “must not have” in your match. Since I had already been formulating the first list for a life time, that part was super easy.  The book also gives 50 common characteristics that people tend to pick, some of which I pulled for my list. Making the list of the things I will not tolerate was pretty easy as well—I guess you know by now that I definitely know what I don’t like.

You may’ve noticed the word could’ve a few paragraphs back in reference to the Lawrence relationship. The book came at the right time because it hit me over the head with the realization that he does not meet all the criteria on my lists. There’s more to it than just this (read the book) but basically, Warren says that there is a real temptation to settle for someone who seems to have all the lists’ qualities except one or two but under no circumstances should you do this. I know that I’ve settled too many times in the past—jumping in to be with someone just because and for too many of the wrong reasons. It can only lead to unhappiness in the end; and, from my own experience, resentment, after finding in a year or so that you really just wish you could tweak the other person to get them to fit your ideal just so. This is neither realistic nor fair, to either party. I know by this point in my life that people very rarely can and are hardly ever willing to change the very essence of who they are. If someone does not fit what you’re looking for, it does no one any good to pursue that person. This doesn’t mean the trivial stuff, like smacking their gum or something. It means a character trait or major part of his or her identity that could make it onto a top ten list, like how they communicate, clearly a biggie.

So, here’s the beef with Lawrence. Dang it all on him for being so beautiful, so nice, patient, and generally wonderful, but I can’t talk to the boy. We just don’t have that sort of communication that I, as a writer, and an intellectual striver, need, want, and desire above all else. For me, communication leads to verbal and emotional intimacy and this is the one thing I can never have from him. So, we’ll see where it’ll go from here, but I have a feeling it’ll have to be nowhere.

DATING EXPERIENCE 6: Mental vs. physical: My internal struggle


ACTIVITY: coffee and movie

VENUE: downtown coffee shop; awesome old, downtown movie theater

MY OUTFIT: I don’t remember my shirt, it’s been a long week; took a little risk with fishnet stockings, slacks that are shorts and tall boots


FOLLOW-UP DONE BY: him, via e-mail


NARRATIVE: We met for coffee at an old, shabby-hip building downtown. It was a very urban setting, and thus began an urban date between two urban people. We sat near a windowless window, hearing the traffic go by and smelling cigarette smoke.

As pre-arranged, he had bought our movie tickets so I bought his coffee. He got a basic black–I got an excellent half shot espresso blended into a milkshake.

He was there when I arrived on the dot of time, so he was early. I wondered if I would be able to pick him out easily as we had not seen each other for over a month since Speed Dating but it was a breeze.

He had already gotten a delicious, rich piece of chocolate cake and offered to share. Much to my chagrin, I had developed a huge fever blister on my lower lip the day before. I didn’t want to be weird and turn down the cake offer, so I split it in half (for hygiene purposes) with my fork before eating, hoping he wouldn’t notice and be offended by thinking I’m a big germ-a-phobe.

Just like Lawrence, he wore a button-up shirt with the top button undone to much the same effect. Too much chest with intermittent curly black chest hair hanging out, ugh!! Weirdly, I appreciate chest hair in the right time and place–namely with NO shirt and if it’s not intermittent but more a mat distributed evenly on the chest and stomach. Yes, I have analyzed my opinion on this issue and to hell with the recent obsession in our culture with hairless bodies!

Anyway, I didn’t gag over the hair or anything; and I have completely overcome this problem with Lawrence because he has absolutely perfect chest hair, I later came to realize. Oh wait, I’m supposed to be talking about the date with Magnus, crap.

Magnus is the sort of guy you don’t get to know all at once, he plays it close to the chest and I had very little idea what he was thinking in regards to me–interest level, attraction, etc. There are not too many men I feel this way around, generally I can pin down their thoughts in the first five minutes. “This one is a smart one,” I thought to myself. I have to admit a bit of intrigue on this note, instead of a puppy-dog-young or dumb guy, or one who’s drooling on his shoes over me. Part of this really is age and the experience that comes with it, I suppose. Young guys (around their 20’s) are starting to seem just that–YOUNG–as if young in itself is a dimension, just one limited dimension. “Older” guys (40’s-60’s) are starting to seem more interesting as experienced human beings, even capable of sensuality/sexuality (which seemed icky to me back in the day).

The downside of this is a paunch, balding, and grayness, all of which Magnus has–I put him at around 40. Balding and grayness can be ok but with him it just makes me un-attracted. Too bad, since his personality is very intelligent and we have common interests to discuss with a great amount of depth. The fact that he knows literature and quality/classic films so well is incredibly attractive. It really is too bad; I used to think I could get around physical appearance entirely but can’t anymore. I’m not looking for a god, a model, even a head-turner; I just want someone who I feel attracted to enough that I want to get close to them. Physical repulsion won’t work–I know, I’ve tried it. One great physical characteristic that Magnus has is a beautifully shaped upper lip. It almost hangs with sensuality–I just couldn’t help going on a couple fantasy rides of deep, multiple kisses. The lip was so lovely that I could place it in a world all its own and stop thinking of the rest of the face in front of me.

We seemed to have a good feel for walking together as I had to re-park my car and we got to talk more before going to the movie. I was very excited that someone else was so into going to see “The Maltese Falcon.”

So, now what? He has already sent me a couple e-mails about going to more movies. That may be just what we have together, a friendship based on movies and books–I could almost say there could be more but I just don’t think there’s relationship potential. The date was fun anyway and I hope he will accept being my friend so we can hang out.

He has been my most intellectual date yet and it was refreshing to be around someone age appropriate after my Cougar experience. I can’t believe I thought that John would even possibly want to date me again! And I am fine with that, I do not want to be an older sister/mother figure. These two dates have been a great exercise in the value of comparisons.

Rating Him:

Face shape: 7 (I would say 5 but The Lip gains 2 points by itself)

Body: 3

Eyes: 6.5

Hair or lack thereof/Facial hair or lack thereof: 4

Voice: 8 (good phone voice)

Sexiness: 2

Overall Physical Attractiveness: 3

Fashion: 7

IT-ness (the IT factor, you either have IT or you don’t): 3

Deportment: 10

Charm: 7

Amiable: 10

Polite: 10

Interesting: 8.5

Kiss-o-meter: N/A

Rating Myself:

Face: 4 (fever blister)

Body: 8.5

Smell: 8

Fashion: 7.5

Overall Physical Attractiveness: 6 (fever blister)

Deportment: 10

Amiable: 10

Confidence: 6 (fever blister)

Polite: 10

DATING EXPERIENCE 5: Do cougars drink coffee?


ACTIVITY: coffee at college-y, hipster-y neighborhood coffee shop

VENUE: outdoor/indoor coffee shop

MY OUTFIT: red low-cut-ish hippie shirt w/ lace edging and long sweater, short leggings w/ tall black 80’s boots and a favorite necklace


FOLLOW-UP DONE BY: hasn’t happened yet

WILL I GO OUT WITH HIM AGAIN: unsure, no plans were made

NARRATIVE: I was waiting in line for food, coffee and him when he walked in and we did the “let’s try to look each other over subtly to figure out if that’s the person I’m meeting” thing. It’s been almost exactly three weeks to the day since I met him at Speed Dating (he was my first date there). We both acknowledged that it was a bit difficult to recognize each other due to how many people we had met there, and it was a bit awkward at first standing in line. By the time we sat down and started talking the conversation warmed and we were able to jump from topic to topic and have a good conversation, but I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on behind his eyes. It’s funny how with some people you can tell and some you can’t. He would sometimes look at me intently during pauses in the conversation and I couldn’t tell if he was concentrating, or thought I was good-looking, or if that is just a typical every-day expression for him. He did seem to think I was funny and interesting. I do believe he also thought I was too old and may not want to date me again because of that. I saw him as too young—10 years my junior. I suspected he was pretty young when I met him at Speed Dating, outside of the range I have chosen for anyone to get involved with unless it’s just a unique and special sort of person. When he started talking about college a lot and just having started his career two years ago, I started seeing flashing neon lights in my brain—“Cougar, Cougar, I am a Cougar!!”

It was funny that what attracted me to him in the first place at Speed Dating was his look of youthful innocence and attitude of openness/enthusiasm. He did not look like someone who’d been ripped up and spit out by life yet, like those of us who have been on the planet long enough to have had more of those experiences. Unfortunately, there may be only so much John and I can talk about. My gut tells me that he would just not be enough to entertain me and I may be too much for him—too experienced, just plain too old. He needs some nice, little girl in her early 20’s to feed him that pure sort of love.

You never know though. He has a sexy nose and maybe he uses it for close up (face) shots in a secret porn career on the side. Computer guru by day, porn star by night sort of deal. He wears glasses and looks all straight-laced when he comes over to fix the plumbing but THEN….

Why is it always the “plumbing” anyway?? Well, I suppose we know the answer to that but that’s not what this blog is about.

Or maybe he’s super into S&M or something–cuffs, whips, collars, the whole bit. He could have a quirky, freaky-deaky side that doesn’t show in casual dating. I doubt it (sigh) but that might be more interesting. It was nice to go out with a nice young man though. I feel like someone’s Old Maiden Aunt now. Hmmmmm, well I guess I’ll just rack it up to more of the dating experience.

Or maybe the problem with any real down and dirty chemistry (at least on this first date) was the fact that he didn’t seem to know quite what to say sometimes as well as the fact that we don’t seem to have any hobbies/interests in common, except for liking dogs and warm weather. (Could a relationship be built off of that if we became crazy dog show people, like on “Best of Show”?) It also reminds me of one of the stupidest car commercials ever that I saw years back hyping a car’s ability for dual climate control, when that used to be a big deal. It went something like this:

“He wears wool. She wears cotton. He likes such and such. She likes this and that. They never agree but with the new [insert name of car manufacturer/model] they can both be satisfied.”

It also laid it out on the line for us stupid viewers that women are always cold (maybe because she’s wearing freaking cotton and it’s Fall in New England, do you think??) and men are always warm (maybe because his feet are in a sweat bath in those wool socks while he’s pushing the accelerator pedal too fast. (We know he’s going too fast and not asking for directions because he’s a man and of course he’s in the driver’s seat, too.)

Why didn’t they just wrap them up in pink and blue respectively and sell us that gender stereotype?? Barf.

Anyway, my actual point is: John likes ping pong, I like to write. He likes chess, I like classic movies. He likes computers, I like art. Hey, we’re both bored by Math but not meat (as non-vegetarians), Lord above, hallelujah!!

On another topic, I seem to have an uncanny ability lately to sniff out guys who grew up in neighboring states to the state I grew up in, now that we all live far from that area. Statistically, that’s been half of my dates so far, this time with John and before with Lawrence. Weird. Maybe I need to diversify.

Well, he is a bit cute and I did have a good time talking to him—maybe we could be friends and he could teach me to not suck at ping pong.

Rating Him:

Face shape: it must have been non-descript because I don’t remember

Body: didn’t notice anything incredible or anything bad, it was cold so he had a lot of clothes on but he seems in shape and with youth on his side I’d give him an 8

Eyes: 3

Hair or lack thereof/Facial hair or lack thereof: 4

Voice: 6

Sexiness: 6

Overall Physical Attractiveness: 6.5

Fashion: 5

IT-ness (the IT factor, you either have IT or you don’t): 4

Deportment: 7

Charm: a boyish 7.5

Amiable: 10

Polite: 10 (concerned that I was freezing to death, so we went inside to continue our talk)

Interesting: 6.5

Kiss-o-meter: N/A

Rating Myself:

Face: 8

Body: 9 (image of such is improving with less eating and more walking)

Smell: 8.5

Fashion: 7.5

Overall Physical Attractiveness: 8

Deportment: 9

Amiable: 10

Confidence: 10

Polite: 10

DATING EXPERIENCE 4: Trouble with Techies





AMOUNT OF TIME BEAUTIFYING: 45 MINS (I had no expectations due to my earlier anxieties but figured I should look decent and tried to dress up a little because I figured he was that kind of guy)

FOLLOW-UP DONE BY: N/A; has not happened yet, the date was today


INTRO: Lots of gluten and conversation to chew on.

NARRATIVE: As of this moment, I am having trouble thinking because of a gluten-induced food coma from being dumb enough to eat at an Italian restaurant and not ask to go somewhere else where I could eat my usual hunter/gather-ish diet. However, the date itself was thought-stimulating, which is a good thing for someone like me who needs to be entertained.

Damon is entertaining, very techie/nerdy/smart, funny, and quirky/weird in a good way. We had an interesting conversation based on these things, except the techie aspect of his personality may be a bit overkill for me since I am a technical dinosaur and positively inept when it comes to the physics projects, games of strategy, video games and computer topics he was talking about. I wanted to call out in the restaurant, “I know I’m a nerd but you’ve got the wrong girl! I am the stupidest person you’ll ever meet–I have battles with touch screens because they don’t know I’m alive!” (Day in my life: touch the button on the screen, nothing happens; touch again, nothing happens; third time, nothing…I go into Cave Woman mode and start stabbing the screen.)

But then again, he had me laughing at his weird wit and sense of fun. I greatly enjoyed hearing from a fellow cerebral character about the myriad of ideas that his brain constantly pumps out. He’s also sarcastic and blunt (self-described). I can usually deal with blunt because I appreciate honesty and like to know what the other person thinks, even if it’s not fully pleasant. I want to be communicated with. I also enjoy sarcasm and making fun of people (in good humor) and situations, as does he.

Unfortunately, he has little physical appeal for me. I don’t like his round little dimpled chin, his almost apple-shaped round face and his dorky short-bangs oriented haircut. The judgments are just rolling out here. I should say though that he  has intelligent, kind of piercing brown eyes. And I did agree to go on a date with him in the first place because he has something interesting to say and is so smart that I respect him. I figured if nothing else, he could end up being a fun friend to hang out with.

He wore a really nice shirt, which is always impressive. But he went to church earlier today (I didn’t ask about that). Church-going itself is not necessarily a problem, it’s the religion that usually goes along with it (sometimes, not always). I don’t want any Gentle Readers to be offended here.

He has a good job, stability, and I suspect some money (especially with his fancy watch and talk of buying a new car and Good Golly, I think he may even have a house!) I hate, hate, hate being the typical female sniffing out a Provider but gee it sure was nice to have someone care enough about his impression on me to pay for lunch. He didn’t flaunt his money or job about either as dating currency.

He had initially asked me out on a longer date in which there would’ve been pool and drinks after lunch but I didn’t accept what with my anxiety problem. I also had a crap ton of stuff to do today and now am writing instead of getting it done. He was a little bit miffed, but still agreeable when we talked about it. I did at least feel that it was worth at least one more shot and would be fun to talk to him again so I brought up the idea of date #2 and we came up with some ideas.

My conclusion is that smart can be sexy, as I have always known but I also know that I need someone who is a bit less of a Tech and more of an Artist. This is tricky because the Artists I have been in relationships with either had deep-seated issues, a selfishness problem, or they broke my heart into millions of tiny pieces. At least with a Tech you know where you are. But, I think I may just get bored. Too bad.

The other thing I learned today is that I did the right thing. I feel self-affirmed to have gone out on another date after (probably) getting in too deep with Lawrence. I felt relaxed and enjoyed myself–it was very good to just talk and start all over casually getting to know someone and appreciate that person. I am not deliberately trying to make comparisons but it gave me some perspective on Lawrence to be sitting at that table across from someone else who is entirely different. Now I can be more objective in regards to him, see his strengths and faults more clearly and I hope, move forward more secure in however this whole deal turns out.

FYI, the hug is the new accepted urban greeting. Or maybe it’s been around forever and I just didn’t know it, not having been very urbane. The hug is also acceptable in lieu of a kiss that would be too awkward at the end of a first date.

Rating Him:

Face shape: 2.5

Body: 3

Eyes: 7

Hair or lack thereof/Facial hair or lack thereof: 2.5

Voice: 5

Sexiness: 3

Overall Physical Attractiveness: 2

Fashion: 9

IT-ness (the IT factor, you either have IT or you don’t): 5

Deportment: 10

Charm: 8 (sense of humor and politeness add a lot)

Amiable: 7

Polite: 10 (did everything right, including opening doors and paying for lunch smoothly, e-mail etiquette, offering a hand so I could get unpeeled from the restaurant booth)

Interesting: 8

Kiss-o-meter: N/A

Rating Myself:

Face: 8.5 (spent some time on makeup to make it successful)

Body: 8.5 (feeling  better about body image from eating less, working out more & being overall a little slimmer)

Smell: 8.5 (it was cold today & no problems with sweating, I also used perfume)

Fashion: 7.5 (I looked cute but he was sophisticated and I was possibly too young-retro)

Overall Physical Attractiveness: 8.5

Deportment: 8.5

Amiable: 9 (I laughed a lot and was generally nice to be around)

Confidence: 8.5

Polite: 5 (I lost big points, at least with myself for not responding to his e-mails trying to set up the date and I neglected to take the hand he offered to help me up from the booth)

Kick in the Pants

Today I got a much-needed Scarlett O’Casual kick in the pants. Talked to Cassie about my Lawrence “problem.” How already so early in the Experiment I am heading dangerously close to the over-commitment thing. The past few days I have been intensely considering being exclusive with Lawrence rather than continuing to date many people. (My problem is often that I am too intense. Could I just get that lobotomy now, please?)

Luckily for me, Cassie advised me at the critical juncture that was today that I really need to date more before ending the Experiment. Even though I temporarily felt like a dating guru, she pointed out the simple and undeniable fact that I still have more to learn. I told her how much I like Lawrence and how I want him to trust me but how can he if I tell him I’m dating a bunch of people? C pointed out that if he really is the right person for me, he will wait and “allow” me to do just what I feel I need to do.

I am developing pretty natural feelings of potential jealousy and possessiveness toward L, albeit feelings that could sour quickly if they go too far. I just would hate to hear him tell me that he is getting physical in any way with anyone else. I hate myself for this–it makes me feel ugly and out of control. I’m writing about it because I have to be honest, it’s part of the process. And I can be honest with him, too.

The best thing C told me today was that I need to practice dealing with the discomfort caused by already feeling strongly toward  L while simultaneously dating other people. It’s the dealing with the discomfort part that’s so important–this is the process that will allow for real personal growth and give me the opportunity to overcome my over-commitment/impulsively getting together with someone problem. I didn’t necessarily enjoy this kick in the pants but I’m glad I got it. Objective perspective wins over my own  confused subjectivity, the same thing that happens over and over as we rely on friends to get us through.

And I do feel better. Over the past few days, I had 1)built it up in my mind to believe that I had to make a huge decision between Lawrence and dating (which is false) and 2)gotten all knotted up about it. Now I feel a bit better. I know there’s going to be more discomfort over the coming months–BRING IT.

I have now re-committed to the Dating Experiment by answering e-mails from the Speed Date guys (four so far) saying I will go on a date with them. So, more fab dating descriptions to come. Wish me luck.




Vampires, Dolly Parton & Dating

Today I was reading The Complete Vampire Companion: Legend and Lore of the Living Dead, which I checked out from the library.  (I have a weakness for most things vampire, so when I see the book on the shelf I grab it and try to suck the life out of it.) I started to think of how dating could be compared to vampirism. Survival of the fittest: find someone healthy, chase them down and then basically take the vitality out of them, which can be quick or slow.  Oh wait, is that the cynical me talking?

Or maybe my thoughts are just whirling around the Speed Dating. Got back the results today–10 guys I matched with out of the nearly 20 I picked. At first I felt just a little bit rejected, then got over it, especially since I realized that I don’t even remember half the people I met. (May be time to start a gingko biloba regiment.) And I realized that the whole thing is kind of silly. First off, I like Lawrence and I want to keep seeing him, even though it is not the Plan to get too exclusive with anyone. Secondly, how can you really get to know people that fast without stupid snap judgments–it seems that you might just pick all the wrong people or the right people might not pick you. I was surprised to be passed over by two of the guys who I thought liked me and equally surprised to be picked by one guy who I thought had very little interest in me.

Maybe I am just nuts. I guess this is the part of the process where I start questioning everything I am doing.

Right now I am listening to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” on Pandora and I remembered a useful saying I learned from Sloane Crossley (awesome!!) today in How Did You Get This Number: “What would Dolly do?” I like it. I think that may be a dating slogan for me going forward. Because even though Crossley unfortunately ended up with a complete Dickhead, with a capital “D” after she asked herself this question, I think it’s good to have a guiding light of a female role model like Dolly P. She would hold her head up high, she would be authentic (even in spite of all the makeup and hair!), and she would never, ever forget who she is–her  Selfhood. (In spite of being called “One of the purdiest singin’-est, song-writin’-est lil’ blon’ s in country music” (see “Jolene“) — is this guy for real??)

Anyway, I ended up being matched with some interesting guys, I think (at least the ones I can remember). There are at least four nerds and possibly a couple of lookers. The lists of names is like a little present that comes in the mail and I’m enjoying going over each person’s name, thinking of etymologies. Unfortunately, there is one guy who had such bad hand-writing that the group organizer couldn’t read it and so as far as I know, we can’t be put in contact with one another for this reason. I feel like I’ve been cut off by the Hand of Fate. And he was one of the people I was most interested in talking to later, as we had a great (albeit brief) talk on religion.

Well, that pretty much wraps up my crazy brain’s expression for tonight!

Shredded by the Ghost: A Look Back Before Going Forward

A void where love was, after waking up from the dream.

Love was all-consuming that year and even trickled down into a consistent ache for five long years after that. And then, a void.

He stayed in my mind, the ghost following behind me, the vapor in my brain. Like Sherman Alexie says in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven:

“There are things you should learn. Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you, and your future is a skeleton walking one step in front of you. Maybe you don’t wear a watch, but your skeletons do, and they always know what time it is.”

Alexie understands love as well as any writer I have ever read. And love really does relate to horror stories. But while a good horror story usually climaxes and then ends in a grand release of suspense providing satisfactory resolve, my worn love affair left me, at the end of five years, finally out of love–“over him”–but void.

The passion and tragedy of unrequited love had shredded me for all that time. When I finally saw him again, I thought the love had miraculously returned to its earlier reciprocating form. Instead, I found a real man completely detached, just spewing romantic words without meaning any of it.

“How do you talk to the real person whose ghost has haunted you? How do you tell the difference  between the two?” (Ibid)

I finally figured out that, to this old lover of mine, only his art meant something to him, or at least it was the only lover he would ever allow himself to embrace. His embraces for me at this point were lip service only, like his words–he could no longer truly give himself to another human being.

I tell myself it’s a good thing that I came to the realization that I had only been in love with a dream for those five years. The real man in front of me was not that dream, could not be that dream. There was vast disappointment mixed in with some relief at falling out of love due to this discovery. It’s very easy to say that I had been utterly stupid and naïve. But when I remember exactly how much in love I felt at one time–I mean really allow myself to relate to it for a moment–I know that it was as real as it may ever be for me. It was a milestone, a completely absorbing passion.

So now, after almost exactly eight years to the day I met him, there’s just me, alone. A more mature and whole person, less naïve. I’ve learned a lot going through the rock-bottom sensation of hurt. First in losing him, then the constancy of loving him in his absence–the Ghost, the Dream–and then the short attempt at revival of old feelings, ending in disappointment. And after that, processing how to feel as just myself, not an in-love person anymore and how not to be vulnerable for anyone for the last year plus.

It’s not like I think about it every day now. The past is the past, even though it’s a skeleton. But I guess I have to admit, maybe that kind of love and disappointment is never really pushed out of one’s mind and heart until there is a replacement. An older, wiser me upcoming to tackle that? Can I find a replacement love? A love of all time to blow my mind? And do it the right way this time? Maybe this blog is a start.

But here I go, always ahead of myself and maybe that’s why I fall in love hard and easily almost every time. Why I have had the opposite of a commitment issue. But I’ve been so good in the last year–I’ve stayed single. It’s forever since I’ve managed that. On the other hand, loneliness is starting to creep in from a hermit-like existence. That’s part of what brought me to this point–to learn to date, and not only that but to learn to do it casually. No commitment, no ties, no drama, just fun and getting to know people. For me, an experiment, a test for myself to do what does not come naturally and test the hypothesis that I do have the capability to do it and learn from it.

With this frame of reference, the experiment will be structured–approximately one first date a week. Exposure to one member of the male species at one time for a short time. For coffee, conversation, and other such date-like activities. I may even learn something from the activities themselves–like extreme knitting or something. (Ouch–carpal tunnel!)

Small talk has always been such a bore, unless I am concentrating on something else, like the sculptured look of someone’s nose. So if I can at least pull off small talk, while processing either my own random thoughts or anxieties, I feel it will be a success. I think part of this will be in learning even more how to be ok with myself, as I am. That is, myself interacting with others, without having to please them. Being an over-pleaser and a bit of an enabler may be one reason why I leap into committed relationships before I look.

Let’s hope the sob story is over for once and all.


Important Info to Read Before Reading This Blog

Please note, all names of individuals contained herein are fake; places are not mentioned specifically. This is in order to protect the innocent (and possibly the guilty, meaning myself).

In the beginning section cataloging each date, I am including sections for things like “My Outfit” and “Amount of Time Spent Beautifying.” FYI, I am not a Narcissist. I put these as indicators of how important I thought the date was going to be beforehand. I am also using these categories because I think it will be interesting to note each date’s reaction to my appearance, as well as my own confidence level based on my own perception of how I look that day.

At the ending section cataloging each date, I have put in several categories of rankings of things like the person’s face, smell and interestingness. The rankings are not in order to be mean to my dates (hey, the names are changed!) I also included a category called “Deportment.” This category is based on the critical factor of how one carries himself, my little joke inspired by Mr. Turveydrop in Bleak House. Another category is “Amiable,” an idea that Jane Austen illustrated in descriptions of courtship. I think that the idea of Amiable is best described when Agatha Christie quotes David Copperfield in her autobiography: ‘”Is your brother an agreeable man, Peggotty?” I enquired cautiously. “Oh what an agreeable man he is!” exclaimed Peggotty .’ (Christie goes on to explain that her own father was an agreeable/amiable man.)

The purpose of all these rankings is in the interest of Science, to study how much importance I attach to each category in making an overall evaluation of how much I like someone and if I will date the person again. So, with that being said, just read the rest of the damn blog.

Release Into The Wild

My first release into the wilds of dating. On the prowl. A little nervous. A little excited.

It all started with a chat after dinner at my friend Bee’s house, with another friend, Cassandra Chick-Lit, in attendance. Bee has been in a committed relationship for about 10 years; Cassandra and I are both currently single. As women so often do, the three of us began to analyze our relationship histories—the Good, the Bad & the Ugly. And while the three of us have plenty in common, it’s the Ugly I’ve mostly considered on a very personal level for the last year and a half (more on that later).

Cassandra and I began to talk about the Bad—in other words, where we have been unsuccessful in our relationships. All three of us are in our 30s, which seems to be a place where people become more in tune with who they are and can have more honest conversations about it. Cassandra confessed that she is a commitment-phobe. By contrast, I consider myself a non-commitment-phobe. This has been a very Ugly problem for me for many years past. I’ve had so many bad long-term relationships that I am starting to lose count. It started with a relationship with my High School Sweetheart, which lasted for nearly eight years and ended in the Bitter Big D. (Which divorce is not bitter??)

Anyway, for most of my adult life, I have impulsively committed to and been stuck with several of the wrong people. One, three, SEVEN years in: “Gee, all this wasted time has been a blast but I really have to leave now.” I could write a book about it (and in fact have a half-written manuscript on this topic in my desk right now.) Hence, the Anti-Commitment Problem, or ACP. That sounds like a medical diagnosis. Yes I like that—ACP—that sounds better than just saying I have a yucky personal issue.

This problem is still lurking around somewhere in my past and while I was talking to Bee and Cassandra, I realized that I have no idea how to date; here I am at this ripe age and I still don’t even have the skills that even a semi-popular teenager might. To my credit, in this past year of FINALLY self-inflicted singlehood, I have at least figured out a bit about why I have ACP (which I will discuss later). I have gone through quite a process this year, achieving not only monk-like celibacy, but a cynically self-protective edge over romantic impulsiveness.

But after talking it out with Bee and Cassandra, I suddenly realized that perhaps now there is a component missing in my life. Living by myself is not exactly lonely but potentially boring and I hate being bored. Plus, I may not want to be the old lady in the nursing home someday who passed up all the opportunities to have a relationship for 50 years because she made poor choices during the 15 years prior. Plus, it seems that dating would be a skill that many people in our society would/should have, and I do enjoy having skills. (I find it helps with résumés if nothing else.) Plus, I really can’t spend the entire rest of my life watching Star Trek on Netflix, as appealing as it may sound.

The project with which I am starting my new life will include going on a date with one new person every week OR  attending at least one dating-oriented event each week for a year.

Thus, with all these factors considered, I, Scarlett O’Casual, am ready for my Official Release into the Wild.

Am I the unavailable one?

Cassie here and I have a slightly different problem than my friend Scarlett. While she seems to be perpetually involved in long term relationships I can’t seem to make it past a few weeks in any of mine. I recently had a revelation though.

I’ve suspected for some time now that maybe I’m the unavailable one. Then while searching for a solution to another problem I came across an article about that very topic. While I didn’t agree with all the logic behind it the signs they pointed out were pretty clear, I am unavailable. My current romantic interests are all unavailable, at least to me, but I may be part of the problem. I have a pattern of liking a guy, becoming friends with them, and then never dating them. I’ve suspected that at least some of these guys may have had an interest in me as well. Now, is the reason we never went out because I never asked (It is the 2000s and I’m a modern woman, a chicken, but a modern woman) or is it because I never gave them the go ahead to approach me about it?  This is something I may ask some of them in the future if I can get up the nerve and deal with the consequences of talking about it honestly. For now though, I’m just going to try to put myself out there more and see what happens.

To that end, my goal will be a little different than Scarlett’s. It will be to practice being more available. I’ve got a very busy schedule but I’m going to try to start making more room in it for dating. Also, I will be more focused on trying to find someone I can continue to go out with and hopefully even someone with whom I can be in a relationship. That’s what I want, but having been on my own for as long as I have been, that’s a scary thought. So, I’m going to need to find someone who is willing to take it slow with me.