Men Are Not Dogs

Well this is a strange headline, huh?

What I mean by “men are not dogs” is that men, unlike dogs, do not need to be trained. Yes, they should be raised to be respectful and kind, but when you are looking for a grown man to date you should absolutely not go into it with a mindset that you need to teach him how to treat you.

“I can train him to buy me flowers,” or open doors, or hold my hand, or [insert task you want your dream boyfriend to do]. It isn’t your job to mother a man, and one really surefire reality of life is that you can rarely change another person. Sure you can tell someone what you like and watch their actions closely after a conversation, but you should never go into a relationship expecting someone to change a laundry list of things for you.

I’m going to share a personal anecdote to show how I learned this lesson the hard way.

I used to date someone I really liked, but our relationship just didn’t feel  very romantic. I am someone who absolutely loves the little things in life. I adore little gestures that say “I love you” like leaving each other notes, cooking for one another, and yes — I love chivalry.

Boy #1

This first person that I dated wasn’t into showing me he loved me in any of the ways my heart wanted. I remember even telling him at one point that I thought it was nice when he opened the car door for me and I really appreciated when guys did that; this struck a pretty strong nerve for him. #1 told me he didn’t know why in the world I wanted him to do something like that and that it wasn’t worth fighting about.  I didn’t realize something like this was fight-worthy, I thought to myself. I wasn’t trying to argue, I just thought it would be nice for him to know that I appreciated the gesture so there might be a repeat. Later I realized “the door” wasn’t really even about the door at all. It was about the pile of things I felt I wasn’t getting out of this relationship. That was the most one-sided relationship I have ever been in, and although I gave up so many of my dreams for this gentleman (huge mistake; I will write about this another day!), bought him presents and little gift baskets to show that I cared, and even abided to his wishes of talking to him less,* I never felt fulfilled in our relationship, even when he did.

This wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong, though. He just didn’t show love in the ways I need to feel loved. Back then I thought I was being kind by giving him “tips” on simple ways to love me in ways I understood better, but now I realize we just weren’t the right fit.

I want someone who will remember our anniversaries and enjoy celebrating them together, someone who gives me his time, and someone who is as kind and caring to me as I am to him.

*In hindsight it is hilarious that I once “showed someone I loved them” by agreeing to cut off most of our communication.

Gentleman #2

This second person is the complete opposite of #1. He is someone I’ve often wondered how I had the pleasure of meeting, as he is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.

On our first date he was chivalrous, but this behavior continued seamlessly into our 30th date. He opened my car door any time we went out, always wanted to be the one to pick me up and take me out, and goes above and beyond to show me that he cares. He has written me letters, cooked complicated five course Italian dinners, and often called me during his lunch breaks just to say “hello.” This is someone I think is so incredibly special that I don’t know how I got lucky enough to meet him and see that many of the sweet little joys in life aren’t just “Krista things” that are unrealistic traits to want in a boyfriend. There are men out there who are a million times better than the ones you see in the movies. They’re real, raw, and far from perfect, but they love you so fiercely there isn’t any room for you to question where you stand in their life.

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Today’s lesson: Dogs are smart, loyal, and loving companions. You really can’t expect any human to measure up to this amazing animal, but wait for the person who does make you feel loved in the same way your dog loves you. This is a kind and selfless love with so much joy that your heart feels like it might explode.

Guys: What NOT To Put In Your Dating Profile

There are certain things that are red flags to girls, and I figured I would help y’all make your dating profiles just a little bit better. Here are a few things I have seen time and time again and hope you don’t have in your online profile:

“I’m one of the good guys. Everyone else on here is a tool and will use you.”

I don’t like this because the fact of the matter is that it’s just not true. I have been out with so many really nice guys who just haven’t worked out because of a lack of chemistry or things in common — this just makes it seem like you have trouble getting along with others. I’d like my future boyfriend to have his own group of friends, as that’s a sign he’s likeable and can maintain a relationship.

“Don’t message me if you’re just looking for validation.”

Okay, I get it. There are people who are on dating sites just there to swipe and never meet up. That doesn’t mean everyone is the same, though; you’ll be able to figure out pretty quickly why someone has a dating profile. If your plans keep falling through with the same person just move on to the next one!

“Not looking for a high maintenance girl.”

Let’s be real. Relationships do take some sort of maintenance and this makes me feel like you might really not be willing to put work into ours down the road. I’d say for a girl I am require a medium amount of maintenance, but I also enjoy putting work into a romance to make things special for my guy too. I understand you don’t want a girl who is going to take advantage of you, but that’s what going on a few dates is for — getting to know the person you might eventually become exclusive with!

“Only swipe right if you actually look like your pictures.”

Okay, I agree that you should try to accurately represent yourself in an online profile, but this just rubs me the wrong way. Most guys I’ve been out with have said they’ve had a similar experience with this in that a girl doesn’t look like her photos — I can relate; I’ve been there before too. It isn’t your job, though, to police these girls with your profile. If anyone is trying to be deceitful hopefully they will quickly realize they are only hurting themselves.

And if you go out with a girl like this? Be nice, and sit through a drink with her before excusing yourself. If you’re open to getting to know someone’s heart you might just make a great new friend.

“My friend made me make this account.”

Or any variation of “I only did this because someone else told me to,” or, “I know this is lame, but I’m not a typical ‘online guy.'”

This, in my opinion, is one of the biggest time-wasters on a dating profile. Why? Because I’m on here too, so I clearly don’t think you are lame for having an account. You don’t need to explain yourself; just tell me a little about what makes you you! If anything this statement makes me feel like you aren’t that into going out with people you meet online since you think it’s so silly.

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What do y’all think? Do any of you have this information in your profile and disagree with me? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

 

Is Honesty The Best Policy?

I decided to create a brutally honest dating profile to see what would happen. Some questions I had going into this were:

  1. Would strangers accept me the way I am — flaws and all?
  2. How would this profile compare to the previous ones I have set up?
  3. How might people react to the fact that I have a chronic illness?
  4. What would strangers focus on as “important” in getting to know me?

A way I could have made this experiment even better would have been to use photos of myself with absolutely no makeup (contrary to popular belief, men, I do wear some!) and gone into even more detail about myself. I suppose I could have written that I have a dating blog, but I wanted the responses to be genuine without people wondering whether they would be written about.

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Within 24 hours I got just over 100 messages, 576 visitors, and 796 profile “likes.” Thanks for that, OK Cupid.

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When I broke it down there were some people who clearly did not read my profile at all (I even compared some of these gentlemen with a friend who has the app and they sent her the exact same messages!), but for the most part people had sent messages crafted to directly address something I had mentioned in my profile.

I was surprised to find that nobody really got my reference from The Office (littledoglover), but I was shocked at how many people opened with a line about Pokémon, as they noticed the Ash Ketchum hat in my profile.

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No, that’s not the point though!
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Sigh.
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YES, you get it!

Some people asked me about my chronic illness, but it didn’t really seem to be a turnoff anyone who messaged me (Obviously there is no way for me to know how many people didn’t send me a message me because of it), even when I told them what it was called and how it affects my every day life. For the most part people skipped right over that and asked me questions about other things I had listed. Some enjoyed the pictures of my dog and I that were posted, others commented on the board games I liked or some of the goofy nerdier things I love.

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Hahaha, I like it.
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OK, this kid has me pegged.
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Good question. Step 1, be the banker. Step 2, give yourself enough money to buy a bunch of hotels. Step 3, win.
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This was my absolute favorite.

Honestly I think what guys liked most about this profile was how genuine it was. I don’t think I’d say I’m great at a big list of things, but I would say that I am always myself no matter what situation life puts me in. My dating profiles always have a strong reflection of my character, but it’s interesting that not many things change even when you throw in a little too much information.

Today’s lesson: If you decide to create a dating profile don’t try to be fancy, different, or stand out — just be your beautiful self and you will surely attract the right people.

True Life: Pokémon Go Has Replaced My Dating Life

“Single in The Suburbs” is clearly the name a dating blog, right? Why has it been so hard for a dating blogger to write about her life experiences then?

The answer is simple. Pokémon Go was created.

Ever since its release I haven’t been motivated to go out into the world and gather stories. I have, however, been incredibly motivated to catch the 101 Magikarp necessary to evolve into Gyarados, though (On a related note, Northwest DC is crawling with them).

I have come to the conclusion that Pokémon Go can effectively take the place of my dates for several months. Here are the ways I believe PMG can replace dating:

  1. Finding a new Pokémon is similar to the adrenaline rush you get during a first kiss. Although you don’t have the same interpersonal bond, studies have claimed that when you capture that new Arcanine you’ve been wanting, dopamine is released, causing the same kind of pleasure you might get from a first kiss.
  2. Pokémon are cuter than any date you’ll find. Sure DC has a lot of good looking people, but it’s hard to beat out this sweet face.Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 4.04.29 PM.png
  3. You know your date is going to be a lot of fun. I still haven’t felt bored or antsy to get home when I’m out with Pokémon. In fact, I’m always happy to extend my time playing; time flies while I’m running around with these little critters!
  4. You meet lots of new people playing PMG. I’ve actually made some new friends going out to different meetup groups or even while sitting at a Poké stop. I have made a couple of lasting friends from online dating, but for the most part we stop talking if we don’t see any sort of romantic connection. With PMG the more the merrier!
  5. I used to stay out late with guys; now I stay out late with my new Poké-friends. Whether I’m taking over a gym, running around to hatch an egg, or attempting to catch a Snorlax, late at night seems to be prime-time to play PMG!
  6. Pokémon Go is a great way to bond with new people and a fun way to spend time. Casually dating around doesn’t necessarily change my life in any major way, but it gives me little stories and teaches me life lessons. PMG has done the same thing by offering me an opportunity to explore new areas of my town. It is an easy way to connect with people — since we all enjoy playing the same game, it’s a great way to break the ice and then get to know more about strangers.
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#TEAMVALOR

“Bean” The Marine

Apparently I have a thing for military guys — noted.

When I first started dating again after my ex and I broke up I realized quickly how many people you don’t click with online. Whether it’s because you have different morals or nothing in common personality-wise, I learned that although talking to a bunch of guys was a lot of fun, it took some work to find people who might have a chance at working out for a second date.

I started off my dating ventures giving a lot of people very different than me a chance. I think you can learn a lot from people who aren’t like you, so I enjoyed meeting people from all different walks of life. After being on a handful of first dates that didn’t materialize into anything I realized I wanted to go out with someone who was more or less on the same page as me.

Then I met “Bean.” Obviously I changed the name and won’t mention where we met, but his name was something that rhymes with “Bean.” You’re smart– you can figure it out. 😉

Bean was smart, witty, loved dogs, and yes — he was hot.

We had a deeper connection than most of my other online conversations, and I was actually really excited about going on a date with him. I daydreamed about going on a date with Bean and felt like regardless of what happened after, it would be nice to have a really good first date with someone. And sparks! It can be difficult to tell whether or not you’ll have chemistry with someone you’re chatting with through a computer screen, but I had a good feeling about this one.

As we were talking about our favorite books — we happened to have a few in common — he asked me for my number. Finally! I thought. It’s about time he asked me out!

Another thing that drew me in to this mysterious marine was that he didn’t just jump right on asking me out. He made me wait a little, which is actually quite intriguing. Kind of like a first kiss, it’s nice letting the anticipation build up a little bit before going in for the kill.*

I sent him my number and waited for the text… And waited. And waited.

What the heck? It had been a few days since our last contact, and it was becoming pretty clear that Bean wasn’t going to be messaging me.

At first I was really disappointed. This guy had been one of the first people who really got me excited about a first date. Then I realized a few things. First, I didn’t really know this guy. The things I knew about him were:

  1. He was cute
  2. He had good taste in books
  3. He was a Marine
  4. He had good grammar

That was about it. Sure I had a little crush and that was okay, but it was more of a Theo James kind of crush — because let’s be real, I think I tricked myself into thinking this guy was “such a great match” because he was someone I thought was super-attractive.

I don’t know what happened to Bean. I’ve seen him on a few different dating apps, but haven’t tried to pursue that any further. We weren’t a match, he never texted me, and you know what? That’s just fine. There are a million other fish in the sea.

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*Guys, don’t take this as a tip to make a girl work too hard for you, though — that’s not a good idea either, as we’ll just move on if we think a guy is uninterested. There is a very precise art to playing “the waiting game,” and I don’t want you to miss a shot with someone you really like because you’re playing games with her. This is more of a “playing it cool” technique.

 

I Probably Need Glasses

Every time I go to my annual checkup I ask the doctor to check my vision. Why? Because it’s terrible! My night vision is particularly bad; I have literally bumped into walls in the middle of the night when trying to find the bathroom.

I never realized this might affect my dating life, but now I have a new story to tell my doctor when he asks why I think I have bad eyesight. I was on OKCupid mindlessly clicking through the site and decided to try the “Quick Match” feature. I had never used it on a PC before, so was checking out the differences between that and the app on my iPhone.

Anyway, I scrolled to the “Quick Match” section and noticed that they offered three different photos and you could click on one that you liked. Interesting, I thought to myself. I guess you choose your favorite guy and it will “like” him before going to the next group of pictures.

Right. Right. Middle. Left. Middle. Right.

I clicked through about ten groups of photos until I realized the system was glitching.

Why are there three pictures of the same guy? I wondered to myself. Am I supposed to help him enhance his profile or something by choosing one of his profile photos? My thoughts of helping him in his dating endeavors immediately trailed off as it all clicked.

“Oh no!” I exclaimed to myself. I had just liked ten profiles in a row — the photos weren’t of different guys, but rather they were offering me a small sample of one man’s profile photos to see whether or not I was interested in him. I saw a small “X” in the corner and realized you “like” a profile by clicking on any of the photos, or you can “pass” on it by clicking the small white “X.”

I laughed awkwardly, embarrassed at my mistake.

I’m not sure whether these gentleman had mixed in old and new photos, making the photos all look fairly different from one another or if I was just terribly unobservant. Either way, this might explain why I sometimes have trouble recognizing my dates when we meet up.

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Today’s lesson: My doctors have been lying to me for years now. There’s absolutely no way I have 20/20 vision.

You Asked For It…

It’s been awhile since I’ve told a funny date story, so now I’m going back to my first Match.com date! Everything started out fine; we met in front of the restaurant and walked in together to get seated.

Our conversation started with the typical first meeting interview — what we’re doing with our lives, what we enjoy doing for fun, etc. My favorite question to ask is always, “What is the weirdest date you’ve been on?” People have given me such crazy answers, as most of the guys I’ve gone out with have been on other online dates. My favorite story was something that contained going to Kim Kardashian’s home, saving dogs from flooding, and a prize-winning pig, all wrapped up in one (I looked into it later and the story was, in fact, true). It’s a long story and not really mine to tell, but trust me when I say you have to ask this question on your next first date.

Anyway, our conversations were pretty normal, but this particular gentleman and I didn’t seem to have a lot in common. I like dogs, he likes cats (This is an important question in my book; I am not sure if I could date someone who isn’t a dog person, as my dream is to have around six one day). He loves hiking, I can’t do that right now. He loves politics, I am more into entertainment news. The topics of conversation flowed pretty seamlessly, even with the lack of chemistry.

My incredibly awkward moment didn’t come until the token “most uncomfortable part” of any date — picking up the check.

Goodness knows I’ve been on enough first dates that I should be used to this part by now, but I absolutely hate it. Please just let me pay my own way, I always think to myself. I don’t even know you; you don’t owe me anything. 

Right before our waiter brought over the check, this gentleman and I were talking about my dream to work in the entertainment industry. I told him that I watched embarrassing shows like The Bachelor and then trailed off before bringing up my guiltiest pleasure of all — Keeping Up with The Kardashians (Please don’t tell anyone, though. This is our little secret).

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Yes, I went out of the way to go to the Dash store in Soho. Just call me “Krista Kardashian.”

 

Anyway, he seemed to read my mind, as he slyly asked, “Do you like KUWTK?”

I blushed and nodded, “But I only really watch it when I’m at the gym.” This is a half-truth.

“Do you?” I fired back, trying to take the attention off of myself.

Enter: the waiter.

I had been fumbling with my wallet trying to grab the cash I always keep on hand for dates. After awkwardly offering — and getting turned down — to pay, we went back to chatting.

“Thanks for dinner,” I said.

“What would you have done if I had said yes?” He asked me.

I looked at him, confused. Umm, I would have totally paid for my food. I thought. I don’t expect you to automatically take care of the check; I understand that it’s our first time meeting and am happy to split it. 

It wouldn’t have been a big deal at all!” I replied.

“No, but what would you have described me as in one word?” He pushed.

This is odd, I thought. Why couldn’t you have just let me pay for myself and skip over all this awkwardness? I wondered to myself, frustrated. I wish there was a way to skip this entire part and just enjoy meeting someone new. 

“Umm, I’m not sure.” I replied, clearly uncomfortable with the question.

“Come on,” he urged, failing to sense how awkward I was feeling.

“Uh, I guess I would say you were frugal maybe?” My mind was racing. Was that rude? I wouldn’t have thought he was frugal, I would’ve just figured he wasn’t into me or maybe wanted to be friends first. I certainly didn’t want him to think I was being unappreciative for the nice dinner!

He furrowed his brow, confused. “Huh? Frugal? You know what that means, right?”

OH NO, I suddenly realized. HE WASN’T TALKING ABOUT THE CHECK. I had completely forgotten about the conversation we had right before the waiter interrupted. Darn Kardashians. You embarrassed me yet again!

“Oh,” I laughed, “I don’t think frugal is the word I was looking for.” My face was flushed. I felt like such an idiot, as I definitely know the definition of “frugal.”

“Aren’t you getting your Masters in English?” he asked with a look of concern on his face.

Crap. How do I get out of this one? What kind of English student doesn’t know what “frugal” means? Scratch that. What kind of 25-year-old doesn’t know the definition of “frugal?” Ugh, this was another typical Krista move.

I laughed it off and changed the subject as quickly as I could, ditching the Kardashian conversation as quickly as possible.

Today’s lesson: Guys, please know that paying for a meal is super awkward on the girls’ end. Whether or not you let us pay for our share, we will feel uncomfortable. If you go out with me in particular, I cannot seem to hide my flusterdness very well, so forgive whatever dopey thing I say and move on with the conversation, please and thank you.

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