Thursday, February 14

This Very Special Friday Random Ten is neither special, nor random, nor Friday. Discuss.

Well, it's Valentine's Day again, or as I like to call it, Still Not Getting Laid Day (also known as "Thursday," as well as "Monday," "Friday," "Saturday," "Tuesday," "Sunday" and, well, "Wednesday"). And that means it's time for another one of my Annual Relationship Failure Updates (previous updates hyah and hyah.)

Last spring, I asked out this really cute blond girl who waitressed during Sunday brunch at Cosmo's in my neighborhood. She looked really familiar, and it turned out the place I knew her from was a party I'd gone to the previous Christmas; she was actually the date of one of the guys throwing the party. Now, this guy's a friend of mine, he's a decent guy, but he's even more clueless around women than I am, so I figured maybe I might look like a step up after that. And for a while, it appeared that was the case: We hit it off pretty well on our first date, when we met up for drinks one Saturday night after she got off work, and it turned out her day job was also at UAB, so we had plenty of UAB-related stuff to talk about.

A couple weeks later, we went to see "Ocean's Thirteen," and I asked her what she was doing the following week, and she said she was going to be out of town for a work-related conference all week but we could do something when she got back. I called her when she'd gotten back into town, left a message on her voice-mail, and never heard from her again.

There was this really cute barista at the Starbucks right around the corner from my apartment, and one day I'm working on this big project for the nursing school here, and who shows up but the barista -- she's a nursing student and she's one of the students who's having her picture taken for this project. We chat for a while, I see her a few weekends in a row while I'm getting my Sunday-morning mocha, and one of those weekends I pull the trigger and ask her for her phone number.

Now, figuring out first-date activities has always been a challenge for me, but this time I think I've got a good one: There's a screening of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" at WorkPlay that week, and she says this is one of her favorite movies. So I ask her if she wants to meet me and some friends of mine there for the movie, and she says sure. I figure this is a perfect setup -- interesting activity, it's a group of people as opposed to just her and me, so no pressure -- and everything seems like it's going pretty well. As we're leaving, I tell her that I'm headed to Athens that weekend for the Auburn game, but would like to do something with her when I get back, and she seems receptive to this.

I go to the game, Georgia kicks ass, I come back, I call her, I leave a message on her voice-mail, and never hear from her again.

In between these two, right around the end of spring, I reconnected with a girl I'd actually gone out with a couple years before -- she was a medical student I met through one of the friends I’d made with the Clark campaign back in '04. Anyway, this girl and I really connected on a level deeper than "Heh, she's hot" -- which, and I'll be completely honest here, I have a habit of not setting my sights any higher than that -- and she even defied the odds by going out with me more than once. Many times more than once, in fact! But it was all destined to be cut short, because after a couple months she left to spend a year in Zambia, working with a UAB outreach project in women's and maternal/child health.

It took us a while to hook back up after she returned to the U.S. because she was busy trying to graduate from med school -- which I hear isn't the easiest thing in the world to do -- but we started seeing each other again, hit it off just like we did the first time, and for once I'm dating someone whom I feel completely comfortable with and whom I'm attracted to on far more than just a superficial physical level. Almost like I'm, you know, finally maturing and stuff. So what happens? She graduates from medical school and starts her residency . . . which is at a hospital in Boston. The one in Massachusetts.

So thanks to me being in the right place at the wrong time -- two separate wrong times, if you think about it -- even when something goes right, it doesn't go right. And that has been the Relationship Failure Update for 2008.

And here's the Valentine's Day Not-So-Special, Not-So-Random Ten, my own personal collection of slow jams designed to get you in the mood that I'm usually in when this particular day rolls around on the calendar.

1. DeeJay Punk-Roc, “The World is My Ashtray”
2. Joy Division, “Atrocity Exhibition”
3. Dr. Dre, “Deeez Nuuuts”
4. Dead Milkmen, “If You Love Someone Set Them on Fire”
5. Kaiser Chiefs, “Everyday I Love You Less and Less”
6. The Bloodhound Gang, “You’re Pretty When I’m Drunk”
7. Avenue Q cast, “The Internet Is for Porn”
8. Ween, “Piss Up a Rope”
9. Dead Kennedys, “Forward to Death”
10. Johnny Cash, “Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart”

Feel free to commiserate in the comments thread with your own stories of EPIC FAIL in the romance department.

ADDED: Practically Harmless has some other suggestions for how to be civilly disobedient today. Well, maybe scratch the "civilly" part, but whatever.


DAve said...

Man, if I had a nickel for every time a girl I liked "left to spend a year in Zambia"...

Anonymous said...

lmao at Dave.

I can imagine the woman thinking:

Zambia?....Doug?....Zambia?.....Doug? Oh hell, Zambia, any day!!

Anonymous said...

Listen, numbskull, just because she is moving doesn't mean the relationship has to end. If it (the relationship) is worth having, it is worth working for. There are lots of ways to stay in touch, and the airlines do fly to Beantown at reasonably competetive rates. Have a heart-to-heart- if she's interested in keeping something going, go for it!

Anonymous said...

Dude I thought the only reason to be a liberal was to land chicks. Damn, I'm going back to the right wing

Hassan said...

Stop doing the movie date thing as a first date. Dinner/movie shows her that you are not very original when it comes to planning activities. Dinner is rushed because you have to make the movie in time. Sitting in the dark NOT talking to each other is a horrible way to spend a first date. Girls like to talk...they like to talk about themselves. You've just planned an activity that prevents that. Don't ever take a girl to a movie unless she suggests it. Always, ALWAYS take her to do things that allow her an ample forum for her to babble on. I've found that the cheesier the better. Dinner is fine but try some off the wall stuff like bowling, miniature golf, art gallery exhibition, craft making lesson, wine tasting, cooking lesson, salsa dance lessons, etc...

Oh, and be sure to say shit like, "uh-huh", "really", "wow", and "tell me more" every few minutes.

Cal said...

I feel much better about myself now ...

Karen said...

It's about perspective, dude. You GET dates. That's not a bad thing. You aren't the nonthreatening, asexual friend type, so that's a start. It sounds like you really you aren't a failure but a victim of circumstance and bad timing. If anything, you actually sound quite popular and so therefore maybe even a bit intimidating to women? You should examine it. Maybe go back and have some conversations kind of like Rob in "High Fidelity"...

Anyway, I just think it could be so much worse, man. So much. If you can write about it, it's not that horrifying. Trust me, I have unrepeatable stories of dating failure that even I can't put the funny spin on.

the other anonymous said...

I once drove a girl into homosexuality. We had started dating in high school and all was well into the second year of college, when she came to me after I had spent a weekend at home and told me that she had a girlfriend. I found out, years later, from a mutual friend that she had said I was such a jerk that she was turned off of guys completely.

You can add to your list:

"Pet names" by Smash Mouth

EmotionalFescue said...

Officer Michaels - "You don't wanna meet a chick at a bar, man. You gotta go spin class, a farmer's market, a pumpkin patch.....given the season."

Anonymous said...

Three words Doug,

Mail Order Bride.......

Seriously, this series of articles/opinion pieces should give you a maniacal sense of vindication.....

Will said...

hassan's dead on about avoiding movies/dinners. My all-time best first dates didn't have any truly set external time limits, and featured lots of time in relatively quiet areas where we could talk--literally--for hours.

My "semi-bitter 10":
1. Radiohead - "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"
2. Ben Folds Five - "Song For The Dumped"
3. Butch Walker - "The Best Thing You Never Had"
4. U2 - "With Or Without You"
5. Marvelous 3 - "Cigarette Lighter Love Song"
6. Jeff Buckley - "Last Goodbye"
7. Bon Jovi - "Always"
8. Augie March - "One Crowded Hour"
9. Opeth - "Closure"
10. Damien Rice - "Volcano"

DAve said...

"Listen, numbskull, just because she is moving doesn't mean the relationship has to end."

Yeah, but how exactly are you supposed to bump uglies if she's somewhere else?

And yes, I'm single.

Kanu said...

Two already beat me to it {+1 Hassan and Will}, but never a movie date not just for the first but for at least the first three. Drinks is always good because the whole point is to have a chance to talk and get to know each other a bot and see if you like each other, plus you avoid the high sunken cost of a full on dinner, which is fine but sucks when you are 5 min into the date and realize that the whole thing is DOA- with drinks you can have 2 drinks, then abort to the tune of about $25, whereas dinner is $50-100 plus an hour minimum before you can abort with grace.

And yes, women want to talk, but they also want to learn about you, and also see if you are a good listener. So no matter how bad, listen and pay attention, even if it's awful- trying to catch the sportscenter highlights from the TV in the corner while she's chatting is not as discreet/unnoticeable as you think, and usually spells disaster.

Also, men tend to fall into the habit of trying to impress girls on first dates. Don't try to impress her- she is sick and tired of cheesy dudes trying to impress her. She wants to know if you are interesting and and interested {in what she has to say}, not a list of accomplishments. Just be yourself and talk normally, but also listen- mondo important.

That being said, yeah mix it up- don't just go to a bar for drinks. Art galleries, other shit- always pick up whatever the equivalent of Creative Loafing in your town is, and peruse the events section, whether it is a week that you have a date or not. If it's not, and you see something interesting, then file it away under good 1st date ideas in the ol brain.

And most importantly, dating is a numbers game, but lots of people get jaded pretty quickly. Look, out of 10 girls that you might go on a first date with only 2 or maybe 3 might turn into something worthwhile and real. This means that in order to find that, you have to go on lots of dates with lots of women, and do it with a good attitude rather than get too jaded. Take each one as it comes, embrace it whether it succeeds or fails, and then go on to the next if necessary. Think of yourself as a really good shooting guard: if your shot is off, you don;t stop shooting. Rather you keep shooting until you get hot.

Lastly, dude- confidence without arrogance. You are a cool ass dude. Know this, embrace it, exude it without getting too close to the arrogant douche electric fence.

Oh, and if you are a funny dude, and you are, then you're already ahead. If you can make a woman laugh, then she instantly becomes more comfortable, and you are on your way to being in.

Like many things, in the end it all comes down to attitude.

Keep shooting, dude, until you get hot.

Kanu said...

Apologies- rereading that it sounds like I am talking down to you/others or barking orders at you or some shit, like I think I'm some kind of the shit who knows what the fuck I am talking about. Not at all, just a small bit of my $.02 on first encounters, as I have had my fair share the last couple of years. {At least where you are the flake & weirdo factors have got to be considerably lower than out here in SF...}

Thinking Bulldog said...

hassan and kanu nail it. Karen as well.

The only thing I would add is you should not give up just because one message did not get returned. First of all answering machines and voicemails are notoriously unreliable. Secondly many people are just plain technologically incompetent. Third, some chicks won't return messages or want to test how interested you are by not returning the first message. Calling again 2 or 3 days after the first message goes unreturned does not put you in the stalker zone. I've screwed up and not made that second call and then found out the girl liked me, and I've also left 2 messages and got the call back.

thinking bulldog said...

IN FACT, just for the hell of it you should call the barista AND the waitress tomorrow. [I share your affection for service employees...topic for another day] Nothing to lose, and if either of them are available what better day to strike than the day after VD.

Sarah said...

If I knew you in real life, I'd probably want to do you.
Happy Singles Awareness Day

Universal REMONSTER said...

My engagement just got broken, so you can leave EPIC FAIL to me. To quote David Cross, "you're just inconvenienced."

some chick w/ a boy's name said...

Wow, you had a very busy spring Doug. What did you do for the rest of the year?

I didn't quite know how to handle Valentine's Day this year because I had just started seeing a friend of a friend (I have a bad habit of meeting men that way) and we'd only been out once. Do you do something for Valentine's Day for someone you've only been out with once, or do you just ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist? I chose the latter and went to dinner with girl friends, but he showed up at my house afterward with a dozen roses. Here's hoping this one isn't a douchebag!

Will said...

Adding on to Kanu's point about "trying to impress" - I think there are girls that want to be impressed, but they're not girls you really want to date.
That said, here are my "red flags" that cause me to avoid date #2 (and flip the gender and they're probably things to avoid saying):
1. Unprovoked mentioning of an ex, especially multiple times (or worse, mentioning luxury goods owned by said ex or how much money he made.)
2. Statements 100% contrary to my own beliefs, such as "I hate how liberal McCain is, especially on women's issues." (NARAL rated him out at 0% folks).
3. Liking country music and no other genre of music. (But that's just me.)