Chapter 8: Where Have all the Cowboys Gone

Oh Paula Cole….I’m not sure what the answer to this question was in the 90’s when you released this song, but after my experiences the past few months, I’d have to say the answer is most certainly to Fuckboy Island.  (Although it’s a bad island cuz they all keep escaping and ruining lives)  Apparently, the mystical, romantic, John Wayne cowboys I grew up watching on the Western channel with my Grandpa have long since been replaced with douche canoes!  That seems to be the general feeling among my girlfriends anyway……

Here’s a little 90’s jam to get you in the mood!

I promised last week that I would write about getting “dumped” although as you’ll come to find out, that probably isn’t the technical term one should use to describe the situation.  The more correct term is that I got played….and I got played hard.  This, my friends, is a story about trust and gut feelings….and why you should always trust your gut.  First impressions rarely ever lie, and if something doesn’t seem right, odds are it isn’t right.  I however, being the eternal hopeless romantic and delusional optimist that I am regarding relationships, chose to ignore mine for quite some time.

This ignorance on my part has lead to the final chapter in the saga that is The Asshole Tinder Cowboy.  This is going to be a long one, I’m sorry, but I have a lot I feel like I need to try and get off my chest.

I really don't have trust issues, but as someone who trusts that people are good even when I shouldn't, you learn this lesson early and often. The key is not letting the assholes get you down.

I really don’t have trust issues, but as someone who trusts that people are good even when I shouldn’t, you learn this lesson early and often. The key is trying not to let the assholes get you down.

THE REFRESHER COURSE

First things first, let me remind you about my previous feelings regarding the ATC.

Things started off with these feelings of generalized annoyance…..

Random guy who lives in the Hills starts talking to me on Tinder.  This leads to him calling me to chat.  During one of our chats he starts fighting with me about how horses are so much better for moving cattle than 4-wheelers………and this is his life………and “They’ve done studies…you’re into science you should understand that!”  hahah…..yup cuz being a jerk straight outta the gate makes me wanna date you sir.

Shame though, he’s 6’4″ and smokin’ hot!” —  Chapter 6: A Festivus in July – The Airing of Grievances

and were quickly followed up by this lovely gem……

Post date, I maybe should retract what I said about the Tinder Cowboy a couple weeks ago……horses are his life and I should maybe not be such a judge-y bitch face all the time……more about that on another day hopefully.  He was actually very nice, and still super smokin’ hot good looking!”  #Sturgisorbust

Looking back, and knowing the things I know now, I want to give Chapter 6 me a high five and a prize and smack Sturgis me upside the head.  However, like they always say, hindsight is 20/20, so I’ll try and fill in some of the middle to connect you from July to two weeks ago.

STARTING OUT

The ATC and I didn’t have the best relationship straight out of the gate as you’ve may have sensed.  But, after I met him for dinner out in Sturgis, things did really start to come around.  It was at this point that I started to feel a bit concerned about things.  What exactly was I going to do with a cowboy who lived way out in the middle of bum fuck no where?!?!  Can one have a relationship with someone you meet on Tinder?!?!  Why was he talking to me, a girl living no where near him, of all people?!?!  This led to lots of conversations with the Besties…..because I can’t make these decisions on my own ever.  He did seem genuinely interested though, and everyone was sort of on the consensus that I should just let it ride for awhile and see what happened.  After all, there wasn’t really any harm in talking to him…..if it fizzled so be it.

The ATC and I talked everyday….I mean literally every day!  The part that really struck me like this might actually be soemthing serious was that if he knew or thought I was upset about something, he made me talk to him.  Even if I was upset about him, he always made sure that we talked about it.  No one I’ve ever dated had really ever done that before.  I know it seems like an important and normal thing, but for me it was new….and this will give you some insight into the level of jerk that I usually end up dating.

The ATC did cute things too….he’d randomly call me on Skype in the morning when I was getting ready for work so “we can have coffee together before you leave”….stuff like that.  Idk….it’s seems stupid and sickening now given the things I know, but at the time it felt cute, and like what someone who cared about you would do when they live 7 hours away.  I’m really a sucker for cute, little gestures, I think they speak louder than big, grand things that everyone can see…..but I mean clearly in this case I was so, so wrong.

THE WARNING SIGNS

Things got a bit weird in September.  There had been discussions, lots of discussions, about him coming to visit me for a weekend in September.  Since this was planned, I kept putting off the “Hey, maybe if we are together you should get your ass off Tinder” conversation because I thought it might go better in person.  Also, it felt a bit hypocritical to say something about it because the only reason I knew he was on Tinder was because I was obviously still on Tinder.  Everyone seemed to agree that if he like manned up and put his money where his mouth was so to speak we could have the Relationship Talk.  Eventually, these plans fell through because according to him someone had quit the ranch and he couldn’t get a Saturday off anymore.  Well, one night I was feeling particularly pouty about the whole “the guy I like is still on Tinder” thing, and in his standard fashion he made me talk about it.  Part of this talk involved him bringing up that he wasn’t seeing anyone else and that he didn’t want me to see anyone else either.  Remember the fact that HE BROUGHT IT UP…..this will become part of the confusion!

We didn’t talk for a few days in September at all, because he “needed time to think”.  We had a three hour phone conversation one night about where things were going (which included the Tinder issue), and I believed that he was sincere.  After all, if you didn’t want to talk to me anymore, I live several hours away and realistically I’d never see him again unless we planned it.  I would be the easiest girl to slow fade on if you wanted to ditch someone, and there were several times were I gave him the opportunity to leave free and clear….but he never did.  Even during the 3 hour phone call, I kept asking if he just wanted to not talk to me anymore….like would that just be easier for us both…..and he kept saying that he didn’t want that.  In hindsight I have no idea why he didn’t want that…..probably the answer is just that he’s a world class asshole!

We did start talking again because in his words, “I don’t know what I want exactly, but I know I don’t want to not talk to you.”  Again, I believed him, because relationships…especially long distance ones….are confusing and take a lot of work.  Turns out that he probably didn’t want to talk to me that weekend because he was having friends….AND HIS GIRLFRIEND……up for his birthday.  I had noticed a girl commenting about how she was “excited to see his face!!” on Facebook, but I let it go because I didn’t want to be jump to conclusions girl.  Plus, she was friends with his mom and sister on Facebook and super chatty with them, so I thought maybe she was just a girl he knows….I mean he’s allowed to know girls….I’m not that sort of girl.  I even straight up asked him if we hadn’t been talking because of another girl, and he got all “that’s how you’re going to connect those dots?!?!” on me about it……

It really takes a special kind of asshole to pull all the things the ATC did.

It really takes a special kind of asshole to pull all the things the ATC did.  Kudos to him I guess for keeping us all juggled properly though….seems like a shit load of work to be honest.  I never got a text that was out of place or meant for someone other than me.  Believe me when I say I’ve been around the block with the signs of cheating, and this was pretty free and clear of those signals……….

SLAP BACK TO REALITY

I had been needing to take a trip out West River anyway, my hair is in need of some serious High Maintenance Salon TLC.  So I found a weekend where the ATC wasn’t busy working, and scheduled myself a hair appointment.  The plan was that I’d spend some time in Rapid with friends, and then spend part of the weekend up on the ranch with him.  HE MADE PLANS WITH ME….UGH!!!!!    I was just sitting at work the other week being all excited and antsy to go see him when something popped up on Facebook that changed things.

I didn’t go looking for any of this, after all I was really trying to be trusting and I believed that he was sincere.  He might have been, but he was also being super sincere with his girlfriend….the Rodeo Princess.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just that creeping informed me that she is in fact a rodeo princess.  She’s actually the same girl that I had weird feelings about over his birthday when we stopped talking, and that he totally denied.  The only reason I found out about any of this Behind the Scenes action was that she had posted several things about the ATC on Facebook, and because he commented on them, they happened to appear in my feed.  Thank goodness, because as much as it was a slap in the face, he was just going to let me come see him like I was the only girl for him.

THE FALLOUT

I’ve been cheated on a lot in my dating life, sadly for me that’s nothing new.  However, I have never….ever been the “other women”.  I make a point to avoid that at all costs because I know how shitty being hurt by someone that you trust is.  After sending a Facebook note to the Rodeo Princess and fielding an “I’m so sorry I fucked up” phone call from the ATC I discovered that I was in the fact the other women.  The ATC and the Princess had been together since APRIL she informed me.  To her credit, she was very polite to me about the whole thing, and didn’t blame me for any of it.  Not everyone would have been like that I don’t think.

Her relationship status is now single, but she’s still friends with the ATC and his family on Facebook.  I promptly deleted him because I don’t need that sort of shit in my life dragging me down.  If she wants to keep his cheating ass be my guest.  Here’s the thing Princess…..if he was faithful and decent to you he would have never met me on Tinder, and he certainly wouldn’t have started a relationship with me.  I’m sure I’m not the first girl he cheated on you with, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the last.  Also, I’m not sure that “being more cowboy than you thought” is a good reason to be a complete scum bag……but he’s all yours darling, I don’t want him.  

THE RANT

Here’s the thing Asshole, no one….and I mean no one on the face of the planet…..has ever woken up one day and been like “oops….look at all the girlfriends I accidentally collected….I have no idea how this happened!”  You don’t get to sit there on the phone and play the “I’m confused, I’m sorry I fucked up, and I didn’t mean to hurt you” card…..only Ronald Weasley gets to look that confused about what’s happening, because he’s adorable and not an asshole.  You sir…..are no Ron Weasley!!

How did I collect all these women?!?!”–No one ever

I don’t care about how fucked up and shitty your life was before you left home.  It makes no difference to me that your mom is on crazy pills and your dad is a drunk cowboy.  Also I’m throwing the bullshit flag on girls never noticing you and that giving you anxiety….you’re too good looking for girls to ignore honestly.  If you play with people’s emotions you don’t get to throw a pity party for yourself!  If the only things you’re capable of saying are dumb lies, I don’t care to hear it.  If you understand that your life has been so awful, rise above it and do something!  Everyone has problems, issues, and a past, I for one, strive not to be defined by mine.  

Also…there’s no way you can be sorry.  You’re not sorry you were trolling around on Tinder in July and found me, you’re not sorry you didn’t end it any of the times when I was having weird feelings about the whole situation, you’re not sorry that it when too far……YOU’RE ONLY SORRY YOU GOT CAUGHT!  The most sickening, confusing, and assholish thing to me is that you were going to let me come see you!  When I called to say that we hadn’t been talking as much as we used to, and things felt weird, and that I didn’t know if I wanted to come up and stay with you….you got mad at me, and told me that you didn’t know how I could feel that way and that you just wanted to see me and blah blah blah blah blah.

The worst part is that I wanted so much to believe you.  I told my coworker that you were either the least assholish guy I knew or you were going to be the biggest asshole on the planet.  I didn’t see how there could be any grey area.  So thank you for proving me right!  You ended up not only being not the person I thought you were, but the worst incarnation of the person I was hoping you weren’t.  Everything that spewed out of your gorgeous face was a huge lie.  As much as you sat on every phone call, Skype date, and texting exchange and told me how sincere you were about everything….you weren’t.  There’s no way you could have been.  My all time favorite was when, on several occasions, you flat out told me “I’d never lie to you”.  Well….you did….for months!

THE AFTERMATH

This isn’t the first time a relationship has fallen apart, and it probably will not be the last.  It is kinda the first time that something like this has just come up and slapped me across the face though.  I will be the first to admit that I had done a fair amount of creeping around and trying to investigate things and I never really found anything…..other than the Rodeo Princess stuff I talked about.  He was always so willing to talk about everything that it seemed like a lot of undo effort if he was trying to hide something.

I’ll never understand, and that’s the part that bugs me the most.  My analytical personality just doesn’t like loose ends, problems I can’t solve, and issues I can’t resolve.  The whole experience has left me feeling just a bit blah.  I’m not sad, I’m not even really angry.  I’m hurt and I feel a bit like an idiot.  I think it hurts the most because even though I didn’t know him long, I felt like I could just be myself around him.  I don’t often have that feeling with the people I date, which is probably why my relationships never work out.  The bestie always says if I can’t talk to the guy the way I talk to her it isn’t meant to be.  For all the ATC flaws…..and basically all he is is flaws, I at least felt like I could be totally myself when I talked to him.  If I was upset, I could be upset….and he understood that.  I think that’s probably why it hurts the most, because I really did try and be open and honest with him even though it made me nervous, and he just sorta threw it all back in my face.

Don’t think for one minute that I’m going to let the ATC ruin my upcoming West River weekend!  Plans have been adjusted, and the hair change I planned might end up being a bit more dramatic now, but honestly, it might be a bit more fun now!  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a little time on a ranch, but if I’m honest with myself that’s never a life I’m going to live.  It would have ended eventually, and probably better sooner rather than later.  I had an epic life before the ATC, and it can only get better from here!

At the end of the day....this. Every hour of everyday....just this!

At the end of the day….this. Every hour of everyday….just this!

Chapter 7: A College Dream and the Actual Reality of that Situation

Here it is, after a week delay!

I did write a brief little blurb about this guy in Chapter 6: A Festivus in July – The Airing of Grievances, but I took several chances with this guy that were super out of character for me so it probably deserves some more attention.  Plus, it’s been a long, long time coming.  Pour yourself some wine, cuz we are both gonna need it, and tuck in cuz this is a long one!

Where to start, where to start…….

————————————————-Rewind 9 Years———————————————-

It might not be quite 9 years ago that I first saw the Sig, but at some point I saw him at college, and decided he would be mine.  Ya know in The Notebook when Noah first sees Allie and just like decides she’s gonna be his??  I was sorta like that with the Sig, except that I never worked up enough courage to do anything about it.  I’m not sure that we ever even spoke when I was in school!!  I would see him often, particularly junior and senior year because….I partied at his fraternity more and he used to walk past my apartment to get to campus.

Those were always the best days!!  The Sig, in his baseball cap, nice jeans, and boots…..and me……gawking and drinking my coffee while being all girly crush like on the inside.

Actually speaking to the Sig was my personal equivilant of hanging off a ferris wheel.....so obviously I never did it. Which I think says a lot about my level of verbal self control while drunk!

Actually speaking to the Sig was my personal equivalent of hanging off a ferris wheel…..so obviously I never did it…..which I think says a lot about my level of verbal self control while drunk!  Sober thoughts are not drunk actions for this chica!

The high point of my non existent relationship with the Sig was one night during a blizzard.  I had just been dumped and I was over hanging with the girls.  They decided that the key to fixing my problems was a night of drinking at the frat, so we walked the 2-3 blocks down to the house in cute clothes….cuz ya know the Sig lived there!  To celebrate the snow, the guys had put a couch on skis and were pulling it around the deserted, snow covered streets with a 4-wheeler.  So obviously, we spent most of the night getting covered in snow, whipping shitties through the streets and parking lots on campus.

I imagine when we got back to the house the three of us looked a bit like drowned rats.  I know for a fact that I had eyeliner and mascara running all down my face……super attractive I know!  The guys did eventually take pity on us and let us change into dry clothes…….and you’ll never guess who’s clothes I got!  Haha although I don’t think he spoke to me, and if he did I was so awe struck with the possibility of wearing his sweatpants that I have no idea what he might have said.

If you're gonna do slightly dangerous things, it's best to do them with a Ref and a Traffic Cone. Safety First!!!! For some reason that night we were missing a cone......

If you’re gonna do slightly dangerous things, it’s best to do them with a Ref and a Traffic Cone.
Safety First!!!!
For some reason that snowy night, we were missing a cone……

After the Great Sweatpant Incident, I had no other personal interactions with the Sig until well after graduation.  Yes, I saw him around, but I never got that close to speaking to him again.  He always looked crabby at the parties I saw him at, and it didn’t really encourage interaction.  I have since discovered that the reason he always looked annoyed at parties was because he was always sober.  Kudos to you sir for living in a frat and not drinking!  He decided that school was for school and not for partying, and that’s certainly a commitment I didn’t make.

———————————————-Flash to Summer 2013———————————————–

I was in the hills being a wedding date for my then boyfriend, and who should walk in, but the Sig!  Ugh, I literally could have died.  I was having a shit time at the wedding, the boyfriend was being a huge assface that night, but then in he walked in those fancy jeans, those same boots, and a white button down with perfectly rolled sleeves.

……………hold on please, I’m having an epic flashback…………..

Here's a very blurry picture of a slightly tipsy me at the wedding before I stumbled into the Sig and his glorious country boy goodness.

Here’s a very blurry picture of a slightly tipsy me at the wedding before I stumbled into the Sig and his glorious country boy goodness.

I may have gone as far as telling the boyfriend that I would leave him for the Sig in a heartbeat.  To further enhance the drunk, wedding awkwardness……I most def walked past the Sig, whilst taking off my heels, and just said “Hey, I think I know you?!?!?”……AND JUST KEPT WALKING!!  I’m sure if he did recognize me he thought I was a complete nut job.  He did show up at the post reception party at the only bar in Keystone, and I had to spend the rest of the evening watching him play pool and drink beer while I kept getting abandoned by the boyfriend and subsequently adopted by his best friend.  It wasn’t the best time ever, and that relationship with the boyfriend should have probably ended that weekend.  It didn’t, but that’s a whole different story.

Also, this pic is giving me serious envy of dark haired me…..bring on the fall please!  If anyone has any fall time hair suggestions, lay them on me!

—————————————–>

———————————————–Flash to Winter 2014————————————————

I don’t really recall the series of events that inspired me to send the Sig a random, outta the blue Facebook message, but for some reason I thought it would be a good idea.  Because I can’t handle that sorta pressure on my own, I most def wrote the message and then sent it to all of my friends for approval before I sent it to him.  I finally sent the Sig the message the night before I was headed out to the Hills for several days over New Years.  I then proceeded to lie on my bedroom floor while my friends sent me Facebook messages to make my cellphone chime and send me into full on panic attacks!!  

Hey, So I get that this is totally random…but….I’ve had a crush on you forever, and decided that it’s a new year and I should maybe do something about it!?!?! Anyway, I’ll be running around this weekend in the hills. Let me know if you’re up for drinks.

And then…..he wrote back!

You had best believe that I didn’t read that message right away.  There might have been a shot involved….ya know……to better deal with the potential let down that could have occurred.

But, he didn’t let me down!!!!  

It was agreed that we would meet up New Year’s Eve in Deadwood, because we were both going to be there already.  Actually, he didn’t notice us standing in the bar, and I was being a stubborn brat and ignoring him.  By this point I figured that I had maybe put in enough effort to find him, and I didn’t want to give off the “lost puppy” vibe.  So, I wouldn’t have even talked to him except that Lil B went bounding on over and asked if he was looking for me.  I’m sorta glad she did, cuz approximately 5 minutes later, I got a midnight kiss that rivaled even the best romance movie.

We actually ended up hanging out a few more times that weekend, and he did eventually figure out that I had been the “girl in the purple lace dress” at the wedding.  It really sorta felt like everything might actually work out for me on this one, and Chan even started writing the story we would tell our kids and grandkids about how we first met, and our perfect first kiss.  We may have also discussed a wedding reception complete with a first dance song…..because Chan and I are nothing if not hopelessly romantic at heart.  Plus, I was snowed in at her house Superbowl weekend, and it was a topic that needed to be covered.

———————————————-Flash to the Present————————————————

…….and then I had to come back home from the Hills, and it all sorta just went up in flames.  But, it wasn’t a quick burn like pulling off a bandaide and moving on with your life.  It was a long, slow, smolder-y burn that always left just enough hope that everything might end up ok.

It was always sorta ok, until it wasn’t……

It was ok until he started driving to see me, got halfway here, and turned around………

It was ok until I was out there twice, and he was way too cool to come see me……….

It was ok until it had been 8 months and it started to feel like I was acting like a “lost puppy”………..

It was ok until the day I told him I wanted to see him, and he went on a rant about priorities………

It’s ok though, because at the end of the day life goes on, and I learned something about myself.  I learned that I really enjoy red dirt country, and that sometimes I can be brave and do the things that are out of character me.

After nearly a decade, it was totally worth sending the Sig that Facebook message if only to say that I took the chance.  His favorite quote of the weekend we hung out was, “If I’d known you liked me I would have done this a long time ago.”  Well, here’s the thing sir…..you didn’t….I did!  Even though it didn’t work out, I’m glad I took the chance, atleast now I know that Randy Rodger’s Band and Reckless Kelly are my new country jamz!

I will probably never tell our grandkids about how we first met, our perfect first kiss, or dance to Randy Rodgers at our wedding.  Other than the fact that it ruins Chan’s epic story, it’s ok.  The one weekend and 7 months of texting was enough.  Sometimes it’s better to leave people the way you imagine them to be.

Chapter 6: A Festivus in July–The Airing of Grievances

Any Seinfeld fans in the house?!? Yes….no……..maybe……well I’m doing this anyway.

If you’ve watched Seinfeld around the holidays, you’ve probably seen the Costanzas celebrate Festivus.  Festivus was apparently the brain child of the father of Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe, and the O’Keefes started celebrating the holiday in 1966.  I have no idea what year my father discovered Festivus, but I do know that we did celebrate it one year….complete with a metal pole in the middle of the living room.  Ahhh, nothing like a Festivus of the rest of us!

My Dad hated decorating for Christmas.....particularly the lights.  This is extra fitting.

My Dad hated decorating for Christmas…..particularly the lights. This is extra fitting.

Festivus is comprised of several activities: the declaration of Festivus miracles, the feats of strength, and the airing of grievances.  I’ve decided to take advantage of the time of year to air some personal grievances.  These will be related to recent dates I’ve been on, people I’ve seriously attempted to date, or just people who’ve annoyed me lately.  They aren’t really involved enough to demand their own chapters, but they are dudes that you might want to hear about.

Festivus

Car Builder Dude

This is the guy that many of you asked about when I said a few weeks ago that I went on a date.  Short story long……the date did not have the desired effect.  I really don’t know why, and honestly I don’t really care.  But this is what I don’t understand…… Why dude, would you kiss me in the parking lot if you didn’t want to see me again!?  Now say what you will about kissing people in parking lots…..that’s a different issue.  I’ve been on plenty a date where I didn’t want to see the person again.  Just cut your losses and leave dude!  Don’t be all confusing with the signals……  I shouldn’t have to consult friends post date to figure out what it is you were trying to accomplish!

The Sig Who Got Away

I don’t even know where to start with this one.  Honestly, this has been going on since January, and he could probably be his own chapter.  I might do a whole chapter on him in the future, but for now I’m angry and annoyed and this is what I’m doing.

There is a guy I went to college with who I have always….I mean always wanted to date.  I finally worked up enough courage to talk to him just before New Year’s, and we spent a few nights hanging out while I was in the Hills in January.  Flash forward SEVEN MONTHS, one trip by me back to the Hills, and two failed efforts on his part to drive here……I still haven’t seen him again, and I’m done.  Actually what lead me to being done was him not showing up the second time.  I mentioned I was getting a feeling that he wasn’t that into me, we sorta had a texting fight, I apologized, we talked once more and then radio silence from him.  Fine dude…..after 7 months just drop off the face of the plant……..see if I care.  (……I actually kinda care…..but he doesn’t need to know that)

The Tinder Cowboy Asshole

This one is short and sweet and should not be confused with the Firefighter Cowboy from Chapter 1!

Random guy who lives in the Hills starts talking to me on Tinder.  This leads to him calling me to chat.  During one of our chats he starts fighting with me about how horses are so much better for moving cattle than 4-wheelers………and this is his life………and “They’ve done studies…you’re into science you should understand that!”  hahah…..yup cuz being a jerk straight outta the gate makes me wanna date you sir.

Shame though, he’s 6’4″ and smokin’ hot!

The Tinder Dog Walk Dude

Yea….obviously Tinder isn’t the way to go about this.

Dude….if you make plans with me and then don’t remember when I ask about it…….don’t expect me to call you.

  1. I’m not that desperate for a guy.
  2. You haven’t even proven yourself to be worth any amount of my effort really
  3. I’m not hanging out with you after you done “meeting the guys for beers”…..

Mid-Life Crisis Corvette Dude

This actually has nothing to do with a guy I even know, just some random who I encountered on my drive home Tuesday night.

I’m sorry sir that you have having some sort of crisis in your life….but rolling around with the top down, in a man tank, blasting TI’s Whatever You Like is not the answer!!  Also, don’t be that creepy dude singing “I want your body, need your body” to girls at red lights……just…..don’t……  It’s weird, we don’t like it, and it’s certainly not gonna make me want to get in your car.

image

Chapter 5: The Dare

Every once in awhile……you do something sorta stupid.  This tale of stupidity, otherwise known as My Life with the Vinyl Enthusiast, starts with a semi drunk dare in a bar.

The Background:

My people and I were out celebrating the bestie’s hubby’s birthday one night a few months ago, and she dared me to do something I stupidly suggested.  (The actual phrasing of the dare is a bit non-politically correct, and I don’t need this to be that kinda blog, so I shall rephrase slightly.)  The bestie basically dared me that I wouldn’t go up and ask a decently attractive dude, “Hey! Do you wanna dance and fight chics with me?!?!”  So….I did…..cuz it seemed like a reasonably good idea at the time.  And…. it was a reasonably good idea on how to spend a semi tipsy night at the bar! (The bestie still owes me a prize for performing the dare…..!!)

The Research:

The downfall of this came a several months later.  So, the Vinyl Enthusiast invites me out on a date.  By the time of the date, the bestie and I, in the course of our stalking discovered that he was divorced with kids……which is ya know……not on the list!  We had also discovered the reason for his nickname to which my intial thought was, “OF COURSE HE’S A VINYL ENTHUSIAST”  In a show of being open minded, and therefore more adult, I decided to go on this date.

High Fidelity.....great movie, and it becomes slightly amusing when you're life becomes dating a real like John Cusack!

High Fidelity…..great movie, and it becomes slightly amusing when you’re life becomes dating a real life John Cusack….I’m not kidding he sorta looks like John Cusack……but he’s got better hair!  The Enthusiast’s life could be this movie!

So, the first date was fine.  The second date also seemed alright……until I asked the apparently dreaded, “How old are you?” See bestie and I realized that he was older than us, which again is….fine….to a point, we just didn’t know how old.  Guys are tricky in that they have a strange ability to look much younger than they actually are.

I have a friend who knows the Enthusiast socially, and she claimed that he was “like maybe 38”.  That seemed ok….I could have rolled with that I guess.  It really did seem okay until I discovered that HE’S 41!!!!!  Luckily, I was somewhat wine tipsy when he broke the news, so I think I managed to stifle the shock and awe face fairly well…..although maybe I didn’t…..the jury is out on this.

The Results

Now……no need to panic, I’ve done that for you!  I’ve also compiled a list of reason why it might, at first glance, seem okay to date a 41 year old.

  • He owns a home and has a job!
  • He owns a super sexy, old school, muscle car.
  • You can carry on intelligent conversations.
  • He possess good dating skills….like manners, an ability to dance, and if he invites you over for dinner he’ll buy you flowers.
  • You generally live life what a motto similar to “Hold my beer, and watch this!”  What’s the worst that could happen!?
I mean I'm not a huge fan of red cars, but..... when this rolls up in your driveway, a girl stops and takes notice!

I mean I’m not a huge fan of red cars, but….. when this rolls up in your driveway, a girl stops and takes notice!

Those all seem like legitimate reasons to give something a chance…..so under bestie’s advice, and in defiance to my mother’s looks of cautious disapproval….I gave it a chance……and this is what I discovered.

  • There’s really nothing wrong with the fact that he has a house and a job……
  • His muscle car was a teenager when I was born…..more to the point……HE WAS A TEENAGER WHEN I WAS BORN!  This won’t always be apparent, but you have to stifle the urge to tell him not to parent you…..it can’t end well.
  • You maybe be able to have conversations, but they will be few and far between because he has parental responsibilities.  Even being a divorced, part time parent takes up a huge amount of time….I had no idea really.  Also, after a certain amount of time, one should ask about the wee tottlets, even if one has no desire to know much about them.  That’s just polite after all!  If you don’t ask, they will just volunteer info anyway….it’s a lost cause.
  • His good dating skills and manners will cause him to have existential crises about that status of your relationship.  This can be confusing to a twenty something who was pretty sure that “going on dates” didn’t qualify one for:
    • Meeting the children
    • Titling the relationship
    • Having generally any sort of concern about the “state of the relationship”
    • Expecting any sort of scheduled time commitments from the other person

The Conclusion:

Now, I’m clearly not a dating expert, and I believe that if you’re dating the same kinds of people all the time, you’ll probably get the same results.  Didn’t Einstein say something along that line!??  I think he did…..anyway.  I support change and the desire to try something new.  I also believe if you’re gonna go……it should be big or you should go home.  However, I would suggest based on the evidence that maybe the 27:41 age gap is a bit too much gap.  Idk, maybe that’s just me…..

Side Note

It’s shaping up to be a pretty epic party weekend around here.  Expect another picture blog to document the adventure!

Chapter 4: The Slow Fade

I think one of the most annoying aspects of modern dating has to be the slow fade.  I’m sure people have been utilizing some version of this method for decades, but I have a feeling it’s become more prevalent in recent years.  Personally, I think online dating and cell phones have created a “perfect storm” situation where we don’t need to be near to or actually talk to the people we are trying to date.  It’s too easy to stay in touch with people now, so we get lazy, and we just don’t do it.  Dating, at least in my recent experience, starts out much more impersonally, and I think that makes slow fading someone easier.

For those who might not know, the slow fade is when either you or the other party just slowly stops talking.  This is slightly different from say a cliff dive scenario where someone just…..all the sudden stops talking!  That’s annoying too, but in a different way.  Slow fading is the modern version of the phrase, “letting someone down easy.”  You like them enough to not drop your departure on them like a ton of bricks, but not enough to actually tell them why you don’t want to date them.  Usually, let’s be honest, that reason is, “I’m just not that into you.”  I’m maybe being a bit hypocritical here, because it isn’t like I’ve never used the slow fade on someone.  I think that I differ slightly from the typical slow fade user though.  Even if I don’t want to date you, I’ll stil talk and probably hang out with you.  I’f I’m really just not feeling it at all, I’ll start the fading process by just “being busy”.  Now, realistically, I’m almost never too busy to hang out with someone, but I guess you make time for what is important.  My constant state of busy basically puts the ball in the other person’s court.  If you want to slow fade me at this point, great!  The feeling is mutual, I just don’t ever really want to be the one to crush some poor guys hopes and dreams.

If after a significant period of time the poor guy just isn’t grasping the “friend zone” concept I’m trying to roll with, I’ll perform a slow fade.  Just slowly stop answering texts and definitely don’t answer phone calls!  Frankly, I really only prefer this technique on people I haven’t gone on face to face dates with.  Not only do I prefer it, I totally accept it!  If we haven’t bothered to meet in person and it’s been several months, we clearly aren’t all that into each other.  I have enough friends, I don’t need an extended circle of random dudes I met online.  Thanks, but no thanks!

The use of the slow fade that I don’t understand is when you’ve meet someone in person, had a good time together, agree to meet up again, and then bam….the slow fade.  I mean, I get that sometimes you’re just not that into someone.  I also understand that even if you’ve casually been seeing someone, when it comes time to move on, it can sometimes feel like you have to “break up” with someone you weren’t actually dating.  Trust me, that’s a feeling I’m well acquainted with!  However, have we really become so fragile that we can’t just tell someone we aren’t interested?  Again, I think it’s laziness.  It’s just easier to give someone the slow fade, but that doesn’t make it right.  I should clarify that the mutual slow fade is a rare gift, a mystical unicorn of modern dating.  If you find yourself in a mutual slow fade, count your lucky stars and have a celebratory drink!!  It truly is a “get out of jail free card”.

As someone who has been on both the receiving and giving end of a slow fade, it’s a complicated topic.  On the giving side, you want an easy way to remove yourself from a situation, all whilst causing the least amount of emotional trauma.  On the receiving end, sometimes it would really be nice to know why you can’t hold down a relationship.  I think generally we should all be less accepting of the slow fade!  It’s really not helping anyone, and it’s use is probably just adding to an already high amount of dating anxiety!  However, no one wants to be the crazy one who demands explanations for everything, so we all just accept the slow fade.

I’ll be the first to admit that hearing about my flaws is only something I want from close family and friends, and even then it’s still not enjoyable.  However, my friends and family really aren’t likely to tell me the reasons why I send guys disappearing into the shadows.  They probably don’t know the reasons honestly!  There probably isn’t a good answer to the slow fade problem which plagues the dating scene.  I understand the appeal of giving someone the slow fade, however I’d really prefer people didn’t use that method on me.  Maybe we are just destined to be hypocrites in a slow fade world.

Chapter 3: The 24 Hour First Date

One would think that I live in a populated enough city that I could find someone in town to date; however, the pickings are slim people!  I’m not gonna pretend to advise anyone on what might be an appropriate geographic area.  I’ve been on dates with guys who lived three hours away…..which seems excessive to me. But hey, if you want to drive up and meet me, I’m not gonna stop you.  I will say that I never….never …..ever drive to meet a guy first!  If I’m get murdered by some deranged ax murderer, it’s going to be in the comfort of my own city thank you very much!  (I did drive once to meet a guy, but I knew him previously, I had other friends in his town, and that’s a different story.)

The struggle....it's real and it could happen to you!

The struggle….it’s real and it could happen to you!

The whole debacle of this date could have been avoided had I stuck to my #1 rule of dating: They need to be taller than me!  SEE THE AWFUL THINGS THAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU BREAK THE RULES KIDS!  Anyway!!!  I ended up emailing a sorta cute guy on Match.com.  He said he was the same height as me, but this is one quality that men generally tend to round up, and you should always be wary.  I say he is “sorta” cute only because he’s not the type I generally like to date, but again I was trying to be better about busting out of my routine.  After all, the routine has been highly unsuccessful to date and change can be good.  He’s an architect in Minnesota, he wanted to come down to SooFoo on a Saturday afternoon for a date, and I agreed because frankly what was the worst that could happen?  (Ax murderer visions aside of course).  We met up at a Buffalo Wild Wings, and that’s where the real journey begins.

First impressions…..they are important…..I shall rattle off a few of mine about the Architect.

  • Shiny, big, black Jeep…..acceptable, but not a truck
  • Short……I want to say he had boots on, and we were maybe exactly matched in height
  • Well dressed…..very like “grown-up hipster” style. Nice leather jacket, worn in t shirt, rolled skinny jeans.
  • Slim…..skinny in a “I used to be/am a distance runner” sorta way…..which he was/is.

To sum up the Architect in one sentence– He looks vaguely like Jason Mraz, and the way he talks and acts reminds me of Kuzco the llama emperor!  He’s really quite funny, and we get along really well.

I mean, who wouldn't want to hang out with this combo in hipster clothes!?!?

I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out with this combo in hipster clothes!?!?

I should maybe point out, that it’s quite possible, that I went to this date feeling slightly hung over.  I’m not entirely sure anymore.  I remember being hesitant about ordering a beer, but that could have just been because he made me order first, and I HATE having to like decide the tone of a date.  We hung out, ate a bit, chatted, ya know the usual datey type things.  He has a dog, I have a dog….our dogs are nothing alike.  He has a boat, I have a boat…..our boats aren’t for the same activities.  He wants to live in a modern loft or shipping container house!??  My style is maybe best described as “modern Marie Antoinette”?!?  Even though he’s a funny guy, I had pretty much already decided that we weren’t going to date.  Is that rash?!?!  I mean if it’s not there is not there right!!  We’ll come back to this topic in a hot minute, just stick with me for a bit.

At some point, we decided to leave B-Dubs and go to my bar of choice.  My preferred bar was on the opposite side of town, and since the Architect isn’t super familiar with SooFoo, I offered to drive us.  Helpful tip, in today’s modern age of technology, if a guy can’t get himself across town, you shouldn’t be with him!  Granted, I offered, but I could have avoided this awkward tale if I had made him drive himself.  I mentioned that I may have been hungover because I had been at the bar the night before, and a couple of the bartenders commented on this.  Sue me, they have good food and I like the ambiance!  Actually, being close to my bar and a nice kitchen were the major selling points of my house!  While at the bar, we actually started talking about old relationships, which is generally a huge first date no-no.  However, out of this conversation came the premise that I have an absurd dating history and that I should write a book.  Basically, if you enjoy my blog at all….you have the Architect to thank!  He was the first one to ask “Where do you find these people?!?” and I’m still trying to figure that out.  He also coined the term “educated hood rat” to describe my general lifestyle tendencies.  It seems odd, but it’s actually pretty accurate.  95% of the time my life is put together, organized, and I generally act like an adult.  However, that 5% of the time when I don’t care and want to get a bit crazy, my friends and I don’t jack around with it.  We all are firm believers of the “Work hard, play harder” life mantra!  We never really act like what you envision as an actual hood rat….we aren’t delinquents we just like to party!

Through the course of conversation, he discovered that I had never been drinking downtown.  He considered this just slightly below personally offensive, decided that we should switch bars again, and remedy this immediately.  I was still having a fairly good time at this point, but suggested that I needed to go home, feed my dog, and hang some custom art I had just picked up.  Basically, a polite, “Let’s end this now and maybe do it again sometime.”  However, “I need to hang art,” was not the exit phrase to tell a guy who double majored in architecture and art.  He thought a detour for art on the way to downtown would be ideal.  It’s now important to mention that this happened during summer time in SoDak, when thunderstorms can pop up out of nowhere.  While we were at my place hanging art and googling bars downtown, it started pouring.  So here I am, with the Architect and my dog, stuck in my apartment while a monsoon rages outside.  I’m a huge baby about being rained on when I’ve straightened my hair, and this wasn’t the “quick, run to the car you won’t get that wet” sorta rain.  This was the rainy season in some tropical country.

All it takes is one good rain storm to take you from cute to pissy!

All it takes is one good rain storm to take you from cute to pissy!

Needless to say, we did not make it to downtown Soo Foo that night.  What we did do was continue the conversations about being educated hood rats and crazy past relationships.  I also sprinkled in some fun medical facts because I’m really entertained by people who get squeamish in the face of biology.  I’m not sure why he didn’t want to drive home that night, something about rain and it being late maybe?  I’m not sure, and my attention span is on par with a hyper toddler’s, so we were already well past the point were I was really paying attention to anything. We agreed to keep talking until morning when he could drive home, and that really failed pretty hard.  Sometime in the middle of these conversations we mutually passed out haphazardly strewn across my bed.    Ok, sorta not how one envisions a first date going but ya know….I’m sure weirder things have happened right!?  For the sake of my Mother’s mental sanity, I will stress that nothing happened!  Once we both woke up a bit he suggested a nap and lunch before he had to drive back to Minnesota.  I, being the sometimes bitch that I am, denied him both and drove him back to his car at B-Dubs.  This series of events didn’t take quite a full 24 hours….but it was really close enough to round!  I’m rounding, because “The Approximately 22.25 Hour First Date” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Who's really keep track anyway....

Who’s really keep track anyway….

The Architect and I hung out randomly a few times throughout the summer, but nothing ever came of it, obviously.  He did come one night to party with me and my people.  This was the night that caused the Bestie to keep declaring that I should give him more chances.  Bestie’s Momma had other ideas and declared that if there wasn’t a spark, I needed to move right along.  Move right alone I did!  Not sure where I moved to….obviously not anywhere great, but that’s the journey I guess.  The Architect and I still talk sometimes.  In fact, he was in town and took me out to lunch the day I closed on my new house.  He actually came and looked at the house, but didn’t offer to hang any art. 🙂

Chapter 2: The List

Tonight we add another chapter to the saga of The Men I Could Live Without.  This post isn’t about a specific guy rather it covers the various criteria I look for in men and plethora of reasons I’ve been told I should abandon these criteria.  Writing this blog will of course require some liquid excitement and tonight’s booze de jour is Ole Smokey moonshine cherries and Diet Coke.  Drink up me hearties….on to The List!

I’ve always been a pretty indecisive person.  Very few things ever seem worth the trouble of forming a solid opinion and holding my ground.  Trust me when I say that when push comes to shove and I need to stand my ground I’m perfectly capable of doing so.  Generally, I’m just pretty agreeable to most things.  I bring this up because people always ask me what I’m looking for in a guy.  I’ve never been able to give anyone a solid answer to that question.  If anything, my previous dating experiences have established a pretty firm list of qualities I’m hoping to avoid in the future but nothing has ever really helped shaped a list of qualities I want.  To help direct the struggle I created a checklist of qualities which seemed like a good basis to go on:

  1. They should to be taller than me.
  2. They should have gone to college….any college and any degree is acceptable.
  3. They should be preferably not be a divorcee and at the very least childless.
  4. They should drive a truck….preferably a big, black one.
  5. They should own a Harley.

There are also some basic understood generals:

  1. A job
  2. A general lack of felony convictions
  3. No tattoos visible from the neck up

THAT’S IT!!  5 tiny little personal preferences and just some overarching life principles!  It really doesn’t seem like those should be hard qualities to find.  I’d even get updates from friends on guys they would find out and about town.  It wasn’t a rare occurrence that I’d get texts like, “Meet one of the bartenders he meets 4 criteria!” or “There’s a guy at work who is a 5 out of 5!”  I’m not even that picky about how a guy looks.  Blond hair…..fine, dark hair…..great that works too.  I’m just a pretty equal opportunity dater.

In some regards it is becoming a bit hard to find all 5 criteria.  The older I get, the pool of men who have never been married or don’t have a kid running around seems to get smaller every year.  That isn’t a rock solid rule.  I would date someone who’s been divorced; I mean life happens to us all.  When kids are involved that just makes things trickier and way more complicated than they already are.  College degrees can also be a debatable item on the list.  I’ve just discovered that guys with degrees seem to appreciate my intelligence more.  My Grandma B had a little wall hanging that said, “I didn’t get this far by just looking good.”  You can like because I’m pretty, but you had better understand that I’m not just a pretty face you can boss around.  I have a brain and I know who to use it!

It turns out that this list, while fine in theory is horrible in practice. Jerks went to college and own trucks, the world is full of tall assholes, and motorcycles are not good judges of character!  My last serious relationship was with a guy who (I thought) was everything I wanted.  He fit everything on the lists I mean I didn’t think it got any more promising than that.  Even the best list and an overall go with the flow attitude won’t make someone respect you and it won’t make clashing life ideals go away.

After spending basically a year in a fundamentally flawed relationship, I had to spend some time re-evaluating my life choices.  Talking to some friends who are married really shed some light on my situation.  One of my guy friends told me I had to find someone who was my best friend.  He said I could hold onto maybe one other criterion but that regardless of what happens that person has to be my best friend first.  I’ll give you one guess as to which criteria I’m clinging to for dear life….if you guessed height reward yourself with a victory drink!  My bestie, who is married, likes to remind me that if the right guy drives a car I can probably suggest he up grade for a truck.  Option B is that I just buy myself a truck and harley….frankly that works too.  My mother informs me that it’s cheaper to find a boy….but sometimes a girl just needs to do things for herself.