let's talk about dating, shall we? alternate title: i need your help!

What I'm about to say isn't something I'm proud of. It's just a fact.

Every guy I've ever dated has come back when all was said and done and apologized, in one way or another, for what happened. Sometimes they said they missed me and wished things were different. Sometimes they just said they were sorry.

Even the guy I dated last year-- the one I would never expect to, not in a million years.

 

What I've realized about these men is this: their apologies weren't so much for me, but for themselves. They didn't necessarily feel bad that I was hurting, but rather, they wanted to stop feeling guilty for hurting me and thought an apology text would clear the air.

The unapologetic apology text.

Or so it feels.

 

A few weeks ago a good friend of my went out on a first date with a guy she met online. They had drinks, they kissed, they planned to see each other again. And then poof, he was gone.

She did a little digging and come to find out, he had recently broken up with his ex-girlfriend. I said, "Give it three weeks. He'll text you when they are fighting again."

Last night, he texted her.

I don't want to be right about his reasoning for showing back up, but I can't help but wonder if I am.

 

And that got me thinking...

I've jokingly said that my bad luck with dating has to lead to something good. It can't all be for nothing. So, I need your help. I want to talk to you about your dating stories-- the good, the bad, the everything in between. Let's talk about the guy who stood you up. Or the one who chased after you relentlessly. Or the one you thought would be The One until he wasn't.

This isn't about throwing ourselves a massive pity party or trying to analyze everything that went wrong so we can pinpoint the exact moment their feelings changed. We're not going to be playing the victims here, okay? This about sharing our stories and what we've learned from the men we've dated.

 

Do you have 20 minutes to spare? Do you mind if I record our conversation? I'm looking to talk with people over the course of the next couple of months, and compile everything into a yet to be named podcast. Or a podcast mini-series. Or something of the like.

And I know...I know a lot of my faithful readers are married or happily settled down. And what I'm asking you ladies to do is #1: hug your husband or boyfriend tight and thank the good lord you found him and then #2 immediately think of one of your single friends and send her my way. I want to talk to her!

Shoot me an email at graceless.lady.blog@gmail.com if you're interested in participating or know someone who is. I can't wait to hear from you.

stream of consciousness: is it september yet?

I have a lot of things to look forward to and ...well, none of them are in August.

 

Labor Day weekend equals a day at the track, two concerts, and a wedding.

My brother's wedding...that I'm officiating. I have to be careful not to say, "I'm marrying my brother!" because that's weird, and also illegal.

 

The weekend before my birthday, Kelsey and I are flying down to Memphis for an Avett show, then road tripping to Franklin, TN (near Nashville) for this festival. The Avetts are playing there, too, and Justin Timberlake is one of the headliners. Like?? I might not survive.

 

THEN, the weekend after my birthday, we're going to NYC to see Hanson. My OG favorite band of brothers! Let's talk about how good Taylor Hanson looks in white pants.

 

And, somewhere in between all of that craziness, my sister-in-law will have my nephew. She's due on the 15th, but we're taking bets on whether or not she'll go into labor during my other brother's wedding on the 2nd.

 

 

Last week I went shopping for a dress and ended up buying two pairs Chelsea boots instead. And I can't say "Chelsea boot" without using an English accent because of this video.

I'm looking forward to being able to wear them, but mostly I'm looking forward to not having to shave my legs every day.

 

I got a Yankee Candle catalog in the mail this week and I would be liar if I said I didn't rub this scent onto my wrists and wear it around my house like it was perfume.

And I would also be a liar if I said I didn't just order one because it's on sale for $15??? And I can use PayPal? TAKE MY MONEY, YANKEE CANDLE. TAKE IT.

I ordered $80 worth of candles when I was drunk at my own Cinco de Mayo party this year, so impulse candle purchases is something I need to work on.

 

I don't want to wish away summer. I've spent many days laying by a pool, working on the first tan I've had in literal years, but there's just something about September, you know?

 

Don't even get me started on Halloween...that's for another post.

checking in || late july

craving // Moe's or Chipotle or Chili's or anything of the like.
 
watching // The Keepers on Netflix. I'm about halfway done with the series, so no spoilers.

listening //  I've been into a lot of new podcasts - another podcast post coming soon.  Houndmouth has been on repeat. And in honor of the end of July, give this song a listen.

drinking // Black coffee. Water. The usual, you know. But I want to talk about sour beers - do you like any? Tell me your favorites, if you do.
 
reading // 
Becoming by Laura Jane Williams.

cooking //  Not a damn thing. I think the last time I cooked was Cinco de Mayo and I wish that was a joke, but it isn't.

wearing // My hair curly, and everyone has something to say about it. Especially male coworkers who think it's acceptable to say how cute it looks. *eye roll* Let's not, boys.

feeling // Not to jinx it, but...I'm feeling great. Well, emotionally-- I'm feeling great. Physically, I feel bloated and my mouth still hurts from where I had a wisdom tooth pulled last week. I'll survive. Lots of fun, creative things on the horizon and I'm feeling stoked about it all.

a response

In mid-January 2016, as I sat in my car waiting for a kickboxing class, I scrolled through my "following" feed on Instagram, checking out what other people had liked-- I find myself doing this a lot. I've discovered new bands, authors, and most importantly, Jen Gotch, this way.

But on that particular day in January, I stumbled upon Nora McInerny and her post announcing her first book, It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too). I did a scroll through her account, and hit "follow" before I went into class.

A year and a half later, I talk about Nora like she's one of my closest friends. I tell people about her family, her book, and most recently, her podcast -- Terrible, Thanks for Asking. I even told you guys about it here.

They are currently recording the second season, and are occasionally postingmini guest episodes. Last week the the episode was by Lea Thau -- a producer and host of her own podcast, Strangers. The guest episode on Nora's podcast was an old episode of Lea's podcast where she talked about online dating and had a conversation with a guy she went on a date with and asked him why it didn't work out between them. You can listen to that here.

I was instantly hooked. And at the end, Nora jumped back in to ask listeners to send in their dating stories.

So I did.

And that, my friends, is what follows. My response to Nora, and Lea, and well, you, too.

I apologize for the intro being so long, because this email is massive as well. Take a 5 minute break halfway through, you deserve it.

______________________________________________________________________________

Dear Nora & Co.,

I just finished listening to the latest episode, Love Hurts. And wow. Just wow. I’m a big believer in things coming into your life at the exact moment you need them and not a second sooner—and let’s just put it this way, as I hit play and was listening to Lea Thau’s words, I was simultaneously waiting to hear back from a guy I’ve been dating who has ghosted -- from my texts…but not from looking at my Instagram stories, so what tf is that about?

 

I’ll give you my backstory.

I’m 30, never married, no children. Like yourself and Lea, I always seemed to be dating someone when I was growing up.

I had a boyfriend in middle school, and I had a different one in high school – I was with him for about four years. I was single for about a year after that relationship ended, until I began dating the guy I was with for about five years.

We went to high school together, but reconnected through mutual friends when I was 22 and he was 23. Did I think he was ~the one~ and this was It™? No. Did I want to date someone and he seemed like a safe bet? Yes.

I soon discovered how bad his drinking was, and during the first two years of our relationship, he got sober.

The issue was that when he was finally sober, he was an asshole. Not just to me, but to his family and friends, too. But I was scared to leave because I didn’t want him to start drinking again.

So, I stayed. And we eventually moved in together because why not? Why not really screw things up, you know? It was horrible. It was no way to live, and I knew that, but I didn’t know how to get out of it.

It took me a year, but I finally asked him leave.

 

And so began the part of my life I had always dreamed of – being a single, independent woman in her 20s. Yeah, I know-- most girls dream of their wedding day. Not me.

My new found freedom coincided with the rise of online dating. It was early 2014 and dating sites like Match and eHarmony had been around for a while, but the new kid on the block, Tinder, was just picking up speed.

I started with Match in the spring – mostly because I had a Groupon. And also a buzz. This was around the same time those Lime-A-Ritas came out and who knew those tiny cans are 8% alcohol? Not me – I hate numbers.

 

Smash cut to two years of talking to guys on dating apps, making plans to meet them, having okay but not great dinners, and never, ever feeling a connection with a single one of them.

I want the spark. And the spark is easily disguised as witty banter and emojis via text messages, but when you sit across from that same person and feel nothing? Not a damn thing? It’s depressing -- especially when it happens over, and over, and over again.

I have gone back and forth between being really into online dating (Tinder for a while, but I stuck with Match for the most part) and feeling absolutely exhausted even thinking about it. I’ve sat across from my friends at countless bars and restaurants, going over what happened with the guys I’ve been out with, and attempting to justify why things never seem to work out for me.

Then last year, in March, I met him. The guy I had been waiting for. The one who gave me ridiculous butterflies and reminded me that the spark can never be faked – that you either feel it or you don’t, and I felt it as soon as I met him for the first time.

And I think he felt it, too. He sent me a really nice message after our first date, and even invited me over for wine the following night. Things were good, really good, in the beginning. For about a month, I was on cloud nine – everything was perfect. Things were finally happening the way I’d always hoped they would.

But we never had The Talk™ and our communication, which was great in the beginning, became strained the longer we were together. And yes, part of that is because he’s from Germany and he had to Google some of the things I said, but, like, not everything! It was also due to the fact that I was scared to ask him if we were exclusive, because what if I didn’t get the answer I wanted?

And one day, about 6 weeks into dating, his Match profile was gone and I thought, “No conversation necessary. We’re together.”

WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Butterflies weren’t the only thing I felt in the beginning -- I also felt like I couldn’t trust him. At that point he had done nothing wrong (that I knew of) so I tried to push that feeling away. But slowly, his façade started to crack and I discovered that not only was he still talking to some of his ex-girlfriends, he was also on apps trying to find new ones, as well.

It lasted seven months. I don’t know how many apps he was on or how many girls he was talking to, and I guess that’s for the best. I still miss him. I hate to admit that.

Nothing resonated more than when Lea said WHY NOT ME, because why the fuck not me? Or her? Or anyone else who is open and ready for love?

Remember back in the beginning of this incredibly long email when I said I was waiting to hear from the guy I’ve been dating? Well, I still haven't.

I met him on Match back in January, when I thought I was stable after the last break up with The German. I wasn’t. We talked for two weeks, but it slowly faded without ever having met. We still followed each other on Instagram, and he sent me a message back in June in regards to a picture I posted. Things picked back up and we’ve been out a handful of times—he’s met my friends and my family, too. He’s been very open about what he wants and that he’s looking for something serious, and that he wants that something serious to be with me.

So why haven’t I heard from him since Tuesday night? Why, after weeks of talking every day, do I get radio silence? Is it someone else? He’s not on dating sites that I know of. I’m not, either. The beginning is supposed to be the fun part, right? WHY ISN’T THIS FUN? :)

When Lea said she likes to think of things that are hers, that make her life full and make her happy, I started jumping up and down in my lime green office chair. I do the same thing. I count my blessings. I know I have amazing friends and a great family. I know I have interests that keep me busy and people who I can look to for advice. And you’re one of those people, Nora. So, thank you. Thank you for sharing your life and your family with us, for the book, and for the podcast, and for that one Instagram video of Ralphie telling his cousin how many pieces of toast he had.

Shit. Sorry this was so long!

All the best,
Alissa