Thursday, June 25

Places to meet chicks

I am writing this as an expert in the subject, not because I'm great at meeting girls, or have ever tried to be. I'm sure that if I did, I'd find more challenges than I can imagine. But I'm writing as a local, who is also a girl, and who's been single quite often. I actually have roughly 1,000 times more fun as a single chick in Midtown than I ever have dating anyone. Maybe this says something about my choices in boymatter, or maybe Memphis is just a fun town to be single and a chick.

Where not to meet chicks, in brief: Rooftop parties (nasty), Flying Sausage (should be called that, anyway), weddings (gag!), Hooters (srsly), karaoke nights (unless you are the weirdo who goes every week, and then you might as well save some normal person by dating another karaoke-obsessed weirdo). And NOT at work. Ever. Yes, many people actually still do this, for some reason. I have heard so many horror stories about this, y'all don't even want to know. And if it goes anywhere, one of you will have to find a new job, which sucks a big 'un.

So, to all those who want to meet single ladies, here are my suggestions: Cooking class. If she's with someone (and your gaydar doesn't go off) she probably dragged him along, but all the solo women are likely single. At the worst, you've learned how to cook something to impress your next date. Voila!

Volunteering around town. You get maximum exposure if you sign up for something like Hands On/Volunteer Memphis. It allows you to sample from dozens of volunteer opportunities without long-term commitment (which we all fear, right? Well, I hope that's not just me...). That also means meeting a lot of different people, most of whom are female. Plus, at the end of the day you get that bonus feel-good moment of knowing you've done something to help the community. So you don't meet anyone, so what? Maybe you'll be a better person for it.

The gym. But not in the weight room—check out aerobics, or yoga, or kickboxing. Whatever class you see women in is a good bet. Maybe she didn't come there to meet men, but after class when you're all sweaty is prime time for chit chat, what with all the endorphins rushing around. If you can't think of anything to say, ask about the class and how long it will take before it gets easier, what else she recommends. We love to be asked for our perspective on things (keep that one in mind, boys).

Dance class. Just don't pick bellydance or a Dance Like a Stripper type of class. Not only is that creepy, to have to be in class with a guy, you're certainly not going to look your best. Pick something where she can't really see you wiggling your hips around, and something really basic so you don't stand out. Maybe even take a couple 1-on-1 lessons before you show up, so you look really smooth. Just don't admit you've taken them. And let the instructor in on it, by asking them not to call you out cause you're shy about your skills.

Pool/darts tournaments. Fun is challenging someone you don't even know to a friendly game of darts or pool. If the two of you can't compete in a friendly way, the relationship probably isn't going far. Again, even if you don't meet someone to spend the rest of your life, with, what else were you doing? Flying Saucer is like a dart tournament every day, so you could start there. However, it's hellatiously loud and not a great place to get a conversation started.

Coffee shops. Especially on open mic nights, when chatter may be at a minimum, but so is space (so you might end up sharing a table with others). Republic has one on Tuesdays, The Edge does theirs on Sunday, and if I'm missing one, please comment below and let us all in on the action.

Friends of friends. Tell people you're available. Ask your friends for fixups. Someone will probably get the idea to throw one of those parties where you bring someone dateable of the opposite sex.

Out & about. You're not meeting anyone sitting at home, and shouldn't be dating coworkers, as we've previously discussed. Plus, Memphis in June is a great place/time to get out! I suggest going to shows, plays, the zoo and talk to people everywhere you go. Take your dog to the park, or borrow one if you have to. Make excuses to talk to people, and don't just talk to the hottest girl. Chicks love to go to stuff like theater in groups, so you can always stake out the restrooms at intermission or snack bar before the show and ask where the hot spot is to go afterward. That's non-threatening enough that you may actually get the answer “We'll probably go to...” and it won't be a lie!

A few caveats: If you are also dating other people, make it clear almost immediately. No one has a problem with it, if it's honest from the beginning (almost no one, anyway). EVERYone has an issue if it's sprung on them too far into things. Don't expect miracles. You probably won't meet a keeper on your first, or maybe even your tenth try. But it's better than sitting around alone watching tv. The key is in numbers. Meet the most people you can to maximize your time. Just don't expect to go home with the group of 6 girls at the end of the night (chances are you couldn't handle it anyway). Guys, look for a ring! If she's got something shiny on her left hand, ring finger (that's next to the pinkie), leave her be. Or ask her if she has a single friend who's as lovely as she.

Tuesday, June 9

First, break some of the rules...

You always hear that some rules are made to be broken. Some rules are better left intact, even when they're self-imposed. I have to admit that I like a lot of rules (in case you don't know me irl and therefore didn't already know). Strange or not, it makes life easier to live, simpler somehow with fewer options—that is, until you reach the tipping point. I've had a few experiences in my life that I could say led to reconsidering adhering to all of my rules. Usually those are times that something happens to alter my worldview—like a death, if not death of a person, death of some ingrained ideal or ideology. Sometimes, though, I just break the d@mn rule. For no good reason. Just because. I started smoking before high school. First one of my friends to do it. I didn't have sex until college. Last one of my friends to do it. Can't really tell you why in either case.

So when I break rules, especially my own, I don't really examine why until I look back on it, which is usually when I ask why the hell I did that. I'm probably asking myself that because regret rears its nasty phiz. Why did I do that, or why didn't I do it sooner, or later, or why didn't I do that? For no good reason. Just because.

Dating Rulez!

I hate to date. Dating rules are pretty common, though, and you'd think that would make it simpler, somehow, with fewer options (and, as you know, you'd be dead wrong). Maybe the rules aren't about the right things, or there aren't enough of them. Here are the ones I've been thinking about lately (for those who know me irl: play the game 'who's she talkin' bout' and see how many you can get right!). Don't date coworkers. AKA: Don't sh!t where you eat

No, I didn't break that one, technically. But I did date someone in my social group; at least after we started dating he became a part of it, and fast. Maybe too quickly, but when you care about someone, you want to share everything at first. Then, you seriously regret your feet-first attitude and may start to pull back a bit, and hopefully you've hung onto separate friends so you can do that. Because it's too damn late for everyone else by that time. Your friends are all asking where he is, whenever you go out without him. Like you can't have an existence singly once you've coupled. (I use that in the most casual, non-sexual sense.) Yeah, I'm sure it's worse with an actual co-worker, because then you have to go in every day. You can't just elect to stay home and blog about being single, like I do. But I still miss swing dance events, and they honestly don't have a lot of joy when I feel like the bad kitty who can't really relax, napping on off-limits furniture, in case someone comes home early and you have to run out of the room. And it's not that seeing an ex-bf is so awful, it's that you can't just live your normal life when they're in the same room. At all.

Don't date dudes who drive trucks. Okay, maybe that's not a common one. But it was one of my rules that I spontaneously made up when a college gf set me up with her bf's friend (who drove a giant truck, even though he was about 5” taller than me—if you know me, you know that I'm flattered to be mistaken for 5'2”). Lest I sound completely snobbish or materialistic, I will clarify that my aversion to pickup trucks that dates back to my days growing up in Knoxville, when you could prove how much of a redneck you were by how loud your truck engine could get, or how big your truck was (or at least its tires). I may not still feel that way, but I also have the same aversion to SUVs and cannot think of a time I've dated someone with one, although I admit the rules are different for friends with SUVs and trucks. Still don't have many friends with SUVs, though. (Hey, you who know me irl: still playing along? You probably don't know this guy, and I couldn't tell you his name at this point. Maybe Alzheimer's has set in.) But back to Trucker Blind Date. It was an F150 or something, not a big rig, but the proportions for each of us shorties were still pretty far off. Even when I do get Alzheimer's, I will forever have an image of riding around in that gleaming white beast, even though we were on a double date, because (of course!) we couldn't all four fit into one or the other of the guys' trucks (and no way can chicks drive on dates, right?). Needless to say, date #1 was date #only1. So I wouldn't say that 1 blind date really counts as breaking the rule. But, yeah, I broke this rule later, too! It was years after Trucker Blind Date, which doesn't really count since I had no idea he drove a truck when I said I'd go out with him. Meeting a super-hottie at *dish* one night, of course I didn't think someone open-minded enough to go to 80's night with 99 gay males would be redneck. Didn't think to ask what he drove, either, as in, “What car to you drive? An '82 Beetle? Sweet! At least it ain't a truck!” (see, the East TN upbringing still comes out sometimes). But I found out on our first date, and went out with him anyway. Ended up being the worst boyfriend I ever had. Bleah! I blame his truck. Either that or his mother for carrying him to term. HA!

Don't date the same guy twice. Note for those who know me irl: Yes, we're going in reverse chronological order of SB's significant (>1 year) relationships. **siiiiiiigh** I'm not sure I even have the energy to get into this one, it was so long ago now. Is it a general rule, or just something I made up after we got back together and I got dumped (a second time**)? Anyway, I broke it more than once, I have to admit. Generally, I'd have to say it's not a great idea, but it's really easy to get back into something that wasn't all that great to start, because it's usually A-predictable/familiar, and B-convenient/accessible sex. Or do I mean A-predictable/familiar sex and B-convenient/accessible

Don't date a friend's ex. Yep. Kinda broke that one unintentionally (not unknowingly) by hanging out with a hall mate's rush party date. The thing is, I didn't really realize that 2 weeks was a lifetime in college, or that the girl was my de facto friend, just because we were placed 2 doors down in the dorm. I also didn't date the guy much longer than a week myself. It didn't have a permanent impact on our friendship; in fact, we became quite close over the next 2 years and ended up being roommates later. Thankfully, I've never really broken this one when it mattered.

Don't date an ex's friend. OK, now we're finally into the realm of dating rules I haven't [knowingly] broken. Didn't realize I was such a rule-breaker! As anyone has, I've dated 2 guys who ended up being friends, and only found out by mentioning Mr Previous Ex's last name (which was distinctive, and mentioned a type of fruit.) Now I know better, I guess (not to mention last names, or not to date guys with fruit in their names, I'm not sure).

Don't date outside your race, age group, social strata, etc. OK, broken alla these. A couple of times each. Moving along....

Don't date a roommate Along the lines of coworker/don't sh!t where you eat philosophy. Thankfully, I've never violated this rule, but I've only lived with 2 guys, and then just for a few months at a time. Sounds pretty convenient, but then where do you escape?

NEVER date your gynecologist Or your friend's gyne. Or your gynecologist's friends, either. It just can't be a good idea to share that much, in that way. Not that I would know, because my gynecologist is a lesbian, and I'm not. This shouldn't be a tough rule to adhere to, now that I think of it.

So ends the list of dating rules (sorry I didn't number them, but the tech writer in me didn't want to, because I failed to organize them in order of importance—I am also struggling with comma and sentence structure due to my background. Bear with me, please).

What have I learned from all this mess? Unfortunately, very little. I know now to not make dating decisions that will have either obvious or immediate repercussions on your life, in a negative way (if you can predict, as with the coworker/gyne thing). I learned to think a bit about why I'm dating someone, but when you get along well, it's hard not to just go with it. I learned that sometimes my friends appear to be able to read the future, just because they see how these rules are going to pan out. I've also figured out that my friends' rules are sometimes too restrictive, or that they're even more afraid for my well-being than I am. Thanks, guys.