Here Kitty Kitty

I’ve been having an interesting experience the last few weeks.   I’ve been noticing that my online self is far more open, fun and carefree than my in-person self (or at least that’s my perception).   I’m talking about Facebook, emails and the online dating conversations I was having.

Online interactions vary depending on the person.  Some prefer to remain private online and reveal themselves in person but I have no problem laying it all out there online.  In fact, although I am a very open person, I think I reveal even more of myself online.  I feel a comfort behind words.  I don’t feel judged.  And lately, I’ve noticed that I’m accessing a playful side to myself that doesn’t always show up in person.

But here’s the thing.   It has just occurred to me that my online alter ego is also really me.    It’s genuine and  a part of my personality that does exist.  So why do I rein in that side of myself when I’m out in the real world?  What am I afraid of?  I don’t know the answer to these questions but I intend to consider it.  And while I’m doing that, I may let my “online girl” come out in the real world to play a little.

…..MEEEEOW!

I Bolted

Well it’s been an interesting 48 hours.  Lots of responses to what I am doing and I had a whirlwind of emotions around it. I don’t want this blog to be all about the light fluffy stuff, although that is fun to read (and write).  This is my journey – including the hard emotional stuff – and I’m putting it out there for everyone to see.  Foolish to some perhaps but I have found strength in the past from others being open about their experiences and I’m hoping to do the same for someone else.

So I got asked out on a date (not with the guy I was crushing on). I was unsure but said yes and then freaked out and canceled.  As I sit here, I wonder why I reacted the way I did.  I suppose there are several reasons, fear being one of them.  Fear of actually putting myself out there, fear of not being ready, fear of being hurt again, fear of hurting someone else.  But there are also other reasons – including that I just wasn’t feeling it with this guy and I was hoping it would just be a chance to get out there and do something fun. But when it came down to it, I felt bad because I knew I wasn’t interested in him in any way. Not even as a friend to be honest (as harsh as that sounds).  And really, it just didn’t feel right.  So I’m okay with having canceled.

In fact, I may take a break from online dating.  Maybe it’s the term dating that’s the problem. I’m actually not looking to date someone. My intent was to meet people and enjoy doing fun things with male company.  Anyway, I digress. What I am trying to share is that I had a myriad of emotions the past 2 days and I’m going to look at what those mean. This includes really looking at what I’m ready for and listening to myself.

I still want to be brave and that means different things. Perhaps even going back and hearing what my ex has to say about what happened between us. So maybe this blog is less about my online dating journey and more my life  journey.  Hopefully that will include some good stories, some laughs, some insights, and probably a little hurt and sadness sprinkled in there. I guess we will find out.  You know me – I jump full in and who knows where that will lead me.  And if you are interested, feel free to swim along with me.

I’m crushing…

I was going to write about “weeding out the weirdos” but I’m keeping it real here. I could be all “appropriate” and tell you about how careful I’m being and how I’m navigating online dating but screw that.  I’m going to be honest because that’s just who I am.  What I really want to talk about is something that is has made me giddy this week.

I have a crush. A completely irrational crush on a guy I haven’t even met in person and don’t really know at all.  OMG. Ridiculous. But at the same time, AWESOME!  It means that I’m becoming more open to the future  and to new possibilities.  And that’s a good thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not ready for…well for a lot… but let’s lighten up here.  I’m fully aware of what I’m doing and why.  Can’t a girl have a little fun?

I’ve been emailing this guy casually through an online dating site for about a week and a half and found him to be pretty funny.  His profile states that he wants to “date but nothing serious”.  That’s fine with me. Or at least that’s what I’m striving for, if I can actually do it is a whole other blog post.  Anyway, we ended up chatting online for a couple of hours the other night and it was great.  He was hilarious and nice and I was charming and funny.  We e-flirted (yes, I just made that up) and talked about meeting in person.  Whatever happens, the bottom line is that I had a fun time, I laughed out loud several times and it felt really good.

I can’t stop thinking about him.  But I’m not an idiot. I know to be careful, I know to keep my expectations in check and I know it’s going nowhere but it was fun and dammit, I deserve to feel good about myself and get my flirt on!  So yeah, I have a crush on a guy I’ve never met.  And I’m glad I do.

Warning! Online Dating in Progress

Since I’m  new to this online dating thing I thought I’d post some advice I’ve received from women friends who have spend some time on this tricky online activity.  So here are some warning signs and tips when online dating:

  • Don’t include your real name, phone number or address in your profile. Duh!
  • Don’t mention your kids’ names or post pictures of your kids on your profile.  I added this one. It seems like a no-brainer to me.
  • Set up a separate email account just for online dating.  I did this – it’s just smart.
  • Don’t give our your home phone number.  It’s better to use your cell as an address can be easily found with a home phone number.
  • Meet somewhere public and before dark.  This makes complete sense.
  • Let someone know where you are.  Many of my female friends want updates on my dates. They are living vicariously through my new dating life, even though it hasn’t even really begun.   But I’ll be sure to let someone know where I’m headed just to be safe.
  • Be cautious around connecting with men who have no profile picture. A friend of mine told me about a guy she was chatting with who had no profile pic.  When she asked for one, he sent her a really rude naked photo of himself  (I won’t go into the details).  Disgusting but I have to admit it’s a hilarious story now.
  • Email a bit first.  If the guy wants to meet you within 2 seconds of talking to you, he’s probably not someone you want to continue with. Spend a little time getting to know them, but don’t waste your time either. This is a fine balance.  I’ve been told not to spend weeks chatting.   Going on a date is a good way to see if you connect on any level (friendship, dating, or more). If you don’t, then sayonara!
  • Early sex talk = no thank you. If the guy starts talking about sex right away or early on, move on! Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. (For me anyway. If you are looking for a random hook up, then maybe this is your thing.)
  • Don’t assume that everyone is telling the truth.  Well this is true even when you aren’t online dating (yes I’m talking to you jerky ex!) But seriously, apparently people lie about all kinds of things in their profile, including their age, weight, their appearance, etc.  This seems ridiculous to me. But I guess it happens a lot.
  • Trust your gut. This is a good one. Learning to follow your instincts can be difficult but I’m learning!
  • Don’t be afraid to say no.  It’s okay to not like someone, say no or just end things.  You don’t have to accommodate everyone just because they emailed/tagged/winked/favourited/{insert online dating website lingo here} you.
  • Skip the meal first time out. For your first meeting, grab a coffee or something quick. That way if you don’t like them, you don’t have to spend an agonizing hour or two waiting for and then eating your food.  Sounds like a good exit strategy to me. And speaking of exit strategies, you can always set up a “bail out” text strategy with a friend. You know, that sudden family emergency that you must leave for immediately?
  • Consider the gentleman test.  Some women will see if the guy will pay for your coffee or drink to see what kind of guy they are. Another friend of mine prefers to pay her own way so there are no misunderstandings or strings attached. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

And if you want to be really cautious, make a pit stop after your date to make sure you aren’t followed. This seems a little much to me but if you are getting a bad vibe after a coffee date, it could make you feel better…and it’s probably a good idea to be a little extra careful.

So there’s an initial gathering of some online dating tips in terms of red flags and safety.  Feel free to share any of your thoughts!

Just Keep Swimming

When thinking of a name for my dating blog, how could I resist thinking of Dorie’s advice to little Nemo – just keep swimming….just keep swimming… I’ve told this very same thing to myself many times over the last nine months.

So here I am.  Ready to date?  In all honesty, probably not.  I’m definitely not ready for a relationship.  But I do feel ready most days to put myself out there, take some risks and have some fun.  At least I hope to have some fun.  It’s all part of my healing from my horrible breakup (from a BIG lying piece of crap scumbag – and that’s all I will say about that. My breakup is a whole other blog!)

After a little while of flirting with the idea of online dating, I jumped into Plenty of Fish (and thus another link to the swimming reference).  I know there are other sites out there and I’ve also been told that Plenty of Fish (POF) is where guys troll for sex.  I guess we will find out if that’s true (yikes!)

Overall, I’m intrigued with online dating and I’m also terrified.  I’m not sure how to be and of the etiquette but I imagine I will figure out how to navigate it.  So it’s been 4 days since I signed up and here’s my status:

  • 8 guys want to “meet me” (this is where they see my profile and click a button that says that they may be interested in meeting me)
  • 5 guys have tagged me as a favourite (I’m not sure about this one. I think it means they can see when I post in the forums or when I’m online? Sounds a bit stalker-ish to me)
  • I have been emailed and emailed people back 43 times

This is isn’t a competition, I’m just laying it out Bridget Jones style.  I have no idea if this is a lot or not.  But what I’m getting at is that I have chatted casually over POF email with 4 guys already.  Some better than others but I’ll get into that later.  Shit, that makes me laugh. I’m not sure why.  Probably because this is so foreign to me.

So anyway,  here I go….jumping into the deep end (of casual dating only!)….and I keep on swimming….

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