To POOL or not to POOL

With so many entertaining pieces of media dedicated to dating at large, it’s difficult to find some that are actually enjoyable. Which ones are worth talking about? Well, as POOL demonstrates, the answer is: “eh, not many.”

As it so happens, something else I am not so smitten with is my current employment. It is not stressful in any way. Quite the opposite actually. I have way too much time on my hands. Time that is often spent indulging in some entertainment like POOL.

So I spent a little over an hour the other day (clearly during work hours) watching the entire first season of POOL. That leads me to one of the positive qualities of this show. It’s short and you don’t need too much of an attention span to watch each 6 to 8 minute episode. They are basically short skits. I definitely give Mary Ashley and Chris Russell a ton of credit for their writing and acting. They also managed to get their creation distributed and available online. That’s a HUGE deal that even someone as low-on-the-totem-pole as myself understands. Huge props. Here’s the breakdown of the web series in my favorite brief and bulleted format:

Plot: It centers around three friends / roommates (two guys and a girl) who tell each other their dating stories.

What kept me watching:

– Excellent camera work and audio – like an expensively-produced show

– One of the male characters gives me an American Psycho vibe. I almost feel that he sees himself as Patrick Bateman. Disturbing, but the guy has good hair and a dominating personality.

– The more I watched, the more I cared about the characters. Even aforementioned American Psycho.

– Steph (played by Mary Ashley) finds a plot-related reason to show off her bare behind, more than once. That would be a win for anyone interested – as she does (generally speaking) have a very tight behind.

– Every time Steph has a date presented from a flashback, her two roommates are somehow in the scene as servers or employees of the date venue, which is pretty clever.

– Episode 5 features the best cat sweater of all time. While it is fashioned inside-out with no clear purpose, this might be the one solid reason you need to watch.

What caused me to lose interest and look at puppies on Instagram again:

– Most of the funny lines fall flat – I am not sure if it is because the dialogue is so ridiculous or there is no laugh-track. Maybe I still need encouragement to laugh at amusing parts of TV shows…so maybe that is just my own personal problem (one of the many).

– Why is everyone white? Not to bring up another racial argument, but the poor man’s Three’s Company inverse is not too realistic when you’re talking about New York City in this century.

– Way too many disgusting bodily function / human waste jokes. Like I didn’t have enough of those with every real-life roommate I’ve ever had.

Net-net: If you want some cheap laughs (and I do mean cheap – this stuff is FREE!), fill up an hour of your day with the entire first season.

If you made it through this entire post, you already have a bigger attention span than I do, so POOL will be easy to get through.

Tender Pressure of the Holiday Season

It’s been well over half of a year since I posted anything to this award-winning platform, and for that I feel like a let-down. I never meant to ghost any readers or quietly fade away. The lack of posts is due to the fact that I have run out of my own dating stories. Lame, I know. With that, I have been contemplating different directions to steer this ship o’ bitterness over the past several months and have yet to decide on anything.

I have, however, listened to multiple online dating stories from friends that would entertain the masses. Maybe in the coming year, I can relay them back to my readers in an organized way that everyone can enjoy.

In the meantime, I have found some really interesting posts on the interwebs that explain to the world just how connected the end of December holidays are with the act of people looking for companionship / attention. Let me know if any of these amazing works of genius have truly made a difference in your lives the way they have for mine (<sarcasm font).

Here we have some info from Men’s Fitness, geared toward the minds of those with peni…or so they think. As a non-man, my #1 takeaway from this post is that single men should go to any and all holiday parties they can find in order to meet women. “It’s not a great idea to try to hook up with someone at your own corporate holiday party,” the writer points out. No shit!? If someone honestly avoids getting drunk and hooking up with a co-worker because of this post, I want to speak to them. From what I remember of my 20s, it was full of experiences like this and while I remained single, no real harm was done.

It’s also written by a female, for males…so the suggestion to go to “tree lightings, pop-up ice skating rinks, and holiday festivals” makes a lot of delusional sense.

I’m not sure if any of the videos on this page actually work, but I really enjoy the grammatically incorrect and misspelled pushes from yet another female writer to stay physical in one’s relationship. She says to “Spend time together. Make out.. A touch on the check, shoulder, tush. With a tender pressure. When you kiss, let your foreheads touch afterwards, which is a tender moment. Get close.” I feel icky. Uggh.

For those who are single and not attending pop-up ice rinks or drunkenly hoping for a relationship with a co-worker, just keep in mind that this is the time of year that dating sites and apps go insane to get you hooked. I personally notice a lot more TV commercials and online ads for “finding someone special when it counts.” So if you feel like no one else is vying for your attention, at least Tinder and Match.com are. “Advertisers are doing whatever they can to gain visibility and organic installs.” In plain English, this means that these companies are experts at taking advantage of holiday loneliness.

Additionally…and most importantly: I also have the cutest dog on the face of the planet that I’ve already exploited in numerous places. Why not here?

axel-foley-rug-smiles

Wait…THIS is the Online Dating Ad That Offends People!?

I’ve been seeing flickers of this story in various social media posts today and I am not understanding the issue. Well, actually I do understand the issue but I think that those who have it are getting a bit…um…”extreme.”

bustle
Here’s the Match ad that is causing an uproar and the multiple commentaries around it:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/154435-matchs-ad-implying-freckles-are-imperfections-is-provoking-outrage

I would just like to say that I actually understand the point of it, I am not offended at all and I actually think it is kind of cute. I also really, really miss all the freckles I had as a kid. Freckles are not something to get overly PC about, people! And by the way, there are a lot of other problems in this world besides Match.com ads!

What about the creepy eHarmony guy who’s been invading my TV time for years? Or the fact that anyone who is not single believes that dating sites are solely for people looking for hook-ups? Or the infinite number of MARRIED MEN I’ve met on Tinder and Bumble?

The point: Times are tough, but a cute poster with freckles is not a cause for an uproar. Get over it.

The Man Who Feared Tomatoes

Sean traveled to Manhattan from the middle of the New Jersey suburbs to meet me for our first blind date at a little Italian restaurant that I had chosen. And I know I say this about so many other people, but Sean really and truly was (and maybe still is?) a good guy. It was definitely me who kept him away after our second date.

I’m certainly no foodie, but I like to pretend I know what is going on in the cooking world and am friends with people like this guy who have helped me hone my superficial interest in dining.

During our first date, I vaguely remember suggesting several different appetizers for us to share – including mozzarella cheese, stuffed mushrooms, and possibly something seafood-related. He looked at me like I was crazy for each suggestion, and I believe we ended up sharing an order of fried calamari. His entree was a fairly simple pasta dish and he ate it very slowly. As he examined every morsel that went into his mouth, I started to ask him about food that he actually enjoys. I mentioned different types of cuisines to see if he would have any sort of positive reaction:

Me: Mexican? Tacos? Burritos?

Shawn: (tongue sticks out, appalled) Oh man – definitely not.

Me: Any type of seafood, besides calamari?

Shawn: Ew, gross!

Me: Burgers?

Shawn: Yeah, that’s what I eat pretty much every day. But nothing on them.

Me: Not even condiments? Ketchup?

Shawn: ABSOLUTELY NO KETCHUP – I hate it. And nothing else.

Me: So just a plain burger on a bun…do you like cheese?

Shawn: Nope

Sean likes plain burgers, plain pasta and possibly some calamari (although I probably devoured that by myself).

At some point, he mentioned that he was a very simple “meat and potatoes kind of guy” so when he asked to see me again in Manhattan, I suggested Keens – a very well-known steakhouse that I had wanted to try for a long time. He seemed okay with Keens. He wasn’t over-the-moon like I was to be anywhere that was considered a classic. Yet he seemed content enough to order a steak. Like any nice meal, his steak had some random vegetables on it and I pointed out that the cherry tomatoes looked good. At that point I think he was really trying at that point to make me happy. He put the tiny tomato in his mouth and immediately spit it out. He was mortified. Flushed and tearing, shaking his head and sticking his tongue out, he glanced at me and I’m pretty sure I saw a little contempt in his eyes. I guess he wasn’t ready for a tomato.

Once I licked my plate clean of whatever I had been gratefully served, we exited the restaurant. Sean texted me later that night to let me know he had made it home (to the burbs) safely. I thanked him for a lovely time, and he said, “Yeah, I enjoyed it. But you made me eat a tomato.” It was like I committed murder and it was confusing to actually experience some guilt about something so ridiculously insignificant.

I have no idea why Sean asked me to hang out again. I had to turn him down. I love food too much for that sort of anxiety and trepidation to be repeated.

Misspellings, Maintenance Man and Mediocre Music

Have you heard of a dating app called “Once”? Well I was innocently listening to one of my NON-ad-free Pandora stations one day and it was advertised as the latest tool in online dating that involves a “custom matchmaker” and unique matches for each user on a daily basis. It seems that my counterpart – “Smitten” – likes to tout it. But she probably got paid for that.

I should have known that it wasn’t exactly a match after every single text message that Jason* sent my way had at least one horrible misspelling in it.

I should have also known that it wasn’t going to work out when I was telling him about my planned move to a new apartment. While he did live in the suburbs of New York City, I assumed he had a grasp on how human beings function. In fact, he did not. And both of these quotes came from him via text (and he wasn’t being sarcastic):

–“Wait, there’s a Home Depot in Manhattan?!? Why?”

–“I thought everyone that lived in the city had their own maintenance man.”

I didn’t know how to respond to each of those items without asking him if he was being serious several times. I also doubt that this guy ever left his house to go anywhere beside his local bowling alley or to find new items to shred with his Veggetti (both of which he texted about in misspelled words daily)

veggetti

But okay – he was attentive and was keeping our correspondence going so I continued to keep in touch. We planned to meet in the “big city” and I even continued to talk to him when he suggested we meet in the middle of Times Square. Yeah – I like torturing myself I guess.

Thankfully, we met for lunch at a place not located in Times Square and he spoke in person better than he texted, but of course, he didn’t really resemble the fit guy in his photos. I felt zero chemistry as we chatted over our meals and any semblance of a bond with Jason stopped short when Pandora (the music app mentioned above) came up. I innocently asked him who his favorite singer / band is.

“Shania Twain. Well…followed closely by Faith Hill.”

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was talking to a sassy 55 year old female in 1994.

Well, that wasn’t my response but I did snort and then ask him who he really listened to. He told me how many times he had seen each of them in concert, how much of their careers he had followed, Shania’s big “comeback”…and so forth. In pure Notsosmitten style, he was also extremely defensive of each singer and their extraordinary talents.

Everything following that topic was a blur, and when we parted ways, I went to Home Depot.

Shania-Twain-Faith-Hill-were-all-smiles

* Not his real name mainly because I can’t remember his real name and I’m kind of proud of that.

Going Dutch with the Irish

Peter was the first guy I met in person through Tinder. In hindsight, he should have been the last, but what can you do? He was polite, good-looking in his photos and actually asked me if I wanted to meet up with him at a normal, public place. He was around my age, employed and had come to live in the U.S. several years ago from Ireland. So yes – you guessed it – Peter really liked to drink. When he selected a “pub” for us to meet at after work I was delighted…only because he called it a “pub.” The place was a tourist trap smack in midtown, but it was convenient for both of us and I just went with it.

In person, Peter spoke with the adorable Irish accent I was hoping he had and was reasonably attractive. Our time together was relatively unscathed. I wouldn’t say that there was much chemistry, but it wasn’t painful. We must’ve been sitting at a small table together for approximately two hours, and I believe that for the 2 drinks I had, Peter had downed 5 pints of beer. This fact alone did not bother me, and neither did the fact that he mentioned that he had two cars “at his house in Virginia” at least twice. I thought it was interesting that he had a home in Queens, New York as well as Virginia. I did find it a bit odd for him to mention the stuff that he bought for his ex-girlfriend more than once – that being the expensive concert tickets and jewelry he had purchased for her. So there were a few topics that started out innocently, that ended with Peter declaring that he spent too much money on his ex-girlfriend. That was only multiplied when our date came to a close because Peter was meeting “friends for more pints” and asked for the check.

Here’s my favorite part…Peter had the check for my two drinks and his 5 pints in his hand and after mentioning his 1) two cars 2) two homes in the U.S. (one additional home in Ireland) and 3) his materialistic ex-girlfriend…he declared the amount of money I owed for half of the bill.  I guess this is not such a big deal to some people.  I found it appalling and per usual, I couldn’t hold back my reaction. Maybe my expectations are too high…wanting a man to pay for my drinks on our first date. My jaw just hung open after he said that, to which he responded, “Oh no…what did I do? What’s wrong?!” And I told him the issue. And he wasn’t even fazed, and told me to forget he said to split the bill, which of course just inspired me to pay my own way. I made sure he accepted my $20 bill in my “I’m a strong woman who can afford two drinks, you dipshit” way.

This is exactly what our date DIDN'T look like.

This is exactly what our date DIDN’T look like.

You might think that with Peter’s complaints of past experiences and logical frugality on first dates that I would be turned off. I probably was, but still wanted attention (and to pay my own way for dates?) and to hear from him again. We texted a few more times after that but he eventually stopped.

At least his rejection helped me save some cash.

Food Networking > Online Dating

Combing through the terrifying history of the dates that I have had, one theme that has come up several times is my love of food and restaurants. Namely: food and restaurants related to celebrity chefs. I use the word “celebrity” to mean that I have heard of or seen this chef on the Food Network at least a few times and get really starstruck if I see them in person.

My fake underwear
http://www.cafepress.com/+i_love_my_chef_boyfriend_womens_boy_brief,610520602

I think the beginning of my Food Network interest was on a not-so-blind date with someone I was actually interested in several years ago. This person happened to be interested in working in the restaurant industry and shared my budding appreciation for all things Food Network. So you can imagine both of our squealing delight when Mario Batali walked into the bar we were sitting in. With a combination of sheer curiosity, the desire to recount this story hundreds of times in the future and the need to look cool in front of my date, I approached Mario. Let it be known that these were still the days where one can smoke cigarettes inside bars. Mario was participating, with a cigarette in one hand, drink in another and the proverbial layer of perspiration on his ginger brow.

Sexy Batali
http://www.bowlfamilyvacation.com/2014/03/21/mario-batalis-favorite-eats-mi/

“Hi Mario. I just wanted to tell you I watch your show every day and I’m a big fan,” I stated as soon as I approached him (I do believe he was wearing his trademark orange shoes as well) and his friend.

Mario’s response seemed sincere, “Oh, do you cook as well?” he asked.

“No,” I admitted with a sheepish grin, “I just like watching you.” Okay, in retrospect, I sounded like a complete stalker…but it was successful.

Mario then glances at his friend, puts his thick arm around my neck and lays a giant, moist kiss right in the middle of my forehead. Then he says, “You are the perfect woman.”

My date witnessed all of this but obviously didn’t agree with Mario’s assessment, because things between us didn’t last for long after that night.

Fast-forward a few years later…I happened to be at the same bar on a truly blind date with a man that I had met online. We were talking to each other in the outside seating area, which was fantastic since my date was not very entertaining. There wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with him but the most memorable part of our conversation was when he recounted the time he got the “opportunity” to be an extra in the “Miami Vice” movie, minute by minute. I’m pretty sure it took him about an hour to tell me every detail down to his thoughts about pursuing acting afterwards (Seriously? He played one of hundreds of dudes at a dance club in the opening scene) to Colin Farrell’s smoking habits on set. In between all of that, a glimmer of hope and beauty passed us by that made my entire year. Eric Ripert – one of the most famous chefs (not necessarily on the Food Network – but friends with many of those personalities and a feature of many, MANY foodie conversations) was walking by. And he was by himself! I don’t even think my date noticed that my jaw was on the floor as I stared to his immediate left for a good 60 seconds and started shaking. I was pretty surprised that such a well-known entity in the culinary world was navigating the streets all alone and that I was actually witnessing it. I told my date, who basically had no interest in what I was saying and continued to describe his fantasy of being the next Sonny Crockett…or whatever he was talking about. I should have ran up to Mr. Ripert and never looked back.

Eric Ripert hotness
https://quarrylanefarms.wordpress.com/tag/richard-blaise/

And a similar experience happened last summer, on yet another online date with someone else who claimed to be heavily involved in the culinary world. So how in the world could he not recognize Maneet Chauhan?! Truth be told, I could not remember her name and had to spend a few minutes literally right after first meeting my date to figure out the famous Food Network “Chopped” judge and restauranteur’s identity – but I knew that I knew her! I watched her closely in the bar area of the restaurant where we were seated, waiting to see or hear her complain about the “cloying sweetness” or “lack of spice mixture” in one of her appetizers, like she does on TV all the time. Oh yeah – and my date was there too, but that obviously didn’t work out.

Maneet - doing what she does best on "Chopped"
http://www.maneetchauhan.com/choppedphoto.html

I think my true calling is to be an agent for a famous chef, don’t you? Being in the same vicinity with a culinary celebrity is more thrilling for me than any dating scenario, which is very telling. Even as I document these experiences, I watch “The Kitchen” and hope to catch a real-life glimpse of Geoffrey Zakarian’s fabulous hipster glasses.

Geoffrey Zakarian pops his collar
::SWOON:: Look at that hot chef popped collar!
http://den.bigleo.com/2014/02/geoffrey-zakarians-next-big-move/