Yes, ladies and gentleman, I think I am becoming a smarter dater!

After oh, 12 prospects (give or take…only two of which actually moved into longer-ish term dating status – brainy blonde and CBE) and 7 months into this foray into dating, I think I am finally becoming a smarter dater (thanks to BDFF for uttering those words yesterday morning, as it totally sparked this post idea!).

*pats self on back*

When I look back at my “man audit” – I can strikethrough at least half of them that I probably wouldn’t have even bothered with, one of which being the Russian. I look back at that now, and while I probably would have gone on 1-2 dates with him, I don’t think I would have gone beyond that, because, while there was some chemistry, we had virtually nothing in common, and the conversation was pretty lackluster, now that I think back (sort of like my date last night!). But, on the other hand, each of these dating experiences, one-date wonders and non-starters teaches me something new, so I still don’t really regret any of them, I just look back at them and think that now, I would have gone about it a little bit differently.

So what does this mean for my future dating prospects?

Maybe I’ll be a little more picky? Or maybe picky isn’t quite the right word, but discerning, perhaps? Because, while I am focused on my must-have’s and/or make-or-break’s, I also don’t want to be too close-minded either. But, I suppose there is a fine line to walk, no matter what, in the whole dating thing – and that balance comes in time, or at least it has for me, in terms of refining what I want since, at the beginning of this dating foray, I had no clue what I really wanted, to be honest. At least not a concrete list of things.

What do you think? Is there “such a thing” as smart dating? Or, do we just becoming smarter and/or more confident in what we’re going after? Or, maybe I’m just overthinking the whole thing? That wouldn’t be like me at all, now would it? 😉

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On a side note – check me out – Bloggers in Sin City…here…we…come!! Less than a month, who’s excited?!

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And, on another side note – my sister is having a girl!!! I am SO excited. It’s funny because I knew she would be calling me and my sister Jess in the afternoon, once she found out, and suddenly, I just KNEW she was going to have a girl, without a doubt. I wonder if it was when she was having her ultrasound…sister intution at work 😉 Game on Jess – auntie throwdown continues!!

I kicked some “righteous booty” tonight at practice! Taking the advice by ItNeverRainsinSeattle, plus a much-needed pep talk by my sister (her blog from today helped, too!) was just what I needed to get my mind in the game.

Practice started out really well. We all had a ton of energy and we brought it. Fast forward to track three (one of my sister’s tracks) and our fitness director sort of read her/us the riot act about making sure we are loud enough and it’s not loud as in shouting loud, but loud, from your diaphram, so they can hear you. She said you “just learn how” – which is so frustrating, because you just want to be told HOW to DO THAT. So, I was frustrated FOR her, because I could see it rattled her a bit. I think that I channeled that frustration for her (the protective sister in me! We all have it for each other – the “mama bear” complex or something!) and I did my track (which used to be my WORST track, and I could never get it) and at the end, our fitness director said I did awesome! I was floored, I thought I did okay, but thought she was going to say she couldn’t hear me either.

So, I am feeling better, I needed that boost tonight. We have a couple practices this week and then a “test” audience of staff members Friday night, a “preview” class with non-members on Sunday, and then the following Saturday (Feb 6), it’s go time!! We’re getting there. For the first time, I KNOW we can all do it, we can pull it out and kick some ass. We’re a great group. I feel so much better (thanks for everyone’s words of advice yesterday, it totally made my day).

Now, on to the chili I’ve been crockpotting all day (Pete’s actually coming by for dinner. Should be fun.). Yum.

is a very hard thing to do.

I’m reminded of it daily, how much confidence it really takes to go it alone – whether it be life, in general, and/or being alone without a spouse/significant other, but I’m also a firm believer in experiences shaping life, and standing on your own as an individual, and being alone/living alone can be life-changing and everyone should have the “opportunity” to experience it at one point or another in life.

This “ephiphany” of sorts came to me this week as a good friend of mine is going through a pretty painful breakup process, and one of her biggest fears is being alone and being on her own. She is one of THE most independent women I know, though, which is the ironic part, and I know she has the strength in her to make the break (opposite case of my personal situation, but similar in that it is ending moreso because of a love turned friendship) and flourish and grow and do all of the things she wants to do in her life.

My sister was giving her some advice about it, when she was first thinking about it, and being scared to be alone and not have “built in” plans with her boyfriend on weekends, and worries about being lonely. My sister told her to look at me, and see how far I have come, and that it’s not as scary as it seems, and you can move forward, happily so, alone, and independent.

The fact that she used me as a reference point felt so rewarding…I’m the one she’s using as the benchmark for “it can be done?” That’s amazing! And, if you knew this friend of mine, you’d be shocked that she would not already see herself as strong and independent. Because she is, it’s innate within her! I’ve always thought that about her, and I know she will come through this and it will be the best thing for her to move forward and see where life takes her.

So, this is for you – you are a hot ticket – and I’m bestowing upon you a new nickname – HSC – hot southern chick! You’re strong, you’re beautiful, you’re WORTH IT, and you can do it. Stay strong.

I continue to be pleasantly surprised by boy #9 (brainy blonde), and am really enjoying spending time with him! We had our third date yesterday afternoon.

It was supposed to be mostly an afternoon date, because he had a holiday party to go to around 7, so we met up around 2 at his place (his place, by the way, is nice, an apartment in a Boston suburb, nicely decorated, but not overly decorated, or “trying too hard” – some IKEA flair too). He has the cutest kitty ever (NOT as cute as mine, of course, but a close second. Milo, he’s black and white, super vocal and has diabetes! But very friendly, too), too, I might add. When I walked in, he gave me a quick kiss, and it felt natural, as it this wasn’t *just* our third date. We opted to go to a movie at a local theater (The Men Who Stare at Goats – GREAT, FUNNY movie!), and on the drive back, we somehow got on the topic of Indian food and I said I’d never had Indian food (why I haven’t, I have no idea!) and he said “that’s it – we HAVE to get Indian food!” so, off we went for an early dinner.

We chatted more about past relationships, what we’d learned from them, where we want to travel etc. (he was engaged six years ago, but she cheated on him. Similar to me, he’s glad they aren’t together now, because he was sort of going through the motions, anyway. Last long-term relationship was a year ago, for a year, with a girl he met on match…promising?!). He’s very thoughtful, and thought-provoking, and I really dig that, because it makes ME think and keeps me on my toes. I don’t think I’ve ever had that before, in a relationship, in the past.

For example, when we were emailing during the week about plans, I asked if he was “type A” like me about being a planner for things, and he responded with something like this “I’m actually more of a spontaneous/go with the flow type, but when it comes to dating and relationships, I think a bit of planning should go into it, otherwise you do the laziest thing possible at the last minute, and that leads to complacency.” Um, well put?! I thought so, anyway.

So, we ended up at his place. For awhile. Ended up leaving closer to 9, so he was oh, just a wee bit late for his party, but that’s ok, right?! 😉

One last thing (and okay, I realize, I am gushing, and I hope I don’t regret that!) – he’s very complimentary, and it makes me feel pretty damn amazing inside…while I’ve gained some confidence, I still look in the mirror and see flaws more so than the good parts, but he’s good at teaching me to do the opposite – embrace having some curves, and some muscle, and not being straight up and down (and I do, to a certain extent, but again, I also pick out all my flaws first!) – his compliments aren’t pushy or for an ulterior motive either, at least not from what I have experienced so far, and that too, is refreshing. It feels natural…and I hope that continues. Again, hoping my gushing post here isn’t going to backfire on me, but I just want to get my thoughts out on paper, so now you all get to read it too 😉

Not taking the backroads of life!

This was my epiphany as I was spinning the life out of my bike during tonight’s spin class (my blog posts come from all sorts of random inspirations, clearly!!). I’ve been going to my current gym for just about a year, as my old gym unexpectedly closed. I was sad at first, because I really liked my gym, and a particular elderly man that manned the front desk on weekends and LOVED to talk to me and Pete – Bob. He was awesome. When Pete wasn’t with me at the gym on cold winter mornings, he’d send me home with a note of “demerit” for his no-shows…and he just sort of took us under his wing. And then “the situation” started and I could barely look Bob in the eye and was dreading telling him the truth about us…he’d always ask about Pete, and I’d make up a reason why he wasn’t with me (inside, on the verge of tears). So, when my gym closed, I was actually a bit relieved because I didn’t have to “break” the news to Bob!

Anyway…long story short…fast forward to today. I was riding the life out of my bike – gazing at CSB aka HG of H of course – to “Life is a Highway” and it hit me…I’m riding the highway of life – front and center – facing my fears and challenges head-on – rather than taking the “backroads” and hiding away. When I stepped into my very first spin class last December, I was a wreck. I was nervous, I was SUPER SHY (I still have a shyness in me, but in the last year, I think that’s been erased a bit), and cowered in the back. And then CSB came over and introduced himself – HOTNESS of course was the first thing I thought – and I barely said two words to him! Forget about flirting or even really admitting he was cute, I just wanted the conversation to end. I used to be much worse at meeting new people, and that’s a great example of something that has changed over the last year.

On top of that..who knew that in just about a week, I’d shift from taking classes to training to TEACH them at my gym?! So, that was my epiphany today…I’m on the highway of life, I’m riding it, enjoying the curves, detours, road blocks, and scenery, instead of cowering on the backroads, and neglecting any challenge I see. Feels pretty damn good.

confidence.

And, I don’t mean in a “yeah, I’m hot, I’m dating all sorts of men” way. Not at all. I think embarking into the world of dating in July has taken me into the next stage of confidence-building and strength in terms of being able to talk to new people, step out of my “shy zone” that I tend to get into when I meet new people (either at work, or socially) and just be more open to striking up a conversation.

That was probably one of my worst fears when I was facing divorce – MEETING men, talking to them, getting comfortable  and letting my guard down a bit (since I’d only been with one man for the last 10 years, that was probably the biggest hurdle), and I was thinking about the various types of guys I’ve gone on dates with, at this point, and they’ve been all over the map, and now that I’ve dated 7 different guys, the first date jitters aren’t nearly as bad and I’m more used to it. Sure, I’d rather get PAST the first date stage, but all in time, of course, but I sort of surprised myself when I was recapping the latest first date stories to one of my single friends (who is very much on the fence of taking the plunge into online dating) and I was giving her my take on things, from the “who pays?” question, to “do you talk on the phone first?” to “is there a second date?” and actually had responses! I guess I’m becoming more experienced in dating, huh?! Who knew?!

So, long story short, the reason I bring this up is because I think it’s also helping me in my professional life. I had to go to a conference yesterday and usually I DREAD things like that, where I have to network and talk to people I don’t know, and represent my company. But it wasn’t so bad, and I was fine chatting with “strangers” and explaining what our company does, etc. So I guess that’s a pretty good side benefit, huh? I think it will also help me next week, as I have to go to a two-day meeting in San Jose for a client and I am hoping it helps me portray confidence and that I know my shi$%t, because I do (I just don’t always show it sometimes!).

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On a side note, check out BSF‘s latest blog, it’s a riot (something we concocted on the drive home from my date with boy #10!). My sister also has a pretty awesome blog today as well, so give it a read. I absolutely loved it.

So, it’s been a fairly quiet week in the world of online dating – and I’ve actually welcomed it. While I believe there is a date looming with boy #8 (as soon as I kick this cold I’ve been battling), and I’ve dabbled a bit on match.com and OK Cupid, I’ve gone back to being low-key about it, not overly stressing and taking my time….sort of goes back to what Someone Said Goodbye said to me in a recent post – “remember..the destination gets here sooner than you think..Enjoy the journey.”

So, that’s what I’m doing – enjoying the journey, as I set out to do! I get myself so tangled up in the ups and downs, the fits and starts, and the (many!) false starts, that I don’t end up enjoying the experience for what it is – an experience. Not the be all and end all, not (necessarily) the path to the next love of my life, but an experience. It’s stretching me into new boundaries, forcing me out of my comfort zone and helping boost my confidence, so I should embrace it, and that I will. Mark my words – and – PLEASE – if I start overthinking again, someone please “virtually” slap me?! K thanks 😉

On another note…haven’t mentioned CSB much lately, and though I see him twice a week for my spinning classes, I haven’t talked to him much in depth. Well, we chatted (maybe a wee bit of flirting?!) a bit more tonight, and damn, he really is still the holy grail of hotness. Just sayin. 😉