A Dater's Life

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Book Review -- The Between Boyfriends Book

I'm not a fan of self help in the slightest. I'm more of a drink-another-glass-of-champagne-and-everything-will-look-brighter kind of gal. But after my last dating disaster (actually, it was more of the doldrums than a disaster, but that's neither here nor there) I decided that maybe some professional help might be needed.

So I headed where every gal in search of professional help goes (well, besides Saks): Borders. And proceeded to sneak my way to the pseudo-psychology wall. A list of titles follows: How to Get Married after 35 (er, do I want to get married? do I need to decide while I'm in Borders?); Finding a "Keeper" -- A Handbook for Women Over 35 In Search of Mr. Right (why are these books all about single women over 35 finding Mr. Right? am I missing something?); Date Like a Man: What Men Know About Dating And Are Afraid You'll Find Out (okay, why would I want to date like a man when I can barely figure out how to date like a woman?); Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl-A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship (do I even need to comment on this title?)

When I spotted a lone copy of The Rules on the shelf, I started to tremble*. But then I spotted: The Between Boyfriends Book by Cindy Chupack, Emmy-winning writer for Sex and the City (RIP: 1998 - 2004). My kind of self help, indeed. I scooped it up and on a rainy Monday night, buried myself under my covers for a fun read. The book is a collection of essays, though it reads well as a unit that delves into the the pains, the realities, and the absurdities of being a single woman. It's obvious that Chupack penned some of SATC's most memorable episodes as the voice is very reminiscent of the show with its original wit and sharp observations of what it's like to be "between boyfriends." In fact, some of the lines and experiences pretty clearly developed into some of the later episodes of the show.

Chupack doesn't claim to be an expert in dating or relationship advice; she claims more than once that she doesn't know what she's talking about (er, kinda like this blog; are you still reading?) But, much like our fictional girlfriend, Carrie Bradshaw, Chupack comes across as a friend who's on your side, who's been through the same bullshit that every single gal goes through; and most importantly, she comes across as a woman who still has hope in love. Some of the essays toward the end dragged a little bit (and a few drift from the focus a touch) though I read it in one sitting, so perhaps a re-read will make the last ones more memorable.

The book makes me realize that how to date can't really be taught in a book but can only be learned through experience and self awareness; however, a book can give you a story to make you feel less alone. And The Between Boyfriends Book does just that!

*Okay, I exaggerate. I didn't really see The Rules in Borders. But the whole experience reminded me that my friend Melanie's mother sent us a copy of The Rules when we were in graduate school, and we thought the whole thing was so hilarious that we made up a dating board game complete with a point system to determine how long your relationship would last. Unfortunately, we decided that if you sleep with a guy on the first date, you would lose 10,000 points and he would gain the same, and that was a deficit that would be impossible to overcome -- even if you didn't return his phone calls for the next thirty two years; both of us being sluts, we decided to just go to the bar for some drinks and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Until Borders, that is.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I was out to dinner the other night with E, C, and K. We were having our usual girlish chatter about life and love, and the recently-turned-29 E was talking about her wild escapades with a 24-year-old (ah, to be 29 again). C and K are happily coupled, and didn't have much to offer, but I somewhat tearfully said, "Oh E....my little girl's all grown up....you remind me of myself when I was your age.*"

But then the conversation took an unexpected turn. Mid-sentence, E started saying things like, "I want to have a baby in the next two years. I want to get pregnant soon."

My understanding of E fell off the table. Why have a baby when you're having 24-year-olds?

Then she said, "Do you know how long it's been since I've had sex? Since Thanksgiving!!!"

I paused for a moment's thought. Wasn't Thanksgiving just four weeks ago? "Thanksgiving of what year?" I said.

Then it struck me that this is the thing that separates single women in their late 20s from single women in their 30s. Four weeks seems like an eternity in your 20s, and it's merely a series of trips to Blockbuster in your 30s. Four weeks? I could do four weeks in my sleep! (Preferably in high-thread-count Egyptian cotton.) But it isn't a shift in desire or desireability; I know I'm entering my sexual prime; and I know I could get sex in a matter of days (hours, hell, minutes) if I really wanted it (see: Bachelor #1; also see random drunk friend who was hitting on me in the restaurant for the third time). But the thought of ripping off my clothes in a drunken haze with someone I don't really like -- and we women in our 30s know that, contrary to the movies, drunken one-night-stands are almost always dreadful -- leaves me feeling a bit queasy. You wake up feeling more lonely and lustful than you were the night before.

The next morning, I was talking with my friend, L, over coffee. L is an attractive single woman in her 40s. I told her the story of E, and she said, "It's closed for the season. What's the point of opening up shop for a few hours only to have to close it back down again? It's not worth it for one quick sale."

As tempting as the thought is of going to the pub round the corner for a little action, I know she's right. So I'll let my 20-something friends live my former life on my behalf and find contentment in my present life on my own. Even if it's at Blockbuster.

*Note: The second such ideas start spilling from your cocktail-filled mouth, it is best to go out and get yourself a date, a haircut, a new pair of shoes, or failing all of that: a puppy.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Next in line

So I ended things (whatever "things" are after only two dates) with Bachelor #1. As much as he seemed like a good guy, I knew "things" weren't right when I spent our one and only make-out session looking at the clock in his car to make sure I didn't miss my train home.

Definitely not a good sign.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's Official

On-line dating men are strange.

One guy hotlisted me about three weeks ago, so I winked at him; he keeps viewing me and viewing me, but he never responds to my "wink" (how do I hate the "wink"? Let me count the ways).

Another guy viewed me a couple of weeks ago. I really liked his profile so I sent him an e-mail. Again, he keeps viewing me and viewing me and viewing me (er, hello men....I can tell every single time you "view" me, so if you're gonna do it obsessively, set your viewing profile to "private") and yet never responds to my e-mail.

On-line dating: why must you mock me so?

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Date #2 with Bachelor #1 went just as good as the first one. We met on a rainy Bay Area night at the always fantastic Luka's for delish food and delish cocktails and decadently delish conversation. Bachelor #1 is so kind and easy to talk with, and it's pretty clear that he's very into me.

And yet, I hesitate. I contradict myself, mid-thought.

My stomach flips when he sends me an e-mail the morning of our date just to tell me that he's looking forward to seeing me; yet I can't muster up the energy to get ready to leave my apartment. I'm sitting there at the bar, one second totally into him; the next second I can't wait for the date to end. What is at the root of this indecision?

I talked with D about it this morning. He, of course, just laughed and called me neurotic and told me to shut the fuck up and just date the man. (Okay, he didn't really say it in those words.) On one level, I know he's right; things don't have to always be so difficult. But I also told D that I don't have to like someone just because he likes me. In my twenties, I might have behaved that way, but in my somewhat-more-stable thirties, I don't want that to be the reason I date anyone.

And I also reminded myself that this is the first person I've dated in months and that I haven't dated anyone even remotely seriously in over two years. It's a scary thought, getting back out there, letting go of these walls that I've constructed around myself. Every step away from my barrier makes me want to race back home to hide. That, of course, has nothing to do with Bachelor #1 (or #2, #3, #4, when they arrive) but only to do with me.

Ah, things were so much easier when I just went to the corner guy, got drunk, pointed, and said, "You, buddy. You're coming home with me!"


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

At least there's always this

In the life of the San Francisco single gal, there is one thing that's certain. If you ever get lonely and truly desperate, there's always some homeless, crystal-meth addicted guy sleeping on a bench at the park who's willing to settle down and start a life with you. (Whether or not you want this life is entirely up to you!)


Monday, December 04, 2006

An Interesting Observation

I just back from dinner with my friend, A. I was talking about my date with Bachelor #1 and mentioned that we split the tab. She was a bit perplexed by this, but said I should go out with him again as it's clear I'm way into him; however, if he doesn't pay for dinner this time, give him the boot.

Now, I'm a bit of a non-traditional gal who feels that if I reach for my wallet on a date (which I did) I should expect to pay my share. But even so, I listened to her advice, and we proceeded with dinner.

A few minutes later, as we were getting ready to leave, we were approached by two men. They shared their bottle of red with us, and we got to chatting with them about relationships; the subject of my date entered the conversation. I again mentioned that we split the tab, and both men immediately gave me the thumbs down sign. No if's, and's, or but's with these two. I should NOT give Bachelor #1 a green light for a second date.

Of course, I don't take advice so quickly from strangers in restaurants; Bachelor #1 and I have a second date scheduled for this Friday. However, it's gotten me thinking whether this seemingly-outdated rule of courtship is still the norm. After thinking about it, I realized that I can't think of the last first date I've had where the man didn't pay, even though I've always taken my wallet out and offered my share. I figure I can't judge Bachelor #1 when I initiated paying, but it is interesting to observe that my 3-person research sample all had the same reaction: Kick that man to the curb!


Sunday, December 03, 2006


I've never been one for games. I like a man to be direct, and I like to be direct. When you want to call someone, call that someone. I'm fed up with "three day rules" for making (and returning) phone calls.

However, there has to be a limit when you're getting to know someone. There has to be a limit.

Case in point: I've had one date with Bachelor #1. One date. A very good date, one that left me giddy with anticipation of the second. And I was thrilled -- thrilled -- when I heard from him the next day. And the next day. And the next. The next. Next. I think in the week since our first date, I've received seven or eight e-mails and just as many voice mail messages, sometimes more quickly than I can respond with my hectic schedule.

Now, I'm fairly certain that he isn't a psycho stalker; I'm fairly certain that he's just a little excited about our fab first date. But there must be boundaries or a gal's gonna race for the hills (actually, more to the point, this gal's gonna race for another man to date). I keep thinking to myself, How would any man respond were I to shower him with this much attention this early in a whatevership? He'd run away, that much is certain.

Just calm down, buddy. Just breathe. I'm not going anywhere.