Sunday, February 28, 2010

Meetup or Shut Up

If I only had a day spa gift certificate for every time I've been told to "get out and do the things you like and then you're sure to meet someone who likes the same things as you!" (Looks like I'm not the only one reading Dating for Dummies, by the way.) But since I don't have a day spa gift certificate for every time I've heard it, it so happens that my time is freed up to give this sage advice the ol' college try.

Just tonight, I got dressed up and went with me and myself to a coffee shop I've never been to, armed with David Sedaris, my recently acquired lip gloss and a hip new black trench jacket (so cute - short, rain resistant, with a tie belt). I've never combined these things before into something I'd call a hobby or interest, but individually I enjoy them each. It's reaching. I know this. My interests include books, movies, art, diagnosing myself on the web, basically the same things everyone else likes; but parlaying these into match-making opportunities is easier said than done. Now I don't mean to say that there aren't groups I could join for people who like all of these things, but I am not convinced that they would be places to potentially make a love connection.

Knowing how cynical I am and how quickly I think I have it all summed up, I am willing to concede that I may be mistaken in my perceptions about interest groups, which makes it sound like I am trying to find a date among the oil and gas lobby. (Note to self: find out the demographic information of some local PACs.)  Where was I, oh yes. So because I might just be wrong, I went to to find some ways to "get out and do the things I like."

I chose three out of about a million meetup groups. My first pick was a book club that focuses on classic literature. I'm cynical, but I also believe in signs. The book they are meeting about next is Their Eyes Were Watching God. This is the book that opened my eyes to the world of classic literature. I could write a little essay right now about the virtues of this book, but I'll spare you except to say that if you haven't read it, read it. There seemed to be a nice ratio of women to men members of the group, but no indication of the single to off-the-market ratio. But at least I'll get to talk about the book.

The second group I chose is called the "I've always wanted to try that" group. They do all kinds of crazy stuff, from sky diving (no I won't be doing that) to paint ball (might be fun). I think this group, if I actually get into it, could be great for me. There are so very many things I've always wanted to do but never did because of my ridiculous timidity. Inside I am a mountain climbing, cliff diving, deep sea fishing, up the coast of Maine hiking wild woman.

The third group I joined is a once-a-month indoor doggy play-date group. This one doesn't need much explainin' but it looks really cool. It's free, too.

Each of these groups have events planned for March. I am going to attempt to make at least one event per group before March is over. I would also hereby like to challenge you to find yourself an interesting meetup group and step outside of your comfy lil' zone, too! Then we can swap stories. Deal?

Well kids, it's 3:00 am on Sunday morning. Must be a result of my coffee date with David, which by the way was fun but did not produce any interactions that could count toward my weekly exchange. Thank goodness for red shorts guy last Sunday. If it weren't for him, I would have already failed my challenge! Thanks, fella - wherever you are.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A one, a two, a one, two, three, four!

Well hello again. I just slid into my bed and it feels so nice. I've caught a cold that I think my boss accidentally threw at me. But even so, I am excited about my post tonight. It was alot of fun to work on. Wanna hear it? Here it goes.

I thought it would be worth a try to Google "power-flirting" even though I had never heard those two words put together before. Sure enough, someone stole my word just that fast because I got lots of hits. Some people will stop at nothing to hog the limelight. At any rate, I found another lovely, vastly detailed guide just brimming over with inspiration. I was so inspired, actually, that I really did come up with four power-flirting routines that should eventually prove to be quite effective, that is if the guide is all it cracks itself up to be. I'm sure it will take quite a few tries before I can pull them off (the routines, that is) as naturally and smoothly as I'd like, but I'm cool with that.

I was also reminded that no matter what, I should be having fun with this. I think taking it too seriously has caused me to have way too much anxiety about the whole thing. But you probably knew that before I did if you read yesterday's post. Whew! Summer Donna!

So without further ado, here are my self prescribed power-flirting routines (feel free to use them if you'd like).

Routine 1:
Walk twice around the block during your lunch hour. Observe the men that are out and about and try to make eye contact with a few. The further away from you they are when you catch their eye, the better. This gives more time to smile and try any other flirtatious moves (i.e., raising the eyebrows). Try not to look shifty. Breathe deep and relax the shoulders. Put just a little extra something in your walk. To kick things up a notch, try incorporating Routine 2.

Routine 2:
When you’re running errands, grocery shopping, etc., and you are in close proximity to an attractive guy, literally do the bend and snap, minus the snap. Make sure you always have something droppable in your hand, be it a pen, credit card, grocery list, the entire contents of your purse (make sure you have strategically chosen what is in there!), you get the idea. Be sure you practice at home. Try to keep both feet on the ground with one foot slightly in front of the other. Bend just enough at the knees to be able to reach your item. Keep the back flat and chest out.  Do not snap up and place your wrists at your waist ala Legally Blond! Your style will have to be modified if you spill your purse. This move is really to invite that certain fella to come over and help pick things up. Taking a knee would be called for here. Make sure to say something to get his attention, unless he is already looking at you when you look up to see if he's looking at you. Keep things light. Smile and shake your head and resume picking up your things. The more things you have, the greater the chance he will help you pick them up. If he doesn't, stay cheerful. Not all men are nice. It's kind of like he has told you all about himself and you can now say "um, no thanks." A single-item-drop won't be as dramatic, but it should get you noticed and give you an opportunity to make eye contact and smile.

Routine 3:
If you see someone you would like to flirt with and you are somewhere relatively crowded or close quartered, “accidentally” bump into him. Gently, but not too gently. You want to get his attention, but you don’t want to knock him over. Look him in the eye, smile and apologize. If he spills even a tad of a beverage, offer to buy him a fresh one.  Don't try to wipe him off!

Routine 4:
When dining out or doing any other activity where you are seated around one or more prospects who are also seated, begin doing the following: 1) sit up straight; 2) if you have a drink, swirl your straw a little; 3) smile as you talk with your friend(s), unless you are alone, in which case do not talk to your friends even if they are talking to you; 4) if you are alone, try to keep your face as pleasant as possible; and 5) if you have room enough to comfortably do so, cross your legs and then uncross and recross them the other way. Not too fast, then you will just look like you've gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now! Do the leg thing a few times. After you have done these things, scan the area for activity. Hopefully you have been noticed. If so, look that person in the eyes for a second or so, smile, then look away and go back to what you were doing.

Pretty good, huh? If I am not miserable and/or contageous tomorrow, I'll try routines 1 or 2.

Good night, everybody.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hump Day, Schmump Day

Argh.  Not a great week for getting out into the big wide world of romantic possibilities.  I've been busy and rather stressed, but I imagine those are just excuses to avoid jumping into that eternal game of double dutch called "the filtering process of dating and mate selection."  That sounds fancy doesn't it?  I learned that phrase just today in my Sociology of the Family class.  I also learned the phrase "late-life dating."  Good times. 

Here's the deal for me.  The idea of flirting is pleasant.  The planning is enjoyable.  The doing is quite a different sort of animal.  Creative thinking gives way to autonomic physical reactions such as blushing just in my left ear, talking too fast, and not having the wherewithal to realize that the bank I walked into 20 minutes ago didn't have sliding glass doors, so it probably still doesn't.

I have a theory I'd like to test.  Fitness experts say that if you can fit three 10 minute spurts of exercise into your day that you get the benifit of having worked out for 30 minutes.  I wonder if this also holds true for flirting fitness?  To find out I'll need to do some serious brainstorming and come up with some power-flirting routines  These would be short but intensive sessions geared toward little things like getting over the feeling that my eyes are being gouged out with a hot poker when they meet someone's gaze. 

In addition to my own ideas, I must also beseech thee, my little group of faithful readers, to give me some of yours.  Surely you also have learned to get over a fear or two. (That sentence was so Sarah Palin!)  How did you do it?  How do you feel when someone you don't know says hello to you?  When you're walking down the sidewalk and the guy (or girl) coming the other way makes eye contact with you does it freak you out or make you feel happy?   Even if we've never met and I have no idea who you are, HELP ME!  I am not good at this and my nerdy researching skills can only get me so far!

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sliding Glass Doors and Other Short Stories

Previously on Man of the Week Club:
  • I made my first attempt at talking to a stranger, it was quite saucy.
  • I took the first steps on the journey to (voluntary) community service.
  • I paid a Sunday morning visit to Barnes & Noble to exercise my flirting muscles.
  • I opened my eyes to opportunities for interaction where they would not have otherwise occured to me (I didn't write about that one, but it happened and it's important to today's quasai-adventure).
I'll update you on a couple of things before I get to what I really want to tell you.  First, ME-3 emailed me and they are excited to talk with me further about writing for their publication.  I am too!

Second, my mission to B&N was not as successful as I had anticipated, but it was not completely in vain.  There weren't many people there (I'll have to experiment with finding the hours for optimal flirtage), but there was this one guy.  He was just your average Joe, but my friend Tanya and I had been there for quite a while at this point and the time for pussy-footing around had passed.  I walked over to him, eyeing his red shorts with mild curiosity.  I stood beside him waiting for some inspiration when I saw a book about adding custom decks to your home.  I actually want to remodel my deck, so I grabbed the book.  The pictures were beautiful but way out of my budget.  I put the book back and said "I wish they'd make a book about adding a deck to a $120K dollar house instead of a $500k house!"  He looked at me and chuckled.  He might have said "yeah" or something polite along those lines.  I can't rememeber if we made eye contact, but he did do a double take and checked me out before I walked away.  I'll take that!

Well, that story was longer than I thought it would be.  I hope I didn't bore you!  I would end here, but I have to tell you about what happened today.  It became necessary to run to a local bank and open up a new checking account over my lunch hour.  I wasn't crazy about the idea of having to leave the office while it was raining outside but then I saw a glimmer of sun.  Not real sun, just the figurative sun that shines its light on a world of possibilities.  I had talked earlier to a nice young man at the bank over the phone, and I began to envision that this guy might be my soul mate and that fate had arranged this situation to bring us together!

I didn't get to see the man I had spoken with, but another assistant branch manager, who happened to be kind of cute, welcomed me into his office.  His last name was Boone.  My grandmother is a Boone.  I thought that this might be an interesting ice breaker, then decided against it.  Insinuating that we might be kinfolk would have been devastating to any chance I might have had.  I didn't think we really were related.  There are lots of Boone's you know. Putting the possibility out there, however, would have just shut things right down.  Don't you think?

Instead I smiled and tried to act as single as possible.  He gave me his busines card.  I made an instant decision that after I got back to the office I would email him to let him know what a pleasure it was to meet him and to thank him for all of his help. We finished up our business, stood and shook hands, and I walked out of his office with a sultry, yet subtle, sway.  I sashayed up to the sliding glass doors, and to my surprise they didn't open. 

I studied them up close for a second, why I don't know.  Then I backed up and tried again, thinking that maybe I had come in at the wrong angle.  Still nothing.  I backed up once more and turned around to see if anyone would offer an explanation.  One odd glance was all I got.  I turned back around to the door and then remembered that they weren't sliding glass doors after all.  I quickly pushed the door open and walked out to my car, this time without the sway.

I'm not sure if Mr. Boone saw me trying to will the doors to open with my mind.  I have not sent that follow up email.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Today slipped past without lending itself to making any new acquaintances.  My girls had commitments today that I was obliged to help them keep.  I, too, had a commitment to keep that I almost forgot about -- babysitting my sister's kiddos so she could have a very rare night out with her middle school sweetheart turned husband.  Yeah I know, awwwww.  Whatever.  Just kidding! 

Determined to not let the day go by without advancing my cause, I once again took to the information superhighway in search of the ultimate how-to-flirt advice.  I scored big time.  If any of you are like me and prefer exhaustive amounts of information regarding whatever subject you are currently obsessing over interested in, then you will understand.  What I found is a serious journal article authored by Kate Fox of the SIRC (Social Issue Research Centre).  As far as I'm concerned, this is the bible on how to flirt.  It has no advice even remotely similar to this gem I found in an article a few days ago:   
"If at all possible be a tall blonde. If not, try being a buxom redhead. In special cases, you may try to be either buxom or a redhead but it is not sufficient to be just blonde or just tall." 
Yes, that was really in one of the articles I happened across last week - sickening isn't it?  Of course it was meant tounge-in-cheek, but nonetheless it was no help at all.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from PID (personal interaction dysfunction) you should read this without further delay.  Seriously, don't finish my post, just click on it.  Now.

If you are symptom free, then stick around.  You won't want to miss this.  My 10-year-old told me yesterday that she was a "guy magnet" and had been since kindergarten.  I would have been remiss not to pick her brain for her best kept, guy magnetizing secrets.  Here they are, verbatim.
  1. Don't be desperate but be friendly.
  2. If you ever hear that they do like you, don't act crazy around them.
  3. Don't give them too many things to tell them that you like them - just be yourself.
Not bad.  Maybe not knowing this stuff really is a kind of impairment.  Maybe people with all of their chromosomes properly alligned are born knowing how to interact with the opposite sex, or whomever the object of their affection might be.  And the rest of us got protective head wear, special shoes, and an uncanny ability to spray it and not say it.

Tomorrow morning I'm off to Barnes & Noble to take my newly acquired knowledge for a test drive.  Until then, sweet dreams.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Red My Lips

So I haven't heard back from either of the volunteer organizations I emailed yesterday.  Maybe they need more volunteers on their getting back to people staff.  I'll contact them again on Monday.  I'm working on my follow-through.

Good news:  I just went to pick up a prescription for my daughter and I impulse bought some new shiny red lip-gloss.  I came right back to my cubicle and put it on.  It's sooo sassy!  Now I am motivated for my weekend assignments. 

To wit:
  1. Smile at everyone I see - man, woman, dog, pigeon, it doesn't matter.  Smiling is the number one signal that a person is open for business.  I really need some practice in this area.  I've been told more than once that I tend to look pretty uptight when I'm out among the masses.  That is not good.
  2. Grab a friend and go to Barnes & Noble.  In order to solidify my purpose, I hereby set a goal of talking to at least three men.  I won't limit them to datable men.   I won't even do a ring check first.  Oh, who am I kidding, yes I will.  But I won't let unavailability stop me from practicing saying "hello." 
Happy Friday!

PS: I changed my comment settings so that anyone can leave comments and they don't have to be approved by me before they are posted.  Unless I start attracting the crazies, I see no reason to be so selective.  Now that I think about it, having a few crazies might even be fun!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ways and Means

This morning, after several internet searches in pursuit of some sound how-to-attract-a-man advice, I finally found some stuff I could use.  Specifically, step number 3 of How to Easily Attract the Man of Your Dreams prescribes "volunteer[ing] yourself to a charitable organization."  Not a bad idea, really.  Two of the most important traits I value in a man are charity and kindness.  What better way to find such a fellow than in the very act of being kind and charitable?

Finding volunteer opportunities in Raleigh that were both well suited to my skills and had potential as a means to meet interesting single men was much easier than I thought it would be, thanks to a little site called  Within 10 minutes I came across two organizations that suit me perfectly: Stand Up for Kids and ME3

Stand Up for Kids is a group committed to the help and rescue of homeless and street kids.  I applied to help them out in two possible capacities: working one-on-one with the kids as a "street counselor" and/or soliciting celebreties to donate hats to be auctioned off on eBay, a fundraising campaign they call Hats Off for Kids (sort of odd, but intriguing just the same).

ME-3 is a volunteer-run organization that promotes volunteerism in general in the Raleigh area.  They are looking for people who like to research (✓) and write (✓) to be part of their publication that features volunteers, volunteerism, and different non-profit groups.  Since I would pretty much be perfect for the job I emailed them for more information.

Do you think this could work?  Do you know anyone who has met their husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend doing volunteer work?  What is the appropriate attire for philanthropic flirting?  Is one really a philanthropist if she is only donating her time?  I would truly love some commentary on each and every one of these questions. 

Tomorrow I hope I'll have some news to report vis-à-vis responses from the aforementioned volunteer organizations.  (Read that sentence again. It was really fun to write and I don't want it to be overlooked.)

I encourage you give me some feed-back.  I know ya'll are looking, I see you.  Sound off like you've got a pair (of hands to type with)!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Deep Thoughts

What I'd really like to do right now is just laugh off my little experiment and go back to believing that this is all just a silly exercise in futility.  But I can't.  Not when I'm just getting started. 

When I lived in Oklahoma and decided to move to Raleigh I must have faxed or emailed at least 50 resumes to Raleigh area law firms trying to land a paralegal position.  Days, weeks, months passed without even 1 response.  It was a pretty quick trip to "it's just not going to happen for me" land.  I seem to always have my bags packed and ready to go. 

Then I got a break.  A week or so before I was to leave for North Carolina I got a phone call from a law office manager asking me to come in for an interview when I got into town.  I was extatic.  I called the number back, confirmed the name of the firm with the receptionist, researched it and decided that it was the firm for me.  I was golden.  I interviewed the week after I got to town and felt great.  I was on it, man.  I was charming and confident and had on a fabulous dress.  I definitley brought my A game.

I got a call 3 or 4 days later telling me that it had been a close decision but that they had decided to go with someone with more experience.  Crash.  What now?  I immediately got on the bus back to "not gonna happen" land prepared for a permanent vacation.  Nobody wanted me because I was too inexperienced, too divorced, too single mom, too Sarah.  I could really have used a drink, but all my sister had in her house (where me and my girls were living) was some ol' peach moonshine (or was it white lightning?) that her husband had procured from somewhere or another.  I mean I tried it.  I was that desperate.  But it was a no-go.  So I went and filled out an application for employment at Starbucks instead.

You won't believe what happened the next day.  I was driving back to my sister's house from her neighborhood pool and my cell phone rang.  It was Wendi, the law firm office manager.  The person they had decided to go with had second thoughts about committing herself to a full time job and the firm wanted to know if I was still interested in the position.  Duh!  So here I sit right this very minute in "the firm for me" almost three years later.  This job was mine before I even applied for it.  I didn't know it was coming.  It was one of many faceless positions that I applied for.  It took me on a rollercoaster ride for sure.  But I wanted it, I worked for it, I went for it and I got it.  Then I drove to it, decorated my cubicle in it, snuck in after hours to use the bathroom in it . . . 

So I am going to plan my next man-meeting-mission this afternoon, knowing that there is stuff that I can't see or predict and that anything can happen at any time.  I'll let you know tomorrow what I come up with. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winging It

She entered the dimly lit market, her eyes darting around in search of her target.  She crept stealthfully over to the chilled single-serve fruit juice/smoothie section, being careful not to let anyone on to her mission.  After choosing a tropical fruit flavored protein shake, she made her way to the deli.  That's when she spotted him.  He was looking at chicken wings, so she too looked at chicken wings.  She had infiltrated his territory and now it was time to make the hit.  She had no choice - the point of no return was behind her now. 

"Hmm, have you ever tried their wings?" she asked, looking first at the (not really handsome, but single) stranger and then into the glass deli case.  "No" he said, "but I'm thinking about it."  The intensity was rising.  The air was thick with anticipation and the aroma of honey barbecue sauce.  She studied the chicken wings again and said "me too, but there are so many flavors to choose from."  He tried to play it cool, pretending to send a text, but his trembling hands betrayed him.  She said the only thing left to say.  "Chipotle bacon, that can't be good for you."  Then she crept away, just as mysteriously as she had appeared.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Plan B: A reserved, secondary plan, in case a first plan fails

As in: Guitar Guy is only 24 years old, so it's on to Plan B. 

Yep, that's right.  He was born over a decade after I was, and is actually closer to my 14-year-old daughter's age than mine.  How do I know this?  Because I looked him up in an online public records search, of course.  Don't you do that? 

Okay, so on to Plan B.  I was doing a little research on everyday places to meet men, and not suprisingly, the grocery store (or "market" as many urban bloggers seem to call it) is at the top of the list.  Guess what day is allegedly the best for man trolling?  Monday.  Today is Monday, and it happens to be a pretty good hair day, as well.  I wish yesterday's headache wasn't back. Is it meaningful that I have only been getting these headaches since I've started to think about talking to men?  You decide.  I'll just pop a couple of Advil (circle with an R in it) and I'll be just fine.

I usually shop in Garner, which as most of you reading this know, is a suburb of Raleigh.  Now, maybe I'm wrong, but it is my thinking that the suburbs are chock (chalk?) full of married men who are just crazy in love with their wives.  I think that if I am going to do this, I should find a "market" closer to downtown.  There is a Fresh Market (another circle with an R in it) just around the way from my office.  Sounds like a good place to try this out.  Everything in there is overpriced, sort of healthy, and mighty tasty; a set of facts that could lead one to believe that the shoppers there are likely to have a good job, a good body, and good taste. 

Now for the pièce de résistance: what do I say to Mr. Handsome with the stuffed flounder for one in his cart?  Do I ram bump into him with my cart?  Wait, I won't have a cart.  I can't really afford to shop there, so I'll just have one of those little baskets.  Maybe I'll ask him if the flounder (organic soda pop, whole grain doughnuts) that he has in his cart is any good.  Ooooh!  I know.  I could grab a dozen uppity brown eggs and carry them around in my basket and then (this is an all or nothing trick) when I see Mr. Handsome I can accidentally drop my basket and my eggs will break and it will just be a mess.  Who wouldn't come over and help me, or at least look my way and chuckle at my misfortune?  Maybe I should think about it a little more.

I'll let you know what happens tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 1: Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day morning.  Well, technically it's morning, but it's actually almost noon.  I'm sitting in bed with a headache, a cup of coffee and my laptop.  The irony of this scene on the day I officially start to write about my adventures on "getting out there" does not escape me. 

But even though I am sans-valentine, I am quite comfortable.  It's so very cozy in here and so very unpredictable out there.  To be perfectly honest, I have no idea how to go about this and am therefore not especially looking forward to it.  I do know that this experiment/adventure/safari will be completely free of online dating sites and virtual pick-ups.  I vow that I will meet men in real life situations. 

Wow, guess what just happened this very second?  My sister Madeline called and she is telling me all about a man she met (he was her sales person) at The Guitar Center who she thought I would really like.  Kind of edgy-retro she says.  Cool glasses, side burns, good personality.  Plays the guitar, obviously.  I kind of play the guitar.  So now what?  How do I meet this man?  This stranger?  Do I stalk the guitar shop looking for him?  Follow him around town to see where he hangs out and then start frequenting those establishments?  Really, how does one do this? 

Aha!  I have an idea.  My nephew sold me his old electric guitar last weekend for $25.  It's missing the 6th string.  Me thinks I will take it into the shop this week to get a new string and browse around a bit for a certain edgy, side-burned accessory for myself.

I'll keep you abreast of my developing scheme.  Tips and suggestions are always welcome.