Friday, July 30, 2010

On the "Mojo"

When I first saw the Austin Powers movie where he lost his "mojo" I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen. Yet, as time has gone by, I see that he was on to something. Everyone has a mojo...a secret weapon of sorts they can use in a dating situation to turn the tables in their favor, if only for a moment. In this post I am going to talk about my own personal mojo in the hopes that, in turn, you'll think about yours. Feel free to comment, criticize, etc.

To all my fellow musicians, I am sorry for blowing your cover. As musicians, music is our "hot card," our "mojo," our "piece de resistance" if you will. Even if you're not a musician you know of what I speak. Something happens to music people during a performance. A magic something that takes we, the musicians, to a place that the audience can see but not quite reach. An emotional, real-time, intangible, fleeting place that we escape to whenever possible and spend a lifetime trying to take higher. It is this my friends, that we play (literally and figuratively) as the "hot card."

Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying to use something as profound and wondrous as the power of music to your own sordid ends (unless of course you write witty ditties about silly things like coffee...). What I am saying is, at least in my case, my passion for the music I make gives anyone, or a date perhaps, a perspective on another, more complex side of my person. Uh-oh...I feel a "for instance" coming on...

CAUTION: For the first time in blog this is NOT a dating scenario. Feel free to heave a sigh of relief before reading further.

For instance, while music-making is my main source of income, I also work as a receptionist at a spa. We hosted an event one night, and one of the speakers there engaged me in conversation several times throughout the night. As the good little underling I am I asked him many questions about what he did, how he changed lives, etc. He definitely had an air of superiority, not obnoxious by any means, but enough that I refilled my wine glass a little more than would have been socially acceptable (and for me to say THAT is big...but I digress). As I was leaving, he said something totally fresh and original like "Leaving so soon?" with a hint of that sort of "young chica probably had her fill of the intelligencia for the evening." I replied "No, I need to go home early because I have church in the morning."

PAUSE. "You go to church?"
"Yes, I'm the music director at ----. I play organ and piano there."
[NOTE: if you read between the lines of this statement you can hear me saying "Yeah man I have a college degree and a marketable skill, what now?"]
As soon as I uttered these words, this man's entire demeanor shifted. Now it was as if he was speaking to an equal as opposed to an adorable yet under-achieving employee. So of course, we then begin talking about how I direct some choirs, went to school for music, etc. He tells me he sings in a choir and how he loves it, we swap arrangement ideas, etc. Brilliant. Gotta love the music mojo.

Another thing to keep in mind is when you talk about what you love to keep it accessible to your listener. I once went on a date and the guy was really into financial stuff. Totally over my head. So I asked him what kind of books he was reading about it, how he incorporated it into his life, etc. In response he had a rather flat affect and talked to me about it as though I should KNOW everything he was telling me. Dude, I'm a musician. I can only count to 8 on a GOOD day.

On the flip side of that, I dated a psychology major for a time. While psychology is something I don't really know a ton about, at least beyond what Greek myths have taught me, he was SO passionate about it I wanted to learn. He answered my questions, told me what he loved about it, what he planned to do with the degree, I was able to elaborate on some studying I've done on music and took us to an entirely new level of conversation. Super hot. Even if I found out later he was consulting his DSM-IV and diagnosing me the entire time. Once again I digress....

The point is, make sure you keep the conversation going in such a way so that your counterpart can ask questions. You may even discover you have something in common.

I guess the moral of this post is that most of the time, you can let your passions do the talking for you in a dating (or really in any) situation, even if you deem your main interest to be nerdy.
Let's face it folks, who isn't a little nerdy? I'm getting a masters in music history for Heaven's sake. But I can honestly say no one has ever found me less attractive after I have played my "Weird Guy at the Gym" song that I wrote (my apologies to those gentlemen who feel entirely swindled if you have heard this song. If it's any consolation, it is but one weapon in my arsenal of wooing). The thing is, the way you love what you love is what people will ultimately love about you. Talk about it with confidence and accessibility, and you can entertain any audience. Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday is TIACD Day!

Things I Am Currently Digging (TIACD) this week are as follows:

-Herbal Essences "Set Me Up" gel
--I'm a frizzy haired brunette, but this stuff actually smooths out my unruly locks in spite of humidity! And it smells really, really good. I put it in my hair after my shower, then let it dry in a bun. Generally I have to tap the top part with a curling iron, but otherwise it gives a nice wave throughout.

-The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
--This book is a Pulitzer Prize winner and is AMAZING. It is the story of an over-weight Dominican boy named Oscar who lives in Paterson, New Jersey (home of one of my favorite people in the universe). The story is told in a gritty, clever way, with allusions to Lord of the Rings, sci-fi, Spanish vernacular, and Dominican history. It actually made me laugh out loud at some points. Do yourself a favor and read this book.

-Watches with Big Faces
--Very in right now. Very cool. I found a really cute at Nordstrom in the BP section on sale for $12.00. Good statement piece.

-Starting every morning with 15-30 minute run
--Lately I have been waking up a little early just to run for a bit before my day begins. I live in the center of a small town near a university, so I just run around there. It's a nice way to get my blood flowing and clear my head before I start my day. The endorphins don't hurt either. If you don't like running, go for a walk. Just as healthy. Even if it's just 10 minutes, you'd be surprised how much a little quiet time can do for you.
[NOTE: My two favorite songs right now to accompany my workout are Fame by B.O.B and Ridin' Solo by Jason Derulo... I gotta have my pop].

-You wonderful readers
--Thank you to everyone who has been reading my posts and either commenting via the blog, Facebook, text messaging, etc. It is greatly appreciated. Keep reading! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bitter, Party of One!

When you've been burned as many times as I have (and believe me, that's a lot), it gets easier and easier to become completely bitter and shut off emotionally. Case in point: one night I was out with some friends and they said "Oooh that guy is cute! You should talk to him!" To which I replied "Oh sure. He's cute. We'll probably exchange numbers, go on a maximum of three dates, after which one of us will inevitably decide that we cannot possibly have a future together and part ways none the wiser. But at least I'll get some free meals out of it." Yeah, I know, but don't judge until you've read the whole post!

The point is, after so many disappointments, it gets increasingly harder to man up for potential new relationships. I find myself to be a Jaded Dater. I go out with these lovely fellows who never even have a chance to begin with because I am so totally convinced they will end up hating me (if I don't already want to gouge my own eyes in their company) that I will not even give them a chance to like me. One time, a guy said to me "I really like you." He had this adorable, naive smile on his face (and by adorable and naive I mean INSANELY hot). Most girls would think that was the greatest freaking thing ever (did I mention he was gorgeous?). Not so with this chica. I replied with a scathing, "Yeah...for now. In 5 months tops I guarantee you will never want to see my face again." Good thing there was a nice bottle of Chianti close by...

So I examine myself. Is it really bad to be this way? I mean, if I actually could live with not going on dates, I would be saving a lot of people a lot of trouble. Not to mention a fair portion of the male race would keep their various self-esteems in tact. But dating never really goes the way we want it to does it? What IS the way we want it to go? Marriage? If not that, then a relationship doomed to fail at some point anyway? I can honestly say after every failed relationship I've had, I thought "If I had known this would happen I would never have dated him. SO not worth it." You all know you've been there. And if you haven't, well, save your adorable "Someday Your Prince Will Come" routine for the four-year-old girl you babysit who still believes such nonsense. Or read my first post on "Being a Catch."

So I'm a cynical, bitter woman right? The epitome of all those who become cat-ladies? Not quite. While I do find days when the outlook is bleak, I also find that being negative all the time makes me look old, causes me to lose sleep, and ultimately gives me less to blog about without fresh dating stories. This is not to say never be negative. We need to acknowledge and process those feelings. But remember too, as easy as it is to just give it all up, keeping a positive outlook makes everything seem a little less gloomy. How do I do this? Well here reader, is a list of things I do to remind myself that life, even when people are stupid (WHICH IS ALL THE TIME), is still an amazing thing to be lived.

Blues Busters A-La-Me:
-play piano
-work out hard core
-go to the beach [summer Blue-Buster only]
-re-read I Love You, Beth Cooper
[NOTE: Movie inevitably sucks, as Beth Cooper is a brunette, sorry Hayden. I highly encourage you to read this tale. HILARIOUS.]
-get a nice bottle of wine and watch True Blood
[No, I do not heat the wine to 98.6 degrees to get into the mood...not anymore anyway...]
-hang out with my peeps

I'm sure if you put your mind to it, you can put this pitiful list to shame. It seems a little rudimentary I admit, but you'd be surprised how doing something you love puts you in a much better place than if you think about the stuff that makes you angry all the time. So take your one or two days to fume, be miserable, and eat too many pieces of pizza, but keep in mind that it is much better for your complexion and life at large to keep things happy and light. And remember: Bitter and Buzz-Kill go hand-in-hand folks, and that is NEVER a party of two.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Textual Etiquette, the Ultimate Power of the Emoticon, and other such Social Media Adventures

It's a rare thing this day and age not to have some form of media as part of your dating relationship. We can e-mail, facebook, Google, text, call, send smoke signals...hell we can even blog to get in touch with people. While all of these techniques have their merits, my personal favorite is texting.

Texting is quite possibly the best (perhaps also worst) thing ever invented. Texting allows independence and space in the relationship but also keeps you in touch like...24/7. For instance, you can't call someone at 2am (well, at least you shouldn't...sorry about that to all of my victims), but you can text them because chances are a text won't wake them up. The interesting thing is, as texting has become a more in-vogue way to communicate, it has taken on its own inflection. [NOTE: In my opinion, the roots of this phenomenon are derived from many days spent on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). While this has become somewhat obsolete due to Facebook chat (you can stalk people AND talk to them? Amazing.), the general traditions are maintained]. Let me elaborate....
The Many Ways of Saying "Hello"
If you think that a greeting is a universal, rather generic thing then you are wrong. Well, at least textually speaking. There are many in's and out's to greeting someone via text. Mostly because if you are initiating the conversation, you need to create an avenue for the person to respond to you (or not, depending....). While there are many ways of doing this, I have narrowed it down to five:

"Hey!!" or "Hellllloooooo"--This method creates excitement in the receiving party. Your use of exclamation (sometimes multiple exclamation points) sends a message that says "Hey I'm excited to talk to you text me back!"
General note:
most anything sent in multiples via text conveys a sense of extreme interest or wonderment. For instance, if you send someone a text about something crazy what happened and they respond with "Whaaaatttttt??" or "OMGGGGGG" or "hahahaha" (the latter most meaning it's really freaking funny). This opens the door for textual elaboration, or a very in-depth happy hour convo.

"Hey..."--This initial text says "I'm not sure if I should be texting you, but I am anyway, how do you feel about that?" Or it says "We haven't talked in days yet you gave me the impression you wanted to talk more frequently wtf, but I'm still just testing the waters." The ellipsis gives the person the option of not texting you back because it leaves the vibe of the conversation in their court. It could just as well be they say "Hey! How are you??" (double question mark meaning they really want to know)...which leads me to my next point....
[see how I did that with the ellipsis? I know. Very clever.]

"Hey, what's up?"
--This is a good way of initiating a conversation if you are supposed to see the other party at some point in the near future. I.e. you had discussed hanging out, but you both had things to do in the might send this text around noon after you have accomplished your errand list to check in with the other person. Also, by ending with a question you set yourself up for a more likely response.
[NOTE: I say "more likely" because some mofo's won't text you back even if you ask them to do something insanely cool.]

"Hey," or "Hi."--The lack of exclamation point, emoticon, or a follow-up of "what's up?" makes this is a rather curt way of saying hello. Generally used when the other party has annoyed you in some way. You must communicate your frustration without speaking, therefore your texts are monosyllabic. The textual lukewarm-shoulder if you will. Ouch.

"Hey :)"--The warmest greeting of all. They hey with a Smiley Face. We all know what this means people. Either it's someone you REALLY want to talk to...or someone you haven't talked to in a really long time and you are glad to hear from them. The Smiley Face says it all. Which brings me to my next point....

The All-Powerful Emoticon
Emoticons make or break your conversation more often than not. They have textual powers beyond what mere mortals can comprehend. Derived from the words "emotion (feelings)" and "icon (symbol)"...I give you my thoughts on the Emoticon Revolution and the 3 genres thereof.

The Smiley Face---or :) [Variations include, but are not limited to :-), 8) (sunglasses face), : P, =), and :D]
The smiley face takes the edge off any conversation. Use of such an emoticon conveys a feeling of happiness, playfulness, and/or silliness for light-hearted textualization. Generally used two-three times during a conversation at the beginning greeting, after a mid-convo joke, and at the end with the goodbye phrase.

The Slanty Face--or :/
This face usually comes after something a little more sad in your convo. For instance, " I would love to come but I can't :/." It gives the impression that you are bummed, but not completely despondent (for which you would use the SAD FACE, see below). Slanty Face also acts as an expression of discomfort in a text situation. I.e. "and then I told him I was a vegetarian :/." The Slanty Face says it all in this instance. Probably this poor person was on a date at a steakhouse and was forced to tell the sap who picked it that she didn't eat meat [See previous post "On Being A Good Date."].

The Sad Face--or :(
[Variations include but are not limited to :-(, :*(]
This face is used to express, shockingly enough, sadness in a conversation. For instance "I miss you :-(." The unfortunate thing about this face is that it so enhances that sentiment without using words at all. Generally, if you use the sad face you should bloody well mean it folks. It is one of the more loaded emoticons. Yes I mean you.

In conclusion, texting and other social media devices are new ground for many of us coming through the next decade of the 21st century. It can be treacherous....especially trying to read people when actually, well, reading people. My best textual advice: Never be afraid to clarify.
Happy wording!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Being a Fun Date

While dating has its many woes, at its core it really is a fun thing to do. As much as I find to rant about as a single person, being single is a kind of liberating experience at this point in my life. I like to think of dating as an adventure. I mean, let's face it, sometimes we all say yes to a date (well girls mostly) to wear a dress and get a free meal. But whether your motives are pure or otherwise, there are ways to make a date fun regardless of impending doom.

Ways To Be A Good Date:

-Laugh a lot.
--Happy people are fun people. Laughter breaks the ice. Especially if you're like me and crack yourself up.

-Be punctual.
--Even though people are typically late, it is a really meaningful thing to be on time. The other day I was going out for a date and the guy arrived 15 minutes early (unfortunately I was going to use that 15 minutes to shower after my workout...oops). I found it SOO charming that not only was he on time, but he was EARLY. Of course there will be times when you're stuck in traffic or have a wardrobe malfunction. If this happens, call the person...DON'T TEXT...a call is more personal and allows your date to hear sincerity in your voice. Anyway, long story long, if you're on time it says you care.

-Do something exotic in your outfit that boosts your confidence and makes you stand out.
--Example: I have this AMAZING necklace that goes with EVERYTHING. I wear it frequently on dates because it serves as a unique accent/conversation piece, and it gives me confidence throughout the date.
--Another example: One of the main trends this summer is braided hair. I got one of the stylists at the spa where I work to teach me how to do all these cool French braid things. Best decision I have ever made. A braid is a unique, easy thing to do that gives your look a little more pizazz.

-My personal favorite icebreaker: A well-placed "That's what she said."
--Not to be used more than don't want to clue them in to your one-track mind TOO much. But having this oldie but goodie in your conversation arsenal will NEVER do you wrong.

-Share one funny childhood story and one guilty pleasure.
--Doing this keeps things light and fun, but still allows avenues for the two of you to get to know each other. It will also clue you in as to what kind of person you're dealing with. For instance, my childhood go-to story is the story of my first crush in seventh grade and my mother's practical advice (the story is shared at the end of this post in case you want to steal it in a tight spot). If his is the story of how is dog got eviscerated by a truck, well, I'll leave you to think about that one (and yes, this has happened to me). For my guilty pleasure I usually reference my favorite TV shows (True Blood, Pretty Little Liars, and Jersey Shore), or my not-so-secret love-hate relationship with the Twilight books.

-Have one current event to talk about.
--Even if it's Lindsay Lohan's recent trip to the big house, you can never go wrong talking about current events. The two latest things I talked about were Fergie (as in Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York) and her recent woes and the BP oil spill. As to the latter it provides an opportunity to tell the person about the BP Coffee Spill video on YouTube.
[STRATEGY NOTE: This provides a perfect opportunity for you guys to get in touch after the date. I.e. he watches the video and texts you about how hilarious it is, or you text him and say "Hey did you watch that video? I'm telling you won't be disappointed."]

-Be clear about your dietary needs.
--If you're allergic to seafood, don't let a guy take you out for sushi. If you're a vegetarian, tell him in advance so you don't end up at a steakhouse. It's a lot less embarrassing for all involved if you're honest from the get-go.

-Talk about what you love.
--Nothing is more exciting than if you're excited about something. Plus you never know how much you have in common with someone.

Alright there are your tips for your next date. If anyone I have ever dated reads this post I am so screwed. But hey, it worked right? Have fun!

AFTERPOST: Story you can steal, embellish, etc.
I had my first crush on this boy Sean in 7th grade. He was like, oh so cute. I told my mom about this and how I was waiting for him to ask me out. She proceeded to tell me that "I did not labor for women's rights throughout the 70's and move up North where women could be pastors of churches so you could WAIT for some boy to ask YOU out. Write him a note and tell him how you feel!" So I did. Sean then wrote me back on one of those TI-90 calculators that had letters and said he would call me after school. He ignored me for an entire month after that. The moral of the story is, he eventually asked me out and we dated for 5 whole months (which in 7th grade is practically engagement in case you didn't know).

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Dating Game....or Dating Lame?

Many people refer to dating as "The Dating Game." Interesting terminology, since, in my experience, games involve players who all know the rules. It seems to me that rules are constantly evolving in the game of dating. Hardly anyone plays by the same rules, hence the constant entrance and exits of various potential significant others.

You know what I mean right? Like the "no calling until 3 days after you get the number" rule...or the "between 4-6 texts daily" rule, or the hesitancy to talk about the future because you don't want to seem over-involved, or the "only order salad so he doesn't think I'm fat" rule, or my personal favorite and most frequently broken, "no more than 2 glasses of wine at dinner for the first few dates," rule. I mean really people. Why play if you're so afraid to make a move?

To quote Paul Newman, "What we've got here is a failure to communicate." People are scared of telling someone they are seeing that they need anything for fear of being clingy or needy or petty, etc. Let me tell you something folks...if you don't tell people what you need they will never KNOW. It would be like playing Go-Fish without asking anyone what cards they are holding. Not much of a game then hmm?

For instance, I dated a lovely young man once. Super nice, really fun, but a supreme texter. Not that I don't love a text to let me know you're thinking about me...but this was legit a play-by-play of his day. I responded to almost all of them because I had not yet informed him that chances are my day will be just as fine at 10:18 as it will be at 11:14. Not to mention, after texting ALLL day, at night he goes "So how was your day?" SERIOUSLY? You know more about it than I do at this point! Moral of the story: I gently informed him that I loved hearing from him, but it was just a little much. Problem solved, space rule established, and it opened the door for him to inform me about something he might want me to do differently as well.

If you are afraid to tell someone what you want or to establish rules, things will never go in any essence, a stalemate in your game. The thing to do is communicate.

Another usually imply OPPONENTS. Like, two players or two teams playing AGAINST each other so one can lose and one can win. Is that really how we want to think about dating?? That no matter what, someone is going to lose? Or at best end in a tie? Which eventually must be broken? I mean, if we are already at odds with the person across the table, how can we hope to develop a successful relationship? It seems to me that to view dating as a game puts us in a mindset that is detrimental to any fun that might ensue. Nobody likes to lose, in spite of Pizza Hut's new ad campaign with those darling children who suddenly seem to forget how much their team sucks because they get to stuff their faces with stuffed crusts.

Personally, I try very hard not to play games when dating. I tell it like it is because it's a hell of a lot easier than waiting for him to come out of his shell and give me a clue as to what I am supposed to be doing. Sometimes this intimidates the men I date...which is fine, because then I know I need to find a more worthy playmate. But, more often than not in my experience, if you come out and say what you need to say, chances are you'll both emerge feeling victorious.

In conclusion, I say the Dating Game is the Dating Lame if it causes you to feel like you can't fully be who you are or communicate what you want. Embrace your self-awareness..anyone who does that is on the winning team for sure.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Things I Am Currently Digging--Edition #1

You'll notice that the name of this blog is "Living Singularly," not "Living Single." Many people are single. But it takes a certain panache, if you will, to live a singular existence. One way to do this is to, of course, like what everyone else likes via current trends. So weekly, I will be posting the "Things I Am Currently Digging," hereafter referred to as TIACD. Here are this weeks currently dug items:

--racer back tank tops with exotic colored bra straps showing.
see this look worn well by Stephanie Pratt in the last episode of The Hills--the scene where she goes to make it official with her motorcycle man. Full episodes available at

--Covergirl LashBlast Fusion
NOTE: Having little to no length OR volume on my poor lashes it is always a toss-up between length or volume. But now they have BOTH. And it's cheap. Sweet.

--The leg workout in the most recent edition of Women's Health Magazine
This is a great workout for your legs. I usually do about 30 minutes of cardio, then do this circuit 3 times with a super set of abs in between each set. When I'm feeling really excited I sprint for 2 minutes between each set as well.

--escaping to the beach alone and reading classic literature

--straw hats and canvas shoes

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Post--Intros and "The Catch"

At great risk to my professional development, I have decided to start a blog about living this single life. Certainly not as glamorous as Carrie Bradshaw in my tiny apartment above a deli in the suburbs...but it's a life nonetheless. It has become clear to me that we single folk have a lot to talk about. I even wrote a song about it. So, being the single, twenty-something, musician-brunette, that I am, I dedicate this blog to all of us out there in the "in-between." The place where you haven't found the one, you don't really even believe in the one, and it's just taking so freaking long to find ANY one that you decide to start an acerbically humorous blog. :)

This first post shall be on the topic of "The Catch." If you ask a room full of single people, hell if you ask a room full of people in general, if anyone has ever told them they are a "catch," you will inevitably be dealing with a full group raise-the-roof move. EVERYONE has heard it. Even if it's just from your mom or your aunt with the crazy red lipstick who always seems to find your cheek when you let your guard down. What exactly does being "a catch" entail?

Well, being from a fisherman/seafaring background, when I first heard the term I thought about a day spent on the ocean. A great catch might be a particularly lucrative trip on the high seas where you come home with enough fish for dinner and some to freeze for the winter (i.e. Catch of the Day). After some minor googling I have discovered that the word "catch" was actually originally used in reference to a chase or hunt, and only as recently as 1813 meant to "catch someone's eye."
[NOTE: I must inform the reader that the first google result to come up was "Catch-22"..irony?]

My dissection of a catch is as follows:
-One who seems to have their life in order, usually employed or at least with the beacon of opportunity shining in their direction.
-One who can handle themselves well in social situations, which bodes well for future in-laws
-One who is particularly good and/or dedicated to a unique hobby
-And, in general, this person is somewhat attractive.
[NOTE: This is the opinion of the blogger, not necessarily the world at large :)]

So, if indeed you are a catch, possessing most of the qualities above...why is it so damn hard to find a consistent relationship? It seems to me that by being a catch, you're actually causing yourself more pain because there are so many reasons to LOVE you and yet these people continually want to LEAVE you. If, in fact, I already AM the catch, why does it seem impossible for me to actually get CAUGHT? Jeez.

In conclusion, it appears that the phrase "being a catch" is a nice way of saying "you'll find someone who appreciates you," or "they just can't understand how great you are," or, my personal favorite, "better luck next time fool." Apparently it's a hell of a lot easier to miss a catch than to actually catch a catch.
[NOTE: Keep being a catch everyone. You're nothing without awareness of your own worth.]