Sinking the Balls

Six weeks post-surgery and I’m finally back in the dating game!

Almost a year ago, I got matched with Mathew on Tinder. We messaged each other back and forth for a few weeks and I seem to recall we had tried making plans to meet up, but for some reason or another the timing just didn’t work out. He was finishing up his business program and was off to Argentina to spend his final co-op semester there. We decided to stay connected over Facebook with the possibility of meeting when he returned – but our conversation simply faded away when he left.

Fast forward to two weeks following my operation. AB and I started talking less and less. He never came to visit me which was disappointing and my intuition was telling me to move on. Being housebound, I decided to get cozy on my couch and begin to update my dating profiles with new pictures (I look like a totally different person now!) I began to start my search into the new crop of men that had entered the world of online dating.

Sure enough, at the top of my search list on PofF – appeared Mathew! I had almost forgotten about him. His profile said he was back in town, looking for a relationship, and still lived in my neighbourhood. I decided there was no harm in sending him a private Facebook message to see how he was doing.

He responded, and again, we started writing back and forth. We caught up a bit on both of our lives – and I explained to him about my jaw surgery which he seemed really interested in. About a week into our conversation – I asked if he’d still be open to meeting up for drinks. He said yes! I agreed for him to pick me up at 8:30PM last night and we’d go to a local pub to play some pool and have a drink. Not that I usually advocate having someone you’ve never met before pick you up on a first date – but I thought this guy was harmless and that it was unlikely he’d kidnap me.

He arrived right at 8:30PM. My stomach churned with nerves but mostly excitement. As I entered his car, he said hello in a deep, sexy voice and I immediately melted. He was gorgeous and smelt divine. Mathew pulled out the GPS on his phone to locate the closest pubs and once we settled on one – away we went. Despite my minor recovery lisp – we managed to have a really great car ride conversation – talking about our family, and places we’ve traveled to.

We arrived at the pub and when we began walking towards the entrance, I noticed he was very tall – probably 6’1! No faults so far…

The pub wasn’t huge but there was a private area in the centre with a pool table and a few tables and chairs. Nobody was there so we joked about how he had reserved the section just for us. We placed our coats down and went to the bar to order drinks. This was my first drink post-surgery, and it was amazing! It was nice to finally drink something besides ensure shakes and apple juice…

We placed our drinks down and started playing a game of pool. We flat out admitted at the beginning we were both horrible at pool – but would still give it our best go. Now I’m not sure if it was the few sips of alcohol in me or my new found confidence, but I was sinking those balls in one after the next. ;) Poor Mathew wasn’t having as easy a time, and told me I must have been lying and that I’ve been playing this game all my life. He seemed quite impressed. When I got 3 in a row, he said, “well done” and put his hand out to shake mine but I playfully said “no, I think that deserves a hug!” Seriously – am I the same person?! He opened his arms and embraced me in a warm hug which I could have easily held onto the rest of the night.

I ended up winning and gave myself a little pat on the back. We then sunk the remaining balls and sat down at our table where the drinks were. We opened up so much to one another – which I thought was incredible for a first date! He asked to see before and after pictures of my surgery which I was a bit hesitant to show, but I agreed to it and he was blown away. He really didn’t think it was the same person. Surely – it was! I loved how interested he was in my life, my stories and my surgery. He in turn was so open with me about his life – his family, childhood and even surgeries he had gone through. Most importantly – we bonded over our love for word games and N64. We both play an addicting phone app called Words with Friends (kind of like a virtual game of Scrabble which I highly recommend everyone play!)

It was 11PM and I knew we should probably head back soon as we had work the next day. Mathew also had to get up early but kept saying, “whatever you want, I’m cool to stay until whenever” – it was exciting that he wasn’t the one to mention having to leave. That he genuinely wanted to spend more time with me. As the night went on, it got busier and another group of people started playing pool. I could tell there were a few girls staring over at us and I kept thinking – how lucky am I to be with this incredible, gorgeous guy. Truly… I have no clue why he’s still single but I didn’t want to bring that up on a first date.

Anyway – I made the decision for us to leave at 11:15PM. We got into his car and blasted the heater (it’s freezing in Toronto so it was nice to get cozy). He drove us back to my house and parked the car. Ugh… the moment – will he kiss me? I damn well wanted to kiss him! However, I can’t feel my bottom lip… literally. I’m still numb and was kind of curious to see what I could and couldn’t feel in a kiss after 6 weeks.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a kiss. However, the first thing he said when we parked was that he had a great time and would love to see me again – even suggesting we go see a movie next week. I was over the moon excited, but stayed cool and responded with, “I’d love that.” He hugged me goodnight and I told him to drive home safe. I got in, ran to my room – stared at myself in the mirror and smiled. I smiled because I was staring at a girl that was more confident, and gleaming from head to toe. A girl who finally felt happy in her own skin. This was the first date where I didn’t end it thinking, “I wonder if he liked me?” To have such a successful first date after being out of the dating game for almost two months – was incredible.

So now we wait. I hate the “game” so much – but unfortunately you have to play a bit hard to get at the beginning! The hook is there, now just have to reel him in. I’ve decided I’ll wait for Mathew to write to me – but if he hasn’t reached out by Sunday I may shoot him a casual message. Unless you can think of a better post-first-date strategy to lock down Date #2?

Confidence

On October. 6th, I underwent orthognathic jaw surgery. I had both my lower and upper jaw repositioned along with getting my 4 wisdom teeth removed. Yes – ouch!! The procedure was done for both functional and cosmetic reasons. I committed to this process a year and a half ago and it’s surreal to think I’m in the recovery stage now (which explains why I haven’t posted any new dating adventures in awhile).

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Confidence has always been something that I’ve struggled with in my life. Don’t get me wrong, having gone on so many dates and building this blog has really brought my confidence level up. However, I still struggle with truly being happy with myself and have always been very self-critical as to how I appear in the public eye.

You know that old saying where you have to love yourself in order to be loved in return? Well it’s true. Perhaps this has been why I’ve never committed to a long-term relationship before. It’s always partly been fear, but also because I’ve known that I need to love myself and be fully comfortable in my own skin in order to let someone else in.

AB has been writing to check up on me every other day to see how I’m feeling. I even had the courage to send him a picture of my new profile and he said “Who is that beautiful girl?” I choked up a bit because it was the first time I truly accepted the fact that I did look beautiful. He’s so sweet, and really cares about me. However, I’m healing right now. The more I’ve been recovering, the less excited I’ve been to see him again… (don’t roll your eyes). I need time to reflect on what exactly I need in my life right now. I need to decide how much I really need to share in common with someone in order to progress a relationship.

I’m proving to myself how strong I am throughout this recovery and so excited for what the future has in store. I’ll be unveiling a new me to the public. It will be a bit daunting and scary, but can’t wait to love myself and others even more than before.

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Identity Leaked

Apologies for being MIA for such a long period of time. I have been busy completing a summer internship. I would have thought that by now I would have had at least one adventure to report with one of the guys who also work there, but no such luck. However, I have been hired to work full time now at the same company so I’m sure that story will come along soon enough.

What’s consumed my thoughts over the last few days has to do with one of my closest friends. Let’s call him Matt. Matt sent me a lengthy email the other day, and as soon as I opened it my heart sunk. This dear friend of mine, one who has had strong feelings for me for quite some time (which I have been unable to reciprocate) told me he knew about both my blog AND that I was on online dating.

I had wondered why Matt seemed so distant over the last week, and the email pretty much summed up why.

I had mentioned to him several months ago to give online dating a shot, to see who else was out there. I guess he was bound to come across my profile eventually. If Matt had just come across that alone, it wouldn’t have been so upsetting. The fact that he also found out about my blog made me feel horrible… as I was to blame.

Several months ago, I had hinted I had a secret blog to him. I can’t even remember how it came up in conversation, although I said it; and of course, it got him curious. As I’m sure anyone would be, hearing the word ‘secret’ or ‘mysterious’. Matt told me that several times when we were screen-sharing through Skype either my email popped up or I had left a WordPress tab open accidentally. He apologized for invading my privacy (as it wasn’t any of his business) but he couldn’t help but search up the WordPress name that kept popping up and sure enough, he put two and two together.

I was so afraid of the inevitable that Matt would feel completely shattered reading all my stories if he came across this. Finding out I was meeting up with all these different guys to hopefully find my prince charming, when he had hoped that he could be that for me all along.

I told Matt I was proud of him for being so brave and honest. I told him that I care so deeply for him as a friend, but unless he worked through his anxieties and built up more confidence in himself, I could never be with him romantically.

Writing my blog posts have really opened my eyes to the type of guy I need in my life. Ultimately, I need to be true to myself, whether anonymous or real.

Tinder Experiment: Found a Match

As a graduation gift last week, my family bought me an iPhone. Ever since I started using it, I can’t understand why I stuck with the Blackberry for so long. I can download ten times as many applications without the phone freezing on me, and the resolution and picture quality is infinitely better than what I had.

One of my followers, Dayna, suggested I try out a mobile application called Tinder. Having investigated it a bit more on my new phone, I learned it was similar to a ‘hot or not’ app you could find on Facebook a few years ago. You download the Tinder app to your phone, connect to your Facebook account and then select the distance/proximity you want your matches to be within. It didn’t take me any longer than two minutes to configure that. Then, I was presented with the image of a guy, below it stating how old he was, if we shared any mutual friends / any similar interests from Facebook. Below that I could decide whether to ‘x’ him or ‘heart’ him. If I were to heart him (which meant I liked him), and he liked me back, it would instantly pop up saying we were a match which would then enter us into a private chat.

So I began my x’s and hearts and couldn’t believe how fast an hour went by. I had actually come across some of the guy’s I had talked with before on other online dating websites.

I had about 15 matches already so at that point I decided to look through them. A few had already sent me a message:

1. Hey, whats up?

2. Did you catch the Leafs game? :(

3. If I were to flip a coin, what are the chances I’d get head? .. almost made me delete the app instantly.

4. Are you also drowning your sorrows in beer after that Leafs game?!

5. Post leafs game fail hangout?

6. THE LEAFSSSSS. NOOOOOOOO.

Yes, I am proud to be a Canadian. However, to be honest I didn’t really follow the Leafs much this season. I did watch the final game against Boston, so I at least understood why all these guys were so upset about it. Still, I found it kind of interesting that they all just started talking to me casually like we knew each other for a long time. After a bit of correspondence back and forth with two of them, that was the end of it. It was like they just needed to vent about the Leafs to someone cute and then move on. Bizarre!

So I was ready to call it quits with this app when a new guy popped up as a match. Let’s call him Cory. From the same city, same age, ten mutual friends and pretty cute! I thought why not send him a message. I learned that he studied finance and went to a high school I was familiar with. Cory was asking me questions aside from anything that had to do with the Leafs, which was refreshing! Our conversation was going pretty well and about half an hour later he gave me his Facebook and said for me to feel free to add him there.

Of course like any curious girl would do, I searched him and saw he had 600 Facebook friends and no shirtless profile pictures. He passed the initial test. So I added him (put my Limited profile on). Soon after he added me back and sent me a private message saying:

Good Find! Facebook Chat is much more legit!

From there we continued talking for quite awhile. I asked why he got Tinder in the first place. He said it was going around his campus awhile ago and he just checks it from time to time to see who is out there. He told me he was open to dating if the right girl came along. I was really starting to like him and he seemed very nice. It also put me at ease to know that our mutual friends were people I consider very nice and genuine. Conversation was going so well.

This morning I asked him how he was doing. After a few messages back and forth he gave me his cell number and asked if I wanted to grab coffee tomorrow. I was kind of excited, but didn’t want to get myself too worked up after what happened on my last coffee date. I suggested maybe we do something a little different like mini putting. My last experience doing that was fun and made me feel really comfortable. He thought that sounded great and so I told him to give me a call later on tonight to finalize plans. He said he would.

So thank you Dayna for giving me the idea to try out Tinder. It was an interesting experiment, and it has been a bit of a confidence booster. I will definitely let you all know how the phone conversation goes tonight and how mini putting goes tomorrow!

Do you think this is an insane way to meet a guy? Do you believe it’s ‘sketchier’ than an online dating website?

Little Boy Blue

Hope you didn’t think I forgot about you! It’s been quite the crazy last few weeks. I wrapped up my final University classes/presentations and can officially say I am done! However, I don’t think it will really sink in until I wear the graduation robe and shake the President’s hand in June. My feelings are pretty mixed about being finished. On one hand I am very excited to start a new chapter in my life and continue meeting new people and stepping outside my comfort zone. On the other hand, I have made such amazing friendships at my school that it will be very strange not seeing them around everyday.

I had talked to you awhile back in my post ‘More Than a Friend’ about a guy I’ve known since my second year of University that I instantly developed a strong bond with. Since then, our friendship has grown leaps and as time went on, he started developing strong, romantic feelings for me. I so wished I could reciprocate those feelings and have that happily ever after with him. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t see us as going past a platonic friendship. I considered him my best guy friend. Someone who I felt completely comfortable talking to about anything, with full assurance everything would remain between the two of us. Sadly, the physical attraction was never there on my end. He suffers from several health conditions, which makes him very self-conscious of his body image and as well struggles with self-confidence. He is also very shy to begin with and after having gotten to know him for three years, he opens up to me much more than his family. I knew that deep down it couldn’t go any further than platonic as I needed that special person in my life to have that level of confidence to push mine higher. Perhaps the attraction could grow if I was open to giving it a chance. However, the fact that I know how self-conscious he is and all the struggles he deals with makes it hard for me to be open to more between us. I casually mentioned to him when we first had this discussion that maybe it would be good for him to talk to someone to help deal with the struggles he faced, but he was very opposed to the idea. He said:

I have you.

I valued how he felt so open to talk to me about his feelings. However, I didn’t think it was healthy to not have any other close friends to talk to and felt it was important he was able to open up to someone else aside from me.

After all of this happened several months ago and we were completely honest with one another, I felt our friendship was strong enough to get through it (as hard as I knew it was for him). This leads us to today.

We were at school clearing out our lockers and fixing a final project to go on display for an upcoming graduate show. As I was eating lunch with him in the student cafe, I could tell he appeared sad. I asked him what was on his mind. He said:

A lot of things.

I asked:

Like what?

He was being kind of vague so I simply started listing off a few things. I asked if it could be about finishing school and not really having any definite next plans. He said that was part of it. I then asked if it had to do with me and being sad that we weren’t going to see each other as often. I could tell from his reaction to that line it was definitely part of it. He proceeded to tell me how he thought I knew how much he cared about me. It was hard on him recently when other students would ask if the two of us were dating. I guess being because we spent a lot of time together at school. He still couldn’t wrap his head around why I didn’t want to be with him. The more he talked, the more I felt sick and upset and I couldn’t form the right responses. I simply said to him how much I cared about him, but I just still didn’t see us as more than platonic. I told him that I felt he really needed to talk to someone about everything going on and feel better about himself/take better care of himself before I were to even consider that. He said:

That’s the thing though. I feel I can only get better when I’m around you. I feel totally comfortable around you.

Still, he would never wear a t-shirt around me. He still suffered from social anxieties and health issues – which I don’t think I could take on in a romantic relationship. I needed to breathe and so I made up an excuse to go to the washroom. After having taken some time to gather my thoughts together, I returned to the table and said:

I would really like to book for the two of us to see a therapist. We have health insurance through school and I feel it would be really healthy for our friendship to talk to someone at least once. Please at least think about it.

He was still very skeptical and didn’t seem like he would. I couldn’t say anymore other than to let me know his decision this weekend. The subway ride home was pretty uncomfortable. There was a lot of silence and small casual talk. When his stop arrived he said:

You’re still my best friend.

I said:

You are mine too. Don’t worry, we will get through this.

I really hope we can. What do you think of my situation and suggestion to him?

Exposed and Vulnerable

An HBO show I’ve been obsessing over since its 2012 premiere is Lena Dunham’s “Girls.” The story follows the lives of several 20 something year olds in New York City and the challenges and tribulations they face along the way. The script is raw, real and relates so well to every other 20 something year old who has or most likely will experience similar life situations.

Dunham both directs and acts as the lead role ‘Hannah’ who plays her character so well; projecting to all her viewers such confidence in her own skin and makes us feel secure and inspired, knowing that we aren’t going through our day to day’s life challenges alone.

In the most recent episode that aired this week, Hannah was introduced to her next door neighbour who was in his 40s. What was initially meant to be an awkward meeting about dumping her garbage in his disposal bin ended up leading into a torrid sexual relationship. Everything was heated and passionate and he invited her to stay the night at his house. The following day she found herself in such a natural, happy place with him. Once the evening arrived, she came to the realization that she was worth feeling and being in a state of happiness. She fell apart in front of him, leaving herself completely vulnerable and exposed. As she continued talking he listened but you could sense he was withdrawing from the conversation and wasn’t as engaged and responsive as she hoped he would be.

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Just like Hannah, I am constantly trying to get myself outside my comfort zone and experience things I would have never thought I would. The problem is aside from all the crazy adventures and life experiences and being there for my friends and family, I need to also make my own state of happiness a priority. Would I necessarily strip down all my feelings and insecurities on the second day of being with a guy? Probably not or else he’d start backing off a bit. When I told my best guy friend that I always have heart to heart conversations with my sister and we talk about how we’re feeling, he just looked at me strangely and said he never does with his brother. For most guys, it’s hard to open up and I guess for girls it’s different because it’s something we constantly do.

I think it’s important to share you’re feelings with someone you deeply care about, but you can’t engulf the guy with all your feelings in 20 minutes. It’s something that will naturally take time as you continue getting to know one another.

I question whether I opened up too much about my experience level with the most recent guy I’ve been seeing. That was a week ago and as much as I thought he was okay with moving slowly and getting to know me more he’s definitely been more distant. He’s still been texting and asking me how I’m doing but it’s been a week, and still no hint towards wanting to go out again. Truly, it’s probably for the better. As if I fully gave myself to him and that’s all he wanted, I’d probably never forgive myself.

Girls – at what point is it okay to start opening up about your feelings to the guy you’re seeing? Guys – what’s your take on all of this?