“The Toothpaste is Out of the Tube, Crap!” 

About three years ago, I went out on a few dates with a guy named Ian.

I met him–you guessed it–online. He had recently moved to the area from Baltimore to pursue a job in higher education. He was highly intelligent and a good listener. He tugged on my nerdy heartstrings with his knowledge of research practices and procedures. We talked on our first date about data triangulation. I was kinda starting to believe the stars had aligned and that God and the universe were celebrating our coming together.

And then I decided to google him. 

Being able to “Google” someone is still a novel concept to me. The Internet is just plain freaking bizarre. I mean I can type in your name and random things I know about you such as your city and profession, and a crap load of information may come up. It’s creepy and comforting at the same time to know that we have such information at our fingertips.

So when I googled Ian, a departmental newsletter came up that was two months old,  dated slightly before we met. In the newsletter, it welcomed Ian to the department and in his short bio, it stated, “Ian lives on the east side with his girlfriend, Tara, and their pet fish.”

  
Now, before I proceed any further with this story, I have a confession to make. I was uncertain at this point in my dating relationship with Ian, of whether or not I was physically attracted to him. I believe that physical attraction can grow. However, finding this newsletter just put an unpleasant taste in my mouth. 

I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I was fairly new to online dating at this point in my life. I was concerned that if I told him that I had found this information, that I would look like the social media stalker that–wait a second—THAT I REALLY WAS.

I went on another date with Ian, but didn’t have a plan of action in terms of how and when I would bring this information up.  This lack of planning took the date on an awkward turn, as I became passive/aggressive with him instead of dealing with this newfound information in a healthy, communicative way. 

Ian had decided to take me to the zoo. We entered the aquarium area first. We immediately passed by a fish tank with large, tropical fish. Ian, being his nerdy self, started reciting facts about tropical fish, when I suddenly interrupted him. 

“So do you have a pet fish?” I inquired.

“No,” he said.

“Have you ever had a pet fish…ever in your life?”

“Not that I can recall,” Ian chuckled.

“Okay, ” I said, feeling snarky. 

Later in the evening, he took me to a movie. Right before the movie started, I somewhat impulsively decided that I HAD to freaking bring this up.

“Okay, Ian, I need to tell you something!” I blurted.

“Sure, shoot!” he happily exclaimed, having no clue of the shit that was about to hit the fan.

I started introducing what I was going to say by giving him some WEIRDASS analogy about toothpaste being out of the tube. He looked confused, so I got right to the point.

I told him that I had googled him, found the departmental newsletter mentioning him and his girlfriend and the pet fish. I told him that I was trying to erase it from my memory and not bring it up, but I had to, because I couldn’t erase this information from my mind. I squeezed the toothpaste out of the tube, so to speak, and it wasn’t going back in. 

So then, Ian started explaining this relationship he had with this girl who was “very unstable.” He met her in a bar, they moved in together the next day, she had a pet fish (it was HER fish–not his), and that things were never serious, but that he mentioned her in the departmental newsletter so that she wouldn’t have her feelings hurt by an omission. 

“She was very, very unstable. Eventually, we broke up.”

And then he started to give me timelines for when they broke up, but they didn’t match the timelines when we had started talking, and then–

The movie started.

When it was over, I was nice, but sped out of there as quickly as possible and wrote him a kind email the next day stating that I appreciated him, but didn’t think we were a match. 

I tell you this story, because as WEIRDASS as it is, the toothpaste analogy is one of my favorites. Because whether it’s minty or fruity or Aquafresh or Colgate–it’s still toothpaste. It’s messy. You can’t put it back in. You have no choice but to acknowledge that IT’S THERE.

So many times in my life I have found out information that troubled me. However, instead of revealing it to the party it involved, I just let it ruminate in my mind and affect my image of that person. At times, the information I found wasn’t even VALID. However, it stuck to my brain in all its gooeyness and just wouldn’t get back in the tube. 

Until I finally acknowledged it by communicating it to the other person.

And that night, I had to tell Ian that all I felt with the discovery of that information was that I had been deceived. I understand that when two people get to know each other, they may not be fully honest of their shortcomings.  You want to impress your new crush. Perhaps I dismissed him too quickly, but my emotions couldn’t handle anything that sounded remotely dishonest, period. If he had fessed up and acknowledged the strangeness of the situation, it may have been salvageable on my end. But there was only an explanation. An argument and discussion of facts. No empathy in his response. Just more of a “this is what happened–it’s not a big deal.” 

Only it was for some reason. It was like a gigantic deal to that little heart of mine. ❤️ In life, I’ve had to make several judgment calls that relied alone on my heart–not pure facts. And this was one of them. 

My dear readers, I have more I want to say. But my LOUD NEIGHBOR is blasting some kind of weirdass music that prevents me from writing anything else on this very topic tonight. And I have already exhausted my use of the word, weirdass.
I am wondering if I should ask him to turn it down, or if I should maybe jive along. If I ask him to turn his down, then it means he will have free license to ask me not to blast Nelly or Coldplay or REM or Jay-Z or any of the other random music I listen to. 

So I will sit here and jam along.  And I may make this for dinner. Because I had a date that just cancelled on me and now I want to eat potatoes:  

     

Why I Won’t Date Teachers, Part 2

When I first contacted Andrew through match.com, I was hoping we would have a lot in common because he looked mighty fine in his profile pics–chiseled jaw, cute facial hair, and a down-to-earth, friendly look about him. And he could WRITE–his profile was witty.

(As a side note, that is another reason I abhorred online dating. I would get emails from men saying things like, “Your vary pritty.” While that is a sweet compliment, AND while I can possibly forgive incorrect homonym usage, a misspelling of a first grade spelling word is….well, if you have been reading my blog then you know I just can’t even go there.)

But back to brilliant Andrew. Andrew and I met up in South Broad Ripple at one of my favorite restaurants, Zest. Andrew did not disappoint. He looked like his pics AND he made me laugh. He was drawing pictures on the table (you can do that at Zest) of his life story, and jokingly taking notes about me and my likes and dislikes.

Oh, and I guess I forgot to mention that Andrew was a teacher. I’m a glutton for punishment, because this was AFTER I had went out with Kyle, Jon, and Donald.

But Andrew didn’t seem like those previous teachers. He was easy to talk to and had an engaging personality. We went antique shopping after lunch and didn’t buy anything but had fun telling each other our life stories. At one point we were discussing tattoos, and he stated that he had a large tattoo that covered his chest that said, “Thug Life.” I must have had a very concerned look on my face, because he gently grabbed my hands and said, “I’m joking, Emily. It’s a joke.” My heart went pitter-pat. Andrew was funny.

We went out again next weekend, and had dinner together and laughed a lot. He kissed me goodnight and asked me if I could go out again on Sunday. I accepted, of course.

On Sunday afternoon after church (he even was a church boy!), he texted me to say, “Hey! Do you want to meet up today?”

I was perplexed. “Yeah, I thought we already had plans,” I said.

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” said Andrew. “Hey, do you have a credit card?”

Hold up, here. Crap…he’s not normal.

“Um yes, I own a credit card, Andrew.”

“Can you meet me at the Home Depot on 86th St. and let me use your credit card to rent a carpet cleaner?” he asked.

“What in freakin’ God’s name are you talking about?” I said. Or something like that. Sorry to take the Lord’s name in vain in front of you, Andrew, but you are throwing me for a loop here.

“I only own a debit card, and I tried to go to Home Depot to rent a carpet cleaner, but they said I had to have like a REAL credit card. Can I use yours?” he asked.

And he didn’t even use the word “borrow” or mention paying me back. He said “use.” He was basically asking me to pay for a carpet cleaner for him. So I’m sitting there wanting to ask him two things:

1. What is the freaking urgency to clean your carpets?? Did you kill someone and need to clean up the blood or something?

2. Why do you think it is normal to ask me to clean your carpets on a third date??

It’s funny because I’ve told this story to a few people, and they’ve had different reactions. Some people thought I was judging his actions too harshly. Maybe the poor guy is just OCD and needed his carpets cleaned immediately. But it was the fact that his boundaries were so different than mine–I mean I can’t imagine asking to use someone else’s credit card that I had just met. I felt used, whether or not that was his intention. And I just cannot ignore those feelings. They are a part of my internal guidance system which signals to me that I need to close the door and walk away.  Walk far away.  Walk all the way into the closet and stuff the carpet cleaner in there and keep walking.

Just like my dad tried to walk away from the police in 1962 in Florida on the day he got arrested. Here is a very short “teaser” clip of the interview to come in this weekend’s blog:

Why I Don’t Date Teachers, Part 1

When my mom and dad met on their first blind date in 1969, they were both teachers, and seemed to hit it off immediately. I found out recently that my dad had the hots for my mom and grabbed her tightly and deep-throat kissed her on their first date.

Oh dear God. Let me get that image out of my head now.

Over two years ago, when I registered for the online dating site, eharmony , I discovered they kept “matching” me up with teachers. So, I went out with teachers–several of them, in fact.

The first one was named Jon. He was a math teacher. He tried to teach me about algorithms and gave me an awkward side hug at the end of the night. I actually went out with him three times, and each time we had nothing to talk about. He would send me random texts that said things like, “Whew!” Or “Time to rest,” when I had no context as to what the heck he was talking about. When I get a random one word text that is sent to me in the effort to provoke conversation, I have absolutely no idea what to say.

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The second teacher I went on a date with was named Donald. Donald was a language arts middle school teacher. Donald liked to start all conversations with the phrase, “Let me tell you something about me.” The list of things he told me about himself included the following:

1. “Let me tell you something about me. I am a gentleman. I will always open the door for you. I will always pay for you.” Okay, weirdo.
2. “Let me tell you something about me. I call everyone–even the cashier at the gas station–by his or her first name.” Even weirder.
3. “Let me tell you something about me. I have a boat. A big one. Come on my boat. Just make sure you get that bikini ready!” Aren’t we moving a little too quickly here?

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I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live after meeting Donald, because I fantasized about writing a piece of sketch comedy centered around him, or a character like him.

The clincher for me, however, was when I heard him state, “Well I got into teaching so I could have the summers off.”

At that point I said, “Let me tell you something about me. I don’t think you will ever see me in a bikini.”

And then there was the elementary teacher, Kyle. I must preface the Kyle story with the fact that I have never been one to get caught up on how tall a guy is–I’ve dated short, tall, overweight, underweight, etc. So I never looked at the height stats on a match that eharmony sent me. When I was getting ready for my first date with Kyle, my neighbor stopped by, and I showed her his profile. “Oh, he’s 5’1″. Better wear flats.”

When he showed up at Moe and Johnny’s for dinner 30 minutes late, he appeared around the corner, peeking at me in embarrassment. Talk about awkward. Because I had been forewarned of his height, though, I knew who he was immediately.

“Sorry I’m late,” he said, and proceeded to order a big a** pizza and gobble it up. Then he began to tell me about all the awful eharmony dates he had been on and how he really makes no money teaching and would rather be a chef.

“So you went into teaching expecting to make loads of money?”

Kyle abruptly ended the date after my comment, but he did walk me to my car, before he said goodbye and faded into the mist…much like a leprechaun would.

Okay, maybe calling him a leprechaun was a little harsh, because Kyle actually was nice. We just obviously weren’t a match. Here’s the thing–I get so fired up and passionate about teaching and how important it is to have educators whose primary goal is to guide students into being successful learners, that I just can’t talk to a teacher who wants anything less than that.

So it’s not that I won’t date teachers, I suppose, as much as it is that I won’t date teachers who aren’t on the same page as me. Teaching is a career that one enters knowing that your dedication to your students is what keeps you going–it’s not just a paycheck. It’s definitely not about vacation time. It’s about changing students’ lives, building relationships, and doing your best every day to assist them in paving a road to success, and SHOWING students–not telling them–who they can become.

And here’s a random picture of my favorite teacher. My dad. This is from an outtake of an interview I did with him about the time he got arrested. More to come on that later this week.

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Adventures in Online Dating, Parte Dos

I know online dating really works. Wanna know how I know? Because this awesome couple met online:

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That’s my cousin.

Oh, and it worked for my other cousin, too.

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They are blissfully happy. And apparently this picture is from the future since it’s dated in the year, 2015. That means they will still be really happy next year. See? It really does work. For the right people. At the right time.

I am not one of those people. Or maybe it has never been the right time. Or maybe the person I was supposed to meet online got hit by a bus or something.

The problem I had with on-line dating is that it is overwhelming. You have this catalogue of people who you know nothing about. (Except for when you actually come across someone you DO know personally on an online dating site. That happened to me before–talk about socially awkward :-/.)

I don’t have a ton of free time, since I have my daughter with me about 75% of the time when I’m not working. So online dating is like a crapshoot. I would sit down, look at these dudes’ profiles, chat with them a little, and then try to find a time to fit in a first date.

The thing is, I’m an organic person, and I’m not talking about vegetables and fruit here. I’m organic in the sense that I feel I’m at my best when things develop naturally; when there’s enthusiasm on both sides, and when you actually know at least SOMETHING real about the person or know someone who knows SOMETHING real about that person and who he is. Online dating felt like I was searching for a needle in a haystack; or to give a more modern day illustration–like I was at Burlington Coat Factory scouring through the crapload of clothes everywhere to find my prom dress.

I’m talking my way around the heart of the matter, which can actually be best explained by the final event that caused me to completely take my profiles off the online dating sites. And that was the day I went on two dates.

As I mentioned, I have limited solo time. At one point, there were two gentleman I was communicating with online– Daniel and Corey. Corey asked me out for breakfast, and I said yes. Daniel had asked me out for a drink the night before. I really was not in the mood to go out for a drink with a stranger. I declined, but told him I could meet him for coffee the next day.

The minute I got off the phone, I realized what I had done. I had planned two “dates”– albeit one was just coffee– in one day. I felt a little weird about it, but because I really hadn’t made any sort of real “connection” with them, other than a few one-liner messages, I tried to not think too much about it and just see what happened.

The next morning I felt unsettled, though. “Stop it!” I told my overactive brain. “You always overthink!”

I went to breakfast with Corey. I think we met up around 10:00 am at Taste in Broad Ripple. We had a great breakfast. The conversation really took off and we talked about our children, our professions, and our best friends.

Corey said that his best friend, Dan, was the one who first told him about the “ins and outs” of online dating. He went on to tell me about all fun trips to Vegas they did together, as well as the upcoming competition he was training for, thanks to Dan, who also happened to be a personal trainer.

The conversation went by quickly, and all of a sudden I realized it was almost 2:00… And I was supposed to be meeting Daniel!

“Um, I have to go,” I abruptly stated. “I have an appointment at 2:00.”

I wrapped things up with Corey, even though I really didn’t want to. Corey was easy to talk to. He now was a person to me– not some face floating around in cyberspace.

By the time I sat down to chat with Daniel, my brain was turned off. The conversation was a little flat. We chatted, but I kinda just wanted to jump ship. Daniel was certainly handsome. He was a personal trainer, former bodybuilder, and ran his own business. We just didn’t connect, though. Perhaps it was already because I had connected with Corey, and just wouldn’t let my mind go there.

Either way, I was out of there in 30 min flat. I ran some errands, and then went home to chillax. I was sitting on my couch, doing lesson plans for the next day, when my mind slowly began to churn.

“I like Corey. He was cool! Kinda funny he and Daniel are both from Fort Wayne originally. And that they both live on the north side. And that they both went to Ball State, and–”

Oh.
My.
God.

It suddenly hit me. Maybe they know each other??? What if Corey’s best friend, Dan, was actually Daniel?

Holy crap.

Corey had told me his last name. I looked him up on Facebook. I immediately search for a “Dan” in his friend’s list, and holy Mary, mother of God: Daniel’s face appeared.

The reality hit me hard, because of the momentum that had been building up inside me all day. I just went on two dates with two friends in one day, back to back. I opened a bottle of wine and called my best friend. This was too much.

“This is a sign you need to stop online dating,” she counseled.

And I knew she was right. Because online dating made me do weird things. It made me do things that weren’t myself, because the very framework of it just wasn’t “me.”

I called Corey. I asked him if my deductive reasoning skills were on target. He called me back and stated that yes, Dan was indeed the same person as “Daniel” that I had gone out with. I apologized and told him I felt horrible. He was very kind, but also was just as shocked by the whole situation as I was.

You see, these “profiles” aren’t just people floating around in cyberspace. They are REAL people with REAL feelings. And pushing buttons and clicking on their pictures and reading blurbs about them had caused my mind to lose sight of that.

The reason I had felt unsettled that morning about the two dates was because in my heart, or some might say, my value system, I knew it wasn’t the right thing for me. I knew that these were two men who were real people with real feelings.

That was my moment- my moment of realizing that I had been freaking out all day because I wasn’t being myself.

And the more we know ourselves, the better we become at making decisions that align with our value systems. And my value system is telling me right now that I need to tell you about this salad that my mom makes.

My mom makes the best cauliflower, carrot, and green onion salad. Dear God, it’s good. And here it is:

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Oh, and when she wrote the word, chill, she really meant chill. Like you need to leave it in the fridge for a couple hours to maximize the taste.

And here’s a random card I found in my recipe box. Just because.

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I drew that at age four. Clayton and Ruth were my grandparents who I apparently liked to call by their first names.

Adventures in Online Dating, Part 1 #yesthatreallysaidpart1

A little over a year after my divorce, I decided that I was ready to start dating again. So, I naturally chose what seemed to be the “easiest” method to meet someone. I joined Match.com.

“This is so cool!” I thought to myself. “I can sit down at my computer at night after my daughter goes to bed, and browse potential boyfriends’ profiles! I can read their profiles carefully to get an idea of who they really are. Then, we can interact over emails and text and eventually go out. This is so much easier than when I was in high school!”

In tomorrow’s blog, I will poke holes in those aforementioned theories I developed about online dating. But today, I just want to tell you all about my first online date.

I interacted with a few guys on Match.com that were turds during the first few days. We would be messaging each other, and then all of a sudden one of them would say something douchey, like “Do you have any pics that are a little more…revealing?” I quickly deleted those profiles from my viewing screen.

And then I started communicating with John. John was normal. John seemed nice. He asked me out, and I said yes.

We met at a brewery in Fishers on our first date. It was surprisingly fun. I had no idea what to expect, but we seemed to be hitting it off. Afterwards, he invited me to go to a haunted house. (People who know me know I’m ALL about haunted houses,) so I gladly went along. During the haunted house, he held my hand. Afterwards he walked me out to my car, and then kissed me goodnight.

I was surprised by the kiss. I hadn’t kissed a man besides my former husband in the last 14 years. After the kiss, John gave me a nice hug and said, “I had a really good time tonight. I’ll talk to you soon.”

As I was walking away, I said, “Me, too. I love you. Goodnight. Oh my gosh! No!! I didn’t mean that! Oh my word! Aaahh! …that was out of habit. Like it reminded me of when my ex husband kissed me and would always say, ‘I love you, goodnight,’ and so I, like, totally thought I was talking to him in that moment–I mean, not really, but–”

“Emily. It’s okay. I get it. I like you, too. I like you a lot,” said John. He patted my hand, and knowingly smiled.

John handled that situation with such grace. He didn’t skip a beat. He knew he was my first date, post-divorce, and he knew that I was just spouting out words that I had associated with all the kisses I had received in the last fourteen years from my former husband. It wasn’t about him. It was simply a habit– a socially awkward “I love you” coming out of an inexperienced dater’s mouth.

That night, I went home and texted my friends to tell them what had happened. “Oh my God!” they screamed with exclamation points over text. “Aren’t you, like, freaking out from embarrassment?”

“I was for about ten seconds. But then I realized that he ‘got it.’ And now I just think it’s funny.”

John and I dated for almost nine months. And when we parted ways, we did so mutually. It was a healthy relationship, but not one that was destined for long term.

The point to this story is that what others do and say often has nothing to do with us. John had the foresight on our first date to realize that. He knew that my “I love you” did not mean “I love you” or anything close to love at that moment. He knew I wasn’t some silly school girl who would fall head over heels in love with someone upon meeting. He knew I was reacting out of old patterns ingrained in my mind.

In don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, one of the agreements is to make it a habit to not take anything personally. I have tried to adopt this philosophy in my own life, and it definitely has been a struggle at times. But when I actually have the strength to look at another’s comments towards me–whether they are negative OR positive, as simply “statements,” it frees me from letting their approval or disapproval of me either feed or starve me. It also encourages me to trust myself and my own inner guidance system, over the guidance systems of others.

Tonight’s recipe is from my dear friend, Lora. She is just one of the best people I know. And even though she lives in Chicago, we chat everyday about everything from how to take nothing personally to how to not fart in our sleep. That’s the kind of friend she is. And although these pancakes take a little prep, they are freaking delicious and healthy.

OATMEAL PANCAKES

Mix and refrigerate overnight:
2 c. rolled oats and 2 c. buttermilk

Blend with oats in the morning:
l/2 c. (slightly rounded) whole wheat flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. soda
l t. baking powder
l/2 t. cinnamon
l/4 t. salt

Add to above mixture:
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/4 c. melted butter (I use canola oil)
1/2 c. raisins or l/2 c. nuts or 1/2 c blueberries (optional) – I used one small apple, peeled, and chopped up finely in a food processor

Put on hot skillet that has been lightly oiled and serve. I like to put almond butter on mine. 🙂