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Posts from January 2004

Once Again, Ahead of the Curve

Time Out New York reports that online dating is dead.
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As I mentioned recently, I have essentially given up on online dating. Well actually, to come completely clean, since that post, I had a one month stint on JDate, which essentially confirmed my conclusion that it is nearly impossible to find that "spark" via online dating sites. I cancelled it a few weeks ago. Once again, the offline method seems to be working quite well for me at the moment. [via New Yorkish]


Tidbits

It's a snowy, cold day here in NYC. I barely made it back from a business trip to Rochester yesterday, so I'm taking advantage of the snow day and working from home this morning. Sometimes, there's nothing better than working in your pajamas. While I'm waiting for the coffee to kick in, I thought I'd share a few posts that have caught my eye lately.

  • Apparently, I'm a big nerd.
  • Now that I no longer work in the area, it looks like some really good food has found its way to 6th Ave & 50th St.
  • People other than yours truly have had challenges with cohabitation, a decision not to be taken lightly in NYC, where the ridiculous real estate situation often pushes otherwise intelligent people into making unwise choices
  • If I ever am in a serious relationship again, I might consider getting a "taken" shirt, although I'm not sure how I feel about being viewed as chattel. Then again, let's cross that bridge when we come to it, shall we?
  • Looking for something to do on Valentine's Day? New York Magazine has not one, but two bar crawls for singles. Not quite sure what makes these so singles-specific, however. As far as I'm concerned, bar crawls are an equal-opportunity sport for singles and couples alike. Someone's got to help you home when you're blitzed, right? It's very handy if your boyfriend/husband/significant other can help you out. Otherwise, you may have to rely on the kindness of strangers . . . oy.
  • If you have a snow day today, I just heard on NPR that the NYC parks department is setting up sledding stations in the parks in each borough. You don't even need to own a sled -- you can use theirs. Hooray!
  • And if it's cold enough (below freezing), you can pick up some free hot chocolate to warm yourself up.


  • Dorks-R-Us

    So I took a big step last night. It was a huge leap, but I decided I was ready for it. I bought blogcards. These are like my alternate business card -- to give to folks in order to publicize my blog. Before I clicked on the "purchase" button, I realized that what I really was doing was agreeing to myself that I'm doing this -- making a commitment to my blog -- and will continue to blog for the forseeable future. I'm quickly being sucked into the vortex that is the "blogosphere" -- getting excited when other blogs link to mine, learning new blog-related terms like "blurking" (thanks Brad!) and "google juice," and learning to use the word "blog" as a verb and a noun. Yep, I'm an official dork. No turning back now . . .


    synd04.jpg
    courtesy of Gaping Void


    He Pays, She Pays

    Almost everyone I know has (or at least had, when he or she was single and dating) a very complex set of rules and regulations when it comes to how money is handled on a date. Rules about who pays and why; if money should be offered and what that means; if that money is accepted, what that means; at what point along the dating continuum money no longer becomes an issue, etc. The unfortunate thing I've noticed, based on entirely non-scientific methods, is that each individual has his or her own set of rules and regulations. This creates a great deal of confusion. A seemingly basic first date scenario may go something like this:

    Boy asks girl out for drinks.
    Check arrives.
    Boy and girl reach for wallet.
    He says, "no -- I've got it."
    She says, "are you sure?"
    He says, "yes."
    She says, "thanks."

    Seems okay, right? Wrong. So many variables can come into play that apparently mean different things to different people. Some guys have told me that they are upset when women offer to chip in because it means they're not really interested in a romantic relationship. This is crap. Many of us are offering to pay because we don't want to feel obligated or to "owe" you anything. It's the first date, for chrissakes. Some of us are offering to pay because we're polite -- that's the way we were raised. Some guys get annoyed when women don't offer to pay. "They should at least offer," I'm told. Hear that, ladies? Once we've offered up some cash, are guys allowed to take it? "Sure," I say, but this is not a universally held belief among my female counterparts. Some women are offended when a guy takes the money. "He's not supposed to take it!" Confused yet? I know I am.

    According to my rules, if I ask a guy out, I will always offer to pay for both of us (I ask, I pay -- my variation of don't ask, don't tell). If he asks me out, I will always offer to contribute to the bill, and will not be hurt/upset/offended if he takes the money. I will generally only insist a few times on my offer, but this depends on whether or not I like the guy. If he refuses my money, and I'd like to see him again, this is a perfect segue, "well, I'll treat the next time." If he refuses my money, and I have pushed a few times, and I don't want to see him again, then screw it -- I offered, not my problem anymore. I work for a nonprofit -- I'm not rich -- I'm only going to insist so many times.

    At some point in a relationship, who actually pays tends not to matter so much -- it all kind of evens out in the end. I've forgotten what that's like. Hmmm.

    So, dear readers, what are your rules?


    For the Love of Lobster

    There has been a great deal of discussion in food circles about where one can get a good lobster roll in New York. I have now hit the three that always seem to come up for discussion -- Mary's Fish Camp, Mermaid Inn, and Pearl Oyster Bar, and wanted to report back on my findings.

    Now, let me preface this by mentioning that half of my family lives in Maine. My perfect lobster roll (or any lobster-based-product, for that matter) is something best eaten at a picnic table, not in a restaurant. If I could create the perfect lobster roll, it would start with a toasted and very lightly buttered hot dog bun, one with enough of a crust so that it holds its shape. It would then have a leaf or two of Boston or Bibb lettuce, topped with large chunks of fresh lobster meat. Naked -- no mayo. Perhaps a drizzle of melted butter, and finished with a squeeze of lemon. That, to me, is heaven on a bun. Most of the lobster rolls I have seen outside of Maine, and even the majority of those in Maine, do not resemble my perfect creation, but instead are tarnished with the dreaded mayonnaise. (Did I mention that I don't really like mayonnaise?) I will admit, if the mayo is fresh, homemade, and applied with a very light touch, I don't mind it that much.

    That all said, here's the lineup, according to me. In third place, Mermaid Inn. Although Mermaid bills it on the menu as a "Lobster Sandwich," it's still just a variation on the lobster roll. The thing that did their version in for me was threefold -- way too much salt, as well as too heavy on the seasoning in general (hiding the taste of the lobster), too heavy on the mayo, and the chunks of lobster were too small. The plate itself was enhanced by the Old Bay spiced french fries that came with it, served with malt vinegar. Mmm. In second place, Mary's Fish Camp. A solid, middle of the road lobster roll. A little heavy on the mayo, but otherwise, no complaints. In first place, Pearl Oyster bar. Still a little heavy on the mayo for my taste, but an extra squirt of lemon is enough to take my mind off of it. I love the skinny, shoestring fries they serve with it, too.

    My favorite lobster place (although I've never had the lobster roll there -- I stick to the entire beast) is the Naples Lobster Pound in Naples, Maine. Simple steamed lobster, served on picnic tables with plenty of extra paper towels. I will know that I've found the right guy for me when he can watch me chow down on a lobster and find it sexy, or at the very least, endearing. Personally, I think people should eat messy food on dates, because if you can't be comfortable with someone when you have lobster juice dripping down your arms and you're cracking claws open with a nutcracker, what hope is there?


    pearl_lobster_roll.jpg


    The Ex-Files*

    A certain ex of mine has been getting tons of press lately. He is one of a small group of national finalists in a competition to become one of Lego's master builders -- basically, someone who gets paid to build things with Lego all day. This has been one of his lifelong dreams -- when we lived together, we had Lego all over our apartment, which I very often had to explain to visitors. But his persistence and enthusiasm has paid off. Please join me in wishing him best of luck as he heads to San Diego next week to compete against the other finalists. If you're interested, you can view some of his Lego creations in his gallery.

    It's always hard to read about one's exes, especially since the nationally syndicated article prominently mentions his current girlfriend. But I'm used to this -- I had the lovely experience of reading about another ex's wedding in the New York Times. I knew he was getting married, so this was no surprise to me, but I had to read, in excruciating detail, how he was "eager to propose" and exactly how he proposed to her. Made me want to barf. Sometimes I think it would be easiest if, once you stopped dating someone, he would just sort of vaporize, so you'd never have to hear about their current romantic relationships. But someday, I figure, they'll have to read all about me and my boyfriend/husband. Granted, they will have to use bifocals or read it in the large print edition of the Times at the rate I'm going . . .oy.

    * Not to be confused with the X-Files.


    Dork Protocol

    I have a friend who only recently got email. He doesn't own a computer, but checks his email at his gym, where they have terminals for free internet access. He sent me an email last night that was ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS. I called him to tell him that, according to email protocol, this was taken to mean that he was YELLING. His response? "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. You really are a big geek."

    Yes, I guess I am. And I fully embrace my geekiness.

    Speaking of geeks, there's a certain geek out there in Seattle who was very upset that he was not yet mentioned in my blog. So -- here's a BIG SHOUT OUT to you, Geek!


    I'm Down with O.P.B.*

    * Other People's Blogs

    There's something inherently voyeuristic about weblogs. They offer the general public a chance to peer inside other peoples' thoughts, feelings and lives. For example, a co-worker was telling me that she started reading Megnut, because the author was a classmate of hers from Tufts (go Jumbos!). Around the same time, she started reading kottke.org. Somehow, through reading the two blogs, she and other readers realized that these two bloggers were dating. At the time, they were in two different cities, met at a conference, and began to visit each other. Reading their blogs carefully, readers could see things like -- "when I was in San Francisco . . ." and ultimately followed the progress of their relationship.

    I have met one person through my blog, but have tentative plans to meet even more. After stumbling across Gaping Void and posting one of his cartoons on my site, Hugh MacLeod sent me a lovely email, wishing me a happy belated birthday and thanking me for plugging his cartoons (if you haven't seen them yet -- they're great! Go check them out!). We have emailed a little and I offered to take him for a drink if/when he ever comes back to NYC. After reading his blog a little more closely, I noticed a rather provacative post (which of course caught my eye), and followed the links to another blog. Turns out that Hugh and Franny have a little blog-comment-flirtation going. Suddenly I felt like I had just hit on someone else's boyfriend, which is a little strange, because I haven't even met any of these people in person yet! Sorry, Franny -- it was all very innocent, I swear! At least so far, I suppose -- keeping my options open these days. Sadly, so far, no blog-comment-flirting for me yet (no wonder, considering that according to the roll-call, I only have three readers -- all female. C'mon people -- who are you?! I know you're there -- I can hear you breathing!). Ho hum. Guess I'll have to stick with the in-person version!


    synd05.jpg
    courtesy of Gaping Void (thought this one was appropriate!)