wait, what?

Actual message someone sent me on OKCupid this weekend:

You are pretty cute for a PH.D 😉 I dont see you as a feminist in my opinion. But kudos for you for keeping up with your learning 🙂

I will confess that against my better judgment, I wrote him back to ask why he thought I wasn’t a feminist (and also why on earth he gets to determine that for me), and he answered that I looked “too nice” to be a feminist, since “feminists hate men.” And then got offended when I pushed back on that statement, because all he was trying to do was call me beautiful and I should just shut up and let him do that. (That’s when I clicked on the “block” button, for the record.)


and on some days, about as much fun. via

Sometimes I wonder why I still do the online dating thing. (Oh, I know, it’s because I lack the ability to flirt in real life. But still.)



–I think that should totally be a word.

–I went back to work yesterday, and although I’m not totally over my concussion, I’m feeling a lot better. As long as I don’t try to walk uphill too much; that still makes me dizzy. (I even took the elevator at the library today. I felt so lazy, but then I reminded myself that my American passport entitles me to all the elevators I want.)

–I managed to discard a mediocre paper idea for a good one today, and wrote a decent first draft of the proposal. I even took out all the tentative language I’m prone to–no more “this paper attempts/tries/plans to” for me! Fake it till you make it, or something.

–on the dating front: C. and I indulged in an awesome Lord of the Rings marathon, including Papa Johns pizza and the extended versions of all the movies. Unfortunately he’s decided he’s not romantically interested in me, so it’s back to OKCupid for me. I’m disappointed, but not devastated. (My ego was soothed by him stressing he had a really good time hanging out with me but just wasn’t feeling it.) I kind of knew this was coming, so I had kept my options open, and have a second date planned with a material sciences grad student on Halloween: a not-too-scary movie, take-out, and candy. (And no, I’m not dressing up. I’m wearing candy corn earrings as my only concession to the holiday.) Most refreshing, he’s a hard sciences type that doesn’t look down on humanities research. (Seriously, you’d be amazed at how rare that is.)

–also on the dating front: what are you supposed to do when you come across someone’s profile that you actually know in real life? I have no problem inspecting every detail of a potential match’s profile, but when OKCupid sent me the profile of a guy I know from house church, I felt really awkward and voyeuristic. (I’m half relieved and half insulted that he hasn’t clicked over to my profile, by the way. What’s up with that?)

–Tomorrow is my first day volunteering with the Natural History Museum. I’m one of the new classroom assistants there: I don’t have to actually prepare and teach the lessons but I do get to run around helping the kids with their assignments and just generally have fun. Should be good.

seriously, Utah is beautiful

Remember the biologist from my OKCupid post?  (Who shall henceforth be known as C., since that’s his name; part of it, anyway.) Well, we had a good second date, spent some time texting, and then I got invited to go camping last weekend. I decided the odds were pretty low he’d end up to be a serial killer, so I gladly accepted. (I may have worried my family a tiny bit by doing so. Sorry guys.)

I only realized a couple days before we went that when I say camping, I mean national parks. When he says camping, he thinks wilderness/back country. And I only realized that when I inquired about the possibilities of showers, and was told not only wouldn’t there be showers, there weren’t going to be toilets either. So I took a deep breath,  channeled my younger sister E. (arguably the most outdoorsy of all three of us) and didn’t let it deter me. I borrowed a bunch of camping stuff from Heidi, bought a U of U sweatshirt to keep me warm, and had a lot of fun.

On Saturday, we drove to the San Rafael Swell, looking around the area before we set up camp.

Little Grand Canyon - Wedge Overlook

Little Grand Canyon – Wedge Overlook (Photo credit: Wuppataler)

We couldn’t quite avoid RVs and ATVs, but we did our best to ignore them as we huddled around the campfire to keep warm despite the wind. The next morning, we headed out to Bell Canyon/Little Wild Horse Canyon (go click on the link, it’s beautiful). The trail required some climbing over rocks and wading through water, and everything went fine until about an hour in. C. got over the rocky obstacle just fine, but I managed to lose my balance and fall about ten feet, landing on my back in the muddy water. Luckily, the rocks were smooth rather than jagged and I kind of slid the last few feet and wasn’t really hurt, just shocked. We decided to turn around, which was probably a good call, since we had no idea how many more obstacles we’d have to climb over and I had such an adrenaline rush-cum-panicked reaction that having to climb down the rocks we’d previously climbed over had me breathing pretty rapidly for a while. Half of me was soaked and muddy, my legs and back and elbow were scraped up, but no broken bones and not even a twisted ankle or anything, so I guess I was pretty lucky. Even if I did feel both ridiculous and true to character at the same time, since it’s such a me thing to happen. But, as E. reminded me, I may have shown off my clumsy and panicked side, but also my determined and ballsy one, since I cried for maybe a minute or two out of pure shock and then pretty much picked myself up. Small victories, I guess.

Anyway, C. suggested we check out Goblin Valley State Park, as it was close. We wandered around the goblin hoodoos for a while, watched kids play hide and seek, and climbed on and over a couple of them to get some amazing views.

Goblin Valley State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, before heading home, we hiked up to the hot springs near Spanish Fork and spent a couple hours soaking in the water there (translate: hopping in and out because it was too hot to be totally submerged but too cold to stay out in bathing suits too long). The hike was short (2 miles up, 2 miles back) and beautiful; the area was immersed in the most gorgeous fall colors you can imagine and the weather was just right.

So yeah, Utah is beautiful. You all should come visit me here.

thanks, OKCupid

So to illustrate what my dating life usually looks like, in the first eleven months since B. and I broke up, I had one date. It kind of fell apart after we had this conversation (pretty much in the first ten minutes):

Him: What kind of music do you like?
Me: I don’t really listen to music. It’s just background noise to me, generally.
Him: Oh.
Me: What kind of books do you like?
Him: I don’t read books.
Me: Oh.

And then I came to Salt Lake City and had five dates in the span of four weeks. (That’s where OKCupid comes in.) Of the five

  • one was fun, but then he stopped texting, so that’s unfortunate
  • one was fine but forgettable
  • one was fun, I don’t think there’s any long-term potential there but we had a lot to talk about
  • one went pretty well, at first. He’s a Mormon (kind of unavoidable here), and we had a great, rational, very calm discussion on the differences in our beliefs and cultures (he did his mission in Germany/Austria and even knew a little Dutch, so that was great). But then, but then I made the mistake of asking him where he stood on gay marriage, and when he said he was opposed, I…lost it and we had a very heated debate. (Seriously, I am very laid back and I find cultural and religious differences more interesting than alarming, but if you sit there and tell me from a position of privilege that you don’t think everyone has a right to love who they want, I will get upset.) So I don’t think that’s going anywhere.
  • and that leaves one. We went to the Natural History Museum here, which is a really great museum. He’s a biologist and I tried really hard not to ask stupid questions, seeing as I don’t really understand science. He was nice, we had a lot to talk about, and although I know it doesn’t sound that spectacular I’m counting it as the best date I’ve had so far. We’ve made plans for next week, and I’m feeling very cautiously optimistic.

I’m thinking American dating culture is more to blame (or reward? I don’t know) rather than any charms I might have, as I have no idea what I’m doing with this dating thing and it is very unlike me to get this much attention. But hey, at least it gets me out of the house and imitating a social life, so you know, that’s good.

things I learned from online dating

The (pre-emptive) Salt Lake City edition.
–I had forgotten about the flurry of attention you get when you’re the newest addition to an online dating site. Half of the messages are nice, half of them contain propositions that I’m sure are meant well, but not exactly what I’m looking for.

–I’m not outdoorsy, at least not in the SLC sense of the word. I’m looking forward to the camping trip I’m taking with my dad later this month (we’ll drive from California to Utah, by way of Yosemite, Arches, and Ashley National Forest) but I’ve concluded that unless you spend all your time hiking, snowboarding, climbing, and all your profile pictures feature you on a mountain, you apparently don’t deserve that word. (And I think you have to climb that mountain, you can’t just hike to the viewpoint, which is more my style.)

–Profiles with half naked pictures will immediately be skipped. As are profiles without text, or stating “ask me” under all the headlines. No, lazybones, it doesn’t work that way.

–OK Cupid puts a lot of stock in sexual compatibility, if the amount of questions you can answer with regards to your sexual preferences are any indication.

–Surprisingly, I’m not really attracted to artistic types. Less surprisingly, I’m also not really attracted to hardcore MBA types. Lawyers and doctors, though, are still in the game (although they don’t really seem to be into PhD students in the humanities with questionable earning potentials. Unfortunate).

–Due to the time difference, exchanging emails with a very nice match will lead to a major sleep deficit. The things you do for (potential) love.

current thoughts on romance

I think I need to ban all kind of romantic books, movies, and tv shows from my apartment on lonely-ish Sunday nights. A while ago, I watched Easy A (at least, I think it’s called that, the German cover said “einfach zu hAben” and I’m too lazy to click over to Google right now). My heart broke half way through for poor Olive (don’t judge me, I’m sensitive) and even though I’m not particularly enamored with eighties movies and lawnmowers, the happy ending did not make me feel better about being single again. Hence the blanket ban.

It does not help that I once again hate online dating. I met a guy, he seemed nice, we emailed back and forth, and even made plans to go out. Then I got cancelled on. Or at least, that’s what I assume, since we had set a date and I just stopped hearing from him. I have now decided to give myself permission to not even think about dating until I get to Salt Lake City (and I hope that city contains some assertive men, since I am terrible at this interacting with people thing). We’ll see what the universe has in store for me there (probably nothing).

But, on the upside, I just read Kissing Shakespeare, which must have the most ridiculous plot ever (a 21st century girl is kidnapped by a 16th century boy to go seduce Shakespeare and thus stop him from joining the priesthood so he’ll keep on writing his plays, because what would we do without Hamlet and the ability to say “To do or not to do, that is the question” at any (in)appropriate moment?). I think I need to compile a pile of ridiculous romantic stories, so that whenever I start feeling cynical, I can read them and at least feel better than the girl who was told she should lose her virginity to William Shakespeare to save the world.

how not to date

An example of one of True's online ads.

I’m obviously not using this site. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a couple months now, with very limited success. Last week, I finally got matched with a guy I thought might have potential, only to hear nothing back. Oh well. At least it can never get as bad as my first online dating experience.

I’d met a guy on a Christian dating site (this was in my Still Very Traditionally Christian Phase) and we’d decided to meet up in Amsterdam to go to a museum together. We had emailed and texted and he seemed nice, so why not?

My train got into the station earlier than his did, so I remember seeing him coming off that train and immediately realizing he wasn’t my type. But I figured we could still have a nice time, so we walked to the museum and went through the exhibits in a normal enough manner. Right before we left, I went to the restroom, mentally rehearsing the “I think it’s clear we don’t really click. How about calling it a day?” conversation that would follow. But when I got back to the lobby, he was gone. I waited for close to fifteen minutes, scanning the crowds, before I gave up and left. Fifteen minutes later, I got a text, saying he thought it wasn’t going to work out and he had left.

So there I was, in Amsterdam, ditched by my date I hadn’t been into anyway. I called my sister, to commiserate but also and mostly because I needed directions to the nearest coffee place (he had the map) and then on to the bookstore I wanted to visit before I went home. A. was furious on my behalf while I was mostly flabbergasted. Sure, it saved me any awkwardness, but to this day I don’t understand the reasoning that led this guy (who, at 26, should have known better) to think it’s perfectly acceptable to run off while your date is in the restroom. But my pride wasn’t hurt and with A.’s help, I made it to the Bagels and Beans and then to the American Book Center, where I spent an enjoyable hour or two just browsing books by myself.

Oh, and a week later? The guy emailed and asked what I had thought of him. I doubt he liked my response.