Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Why flattery and free gifts make the world go round

To file under the category of history repeating itself, I opened my e-mail today to find this in my inbox:

Hey Rachel,
I went on an easily forgettable, internet-facilitated date with you in the beginning of February at Bukowski's. You were very cool and looked fetching, but I was distracted and all out of sorts that night. I remember being bummed on the ride home because I wasn't able to be very engaging. But here's the thing: the day leading up to that night was seriously so draining and it was impossible to be my very cool self: had spent ten hrs in a computer lab on stats problems with annoyed classmates, had to run to davis sq in the snow only to have to run back to return roommates keys, didn't eat, freezing walk to inman, etc. I had put the disappointing night behind me but happened on your blog today and was reminded of how thoughtful/interesting/funny you are. Would you be open to giving me a second chance, like a second first date? I'll totally pay for drinks. If you're not interested, I totally understand but I had to give this a shot. Awesome!

So, it's happened again, although luckily it seems the damage in this case is minimal. I mean, thank heavens I wasn't inclined to wax poetic post-date, leaving a trail of snark in my wake, a hobby I have admittedly been known to indulge in, oh, once or twice or twenty-seven times (at current count). Not that I would have, obviously, because as his e-mail shows, he's clearly a very nice guy. (Hi, James!) However, it is still an uncomfortable feeling, knowing how vulnerable, how exposed I am to every guy I've ever dated (or even not dated) through Okcupid. Because, as I finally figured out, all you have to do is google my username, and through a fairly straightforward series of mouse clicks, you are led straight to my blog. This blog. Where I share my innermost secrets, my past traumas, my fears, unflattering post-dental work video footage, and my deepest most profound thoughts on...bikini waxing? What the hell was I thinking??? So, yeah. Vulnerable. Of course several months ago when I originally found out about this little glitch, I immediately freaked out and set off to nip it in the bud, ASAP. The problem going back to a comment I had left on someone's blog years ago, using the same username that I use on my online dating profiles. And the profile I used to leave the comment leading back to this blog. So I sent this blogger, who happens to be a Big Blogger, a desperate e-mail detailing the situation, and ending with a breathless plea for help! Please help! You must delete my comment or my life will be ruined!!!!!!! Or something along those lines. Being that said blogger is a Big Blogger, I didn't necessarily expect to hear back from her at all, however she did reply, and was quite sympathetic. However, she said that for some reason on entries that were more than a couple years old, she didn't see a way to delete comments, that they had, in effect, become permanent, it seemed. (Horrors!) But she would look into it and see what she could do. At which point, the adrenaline having subsided and finally being able to think clearly again, I sent her another e-mail saying, "Or I could just change my online dating username, now that I think about it. Haha!" And she said "Yes, I suppose that is better than moving your blog to a witness protection program," and then we both had a good chuckle. So then, of course, I did that, or rather I sort of did, which is to say that, long story short, ultimately I didn't. What I mean is, I changed my username on my Match account very easily and with little fuss, however to affect the same change on Okcupid would require deleting my entire profile and starting from scratch, and well, I am lazy. So ultimately, I did nothing, figuring, google? Pfffft. Who's going to google me? Because, I figured, if nearly a year of singledom has taught me anything, it's that I am clearly not that scintillating. But! Apparently I am, if perhaps not scintillating (and clearly light-years away from titillating, but a woman can dream), at least I am google stalker-worthy, and I will take what I can get at the moment.

All of which is just a roundabout way of saying, of course...Help, Internet! What do I do? Should I go out with him again? Is there really such a thing as a second first date? What about my dating vacation proclamation? Or do self-imposed curfews and dating restrictions go out the window when free drinks are on the line?

Your options are:
a) What are you thinking? Clearly you do not need another James in your life, as it could prove to be confusing, and ultimately, weird. Stay away!
b) What are you thinking? He called you fetching and thoughtful/interesting/funny, which is three more compliments than you've ever received before in one e-mail. Give him another chance!
c) Meh, I don't really care. I'm just in this for the prizes.

Did I just say prizes? I did, apparently, though I kind of took myself by surprise there. I hadn't really thought about it, but after it came out, it seemed like a good idea. What do you think? A little incentive, let's say. Leave a comment with your vote, or your non-vote, as you prefer, and I will pick a winner at random who will have their choice of these fabulous prizes:

A brand-new recipe holder from Hallmark (classy!), which comes with 26 recipe cards, but unfortunately only holds 24 recipe cards, which...well, let's just say I hope someone got fired over that one. I mean, it's not rocket science here, Hallmark. The lucky winner of this prize will even receive two recipe cards already filled out with two of my favorite recipes! (Which, since you're already going to have to throw away two cards anyway...But no! I'm a good cook! Sometimes...)

For the less cutesy gift-inclined (or more male) voters, I have this:

A brand-new portable radio with headphones, which I swear, came free with my purchase of blemish cream. Not that I...use...blemish cream...It was for a friend...I swear! Anyway, I bought it unaware of the treasure residing inside, and was quite shocked when I brought it home and opened the box. And thought, "Well, that explains why the box was so big, and also why I just paid $10 for blemish cream." I thought it was just really good blemish cream (for my friend!), though honestly I could have stood to pay $5 less and not received a free crappy totally desirable piece of plastic modern technology.

So, Internet, do I go out with this guy again? Let's say I have to receive at least five yays, and I'll consider that a sign that the dating gods want me to give him another chance. So vote one, vote all, by this Friday 12 p.m. EST! My future, and potentially valuable free prizes, rest in your hands. Oh, and Internet, have I told you lately that you're beautiful? Well, you are. Vote today!


  1. The 2 Girls from Polka Dots and HiccupsApril 1, 2008 at 10:30 PM

    Louise and I are reading this together and you get our TWO votes...if he was nice enough to find you and compliment you, and acknowledge that he was a bit of a schmuck....well, we think he deserves a second chance.
    Ok, thats all for now!! Ummm, except for maybe we wanted to tell you that we think you are beautiful too!!!
    Have a great second first date!!!

  2. d) Marry him, he obviously knows a good thing when he sees it. Didn't I always say so? :)

    But, please, darling, no more rewards; I'm already weeks behind on the damn Simpsons calendar that I "won" in one of your earlier fits of prize-giving.

    Still, a wedding invitation would be nice!


  3. i have to vote yes! he sounds like a genuine guy. i mean, he's read your blog, and like you say, all your innermost secrets, and he still wants to see you again? that's a good sign.

  4. I think the fact that you are asking us what you should do, means that you weren't totally repulsed by him, and that you kind of do want to see him again....

    So I say go on the second date!

    Plus, they always say, it happens when you aren't looking...

    That makes me the fifth yes!
    (You're welcome, James!)

  5. give it a shot; what's the worst that can happen? you drink a free beer and go home!

  6. Don't do it! He's just giving you an excuse to his schmuckiness. His excuse is bad anyways. Wouldn't a nice date after a bad day be good revitalizing and exciting? But no, he wasn't excited about you and now whatever else he had planned went foul, he's come running back! You were his second choice, two months ago.

  7. I'm with lamoli--it isn't like you're marrying him. And who knows? He may actually be as charming as he thinks he is! Go have that drink and let us know what happens.

  8. Go out with him! Free drinks!!


  9. Go! Second first dates can be great because you've already gotten over the initial awkwardness. And what? It's an hour or two of your time (at worst) or the start of a great relationship (at best).

    Oh, and HI JAMES! :)

  10. he seems really nice, but as someone who stayed with an excuse maker for 3 years, keep your radar on. oh this is so exciting!!! good luck, i hope that it goes really well! and if not, i will find him and break his knee caps (yes, i have become a sterotypical nyer...) but james, seriously you have been warned...a lot of people love rach!

  11. Definitely go out. Worst that happens is you don't like him and leave early or do like him and don't hear from him again. I'm also curious to see his vote. (Not surprising that 2 out of 3 anonymous votes are yes...isn't that right James?)

    At the same time, if he's read your blog (generally) and this entry (specifically) and sees the story of this date online (because you will, of course, let us know how things go) and is still ok with that, that's a good sign (or totally weird).

    Eh, either way, and I would totally take the recipe book if you're awarding prizes. I'm running out of space in my recipe box, although I'd need more than 24 spots.

  12. Alan, that is so cute. For the sake of your overcrowded recipe box, I hope you win. :)

    So, we have some strong opinions here, and definitely more than 5 yays, so I guess I'm going on another date. Keep those votes coming though, I love hearing what you all have to say. Plus, prizes!

  13. I'm just a first-time reader (I got to you through...hmmm...I don't really remember (maybe Kristabella?))

    So my opinion counts for...well...just about nothing.

    But I'd give him a second chance. No one is themselves on a first date. And he did reach out. And the compliments were nice (although, people who use multiple "/"s annoy me/irritate me/anger me/get me upset.)

    That said, early February was a long time ago. It's a little weird to let that much time pass. If he thought that, why didn't he reach out before now?

    And on the other thing, I know how you feel: I started a whole new blog after I gave away my real name on the old one by mistake. I'm lucky that google doesn't bring me up.


  14. Welcome, Hank! And that's the beauty of the internet. Finally, a place where everyone's opinion counts!

  15. Woah, this guy is clearly a very talented, handsome genius! You must take him up on this offer!

  16. i kind of agree with "hank" about the time laps thing. now, i've been thinking about this situation all day and i really do not understand guys at all. i would like the recipe box too, so watch out alan!

  17. I once met a guy on a plane in November, who gave me his e-mail, and I didn't end up contacting him until January, when the relationship I was in went very very sour. It didn't work out with the new guy either, obviously, but I have pulled the time lapse dating myself.

    Besides, I think the message here is that I am clearly more desirable in online/blog form than in real life, which is why from here on out all my dates will be conducted virtually through online chat rooms. Voila, problem solved!

    Oh, and it's a recipe book, not a box, so don't get too excited. Like a photo album with little plastic sleeves, but for recipes instead of pictures. Though I guess you could use it for either. But who prints out actual paper pictures anymore?

  18. I once put on an old pair of jeans, ones that I hadn't worn in a while (like, months and months). I reached into the pocket, and lo' and behold, there was a piece of paper from the Beverly Hills Hilton with a girl's name and phone number.

    I didn't recognize the phone number, and I've never been to the Beverly Hills Hilton.

    Curiouser and Curiouser.

    So of course I called the girl, because how often do you get to start conversations with "hi, you don't know me, but I found your name and phone number on a piece of paper from a hotel I've never been to in a pair of jeans I haven't worn for months and months."

    Seriously, how could she resist.

    Three weeks later, she broke my heart the worst it's ever been broken. But that's another story.

  19. Looks like you got 5 votes pro-James - but I'm going to add my yes vote too.

    I will say that I am a harda$$ when it comes to rules for dating and what is and isn't acceptable (to me) (so much so that my current boy is a little afraid of me) (this is not necessarily a bad thing) anyway - even with that - I'd still give him another chance. I like that he cared enough to stalk you. :) hehe.

  20. this is an aside: i noticed you are listening to Band of Horses right now. If you ever get a chance to see them live, you definitly should. You wouldn't think that they are an amazing show live, considering the slow pace of thier music, but their concert in Toronto last November is in my top 10 concerts ever, and I've been to many concerts.

  21. ps: sorry for the run on sentence.... Band of Horses makes me excited like that.

  22. Ob Gosh, you know you're going to go out with him again. I mean, you wrote about it in your blahg. That he reads.That would just be mean.

    I would normally say no to dating those with your ex's name, but, well it is my name too. Kinda.

  23. Hey life...osli. Thanks for the tip! I actually just missed them play in Boston a month or two ago, and was so upset when I found out. Without fail, I will find out about a show I'm really interested in the day after. So I think one of my first post-grad school resolutions will be to stay more up to date with live music and try to see more shows. I can't wait!