Dating for Martians: The Trail of Gentlemen Callers

Top Hat

Source: Nikodem Nijaki via Wikimedia Commons

I was indifferent to their education, career, financial status, and even mental status, if it came to a man I found exciting.


~ This is a continuation of Dating for Martians: The Tally ~

“You’re like every guy every woman hates!” A sharp-witted girlfriend of mine says to me.

I have great affection for her. She is darling and sprightly and throws lots of dinner parties. Henceforth she’ll be known as Spritely. Spritely has forbidden me to bring around any more hommes du jour. She says it emotionally screws with the “men of the day” because introducing them to my friends sends a false message about my level of interest. It also messes with the very sweetest among us who each time asks:

“Can I bond with this one, or better not?”

Spritely’s frank observational gems don’t ruffle me; I enjoy directness. In fact, she’s so funny that I’ve considered turning on a voice-recorder when there’s a bottle of wine in front of her.

On the subject of men and me, she has a lot to say.


My online dating experiment lasted for twelve staggered weeks between summer and winter, and resulted in me meeting seven lovely men in person.

And then I deactivated the account.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t ignore messages from hordes in whom I had no interest. Hundreds is legitimately “hordes” even in the lower end of the triple-digit spectrum, right? If I haven’t quite decimated my semblance of humility, wait and see how I nuke it out of existence in later paragraphs…

It’s antithetical to my nature not to acknowledge people, so I found myself writing to individually thank each person who sent me a non-generic message. It was the least I could do when it was clear they had read my verbose profile all the way through. But I’ll be graceless and say that while I was flattered, I found the process draining and time-consuming. On top of it, many interpreted “thanks” as returned interest. This of course, forced me to have to ignore them after all, which made me feel unpleasant about myself.

In the end, I deactivated my account because I found the online dating process ruthless — specifically my own participation in it.

When two people from a dating app decide to meet in person, and bond, and I’m one of those people but in spite of bonding discover I don’t want to go further, I feel like a colossal jerk. I greatly mind confusing, offending or hurting good people. In a way, I’d rather be the rejected than the rejecter, because then my hurt wouldn’t be accompanied by guilt and inopportune compassion. I’d feel hurt, I’d obsess, it would go away.

Meeting someone the “natural” way doesn’t have the above implication because in real life, each party’s expectation is not known to the other prior to meeting. Under that circumstance “all is fair in love and war” prevails and no one ends up being a big jerk.

The question remains, why didn’t I want to go further with people I’ve called “wonderful?”

I’ve devoted an entire diatribe to this question in the second Martian dating post. To sum up, I don’t need to be with someone. It’s human wiring that compels us towards relationships. So the Martian in me will not compromise: I want to be blown away. I need to swoon. It’s one criterion among many, but the only one that’s non-negotiable. Why didn’t “wonderful” blow me away? My dating profile covered it:

“Maybe I like polka dots and you offer stripes.”

Out of the hundreds of messages I received, I sustained an ongoing correspondence with a handful of clever, insightful men. In addition to meeting and briefly dating the Perfect Man, through correspondence I developed another friendship I consider dear. Neither of us saddled ourselves with the notion of dating even prior to meeting in person. We simply like our discourse, we’re both good with words and we both got our asses kicked by Spritely in Scrabble. It’s uncomplicated and delightful.

So in spite of having ended my own personal experiment with online dating for now, I recommend it to others.

It’s especially handy for shopper types. I was there to shop. I had a formidable checklist of requirements ranging from the physical to the intangible. And here’s what I learned:

None of it matters when you swoon.

You take that shopping list and tear it into little pieces to use as ticker tape for the parade going on in your loins.

It’s true. I had a wildly animal response to one of the first men I met in person through that site. He was a good — a great — man, but also completely inappropriate for me. I’m talking inappropriate socially, philosophically, geographically, so on…

But I did not care. I was in a swoon.


Source: Angela Winnie via Wikimedia Commons

Enter Spritely with another prickly but shiny gem:

“Girl! You’ve got to stop thinking with your dick.” She kind of had a point. It turned out I was indifferent to education, career, financial status, and even mental status, if it came to a man I found exciting.

I did break it off him, though not for any of the above reasons. I’d blurt out the details if it violated only my own privacy. Instead I’ll say, to this day I have a soft spot for that kind man who excited the gunmetal out of the geisha.

That was the first time I deactivated the account. It was summer.

Then winter came. A bunch of crap happened that’s splattered all over this blog. Run of the mill emotional drama. It involved a lot of snow and I was very poetic about it. The basic premise was, I couldn’t breathe through the sense of betrayal I felt like a smothering pillow. It was at the hands of a person I had heretofore considered the closest to me. How did someone I stuck by through ninety-nine flavors of insult and injury justify discarding our friendship? Answer: He fell in love with someone.

I suppose I felt sorry for myself. If someone who displayed less than stellar tendencies when it came to honor and honesty could find love, strong enough love to sever his most compelling emotional lifeline (me), then surely I, who prized in myself loyalty and truthfulness, could find it too.

These are hindsight reflections, of course. At the time, I was too busy gasping for air. So I signed back on to the dating site like it was an oxygen mask.

It didn’t take me long to realize I was setting up people for disappointment. I sang the usual ode to my shortcomings for everyone I met. It was the best I could do to avoid being pedestaled. But often, there I was on a pedestal anyway. Up always implies a down, and from there, I either have a fall, or let someone down.

Naturally, it’s not ungratifying when people trip over themselves upon meeting you. I mean, if I wanted to retreat into the background, I wouldn’t have started a blog where I perform a constant verbal striptease. But I never understand the extreme reaction I encounter when meeting a guy from the internet, as if it’s his first time running into a woman with the expected body parts who can also string together words.

So I haven’t been shy about asking the guys themselves what could possibly be the big deal.

“You’re an anomaly,” I’ve been told by a couple of them, which only makes me think again that I’m a Martian.

Another said, “True sincerity is captivating and rare. (And you’re hot.)”

I don’t believe sincerity is rare. I meet sincere people often and while I also find them captivating, I don’t double-take over the basic, requisite human trait. (I look fine, maybe more than fine, but there are plenty of good-looking people in the world.)

Yet another said, “You manage to be honest but polite, sophisticated but unpretentious, mysterious but approachable. (Plus you look like you.)”

Well damn. My ego purred like a stroked feline. It was almost audible.

“Thank you,” I smiled with composure, but I could see why flattery got people places.

In the end, I called one of my ex-boyfriends and recounted my experience. I said, “A., I don’t get the big deal. Do guys really expect decent-looking women to lack depth?”

“The big deal is,” he said, “you are your own archetype.”


via Wikimedia Commons

At this point, I must acknowledge that blogging can be one long masturbation session in which no one stops you from tooting — no, trumpeting — your own giant foghorn. I’m almost done tooting. When I’m withered and on the verge of dementia, at least I’ll have a catalogue of my feeble claims to “fame.”

And come on, it just doesn’t get better than “you are your own archetype.”

Now that we’ve covered how “great” I allegedly am, it’s only fair to delve into all the ways I’m not great in the context of men and dating.

I lack boundaries. I don’t mean for my own protection, but for the protection of others.

I connect on a deep level and I’m warm and affectionate, indiscriminately. It’s my thing and it’s a problem, frequently interpreted as reciprocated romantic interest. More than that, I can move on and often do. Not move on in the sense of ending kindness and friendship, but from the concentration. Or perhaps from the frequency of interaction. It’s not that I’m able to abandon anyone. Ever. In fact, I find upsetting even the idea of abandoning someone. Spritely calls it “collecting strays.” Strays can be irresistible.

When I need to dial down on the intensity of connection, it leaves those I’ve drawn in feeling forsaken. Making people feel forsaken goes against my idea of compassion.

My intentions with people aren’t remiss. I just happen to reach inside to shake hands with the interior of a person as soon as I meet them. In general, people have solid defenses up to keep out others until it feels safe. But they’re not always prepared for the very sincere and enthusiastic person who wants to meet their interior right away.

As a restless, independent woman “with options” who is looking for her ideal match, I’ve unwittingly left a trail of carcasses behind me. I don’t like this about myself. But how do you learn someone isn’t right for you unless you get close to them and connect to their insides?

So then.

Having established that I’m basically a menace to hapless hopefuls in the dating world, I’m left with an awful conclusion: Maybe I should only be dealing with emotionally remote guys. Otherwise known to some as “assholes.” After all, it’s entirely possible that in the eyes of others, I fall under the asshole category too.

There, now that I’ve shown my hand, dear sirs, tip your hats and keep yourselves safe. Let lambs to lambs, and Martians to Martians.

But there’s more.

~ Concluded at Dating for Martians: The Meandering Conclusion ~

Top Hat

Cathartic Monkeyism

  • Apparently self-examination sometimes involves self-beating.

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  1. “These are hindsight reflections, of course. At the time, I was too busy suffocating.

    I signed back on to the dating site like it was an oxygen mask.” – love this line.

    If writing your blog is a masturbation session, then reading it is voyeurism. I feel like I’ve developed a new paraphilia. I look forward to the next post!

    1. Ha, I can’t say that I mind!

  2. maurnas · · Reply

    I love that you call yourself a Martian. My guy friends tell me I am a unicorn. I am apparently the type of girl that every man says he wants to date. The operative word here is ‘says.’ In practice, I have found that many men thrive on the type of drama they claim to hate. And if I don’t provide it, then they will. And I wind up dumping them because I genuinely don’t like drama and I don’t like being made to feel like I am being crazy when I am not.

    1. I could see why they would say that – I hardly know you, but based on our little interactions and your blog, you do have an unusual vibe. Besides your intelligence, wit and kindness, there is something distinctly non-negative, non-angry about you. But without being gushy, mushy or annoyingly cheerful. I got three more for you: You seem cool, laid-back and quirky, which are also appealing qualities.

      I love that you won’t stand for bullshit drama and being made to feel crazy. I wish more women would take that stance.

      1. maurnas · ·

        Thank you so much for your kind words. I agree with the assessment of those men up there. I was a little intimidated by your brilliance and hesitated to comment at first. But as for the rest, it took me a long time to get where I am. At this point, I am happy being alone. And I am safe. Someone needs to show me a better time out with them than what I can get at home alone. Otherwise it isn’t worth my time anymore.

  3. lrconsiderer · · Reply

    Oh umpteen colours of things to like here, and in spite of it all, you still don’t come off as an arrogant tosser. Well, except that latter in the blogging sense, but you said it first 😉

    I seem to have missed your Winter, which is frustrating and makes me wonder if I shall need to trawl back through at some point, and try to pick up the lost threads, however, your friend sounds like a good one, with a sensible head on her. Keep her around you.

    I like what you say about the idea of shaking hands with the interior of a person. I do that with friends (online ones, especially – it’s easier that way, without the physicality in the way of getting to know each other), but I don’t tend to lose concentration – I am far more often the one lost along the wayside, wondering what changed. I tend to get stand-offish and sometimes mean when I start making the transition from idle friendship to properly caring about someone, especially if they seem to be a bit flaky. I Feel very deeply, often very fast. And then I tend to screw things up.

    1. Haha, believe it or not, I looked up “tosser” to make sure you were referring to what I thought. So now I officially know what it means beyond just a vague Brit term for an ass, which makes your comment even more hilarious!

      Here’s a shortcut to at least some of the winter, and here’s the cure. Don’t feel obligated to read either; also the “cure” involves a child – I don’t know if that’s a sad trigger or not.

      By “concentration,” I mean both intensity and focus, I suppose. Or maybe I mean “frequency” (which I added up there in the post). I guess at the beginning, when I’m getting to know someone, I cram it into long, intense, frequent sessions. And then I step back. I don’t think this is too uncommon. I meet others who do the same.

      But in the situations I was referring to, they feel forsaken because I had instantly started off familiar, comfortable, warm, and they viewed those long, intense, frequent “getting to know” sessions as the norm and indication of things to come.

      None of this was conscious, mind you, until I started writing about it. I will probably elaborate further in a post, since these posts are my therapy sessions.

      I’m sure you don’t screw things up. You are a passionate, emotional, expressive person. And you’re frank. Maybe that frightens some people.

      1. lrconsiderer · ·

        BRILLIANT! *grins* Well then, I’m glad you now know the double meaning of the word, and can apply it in any sense you wish. Go thee forth and be Britishised. Or something. (My comment was meant to be amusing, so I’m glad it came across 😉 )

        Thank you for the links – I shall go and catch up – I’m sure that will help, especially if you’re left with your sparkly thing being a spider (did you name him?). I shall hope that there are no triggers. You didn’t say dead children, so I’m hoping it’s all going to be okay.

        I see what you mean, now, with clarity. Thanks. I guess that’s harder to do online. In person that was how it happened for me, because we both had to travel so damn far to see each other that it wasn’t worthwhile for less than a day at a time. But it worked. I shall keep telling myself that in the end it worked. Because it did…it’s just hard.

        I make friends very easy – quickly, like falling off a chair – when I want to (when I’m on form), and I apparently have this knack of coming across as quite warm and personable and I have the ability to find people interesting, and make myself appear interesting to them (perhaps). And as you say, I’m frank. I’m honest, and people find that (do they? this could just be my interpretation and actually a load of bollocks) a bit disarming, and perhaps charming. But I guarantee you, I’m riddled through and through with insecurities; I use truths as beguilements at times – not to lure, but to keep people hooked, because I’m terrified they’ll leave me once I start to Feel.

        And I somehow (quite narcissistically) often forget that I’m not that important at all. Mostly because I wish I was.

  4. […] Geisha. You might feel the same when you read her posts about online dating, and today’s report on the endeavour. The two lines that jumped off the page today […]

  5. Paul · · Reply

    Oh, you mammal, you! That’s an interesting distinction you make between a chance meeting when neither are looking and a shopping list with responses. I get it. You know, I get the same feeling when I’m dragged out to yard sales. I am embarrassed to offer money to people for their belondings. It seems, somehow, wrong to trade money for memories. (Not quite sure how that applies but it seems to fit in somewhere.) That’s one of the reasons why I don’t do internet dating – it feels too much like shopping. I know it works for many, obviously, and I wish them the best – I can’t knock the tool.

    I’m not sure, though, that being concerned about hurting others should stop you from dating. If you had always used that logic, you would be missing some very important people in your life and some formative experiences and memories. How do you know that a realtionship with you doesn’t give your dates an insight into their own psyche? An insight that improves their future relationships? My inclination is to say that as long as you intend to investigate a long-term realtionship and are not just using your partners, then you are blameless. Perhaps you need more faith – for that of which you worry is beyond your control and you are, after all, a mammal.

    I once killed a man – by accident. He was driving a car on the wrong side of the road in a turn on the highway at 2 am. I was driving a tractor-trailer going towards him. We met in a corner where it was not possible to ascertain that he was on the wrong side until it was too late. I braked hard and moved to the right as far as possible and he followed my headlights. Suffice it to say that his remains were inside a 6′ by 6′ block of compressed, smoking steel when everything stopped moving. I walked away with ony a few bruises. both vehicles were write offs. For a while i ws frighteneed to drive because to was clear to me that if I had not been there he would still be alive. Then some friends convinced me that I had done everything possible and that if it had been a car that he had met, there would have been many innocent lives lost, possibly a family or children. That helped a lot. Not that I saw myself as a knight in shining armour, but, given he had chosen to drive on the wrong side, hitting me was the best possible outcome. Sometimes, you just end up being God’s hammer.

    1. Reading this again, I remember why it took me so long to respond. I was at a BBQ, and I read it on my phone, and let out an audible gasp. Your accident is the worst thing I think about happening. I almost hit a possum on the way home that same evening, and even then, you cannot imagine my relief when I didn’t.

      In spite of all that, your comment is inspiring, because I understand everything you mean to say.

      I do get your second paragraph. But I feel the issue is more complicated for me. It may make more sense to you with that last post.

      1. Paul · ·

        Yeah, I actually hate hitting animals too. It makes me sad. Believe it or not, in the millions of miles over 30 years that I’ve driven commercailly, I can count the number of animal strikes on the fingers of one hand. I do whatever is reasonable to keep from hitting them, even the little ones like mice, and watch out for them. I installed aircraft landing lights in the bumper (which are illegal because they are so powerful) and I always used them when the road was empty at night to see as far down the highway as possible and to see the road sides. I had them hooked to the high beams so they could only be used of the high beams were on (keeps them from being left on accidently with low beams).I also ran strong fog lights separately. Between the two extra sets of lights (plus the headlights were doubles – total of 4), it made it much easier to see and avoid animals. I used special wind powered whistles that emit high frequencies to drive animals away from the road. Anyway, the animals were there before us and don’t understand vehicles – so it breaks my heart when I hit them by accident. Ask REDdog – the multi trailer truck trains in the outback of Australia use rows of lights for the same reason. The big lights are legal over there.

        As bad as it is to say, when a human gets killed because they ignored or deliberately broke safety rules they knew well without regard to the lives of others, it is much easier to take than when innocent people die at the hands of the guilty. If you do everything in your power to take care of others on the highway, and someone makes a mistake and kills themselves on your front bumper, blaming yourself does no good. You have to be sad that a life is lost but you don’t have to feel responsible or guilty.

        Ha! Which reminds me (to lighten the discourse a bit), when I was driving a tanker, we had an elderly gentleman (Dave) who’d driven all his life and who moved into the office to take care of equipment maintenance issues as his “retirement”. Dave was over 70 and he had a great sense of humour. I was in a truck stop one day and I saw a T-shirt that I couldn’t resist buying for Dave who was constantly giving drivers heck for breaking things on the trucks. It read: “I DIDN’T SAY IT WAS YOUR FAULT – I SAID I WAS GOING TO BLAME YOU.”

      2. I wouldn’t want you or anyone to feel guilty under the circumstance you described. Nor should you. Emotionally, though, I personally couldn’t handle it. And if I could, I don’t ever want to find out.

  6. It’s funny. That is, what you learn about yourself through online dating is almost a slap of realization in the face. The process comes down to dating yourself for however long you are part of the websites.

    I’ve done the free Plenty of Fish (Plenty of Shit) and eHarmony sites but for only a few months at a time. My finickiness (is that a word?) defined itself and what type of woman I was looking for. Not to my surprise, the free sight presented me with plenty of takers, and many asked “Why the hell are you on this site?” Apparently, it was my lack of confidence. After a break up, I tried eHarmony, which was filled with the same delusional types who felt money was everything in a relationship–those were majority of the “matches” in the Syracuse area–one of those matches, one who I never spoke to, I encounter often and her attitude is nothing to write home about. Perhaps she remembers being matched up?

    The other local matches were great on paper and quieter than I was in person, or they were looking for someone with a colder personality. What they read, who they communicated with paralleled reality–these matches thought I was bullshitting them with a “nice guy” persona. Despite my being paired up with a clingy-stalker-type five hours away from me, the other long-distance conversations were so much more ideal than dealing with the Syracuse sass. It’s just unfortunate that the interaction wouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, buying into eHarmony wasn’t for pen pals… that’s what blogging is for–long distance relationships as pen pals–and it’s a whole other chapter of this life.

    The conundrum of dating, online and real life. It’s just about figuring yourself out, and people come into your life as you are doing so, when you’re paying the least amount of attention to relationships.

    1. You are so right, about the online process being like dating yourself. And, yes, I don’t know if you got to the last installment of these, but for me, it’s not going to be a thing that I can or would want to force. Especially now that I’ve convinced myself I don’t even want one. A relationship, that is. (I have no experience at all with eHarmonry and never felt the curiosity.)

  7. I totally know what you mean by being more deeply effected if you offend/hurt someone else than if you’re the one who’s hurt. It’s like an open wound that never heals because there’s no closure or something. And even if there were an opportunity for closure, how do you amend it? There’s really now way if it’s just your feelings (which you can’t help) that hurt them.

    Loving this story. The dynamics of how it all works are pretty fascinating.

    and oh….don’t we all respond to the swoon? It doesn’t matter if it’s wrong or right, there’s something very primal and basic about reacting to that kind of energy. le sigh…..

    1. Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it… Ugh.

      Someone asked if I would accept the offer to go to another planet inhabited by aliens, but at the cost of never coming back here. I said, of course. Then they took away the inhabitants and I said, “F*ck no, why would I do that?!” Both answers were telling – that I’d be willing to leave all humans behind; but that there would at least have to be green beings with antennae running around!


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