I know I’m confusing, I’m a woman.

While lying in my bed earlier this evening, I saw a tweet that I nearly retweeted until I saw it had already been retweeted over 400 times. Just to spite it (the tweet, like it has feelings or something), I didn’t partake. Also, because I’d rather help out the little people rather than some woman who gets 400 retweets for a mildly clever and poorly punctuated tweet. Bitch.

I can’t remember the exact phrase of it, and it’s too far back in the day’s tweeting history to check, but it said something like, “I’m a woman. I don’t know what I want, but I can be mad anyway.” And while that probably sounds psychotic to most men, I’m sure it makes a lot of sense to women. It’s a good thing that I don’t write a political or advice blog, because I’m sure feminists would be all over me for going on about this, but whatever. With all of the other personal details I’ve shared on this, I shouldn’t have any problem admitting that I spend a great deal of time not knowing what I want.

This point is moot though, because for right now at least, I think I do know what I want: I want to know that I don’t have to depend on someone else. I started seeing someone a few weeks ago, and I’ve decided to try this new thing where the guy in my life isn’t the single most important thing in my life. Fascinating concept, right? I’m excited to try this new thing out. I’ve spent a decent amount of time on my own. I’ve finally discovered the peace that comes in the absence of other people. The sort of peace that comes when drunk cleaning your apartment and dressing up your piggy bank like Walter White, writing snippets to your 21-year old self, decoupaging Vonnegut quotes, and experiencing the unique horror that arises from OkCupid messages and consequent awkward dates.

I’m not going to claim that I enjoyed every moment of this solitary period, but I know that it made me a stronger person. It forced me to examine myself, reevaluate my priorities, solidify my goals, establish a career, and see myself as an individual.

But this new-found independence comes with its own setbacks. For instance, now that I’m sort of seeing someone, I don’t particularly know how to handle the fact that he’s willing to bring me whatever I need when I’m sick. So instead of telling him I could go for some homestyle chicken dumpling soup, cuddles, and rewatching four episodes of Breaking Bad, I heat up a can of soup, turn on a heating pad, and watch Netflix on my own. Of course, an episode in, I discovered that I did sort of want him there, but it was past the point of a reasonable request, so I didn’t tell him.

How bizarre is that? I’ve spent the better part of six months aching for someone to be there for me, and now that I have someone willing to do that, I’m like, “Nah, I got this.” I’ve gotten used to taking care of myself and I’m not quite ready to give that up. Call it pride or self-preservation, it amounts to the same thing: me, fairly content on my own. I think it’s just me not wanting him to see me vulnerable like this. By vulnerable, I mean sick and terribly whiny. So far, I’ve been able to present myself with semi-styled hair and matching outfits. I don’t want to destroy the illusion that I’m consistently lovely by him seeing me in pajama pants and a ratty college sweatshirt. Since he reads this, I’ll just let him imagine it. With any luck, the image is better than reality.

What I’m trying to get at is that I think I’ve always struggled maintaining my sense of self while dating. Instead of seeing myself as just Ashley, I tend to see myself as Ashley in relation to X. By acknowledging that it’s unreasonable for him to drive a half hour to bring me soup when I could spend 90 seconds heating up a can of Healthy Choice, I’m asserting that I’m not the kind of girl who needs to be taken care of constantly.

I think that’s what Destiny’s Child was talking about in that Independent Women song, right? The shoes on my feet –  I bought them, the soup that I eat – I heat it.

It’s all the same.

Five Ways to Win My Heart

I stumbled across a 30-day challenge on a blog (here). Day one was yesterday. I’m not sure if you realize it, but I didn’t post yesterday. So I guess I’ve already failed the challenge. But whatever. I’m doing it today. I probably won’t do all of the topics because a lot of them remind me of my days on Xanga (oof) when I was a melancholy fool who was certain her views on boys and emo bands were vital to everyone on the internet. I’ve matured since then – I’m certain my views on men and books are vital to everyone on the internet. Priorities, people. I’ve got them.

Anyway, I’ll start out with a strong and mature topic: FIVE WAYS TO WIN MY HEART.

Are you reading, men? Because you should be.

  1. Don’t suck at basic grammar and punctuation. SERIOUSLY. This is a deal breaker for me. If you don’t have a firm grasp on your/you’re, there/they’re/their, and its/it’s, don’t even bother approaching me. If you don’t understand how and when to use an apostrophe, don’t try to date me (or make produce signs – I don’t want to buy your “apple’s” or “onion’s”). I’d like to see proof that you understand these rules, preferably in a handwritten letter, but a well-organized Facebook message will do in a pinch/the current decade.
  2. Dedicate a song to me. Something really sort of cheesy and romantic, but not in a top 40 way. This means no Jason Mraz, no J Biebs, or even Gotye. I’m talking something good and sexy. Like “No Sunshine” (I love me Bill Withers) or “Inside and Out” (either Bee Gees or Feist’s version will be fine – with the latter, don’t worry, I’m smart, I can change pronouns). Also, since it just came up on my itunes shuffle – do not play Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me”. We’re not living in a Dawson’s Creek episode.
  3. Buy me a book. Not just any book, but a book that shows you get me. If we’re at the point where you’re buying me a book, you know that my two favorite writers are David Sedaris and Vladimir Nabokov…and Kurt Vonnegut and Anton Chekhov if you catch me on a cloudy day. You also know that I don’t own all of these writer’s books.This does not mean that I want to read Gonzo – Hunter S. Thompson’s biography. I’m sure he’s written some great things, but Fear and Loathing freaked me out so much that I have no interest in reading a word of his. By the way, an ex (Scott? Scott.) bought me that book for Christmas. I threw it away a few months later. OH! Bonus points if you buy me the newest Kindle. I love my 3g keyboard Kindle, but I wouldn’t object to a higher contrast and pixel count.
  4. Be a musician, apparently. I have a history of dating musicians.  I’ve dated two drummers, a singer/cellist/drummer (?), more than one guitarist, a bass player (short lived, but it was very romantic in a freshman year, let’s-kiss-in-the-practice-rooms sort of way). When I say musician, I don’t mean that you have a band that plays in your garage and records their ep using GarageBand. I mean that you have serious talent and dedication to your craft. I prefer classically trained, but I’ll settle for self-taught prodigy. Of course, none of these relationships were very successful, so maybe I should rethink this whole musician thing. I thought about dating writers, but I’m afraid I’d either be super competitive or intimidated by the guy, depending on his talent. But let’s face it, if he’s a crappy writer, I’m probably not interested in him.
  5. Never underestimate the importance of an Arrested Development reference. I’ve devised a pretty simple elimination test for potential boyfriends. I ask if they’ve seen Arrested Development. If the answer is yes, then I proceed to ask which of the ridiculous cast is their favorite. Most guys say Gob, which I say is the wrong answer, but it’s really an acceptable answer because Gob. I say the correct answer is either Buster or Lucille Bluthe. (Buster is adorable and amazing, Lucille is underrated.) If he haven’t seen the show, I subtract 200pts from his initial score of zero, then invite him over to watch an episode or two. If the guy doesn’t laugh at least eight times in the first episode, I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing each other for much longer. Anyway, a simple “I’m afraid I just blue myself” or “I’ve made a huge mistake” will make me laugh and probably put my hand on your arm.

I think I’m making myself sound really easy. I’m not. I’m very particular about the men I date. My main criteria are the following: Be intelligent, don’t be a douchebag, have goals, be passionate, be empathetic, and be okay with the fact that I’ll blog about you. As far as I’ve seen, the above mentioned points eliminate about 97% of the men I encounter.

Oh, you also have to be approved by my dog. If he doesn’t like you, shit isn’t going to fly. Also, if you hurt me, he’ll tear your balls off.

OkCupid messages tend to speak for themselves

Since I’m on a kick to meet new people, I decided to make a profile on OkCupid. I don’t think I’m supposed to be telling people that I have an online dating profile, but whatever. I’m in a much better mindset than the last time I tried online dating, so it doesn’t feel so pathetic. OkCupid seems a lot less sketchy than POF. If POF is the back alley where rape happens, OkCupid is the public park where drug deals happen at night so you don’t go there after sunset. I imagine Match and the other paid services to be like trendy reservations-only wine bar.

My experience so far hasn’t been too bad. My profile doesn’t go too in depth, but I mention that I read, write, and never go anywhere without my Kindle. I also have a disclaimer that says “If you don’t spell well or use poor punctuation, we probably won’t get along very well.” I think that has significantly decreased the amount of messages I get from douchebags. However, it’s still split about 50/50 as far as creeps/non-serial killers. I don’t respond to many messages, because quite frankly, I’ve only come across a handful of promising candidates (pre-law student from Milwaukee, small business owner from Green Bay, purchaser for a manufacturing company from Neenah) I like the idea of narrowing the dating pool to men who share similar interests and values. I realize, of course, that a guy can claim anything on his profile. Before I meet any of them, I’ll talk with him for a few weeks to make sure he’s not a serial killer. It doesn’t take long for me to weed out the ones I’m not interested in, especially if under “I’m really good at” they list shotgunning beer. True story.

I’m trying to come up with an appropriate introduction to this, but it’s just not working, so I’ll just jump right into it. The following are the most ridiculous messages I’ve received in the last few days, as well as the responses I would like to send:

63% compatible: You’re kinda hot, are you friendly?

Well, you used the correct “your/you’re”, but no. I’m not friendly. Also, you look like a cast member from Jersey Shore, and I don’t GTL or use bronzer.

42% compatible: What’s up Charlie’s angle

Charlie’s angle? Do you mean Charlie’s Angel? 

0% compatible: Yummi 😉

I just threw up a little.

45% compatible: How does this sound hope on the back of my motorcycle up to door county sit on one of the cliff sides n we right poems or short stories on ur kindle 🙂

You have no idea what a Kindle is, do you?

73% compatible: Hello how are you doing I just have a question do you go for the men with looks or do you go for what they have to offer you and treat you like gold and may I add that you are extremely beautiful

I go for good looking men who treat me well. Can I ask a question? What do you have against punctuation? 

0% compatible: Hi, I like ur profile, wanna chat? Would u step barefoot on a cake?

What. The. Fuck.