Tag Archives: Love

The Crooked Kiss

Something has happened to my face.

On Saturday, I went to the grocery store.  I got groceries.  It started to rain.  I didn’t want to wait for it to stop, so I ran to my car, threw the groceries in, put the cart away, got back inside and was soaked… It’s rained a lot here lately.  This was the second time I’d been soaked in my car in two days in a row.  Pulled out my phone to take a selfie to send to Ormsby and noticed that my mouth was off.

Like… crooked.  I checked to make sure I wasn’t accidentally holding it that way.  I wasn’t.  Tried moving it.  It moved back in place (yes, I realize I sound like Potato Head here) but then went crooked again.

It wasn’t that bad… not that noticeable… but I noticed it and I didn’t send the selfie.

By the time Ormsby got home that night, it was even worse.  My right eye was droopy.  My mouth was curved into this involuntary half-smile.  I looked like a stroke patient.

I attributed it to stress.  Because this is what happens when I get stressed out.  Well, not this specifically, but weird shit like this.  In 2006, before my wedding, I lost my ability to walk.  My legs started just… burning… from the inside out.  Like if you imagine a log that’s thrown onto a bonfire and it’s hot and red underneath the bark that’s not really burning yet… that’s what it felt like.  The doctors thought I had MS or a brain tumor.  I definitely did not have a brain tumor.  A second opinion ruled out MS too.

But as the wedding got closer, it got worse and worse until I could barely walk.  My father had to practically support me as I got down the aisle and if it hadn’t been for the prednisone and the valium I don’t know if I’d have made it at all.

It dissipated after several months.  I’d have flare ups now and again, but never like that one time and I joked (after the divorce) that my body just as an adverse reaction to marriage.

It happened again in 2012 when my company was being transferred to Allstate and I was I was in a relationship with 3.0 (who never seemed to be satisfied with who I was or what I was doing).  I didn’t think it was that stressful, really… but then I woke up one morning with double vision.  And a droopy eye.  I think it might have been my right eye then, but I don’t remember.  Again, I got diagnosed with a potential brain tumor or with MS and I went through the whole MRI thing again.  No brain tumor.  Four Xanax and a Contrast MRI later, no MS.  No one could figure out what it was.  We attributed it to stress.

It disappeared by November.

Then Saturday happened.  I spent all day Sunday on the couch… sleeping mostly… waking up once in a while to look at my face.  It was severely depressing to look at – swollen, pulsating (twitching), I did, in fact, look like a stroke patient.  Ormsby begged me to go to a doctor; I didn’t want to at first – I knew what they’d say.  More MRIs, only to find that there’s nothing visibly wrong with me except that I have an anxiety disorder (which we all know).

But by Monday, when this wasn’t any better, and actually got worse the second I walked into work, I told HR that I needed to leave to go to a doctor immediately (she agreed… I looked like shit).  And so I spent the afternoon in the doctor’s office.

Long story short, she thinks I have neuropathy.  Caused by stress and anxiety.  I’ve been referred to a neurologist so they can do some electro-test thing on my brain.  But it’s hard to get into a neurologist here so by the time I get seen, the symptoms will probably have dissipated again (like they do) and I can only hope this partial paralysis doesn’t last.

I think the worst thing is what it’s done to my self esteem.  I don’t even like to look in the mirror anymore.  I hid away in my office all day and internally cringed when my coworkers called me “Droopy.”  Even though I know they didn’t mean anything by it, it brought up too many memories of getting made fun of at school as a child.

Ormsby still seems to be attracted to me, and things are fine here.  Better than fine, actually.  Unlike 3.0, he’s told me he’s not leaving me just because I have some stupid neurological disorder.  And I believe him.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if, when we kiss, it feels as crooked to him as it does to me… Though I know that, even if it did, he’d still kiss me anyway.  Because that’s what love is.  And he’s pretty fantastic that way.


I have tried to write this five times since August and I’ve failed miserably every time.  But sooner or later I knew I wanted, needed, to post it.

My cat, Satine, is almost fourteen years old.  We met way back in 2002 when I was about to complete my freshman year of college and she was a two-week-old rescue that needed four hour feedings because her mother had abandoned her.  We didn’t have any room for her and her siblings at the vet clinic where I worked, but my parents had just gotten a condo for me to live in for the summer, and I was in need of a cat.  So I told them that if they could hang on to her for me for two more weeks, until finals were over, I’d take her.  They agreed.

They called a week later – when my condo was only half ready and when I was in the middle of finals – to tell me that if I wanted her I needed to come now.  Her siblings had all gotten sick and, while she wasn’t sick yet, she likely would be soon.  Two of them had already died.  The third was already sick.  When I picked her up that afternoon and they asked if I wanted them both, the rescuer in me wanted to take both of them and try to rehab the boy.  But I knew better – when they are that little, once they start getting diarrhea like that, there isn’t much you can do.

I took her back to my condo… she was so small – her ears weren’t even all the way up yet.  She weighed about two-tenths of a pound.  And she was covered in shit.  I put her in the bathroom sink and cleaned her again and again with Dawn until she was clean.  Then I wrapped her in a towel and held her until she dried.

Throughout the night I tried feeding her several times (by feeding her, I mean with a bottle) but she wouldn’t eat.  Finally, at about 2 a.m., I gave up, wrapped her in my old Dr. Seuss sweatshirt, and went to bed, figuring I’d wake up to a dead kitten.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I woke up the next morning with her nestled snugly in that crook of my neck between my chin and my chest, warm, sleeping, and purring away.  When she ate that morning, I realized that she was going to be okay.

She quickly became my shadow… following me everywhere, talking all the time (she is QUITE the talker), getting into messes she shouldn’t… she actually stole one of my beanie babies – a hamster that she was determined to have, no matter where I put it.  To this day, she carries it with her everywhere.

She’s not an easy cat to handle.  She has had serious urinary issues (even a bladder stone), she hates the vet – so much so, that one of her old medical charts is covered in his blood.  I even had to remove her stitches on my own, because the doctors were too afraid to do it.  She does not get along with anyone… not other cats, not dogs, not people… Well, except for me… And she’s finally, after a year and a half of living with him, started to let Ormsby pet her.  But I think we both know that the only person that will ever get the privilege of picking her up and snuggling her will be me…

Almost fourteen years after that day in 2002, Satine and I have moved around a lot.  She’s lived in four states – Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Florida.  In essence, through everything, she’s been my constant.  See, she’s the only living creature that has BEEN there for the entirety of my adult life.  She’s been there as I completed a degree and started working on another one.  She’s been there, right beside me, watching television or playing World of Warcraft.  She’s sat stubbornly in empty laundry baskets when I was trying to fold clothes, or stretched out in my clean bed after I’ve changed the sheets – or on my freshly vacuumed floor.  She’s the one thing that has met me, consistently, at the door when I got home from work, or came home from traveling, or even just the grocery store.  And though no one believes me when I say this, she talks to me.  Like, literally talks to me (in cat… or duck… when she feels like quacking).  We have conversations.  To us this is normal… to everyone else?  I guess I sound like a crazy cat lady.

But that’s my point… she’s been there for me when there was no one else – through an abusive marriage and a comparatively civil divorce, through countless relationships and breakups.  Her finest moment came at the end of one of those, when she scratched the hell out of Botboy’s hand when he was moving his shit out of my apartment (when I wasn’t home) – and afterward, when she sat on my feet in my bed that night as I lay there, trying to comprehend what had just happened.

About six months ago, though, after we moved, she started rapidly losing weight.  And that wasn’t normal for her.  She’s always been a big girl and to drop weight like that wasn’t good for her.  I took her to the vet, got a diagnosis… and at this point, I am just keeping her comfortable.  I could put her through surgeries, and medication, and multiple vet trips and tests but you know, she hates the doctor so much, and hates leaving the house so much, that I have a hard time justifying putting her through that torture when all it would do is prolong the inevitable.  She is not in pain.  She sleeps a lot, but is still eating very well and still has enough energy to play with me now and then, and to carry her stuffed hamster from room to room.   I do not know how long she has, but I have noticed a big change in her this winter – and I can’t decide whether it’s due to the cold, or whether it’s just due to the fact that she is getting older and slowing down.  I guess time will tell.

In the meantime, now that she really needs me, it’s my turn to be there for her.  Because that’s what best friends do.



Six Months: Sex, Boobs, and Barbecue

It’s not often that I can say that I’ve been seeing the same guy, exclusively, for six months.  And it’s even rarer for me to say that I am still HAPPILY seeing the same guy after six months of exclusive dating.  This is a milestone that I have now met.

Although we made things “Facebook Official” on the drive up to Louisville from Tampa (with all my worldly belongings in tow), Ormsby and I had been seeing each several months before that… and we agreed to make the “official” exclusivity date August 2, 2014.

Now this six month thing, while it may seem minor to some of you, is a big deal to us.  For Ormsby, because six months is generally when his previous relationships began going sour.  For me, because any relationship I’ve had that lasted longer than six months already WAS sour, and continued to BE sour, and I continued to stay due to my predilection for masochism and dedication where dedication was unwarranted.  For him, six months usually signaled an impending breakup.  For me, six months was simply another day – not worth celebrating, yet celebrated because that’s just what one “did.”

Not anymore.  I don’t know what’s happened – I don’t know if I’ve finally grown up, gotten a brain, or just gotten lucky in the relationship department (I mean, because seriously, after everything I’ve been through, a little bit of luck is LONG, LONG overdue). But we are now six months in, things aren’t showing any signs of stopping or souring, and I’m uproariously happy.

Why?  There are many reasons, but to name a few…

First?  I really love the guy.  And if that’s not the best reason for being happy and keeping him around, I don’t know what is.

Second: We talk.  Like… about stupid stuff half the time that no one else understands.  But also, when things go wrong, we talk about it.  We don’t fight about it.  It’s quite interesting how constructive those uncomfortable conversations can be when you are actually conversing and not bringing up a billion things that aren’t even relevant to the situation.  I’ll admit… I was worried when I moved in with him that it would be like the experience I had in the past – because with Mr. Ex, once we started cohabitating, we argued from the time we got up until the time we went to bed some days.  I was worried that history really would repeat itself and I’d find that it’d be the same way here.  I was wrong.  I’m glad to say I was wrong, because this is one of those times when I really didn’t want to be right.  That’s not to say we don’t have “discussions”.  We do.  But they are not knockdown, drag out fights that end with one of us saying a bunch of shit we don’t mean.  And that’s pretty awesome.

I mean I guess it helps that we kind of already “get” each other pretty well.  But where we don’t, both of us really make the effort to understand what we don’t understand.  Granted, sometimes it takes a while to get there, but I’m finding that taking the time is much, much more preferable to not really ever caring enough to take the time.

Third:  The sex is AH-MAZING.  And frequent.  Like every day, sometimes twice a day frequent.  And for someone with a high libido like me, that’s a pretty big deal.  He does a very, very good job with keeping up with me (though I think sometimes I wear him out).  But then I did also come complete with a very established, $5000 in value lingerie collection.  I’m like a brunette Barbie that bought out Victoria’s Secret.  They should seriously give me stock in that, since I own fuck tons of their stuff.  Anyway, the lingerie collection certainly helps.

Still, though, it hasn’t gotten boring.  Far from it.  I’d swear it gets better every single time we do it, and considering we really do actually do it on a daily basis (I’m not lying here), that’s saying something.  I keep thinking that one day it’s going to level out, but it hasn’t yet, and in total I’ve been fucking him since May of 2014, which is a couple of months longer than I’ve actually been dating him.

For serious… this is the most sex, and the best sex, I’ve ever had in my life.

Fourth: I don’t have to fight with him to go visit my family.  Of course, it probably helps that my sister’s German Shepherds just had the most adorable litter of puppies.  But even before that, he went with me, he’s friendly, personable, everyone likes him and my friends adore him.

So to celebrate this milestone, you might be wondering what we got each other?  Well, to make the day as special as possible, I told him I wanted him to tell me what he wanted for dinner… anything… and I’d make it.  I cook every night, of course, but usually the menu is planned by both of us.  But we were out that day, we were pretty much out of food in the kitchen, and we were hungry.  Instead of cooking, I took him to Mark’s Feed Store, which is where we ate during one of my visits over the summer.  They have barbecue there.  We ate a lot of it.

And for me?  He got me boobs.  Now.  Let me explain.  I have boobs.  I didn’t always have them.  In high school, the lack thereof was the constant distress of my life, but I didn’t want the fake shit (not that I would have been allowed to get implants anyway).  In college, after I got on the pill, I got them.  I went from like an A to a C in about a year.  It was pretty spectacular.  But still, there’s always room for improvement.

And when I say that Ormsby got me boobs, I don’t mean that he paid for implants.  I mean they fucking started to grow again.  Not a lot.  Thank god.  Because I don’t want to have to completely overhaul my bra collection again.  But they’re definitely filling out.  And it wasn’t noticeable at first, but then I started realizing that my bras were a little tighter.  And my shirts were fitting differently.  And then I asked him if he’d noticed it too, and apparently he has.  We pulled out some topless photos he’d taken of me in Florida in the late summer (not posting them, don’t ask), and confirmed it.  Crazy shit.

Not complaining.  A little more to fill out the dresses, tops, and bras is always a welcome addition.

He doesn’t know how it happened.  I certainly don’t know how it happened.  But I credit him with it, because he’s literally the only change I’ve made in my life and he plays with them a lot.  Maybe he willed it to happen or something.  I don’t know.  Still, it was a pretty nice (if unexpected) six month anniversary gift.

So we’ve hit a milestone.  I am madly in love with this guy.  He has barbecue (or had it, till he ate it all); I have boobs.  Life is good.

The L Word

First, to make things clear:  I do not have a problem with having, or showing, emotional love.  When I feel it, I have no qualms about and make no issue of displaying that, whether it be through random acts of kindness, generosity, PDA, etc.  I am not afraid of the emotion in and of itself.  The word, though, and in particular, the verbal EXPRESSION of the word?  Now that’s fucking scary.

I don’t think I always thought it was scary.  Like, pre-marriage, expressing it was… well… if not habitual or normal, just something that was done when I felt that way, confident that HE (whoever that recipient was at the time) felt that way also, and never fearful that the admission would ever be used against me or not reciprocated, or that the word meant to me what it meant to him.

But then, after the divorce, I fell into a string of… well… less than successful relationships with men who either misused the word or who couldn’t say it at all.  First there was Buttface, who had been saying it for the better part of ten years.  And who, once his divorce was filed for, moved up from Florida to, ostensibly, be closer to me (this is what he told me, at least, at first).  And then who suddenly, without explanation, without reason (at least as far as I could see) stopped saying it.  Now, I’ll take proper credit for not simply asking him why, and for sticking around for the better part of two years after, trying to “figure it out” when I could have moved on.  But once I realized, after all that time, that he wasn’t going to say it again, that he wasn’t going to tell me what had changed his mind, and, most importantly, that he was now dating (at thirty-one), a seventeen year old from Oklahoma, I cut my losses.  Oh, I got revenge in the end… of course… it was both warranted and necessary to the overall healing process (and of course when his cat took a shit all over the bed about a year later because the toilet-training efforts weren’t going to plan, I was pretty happy about that too). But, revenge or not, I began to realize that it was entirely possible to use that word, seem to mean it, then drop it like a really bad habit (by the way, that’s the worst comparison ever – if it’s a “habit,” that means it is not easy to break, but whatever).

Still, once I was over that, I chalked it up to bad luck, bad judgment, whatever, and decided to learn from the experience: if I was with a man who seemed to suddenly change, I would simply not tolerate it anymore, not waste as much time (god, NEVER as much time), and I would leave.  Or if I was with a man who simply would drag things out, string me along, and never progress, again, I’d leave. But, of course, I didn’t really think something worth having would be that hard to procure.  After all, I had had no problems pre-divorce.  Of course, I had been younger then, my boyfriends had also been younger (and probably less jaded), and I failed to take that into consideration.

Anyway.  After Buttface came 3.0.  THIS guy, I’m convinced, simply wasn’t capable of feeling the emotion. I loved him, or at least I am pretty sure I did (though considering the minimal amount of time it took me to get OVER him, maybe I was just in love with the idea that he was pretty well off and had a nice condo in the nicest area of Tampa), but when I said it, not only did he not reciprocate, but he used the phrase, “I’m not sold.” Or simply just told me he wasn’t there yet.  Now, if that wasn’t bad enough, once he knew how I felt, he used it against me.  If I did something he didn’t like, if I did something he couldn’t tolerate, he’d say that he was… oh… 95 percent there, but then I did that, and it knocked it down to 92.  Yes.  He was a weirdo.  But I’m dedicated.  (And that’s not always the best thing… especially when the guys I’m dedicated to are not as dedicated to me.) So I stayed.  Or at least I tried.  But when it came down to holiday time, and I didn’t want to take someone home who could not feel for me what I was able to feel for him, and I CERTAINLY didn’t want to stick around for several years, wasting MORE time on another Buttface.  So I gave him the ultimatum.  And he thought about it for a few days.  And then it finally ended when he called and said, “I just don’t think I’m going to be able to fall in love with you, hon.” When he came over to get his stuff, he was crying.  I was not crying.  Not because I did not want to, but because I had decided that he did not deserve to see it.  And I wanted to keep my dignity.  Dignity preserved.  Mission accomplished.  But I still began to wonder whether some of this was my fault, if I had lost my mojo or something, or was somehow just not doing this correctly anymore.

Moving on.

Then there was Botboy.  Botboy used the word first.  After the first vodka shipment I’d sent him.  And because, at least in my experience, alcohol is a truth serum, I believed him.  But Botboy was as jaded as I am.  I don’t think he didn’t mean it… I don’t think he intended to come home, get his stuff, and leave.  I do wonder, sometimes, if he used the fact that I loved him to his advantage to procure supplies, snacks, etc.  Especially when he bragged to me much later about how he’d used other women for this or that.  Still, I think he did love me in the only way that he knew how or was capable of – the only way he’d ever been able to love anyone before. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have been able to give me what I was looking for, and looking back on it, I know that now. But at the end of the day, whether he meant it or not then is not the point.  The point is that I DID fall for him, I DID love him, and he SEVERELY hurt me when he left.  So much so that I told myself that, moving forward, never again would I say it first, never again would I repeat it unless the man said it to me while sober, and I had SEEN the reflection of his words in his actions.

It was a year after that before I considered dating anyone else– and that was Ormsby.

And so that’s where we were… I moved back to Kentucky, into Ormsby’s apartment.  And neither he, nor I, had ever used the word with each other before. I sometimes think he was as afraid of it as I was.  I can’t tell you how many times the word was on the tip of my tongue and I didn’t say it, not only out of fear of what might happen, but also out of stubbornness.  I had said I was not going to say it first, I meant it, and for once this was a rule I was absolutely not going to break.

Except I did.  In December, a week before Christmas, when I finally found my figurative balls, and just said it.

And apparently he’d known how I felt since July.  Even before I knew how I felt.

And with that information?  He’d done absolutely NOTHING.  I mean… nothing in that he didn’t use it against me.  He didn’t give me percentage comparisons to live up to.  He didn’t start using it only suddenly stop with no explanation, and best of all, he didn’t stand me up, break his promises, or make me wonder where I stood (much).  And even when I realized it (and I can’t even tell you when that was, exactly), I still didn’t say it.  Not in July.  Not in August when we started dating.  Not in September and October when he was in Florida for work.  Not even in November when we made it Facebook official and moved in together (yes, we do everything backward).

But when I said it, he said it back.

And that’s when the curse was broken.  Because I knew he meant it.  Not because of the way he said it, not because he was drunk (he wasn’t), but because of the things he’d done up to that point that illustrated it long before those words were ever uttered.  I didn’t have to doubt, I didn’t have to question it, I just knew it.  And whatever had happened in the past that made me wonder if all of this was just “me”, or if I was as unlovable as the Darren Hayes song I listened to over and over again during the 3.0 days, it didn’t matter anymore.  Because I knew it wasn’t true.


Relationships are complicated.  Somewhere between elementary school and adulthood, we’ve gone from the silly notes in our lockers that say “I like you, do you like me, circle ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” to full blown mass “freak out” sessions where we obsess over whether that guy is ever going to call again, whether she’s going to be turned off by too much back hair (if it’s me?  Yes.), and we overanalyze every extended silence, every stupid Facebook post, and every text we DO get that isn’t to our liking.  We’ve gone from knowing that we’re a couple because we circled “Yes” on a piece of paper to wondering after a few dates, a couple of heavy makeout sessions, and a romp in bed whether we can start thinking of ourselves as a couple, or if we’ve just been used.

And I don’t know if it’s become standard for everyone, but I know that for me, this has gotten more and more complicated as I’ve gotten older.  People have gotten to be less apt to communicate, less likely to be reliable, more likely to “disappear” rather than to answer the “hard questions” or talk about the “hard issues.”  No one wants to WORK on problems anymore, everyone just wants to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence (regardless of whether it turns out to be the Garden of Eden or a yard full of volcanic ash).

I label my dating life as pre-divorce and post-divorce.  Pre-divorce, I dated a fair amount.  I’m not saying everyone was awesome (as a matter of fact, many of them were NOT awesome), but just about everyone was, at least, straightforward about what they were looking for.  Dating was a means to entering into a relationship – it was never, or at least usually not, a means to an endless string of interactions that resulted, finally, in an abrupt disappearance.  Most times it ended in commitment.  Or, at least, the expectation toward eventual commitment.  It was understood that things were going to go this way or, sooner than later, there would be a parting of ways.

The funny thing is, I used to think this was “complicated.”  Maybe in its way it was… Because in those days, it wasn’t so much the worry about whether or not I was actually “in” one, but it was the worry of what said significant other was doing when I was not around.  No stranger to the “cheating” boyfriends, I can’t say that I went into those relationships believing that people were going to cheat on me, but I’d say I was more hyper-vigilant about it than I would have been had I never been cheated on.  Still, it was easy to get a date, nothing was expected out of me except to be a good dinner companion.  If things went further eventually, it was “understood” that we’d do it again.  It was “understood” that we’d see each other again.  It was “understood” that the likelihood of becoming exclusive was imminent.  I learned, after a few months of this, that it was better to trust until I had a good reason NOT to trust.

But that was then.

Post-divorce, dating has gotten significantly harder.  And I’m not sure if it’s that the attitudes of the world have changed, or if I’ve just gotten worse at choosing men, but things are VERY, VERY different.  As I said earlier, people don’t communicate anymore.  Instead of phone calls, we text.  Instead of using complete sentences and punctuation, we use chatspeak.  Spelling, even, has fallen by the wayside – and smart people, like myself, who give a shit about such things are expected to just roll with it and lower our standards.

Because no one wants to communicate, we’re all afraid of each other.  Some of us prefer to keep our relationships completely text or chat based (and we have no idea how to interact face to face).  Others can’t be straightforward and upfront about things when we don’t expect them to work – we’ve been dumped (or have done the dumping) so many times that we’re afraid to do it again… we don’t want the shit show, we don’t want to deal with the fireworks, so, to avoid confrontation, we just walk away and expect the other person to just “get over it.”  It’s easier for us… we don’t have to see it.  Who the fuck cares what they have to go through?  We say it’s to “spare someone else’s feelings,” but that’s a cop-out.  It’s really to spare ourselves from the discomfort.

Further, and I think this has to do with my age, everyone who is still out there, and single, has been burned, by now, more than once.  It’s left us all jaded.  No one trusts anyone anymore… we’ve all been through the ringer so many times that we jump into our relationships EXPECTING to play games.  We go into these things BELIEVING that everyone we’re talking to will lie and cheat on us eventually.  And so, finding something solid, something dependable, something lasting has gotten really difficult.  I don’t lie, and I don’t cheat, but if I’m completely up front and I TELL someone these things, I don’t expect to be believed.  After all, why should I?  Everyone’s heard the same story again and again.  My predecessors got there before me, said the same shit I did, but did it all anyway.

And so, instead, we’ve become a culture that goes through life, pretending to attempt to find something solid (probably genuinely desiring something solid) but are too afraid to truly stick our necks out there to GET it.  We settle, instead, for superficial relationships… we text each other a lot, but don’t interact in person.  We get to know someone at a high level, perpetually hold them at arm’s length.  We use each other for sex, because the orgasms are nice.  We’ve become more and more accepting of being naked in front of each other, but we’re too afraid to REALLY be naked, to REALLY show someone else who we are, out of fear of being hurt again.  We’re protecting ourselves, but essentially, our inability to expose ourselves to pain, our unwillingness to put ourselves out there, is the same thing as punishing a complete stranger (or, at least, someone who has done nothing to us) for something that someone else (or several others) have done.

I’m just as bad about this as anyone else.  Communication has never been my problem.  If I want something, or if I like someone, I fucking say it.  I’m not shy about that.  I don’t mind being naked, literally, in front of someone either – I got over that when I started doing nude modeling a decade ago.  But I still have my hangups.  After the divorce, rather than finding boyfriends, or potential boyfriends, I realized that, I could easily find someone to go to bed with, but it became difficult to find someone to BE with.  And when I did find someone to BE with, well, if you’ve read the blog, you know what I’ve found… 3.0, who couldn’t get himself “sold”; Botboy who could fall in love with TransFormers, fall in love with me, even, but only say so when he was drunk and who ran the first chance he got when he came home.  I can go on dates with others and things will look as if they’re going well, but then, without any sort of explanation, the guy disappears.

And with every failure, with every disappointment, I myself have become more jaded.  I find myself going into relationships EXPECTING to be disappointed.  I find myself, essentially, punishing someone who has never had the chance to prove himself to be different for bullshit that others have given me in the past.  I wait for a screw up, and I use that screw up to further the conclusions I’ve drawn about everyone that’s already out there.  I don’t let people in because I’m too busy blaming total strangers for the failures of the douchebags I’ve already known.  I’m just as jaded as everyone else.

Back in 1998, a friend told me something once and it’s stayed with me through all this time (despite the fact that he turned out to be one of the ones that wanted to “fuck me” but not “be with me):  Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.  Assumption is what we’re all doing these days – instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt, instead of letting them prove themselves to be different we’re assuming that they aren’t, and we’re sabotaging ourselves.

Life is about choices, life is about decisions.  In the end, I have to make a choice.  I can choose to remain alone because I’m too afraid to open myself up to potential failure.  I know that if I continue to choose to punish people for what their predecessors have done, then that is the same thing as choosing to be alone.  It’s like having a “self destruct” button that I can press whenever I feel like it.

But I can also choose to stop this.  I can choose to stop repeating old patterns that clearly have gotten me nowhere.  I can choose to stop assuming the worst.  Does that I mean I go into every situation wide-eyed, naïve and ready to throw it all out there (emotionally) to someone I barely know? No.  We learn what we learn for a reason.  But it does mean that I stop expecting the worst out of everyone… it means I give them a chance to prove that they really are different without judging them before they’ve ever had their say.  It means that I open up a little, give people the benefit of the doubt, and that I, at least, start looking at things more objectively.  It means that I let myself truly bare it all when I feel ready to do that, and I do it without expecting that I’ll immediately be steamrolled as a result.

It’s scary… but when have I ever been chickenshit?


(Also if you think for a minute I’m going to stop doing the Internet Dating Escapades, you’d be wrong… some people are just asking for it.  Or, well, I’ll keep doing this until I do find someone that lets me in… once I do that, the IDEs stop, because my profiles will come down.)

1.0 – Another Flashback, 1997-2002

In 1997, the internet was still in its infancy.  So was I… at least sort of… at the age of fourteen.  I’d grown up in a small town, had never contemplated leaving it for more than a minute, had been exposed only to what was there and what I’d seen so far.  I was, to put it bluntly, naïve.  In the summer of 1997, my father got a subscription to the dial-up internet service that was relatively new to the county.  We were one of the first families that I knew of that had access to it.  To this day, the sound of the dial-up connection still makes me smile (though I am still much happier with my high-speed cable connection than I was with dial-up… if I had to go back I don’t think I’d survive).  At any rate, because of all of this, that summer, I was introduced to HTML chat rooms that, very quickly (and in some cases cruelly) broadened my experience and rewarded my quick and painful education with the realization that not everyone in the world was kind, trustworthy, and without ulterior motives.  But despite that education, despite all the “baddies” that lurked behind their own internet connections and who, a few times, made themselves more real than I care to recall here, I did manage to meet some people who were decent.  It’s true, they were human also, and by human I mean they had their faults, the same as I did, but they weren’t trying to engage in sex talk every minute of every hour of the endless nights I’d spend chatting with them (and others). We talked about other things, day to day things, stuff you’d talk to your “real person” friends about.  And due to that, I was able to strike up as genuine a friendship as possible with them.

When the summer was over, after the drama that provided the education on just how cruel the world could really be, the internet was disconnected.  Because I could not fathom a world without my friends in it, I set up a system.  It wasn’t easy – it took a lot of hiding, a lot of lying, a lot of sneaking around.  It kept me very busy and it was questionable, during those days, whether I thought of much else beyond my next phone card, my next stamp, beyond the next letter that would find its way through the channels.  But, despite the difficulties, despite the amount of red tape I had to circumvent just to keep the system alive, to keep the communication flowing, it was worth it.  It kept me busy, and it gave me something to live for when I didn’t feel that there was much else.

Of the two I managed to keep in contact with during that time, the one I now call 1.0 was probably the most constant.  He was, for all practical purposes, in those days, my moral compass.  I went to him for everything – told him everything.  He was like an older brother to me.  Only three years older than myself, he had just started college and was, at least it seemed, trying to navigate his world as much as I was now trying to navigate mine.  We were close… We had emailed all summer long, once or twice a day, every day, and when we could, we’d chat.  We finally moved the conversations to phone, first exploiting the 800 number his mother had set up for business and, when that situation changed, he took advantage of 5 cent Sundays and called me as often as he could.  Once the internet had gotten disconnected, he was the first that tried to reach out, and once the system was instituted so that we could send mail back and forth, I truly lived for the days when I’d get his 4-6 page, handwritten letters.

But things changed, as all things do.  A couple of years passed, and I got involved in my own things – I started working at a camp, I made more friends, and the school year became less about managing mail and phone cards and more about just getting through the days so that I could get to camp in the summer, and the blessed freedom that promised.  We never had a falling out, exactly, but I got busy and he got busy and we just sort of lost contact.  It had gotten to be too difficult for me, I think, ultimately, to try balance everything.  And I became involved in my own love affairs that left little room for anything that involved long distance connections.

The goal, though, ultimately, had always been to get to college.  College promised a freedom that I didn’t have, even at camp – the freedom to come and go as I pleased, to talk to whomever I liked without having to worry about my phone conversations being monitored, without having to give the internet friends a cover to assume when they called (and having to worry about them forgetting to use it – as one did once, and the damage control was unbelievable).  Once I was at college, I could reassume responsibility for all of the communications.  I could have access to the internet, and to email again.  And once I got there, I immediately started trying to track them down – the two I’d kept in contact with.

One was easy to find.  He found me.  1.0, on the other hand, that was a gamble, as I knew he’d graduated from college at the same time that I’d graduated from high school, and as all I had was his college email address, I wasn’t sure that it would still work.  I took a chance.  And it worked.  And we started talking again – it was as if nothing had changed, as if we’d never missed a beat.  In October of 2001, he decided to come visit me for the first time.

I was excited up until the day he was due to arrive.  Then I was just nervous.  I didn’t for a minute think it would end up in the same way that it had in 1997 when one of the “baddies” from the internet ventured down.  But all the same, I was nervous.  And when I picked him up from the airport with a friend of mine, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to do with him after that.  I think we checked him into the cheapest hotel we could find, since he had no money (seriously this place was gross), we took him back to campus, and he and I walked around awhile until I dropped him off back at the hotel.

The weekend was good, in its way.  Awkward for awhile.  We did not have sex… I think I was more experienced than he was, and that’s not saying much, though we did make out in that filthy hotel again.  Regardless, when he was due to leave the following Sunday, I did not want him to go, and we had an “understanding” at that point.  We were together.  No words needed.

We saw each other, when we could, for the next few months.  He sent me a HUGE box for my birthday, packed with all kinds of things I’d mentioned wanting over the years (and a lot of things I hadn’t, but which were equally awesome).  He came down again for finals and while I stayed in his hotel room with him this time (and while we fooled around), we didn’t have sex then either.  He’d brought condoms.  I guess, looking back on it, that was his intention.  But despite the fact that I was not a virgin, and had not been since I was sixteen, I didn’t know what to do about it.  He WAS still a virgin, and he knew even less than I did.  So the evenings were more about making out, fooling around, and talking – that was fine with me… I hadn’t learned the meaning of the word “orgasm” yet, and sex was, at that point, just a memory of something very awkward that seemed to end well for the man but was just “eh” for the woman (yes, I told you, I didn’t know what I was talking about).

I made plans to visit him in NYC that following January.  When I went home for Christmas, knowing that I wouldn’t have access to the internet from my parents’ house  – at least, not unmonitored access, I did what I could do to mitigate that circumstance.  We managed to get through the holidays, but at the beginning of my second semester, he broke up with me.

I was devastated.  Not just because I’d bought those tickets to go to NYC (which were nonrefundable), but because I’d truly loved him… at least to the best of my ability at that time.  I could not imagine going through a semester without his support, I could not imagine what my life would be like without him in it, and further, I could not imagine how awkward that trip to New York was going to be now that he and I were not “together.”  I did not want to cancel it, and I did not cancel it.  But when I left for the trip, there were many questions in my mind, none of which got solved, most of which were made more confusing by the fact that we were still fooling around, he was still holding my hand, and his uncle groped my ass when he was helping me get into a larger overcoat.

The trip was fantastic, in that I got to see the city (though I was too poor at that time to see it properly).  It did not help me get over 1.0.  It only served, once I got back into Louisville, to make me miss him even more… but I kept my distance, as much as I could.  I knew I needed to get over him, and while we still talked, the frequency of those conversations, and the content, were nothing like the way they had been the previous fall.  Still, I’d made the resolution to get over him.  Somehow getting over boyfriends back in those days was easier than it is now… I found someone else.  Someone who taught me the meaning of the word “orgasm” and I was satisfied.  1.0 was, if not a fading memory, at least, right then, not a dominating entity.

At least not until 2003.

Inspiration to the January Masochism – January Flashbacks

This post has no “real” narrative – it’s a series of conversations that were had between myself and Botboy on the night we saw each other, before he left.  These are, in essence, some of the things he said that inspired the last several months of masochism.  Or helped to… I’d say, honestly, the months of almost nightly conversations leading up to this, the amount of transparency I got that evening, combined with the conversations below, were what made me agree to wait.

I know they are not complete, they certainly do not encompass hours and hours of conversations we had both on our way to Clearwater, at the restaurant, and on the trip back to Tampa afterward.  Regardless, I have intentionally left out the things that he said regarding his personal life out of respect for his privacy.

I want to start this… transcript… with part of the conversation we had a few days before that fateful night in January.  He’d been calling me relentlessly since November.  I didn’t know what he wanted, so I posted the T-Minus 30 Days post, and then the Fifteen Days post.  He texted me, asking me to call him (or, at any rate, a callback number – he swears he didn’t put that in there, but that’s what the text said).  We talked.

Me:  So am I going to see you before you leave?

Botboy:  Probably not.

Me:  Well, that’s what I needed to know then… I’ve got to go.  You be careful, okay?

Botboy:  Wait.

Me:  What?

Botboy:  Where are you going?

Me:  I’m hanging up.  If you don’t want me, I don’t see that there’s anything more to say.

Botboy:  I’m not just looking to get laid.

Me:  Well what are you looking for?

Botboy:  I’m looking for someone to handle my shit.

Me:  I’ve already done that.  And very well, I might add.  And I’m not just looking to get laid either.

Botboy: (after more conversation)… Let’s have a flashback date!

And so we planned a date.  For before he was to leave.  We were going to do the same things we’d done after he’d come home – the Thai place in Clearwater.  I agreed.  He kept having me call him for days leading up to it to “remind him”.  When I asked why he needed me to call him to remind him, he told me it was because he liked when I “did his bidding.”  I shook my head.  Whatever.  What you have to realize is that this is just how he can be – I’ve long since learned to see the humor in it instead of getting frustrated with it.

On the day of the date, he showed up early – or tried to – to surprise me, but got the wrong building.  I ended up picking him up at the mall parking lot, which is close to where I worked.  We drove to Clearwater to the Thai place, making a pit stop to Toys-R-Us (that’s his thing) on the way there.  We talked about a lot of things.  Those things I won’t repeat here.  But the gist of it was that he was telling me about how he’s gotten his life in order, had let go of the past, etc. etc. etc.  I was part of the past.  I did not understand why I was there, if that had been his goal.  So I asked:

Me: So… then why am I here?  What do you want?

Botboy: I wanted my Crazypants back… as a friend.

Me:  Just as a friend? (He’d been alluding to wanting more than that in previous Skype chats.)

Botboy: I told you, we’re taking this stupid slow.

Me:  But you will be gone for six months.

Botboy: That’s why… while I’m gone… I want you to date.  And when I come back, if you have a boyfriend, we will go to lunch, and then I will never bother you again.

That’s when I started to think.  I didn’t know what to say to that.  I didn’t know whether that was what I wanted, or whether it wasn’t.  I was confused.

After dinner, in the car, I was telling him about someone else I knew that wanted to date me – that I could, if I wished, easily settle down with.

Me: … but I do not want him.  I do not love him.

Botboy:  Do you love me?

Me: (after a pause, trying to decide whether to be truthful or not) … Maybe…

Botboy:  MAYBE?!

Me: (struggling for a second – hearing those damned voices in my head telling me just to say it, he was leaving, I may never get another chance) Alright, alright, YES.  I do.


Still in the car, I’m driving.

Botboy has reached over, grabbed my tits, groped my legs, etc.  I cannot exactly respond, as I am driving.  And considering what he’d said about taking it slow, I was amused (but also confused).

Me: This is taking it slow, huh?

Botboy:  Yeah!  (Alluding to a prior conversation that happened months before where he’d told me he would play with my tits if I gave him a blowjob.)  So now I’ve played with your tits.

Me:  Yeah… you’ve skipped about a dozen bases, but yeah, you have.

Botboy: I know! So now you can give me a blowjob.

Me:  Um… no, that’s not how that works.  You haven’t given me what I need.

Botboy: What do you need?

Me:  I’ve told you what I need.

Botboy:  You need kisses.

Me:  I do.  To start.

Botboy: When I get back, I will run my fingers through your hair and stick my tongue down your throat…


(Yeah… this guy has game… but it makes me laugh, so I continued…)  At some point around this time, he bit me.  Hard.  It left teeth marks (photo included).  I still do not know what that was about.  But the bruises were there for two weeks.


We continued to drive… I continued to think… because I did not want what he’d said earlier.  I did not WANT him never to bother me again.  But I didn’t want to just hop into a relationship with him either… not after the stuff I’d already been through, not knowing what I knew.  So in the parking lot of the mall, after I hugged him and before he got into his car, I realized I needed to do… well… something… :

Me:  Wait.  Here’s what I’m going to do.  I can’t take my profiles down this time… but I’ve been dating, almost endlessly, since you left.  And I’m tired.  Also, I want you.  You know that.  (He nodded.)  And I don’t think it’s fair to date anyone else while I still have a thing for you.  So I’m not going to pursue anything until you are back.  So I’m not “actually” waiting…

Botboy: But technically…

Me:  Technically, I am…

We hugged twice more.  I told him to email me while he was away; he agreed.  I got in my car.  I left.

Lame or not, it doesn’t matter.  It’s what made me agree, for whatever it was worth, to wait.  And so I waited.  And that’s where Season 17 picks up this year… during the waiting, the masochism, and the games.

The important stuff to remember:  Aside from talking, the groping, and the fact that I have, twice, grabbed his dick through his pants, Botboy and I have never been any more physical than the hugs we’ve shared as he was leaving on the handful of times that we have been together in person.  I have never seen him naked.  We have never kissed, had sex, etc.


Change is a strange thing.  Life is full of it.  It’s something we do, whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, every single day (because no two days are exactly alike).  Most of us hate it.  It unsettles us.  It makes us look backward and reflect on what was – and how we got to the point that we are, currently, that effected the change.  Change, like time, is something that we cannot stop.  And often the two go hand in hand… change often comes over time (rarely does anything truly happen overnight – most times, even in small ways, it has been in the works for awhile).  And rarely is it something that we can hinder, or speed up, to our own liking.

There has been a lot of change in my life lately, though I suppose that’s no different than any other day, any other year, any other time.  But it FEELS different.  Sometimes when things change, I have a relative idea that things are going to be mostly the same for me, even though the surrounding circumstances are very different.  But 2014 has been a different entity entirely – and I sort of got the feeling that it would be around Christmas time and into New Years when I found eight dollars in my purse that had been hidden since early 2013.  The funny thing is, at least thus far, most of these changes haven’t directly affected ME, per se, but they have forever altered the way that I will interact with my family.

Last weekend I went to Kentucky for my sister’s wedding.  As I’ve written before, I hate weddings.  But I went anyway, because whether we are close or not, she is my sister.  And I went because she personally asked me to come.  I made the trip as pleasurable for myself as I possibly could, scheduling many things around the wedding to keep me properly occupied, but it still didn’t change the fact that I had to be in that town for that wedding on the date.

Right up to the ceremony, I kept myself busy – running errands, visiting the cemetery, helping with the decorations (and taking them down afterward), doing whatever I needed to do to keep my mind off of the fact that I really did not want to be there.  Because I’ve learned that keeping busy is the only way to make time fly.  Keeping busy is the best way to stay occupied.

My sister seemed happy, and I was happy for her.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel great about this to begin with.  They hadn’t dated that long, and he seemed awfully young.  But his whole family was there, and he looked ridiculously happy as well.  After talking to his family at length that day, and realizing that these people were really, really nice, I started feeling better about the whole thing.  I can’t say for sure that the marriage will last – who can these days? – but I know that she is in good hands and, whether we’re close or not, she’s still my little sister.

During the ceremony a journal was passed around for people to write marital advice in for her.  I couldn’t think of anything to write right then… after a failed marriage and nothing particularly substantial or promising afterward in relationships(and it’s been six years), I’m not exactly the poster child for giving sage advice in that area (even though I write about them).  So I didn’t write anything.  The wedding went off without a hitch, she was married, I helped clean up after the reception as quickly as I could since I had to get back to Louisville to see a friend later that night, and the day I’d been dreading since February ended – mostly painlessly.

The next day was when it hit me.  Things have changed now… irrevocably.  Coming back to Kentucky, when I DO come back to Kentucky, will never be the same.  It will never again be a matter of just going to my parents’ house, seeing her there, spending a few days, and leaving.  Because when she IS there, she won’t be alone.  And most of the time, she will not be there – she’ll be at her house, in another county.  And then I realized what I should have written that day.  It was too late to write it in the journal, so I sent it in an email instead:


It hit me last night when I was getting ready to go to sleep… you are married.  Nothing will ever be the same anymore, coming home to visit will never be the same anymore, but that’s okay.  Change is a part of life, and without it, we never really get anywhere…

…I didn’t know what to write in your journal yesterday, and so I didn’t.  But if this had come to me then, this is what I would have put in there:

 Take every day as it comes.  The whole point of life is to be happy, and if you are both happy in the moment, always, you don’t ever have to worry about being happy tomorrow.  


Because all of this is true.  Change, in and of itself, is a part of life.  Without it, we’d be stagnant.  Without it, we’d be stuck in a never-ending pattern that never gets us anywhere – things would always stay the same.  And while, maybe for some moments, that would be a good thing, for others, it would not be.  And even for the good moments, change is necessary so that we can move onto the next phase of wherever it is we are supposed to be going, good or bad.  The hard part, in essence, is being ready for it, whatever it brings.

How To Turn A Woman Off

Insult her friends, family, upbringing, or all of the above.  Especially when you’ve never met them or been anywhere near where she has grown up.  I know, I know, she talks about them all the time.  But that’s the point… they’re HERS to talk about.  If you aren’t even dating yet, your input (if it’s negative) is not required, desired, or appreciated.

Insult her other candidates.  Or tell her that she doesn’t know what she’s doing by considering her other candidates.  This just makes you look petty.  And if you were the top dog before, you will immediately become her least-favorite choice.  If you are lucky enough to remain a candidate at all.

Turn everything into a debate.  Or try to edge perfectly normal conversations into hot-button issues.  You’ll find out eventually whether you agree on things or not.  There’s no reason to start arguments right off the bat for whatever motives you have.  If debates are how you normally interact with your friends, then don’t treat her the same way that you treat your friends – she doesn’t want to spend every second of her day on eggshells, hoping she doesn’t have to argue with you about politics, religion, or what kind of chicken is the best.  Women don’t want men who are argumentative.

Be a know-it-all.  You don’t know everything about everything.  It isn’t possible.  Pretending otherwise, especially when she proves you wrong, or when she knows you’re wrong but doesn’t feel like debating it (see above) makes you look arrogant.  And ridiculous.  And unattractive.

Move too quickly.  So you think she likes you.  Awesome.  She probably does.  But that doesn’t mean you jump in with both feet, start inviting her to meet your family, all your friends, and start talking about what you want to name your kids.  Slow it down, buddy.  We get it.  You’re excited.  But if you move too quickly, you’ll look pushy, you’ll scare the shit out of her, and she’ll stop.  Or, at best, she’ll slow it down for you and you’ll wonder wtf happened.

Don’t listen.  Or, listen and then don’t remember what she said.  Or, listen, don’t remember what she said, and then blame your failure to remember what she said on the fact that you’re a man.  Your gender is not an excuse.  You’ve essentially just told her you are not interested enough to give a shit about what she says.  That’s about the stupidest thing you could do.

Tell her you aren’t sold.  She won’t know what you’re talking about.  And it’ll make her feel like a car salesman on top of being stupidly confused.

Bring your kid to the first date (or second date).  I don’t care how well behaved your kid is.  I don’t care how old your kid is.  She doesn’t need to meet your kid right away.

Openly compare her to all of the other women you are currently seeing.  It’s nice to be open and transparent.  It’s nice to be honest.  We like that.  But comparing her to the others is not making her feel any better and it’s making you look like an inconsiderate man-whore.

Make us wear the pants all the time.  In the day-to-day world, most of us are forced to take care of ourselves.  We have good jobs, we have our own housing, we make our own money.  Not all of us, though, want to wear the pants in our relationships – at least not all the time.  We like input, but if we’re more of a badass than you are, if we are constantly the ones pulling out the weapons when the security alarm goes off, if we’re constantly saving your ass, or if you’re the one crying at chick flicks while we sit there and laugh at you, you’re not doing a very good job of selling yourself.



If we’re in shape, if we exercise regularly, if we go to a lot of trouble to make ourselves presentable, you should do the same.  You don’t have to be built like Superman (though it helps), but don’t be a fat-ass.  Take care of yourself.  Go to the gym.  Exercise.  Make an effort.

The opposite end of the spectrum applies, too.  If you’re so scrawny that we could kick your ass in a fight easily, that’s not attractive either.  It just reminds us that you’re probably too effeminate to ever be taken seriously.

10 Things You Should Know – Before Messaging a Girl Online

1.  Have a face pic.  Seriously… if you want a reply… have a face pic as your main pic.  We do not get off by staring at your tits as much as you do by staring at ours.  And unless your pectoral muscles have learned to speak (and if they have, you should totally donate your body to science), get over yourself.

2.  Remember… we get hundreds of these messages a day from guys Just. Like. You.  I know you think you’re special and all, and I know your mom probably told you that you were special growing up, but to us, you’re just some other guy trying to get into our pants.  “Hi, how are you” or something equally minimal and lame will get your message ignored.  If you want to stand out, YOU have to make yourself stand out.

3.   Along those lines, familiarities are disrespectful.  Calling us “sweetie,” “baby,” “honey,” “sexy,” “cutie,” etc. when you don’t even know us will really piss us off.  Think of it like this:  If you wouldn’t say it to her face when you’re introducing yourself in public, then don’t say it to her on the internet.

4.  If we didn’t answer your first message, and it’s been a few days, it is acceptable to send one more (again, we get bombarded by these things… some just fall off our radar).  If we don’t respond to the second one, though, don’t send another one.  It just makes you look pathetic.  And when you send that second message?  Don’t allude to the fact that you sent us one before… it just, again, makes you look pathetic.

5.  Don’t ask us if we want to have sex.  Seriously.  Just don’t do it.

6.  Don’t message us with shit like, “Your eyes sparkle like diamonds” or “Angels sing songs about you in heaven” or something equally pathetic.  (Yes, this really happened to me.)  It makes us begin to question your sexuality and wonder whether you’ve ever gotten laid in your life.

7.  There is a difference between “Discreet” and “Discrete.”  If you don’t know the difference, Google it.  And then admit it… you’ve been spelling it incorrectly all along.

8.  Don’t start a first message, or, really, ANY message by telling us how large your dick is.  Or about how good you are in bed.  Because if you have to brag about it, honestly, you’re probably the size of a roll of quarters and your skills are imaginably lacking.  And no one wants to imagine that.

9.  Don’t post half-naked mirror selfies if you have a beer gut.  Just don’t do it.  My eyes are still burning from all of that… excess flesh.  Same rule goes for those of you that are excessively hairy.  We don’t need confirmation that werewolves exist.

10.  And finally, DO introduce yourself.  Tell us your name.  Tell us what you do for a living.  Tell us some things you like to do in your free time.  Make us laugh (but don’t use corny jokes or pickup lines or eighth grade humor – those fail).  Give us details… a full paragraph even.  We like that.  Have a detailed profile, but tell us some of that stuff anyway (we don’t necessarily want to go digging).  Be transparent.  Talk to us for a little while (but not too long) then ask us out before someone else does.  Remember, you are playing a numbers game.  Seriously, if we actually message you back (and we aren’t goofing around), we’re interested, just go for it.