I’m the Beast of the East and the Best in the West

Seriously, you can look it up. Under Wee Thomas in the dictionary – well, as soon as they get around to adding me to the dictionary or at least creating my Wikipedia page. Frankly, I have no idea what’s taking so long. Short story long, I am awesome. Why am I awesome, let me count the ways:

  1. I have awesome friends. When I last attempted to enumerate people I consider friends – true friends, not people that I know through others and happen to spend time with them because of our mutual friendships – essentially if all it takes for you to disappear from my life (or vice versa) is someone else dying, we’re not really friends are we? (assuming I did not kill or engineer the death of said person) – I didn’t get past using my fingers and toes. And I thought about this for a while and found that I’m mostly happy with it.
  2. I am killer at words with friends (within the current group of people that I play). A lot of my acquaintances and a few friends play the game. Every once in a while, someone I haven’t played yet starts a game with me. There are a few stubborn people who play 5-10 games before they apparently give up – I suppose it can be soul crushing to lose every time. Only those that manage to beat me from time to time continue playing. And those games are awesome. I’m even dating someone in the winner’s circle. . . though she really needs to step up her game. I actually had a discussion with a couple people almost a month ago about playing against women that you’re dating. The unanimous decision, beat them as hard, mercilessly and often as possible.
  3. I’m dating an awesome woman. Seriously, pure awesome. Aside from allergies – just how often can a guy come close to killing someone in a month. I’m going to have to stop cooking until I have a complete inventory of everything on the bad list. There is one issue. . . she’s a dog person, I’m a cat person. I will be getting a kitten soon. Who will be trained to be an attack cat. I’m currently formulating the training regimine.  For now, we’ll see how things go. Frankly, cats are too cute for anyone to resist. Also, my attack cat will be trained in a foreign language.
  4. I’m making progress on my research work. This is good, because progress equals getting closer to being done and being done means that my parents stop bothering me about when I’m getting done, and start bothering me about something else. Frankly, I’m not sure what that something else would be . . . Buying a house? Getting married? Becoming the Godfather?
  5. I can flip like the best of them. That’s right, I bought a “non-running” car with a few cosmetic issues for a song. The issue, blown fuse. No joke. The big cliche in diagnosis – “When you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras” is even funnier and more ironic if you knew the full context of the purchase. Sadly, only one other person will ever know this, though by the time she gets around to reading this blog, she’ll probably have forgotten.

That’s the list for now. I would continue, but my good deed for the day is

Advertisements

My Big Weekend

So,

I bought the m3 sedan. It’s a year older than my current one though with about 30k less miles. It did not run, as advertised. . . until a couple hours after I got it home. At the moment, all that is holding me back from having it inspected are the front corner lights, brake lights, reverse lights, and driver mirror. Those are pretty much the only things holding me back from selling the car as well. Even better, my landlord has been on the lookout for a nice sporty sedan. We’ll see how he feels after a test drive later this week. It would be great if I sold it to him. I’m perfectly happy being paid in free rent. And that said, I don’t think my landlord is fully aware of my financial situation. He’s now sent me more ads for potential cars to buy (as in now, before I even sell this one). Or maybe he just forgets, after all I went from selling of parts of my old m3 to deciding to keep it and buy back parts to buying an entire car all within a couple months.

And as happy as hearing that engine purr and being behind the wheel of an m3 made me feel once again, this weekend had more than that. I got to spend a good amount of with the woman (yes, she’s not a girl) I’ve been dating. We’re still learning more about each other and so far, very much like what we’re finding. Well, apparently I could do with a bit less clutter in my life but managing 4 cars comes with lots of parts that don’t really go anywhere else until they’re on the car or sold.

Last week did see me miss a lot of my workouts. And while I’d adjusted my food intake to still generate a caloric deficit, I need to get back on the horse. I’ve set a new goal, running a 5k in 25 minutes with a reach goal in doing it in under 22. The 25 minute goal seems very feasible, extend my initial 5 minutes at 8.5mph to 10 minutes, followed by ten minutes at 7.5mph and the last 5 minutes at 6mph.  I think I could reach being able to do this on a treadmill by the end of November. Next, I’ll need to train myself to be able to set and follow a specific pace while running outside. I haven’t figured out if my phone would be good enough for this.

And my research plods on as always. Which reminds me that I need to call my mom to give her an update on my progress. Hmm, I wonder what car I’ll take to go visit them for thanksgiving. . .

Money and Dating

So, among the taboo topics to discuss on a first date or at all unless in a committed relationship, with the feds while cutting a deal, or Bernie Madoff are finances and money. But yet they factor in so many things. For example, the man is typically expected to do the heavy lifting initially in a relationship and perhaps let things peter out towards parity as time goes on. And mostly, that’s how things have been in my relationships. And likely for that reason, I never really gave it much thought – though I’m starting to think it played a role in ending my last relationship.

But anyway, I’m now in a situation where she pays some of the time and even that some of the time just feels weird to me, especially given that we’re still in the “dating” stage of this relationship. Another thing – I tend to not carry cash. Just a habit that I’ve evolved. So, one way that we’ve handled the inevitable who will pay for this jockeying is for her to suggest that she take care of the tip and me to acquiesce. There is even one place in particular where I’d directly ask her for the tip, because she tends to carry cash, and my relationship with the bartender is such that he either doesn’t charge or under-charges me for drinks, doesn’t let me pay up front, so I much rather leaving him a large tip on my way out. And given that I don’t carry cash (usually), doing this can be an issue if I”m unprepared.

So, anyway, I ask and she hands me some money, but the guy leaves midway through the night and so I’ll have to catch him some other time. But then she refuses to take the money back. And not wanting to make an issue out of it, I didn’t really push that hard. It makes me wonder because this isn’t something that I would think should bother me, yet in some way, it is. And I wonder if it is due more to me typically being the one in the relationship who pays for things or typically being the one in the relationship who makes more money (I’m not at the moment).

From what I know of my ex, she (prior to me) was used to being that person – either the more financially dominant one in a relationship or at least having things 50/50. Just various circumstances around the time we were in a relationship put her in such a position where I was ahead. One thing that I advocate as being bad for a relationship is a significant imbalance of power. That can come from many things, one person moving to be in a new city with the other, having to leave your job to advance the other person’s career, being in very different places life-wise (just starting college versus just entering middle management). And while logically, money should be a part of that, I’d never really considered it.  But perhaps in addition to money being on that list of power imbalancers, there should be a category for perceived or implied imbalance – like what I’m feeling now and what I think my ex felt at times in our relationship.

I don’t for a second think that this is actually an issue or going to be an issue for us, but it does illuminate some things for me and make me question some of my own perceptions and worldview. I have opinions and ideas about certain things even though I have not experienced those situations or have real context to base my thoughts upon. I will definitely give things a bit more thought before doling out advice or complaining in the future.

Dating: Heading Towards Exclusivity – The Halting Problem

Since my last post, things have moved forward from the eyes open kissing. And by moved forward, I mean that I remember to keep them closed, most of the time. The rest of the time, I work on getting her used to the idea that sometimes they’ll be open. I think what’s happening is usually what happens. We enjoy the kissing too much and start caring less about other things that used to seem strange.

Now, I’ve not said this in this blog, but I feel that romantic relationships pretty much have three stages. Dating, boyfriend/girlfriend, and marriage. I don’t consider friends with benefits, one night stands, or bootycall relationships as being a romantic relationship. They are not. If you are a bootycall and somehow think there is something romantic going on, I 100 percent guarantee that your feelings are completely one-sided. Of the three stages, dating is the most broad.

  1. Dating – this encompasses the period between meeting someone and getting to know them through dating (ie spending time with them in different situations), talking, and learning more about each other until the two of you have decided that you are boyfriend and girlfriend. In the initial period of dating, you may be dating or getting to know multiple people. After some time, you may decide to exclusively date one person, though not necessarily bump up your relationship status to being boyfriend or girlfriend. While people sometimes enter into this part of the relationship unilaterally (without discussion with the other person), typically once such a conversation has actually occurred and both express that they do want to proceed exclusively, the next stage quickly follows.
  2. Boyfriend/girlfriend – now, you are exclusively seeing each other. This is an intermediate stage that should be used to seriously evaluate long term compatibility with each other. During the dating phase, you should have established that your goals, life plans, attraction to each other are compatible – you’d talk  and experience about where you see your careers heading, how many children you’d want to have, how you plan on raising them (education, religion), where you see yourself living, how you  spend your free time, what things are interesting and important to you politically. But in this phase, you are going deeper – does the way he brushes his teeth bother you? Could you be happy sitting in silence for 4 hours while he/she reads a book without speaking to you? Could you see yourself hanging out with his friends for the next 10 years? Do her spending habits get on your nerves. I argue that long term compatibility is about the little things – things which seem so inconsequential and silly when you tell your friends about a fight you had but so important when the two of your were fighting. Toilet seat up or down, brand of laundry detergent, calling you in the middle of the day to say hello, saying I love you. In the dating phase, you’re scanning the big picture for compatibility. Here, you are sifting through much smaller grains – and that’s partially why you will be in this phase longer. (Presumably, you are evaluating spending the rest of your life with this person).
  3. Marriage – this encompasses the period from engagement on. Pretty much, marriage is a legal formality. If you are engaged, that means that you have asked or agreed to commit your life to someone else. So, given that you have already made that lifetime commitment, it seems stupid to me to think that somehow you are not actually committed until married. All that is different is from a legal standpoint, you have a much easier time exiting such a commitment pre-marriage.

So, the big question is how do you evaluate when to move from dating people to dating just one? I have always had this problem. In all of my long term relationships, I have always developed strong feelings and attachment to the women who became my girlfriend just as I was getting to know someone else who may also have been very interesting and had girlfriend potential. In all the cases, I happened to have spent significantly more time with my girlfriends than the other women so I’ve never been in a situation where I can rationally say that I objectively made the decision. And now again, I find myself in the same situation. I’ve gotten to know someone very well and a couple others not as much. And things feel that they are moving in such a way that I should discontinue dating others and just see one exclusively. But without dating the others in a similar manner, am I in a position to make this decision?

What compounds things is that it’s not like I met everyone at the same time and just happened to like one more or we ended up always making time for each other. The others just haven’t legitimately had a chance to make an impression. And given my feelings now, is that even possible?  Does it make sense to impose a minimum time spent dating during which all candidates should be evaluated? Is it important that everyone get equal time or would I naturally gravitate towards the front runner regardless of time spent with her? The whole point of dating is to evaluate multiple people and sort through this whole process faster than going through one person at a time. But then again, is that always necessary? I have this idea that I need to be able to say that I did my due diligence. Though since my last long term relationship, I’ve dated several people. Most didn’t get past the first date. Doesn’t that count as well?

Why is it that whenever I get to the point where I’m seeing someone with girlfriend potential, someone else comes up that is interesting and as interested in me. Before this, it is easy, either I don’t end up wanting more with her, or she with me. Things either aren’t really going anywhere or they’re moving forward with multiple women at once. I’ve never gotten to the “I think I’d want to date X exclusively” moment without there being someone who evokes the “well, if I got to know Y a bit more, I may want to date her exclusively as well” response.

For the non-computer science or algorithms people out there, the halting problem is one of defining how a program or algorithm determines when it has either successfully achieved it’s goal and should end or cannot find a solution (or reach it’s goal) and should also end. With certain types of processes, this is very easy – if I’m adding two numbers, then I stop when I’ve calculated the sum. For others, typically ones that involve search of some sort – the conditions under which you should stop are much more difficult to define. Finding the person with whom you move on from dating to boyfriend/girlfriend is essentially a search problem and like any search problem of actual interest, defining the halting condition is difficult, subject to many interpretations, and specifically in this case, often results in suboptimal results. That the results are sometimes near optimal doesn’t help either because you can’t really learn from experience.

What does that mean, beyond a certain age, assuming you’re not an idiot and you are actually evaluating people for marriage, those that become your boyfriend or girlfriend have a very good shot at being with you for life. So good that for all intents and purposes, if things don’t work out, you can’t really say you chose wrong. The next person you end up with has a similar shot of being the one you walk down the aisle with. To put this into more concrete words, given how close I’ve been to marrying my ex-girlfriends, who can really say that the pattern of my past relationships is actually wrong (and so I shouldn’t worry about trying to even out the dating before deciding who to be with exclusively).

Hickory Dickory Dock

So, due to some miscommunication, partially fueled by a wine drinking fest on Saturday, my bar trivia date tonight turned into a threesome. Myself, a friend, and the date, who I know through the friend. Still, we all had a lot of fun and I may have started a new Tuesday night tradition for us – which if it continues will likely grow to include more of our group of friends. As for my date, the more I get to know her, the more I like her, beyond the requisite physical attraction. Still, I’ve been playing this carefully, given that she’s a person that’s in my social circle.

If I were more callous, this wouldn’t matter. But given that I’m invested in the friends that I do have – I’m a person of few good friends – I feel a need to be more careful about how things transpire. But that in itself causes problems. This extra caution imparts more impact to things that happen between us. And makes it harder to read some of our interactions. One must always deal with deciphering responses, or lack of one, or delays in one in normal situations. But now, I must wonder whether some is influenced by out mutual relationships with others. Between tonight and this weekend, I’ve managed to figure out most of the conversations about me that have been had between my date and my friend but I still feel a bit behind in terms of controlling the flow of information.

What usually goes on is that I start seeing someone new, sometimes my friends will know that I’m seeing someone and may be told a bit about her, but not that much. And if things progress beyond a few dates, then she’s invited to join us on some occasion where everyone gets to meet. Here, this process is short circuited. We don’t have the luxury of getting to know each other without contamination, innocent, relevant or not, by our friends. There isn’t this sense that I’m exploring something on my own. Instead one feels that there could be outside eyes looking in at some point.

Some would argue that one should always date someone and behave in such a manner so that you’d be happy with others knowing most of what was going on. But I think that when it comes to romantic relationships, there is very much a lot of it that is separate, that should only exist between the two of you. And regardless of how close you are to other people, the presence of outside observers alters things. There apparently is a Heisenberg uncertainty principle for relationships.

So aside from this complication, she’s not exactly my usual type. She shares some characteristics, but not others. However, I have met and may be getting to know someone who is pretty much my type, in almost every way – she’s a couple inches shorter than experience says my type should be, though half of my girlfriends have not been my type and have been that height, so again, I must take this who type thing with a few grains of salt. And further adding to all this is I’m having coffee or something with my ex who can pretty much serve as the archetype of my type.

Though I do understand why we should not get back together in any way, I’m still conflicted about whether I should remain friendly or excise her altogether. In some ways, I feel that I should be friends, since I’m friends with another ex – so it would not be consistent with the way that I’ve treated others in my life to deliberately not interact with her. But on the other hand she was my best and most fulfilling relationship as well as the most chaotic and past experience lets me know that I’m not always capable of following my head when it comes to dealing with situations with her. Though I could be exaggerating in my mind what our whole interaction would be about, my intuition, and that of my friend seem to indicate that this will be something more than just catching up on the past few months.

The Social Circle Gateway

Yesterday I went out to a few bars with a friend of mine. She and I hang out once or twice a month. It is mostly a platonic relationship. Now, I know that there are no such things as platonic relationships between two people who are both single – either you both want each other or one does while the other doesn’t – and my advice and what I typically do in those situations is to exit them. There is no point in being friends with that kind of thing in the background – one person is always not getting what they want and most people have enough other friends that you don’t need to be in a relationship with someone on different terms (yes, normal friendship is a relationship too).

But there are times when you can forgo that rule – namely when said person can be a very effective wing-person, you have managed to move on to the point where 95% of the time you can treat them as just friends, and/or they are gateways to a larger social circle. In the case of a attractive female friend – she is a gateway to more attractive women. (Because as we all know, women tend to be friends with women of similar attractiveness. Anyone far off the scale tends to get excised from the group. If you are much less attractive than the group average, you tend to stop hanging out with them because the guys either ignore you in the group or placate you with someone who is “taking one for the team”. If you are much more attractive than the group average – you tend to get the most attention leaving the rest of the group wondering why they even bothered getting ready to go out.)

Anyway, so I’ve been hanging out with attractive female friend (let’s call her Julie) and a few of her friends off and on. Last night, we happened to run into another friend, we’ll call her Lucey, whom I ended up spending more time this night. I can’t remember how the conversation originally began, but earlier in the evening Julie and I happened to be talking about Lucey – ah, I remember – we were discussing when we’re next going salsa dancing and Julie mentioned that Lucey wanted to come along – and I asked if Lucey was still dating some guy that we’d met a month or so ago. The answer was no, Lucey is now single.

One thing that made things different is that typically when out with Julie, people tend to assume that we’re together. Which sometimes makes chatting up her friends a bit more difficult. I tend to have a laid back approach, friendly with everyone (relatively speaking) and only make a move when I see mutual interest. But assuming that a guy is with someone else tends to turn off the possible interest showing for some. Anyway, an interesting night was had by all. And now I play the waiting game. I’ll call her tomorrow evening. Lucey is definitely not a girl one casually texts before having engaged her over the phone a few times. In fact, the best way to handle it is to follow her lead, don’t text her until she texts you. More on the negotiation of pre-dating etiquette here: http://junglelaw.wordpress.com

The Silent Rejection

I weighed in at 208.2lbs today and I swear this post looked much longer when composed on my phone.

Recently I have found myself in the unusual situation of having to inform women that I don’t see a relationship in our future. Unusual in that women are typically the ones doing the rejecting and I tended to apply a strict set of rules when deciding which women to approach. However, I’ve recently relaxed my adherence to those rules and have found myself in situations that I did not even anticipate that the rules were previously shielding me.

The latest example concerns a young woman I met slightly over a month ago while she was celebrating her birthday. I got her number, we texted a bit and made plans to go bowling. From when I picked her up to when I dropped her off, I always felt like I was being kept at arms length. I never did get that feeling that there could be more between us than hanging out. She was going away that weekend and a couple days later texted me about my plans for the following week. I responded that I didn’t have any and got nothing back from her. So I took it as a further sign of disinterest and promptly forgot about her. Then last night, in what appears to be a drunk text, she asks why I don’t like her. And I had to decide do I respond or ignore. But I thought about it and felt if I were in a situation where it bothered me enough to ask, intoxicated or not, I would want an answer. So I told her.

I get people being nervous on dates. But sometimes it doesn’t click. Last year, I went out with another women whom at first seemed distant. But by the end of the date things were much better. So much so that though I’d not yet gotten that I’d really like to see where this goes feeling, I felt I should give it a chance. And I would’ve done so, had I not met the women who would become my latest ex. Still, I wonder, should I even have responded? Our should it be like a breakup – keep it short, clean, and no follow ups?