Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Joe10 - it's about time! April 27

Joe10 and I have been talking about meeting for a date since Joe2. It's amazing that two people who don't work regular 9-5 jobs can have such a hard time meeting up. Perhaps it's the randomness of our schedules.

Anyway, a little background on Joe10. We first met last year at the Joker's Wild Realities Ride. I was a vendor, and Joe10 was there with his camera. This was within two weeks of the demise of my most recent engagement, and my ex was spending a little time at my booth; enough to make it clear that I actually knew him to anyone who didn't know our relationship. The woman who was running the event told me that Joe10 had asked the ex if I was single. I can't remember the exact response, but I do know that it was the first time I'd ever heard the term "cock block."

Fast forward several months to the new year when I was slaving away at the coffee shop. A couple came in, and I thought I recognized the guy. After chatting a bit, I realized it was Joe10. He came in a few more times with a couple of different women. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it looked like Joe10 was using the coffee shop as his neutral place to meet women found on dating sites. That's cool.

Another month or so after that, I stumbled upon Joe10 on Facebook, and I requested that we become friends. We did, and we proceeded to go into talks about meeting and going for a ride some time. For some reason, that took a lot of time. I must admit that I did stand him up at one point. We had a slight miscommunication about times, and I assumed he wasn't going to make that afternoon and made other plans. Oops! I was still going to try to wrap things up early and meet Joe10, but it didn't happen.

We finally got together yesterday. Joe10 had all kinds of random ideas on where to go, but there was nothing concrete. I'm flexible, but I also like decisiveness. I'm still somewhat new to Colorado, and there are lots of places to go that I don't know about. Joe10 had already expressed his distaste of riding to Estes Park, which was my suggestion a few weeks ago, so I was leaving it up to him. We finally agreed on a place and time to meet. He ran quite a bit late, but since I'd screwed up our last meeting, I waited. Stuff happens.

We were heading to Laramie, but it was a bit chillier up in Wyoming, and there was obvious snow not too far up in altitude between Cheyenne and Laramie. We decided to get some lunch and head back through Carpenter, Wyoming and Hereford, Colorado. The road comes out at Briggsdale, which is where 392 and 14 come together. Perfect!

Things didn't click for me. I didn't feel as though our riding styles worked all that well together. Not saying Joe10 isn't a good rider, but I didn't feel there was a natural flow. Our conversations jilted along in the same manner. Again, nothing bad about him, but there wasn't that ability to chat and laugh effortlessly like I can with a lot of other people. There was a comment I originally felt was sexist with regards to parking motorcycles, but in thinking about a lot of the conversations, criticisms weren't limited to women riders.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Riding requires flexibility. I already knew this, and I have no problems with changing plans midstream. However, there can be an overabundance of standing around trying to figure out where to go, both in dating and riding with friends.  I think I'll keep a list of places I'd like to visit, so that the next time there's an ongoing "...we could go here... or we could go there... or there's that other place... " crap that drives me nucking futs, I'll be able to make a good suggestion.
  2. In the same vein as #1: there's a tendency to want to give people a lot of options, or maybe it's the fear of making a bad choice. I'd like to have you make a choice and let me follow. I'm OK with that. Yes, I'm strong. Yes, I'm independent. And yes, I want to be with someone who is stronger and more capable than me. I want someone to lead a lot of the time. If this is the day that you don't feel like making the choice, tell me, and I'll go to the list I made in #1. This happens in non-biker dating in the form of restaurant or movie choices. My suggestion: ask someone if they want to go to dinner at the XYZ restaurant. That whole willy-nilly, whatever-you-want-to-do bs lacks backbone. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Shovelhead angst

I know I'm going to regret it, but I have to say it: I don't like Shovelheads.

It's nothing personal. I'm sure there are some really nice Shovelheads out there. I have friends who ride Shovelheads.

The first time I was a full time biker chick was in the early eighties. I was married twice back then, both times to guys who rode rigid frame Panheads with suicide clutches and jockey shifts. In fact, I learned the fine art of riding one of those babies on a dirt logging road (our driveway) when I was about 5 or 6 months pregnant, just in case. It was the only transportation we had. I love Panheads.

Most of the people I knew back then rode Panheads. There were a few that owned the "late models", and we built some at the shop, but none ever stuck around. We had a particularly tough customer that had commissioned a Shovelhead. Well, he wasn't so tough; it was his girlfriend. He was paying for a running motorcycle. She wanted a show bike. I was pretty torqued by the fact that this witch was getting away with making all these demands, and when I saw her at a swap meet, I started a fight with her. I got my ass kicked. Big time. I suppose that getting beaten to a pulp over a Shovelhead hasn't improved my feelings for that engine.

Time passes. I go to bike shows and see Shovelheads in the antique categories. Huh? If it were up to me, I wouldn't even consider a vote for a Shovel as an antique. I don't care what the qualifications are. Good thing it's not up to me; I'm prejudiced.

Then along comes Joe8 with his Shovelhead that's been ridden hard and put up wet. I adore Joe8. He loves his motorcycle. It's kind of like a stepchild I'm not that crazy about. I understand, appreciate, and respect his unconditional love, but I'm not feeling it. And now Joe8 is pursuing an opportunity on the other side of the country, and that Shovelhead is going to be taking him there.

I hate Shovelheads.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Joe9 - Tall, dark and handsome - nice

Joe9 and I found each other on PlentyofFish quite a while ago. We spoke on the phone one time, and I remember that I said something that made me think he wouldn't be back. I can't remember what it was, but I must have been wrong. I was sleeping off an antihistamine hangover this morning when he contacted me and said he got the day off and wanted to ride. Yay! I warned him that my eyes were looking pretty rough from the allergies. Of course I was thinking back to Joe 6 (was it 6?) and my disclaimer that I was looking as bad as I ever would, which I don't think helped. I'd been looking forward to meeting Joe9 for a while, so I jumped on the chance even though I felt like a bag lady.

We decided to meet at The Buzz in west Greeley and figure it out from there. He pulled up next to my bike. Everything was looking good. We sat on the patio and chatted while drinking our coffee, and then Joe9 asked if I was interested in Nordy's Barbeque, which I love. We hopped on the bikes and rode over. Our bikes sounded good together. I enjoyed the ride.

I have to say that it seemed like we were getting into TMI territory with some stories about exes, but I'm starting to change my stance on that. We can't sit around and pretend that we don't have pasts. Besides, hearing someone's side of the story does reveal something about a person. Regardless of the content, you can tell how much hate or bitterness is still there. He talked about his stepkids as though they were his own, which gave me the impression that he is a caring person. He talked about an ex-girlfriends son, which told me he was caring but had his limits. That's good too. There may have been some bad memories, but he isn't still living with the angst.

I went to the restroom, and when I came back I noticed that he'd paid the bill. I was mortified. Not so much that he'd paid, but a couple of years ago I read something about how some women will go to the bathroom at check-paying time so the guy will pick it up. In this book, it said that everyone knows this is scam, so don't do it. Again, I was mortified. Did he think that was a trick? That was totally not my intention. When the check came back, I asked if I could give him some money and he refused. Very nice of him, but I still felt like a jerk.

This is where the waters get muddied with this project. I haven't told everyone up front that this is what I'm doing. I haven't presented myself as someone who's looking to get hooked up, moved in, and married ASAP, but would someone be willing to buy me lunch if they knew what I was doing? I had planned on telling Joe9 ahead of time, but it happened so quickly. I've resolved this with the consideration that whether I'm writing about my dates or not, I'm still dating with the intention of creating relationships, whether any of them turn into romantic or not. And when the rubber hits the road, there are no guarantees in dating, project or no project.

From Nordy's we went to Tri City Cycles. That was my first time there. Impressive! Lots of used bikes of all different kinds, even a Thunder Mountain Custom. From there we rode up to Carter Lake and the Windjammer for a few games of pool. It has been years since I've played, and I told Joe9 that. Wouldn't you know, I sunk a ball on my first break and proceeded to sink two more before I turned the table over to him. I even won the first game. OK, now my credibility is shot. He came back and won the second game, and I scratched on the 8-ball on a really easy shot on the last game.

During pool we started on the second round of a TMI conversation: our online dating stories. This seemed like a great opportunity to tell him what was going on, and I was heading there with the "I'm planning on dating more than anything," disclaimer, but the conversation took a turn in another direction. Foiled. We headed out on the bikes and back down out of the hills. Joe9 asked if I wanted to stop by his house. When I hesitated, he said, "Don't worry. I won't rape you." I replied with, "I'm not worried. I'm armed." I stopped and we chatted a little more. My allergies were hitting hard again, so I headed east, hoping to get home while my eyes were still functioning.

Prognosis? I enjoyed his company. He seemed a little stiff at first, but by the time we were playing pool, he was joking around with me in a quiet subtle way that I found very sexy. I'm not sure what his feelings are toward me. I'd like to hang out with him again, even if it is just as friends. We'll see.

Lessons Learned:

1. Things that turn me on: a nice strong forearm, teasing - but not so much that the guy comes across as a jerk or sarcastic, getting whacked playfully in the back of the leg with a pool cue (who'd a thunk?)

2. Start on a regimen of non-drowsy allergy meds and keep taking them until the season is over.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Joe8 - A nice change - 4/15

I feel a little like I'm cheating with Joe8, but a date doesn't have to be a blind date to qualify for the project. In fact, it's really nice to go out with someone that I know I like before going on a date. I met Joe8 about a month ago, through a friend, and we've taken a few rides together. I dragged him along with me to Bike Night at Full Throttle in Fort Collins.
Joe8 came by my house before heading to Fort Collins. He and another friend have planted a seed - ape hangers! I don't want to get ticketed in other states, so I sat on Joe8's bike, which sports 16" high bars, to determine what size I want. With shorter risers, 13" handlebars should do the trick. While we were hanging out in the dooryard, Joe3 drove by and honked. Nice... On the way to Full Throttle, Joe8 took the video above without me knowing. Way cool! Can you tell I live in farm country?
Full Throttle wasn't neutral turf. I had a lot of good friends there, and there was so much going on that I wasn't totally focused on Joe8. However, I didn't feel at all awkward, and he seemed completely comfortable with the fact that most everyone I knew, knew he was Joe8. There was no question that he'd be right at home with the crowd. Confidence, an easy-going personality and a sense of humor are great qualities.

Lesson learned:

  1. It's amazing how two words can raise so many questions: Free will

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Joe7 - Chick bike and a .22

Another PlentyofFish guy. We started messaging, and I'm sure I looked at his profile, but for some reason the lack of motorcycle pictures didn't mean anything to me. He said he rode, not bad looking, he doesn't live far from me, and he's in to shooting sports. I love shooting sports!

I was excited about meeting Joe7, and then when I was thinking about his motorcycle, I couldn't remember what he said he had. I went back and looked at his profile - no mention. I looked at our messages - no mention. How could I possibly have gotten this far with a guy and have no idea what he rides? I messaged and asked. A white Sportster.

Eh, Sportsters can be hot. I felt like it was going to be awkward though. I was right. We met in Kersey, I on my customized Softail, and he on his stock, white, dirty 883 Sportster. It had been purchased for some woman who never rode it, and he bought it off the guy. If he'd ridden it a couple hundred miles in the last week, since he last washed it, I wouldn't care about the dirt. My bike is impossible to keep as clean as I'd like. However, over the next hour I determined that he'd probably ridden it a couple of hundred miles in the last year and a half, which may have been the only couple of hundred miles he's ever ridden.

He was nice enough, and attractive enough, but he led me over the back roads into Greeley, and every time we hit a curve, I rode up on his ass because he'd roll off the throttle. We went to my favorite Greeley coffee shop and chatted for a bit. Seems that he's pretty new at shooting sports; he's shot skeet a couple of times. When he mentioned target shooting with handguns, he said he didn't do it a lot, and I mumbled something about the price of ammunition. He has a .22. I felt a little deceived by the picture of him in hunting gear with the shotgun and the statement that he likes shooting sports. He likes shooting sports like I like bowling. Yeah, I've done it. I'll do it again. But I'd hardly consider it dating profile worthy.

I guess he was just as uncomfortable with my riding, because after coffee, he had me lead back towards our respective crop circles. I tried to stay slow enough so he'd stay with me, but I think 50 yards behind was his comfort zone.

Not a bad guy. Hopefully he'll take the Basic Rider Course as I suggested. I prefer someone with a little more, I don't know... experience.

Blind/Online Dating Rejection

You know you're being rejected when you hear...
  • I'm not looking for a relationship.
  • I have a lot going on in my life right now.
  • I'll give you a call some time (not necessarily a rejection, but vague enough to go either way).
  • I'm just trying to meet friends.
  • I need to concentrate on school/kids/my business...
  • I've been hurt.
  • It's complicated.
  •  or when someone starts explaining why they'd be a bad person to date/love.
It's not hard to be honest without being hurtful. "I don't feel we're a match," or something along those lines is all it takes. If you aren't looking for a relationship, or your life is overwhelming with everything else, then why are your friends trying to hook you up and/or you're posting profiles on every dating site? If you've only met once, I don't think it's a terrible thing to say this in an e-mail. There's no strong connection yet. Neither of you owes the other person anything.

There's nothing wrong with not being attracted to someone. Say it up front. You don't have to tell them why. Leaving any doubt leaves you open for someone to keep trying. Not only that, but it's far more insulting when you assume that the person is too stupid to understand the situation. In fact, it's quite possible they're feeling the same way.

Saying something like, "I don't want to settle for less," is also a huge insult. You're saying that person is less than someone else. We're all good; we're just not all the right person for everyone. Imagine how boring this blog would be if that were the case.

We're all taking chances out there. Be the most honest you can be with regards to presenting yourself, and run with it. As my father used to say (and Sam Elliott in The Big Lebowski), "Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Joe6 - Surprise! - April 9th

Joe6 came to me through PlentyOfFish, but he talked me into going over to BikerOrNot, which I was a member of but didn't use much. It's like a watered down Facebook for bikers with a lot of singles. It's pretty cool.

Anyway, Joe6 definitely has the spiritual thing going for him, which was very clear up front. We messaged a couple of times and quickly moved on to the telephone. I hate talking on the phone. Our first conversation was over an hour; the second one was closer to two and a half. Impressive. Great voice. He sounded like a very solid person, genuine. I enjoyed talking to him. Unfortunately he lives up in the mountains, and not right on a fast and easy route. It seemed like meeting face-to-face was going to take some time. I'm working this weekend. He had stuff to do. I blew a gasket on the bike. It was snowing on and off in the mountains. When we talked about him possibly riding down today and maybe meeting up after work, I didn't think much about it. I definitely wanted to meet him, but I didn't get my hopes up or really give it a second thought.

Well I'll be damned if he didn't make it. Picture this: I've been standing in a parking lot all day, teaching the most challenging class EVER. Got about 4 hours sleep the night before. My jeans are too big, and I'm wearing a man-shirt - a long sleeve t-shirt with flames on the sleeves - and three year old LL Bean hiking boots. I'm sunburned, except for the area around my eyes because I was wearing sunglasses (think raccoon). Any makeup applied at 4:00 this morning was long gone. My hair was in pig tails, and because my bangs were pissing me off this morning, I had grabbed a pair of scissors and hacked a few chunks off. After work, I'd done my best to freshen up with a mint from Sonic I found on the floor of my car and some scented lotion.  When Joe6 called to tell me he was there,  I was on the phone with someone else. I've never swapped calls with this POS cell phone, and I started swearing at the phone. Nice way to impress the Godly man, Abby.

I found him attractive and proceeded to tell him that this was as bad as it would get. I couldn't possibly look any worse than I did when I met Joe6. He was nice enough to not jump on his bike and head for the hills. We went to dinner.

We talked some. He isn't crazy about tattoos. Oops. We hadn't talked about that. I can wear a t-shirt without showing any, but I definitely have some ink. We talked more about relationships, and it started sounding like Joe6 was telling me he wasn't interested in one. It wasn't quite that direct, but I left there feeling like I'd been rejected, like I'd just been given one of those, "It isn't you... It's me," breakup speeches. I could be wrong. We may have some differences in communication. I had e-mailed that I couldn't wait to meet him. I had used "couldn't wait" in lieu of "looking forward to" more because "looking forward to" is something I use in a cover letter. I tell people that I can't wait to see them, but I don't mean it literally. I can wait, but I'm excited about it. Because we had different takes on the seriousness of "I can't wait," I wonder if I misunderstood what he was telling me. Did I read more into his comments than he intended?

He'll be checking this, and we'll probably be discussing it. Or I'll never hear from him again.

Lessons learned:

1. If there's any chance I'll have a first date, throw the cosmetic bag in the saddlebag and pack a decent shirt.

2. Get a haircut when it's needed. Wear sunscreen. Get enough sleep.

3. Watch what I say in e-mails. As a writer, I should know better. Be less vague or consider how some terms might come across to others.

Tired. Have to get up early again in the morning.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Joe5 - 4/3/2010 - A Blustery Day

Joe5 is another PlentyOfFish guy. Again, no high expectations on my side, and again, a nice surprise. I had to take care of some business at Thunder Mountain, and it seemed like a good neutral place to meet, so that was the plan.

Thinking back to Joe3, I remembered I needed to wash my bike before heading out. My ride on Trail Ridge on Tuesday, through all the water from melting snow banks, had made a nice film of dirt over my entire bike. Although it was a calm morning, by the time I got my bike out and started washing it, the wind was blowing. Pair the blowing wind with the dump trucks that chose this morning (starting before 6:00) to haul cow manure down the dirt road about 10 feet behind my house, and I was replacing Rocky Mountain dirt with Eastern Plains dirt (and probably a little dried up cow-doo). Resistance was futile. I gave up and hit the road.

When I was crossing 85, I passed a car with a large tumbleweed plastered across the entire front end. I shook my head and smiled. Is there no end to these things? Where do they all come from?

I got to Thunder Mountain and recognized Joe5 immediately. I wasn't expecting the earrings for some reason, he was thinner than guys I'm typically attracted to, and he has these great glasses. At first glance, he seemed to have an interesting character. We made a little small talk and checked out each other's motorcycles.

I had to wait a few minutes to talk to the person I was there to speak with about some work. Joe5 and I walked around the store a bit, discussing the different motorcycles. I went back up front while Joe5 tried on some leather jackets. I have to admit, he looked pretty good. I don't think I've ever dated anyone who wears a medium. We're covering new ground here.

I was finally ready to go, and we headed up to Full Throttle. Joe5 had battled the wind all the way from Denver on I-25, so I made an attempt to find the back way to the coffee shop. After one wrong turn (I warned Joe5 that I wasn't 100% confident that I'd find the route on the first try), we made our way to Fort Collins on some scenic county roads. We had some green chili and coffee and water and then hit the road. We decided to ride east on Harmony and then down 85, which was perfect for both of us.

Despite the fact that we'd both used the bathroom before we left, I desperately had to go again by the time we reached Severance. How embarrassing. I made some lame excuse about needing gas in Eaton and stopped, then I quickly mentioned the coffee and water and ran into the rest room. Apparently he was right there with me on that. Whew! I didn't feel quite so... geriatric. Because I was turning off shortly, we said our goodbyes and agreed to ride again sometime. I arrived home to find a wayward tumbleweed waiting for me at the front door.

Lessons Learned:

1. Don't drink a lot of water and coffee in a short period of time when you're on a date and won't have easy access to a bathroom. Awkward!

2. Joe5 scored a lot of points by complimenting my motorcycle. He noticed a lot of the smaller things I've changed. I don't know if he realized what he was doing, but it worked for me.

3. If you're riding in front of someone who has a radar detector, consider slowing down if they drop way behind you.

Online dating, instant gratification, and judgment

I'll be leaving here in a bit to meet Joe5, but I have a few minutes to kill and wanted to write down some thoughts on online dating. Yesterday I was wishing I'd never started this, just because it's a lot of work. Today I'm really glad I did, because I've had this epiphany that I think is important. This is the part where I'm learning something.

I read a profile on one of the sites recently. The guy gave a laundry list of what was acceptable and what wasn't. Being married before was a requirement, but the woman couldn't be engaged 3 or 4 times, because that meant she had issues. Huh? Yes, I have issues. But do you really believe that someone who has been married, and now isn't, doesn't have issues? There were other requirements on the list, and the whole thing ended up with him stating that he wanted women to write but not to be offended if he hit the delete key.

I wrote anyway, and I was perfectly honest with the guy. He asked for honesty. And he hit the delete key. Had I been searching for The One, I never would have bothered; he came across as an arrogant SOB who was never going to be satisfied. Anyone who has a list of what they'll accept and what they won't accept clearly has issues of his own, so there's that whole goose/gander thing going on. But because I'm going on 50 first dates, what's the harm? As Rainman and I like to say, without adversity, you can't have a good story.

A couple of things crossed my mind:

1. I could have lied. If I fed him the lines he wanted to hear, would that have suited him?

2. Online dating has become the fast food of relationships. Here's the menu, and if you don't have the ingredients I want, or you have some I don't like, I'm not choosing you.

That's when it became very clear to me that this 50 dates concept is not as crazy as it sounds. I'm going out with people I would have passed over before. I think I'm an awesome person (despite what Anonymous had to say about me), and how many guys are making a judgment based on nothing more than a photograph and a paragraph, both of which could be total bullshit - or which might make me look like less than a good catch.

I'm not saying that someone is out of line if they list a couple of "must-haves" or "must-not-haves," but there's got to be a limit somewhere. Cowboy up! Take a few chances. Arrange a short first meeting. Make sure you won't run into anyone you know. Would you rather stay home and watch NCIS reruns?

Dating is hard work. Sometimes you get rejected, and sometimes you have to let someone else down. You get your hopes up... or you can be totally surprised - in a good way! Even if you don't find love, maybe you'll meet someone you enjoy riding with.

Carpe diem!