3.03.2005

'He said, She said, ' in the 21st Century

Oddness. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I've watched the world changed in ways we couldn't have dreamed of. For example, I remember when:
*Answering machines were new. We never got one because my mother thought they were tacky.
*Everyone else played Mario Bros on their Nintendo while we played Asteroids on our Atari
*Everyone started getting VCRs and movie rental stores proliferated
*Blockbuster killed the independent video store. My dad bought out their C-movie collections for 99 cents each. What a bargain.
*The advent of the dollar store. And the world is still reeling
*Call waiting retired the busy signal, remember how annoying it was?
*Only nerds had computers, like my dad
*Talking cars were going to be the wave of the future. The 84 New Yorker I drove in school was so cute when it talked, but it thought my door was a jar.
*Michael Jackson was good looking
*Velcro was high tech
*Using a typewriter for school assignments meant someone was an over-achiever
*Using a dot matrix printer for papers took forever and were the bane of procrastinators everywhere.
*At my first job in the courthouse, some of my co-workers smoked all day long INSIDE their offices.
*Going to college, I got my first ever email and voicemail account.
*Only yuppies and doctors had cellphones
*Online internet service revived the busy signal
*Men and women argued only about real life instead of virtual things.

Yes, this is another post about blogging. And dating. And blogging and dating.

The NY Times published a piece about dating blogs and how they were becoming a threat to people's privacy. Though most people interviewed thought that as long as bloggers used pseudonyms for other people then there is nothing wrong with writing about them. Besides, past boyfriends have no concern with my blog. But. What to do about current relationships?

I seem to be in some kind of relationship at the moment, what kind I don't know. We've dated about 3 months. In the past, most of my relationships burned out at 2 or 3 months, the rest didn't last past 6. I would get caught up in the excitement of a new person, new romance, the honeymoon phase. Then when the shine of the honeymoon faded, the real person emerged and we realized we didn't like each other. And that ended that.

My excuses for such adolescent behavior follows. Going to a women's college made dating purely extracurricular and men nothing more than meat.I never experienced the friend-to-boyfriend development. Which meant I only dated strangers. Randomly finding someone with whom one has compatibility is more than difficult. After college, I thought I should only date Mormons. So I tried. Nothing ever went very far. Dating is so serious an undertaking for LDS that one doesn't do it lightly, nor stay with someone unmarriagable. My most serious relationship got truncated by moving to New York.

So now I'm 28 and without experience of the adult romantic relationship. All I have done is date, date, date, date, until the thought makes me want to puke. But last fall I started spending time with a friendly acquaintance, I always found him interesting and attractive. At first, I didn't look at him as a potential whatever because I was in love with someone when I moved to the city. And he wasn't Mormon. Meanwhile we became friendly. But he is a shy one, we never went beyond mild flirting and conversation.

Then this shy guy inexplicably turned the heat up in pursuit! I didn't encourage him. Did I? The more I like someone the less flirty I behave. And yet, he called me anyway. So we went out. We have crazy strong chemistry. The third time we hung out, the tension was so thick it reminded me of a scene in Annie Hall. Woody and Annie have an inane, awkward and uncomfortable conversation because both of them are so nervous with sexual tension; subtitles tell the viewers what the two really think. She thinks everything she said makes her sound stupid and he wonders what she looks like naked. I'm finally old enough to get Woody Allen. Yikes.

Unlike Woody and Annie, we have taken things very slowly. Instead of burning out like a match, I found we have some ingredients for a relationship: mutual attraction, common interests, intellectual equality, complementary character traits, similar aesthetic preferences, similar humor, and we study the same discipline so we can help each other with work. Socratic dialogue has taken on the role of a sport for us. We have attracted spectators/listeners on the train and in the park. It begins with a challenge, the other responds and we duke it out verbally until a clear winner emerges or I get tired. Usually, the loser concedes to the winner.

This relationship stuff is hard! It takes work when I respect the other person and actually care what happens. Who knew? When chronically single people try to get together they have to un-isolate themselves. A strange and unnatural thing. It takes effort to remember the other and include him. Besdies this ordinary stuff, I have the blog. I blogged about him. I had assumed he knew that and read it, figuring he found it through google. But, I never wanted to talk about it, way too embarassing. My blog was the elephant in the room.

A few weeks ago I grew so disgusted with myself for using the blog to vent about him that I decided to slay the elephant. I sent a long email saying that I knew he read it. I made several excuses for things posted here. And I apologized for not letting him discuss the blog when he tried to bring it up in December. (Or so I thought.)

He called me. Said he didn't know what I was talking about, he never read my blog. So I didn't have to worry. He didn't know why I thought he was reading it. Why did I? I tried to brush off the question but he pressed it. I answered that I must have read things into his actions that weren't there and I may be losing my ability to reason. He said "You are losing it. I've never seen your blog. I knew you had one but I don't know what interesting things you write there. Maybe some day you'll share them with me and we'll roast marshmallows by the fire." Then he had to go. . . .

That was not the end of this. I think he may have lied and I told him so a few days ago.

And now, as the Times predicted, my weblog is an issue, it's become a thing. 20 years ago, who could have imagined that people in the 21st century argued about someone's website? I never dreamed about growing up to date men and having to deal with things like voicemail messages, texts, IMs, and a website!

Stay tuned for Part II.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Goodness...
Can't wait for the rest! 

Posted by Sister T

Anonymous said...

Give a guy some space ;)

 

Posted by Stephen M (Ethesis)

Stephen said...

What I'm saying is if a guy is reading your blog, let it ride. There is little that can be pushed about it that doesn't invade space anymore.

By denying reading your blog, he gives you space and makes whatever comments you make ones he doesn't need to respond to.

Anyway, I should have been less terse.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember seeing any Woody Allen movies. I like that Diane Keaton however. I need to watch 'Something's Gotta Give' again. I like the scene where A. Peat tells D. Keaton that she needs to self-protect. That's an awesome scene. There's some major girl talk action. You go girls. 

Posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

No worries, E. I see what you're saying. I'm not actually the one pushing it at the moment. I was ok with letting things lie. I just mentioned something about the blog, because it is part of my life, and then we had to discuss it again.

Anon,
I finally watched that movie. It was a little too girl-talky for my tastes, but I did find the play writing and life correlation interesting. So I'm glad I saw it. I used to self-protect. It's over-rated. Pain is better than nothingness.  

Posted by JL

Anonymous said...

I used to self-protect to. I self-protected so much that I didn't even date--I wouldn't even let them that close.

You are right, feeling something, anything is better than nothing.

As to the blog issue. I haven't entirely understood why some people have issues with people close to them having blogs.

I guess I could get it if someone was being two faced and nice to someone's face and then trashing them in the blog...but I don't see many people doing this yet the blog is an issue. I hope things work themselves out.  

Posted by sleepingmommy

Anonymous said...

I admire you for being able to take this sort of risk (posting about your personal life, I mean.)

I rarely write about real world people who are at all important to me on my blog -- or on the internet at all. I usually know someone for a year or two before I ever say anything about them online, I'm always worried they'll get upset about something. I'm not sure journal readers I had in the late 1990s even knew I had a boyfriend by the time we broke up (the relationship lasted about 9 months,) even though I was writing several times a week. It wasn't like I was hiding it -- though because it wasn't on my journal, my parents didn't find out until after we'd broken up, which was kind of funny.

If I wrote about a current relationship, I'd probably never be able to sleep -- or eat -- out of nervousness. I can barely blog about stuff my brothers and sisters do -- and when I blog about work or church, it's always blunted and depersonalized. I'd be waiting for the other shoe to drop every time I saw them. Oddly, I don't think I'd mind being in a relationship with someone else who had a blog... even if they blogged about me.

For what it's worth, I've posted "trashy" but more or less true (bad) stuff about one teacher online (1997,) and I've had one person post a really nasty IM conversation about me on their blog. Both caused a lot of trouble, in one case for about 250 dancer students (one of the other teachers nearly quit, and about a dozen parents organized a mini rebellion in my favor,) and in the other case about 100 people on a message board (a topic that didn't die for six months and drove a few community members away -- though to be fair, my situation wasn't even brought up until it was about 120 messages long.) Now, in the first case, I was 16 and quite frankly hoped people would email the teacher in droves to get her to change her policies (eventually she just drove my family out of the school altogether.) And in the second case, the kerfluffle got me a free dinner, a ticket to a John Williams concert and a LOT of apologies (we're all friends now, more or less,) so.

In any case, I think it's quite brave of you. I do wonder if it's completley worth the potential cost -- but I'm an overly cautious ninny. ^_^ 

Posted by Sarah

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately,caution is not a skill I am familiar with. But I'm not worried that he has read this because I have been writing about him as if he were reading, sort of. So I haven't left anything posted that I didn't want him to see. Right now the issue isn't whether he has seen it or not, but whether he is lying to me.  

Posted by JL

Anonymous said...

Trust is something you don't wanna play around with. Nothing can kill a relationship faster than a lack of trust. And from the sounds of it, you don't want this to die. Take a deep breath and let it play out. If he gives you a reason not to trust him, then start worrying about it. 

Posted by dJake

Anonymous said...

dJake,
He did give me a reason not to trust him, that will be detailed in the next post. I don't think we've reached the point where we have placed a lot of trust in each other, we're not officially a couple and have made no commitments to each other.

Just curious, if you were him and you found this blog, would you feel that your trust had been violated?  

Posted by JL

Anonymous said...

Lack of trust is a scary thing. Even if you aren't "committed"... Anyways

I haven't seen anything here on the blog about him (and you know I load it up often enough to see pretty much everything) that would be particularly worrisome to me. On the other hand, I have seen the treatment your former suitors have recieved, and that might give me a little cause for concern. Would I feel that my trust had been violated? Not neccesarily. 

Posted by dJake

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