The Ubiquity of Headphones (and why it’s a terrible thing)

Dear Missed Meet Cute,

It’s quite rare for me to want to strike up a conversation with someone random1. I normally don’t know what to say, or if I’m intruding, or if I’m being very awkward. I can’t seem to make mundane small talk2 without either being bored out of my own mind or worrying that I’m boring the other person out of their mind.

Now, imagine my surprise when on my way home from work, I spied you, on the train in your scrubs like a baby doctor3, a nurse, an orderly, a phlebotomist, or a hospital lab technician. You even had a bit of a 5 o’clock shadow4, brown hair, and smelled really good5. We even made eye contact! All good right?

NO. A resounding NO. Why? Because you had your earbuds in. Earbuds and headphones are the number one killer of spontaneous conversations. Yes, I understand that you probably had them in to avoid having a conversation with someone rather unpleasant on the train, or to be able to ignore the man pushing a stroller around (which may or may not have had a kid in. I couldn’t tell because it was completely covered) asking for money for him and his child with Down Syndrome. But you missed me! Awesome, not so little me! I could’ve dazzled you with my wit, my stories of travel, and my terrible (but amazing) one liners and puns!

Instead, you sat there, hunched over on your phone with your earbuds in, trapped in your own little bubble of solitude. What do you headphone wearing people listen to all the time anyway? There can’t be that much music in the world to listen to over and over again, every day on your commute. A podcast maybe? Still! There is only a finite number of podcasts. Wouldn’t it be more exciting to pay attention to your surroundings? How do you even know if a car, much less another person, is coming up behind you6? What is so terrible about the world that you have to incessantly seclude yourself in your imaginary bubble? I promise that the world is not that scary or nasty all the time!

And the worst part of our very ephemeral encounter? You even held the door open for me as I came out of the same station as you.

-A very disappointed Bean.

1.I used to have the worst anxiety about talking to random people to the extent that I would rarely even ask for help or directions when lost. Doing quite a bit of traveling (some solo or mostly solo) has changed that a lot, mostly because I’d have gone a week or so without speaking otherwise.
2. This is also why I’m absolutely terrible at real networking events. I can’t seem to get the small talk out of the way to talk business with someone.
3. Not a pediatrician. I’d say pediatrician if I meant a doctor who cares for babies. Rather a doctor in training. I tend to refer to a lot of entry-level people as “babies.” As in, I have quite a few friends who are baby investment bankers.
4. Men who read this blog take note: I really like guys with a respectable 5 o’clock shadow. I’m also single.
5. Smelling good is a HUGE pre-requisite for me. I think I’ve mentioned this before.
6. This is a big one for me since I also tend to bike everywhere. I’ve had people ask me how I can bike all day without listening to music. I like living.

Dating by Numbers

I want to talk about numbers in regards to dating. I’m not going to touch upon THE number, the one that tells the whole world how many people I’ve slept with because, quite frankly, that’s a very boring number that tends to provoke unnecessary judgement and/or congratulations1.

Instead, the first number I want to address is the average number of dates that I (and the unwitting friends I polled) are willing to go on before deciding to sleep with someone.

For me, it’s 3. The Bun actually shares this number with me. After a quick informal poll of friends, this number seems to be on the lower side. Now, I will say that I’ve never had a one night stand,2.but I am most definitely not going to wait after 5-6 dates. Generally with working out schedules, the first couple of dates, for me at least, are spaced a week apart. 5-6 dates meaning investing 2 months of my time before figuring out if we’d work out sex wise, and that’s just too long of a time to sink in.

Some may think that 3 dates is a bit short, but one month gives me enough time to figure out if 1) I actually like you as a human being, 2) do you bore me, and 3) do I want to share a wet spot3. with you? Oh, and a major thing for me is if the guy smells good. I know it sounds bizarre, but some people just smell funky to me and to no other person4..

After a quick informal poll of friends, this seems to be on the lower side for my female friends. For the girls I polled, the answers ranged from, “If I’m feeling it on the first date” to “at least 5-6 dates.”

For the boys, it ranges from “Hell, yea I’ll try to make a move on the first date” to “after 5-6” to “if we’re both feeling it” to “sometimes I’m so clueless that I just wait for the other person to make the first move.” One more data-minded friend broke it down directly: 155., 1, 1, 206..

Most people I asked were pretty hesitant to put out an exact number, or even a ballpark number. Instead, I tended to get quite a bit of explanation about why things are the way things are. I also wouldn’t want to sleep with someone if I’m not feeling it with that person, but generally I figure that out before dates 4, 5, and 6. Maybe I’m just too quick to judge, but I think I tend to have a pretty good judge of character7.

 

 

1. I’m a big fan of congratulating both my girl and guy friends on sex things.

2.Remember how I tend to obsess over axe-murderers? There’s a part of my brain that tells me that I might get axe-murdered by a one-night stand, even though I don’t own an axe. Also, meeting people is a really awkward affair for me most of the time, and I just don’t think I’m really that great at picking people up in bars or wherever people go to pick each other up.

3. This is one part of sex that movies and TV shows always forget about! It’s fun and games until the awkward moment of figuring out who gets the wet spot.

4. In college, I made out with a guy who seemed pretty great, but he also just smelled like a mix of cheese, old socks, and new paperback books. I like paperback book smell, but not when it’s combined with the other two. I asked another friend to smell him for me. Said friend went up to the guy, gave him a huge bear hug, took a very very audible inhalation, looked over at me, and declared, “Nope, smells normal!”

5. High school girlfriend.

6. Catholic enough to care, though apparently not anymore?

7. Not dating related, but I’ve met up with more than my fair share of people from the Internet in person, and I’m still around! My favorite first meet up involved getting picked up at a corner in Beijing (I’d only been there a few weeks tops) by someone from the Internet.

The One

We met via Craigslist, the sometimes cesspool of the Internet of all that is sexually depraved. It came as a surprise to me too. I’d always imagined that we would first bump into each other somewhere more conventional, go out a few times, and hit it off before anything more would happened. But no, I guess the heart wants what it wants, and there is no stopping it.

To me, it was definitely love at first sight. On our first date, we just walked around the block, a charming little stroll around his neighborhood. But by the end, I knew that I needed to have him in my life. Him and all his blueness.

This past summer was our first together, and he has been an absolute gentleman. He’s taken me to work and to school, and he’s taken me on adventures within Chicago: up and down the lakefront, in and out of various neighborhoods. He is always up for doing whatever I want. All he asks me in return is to ride him hard, if you get what I mean.

And I have. Granted, just starting out, he was a bit rusty, but once he got used to my cadences and rhythms, we can now go on for hours on end together. Me on top. Him, uncomplainingly on the bottom. The only time we have to stop is when my legs get too tired. I take good care of him too. At least once a week I’ll rub him down.

Instagram tells me that we’ve only been together for 22 weeks, but he’s also already met all my close friends. They’ve all complimented me on such a treasured find. I like to joke that he is the only constant thing between my legs these days. They laugh. I couldn’t be prouder.

And now, I’d like to introduce him to the blog.
bike