Monday, June 16, 2014

A Year of Dates

My To-Do List of Dates

How all couples should meet
For quite some time now I've run into this problem. What to do on the date upon which I'm about to embark? Now dates can be simple, complex, long, or short, but they all have one thing in common. Two people going out in order to get to know each other better. Whether you've been on one date or a million, this is always important. All too often, I run into the trap of, "What do ya wanna do?" "I don't know whadda you wanna do? "I don't know...let's do something!"

So, in hopes of avoiding the dreaded trap, I have compiled my rather lengthy list of date ideas. This is the 'bucket list' of dates, I want to do all of these someday. My goal in coming up with the ideas was simple, fun, and inexpensive. Now, this has been tailored to those who live in the Salt Lake area, but you can easily adapt the specific places I've mentioned (Asylum 49 for your fav local haunted house for example) and you'll have more dates than you can sneeze at. Without further ado, here they are!

1. Picnic in the park
2. Walk Gateway mall and run through the fountain
3. Try all the frozen yogurt stores nearby and pick a favorite.
4. Sneak into Lagoon using the resident pass just to ride the Superman. (My name for the one that drops you from 400 feet in a huge swing.)
5. Explore that old, creepy barn. At night. And take pictures.
6. Make out in the middle of the mall.
7. Each of you compile a CD of fav songs and then listen to them together.
8. Go to library together and pick out a book for the other person to read.
9. Climb to flag on mountain.
10. Go hot-tubbing, preferably somewhere you're not supposed to, like a hotel you didn't check in at.
11. Go waterskiing.
12. Weekend trip to Yellowstone or Jackson Hole or wherever you can get in 8 hrs of driving.
13. Go to a store, pick out outfits for each other, try them on. Laugh.
14. Try out the Twilight Concert Series in Salt Lake, just to laugh at the bands.
15. Write a short story one evening, switching off each paragraph with the other person.
16. Quiet dinner and movie at the house, but don't really watch the movie.
17. Sneak into the others workplace and kidnap them for 5 minutes to kiss in a closet.
18. Film a Vine together.
19. Walk around the downtown and take pictures of the graffiti.
20. Take the other person to your place of work and show them off.
21. Play video games.
22. Make a ridiculous music video together.
23. Go apartment shopping, even if neither of you has any interest in moving.
24. Try that crazy dance club.
25. Go to a bar with live music and order super fruity drinks.
26. Pretty much any excuse to kiss, hold hands, or make out. Find the excuses.
27. Make costumes together.
28. TP one of your arch-enemies houses.
29. Spend the evening looking up how to say, "I love you" in 20 different languages.
30. Have a nerf-gun fight. Or water balloon fight.
31. Go swimming. Preferably where neither of you have been.
32. Speaking of that, go wading in the Tempe square reflecting pool.
33. Go to Idaho just to go horseback riding.
34. Trampoline park anyone?
35. Paintball with friends, but ditch the friends on the way home.
36. Sneak into a theatre just to hold impromptu performances for each other.
37. Make your fav dinner for them.
38. Get some friends and a large, dark building and play sardines. (Reverse of hide-and-go seek. One person hides, everyone goes to find them and once you find them, you hide with them.)
39. Camping.
40. Show up unexpectedly at the other persons house with a random gift, stay only 10 minutes but kiss the whole time.
41. Climb to the top of a random skyscraper just to see what's up there.
42. Give each other a foot massage.
43. Go ice-blocking.
44. Climb a tree.
45. Organize a movie outside.
46. Go sledding.
47. Build an igloo and have a picnic.
48. Go on a hike.
49. Go to Nicklemania (or other and spend the whole time playing 2 person games, or challenging the other person, or just having fun.
50. Fid the weirdest restaurant you can and eat there.
51. Find the closest cheap concert and go, no matter the band.
52. Go to a museum, imitate the displays and take pictures.
53. Explore a big old, or big new library.
54. Find a farmer's market and pretend to be an old Russian married couple. Confuse the heck out of everyone you meet.
55. Go rock-climbing.
56. Find a weird TV show on Netflix and watch an episode. Write a review online.
57. Find a really old, dumb movie and riff-trax it. (As in, heckle.)
58. Go through a haunted house just to hang on tight to each other. (Asylum 49, Castle of Chaos, Fear Factory, or the best one, Nightmare on 13th)
59. Make up a dance routine to your song together, pretend you're on Dancing With the Stars.
60. Karaoke night.
61. Take a horse-carriage ride.

There, more than a year's worth of ideas, even if you do more than one a week on occasion. Dating is important, whether you're brand-new to the scene or married 50 years. The worst thing you can do is get stuck in a rut. I once dated a guy that only wanted to sit on his couch and stare at the wall while he fell asleep. AFTER I'd driven to his house, at his request, because..... he didn't have any ideas? Still confused as to why I did that. Needless to say, Mr. Boring didn't last long in the romantic scene of my life.

Have some give and take, but don't say no to something just because it seems weird or hard or you've never done it before. Try that sushi, you may even like it. At the very least you'll say, "Well, I'm doing something that I didn't do yesterday." That's what life's really about, finding the adventure. Have fun dating! And whatever you do, don't feed the homeless on 400 South, they bite.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How To Break Up With People You're Not Dating

Every time I get emotional I end up writing a blog of some sort. Most of them don't make it to publication, thank goodness for all 30 of my readers, haha, but this one I thought needed to be handled a bit and hopefully I'll have some useful information for single people.

How to break up with someone you're not technically dating. Yes it's important. This is for those situations when you started going out on dates with someone, you've been on a couple and they were pretty okay but for some reason you know that it's not going to work out or now now you can't/don't want to go out anymore. This means you'll have to *gasp* communicate.

First off, I always advocate the honesty route. Tell the person why you don't want to see them anymore. You should be being honest from the start and if that's the case, it leaves pathways open (say you have to choose between two really great people and need to focus on one at a time, let the other know what you're doing.) With guys or girls, that is the decent thing to do.

Now, a lot of the information out there says an email is acceptable as a way to break things off. Nope. Not for the 30 and under generation. Who gets anyone's emails anymore as a way of communicating?
"Hey, you're pretty cool, let me get your email address." Nope, don't even think about it.

Here's a quick guide. 
After 1st date: Text (phone call may be a bit much) or your favorite communication method. If you met them over a dating website and are still talking over it, then you can go with that. If you regularly talk to them in a parking lot at midnight, then use that method.
After 2nd date: Text, think about a phonecall, or favorite communication method.
After 3rd date: Phone call. In person IF that's your favorite communication method (i.e. parking lot at midnight.)
After 4th date and beyond: Definitely phone call or in person (if you're seeing them casually).
*If you kissed after the 1st or 2nd date, jump straight to after 3rd date protocol. Anything that intimate means you did have a connection and now you should explain voice-to-voice why you're doing what you're doing.*

Here's the in-depth guide with reasons and life experiences to back it up.
Okay, so text versus calling. If it's been one or two dates then things probably aren't all that serious between the two of you yet. As such, you're probably setting up dates over text still, and as such this is an acceptable way to break things off. Say you're not feeling the chemistry, are getting more interested in someone else, think their breath stinks, whatever, you can send them a politely worded text if they ask you out for that second or third date. "Hey, I think you're really great but I've (insert excuse here). So thanks, but I'll see you around." Short, to the point. If you need help thinking of an excuse look at the honesty paragraph above, then see the special addenum below for special circumstances.

Now, here's the situations when a phone call is necessary. If it's after the third date. If you've kissed goodnight. If you really care about the person and want to make things clear. If an old flame came back. If you're not feeling the chemistry anymore. Ect. Basically any situation that has been a little more involved. (Note, this does not apply to crazy people or psychopaths, see special addenum for those circumstances.)

For the phone call, here's what you do. Easy way: Think of what you're going to say, then pick a good time and call them. Say what you've got to say, then you're done.
Way for the Faint of Heart (i.e. my way): Write out a few notes on a piece of paper on what you want to say and what you have to get across. Have it in hand to look at if you get befuddled. Be sure that you're making the right choice. (Sometimes you just have to choose and then go with it, but be sure you can stick to your guns in your mind.) Stare at the phone. Call your mom or best friend and have them tell you why a phone call is the more mature, thoughtful thing to do. Psych yourself up. Pick up the phone, make the call. Cry afterward. Call your best friend and eat some ice cream. Done.

A phone call is the nice thing and also the hard thing to do. I will suffer for days before I finally pick up the phone for that difficult call. I would honestly rather stew in my emotions than take the 2 minutes that phone-call will take and get it off my chest. I will chew the inside of my cheek to shreds and get stress-acne. So I get that it's hard, I get that text would be easier. A phone call however is the best way to go. It's clear, to the point, and you can say what you want. If it's anyone I care about I will end up bawling after the call. That's okay, it means you're human. It's good to let the emotions flow a bit. The person will appreciate the call and will remember your maturity. It leaves doors open to still being friends/still having future dates. So make that fricking phone call.

That's pretty much it. I don't advocate meeting someone in person to tell them that you're breaking off seeing them anymore. If you're not in a committed relationship then setting up another meeting just to break it off is rather cruel. For girls and guys, someone has to go to the extent of planning the date and getting all ready to go out and psyched up. We are so disconnected in our day and age that an in-person meeting is really intimate. If they are your committed boyfriend/girlfriend, well that's a story for another time. Basically it'll depend on the circumstances and what you know that they would prefer.

Special Addenum/Special Circumstances.
Do you need help thinking of a nice excuse as to why you don't want to see them again? Here's how to do it. Say you went on a date and realized they had awful breath. After the second date they still had awful breath and you cannot imagine seeing them again. For your excuse, you can be really brave and tell them their breath may need worked on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

10 Things That Say You're Actually an Adult

10 Things That Say You're Actually an Adult

10. You buy donuts whenever you want. Seriously. Not too often though because you know how to take care of yourself. 

9. You stay out until 2 a.m. and no parental-type figures freak out or call the cops. Heck, you stay out all night sometimes!

8. The thought of sharing a room with someone makes you physically want to barf. You're too old for that crap. (See exceptions below, you married folks.)

7. You PAY YOUR OWN PHONE BILL. I cannot stress this enough, you get the heck off your parents plans and pay your own phone bill like the responsible person you are.

6. Your parents are less your parents and more like your close older friends. Speaking of that, your parents ask YOU for advice every once in awhile. Not very often, and they do tell you what to do occasionally because they are your parents, but seriously, you're realizing they're actually pretty cool people.

5. Cheap health insurance is the most exciting benefit of your job, and you actually know what a 401k is.

4. You make your own doctors appointments and know how to take care of yourself. From the food you eat to the once-yearly checkups, you know how to help yourself be a healthy individual. 

3. You're excited by the prospect of being able to pay your own rent. And bills. Especially phone bills. Have I mentioned that enough yet?

2. You've given up an unrealistic dream or two in pursuit of something better, even if that dream was all you wanted when you were younger. You're realizing what life is about, and you've found better dreams to achieve. I mean seriously, was beating all the levels of Skyrim seriously your 

1. You know what you want out of relationships. Whether this is dating, married life, regular friends, work associates, or close family, you know what you want. You may not know how to get it always, but you know how to compromise, sacrifice, and develop in relationships in your life. Most importantly, you know how to let people go.

That's my defining list for being an adult. Obviously there are a few exceptions. Married people, I sure hope you're sharing a room, or at least a place where you sleep in close proximity to one another. Phone bills are another. If you're on your parents plan and donating to the cause of keeping phone bills low, that's just smart. Letting your parents pay everything for you? Now that's just irresponsible.

Some people say they hate being an adult, that they'd go back to being a care-free child in a heartbeat. I never would. While I miss being young and relatively care-free, I enjoy making my own decisions too much for that to ever be something that I want to go back to.

As for relationships with anyone, in any form, they are difficult. Knowing how to give and take is important, and I think most of all it's letting go. That's something I've had to do a lot recently as people have grown up and moved on. It hurts, but letting go is an important part of life. That's just how it is, and how it always will be. Plus stalkers are creepy, so don't be that person. :)